A Clean Slate

Posted by GVT Admin on May 7, 2024 10:00:59 AM

It has become a cliché in film and TV that ex-cons (as they're known) struggle to make a fresh start because they have a "record". Every school kid in America knows that he/she doesn't want to have a "record". They'll never get a good job, never work for the government and, in many places, never be allowed to vote. A standard question on most job applications inquires whether you've ever been arrested. In other words, after a convicted felon has paid his/her "debt to society", he/she must continue to pay the debt forever. Research tells us that this "criminal record" relentlessly following those long after they have served their sentence is the primary cause of recidivism in U.S. Finding no other way to care for themselves in the "outside" world, they return to crime for survival.

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Topics: Adult Re-Entry, social issues

The Social Media Addiction

Posted by GVT Admin on Apr 10, 2024 10:11:38 AM

Every child can feel its pull. Every parent is concerned. Social media landed in everyone’s backyard like the spaceship in "Close Encounters". We didn’t know what it was or where it came from, but we couldn’t take our eyes away. We fell under its spell and remain captivated. We still don’t know why it came or what it’s here for. But we have learned that it is not as benign as it first appeared. We now know it can harm us, and it will if we let it.

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Topics: mental health, social issues

Nonprofits Take on the World's Food Supply

Posted by GVT Admin on Mar 20, 2024 10:50:02 AM

Fish

  • In 1992, the Atlantic cod population on Canada's northeast coast collapsed under fierce fishing pressure to less than 1% of its historic biomass. This collapse was the largest fisheries collapse the world has ever seen.
  • Nearly 80% of the world's fisheries are already fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse. Worldwide, 90% of the stocks of large predatory fish, such as sharks, tuna, marlin, and swordfish, are already gone!
  • Greenpeace lists: “Atlantic Halibut, Monkfish, all sharks, and Blue Fin Tuna” as overfished species.
  • Globally, the share of fish stocks which are overexploited (we catch them faster than they can reproduce to sustain population levels) has more than doubled since the 1980s, and this means that current levels of wild fish catch are unsustainable.
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Topics: Nonprofit General, social issues

The Risk of Violence

Posted by GVT Admin on Mar 13, 2024 1:24:58 PM

In the article “The Urgency of Social Worker Safety,” National Association of Social Workers (NASW) President James J. Kelly, PhD, ACSW, LCSW, noted, “In the past few years alone, we have witnessed the fatal stabbing of a clinical social worker in Boston, the deadly beating of a social service aide in Kentucky, the sexual assault and murder of a social worker in West Virginia, the shooting of a clinical social worker and Navy Commander at a mental health clinic in Baghdad, and the brutal slaying of social worker Teri Zenner in Kansas. These are only a few of the murders of our colleagues, which, along with numerous assaults and threats of violence, paint a troubling picture for the profession.”

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Topics: social workers, social issues

The Fourth Estate

Posted by GVT Admin on Mar 6, 2024 10:11:18 AM

The term "fourth estate" refers to the press and the news media and comes from the traditional European concept of the three estates of the realm: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. In our American democracy the three branches of government (Congress, Supreme Court, President) are joined by a free, independent press (our Fourth Estate) that advocates and informs on behalf of the citizens who have granted the power to govern to the other three “estates”. For our "fourth estate" to protect the people from their elected government's impulse to grab more power by governing behind closed doors, our press and news media must maintain its integrity, remaining independent and financially robust. However, since the decline of the industry’s ad-driven business model was hastened by the Great Recession, more than half of newspapers have shuttered across America and the industry has shed more than 20,000 jobs.

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Topics: Nonprofit General, social issues

Prevention the Only Cure

Posted by GVT Admin on Feb 28, 2024 11:29:12 AM

Youth and young adults rarely come to mind when we think of homelessness. Caseworkers working full time with the country's homeless population tell us that homelessness among young people is largely out of sight.

Youth homelessness looks different because it is fluid and hidden. A recent national study found homelessness in 1 out of 30 youth aged 13 to 17 and 1 out of 10 young adults aged 18 to 25. Youth homelessness often remains in the shadows because it may involve couch hopping with friends by a young person who goes from household to household without a choice and is subject to dismissal or exploitation. Young people experiencing homelessness include parents with young children, youth met with rejection after disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity, and youth who ran away from a foster home or “aged out” of foster care.

One does not have to experience homelessness to understand that it presses hard; the energy and will required to attend to basic survival does not leave much room for vocation, education, or aspiration. It is no wonder that young people experiencing homelessness are less likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and succeed in higher education.

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Topics: Homeless & Food Pantry, social issues

Never Forget

Posted by GVT Admin on Feb 21, 2024 10:45:00 AM

The ARPA

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States engaged in an innovative policy experiment: for one year, the federal government expanded the existing child tax credit—making it available to families with little or no earnings, increasing the credit amount, and providing monthly payments instead of an annual payment at tax time.

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Topics: what social workers do, social issues

Suicide Prevention

Posted by GVT Admin on Feb 7, 2024 8:57:25 AM

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more people died from suicide in the United States in 2022 than any other year on record dating back to 1941. In 2022 (the last year for which stats are available), 49,449 lives were lost due to intentional self-harm. Men were about four times more likely than women to die by suicide, and rates were highest among senior men. But the suicide rate increased twice as much for women in 2022 with especially significant increases among White women ages 25 to 34.

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Topics: mental health, social issues

A Constantly Shifting Paradigm

Posted by GVT Admin on Jan 17, 2024 2:45:43 PM

Social workers who identify with the marginalized populations they are sworn to support are now caught up in a shifting social paradigm that has turned identifying with certain needy groups into dangerous divisive politics. This paradigm shift has been so gradual it almost went unnoticed until it finally crystallized into hard political positions. The last place that devoted, well-meaning social workers want to find themselves is being pushed to the hard right or the far left when it comes to identifying need and taking action to alleviate suffering. How did this shift happen?

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Topics: social workers, social issues

Doctors Without Borders

Posted by GVT Admin on Jan 10, 2024 10:26:41 AM

The recent resumption of hostilities in Gaza has reminded this blog of the heroic dedication of Medecines Sans Frontieres or Doctors without Borders as it is known here in the states.

All over Gaza, Palestinians are suffering under siege and bombardment, losing loved ones, homes, and their own lives. Among them are Doctors Without Borders (MSF) staff members, many of whom continue to work and provide lifesaving care in hospitals and health centers across Gaza. They share their stories with us below.

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Topics: healthcare, social issues

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