Tag Archives: august

Embody Progress: The Change Project

We were first introduced to The Change Project when we met a representative from the organization at Roanoke’s Pride Festival in 2016. Their mission is to “elevate the voice of LGBTQ people and advocate for an improved quality of life through the arts, education, and local policy initiatives in the Deep South and Midwest United States.”

The organization was founded by Steven Romeo in 2012. It works with the LGBT+ community in Southern, Midwestern, and rural communities, QTPOC, youth, people living with HIV, and low-income communities. In November 2015, The Change Project was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change.”

Their campaigns like “Faces of LGBTQ America” and “IAMHIV” pair stories with photos and seek to increase visibility while simultaneously ending stigma. They give power back to the people represented, and create space for a constructive dialogue about what it is like to be part of communities that are often either judged or ignored.

So, how can you support this amazing organization?

First, check out their website. There are great resources there on how to donate and volunteer to help in your community.

You can also visit their shop! Shop Progress creates innovated, fresh fashion that “intentionally seeks to encompass the vast array of identities within the LGBTQ+ community.”

And, if you’re up for traveling in August, they will present Embody Progress, a conference on LGBTQ equality, August 10-13 in Birmingham, Alabama. You can register for the conference by following this link.

Easing the Financial Burden of Higher Education

Five Ways to Spur Savings While Prepping for College

From the college experts at DormCo.com

Sending a student to college has become an increasingly expensive endeavor. While the benefit of a good education can’t be overlooked, the cost of that education can be daunting! When prepping a new student for dorm and college life, make financially sound decisions to bolster savings — and to ease concerns. Saving and being smart about money can be practiced both by new students (college freshmen) and their parents. By proactively preparing to manage expenses, you’ll maximize savings. See below for five easy-to-implement cost saving tips for freshmen.  

1. Be smart about textbook purchases. Renting textbooks saves you money, but be sure to consider purchasing if the textbook is for a major course. It can be useful to have those core textbooks down the road. Also, when renting, compare prices. Big-name rental companies aren’t always the best option. Keep comparing until you find the lowest price. It might take a little longer, but it’s worth it.

2. Choose the most efficient meal plan for your personal circumstances. Many schools have multiple meal plan options, from a 7, 10, 14 meal/week to unlimited. Don’t overpay for a plan if you have a picky eater or a student with food allergies who will have to prepare many meals in his dorm room. Conversely, it also isn’t price-efficient to try and save money by purchasing a cheaper meal plan for your student if he’s the type to eat frequent smaller meals. If you choose a 10 meal/week plan and your student goes broke ordering pizza and going to a campus shop for overpriced convenience food, you’re losing major money. Saving money with a meal plan is multi-dimensional and unique to each student.

3. Split expenses with a roommate. You may think you’ll save money by deal-hunting and buying large dorm items (mini-fridges, televisions, etc.) upfront, but it could hurt you in the long run. Splitting the costs of those items (e.g. one roommate brings the TV, one brings the fridge, they both split the cost of cable) saves the hassle of potentially over-buying and being unable to return things down the line. Wait until your student gets assigned a roommate and then discuss options.

trunk4. Do one-stop dorm shopping. Use a dorm specialty store, like DormCo.com, to purchase all your dorm supplies! You can purchase reasonably priced college supplies — from bedding, to storage options, to trunks and seating — all in one place. Also, DormCo.com offers flat-rate $2.95 shipping on your entire order. (Yes, you can ship a bedding package, mini-fridge, AND a trunk for just $2.95.) This allows you to get a great deal on quality dorm supplies that will last your students throughout their years living in dorms, and you’ll save BIG on shipping costs, too. With all of other tasks on your plate to prep your child for college — tuition bills, scholarship applications and potential empty-nest syndrome — you’ll be happy that you chose an all-in-one online retailer for your child’s dorm necessities.

5. Teach students how to save. The number one way for a student to be financially unprepared for college is to know nothing about personal finance. If your family doesn’t have a lot of disposable income — or you don’t want to just be spoon-feeding your student piles of money — make him start saving before school and practice finance management. Students can take on an inexpensive monthly bill, like their cell phone, to learn budgeting. You can also allot them a certain budget that they HAVE to stick to. In the end, it’s up to the student — once he’s at school — to make sure that all your efforts mean something.

august dormcoAbout The Author

DormCo.com is the leading online college dorm supplies superstore. With more than 4,500 products, DormCo carries college necessities such as twin XL bedding, furniture for dorms, trunks and more. DormCo also offers a range of unique, useful, and even downright fun supplies for college that you won’t find in stores. Visit DormCo.com for a one-stop shop that provides everything needed to make dorm life more comfortable and convenient.

Words of Wisdom

Your age, your gender, your physical strength—none of it matters if you are not aware of your surroundings, how to prevent an attack, or how to defend yourself if you are attacked. Women (and men) fall victim to assault every day. Staying informed on tactics to prevent assault and ways to defend yourself could save your life. We have compiled a short list of reminders to help young adults living on their own stay safe.

Avoid traveling alone after dark. It sounds simple, but victims often tell themselves that walking home alone will be fine “just this once” or they are lured into a false sense of security that the areas they frequent during the day are safe at night. If you must walk anywhere alone in the dark, be aware of your surroundings. Rapists often look for victims who are distracted or seem lost. Try not to text, update social media, or make social phone calls that can wait until you are safely inside. Take a mental note of escape routes and avoid dimly lit areas as much as possible.

furneauxFight or Flight: Be prepared to run if you need to do so. If the situation allows, many experts recommend that you flee from your assailant as quickly as possible rather than engage in a fight. In The Superwoman’s Survival Guide by Ky Furneaux, she explains, “[The] surge of adrenaline is a survival response that gives you a burst of energy so that you can get away from a threat. If your life is in immediate danger, then capitalize on the short burst of adrenaline that the fight-or-flight response provides and get out of the way.” 

Fight Smarter: If you cannot escape from your attacker, focus your defense by striking the most vulnerable areas on their bodies. Aim for their eyes, nose, throat and groin. Many young adults carry weapons for defense, but Furneaux cautions that the presence of a weapon has the potential to escalate any situation. Be familiar with the items you trust for your defense so your attacker cannot take them and use them against you.

Trust Wisely. People do not make new friends by never speaking to strangers, but that does not mean you should trust someone that you have just met (even a few days prior) with your safety. Take responsibility for your own well being. Make wise decisions, like limiting your alcohol consumption and refusing beverages in open containers at parties. Again, it sounds simple—but many assaults happen in situations where one or both parties are impaired in some way. A victim under the influence of drugs or alcohol is  obviously not responsible for their assault. However, choosing to remain coherent in a situation where you do not know many people will not harm anyone—and a gracious host will understand.

Consider enrolling in Roanoke County’s four-week program, Self-Defense for Women, beginning August 7. Participants will learn the Rape Aggression Defense system from certified instructors who want to help victims learn how to respond to a realistic attack with effective self-defense tactics and techniques.

The Great River Institute is also offering a free introductory seminar on Jiu Jitsu on Wednesday August 20 from 7 pm-9 pm at their Grandin Road location. This seminar will include demonstrations on dealing with emotional and physical confrontations, hostile situations and scenarios, and how to more effectively maintain a positive personal balance. Visit their website for more information.

The courageous step of reporting your assault can help prevent future attacks. In addition to law enforcement, you can reach out to Sexual Assault Response and Awareness, Inc. by calling their 24-hour hotline, 540-981-9352.