This week Awesome Stories brings you beauty, foster care, healing sleep,
This article is a good reminder to practice looking for beauty where we are. Alanda writes about the power of beauty to transform. While having a bad day, Alanda found beauty in a red onion and it shifted her whole day. “As I peeled back the outer layer of one, the sun caught the red in the skin, it lit up like a ruby, and I gasped at the startling beauty of it. Thoughts stilled, and the red glow absorbed my being in gratitude and awe.” Now she finds little touches of beauty in her daily life that become portals to finding wonder, grace, and awe. I found similar beauty in gardens; watching a bee feed on pollen, or butterfly flit about the garden became moments of grace that transformed my mood.
Fixing Foster Care
First Place for Youth may have figured out how to fix one of the key failings of foster care; dropping services for kids who are kicked out of the system at 18 or 21. Currently, almost half of the kids who age out of foster care end up in jail within two years. The abrupt end to the care and services at a time when most youths are still learning to grow up becomes a fast track to trouble. This article highlights the problem for kids like Pamela Bolnick who can’t handle living on their own at 18. Thankfully, she eventually found First Place for Youth and is one of their many success stories. They created a support system for youth to teaches them how to support themselves. The youth are provided with an apartment and taught life skills focusing on finding a job, income appropriate housing, starting college or trade school, and healthy living.
Healing with Sleep
The evidence is overwhelming, it is irrefutable. Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body health each and every day. ~ Matt Walker
Most of us know intuitively that sleep is important, but the latest research shows that sleep may be the most important factor in whether we age well or not. Matt Walker’s research at UC Berkeley has been at the forefront of sleep research, linking sleep deprivation to psychiatric disorders, obesity, risky behavior, post-traumatic stress disorder, learning, and memory loss in old age. Even our emotional stability is linked to getting enough sleep. In Matt’s estimation, lack of sleep is the most critical health challenge of our times. For more fascinating details (like tips on helping the body prepare for sleep), read this Daily Good article on sleeping enough to be awake. Do yourself a favor and make your sleep a priority.
Seeds of Change
Karen Washington has blossomed along with her garden projects around the Bronx in NYC. Growing up in the projects, she is no stranger to the challenges of poverty and city living. It started with a simple garden in an abandoned neighborhood lot. From that humble start, Karen has become the “queen of urban farming” in NYC by assisting dozens of neighborhoods to build community gardens, teaching workshops on farming, and promoting racial diversity in agriculture. She serves on multiple boards, met Michelle Obama, and just started a farming coop in upstate NY to supply food for area residents. Her goal is to empower, feed, and teach Black Americans about the power of growing your own food.
May we feed our body and soul with good food, sleep, beauty, and relationships.