How Your Relationships May Actually Keep You Alive Longer

It’s easy to forget how much influence people have on us throughout our life. Think about it— we have family, friends, co-workers and even people we may briefly pass in the hallway, all of whom could be our greatest asset or our greatest inhibitor to you reaching our highest self.

There is scientific research that points to the old adage “you are the average of the five people you most associate with,” as completely true. Your source of happiness may very well derive from the people that you associate with on a daily basis.

There is an important correlation between happiness and human connection. Humans are naturally communicative species and constantly crave connection. There is evidence from a Harvard University study to support the claim that meaningful relationships actually create happier and healthier lives.

Led by psychologist Robert Waldingner, the Harvard study to this day still remains the longest human study in history. It tracked the lives of 724 men over the course of 75 years. The study included medical exams, drawing blood, brain scanning, and interviewing the men’s children. The clearest message derived from the collected data was that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier, period.”

It turns out the individuals in the study who were more socially connected to family, friends and communities were happier, physically healthier and lived longer than people who are less well connected. The study also showed that individuals who were more isolated experienced loneliness, and ultimately were “less happy.” Additionally, their health declined sooner, their brain functioning weakened, and had a shorter life span than people who were more connected with meaningful relationships.

Meaningful relationships protect not only our bodies but also our brains. The study concluded that meaningful social connections actually keep us alive.

We must focus less on material things and concentrate more on meaningful relationships with family, friends and community because focusing on the friends and family you trust and care about will actually keep you happier and healthier. The good life is built with good relationships.

This extraordinary study shed light on the importance of being aware of the people that you surround yourself with every day. Take a minute and look at the last five text messages or calls on your phone and think about the individuals in your life that you are closest to. They may be your family, friends or significant others but whomever, they may be, it’s imperative that you began to see them as an actual component and even a source of your overall wellbeing and even happiness.

Are these people inhibiting your success in life or are they motivating you towards your greatest potential? We must be very careful about who we spend our precious time with and energy on.

As you begin to look at many of your relationships in a new light, be conscious of the people you allow into your life. Make sure they are adding value to your goals, desires and overall success and more importantly, make sure they contributing to your overall health, as these connections may very well keep you alive longer. Living a life of abundant happiness, first starts with meaningful relationships— friends, family and community.

Positively Caviar, Inc. is a non-profit organization focused on intensifying the message of positivity and optimism in the Mid-Atlantic region. To learn more about our organization, the nucleus team or how you join our positive movement, visit:

KIPP Baltimore Student Awarded SGFF College Scholarship

— KIPP and the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Foundation (SGFF) have announced that Baltimore high school senior Joshua Fitzgerald has been selected as a recipient of the 2018 Dave Goldberg Scholarship. Joshua is among 30 students who were selected from nearly 350 applicants nationwide to be part of this inaugural cohort of Goldberg Scholars.

The Goldberg Scholarship Program was established by the SGFF in October 2017 to support KIPP graduating high school seniors across the country who have demonstrated remarkable leadership and achievement. The scholarship honors the legacy of Dave Goldberg by supporting a new generation of leaders who embody Dave’s qualities of leadership, resilience, achievement, generosity, kindness, independent thinking and entrepreneurial spirit.

As a Goldberg Scholar, Joshua will receive a unique combination of financial support and mentoring during his four-year college experience, which include: a mentor to provide ongoing support throughout college; fFinancial support totaling approximately $15,000 a year to cover a range of non-tuition needs not traditionally covered by college-based financial aid; support from Goldberg Connectors to help secure summer internships and job opportunities; and participation in an annual Goldberg Scholars Summer Leadership Day, where scholars will meet leaders in their chosen fields.

“Our family is delighted to partner with KIPP to support a new generation of students who demonstrate so many of Dave’s qualities— especially his kindness, unflagging drive, independent thinking and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org. “Dave believed every child deserved a quality education. He would be so proud and hopeful to see the first class of Goldberg Scholars heading to college this fall.”

The 30 recipients of the Goldberg Scholarship have attended KIPP schools in 14 communities. All of the recipients are students of color, and many will be the first in their families to attend college. Any student who attended a KIPP school for either middle or high school and had above a 3.0 GPA was eligible to apply for the Goldberg Scholarship. Joshua was chosen based on his academic record and demonstration of leadership.

