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Showing posts from March, 2011

Update on Childhood Obesity & Nutrition Initiatives and Media Coverage in 2011

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Childhood obesity and adequate nutrition in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas has been the focus of media coverage and governmental agendas this year. Much has been made about what and how much children in Philadelphia eat, and the growing negative effects these habits are having on childhood health. We’ve provided a summary of the major initiatives and news stories that have been a part of the local and national conversation so far this year.
In January the federal government released updated nutrition recommendations, including an interactive, personalized food pyramid model, in an effort to bring attention to the necessity of a sea change in the way Americans approach sustenance. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack summarized the government’s objectives:
“The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are being released at a time when the majority of adults and one in three children is overweight or obese and this is a crisis that we can no longer ignore. These new and improved dietary recommenda…

March is National Nutrition Month

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In recognition of National Nutrition Month, the Community Health Data Base released data on adult nutrition and access to fresh food from the 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey.

The data show that many adults in our region may not be getting the nutrition their bodies require. Survey results also show that in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, some adults don’t have access to the fresh fruits and vegetables they need for a healthy diet.

Findings from the study include:
- Nearly half of adults (18+) in Southeastern Pennsylvania eat fewer than three servings of fruits or vegetables each day.
- About one in eight (12.9%) SEPA adults living below the Federal Poverty Line describe their experience finding fruit and vegetables in their neighborhood as difficult or very difficult, compared to one in twenty five (3.8%) adults living above the Federal Poverty Line.
- 30.6% of adults who have a difficult time finding fruits or vegetables in their neighborhood descri…

Geraldine Ferraro's Legacy

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Former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro passed away over the weekend after a long battle with blood cancer. She is best remembered as Walter Mondale’s running mate in his unsuccessful 1984 Presidential campaign. At the time, her bid for Vice-President was heralded as a watershed moment in Women’s history. NPR Reporter Cokie Roberts, who was covering the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco that year, recalled the scene:
"Oh, it was incredible. You know, it swept through San Francisco the night before, maybe two days before, that she was going to be the pick. And there was a tremendous amount of excitement among the women particularly that there was actually going to be a female on the ticket. And then when she came into the convention hall to make her speech, this tiny figure in white up there on the podium, the women in the room really were just undone with excitement and emotion, many people in tears. And I do confess that I went over to a colleague from ABC who was co…

PathWays Job Postings March 28, 2011

Residential Worker
Part-time and Full-time - need caring and motivated individual to provide support and supervision for Delco group home serving women and children; HS/GED, Associates Degree and experience preferred; driver’s license required. Includes nights and weekends. Fax resumes to: LD/CFF 610-328-2807.

Live In Advisor
Full-time and Part-Time positions available. To provide guidance, direction and supervision to older adolescent teen mothers and teen girls residing in our Supervised Independent Living Program including conducting some life and parenting skill groups. Live in a house with 3 to 4 girls and their children. Must be available during critical hours-5:00 PM to 8:00 AM- can work part-time during off hours. Must be mature and have an understanding of teen parent and teen girl issues and must have knowledge of basic life skills. Rent and utilities paid by agency plus small stipend and scheduled time off. Location: Philadelphia; Fax resumes to LD/SIL at 610-328-2807.

Tru…

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: March 28, 2011

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Federal Policy Update

PROTECT VULNERABLE FAMILIES & ECONOMIC RECOVERY IN CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET
Current funding of the federal budget will expire on April 8, 2011. Harmful cuts to Head Start programs, health care, housing, education, job preparation, and nutrition assistance, among other essential programs, were abundant in the proposed House budget.

Ask your Senators to oppose these cuts in the proposed Senate bill by sending them an email and urging them to reject the House cuts. You can also take action by writing letters to the editor opposing the cuts.

Visit the Coalition on Human Needs website for tips on letter writing and sample letters.

EMERGENCY HOMEOWNER LOAN PROGRAM IS STALLED

EHLP, the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program, means $100+ million to help Pennsylvania homeowners facing foreclosure due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment, or medical condition. EHLP was enacted by Congress as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173). …

"Children create works of art for PathWays Center for Families"

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The 12-year-old boy sat alone by the piano.

