Friday, November 27, 2009

Support Groups for Foster Children

In the modern post industrialised world, their are many children who are not living with both their parents. They may be in foster families (which have not got the best record), living with one parent, either through divorce or lack of marriage/co-habitation or prison or death, or living partly with one parent and then the other parent. They may live with other family members. All of these compromised situations leave the child vulnerable to the unethical or damaged. Their carers maybe depressed, or resentful of their position and what the child represents to them in that situation. To pretend a sense of duty is enough to provide for the child is dangerous. If people were as nurturing as is needed, half of the laws of the world would not be necessary.
What this suggestion is about is a support group at every school for these students, similar to the support group for immigrant children I previously suggested. The same long term productivity and economic savings are the incentives for governments putting the relatively low cost program in place.
Setting up a support group for these children of unfortunate circumstances, including foster children, single parent families, children living with other relatives, divorced parents children, and anyone who looks angry or downtrodden would give them the chance to feel as though the "authorities" care and so do their peers, which may reduce "antisocial" behaviours, and feel if they participate in healthier activities they benefit. This will save the community a fortune in rehab, prisons, policing, and general mayhem and tragedy. Also, combining children whose lack of a full parenting background and the various solutions may put their own situation in perspective.
The school counsellor could run it like a youth group (a lot of church groups don't quite know what to do with "strays" of unusual background). It could have aspects like a self help group. Activities like trust games, anger management, discussion time, body language reading, self esteem raising tasks, life skills such as basic cooking, form filling, art creation and appreciation, etc could make it fun as well as useful. A regular talk on their rights, and what an adult can and cannot do to them is, of course, essential. There could be guest speakers as well as fun outings. The speech and drama teacher could run the body language talk, the sports teacher could take a self esteem raising game, a community member who had a tough time as a child could give a talk on how they overcame the odds and created their own destiny. Trips to the beach or park, as well as "cool" stuff in the local area, such as the movies or arcade or art gallery could give it an air every now and then, and act as an economical reward for tasks completed.
Also, during the discussion group on their problems and possible solutions, it must be made clear to the children that there are counsellors, male and female, available, as well as legal backing if needed. If they are being beaten, psychologically abused, or sexually interfered with, they may need to feel like they can trust the people available to help them. Their trust has been messed with, and a general group is a way for them to know their rights, build confidence and trust enough to ask for individual attention. This with help the general community economically and emotionally in the long term, in productivity and healthiness.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 is a water soluble vitamin that is also known as pantothenic acid or pantothenate. It creates lipids (fats), steroid hormones (including cortisone), hemoglobin (blood), and neurotransmitters. It helps with health skin, nerves and muscles. There is twice as much vitamin B5 in human muscle then other meats. It reduces allergies and supports the adrenal glands. It is used in the metabolism of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates.
A deficiency has the symptoms of apathy, fatigue, nausea, headaches, depression, tingling in hands, cardiac instability and personality changes. Other symptoms are fertility problems, acne, decreased serum potassium, lowered blood cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity. Other symptoms possibly are frequent infections, abdominal pains, sleep disturbances, neurological disturbances such as paresthesia like "burning feet", numbness, muscle weakness, and cramps.
Although there is no toxicity, an excess can lead to a sensitivity in the teeth, diarrhea, digestive abnormalities and water retention. It is lost in cooking, particularly roasting and milling (often found in the hulls of grains), exposure to acids (like vinegar) and alkaline (such as bi carb). It is destroyed by the canning process (high heating).
It is found in a lot of foods (in Greek it's scientific name means "from everywhere"). Eggs, fresh vegetables, broccoli, alfalfa, avocados, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, molasses, whole rye flour, whole wheat, whole grain cereal, royal jelly, torula yeast, brewer's yeast, salt water fish, cold water fish ovaries, pork, kidneys, and beef all contain it in good amounts.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Asylum Seekers of the World Solution

As the global population expands and shifts demographically, there is an increasing number of skirmishes over resources, political upheaval, man made and natural disasters that make populations need to relocate. Regularly (mostly stable) countries all around the world have displaced members of our global community knocking on the door in various states of desperation asking for assistance in the form of residency. Every country's leaders are aware that this is becoming a more and more regular occurrence, with every likelihood of increasing with time. Some more hardline approaches is a zero tolerance policy on these unfortunates, treating the asylum seekers like criminals in the hope they will stop attempting to enter their domain. Besides being very unhumanitarian and an active neglect of their human rights, it only works in the short term as "desperate is what desperate does", and often the door will be knocked harder in the future, as in a battering ram. More humanitarian approaches is to be softer on the refugees, which is great for the human touch and feels good, but also leads to every stray in the global neighbourhood seeing it as the opportunity to get somewhere easily. Here is a solution that is good for all involved.
If the asylum seekers are recruited for 2 or 3 years in the service of the United Nations, that can be their opportunity to show their genuine helpfulness and skill to the global community. A metaphor could be that every time a tooth is knocked out in a fight, that tooth goes to serve the U.N., giving it more teeth. It is a lot better then sitting in a refugee camp, with nothing to do but feel hard done by, instead utilising their time and skills, or increasing their skills.

There could be various areas to work in such as:
1. Human rights advocacy
2. Humanitarian aide
3. Child protection
4. Education
5. Peace corps
6. Environmental disaster relief
7. Environmental work
8. Staff member aides
9. Counselling
10. Interpretation

While they do voluntary, possibly payed, work for the U.N., it gives the U.N. staff time and opportunity to get to know the asylum seekers, their personalities, skills and inclinations which puts them in a better position to knowledgeably place them in appropriate areas of the global community. It will also show their problem solving capabilities, cosmopolitan communication skills, integration likelihood, adaptability, and willingness to participate in team work with others who are different to themselves.
For the U.N. it turns what would be an administrative headache into a workforce, and the more number of refugees there are (let's say there are severe floods and several small wars in a glut), the more workers they will have to help resolve the situation. Also, if any of the refugees really shine, they get first pick!
Of course, some education and skills teaching would be needed, but a lot of refugees already have a lot of skills (bi-lingual, carpentry, legal knowledge etc) which are just waiting to be resourced. Also, if you teach a skill to one refugee, such as how to write a legal letter, they can teach the next, and so on. Also, as many are likely to spend time in a cosmopolitan metropolis, it helps to increase awareness, tolerance and understanding of other types of people. And after a preliminary 2 or 3 years, they can be allocated to a part of the global community that needs their skills and they are best suited to, reducing the likelihood of a repeat of the previous turmoil. Everyone involved, the U.N., the refugee, the adoptive country, even at times the old country, will come away feeling like they have been beneficial and benefited and feeling good.