Pastor Cora Parchia (far left), Eld. Alvin Morris (second from left) and Pastor Monica Parchia (far right) of Mt. Zion Assembly Healing Temple, recently presented one of several boxes of items to Larry Walles of the Salvation Army to be given to the families of the children and educators who were victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
The Social Development Commission (SDC) began administering the Emergency Assistance contract for W-2 in April of 2010. When SDC took over the program, it continued a subcontract with Community Advocates for the portion of program services that assists the homeless and families left homeless by fire or natural disaster. This was the part of the program that Community Advocates had provided for other W-2 agencies for several years prior to SDC’s involvement. Eventually, SDC decided it would be most efficient to operate the entire Emergency Assistance Program and ended the subcontract with Community Advocates.
Prior to and after SDC took over the entire program, Community Advocates did not communicate with SDC that they had further subcontracted a significant portion of their work with the American Red Cross in Southeastern Wisconsin.
Once the transition to SDC was completed, SDC became aware that Red Cross had been and was continuing to provide Emergency Assistance services to a number of Milwaukee County residents. This discovery was made despite the Red Cross not having submitted any bills for payment to SDC because they had not been informed by Community Advocates that their subcontract was now transferred to SDC.
SDC had several options upon learning this, including negating the contract. The agency chose to continue working with Red Cross while at the same time conducting an audit by W-2 Quality Assurance staff to ensure SDC would learn the breadth and scope of Red Cross’ involvement with the program. This close examination of the program was completed on the initiative of SDC.
The audit raised concerns on SDC’s part because Red Cross indicated their processes had been accepted by Community Advocates and the State of Wisconsin prior to April of 2010. Those processes did not meet the written procedural and paperwork standards SDC had established. SDC’s close scrutiny also provided signals that some individuals receiving the Emergency Assistance through the sub-contractor may have used some of the funds inappropriately.
Following its established procedures, SDC sends checks for rent payments or deposits directly to landlords rather than the client, something that was not being done in some cases prior to SDC taking on the administration of the program. A separate audit was conducted as part of the agency’s internal controls by SDC’s Quality Assurance Division to examine thousands of processed payments which confirmed our process was valid.
SDC and the Red Cross discussed this situation and mutually decided the most beneficial course of action was to end the contract at the close of 2011. During the time of the subcontract with SDC, Red Cross disbursed approximately $60,000 to residents. Since that time, SDC has processed all Emergency Assistance payments internally. SDC contacted the State to report their findings. The State recommendation was to conclude the audit, negotiate a payment with Red Cross, and move forward, precisely the action SDC has taken.
Since ending the Emergency Assistance contract on Dec 31, 2011, the Red Cross and SDC have continued to work together by referring clients to each other’s respective services. SDC has also maintained a productive working relationship with Community Advocates including a partnering relationship in the Energy Assistance Program.
• SDC began to administer the Emergency Assistance contract in April of 2010 and initially continued the pre-existing subcontract with Community Advocates
• Upon taking on the administration of the entire program and ending the subcontract with Community Advocates, SDC learned on its own that Community Advocates subcontracted some of their work to Red Cross
• Red Cross continued to do the Emergency Assistance work after the contract changed hands, not having been notified of the change
• Through an audit conducted by SDC W-2 Quality Assurance personnel, it was discovered that Red Cross continued the same documentation process they had used in the past despite not seeming to meet State standards
• When given the request and opportunity to change those procedures, Red Cross chose not to and, by mutual decision, the two agencies ended the contract effective at the end of 2011
• SDC informed the State of the situation, received their input, and implemented the agreed-upon approach
•SDC’s Quality Assurance Division conducted a separate audit that reviewed thousands of payments to validate the payments SDC was issuing on behalf of clients
• SDC followed its procedures to send checks directly to the landlords and not the clients to assist with rent payments or deposits
In conclusion, SDC found itself in charge of a program with a subcontractor who had not been informed of the process and documentation requirements or that SDC had assumed the administration of the program. SDC’s plan to address the situation followed State recommendations and was approved as the proper approach. The plan included SDC and Red Cross mutually agreeing to terminate the subcontract and the agency directly taking on administration of the Emergency Assistance work.