“Dave was passionate about the power of ideas and connecting people to make the world better,” said Rob Goldberg, Dave’s brother and Founder and CEO of Fresno. “This scholarship brings those concepts to life in a way that would delight him, especially the focus on mentorship and building a community to support the students from the start of college through their first job.”

An alumnus of KIPP Ujima Village Academy middle school and a current senior at Gilman High School in Baltimore, Joshua’s leadership extends beyond the classroom and deep into his community. He is a member of Gilman’s Black Awareness Club, a volunteer for the Baltimore Urban League, and a mentor for younger students at Boys Hope Girls Hope in Baltimore. In the fall, he will attend Tufts University, where he plans to major in engineering and continue to give back to help young people in Baltimore succeed.

“We have many talented alumni graduate from college each year, but they don’t always have the same professional network as their higher-income peers,” explains KIPP Baltimore Executive

Director Marsha Reeves. “The Goldberg Scholarship program gives Joshua access to mentors that will give him support throughout his college experience and truly accelerate his career. This partnership is a perfect example of KIPP taking college support to another level. We are so proud of Joshua, and excited to see where his leadership takes him.”

SGFF selected the national KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) network of public charter schools as its partner for the Dave Goldberg Scholarship program because of KIPP’s proven track record of helping students from educationally underserved communities develop the knowledge, skills, and character strengths necessary to succeed in college and life.

Let’s Talk About Depression and Anxiety in Women

Anxiety and depression are the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting over 50 million people a year, and leading to moderate or severe impairment in daily living. Risk factors for both anxiety and depression include family history of any type of mental illness, exposure to severe trauma as a child or adult, poverty, high stress, low social supports and drug or alcohol abuse— all of which are unfortunately far too common across Baltimore City.

Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety and/or depression— conditions, which often present together. There is also a growing incidence of teenage depression and women in their reproductive years are at further risk. Seven of every 10 single black mothers suffer from depression and one of every five pregnant women suffer with depression or anxiety. Yet, only 10 percent of these women receive treatment.

Anxiety can interfere with daily activities by producing feelings of nervousness, restlessness, fear and irritability; depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness, isolation, irritability and loss of interest in activities. More than half of individuals struggling with anxiety or depression experience issues with work or school performance and with social/personal relationships. Despite the availability of effective treatment, millions of Americans with anxiety and depression go untreated each year.

The stigma of mental illness remains a major barrier for access to care. The economic impact of depression nationally totals $210 billion annually due to reduced workplace productivity and treatment of worsening co-occurring medical problems including insomnia, migraine headaches and chronic pain. The actual cost of treatment accounts for only 20 percent of the total amount, meaning $168 billion is spent on consequences of untreated or partially treated depression.

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) are bringing together professionals in the field with community members for a discussion around these issues in the third installment of Not All Wounds are Visible: A Community Conversation; this session focuses on depression and anxiety in women and children. The event is free and is being held at the UMB Campus Center, located at 621 West Lombard Street in downtown Baltimore (across from University of Maryland Medical Center). Breakfast will be provided to all attendees and a resource fair with vendors from local mental health and wellness programs and other community resources will be available.

Presenters will highlight topics such as “Depression and Anxiety: A Socio-Cultural Perspective”; “Childbirth, Parenting & Depression”; “Growing Up In Fear – The Impact of Community Violence and Police Interaction” and “Resilience and Recovery.”

Live satellite viewings will also be available at UM St. Joseph Medical Center (Towson); UM Charles Regional Medical Center (LaPlata); UM Capital Region Health (Cheverly & Laurel) and UM Upper Chesapeake Health (Bel Air). For more information or to register for the free “Not All Wounds are Visible” event, visit: or call 1-800-492-5538.

Depression during pregnancy is not unlike other clinical depression cases— individuals likely have a persistent low mood and decreased interest in pleasurable activities, and is suffering from irritability, sleep and appetite disturbances, poor concentration, isolation and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. Anxiety can often accompany, or worsen, depression, and is recognized by restlessness, feeling tense, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and fearfulness. For pregnant women, a fear of caring for a newborn along with self-doubt is often present. Depression following delivery (Post-Partum Depression) is most commonly seen one to four weeks after delivery, and often leaves a mother unable to care for herself or her infant, thus leaving both at great risk.

