Voice & Vision Blog

College Plus: Story of Success and Grant News

Want to go to college, or do you know someone who wants to go to college?  Are there people in your life who gave up hope about the possibility of going to college or making it through even one college class?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, College Plus may be the answer!!  “Sarah”, a student with College Plus for the Spring 2016 semester, hadn’t been to college for 10 years and was reluctant to go even after applying with College Plus a few years ago.  She attempted...

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Emergency Dance Party!

I found myself waiting in line at a U-Haul store one morning a few days ago. I had emptied a storage space I no longer needed and was waiting to close out my account. I was behind 9 or 10 other people, all waiting to be helped by one of three clerks. Most of the people in line were waiting to rent moving vans and likely had busy days ahead of them. None of us wanted to be wasting time standing in line, but we were being polite, giving each other space, waiting patiently. It was already 85 degrees...

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My Urban Adversaries

I have a problem with squirrels. I would not have thought I’d have a problem with squirrels—or any other form of wildlife—living here in South Philadelphia, but I do. I grew up in the country, where we once had a large family of flying squirrels encamped in our attic. (They don’t really “fly,” but they’ve been known to glide for nearly 300 feet. My mother had the opportunity to closely examine one during their relocation from our attic to the woods, and was amazed to see that the fur along the...

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Don’t Just Sit There

I had no idea. Of course I know that it’s good to be active and that living a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy. But I had no idea that sitting (yes, plain old sitting: in a chair, in a car, at a desk, in front of the TV and so on) is incredibly bad for your health. Modern humans spend more time sitting than sleeping, which is so different from our ancestors of even a hundred years ago. And our bodies weren’t designed for it. In his book, Eat Move Sleep, author Tom Rath makes a strong case for...

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The Power of a Peer: How a Friendship is Changing the Way I See Myself

When my daughters were growing up, our family watched a lot of Disney movies. (And I do mean a LOT of Disney movies!) I’ve missed most of the newer ones in these years between children and grandchildren, but I was channel surfing one day when I happened upon Enchanted. It was just starting and it drew me in, so I kept watching. Like many Disney movies, this one includes a prince in its cast of characters. Although this prince is handsome and sings like an angel, he bumbles a bit and is not terribly...

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Sleep Well: 12 Tips for Better Sleep

In my last post, If You (Don’t) Snooze, You Lose, I wrote about how important it is to get good sleep and to get enough of it. This week I’m presenting tips to help facilitate that sleep. I’m no expert, and I struggle with sleep like most people do, but I’ve been experimenting with these suggestions and I think they’re helping. I hope they’ll help you, too. 1) First and foremost: make sleep a priority Set a sleep schedule and stick to it—every day of the week. Decide on a bedtime based on the...

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If You (Don’t!) Snooze, You Lose

Sleep. Without enough of it we are drowsy, cranky and inefficient. Our bodies crave sleep like they crave food and water. But there are much bigger reasons why we need to sleep and there are frightening consequences when we don’t get the amount or quality of sleep we need. Why is adequate sleep so important? To keep us emotionally healthy: while we sleep, events of the day are processed and put into perspective. During deep sleep, the subconscious brain essentially functions as a psychotherapist,...

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Everyday Heroes

I had planned to spend the day writing yesterday, but I couldn’t think of anything to write about. Hoping some exercise might clear my brain and allow a spark for a story to surface, I decided to go to the gym. While stowing my things in a locker, I heard an old rock anthem coming from the overhead speakers. I found myself humming along with Bonnie Tyler as she sang “Holding Out for a Hero.”  A few minutes later, as I walked into the workout area, I was surprised to hear a different song playing...

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A Blizzard Tale

I like shoveling snow. I always have. It makes my cheeks pink and it makes me feel young and alive—what’s not to like? My husband doesn’t enjoy it the way I do. He’s very tall and most shovels are designed for smaller people. A tall man with a short shovel is a bad combination—one that has caused Bill to throw his back out in the past. So I try to get to the shovel before he does, and I’m happy to do it. But I absolutely do not like shoveling the same snow twice . . . The Blizzard of 2016 hit...

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Overcomers: Living (Joyfully!) With Multiple Sclerosis

Growing up in the South Bronx, Michelle had an idyllic childhood. Her free time was spent with friends: roller skating, going to the pool and the beach, walking across the bridge into Manhattan. Life was filled with possibilities and every day was a new adventure. At the age of 14, however, Michelle began having difficulty walking. Her knees would no longer bend fully and instead of bending forward, they began bending backward. One day at the beach, as she walked across the sand, she felt as though...

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