It was the diligence of SDC staff that revealed the lack of communication and the potential problems it had caused. Since becoming aware of that problem, SDC has taken steps, in concert with the State, to correct the problems and keep the W-2 program operating in an efficient and effective manner that is fully compliant with all requirements.
Like many of you, I have been immersed in images emanating from the tragedy in Connecticut. As the holidays approaches there are dozens of families trying to come to grips with the devastation brought on by the mass shooting. There are no deep and profound words to make what happened make sense.
There is no flowery way to summarize the situation or explain the motivation of one so ill that they could not see the value of the souls they were mowing down through their haze of mental and or spiritual illness.
The truth is that everyday we wake up; we wake up to the new mercies provided to us by God. We also wake up with no assurances that we will live to see the end of the day. This realization should motivate us to live not only for the moment, but for eternity.
We are grieving as a nation for parents who shall say a final earthly farewell to the little ones who they taught to brush their teeth, comb their hair and who just mastered tying their shoes.
We stand solemnly in prayer as these parents clutch book bags filled with crayons that will never be used and fold away cartoon bed sheets that will never be slept on again.
The pain of such loss seems unimaginable and unbearable. Yet some of these same loving and supportive people who are pouring out their concern for these families are unmoved by the sad state of their own families and relationships.
This tragedy should have brought an immediate perspective and resolution to all of us.
Children should have been hugged tighter. Parents should have been appreciated even more.
Teachers, administrators and other protectors of children hailed for their daily sacrifices to make the lives of children better. America, it is time to get things right. Now.
It is time to forgive people. It is time to let go of past issues. It is time to say, “I love you”, “thank you”, “I need you”, and “I appreciate you”. It is also time to look at ourselves and others and start doing things that make sense.
It is time for us to honor teachers and administrators and see them as vital members of the team and not as enemies.
They are the ones that will stand between our children and an assassin when you are miles away.
Not only are they often underpaid, they use the little money that they have to buy more supplies to minister to the needs of your children – they deserve your help, supply donations and utmost respect.
It is time to take mental healthcare seriously. If people have mental health issues, let’s get them help. It is not an indictment on faith or the church to use therapy or medication to regulate an imbalance.
When you hear people ignorantly shunning psychiatric drugs for others while swallowing a daily aspirin, using an inhaler and taking medicine for themselves – that’s not Gospel (good news) that’s foolishness.
If people insist on buying guns that are designed for combat – let’s get them tested psychiatrically annually. I had to be psychologically tested over a three day period to be ordained to carry the Word in the American Baptist Church – how much more should someone carrying an assault rifle for home use need to be checked to make sure that they are stable?
It’s time for us to protect our children, pray for our nation and rededicate ourselves to God. It’s also time to ask ourselves individually – am I ready to die?
Have I prepared myself spiritually just in case the next bullet passes through me?
Have I taught my children, nieces and nephews and neighbors to know and serve the Lord so that should something happen to them I could, at the very least, rest in the knowledge that it is well with their souls.
No zip code is exempt. No area too elite. No culture is above calamity. Our neighborhoods are not bulletproof and our schools are not bomb proof.
It can happen anywhere, anyway, to anyone. It’s time to get it right. Now.
Baltimore, MD – On Friday, the NAACP leaders released the following statements on the tragedy in Newtown, CT, where at least 28 people were reported dead after a school shooting, including 20 children:
“Our hearts are with the families of Newtown today,” stated NAACP Connecticut State Conference President Scot X. Esdaile.
“The NAACP will do everything in its power to help the community in its time of need.
“The Greater Danbury NAACP has been working to make sure that everyone in the area is safe, and the state conference leadership is offering our resources as well.”
“This type of event reminds us how important family is and how precious our children are,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “The healing process must begin now as we join communities and families together in Connecticut and across the nation.”
“Today’s horrific crime claimed so many lives and so many futures,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and the entire community of Newtown. We will continue to support the community as it recovers from this tragedy.”
The President: This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.
We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.
As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans. And I will do everything in my power as President to help.
Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need — to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.
May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.
Approximately 97% of students at Bethune come from families with income low enough to qualify for free lunch. That hasn’t stopped the community from recognizing those with even greater needs.
The Hunger Task Force made its first pickup Thursday, December 6 — but school paraprofessional educational assistant Jeradine Young, who organized the food drive at Bethune, says the effort will continue through the remaining weeks of school before winter break.