A lack of identifying and treating depression and anxiety during pregnancy can often lead to complications for both mother and child including pre-term labor, low birth weight, lack of bonding and cognitive and behavioral problems in the child that continue into adolescence. The entire family can be impacted by a disengaged mother, who may not only have difficulty caring for herself and baby, and bonding with her baby but also has difficulty caring for the entire family.

The Department of Psychiatry of the University of Maryland Medical Center and School of Medicine has a Women’s Mental Health Program (410-328-6091/ that works with women on both the Midtown and University campuses to provide help for those dealing with anxiety and/or depression. The program has access to treatment in OB and GYN clinics, the Family Medicine office, Addiction Treatment Programs and the Midtown Campus

Pediatric office with a goal to screen and identify any woman in need of assistance and to facilitate a comprehensive evaluation, discussion of treatment planning and access to the appropriate providers.

Dr. Jill RachBeisel is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Psychiatry and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Letters to the Editor

— National Stuttering Awareness Week began on May 7, 2018.

Did you know more than three million Americans stutter? That’s more than the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C.— combined.

One percent of your readers stutter — and up to five percent of children stutter for a time during their early developmental years.

In the spirit of spreading awareness, the most important thing you and your readers can do for someone who stutters— or for anyone you are speaking with— is to listen. Listen to what they have to say rather than how they say it.

For more information, visit our website:

Northeastern Ohio Youth Group Tours Baltimore Area

Teen group formed to counteract youth issues while promoting cultural pride and academics

As a child born in the 1990s, Malcom Deluvon Burton of Akron, Ohio, has experienced the excitement and the benefits of the Information Technological Age.

Conversely, he has witnessed another side of the new millennium generation, where young men who look like him are seemingly regarded as Public Enemy No. 1. Young men like Trayvon Martin, and closer to home, shooting victims like 12-year-old Tamir Rice of Cleveland and in Cincinnati, rap producer Samuel DuBose, were also fatally shot by law enforcement officials.

Even before the aforementioned fatal events occurred, Burton says he felt a need to forge a certain unity and bond amongst his peers. As a high school junior, Burton founded My Brother/My Sister (MBMS) ironically during Black History Month in 2008.

“I was 16 at Copley High School in Copley Twp. (Akron, Ohio), and being a black American male, I felt like my high school peers needed to be introduced to culture and community love,” he said.

He felt it was also a way to “nullify self-hate while promoting a more natural bond between the genders. Hence, the sisterhood-brotherhood organization was born.

“While our Civil Rights history— Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are valuable background, our young people also need to know other stories,” he said.

Recently, Burton’s group traveled by bus from Northeast Ohio to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. As a 2014 graduate of Morgan State University, Burton wanted to expose the young people from his hometown to significant historical sites such as Baltimore’s Great Blacks In Wax Museum; and the Martin Luther King Jr. monument in the District of Columbia.

In it’s ten-year history, MBMS, has grown to about 100 members, mainly of middle- and high-school ages. The group is open to all cultures but the primary goal is to sustain cultural love and pride among black youths,” according to Burton.

MBMS has two chapters that meet weekly— one in Akron at Copley High, the other in East Cleveland at East Technical High. Burton says the non-profit group is funded via the Cleveland Indians’ Larry Doby Youth Fund Grant.

Doby was the first black to play American League baseball with the Cleveland Indians in July 1947, three months after Jackie Robinson broke the color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Burton says MBMS is currently awaiting national 501c3 non-profit status.

Older members of the group now serve as mentors and academic tutors for the younger members.

“Our goal is to produce scholars,” said Burton, noting that the organization currently boasts 30 college graduates and several current college attendees.

Burton also has a master’s degree in social work from Case Western Reserve University. Later this year, his first book, “A Safe Place To Call Home: Community Love and Culture,” will be released. He is just 26-years-old.

Burton is proud of his blended African-American and Puerto Rican heritage. He is also proud of having been raised in a two-parent home, and is cognizant of raising his own children in a similar environment “when that day comes,” he said, smiling.

For more information about MBMS, call Malcom D. Burton at 216-526-34

Practice Prevention Measures During Tickborne Disease Awareness Month, Throughout Tick Season

The warmer weather of spring means an increased risk of tickborne disease transmission. In an effort to help prevent the increased spread of disease, the month of May has been recognized as Tickborne Disease Awareness Month.

