Lifelong Adult Education Services, Inc.

Serving people with disabilities since 1993

VAWA

I was very disappointed when I found out that the 2012 Congress failed to pass a re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is a breakthrough piece of legislation that helped to improve criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in the United States.  With the help of VAWA, victims of these violent acts have been able to access services. VAWA is also extremely important because it educated a new generation of families and justice system professionals that our society did not tolerate domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking and that we view these acts as crimes.

Since Congress did not reauthorize VAWA, it means that million dollars of victims-assistance funding will be cut.   Programs and services will end or be drastically reduced in scope.

Check out http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/civil-rights/275619-new-congress-should-focus-on-passing-vawa for more information on VAWA.

 

Halloween 2012

This week is Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve. This year I celebrated by carving jack-o-lanterns, and went to a few haunted houses. I won’t be dressing up and trick – o – treating this year, but I do know I will still be eating a lot of candy!

Here is a little bit of Halloween History for you:

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”).
The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.

Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them.Trick-or-treating, is an activity for children on or around Halloween in which they proceed from house to house in costumes, asking for treats such as confectionery with the question, “Trick or treat?” The “trick” part of “trick or treat” is a threat to play a trick on the homeowner or his property if no treat is given. Trick-or-treating is one of the main traditions of Halloween. It has become socially expected that if one lives in a neighborhood with children one should purchase treats in preparation for trick-or-treaters.

The history of Halloween has evolved.  The activity is popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, imported through exposure to US television and other media, trick-or-treating has started to occur among children in many parts of Europe, and in the Saudi Aramco camps of Dhahran, Akaria compounds and Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia. The most significant growth and resistance is in the United Kingdom, where the police have threatened to prosecute parents who allow their children to carry out the “trick” element. In continental Europe, where the commerce-driven importation of Halloween is seen with more skepticism, numerous destructive or illegal “tricks” and police warnings have further raised suspicion about this game and Halloween in general. In Ohio, Iowa, and Massachusetts, the night designated for Trick-or-treating is often referred to as Beggars Night.

Part of the history of Halloween  is Halloween costumes. The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages, and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of “souling,” when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of “puling [whimpering, whining], like a beggar at Hallowmas.”

Retrieved from http://www.halloweenhistory.org/

 

Spring Break 2012

Panama beachIt’s March…also known as SPRING BREAK!  This year, my spring break will consist of catching up on homework after coming home from work…Oh, well.  For all others who are in Nicaragua, Las Vegas, and maybe even Kansas, I hope you are relaxing and having a fun Spring Break 2012.

Click here to read this fun little article about the history of spring break: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1888317,00.html

Race

This week was my second week of spring semester which seemed too soon to result in such a controversial discussion.  My professor handed out little 2 x 4 cards with a picture of a dissolved face that read RACE.  Our instructions were to write down on the back of the card how the word or concept RACE related to our lives.  I listed minority, culture, Hispanic, stigma, and opportunity.  We then sat in a circle and had to share what we wrote.  I was surprised to find that I was the only one in my class who felt so passionate about this card and my beliefs around it.  It’s very interesting to learn how others view what race is, especially coming from this “melting pot” or “salad bar” we call America.  How do you view your race?

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/culture-in-mind/201201/the-culture-race

My last blog of 2011

The Holiday Season is officially upon us.  This is a hard time for a lot of people for a variety of different reasons; you may be missing a loved one, the holidays can be hard on your wallet, or maybe you just feel as though this time of year comes and goes too fast. Don’t downplay the holidays just because you are not in the spirit…think of some ways you can embrace this time of year, and try to make the best of it.  One way I like to get into the holiday spirit is by decorating.  My grandmother once said, “If you put up your Christmas tree with all your heart, your Christmas wish will come true.”  I also enjoy getting together with family and friends that I have not seen in a while.  It helps me to remember how lucky I am to have these people in my life. Last but not least, Christmas Break!  As some of you may know, I am a current student at Metro State University studying for my MSW.  It’s nice to have this time off to do things that I enjoy such as reading books of my choice, skiing, and sleeping in.  For those of you not in school, hopefully, you will get to enjoy an extra day off from the workplace.  Check out this article I found to help you survive this holiday season.   http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-without-anxiety/201111/10-tips-survive-the-holiday-season

I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Mid-Term Time!