The below photos show Ms. Young, principal Carol McKay, Hunger Task Force staff — and students who donated items. Thank you for your generosity!
Media portrayals of families tend to show them either highly dysfunctional or unrealistically perfect. Of course, neither is generally accurate in terms of showing normal, and healthy, families.
Despite this, a healthy family is not only possible, but essential, in order to better survive and thrive in other areas of your lives.
So how do you go about building a stronger, healthier family?
Step 1. Help promote respect, honor differences and establish a no-losers policy where every family member has a voice in how to best resolve family conflicts and problems.
Step 2. Find ways to share life experiences together and play together. Once a week, enjoy a night of playing board games. Plan a visit to an amusement park. Families who are close and healthier tend to share a committment to spending quality time with each other.
Step 3. Establish and respect healthy boundaries. Boundaries help people to understand what they are and are not responsible for in the various aspects of their lives. For example, allowing your children to experience the natural consequences of their actions can help them to understand that, while they are not responsible for the actions of others, they are responsible for their own choices.
Step 4. Help encourage a healthier family lifestyle by embracing basic healthy habits every day, such as eating healthy meals, exercising, visiting the doctor regularly, practicing great hygiene habits and getting enough sleep.
With some patience and determination, a healthier, happier family can be your reality.
Potawatomi Bingo Casino and Milwaukee Radio Group give Penfield the gift of a promising future
Like other families with children experiencing serious health issues, medical conditions, and developmental delays at Penfield Children’s Center, Joandy and her son Myles, age 1, have relied on Penfield’s Special Care Nursery to provide medical care, therapy, and education early in the Myles’ development.
Myles came to Penfield’s Special Care Nursery when he was seven months-old with profound medical and physical needs. He was born with Down syndrome, an atrioventricular (AV) canal defect, and tetralogy Fallot – a condition characterized by underdeveloped chambers and holes in the heart – resulting in him needing two heart surgeries, one of which was required shortly after birth.
Joandy knew that Myles not only needed specialized care but also had to be in an environment that would focus on his distinct needs and provide individualized attention. After her first visit at Penfield’s Special Care Nursery, Joandy knew that Myles would receive the best child care in Milwaukee from a warm, knowledgeable staff of registered nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), and care partners.
While at Penfield, licensed therapists help develop Myles’ skills as he grows by providing him with occupational, physical, and speech therapies. The Special Care Nursery also supports his family by encouraging questions about Myles’ development, helping with the financial burden, involving them in his therapies, and building a network with other families.
“I felt comfortable from the very beginning,” stated Joandy. “Each time I drop him off, it feels like I’m leaving him in the care of a family member.” Joandy further commended Penfield saying, “I don’t know what I would do without Penfield. The love and support we receive from the Center and our service coordinator is amazing.”
Joandy and Myles, and other families like them, will continue to get the support and resources needed from Penfield’s Special Care Nursery thanks to local community partners like Potawatomi Bingo Casino. Through a partnership with Milwaukee Radio Group, Penfield Children’s Center is one of 10 charities chosen to take part in Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s signature charitable program, Miracle on Canal Street. The program, with the mission to improve the quality of life for children in southeastern Wisconsin, focuses the joy of holiday giving onto those who are the hope for the future. Miracle runs through December 13, with funds raised from special bingo games and the generosity of Potawatomi Bingo Casino guests. Half of each $3 Miracle bingo game, played during each bingo session, goes to the Miracle fund, which totaled nearly $1 million last year benefitting 30 local children’s charities. The grand total for this year’s campaign will be announced at the Miracle Bingo Bash on December 14 at Potawatomi Bingo Casino.
“It’s children like Myles and his family that bring perspective to Miracle on Canal Street and the need to support these kinds of services in southeastern Wisconsin,” said Mike Goodrich, General Manager of Potawatomi Bingo Casino. “For 19 years, the generosity of our guests has shone brightly, and because of that, so many fantastic organizations have been able to serve the needs of a great number of children.”
Through hard work and determination, Myles will accomplish all of his milestones, just in his own timeframe. Myles celebrated his first birthday in August and is currently working on crawling with help from the Center and his family. With the support of Penfield Children’s Center and valued community partners like Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Joandy and her husband are excited for what the future holds for their son.