The growing number and spread of tickborne diseases poses an increased risk in the U.S. A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found the number of reported tickborne diseases more than doubled in the past 13 years and from 2004 through 2016, seven new germs spread through the bite of an infected tick were discovered or recognized in the U.S. as being able to infect people.

“Maryland is vulnerable, but we are working very hard to educate the public and reduce the threat,” said Dr. Howard Haft, Deputy Secretary, Public Health Services, Maryland Department of Health. “Through awareness, our goal is to reduce human exposure to ticks, prevent tick bites, and to prevent Marylanders from acquiring tickborne illnesses.”

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tickborne disease in Maryland. In 2016, nearly 1,900 cases of Lyme disease were reported in the state. Symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash (which might look like a bull’s eye), fever, headache, joint pain, and fatigue. If left untreated, the disease may spread to the joints and nervous system. Contact your healthcare provider if any of these symptoms develop after a known tick bite or after spending time in a tick habitat. Most cases can be cured with antibiotics.

In addition to Lyme disease, ticks can transmit babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia.

The best way to avoid tickborne diseases is to avoid ticks and their habitat. Ticks prefer humid environments and can be found outdoors in the leaf litter, weeds, tall grasses, shrubs, and woods. To prevent tick exposure and tick bites:

•Use insect repellents such as DEET, picaridin, or IR3535

•Perform a “tick check” on yourself, children, and pets after being outside in tick habitat

•Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents, with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin or purchase pre-treated clothing

•Wear light colored clothing to help spot ticks more easily

•Wear long pants and sleeves to help keep ticks off of your body and tuck your pants into your socks or boots

•Stick to the path when hiking and avoid brushy areas and tall grasses where ticks are more likely to be present

•Shower as soon as possible after coming back indoors to wash away unattached ticks on your body

•Dry your clothes on high for 10 minutes once you get home to kill any ticks on clothing

•Discuss how to protect your pets from ticks with your veterinarian

Spring is the start of tick season, but Marylanders should continue to check for ticks after outdoor activities through the fall.

To learn more about how to protect yourself, family members and pets from tickborne diseases, visit the Maryland Department of Health’s website:

Smart Investments in SNAP Smart for the Black Community

From 2012 to 2015 African American-owned businesses across the United States grew from 1.9 million to 2.6 million. As the economy continues growing, these numbers are only expected to increase but our nation’s black businesses face a host of challenges, including access to a skilled workforce.

Currently, there are more than 6.1 million open jobs in the United States. This is a significant roadblock for black employers across the country who want to continue expanding and growing their operations.

That’s why it’s time for Washington to take a serious look at the skills gap and support policies that create opportunities for our work-capable adults.

The House Agriculture Committee is proposing legislation to help provide these opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed using one of our nation’s anti-poverty programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The bill aims to help work-capable adults receiving SNAP secure employment to improve their lives. Americans in poverty should be supported by government assistance that aims to graduate users into the mainstream economy. And, the new bill implements and mandates constructive and empowering work requirements that are balanced with a strong investment in proven tactics to assist recipients in climbing the economic ladder and improving their station in life.

Now is the time for a focus on employment and training in the SNAP program. Let’s energize and prepare eligible and work-capable SNAP recipients, ages 18-59 years-old, for the workforce by way of a significant investment in SNAP

Employment and Training (E&T), including a suite of ancillary services like assessment and case management. It is important to afford individuals additional opportunities like apprenticeships and subsidized employment opportunities that are proven to help individuals enter or re-enter the workforce. Congress must take advantage of the current economy, and support individuals who want their own status to improve.

Businesses and SNAP recipients alike stand to benefit from investments in training and education. Our economic potential is only as great as our workforce, and as we look to stimulate growth for black-owned businesses we need to see these policies for what they are: opportunities for those in need, accountability for those on SNAP and an untapped workforce that can fill businesses unmet needs.

While critics of this legislation claim it is aimed at kicking people off SNAP to save money, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Under this work proposal, only a work-capable individual who chooses not to participate in a guaranteed E&T slot— who chooses not to take advantage of the free training and education opportunities—will lose eligibility for SNAP.

It’s time for both parties in the House and Senate to come together and rid America of poverty through opportunities for upward mobility and empower families and individuals with occupational training and job placement. All it takes is proper attention.

