Category Archives: Uncategorized

Walk for a Healthier You


Hey everyone!

Check out my latest feature on walking.


Nothing but nets, not your typical basketball organization.


Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria, a leading cause of death among children in Africa. I participated in raising money for this organization as a freshman sorority member at Northern Kentucky University. Of all the philanthropic endeavors I have participated in, in my time at NKU (which has been a lot as a sorority member) this fundraiser sticks in my mind. I truly believe that my time and hard work went to helping a global cause, where my small contribution made a HUGE difference.We had a silent auction along with chances for students and faculty alike to make a basket for a free Skyline Chili coupon. We raised thousands of dollars while having fun spreading the word about” Nothing but Nets.” The message we were sending was clear, help us send a net and save a life.

While the UN Foundation has been working with the UN to fight malaria for years, it was Rick Reilly’s column about malaria in Sports Illustrated challenging each of his readers to donate at least $10 to send anti-malaria bed nets, that led to the creation of the Nothing But Nets campaign in 2006. In five years, the Nothing But Nets campaign has engaged hundreds of thousands of individuals to help achieve the UN goal of ending malaria deaths by 2015. The great thing about this campaign is that is has such a diverse array of people helping it reach its goal. From sorority girls to the NBA to The Boy Scouts of America the donations of these individuals come together to raise $10 contributions that goes towards the cost of purchasing a long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed net, the means to distribute it, and the necessary means of educating communities on its use.

Bed nets work by creating a protective barrier against deadly malaria carrying mosquitoes that bite at night. A family of four can sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, safe from malaria, for three years. The benefits of bed nets extend even further than protecting those sleeping underneath them. The insecticide woven into each net makes entire communities safer – killing and repelling mosquitoes so that they can’t go on to bite others who may not be protected by a net. Bed nets can reduce malaria transmissions by 90 percent in areas with high coverage rates. Although $10 for a bed net may not sound like much, the cost makes them out of reach for most people at risk of malaria, many of whom survive on less than $1 a day. According to the 2011 World Malaria Report, 96% of people with access to a bed net, use it. Nets are a simple, life-saving solution, but we need your help to provide them to those in need.

With the thousands we raised we were able to send over 200 nets to those in need. This gave us a sense of accomplishment, knowing 200 people would sleep safer. You can have that same feeling by donating here.


The tiny killer


Worldwide a silent killer is causing illness that claims more than 650,000 lives each year, the vast majority are children in sub-Saharan Africa.

The killer?

Yes, this inch long mosquito infects the red blood cells of 216 million people a year with malaria.

Symptoms for malaria include fever and headache and if untreated can result in coma or death. Warmer climates keep mosquitos around, which is why they are so prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. A simple net or insect repellent can keep help keep them at bay, but poorer countries do not have the luxury of even that. The World Health Organization says one-third of the global population lives in malaria-endemic countries. Which only furthers the interest in fighting this endemic. This disease while not curable yet can be prevented and if caught a patient can receive medications, but like a lot of other illnesses in these parts of the world, it cannot be stopped because the countries worry about barley having  enough water and food to feed their populations let alone provide medical help to its citizens.

Malaria and this tiny killer aren’t a threat to a lot of the Western world, so it is often forgotten and left for poorer countries to deal with. Did you know that a World Malaria Day exists? It is today (April 25th) but most I would assume are unaware of its existence. The theme for World Malaria Day 2012 – Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria – marks a decisive juncture in the history of malaria control. Whether the malaria map will keep shrinking, as it has in the past decade, or be reclaimed by the malaria parasites, depends, to a great extent, on the resources that will be invested in control efforts over the next years. In Africa, malaria deaths have been cut by one-third within the last decade; outside of Africa, 35 out of the 53 countries, affected by malaria, have reduced cases by 50% in the same time period. In countries where access to malaria control interventions has improved most significantly, overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20%.

This fight is different from any other in my opinion. It can be fought, the statistics show that. We as a global society need to continue flowing to national malaria control programs to ensure widespread population access to life-saving and cost-effective interventions. That takes the knowledge that this problem exists and the knowledge that a box of nets and insect repellent can be a possible solution for a village in these countries.

Subscribe to the Malaria No More YouTube channels for some compelling stories.

Law & Order: SVU Brings Attention to Sex Trafficking in U.S.


How Can YOU Help?

According to this Huffington Post article, the U.S. is the number one destination country in the world for Sex Trafficking, and New York City is the #1 city within the U.S. for sex trafficking.

Something has to change.

With a rise in a awareness many campaigns against human trafficking have commenced.  Not For Sale is one of the campaigns which has formed.  They claim to work toward re-abolishing slavery.  Their website gives a variety of societal roles (for example students, athletes, businesses, and more) an opportunity to take action.