Penfield Children’s Center, located in Milwaukee, Wis., is a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to help infants and young children with and without disabilities reach their full potential through education, therapy services and family programs. The organization is named in honor of Dr. Wilder Penfield (1891-1976), a world-renowned neurosurgeon who strongly advocated early intervention for children with developmental delays and disabilities.
Potawatomi Bingo Casino is one of two casinos owned and operated by the Forest County Potawatomi Community. It is located at 1721 W. Canal Street, Milwaukee, Wis. The casino is a showcase for high stakes bingo, offering some of the nation’s highest daily payouts. A popular attraction for local guests, tourists and tour groups, the casino features blackjack, craps, poker, and roulette table games, video and reel slot machines, off-track betting, and a variety of live entertainment. Potawatomi Bingo Casino is committed to raising awareness of the risks of problem gambling, maintaining a level of first-class customer service, while investing in its most valuable asset – its 2,500 multicultural employees. Through the Forest County Potawatomi Community Foundation and Miracle on Canal Street, the casino supports numerous local charities and community organizations. Driving directions and more information about Potawatomi Bingo Casino can be obtained by calling toll-free, 1-800-PAYS-BIG or by visiting the website at www.paysbig.com.
by Todd Johnson
Each year, Thanksgiving is a time families and friends get together over a great meal. But neck and neck with food on the priority list is good ‘ol fashioned football.
The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions have been Turkey Day staples since the league began playing its games on the holiday back in 1920. In 2006, the league added a third slate of games which gave other teams the opportunity to shine on a national stage.
Hall-of-Fame running back Barry Sanders was a Thanksgiving day legend. Sanders’ nimble feet and breakaway speed carried his Detroit Lions throughout his illustrious career. On Thanksgiving, non-Lions fans had almost a guaranteed chance to see why.
Sanders, along with fellow Hall-of-Fame running back O.J. Simpson, earn well-deserved spots on theGrio‘s slideshow of memorable Thanksgiving Day performances.
Other stars making the cut include Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, Giants punisher Lawrence Taylor and Vikings receiver Randy Moss.
The “emptiness” next to Bethel Baptist Church disappeared on October 27, 2012, when the Kindred Ties bus shelter, unceremoniously reappeared on the site it inhabited for the past six years.
Evelyn Patricia Terry, creator of Kindred Ties, offered her perspective on its importance as a public art piece that establishes a sense of place in the African American community and celebrates nurturing families, spiritual awareness, global knowledge, and educational achievement.
“Kindred Ties represents our history, culture, values, and what we incessantly speak of – thereby coalescing my ideas, the community’s ideas, and other artists’ ideas to share with the world,” Terry said.
Located in the busy six points’ intersection of 21st Street, W. Fond du Lac Avenue, and W. North Avenue the bus shelter’s disappearance March 17, bewildered Kindred Ties’ artists, employees in Seaway Bank across the street, and many concerned community organizers.
“What could have happened?” they asked Terry. Although as a public art piece, it now belonged to the community, Terry felt invested to solve the mystery. She eventually tracked it down through Sandy Kellner, Chief Operating Officer of the Milwaukee County Transit System.
Kellner explained that, hit by a car, Kindred Ties’ damaged frame forced immediate removal. This happened about Saint Patrick’s Day. In partial view to passersby, it rested in MCTS’ back lot on 17th Street, near Fond du Lac Avenue.
After establishing contact with Dean Amhaus, former Spirit of Milwaukee’s Executive Director and Ed Mordy, Spirit of Milwaukee’s financial consultant, a new bus shelter frame was purchased. Millennium Neighborhood Art Initiative, the original project host, provided restoration funds. The funds permitted the unharmed sixteen colorful welded sculpture images to be successfully transferred to a new bus shelter and the repaired Kindred Ties to be reunited with embedded bronze plaques at the original site.
After seeing it repaired, Terry said: “The positive energy that Kindred Ties summoned up for its creation and then for its restoration is extremely gratifying and speaks volumes to Milwaukee’s cooperative leaders. And Kindred Ties is appreciated. Offering unsolicited comments during installation, several transit users said, to me, that they were pleasantly surprised to have such a nice and different object in their neighborhood. Many were also surprised to learn that an African American woman originated the concept and secured funds to hire diverse Milwaukee artists and businesses to manifest Kindred Ties.”