National American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month

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November brings with it National American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month. This celebration has had many iterations and names since one of its first declarations in 1915, led by Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, NY. In 1990 President George H. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued each year since 1994 with varying names [1]. It’s important to remember that these cultures are not of the past—they are alive and thriving! To see first-hand just how alive these cultures are, take a look at Project 562 by Matika Wilbur [2]. Matika Wilbur, a visual storyteller from the Swinomish and Tulalip peoples of coastal Washington, has…
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Teaming Up with King’s College to Spread the Word

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Last semester Caring Communities and United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Regional HIV Services department teamed up with King’s College, a local school in Wilkes-Barre, to produce a few videos to spread the word about HIV/STD awareness and prevention. Dr. Karen Mercincavage is an Associate Technical Professor and the head of Visual and Brand Communications track within the Mass Communications Department at King’s College. She works freelance as a graphic designer and continues to lend her talents by collaborating with local business and colleges to produce communications materials. Under the supervision of Dr. Mercincavage, several groups of students in her Mass Communications course worked hard to develop these PSAs fully, from storyboard to final video. Each duo of students first developed a brief or PowerPoint to outline their video. They listed…
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Employee of the Month, September 2018: Jake Beach

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        (Jake asked we did not use a picture of him, so we've taken a picture of his work space in its stead.) Our Employee of the Month for September 2018 is Jake Beach! Jake is a Program Manager for our Case Management Services. He is one of our committed and hard-working staff members who helps ensure our clients living with HIV or AIDS are receiving proper health care and to assist with unexpected life changes such as the need for housing or utility assistance. He graduated from Bloomsburg University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Bachelor’s in English in May of 2015 and began working with Caring Communities in June of the same year. Before joining Caring Communities, Jake had jobs in retail, home health,…
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Young People and Mental/Sexual Health in a Changing World

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Today, October 10, marks World Mental Health Day. This year’s focus, as declared by the World Health Organization (WHO), is on adolescents and young adults. Young people, usually categorized as around 10-18 years old according to the American Psychological Association, are going through a multitude of changes at this point in their lives. Along with puberty, many teens experience major life events such as moving and changing schools, starting higher education, or beginning a new job. These can be great causes of stress and apprehension which, left unrecognized and unmanaged, can lead to mental illness. Unlike the generations before them, current adolescents are growing up more connected than ever before. In the US, current technology certainly provides many benefits: help with school, ideas for creative projects, staying in touch with…
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Scranton’s Latin Festival

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This past weekend, September 29-30, the Lackawanna County Courthouse square was home to the annual Scranton Latin Festival. Blanca Fernandez organized the event that gathered multiple local performers, musicians, and vendors to come together and celebrate their Hispanic heritage. Fernandez says she wanted the festival to be multicultural and diverse “to promote harmony, love, tolerance, acceptance. Everything that’s needed nowadays.” On Saturday, attendees could watch performances from Noelia Otayza and Ludy Rosales, Champions of Marinera Norteña Peru, a Peruvian coastal dance. Also showcasing their heritage was Frank LittleBear and his family. LittleBear is from the Cree Nation and the founder of Red Visions Dance Troupe, a group dedicated to outreach, understanding, and education of Native American culture through performing arts. Sunday had a different lineup with several DJs playing Spanish…
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