Cinamon Romero, BA

As a graduate student, I know how stressful mid-terms can be. It’s about that time of the semester and I want to share some reminders that will help you through this stressful time.

Time Management ChoicesI find that staying organized from the first day of school is always important and helpful. As soon as your professor hands out the syllabus, write the dates of all of your exams in your daily planner. Make a schedule of the times that you are going to study, relax, spend time with your family and be in class or at work. Time management is key, and getting into the routine of daily studying will help reduce stress.  Don’t forget to schedule time for breaks and relaxation! If you take on too much, you may get frustrated and start to feel overwhelmed. Make sure to review all your notes and the study guide before your classes. I usually have a few questions when I start to prepare for an exam, so I like to have plenty of time to ask my professor any questions I may have. Last, don’t forget to get a good night’s rest before your exam. If you stay organized from the start and keep up with the material, there is no need to pull an all-night crammer.

I hope you found some of these reminders helpful. Good Luck!!!!  Watch this time management video.

Happy Friday!

I am sitting here at work on a Friday afternoon, and don’t get me lying, I can’t wait for the weekend! We all love those extra days off and sometimes wish the weekends were longer. Why is it that everyone is so excited for the weekend? Did you ever notice that you feel mentally and physically better on the weekends than during the workweek?

I found this fun article in Psychology Today that explains why we are happier, have more energy, and even have less aches and pains on our days off. There are even some tips on how to make the workweek more enjoyable. Now that the seasons are changing, it may be fun to change your routine up a little. If you have some free time, read this article and learn how to love Monday’s. As for me, I am getting ready to head off to enjoy my weekend!

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/imperfect-spirituality/201002/happy-monday-probably-not

Good vs. Bad Anxiety

Fight or Flight?

As humans we all have anxiety. With the right amount of anxiety, we can actually perform better. Think of the “fight or flight” response. Living in Colorado there is a good chance most of us have been hiking in the beautiful rocky mountains. You are almost to the top, and can’t wait for the view when all of a sudden you come into contact with a mountain lion. This is where “good” anxiety comes into play. Our sympathetic nervous system triggers our “fight or flight” response and gets us ready for action. There are several physical changes that will happen during this scary situation and they all have a purpose. The first is increased heart rate and heartbeat. This will speed up delivery of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide. The next change is when the blood flow moves away from our toes and fingers and goes towards the big muscles. This provides the big muscles with the energy it needs to fight off the mountain lion and will help us to loose less blood if we do get attacked. Our breathing will increase to provide more oxygen for energy for the fight – flight response. Next, we will notice that we are very sweaty and that is because there will be an increased activity in sweat glands. This will cool our body to prevent exhaustion and overheating. Another change that often goes unoticed is our eyes dilateing. This will help keep us alert and scan for more danger. Did you eat a sandwhich on the way up the mountain? All of your energy will be directed towards the fight – flight response, so there will be less energy sent to the digestive system. The last physical change will be release of natural pain killers, or opioids, to dull any pain if injured. After we have excaped the mountain lion, our parasympathetic nervous system will calm the body and return it to a balanced, normal, state once the mountain lion or threat has passed.

I’ve always considered myself to be an anxious person. If I am not in a threating situation that needs a “fight or flight” response, it turns into “bad” anxiety. In lots of situations I have expierenced all of the symptoms above, but since I was only on an airplane or sitting in class or even just driving in the car, those symptoms triggerd additional anxiety, and in some cases, panic attacks. For those of you who have had panic attacts, they can be very scary and are often mistaken for a heart attack, it feels like you are going insane or even like you are going to faint.

What is the point, you ask? This summer I’ve been trying to learn how to take control of my anxiety instead of it taking control over me. My favorite skill that I’ve been practing is abdominal breathing. I reccomend reading “Mastery of Your Anxiety and Panic” (4th Edition) by David H. Barlow and Michelle G. Cradke, 2007.  For some quick and easy tips, check out this article at Psychology Today: The Six Best Ways to Decrease Your Anxiety. Enjoy!

I am the intake specialist at Lifelong. I schedule all our new clients and meet with them for the first time to complete an intake. This includes educational screenings or preliminary testing for psychological evaluations.  I am a graduate student in the social work program at Metropolitan State College of Denver and have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Colorado.

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