That’s why the House Agriculture Committee wants to work with groups like the National Black Chamber of Commerce, black churches and other interested parties to highlight opportunities to bring jobs back to local communities and hire local workers.

It’s as the old adage tells us: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

For more information about the 2018 Farm Bill, visit:

Baltimore County Executive Passes Suddenly

— A Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate died suddenly Thursday morning after experiencing cardiac arrest, authorities said.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, 60, awoke in his home outside of Baltimore around 2 a.m. feeling ill and was pronounced dead an hour later after being transported to St. Joseph Medical Center, the county said in a statement.

Kamenetz joined the gubernatorial race last September. He was one of seven Democrats in a crowded primary field competing for the Democratic nomination to oppose Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election.

Of the field, Kamenetz, who served 16 years as a Baltimore County council member before becoming county executive, was one of only three Democratic candidates with elected experience and viewed as a leading contender. The Democratic gubernatorial primary is scheduled for June 26.

The night before Kamenetz died, he participated in a candidate forum in Prince George’s County, Maryland, alongside other Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

Hogan said he was “shocked” to hear of Kamenetz’s passing.

“The First Lady and I are shocked and grieved by the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Our prayers go out to his family and many loved ones this morning,” Hogan tweeted.

Fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidates Alec Ross, Rushern Baker, Rich Madaleno, Ben Jealous, Krish Vignarajah and Jim Shea offered their condolences.

“Kevin Kamenetz’s passing is a tremendous loss for Maryland. He was a dedicated public servant, and I considered him a friend,” Shea tweeted.

US Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, called Kamenetz “an energetic public servant who cared about making a difference for those he served.”

“MD and I both just lost a friend,” he added.

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The Best Way to Celebrate National Small Business Week? Shop Local

Supporting small businesses is more than a purchase. It’s an investment in your community.

April 29 to May 5, 2018, is National Small Business Week. Since 1963 this week has been designated to recognize the impact of America’s entrepreneurs and small businesses. The best way to celebrate and honor small businesses and local entrepreneurs this week—and all year long—is to do business with them.

Shopping locally gives small businesses a chance to showcase how good they are. They get face time with customers who might not regularly be in their stores and shops. And it shows consumers what they might be missing—the personal connections and experiences they crave but most likely won’t get from online or big box retailers.

Ideally, this is more than making a few purchases one week, but instead, turns into a long-term relationship, whereby consumers begin to “shop local” on a regular basis.

Supporting the small businesses in your community has never been more important. Communities need to invest in their small businesses in a meaningful way as they are the key to economic revitalization.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses create two out of every three net new jobs in the private sector. What’s more, over half of all Americans own or work for a small business.

There is a symbiotic relationship between residents and small business owners. They really need each other. Small businesses provide jobs and keep the dollars circulating locally. Their owners have an active and personal interest in the well being of the community. They live there. Their kids go to school there. They care about what happens.

When wealth is created, business owners are more likely to turn around and reinvest in the community.

In many cases, small businesses have taken on an even bigger role to play. Small businesses across America are being called to step in and fill the void created by the loss of their community’s “pillar” institutions. By this I mean the banks, hospitals, media outlets, etc. that used to be locally owned but that now—thanks to the changes brought about by globalization—exist as part of larger conglomerates.

A few decades ago the owners of these “pillar” businesses were committed to keeping their communities vibrant. They knew their economic health depended on it. But now that the owners of these former “pillars” live elsewhere, they just don’t have the same intimate connection to the community.

It makes sense for small businesses to take the lead in pulling communities out of the economic slump many have been in for years. When communities are vibrant, there are more high-paying jobs and people can afford to shop. Quality of life improves. There’s more money for schools and programs that lift people out of poverty. Everyone wins.

That’s what happened in Pensacola, which in recent years has seen a surge in new businesses and explosive growth in property values. Small businesses have galvanized into a solid group, and they take an active role in the leadership of the community.

The city’s business leaders mentor new entrepreneurs. They’ve put systems in place to ensure that all small business owners are well-trained in the leadership skills they need to thrive long-term. And successful small businesses give back. I hope other communities will use Pensacola’s journey as a blueprint.

Many small businesses have made their commitment to their local community part of their brand. This is what customers want. The more chaotic and

uncertain the world becomes, the more people crave a safe and stable home base. This is a huge trend, and it’s taking place all over America.

This is how you, the small business owner, can compete with the mega-retailers. Create an experience for your community. Citizens will know they’re being looked after, and they will want to do business locally. This can become your competitive advantage. Take care of the community, and it will take care of you.

The bottom line? Don’t shop locally only during Small Business Week. Do it every chance you get, all year long.

A purchase from a small business owner is an investment in your community. Who better to support than those who are working so hard to create a better future for everyone?

Quint Studer is author of “Building a Vibrant Community: How Citizen-Powered Change Is Reshaping America” and he is the founder of Pensacola’s Studer Community Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on improving the community’s quality of life and moving Escambia and Santa Rosa counties forward. For more information, visit: and

Comcast Cares Day Unites the Community in Celebration and Service

On Saturday, April 21, 2018, hundreds of volunteers, Comcast employees and their families, and several community organizations gathered at Furley Elementary School for the 17th annual Comcast Cares Day, a nationwide day of service dedicated to creating positive change in communities across the country. As structural problems and other building issues are addressed at the original Furley High School, volunteers met at VanGuard Collegiate, Furley’s temporary home, to beautify the campus by creating colorful murals; covering the walls with bright coats of fresh paint; mulching flower pots; planting flowers and trees; and picking up unsightly and unsafe trash from the school playground and playing field.

Comcast Cares Day is an annual celebration and an opportunity to spotlight the company’s year-round commitment to volunteerism that began when the company was founded 55 years ago. Comcast’s community efforts have sponsored a wide range of projects, from teaching digital literacy skills and mentoring youth to partnering with the United Way to pack food boxes and beautifying parks and schools. To date, volunteers have contributed over five million volunteer hours to 8,800 projects. Comcast tries to fill whatever need exists in the community that would make a positive difference in the lives of its residents. “Volunteering is in our DNA, at the core of our company’s culture,” Savannah Isner, Comcast Senior Public Relations Specialist, said. “We are working to ensure that the communities where we live and where our customers live, better.”

The parking lot at Furley was filled to capacity as volunteers appeared bright and early to begin the day of service. The school lobby was flooded with a sea of green Comcast Cares t-shirts, and participants buzzed with excitement. City Councilman Brandon Scott, representing Baltimore City’s 2nd district, believes that Comcast’s community efforts will benefit the most important members of the community—the children—in a very significant way. “We are so grateful to Comcast and all the community partners, sororities, fraternities, and all the other folks that came out today to help improve this building,” he said. “Even though this is a temporary home for our children, we want them to have the best experience possible, so we always appreciate the people who take the time out of their weekends to invest in our children.”

Furley Elementary School principal, Greta Cephus, greeted the volunteers before they were assigned to their projects. “We carefully surveyed the school grounds, the trash that surrounded the building, and other cosmetic issues that needed attention, and we made a list of tasks. Those are the tasks that you have volunteered to complete today. There is enough work for each of you to have a project, which is how you can show the children that you are thinking of them. We couldn’t do any of this without you.” The auditorium erupted in applause.

Seated in the front row of the auditorium, listening attentively for their assignments, were Betty Fasoranti and her granddaughters Jada (age 11) and McKenzie (age 3) Knox. “The principal here is outstanding,” Ms. Fasoranti said. “She is on the pulse of anything and everything needed to make this school better for the children. I think today will let the students know this is not just a school, but a home. Today will give the students hope.”

Jada takes pride in her school. “I want to make my school a better place,” Jada said. “I’m glad to be here today.”

As volunteers were assigned to various tasks, the hallways and lobby were full of laughter. Participants were excited to be participating in such an important community event. The students who were there were thrilled to see the pretty new flowers and bright murals in their new building. People of all ages, cultural backgrounds, and professions gathered together on a sunny Saturday to give their time and service to improving life for hundreds of students. Comcast Cares Day beautified the community in more ways than one. Unity is a beautiful sight to behold, and Comcast Cares Day was the perfect example of the difference that everyday people can make when they are committed to service and will do whatever is necessary to make life brighter in their communities.

“It’s very simple,” Councilmen Scott said. “The only way that our city will be the very best that it can possibly be is if all of us help out. It takes all of us. Not just one person or one organization, but every single person needs to decide that they are committed to doing things for the greater good.”