Renowned artist Dane Tilghman saw him as he came to PathWays PA’s Center for Families in Wawa two weeks ago to work with about a dozen children to create artwork for the non-profit’s fourth annual Charity Art Show and Auction.

He walked over and sat next to him.

“For me, the main thing really was connecting with the 12-year-old boy,” Tilghman said of his three-hour experience March 5. “I asked him what he wanted to be.”

The Center for Families is among the multitude of programs provided by PathWays PA to help keep low-income, vulnerable women together with their children on a path toward self-sufficiency. Based in the Holmes section of Ridley, it serves almost 6,000 clients in the Philadelphia area through social services, job training and employment assistance.To read the whole article, please visit The Delaware County Daily Times website.

100th Anniversary of Triangle Shirtwaist - by Leslie Frey

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March 25, 2011 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that killed 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, in a garment factory in New York City. In the years following the 1911 tragedy, many labor laws were passed in response to the fire that led to significant gains in the protection of workers, from measures requiring fire escapes and limiting the worker occupancy, to others that protected the health of workers, including requiring proper ventilation and sanitary working conditions.

It is poignant that the anniversary comes at a time when workers’ rights have re-captured the national spotlight, as state legislators across the country have recently pushed to limit or repeal the very labor reform laws that grew out of the outrage that stemmed from the needless deaths of so many workers.

Keira Marcus’ grandmother was a factory worker at the Triangle Factory when the fire broke out. Her grandmother survived, and her life and story serve as a reminder…

This Week in Harrisburg - March 21-March 25, 2011

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This week, legislators at the Capitol focused not only on Pennsylvania issues but addressed international crises as well. Lawmakers heard testimony regarding the state’s growing gambling industry, and liquor industry.

Senior staff from both the State Employee and Public School Employee Retirement Systems (SERS & PSERS) testified before the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday on their 2011-12 budgets and the issues facing their investment plans. Discussion largely focused on the impact on the systems of the various global events, including Sudan and Iran divestiture legislation enacted last year. Both assured the members that they are continually assessing the global markets and adjustments are made as needed. Members also explored options to reduce costs in the system, but were continually stymied by the constitutional prohibition on reducing benefits of current members.

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and House Democ…

USDA Has New and Updated Outreach Materials in Spanish

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(From our friends at the USDA)

For the past few years, many partners who work with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service have requested more of our outreach materials in Spanish. We are excited to announce two new Spanish outreach materials, as well as draw your attention to many of our useful existing materials. We encourage you to check out these materials and spread the word that they are available for download or order.

The Summer Food Service Program Outreach Toolkit has outreach tips for how to reach families and children, media, schools, and other community organizations. It also has a series of templates for letters, press releases, calendars, posters, and much more. These templates can be customized with your organization’s contact information and feeding site details. The toolkit and all the templates are now available in Spanish; click here to download!

How To Get Food Help, the low literacy, clear language brochure for consumers about how to apply for USDA’s nutrition …

State representative Margo Davidson hosts Financial Fitness Forum with PathWays PA

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As part of Davidson's commitment to serve constituents in the 164th District, the free tax preparation services will be available to families with total household income of up to $50,000 per year to help them receive the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.

"The Earned Income Tax Credit is a valuable program created in 1975 that helps working families and has been expanded under both Democratic and Republican presidents. It benefits everyone because it rewards work and reduces reliance on public assistance. i am proud to be hosting volunteers from the Campaign for Working Families and PathWays at my office to help residents of Upper Darby, East Lansdowne and Millbourne to file their federal taxes and receive this credit," Davidson said in a press release. To read the full story, please visit The News of Delaware County's website.