Even closer to home is an organization called Fighting Against Sex Trafficking (F.A.S.T.) at NKU.  The organization was started by student Rebecca Potzner.  Whether you’re an NKU student or a community member I would encourage you to get involved with F.A.S.T.  You can join the organization to participate fully, or just attend one of their events.

If hanging around a bunch of college kids isn’t for you, maybe you could volunteer for the Women’s Crisis Center. They offer 24 hour services to victims and could use your help.

If nothing else, watch this video. If you can make it through the whole thing. Then share it on your Facebook, twitter, with your friends and families. Encourage them to spread the word.

Animal rights: A world without grey


PETA would say that you can’t be an animal lover if you eat meat. That sentient beings all deserve the same rights as humans, and as such have the right to not be used as food.

I have a hard time with this. Not necessarily the theory, as I can see the logic and appreciate their efforts to right the wrongs in the commercial farming industry.

I may believe in the prophecy, but I’ve got one heck of a problem with the tactics of the prophet.

PETA goes to extremes to expose animal cruelty, often doing so at the expense of humans or their situations, even going so low in their commercials as to make light of domestic violence in relationships.

It’s never OK to use domestic violence as a joke.

It’s also never OK to make threats, but PETA – although their website asks for supporters to make polite calls – seems to inspire action through hurtful words.

What do you think? Is PETA too extreme? Do their tactics work?


Law & Order: SVU Brings Attention to Sex Trafficking in U.S.


A History on Sex Trafficking

While you may be able to turn off your television to escape the reality the fictional characters experienced on SVU, millions of men, women and children do not have that luxury.  They continue to live the life of Micah and Carly day in and day out.

The United Nations uses three categories to define trafficking: The Act, The Means, The Purpose.  In other words, the what, the how, and the why.

There are a number of ways someone can be brought into a sex trade.  The Administration for Children and Families points out people can be sold by their parents, like Micah and Carly; boyfriend; or husbands.  Victims could be promised a job elsewhere, or even kidnapped and sold into the sex trade.

An ABC article points out that in 2006, and estimated 100,000 children and young women trafficked in the U.S. with the average age being 11 years old.  In a recent report by the U.S. government, the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report (for the full 60 page report, click here), the numbers may be closer to 27 million victims worldwide.

One appalling story after another.  They all share many scary similarities as the SVU episode described previously.  Starved.  Beaten.  Raped. And it’s closer to home than we think.

Most of the victims forced into sex trafficking in our country are “U.S. citizens, or lawful permanent residents,”  according to Sarah Vardaman in an Examiner article.

So now that you know how close to reality that SVU episode is, it’s not quite so easy to just turn off the flatscreen television, is it?

But what can you do?

Show Your Yoga Pants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T


Come on, your yoga pants deserve more respect than to simply serve as comfort clothing while sitting on the couch taking in the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I get it. You work long days in stuffy clothes and just can’t wait to be released from the suffocating waste band, pantyhose, and just downright restricting clothes. Your yoga pants are your best friend on any given weeknight, but you need to start treating your best friend better.

Ever wonder why those yoga pants have just the right amount of give? They are not too tight or too slouchy, but rather just perfect; perfect for you to do everything in, except you forget to practice what the pants are intended for. Show your yoga pants a little respect and try actually using them for yoga.

Sometimes our lives our filled with stress. While music therapies, aroma-therapies, and certain foods can help ease the mental and physical damage caused by stress, yoga as a form of physical exercise has been proven to help ease stress and restore the mind and body.

Yoga, originating from India, brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of the body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety. Hatha yoga is most closely associated with stress relief. Hatha yoga was developed in fifteenth century India by yogic sage, Yogi Swatmarama. Yogi Swatmarama compiled the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which is the classic Sanskrit manual on Hatha Yoga. Hatha yoga is considered a holistic yoga path that includes disciplines, postures, purification procedures, gestures, breathing, and meditation. Hatha yoga represents opposing energies and works to balance mind and body via physical postures, purification practices, controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation.

A combination of poses and breathing are the core components of Hatha yoga. Poses, also called postures, are designed to increase strength and flexibility. In yoga breathing signifies your vital energy; yoga teaches that by controlling your breathing, you can help control your body and quiet your mind. By focusing on breathing, you can divert your attention from those stressful circumstances.

There are numerous health benefits of yoga. As mentioned earlier, yoga can help reduce stress by focusing your attention on the breathing exercises and not the chaos around you. With the numerous poses, you increase your fitness, improving your balance, flexibility, and range of motion and strength. Yoga has been proven to help with chronic health conditions such as insomnia. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, nearly 60 million Americans alone suffer from insomnia; instead of turning to a sleeping pill for the treatment, yoga can help to ease the symptoms of insomnia.

You owe it to yourself and your yoga pants to choose a better life for the both of you. Life is stressful. We get off balance in all the chaos and our hectic schedules. Join the more than 15 million people who practice yoga and feel rejuvenated.