Friday, July 07, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - July 7 Edition


Soft Landing’s focus is as much on the Missoula community as on incoming refugees. The organization, which consists of two part-time staff members, coordinates volunteers to support incoming refugees, including families that help orient refugees to their new home and connect them to their neighbors. The organization also promotes dialogue among community members on the sometimes uncomfortable topic of resettlement. Their mission is to ensure the Missoula community is both welcoming and informed.

Before co-founding Soft Landing, Poole says, “I didn’t even know what a refugee was. I didn’t know what resettlement was—I had no context.”

Civics, Education

GOVERNMENT and civics classes have a reputation for being dry. This means that too many students forget what they have been taught. Two-thirds of Americans could not name all three branches of government, according to a survey published in 2015. Only one-third could name a single Supreme Court justice, or identify Joe Biden as the then-vice president.

Civics has been in decline in schools for decades, says Peter Levine of the Centre for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. It has been pushed aside by a focus on preparing workers for the marketplace with “core” subjects, especially science, technology, engineering and maths. But the idea that it was the responsibility of schools to teach students about politics and democracy flourished well into the second half of the 20th century. It was based on the belief, as promulgated by Horace Mann, who fought for universal education in the 19th century, that education is "our own political safety". Across the country, pupils took classes like “Problems of Democracy,” a popular post-war civics course in which they were expected to read the newspaper and debate issues in the classroom. But by the 1980s, it had been phased out. Parents and politicians became concerned about schools “politicising” the classroom. Schools, eager to avoid controversy, sanitised their curriculums. Since then courses on government have remained common, but most offer little more than rote study of the structures of government.

Poverty, Development

From their archives: May/June 2014 Issue

New research suggests that cash grants to the poor are as good as or better than many traditional forms of aid when it comes to reducing poverty. The process of transferring cash, moreover, is only getting cheaper, thanks to the spread of technologies such as cell phones and satellite signals. And simply asking whether a given program is doing more good than it costs puts pressure on the aid sector to be more transparent and accountable. It’s well past time, then, for donors to stop thinking of unconditional cash payments as an oddball policy and start seeing them for what they are: one of the most sensible tools of poverty alleviation.

Stress, Work-Life Balance

After seven months at a startup, I was burning out. I wasn’t sleeping. I was constantly working. When I tried to go to bed, my mind would speed up rather than slow down. I gained weight. I realized that I needed to take care of myself before I wasn’t any use to the team.

Startups often make mistakes and then find a way to pivot. I realized that I needed to pivot personally. So I took a step back and thought, What can I do that will have the greatest positive impact on my life in the shortest amount of time possible? 


Fatigue is one of the most prevalent and troubling side effects cancer survivors face, both during treatment and after treatment ends. Cancer-related fatigue is a distressing, persistent, subjective sense of physical, emotional, or cognitive tiredness that is caused by cancer or its treatment. Unlike the normal tiredness that most people experience from time to time, cancer-related fatigue is not proportional to recent activity, it does not go away with rest, and it interferes with everyday functioning. This type of fatigue can significantly diminish a cancer survivor’s quality of life. 

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