PathWays PA Budget Alert

STATE BUDGET UPDATE

Notes from Day of Reckoning Budget Briefing

Below are some notes taken during a recent budget briefing put together from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition. To see all the notes, please follow us on Twitter @PathWaysPolicy.
Tax revenue is coming in above projections. Pennsylvania could end the year with a surplus possibly as high as $78 mil. Despite this surplus, revenue is still below pre-recession levels. The Governor’s proposal is relying on Tobacco Fund Settlement to help balance the budget by moving revenue into the General Fund. Without the Settlement money overall spending would have decreased by 4.5%.The budget proposal includes the elimination of 1550 positions. Many of the positions are already vacant.In the proposal, basic education sees a large cut. For southeastern Pennsylvania this means a cut of $1.4 million for the Southeast Delaware County School District, a $2.8 million cut for the Upper …

Great Presentation on the State Budget

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(From our friends at the SEPA Budget Coalition)

Harrisburg observer Sharon Ward’s PowerPoint presentation on the proposed budget drew a lot of attention during our budget briefings over the past days.

Download it here to see its many great talking points.

New Article in Delaware County Daily Times: Organizations lambaste cuts in guv’s budget plan (With Video)

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By Danielle Lynch
dlynch@delcotimes.com

MEDIA — Officials from statewide organizations discussed how Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed 2011-12 budget will affect Delaware County agencies, residents and school districts during a meeting Tuesday.

“This budget reduces spending to levels of two years ago,” said Sharon Ward, executive director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, during the budget briefing at Media Borough Hall.
To read the whole article, please visit http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2011/03/23/news/doc4d8965b5a5159374535540.txt.

Industry Partnership Updates

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(Thanks to our friends at PFWS for providing this information.)
Industry Partnership legislation: Senator Brubaker’s proposed bill for codifying the Industry Partnership program in statute (SB 552) now has 35 sponsors, demonstrating strong bipartisan support for Industry Partnerships. The legislation has been referred to the Senate's Labor and Industry Committee and could receive Committee consideration the first or second week of April. Please contact members of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee and ask them to report SB 552 WITHOUT AMENDMENT. Contact information for the Labor Committee members and a sample letter of support can be obtained on the PFWS website at www.workforcepa.com.
Industry Partnerships in the State Budget. On March 8, 2011, Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his 2011-2012 General Fund Budget. Despite difficult budget constraints, the Governor showed his support for the Industry Partnership program by allocating $1.613 million to fund the building of Industr…

Guest Post from The Advocates Agenda: Welfare Reform Act of 2011 Unveiled

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(Thanks to The Advocates Agenda and Cathy Palm for this post.)  

Welfare Reform Act of 2011 Unveiled
Caps spending on means-tested programs (e.g., Head Start, Title IV-E Foster Care, TANF, SSI, EITC, etc.)

March 17th - Earlier today members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), which began the 112th Congress with the Spending Reduction Act and a push for at least $100 billion in immediate cuts to federal spending – unveiled the Welfare Reform Act of 2011.

The legislation is being championed by RSC Chairman Jim Jordan as well as Congressmen Tim Scott and Scott Garrett.

In unveiling the legislation they cited a speech from President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935 that “launched the American welfare state.” At that time FDR said, “Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit…”

RSC officials then remind that …

DPW Press Release - LIHEAP Application Deadline Extended to April 15

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HARRISBURG, Pa., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett's administration today announced that Pennsylvania's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, will be extended more than two weeks, giving eligible households extra time to seek help paying their winter heating bills.

The federally funded LIHEAP program, which began accepting applications last November, was originally set to end March 31, but the commonwealth's efficient management of the program has enabled it to be extended through April 15.

"We have had a difficult winter amidst a difficult economy, and programs like LIHEAP have helped Pennsylvania's most vulnerable households endure both," Gov. Corbett said. "By providing this extension, we will be able to help even more Pennsylvanians provide a basic necessity for their families."

LIHEAP, administered through the Department of Public Welfare, provides cash grants to help low-income households pay for ho…

PathWays PA E-Alert: March 14, 2011

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The thoughts and concerns of all of us at PathWaysPA are with those suffering from the devastation in Japan. To find ways to help, please visit this website listing organizations providing aid.
Federal Policy Update

WORKFORCE DAY OF ACTION
Join the National Skills Coalition and thirteen other national organizations in a Workforce Day of Action on Thursday, March 24, 2011.
Workforce development programs are an important part of the nation's economic recovery and job creation effort, yet the House Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Appropriations bill (HR 1) zeroes out all funding for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) state and local employment and training programs, a cut of over $3.6 billion for the coming year (beginning this July).

Sign up today to participate in the Workforce Day of Action and stand united with NSC and other national workforce organizations on Thursday, March 24 in support of adequate funding for workforce education and training programs.

Join NSC for a quick planning call

Path$ 2 Benefits

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Today, PathWays PA, in collaboration with PA CareerLink, officially launched Path$ 2 Benefits, our federally funded financial education and counseling program. The PathWays PA Path$ 2 Benefits program provides access to counseling and workshops on banking and budgeting assistance, credit and debt management counseling, identity theft repair, financial goal planning, financial crisis management, college planning, housing assistance, and free tax preparation. Clients can also be screened for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and many other services. Even unemployed and dislocated workers can take part in programs that improve their credit without costing money.

If you have an opportunity today you can tune into KYW TV channel 3 at 4:00pm to see their coverage of the event.

Lawmaker Reaction to the Budget

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Governor Corbett unveiled the 2011-2012 state budget on Tuesday, the first of his new administration. Budget Secretary Charles Zogby outlined the Corbett Administration’s “Day of Reckoning” 2011-2012 budget proposal Tuesday morning, in a closed briefing before the press.

The PBPC says that Pennsylvania, like every other state, saw a steep decline in revenue collections in the wake of the recession. While the economy of 2011 is on the mend, with tax revenue running ahead of projections and unemployment continuing to drop each month, collections still have not returned to pre-recession levels.

According to Sec. Zogby, the proposal calls for a 3.1 percent reduction in spending, with 103 line items zeroed out. Notable adjustments include a return to 2008-09 spending levels for basic education funding, and roughly 50% cuts to the State System and State Related higher education lines. Correctional institutions are to receive an 11 percent increase, or $186 million.

Among the actions take…

PathWays PA 4th Annual Art Show

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Attendees will be able to view, purchase and bid on original and highly creative work by local artists and support the over 6,000 women, children and families PathWays PA serves each year. 100% of the silent auction proceeds, along with 30% of art sale profits, will benefit the agency.

To purchase tickets, please call 610.543.5022 x234 or online at http://pathways.ticketleap.com/artshow/.

When Families Struggle to Put Food on the Table or Can’t Sleep Because of Unpaid Bills, Path$ 2 Benefits is There to Help

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT –
Lyn Kugel, lkugel@pathwayspa.org, 610-543-5022 x211

When Families Struggle to Put Food on the Table or Can’t Sleep Because of Unpaid Bills, Path$ 2 Benefits is There to Help
Path$ 2 Benefits Works with Area Families to Provide Benefits Assistance and Financial Literacy
Come see Path$ 2 Benefits in action at the PA CareerLink
990 Spring Garden
Philadelphia, PA
March 11 at 11:30 AM

Event Includes:
Welcome and Path$ 2 Benefits Program Announcement: Carol Goertzel, President and CEO, PathWays PAPA CareerLink Perspective on Path$ 2 Benefits: Jim Nichols or Sue Gutschow, PA CareerLink® Operations AdministratorsValue Added to the PA CareerLink through Path$ 2 Benefits: Nicki Woods, PA CareerLink® AdministratorPath$ 2 Benefits: How it Works: W. Chris Rahemtulla, Lead Financial Educator and Program Coordinator, PathWays PAHow Path$ 2 Benefits Helped Me: ClientPhiladelphia, PA – For many struggling families, each day brings a new set of impossible challe…

Special Budget Alert from PathWays PA: March 9, 2010

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PathWays PA is pleased to bring you budget updates every Wednesday or as needed. Please check back at this Blog for up to the minute updates on the state budget.

STATE BUDGET UPDATE

Yesterday, Governor Corbett announced his budget proposal for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The overall message from the budget address was job creation and no new taxes – including not taxing the gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale.

Currently the deficit for the fiscal year is $4 billion, which includes the loss of federal stimulus funding, increased debt, and pension obligations. The Governor is calling for an overall spending of $27.331 billion, which represents an overall reduction of $866 million from the current budget.

The Governor’s spending plan includes $2.6 billion in cuts by eliminating 103 line items, reducing 154 line items and consolidating 55 line items. The budget proposal reduces general government operation costs by an average of 2.1 percent across the board.

Under the proposal: