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Thursday, August 7, 2008

as the world turns

I actually had a pretty good day that unfortunately ended in some unsettling karma. I personally believe that the energy you put into the world is the same energy that comes back to you and I wonder in what areas of my thinking or approach to life I need to start thinking more "happy thoughts." Some days, weird things just happen and I have to admit they were in my control but anyways, focusing on the flowers in the gardens, rather than the weeds...

Today was a day of training. I had Benefit Bank training that was supposed to last from 9-5 but ended at three because of computer problems. Then I went to Philadalphia Gas Works (PGW) to try and see if I could get my deposit eliminated since I was low-income and then I started my first night at LUSH where I did three hours of training followed by three free products for "homework." Okay so I guess it wasn't that bad of a day.
So Benefit Bank Training:

BB is a program run through the Solutions for Progress Inc. It's an online system that "streamlines access to resources" mainly goverment assistance and programs. You know in the US, $35 billion in government benefits meant to reduce the affects of poverty on low-income families goes unclaimed. That includes tax refunds, food and nutrition programs, health care and prescription drug programs, energy assisstance programs and child care support programs. Reasons why people don't access these resources, despite their need, range from illiteracy, language barriers and limited knowledge of eligibiliy to stigma about being on anytype of assistance. The TBB is a program that takes all the clients information and then prescreens them for several programs throughout the state. It keeps track of all the requirements and needed paperwork. This is helpful because with all the programs and all the beauracracy sorrounding them it can be difficult to keep track of all the requirements. With TBB once I put in all the information, it picks all the programs that the person may qualify for. It's not a guarentee and people still have to put in some legwork but it provides more access to these programs.

Througout the training I got to learn about more social service programs in Philly, in addition to their problems. For example for some health care programs like Childern's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a person and their children are only eligible if they haven't had any healthcare in the past 90 days. So let's say a parent had insurance for their child but had the chance to get better coverage and benefits through CHIP. Well in order to qualify they would have to take their child of healthcare for 90 days. Imagine if you had a child with a chronic illness like asthma or something, 90 days is a really long time to leave your child uninsured. The purpose of the 90 days is to prevent people from switching often but it can have some setbacks. Nothing is perfect, but it's discouraging to know that some great programs are still so inaccessible and practicle because they don't meet the clients where they're at.

There were about 15 other people there from other organizations in Philly and they were so much fun. Made a lot of cool connections and really felt more invigorated about the work I do. I wish I had more opportunities to spend time with people involved in the community, I feel I could learn so much from them. The organizations that were repersented were Broad Street Ministry (mainly have programs geared towards the homeless population), Communities in Schools(something, I can't remember), Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Inc.( working with the Lation community and illegal immigrants through a variety of programs, these guys were so awesome), Lutheran Settlement House(programs and services, similar to us), Senior Law Center (work with the elderly on legal issues)and Pacific Rim Resource Center(work with Asian-American community members to gain access to resources).

We also go to do our training in the most awesome room that included some gorgeous art from the owners on art collection. The room also had these huge windows with a beautiful of the skyline. It gave me some awesome ideas for our office set-up.

Then I was off to PGW. I decided not to waive my deposit and here is why. I would've had to enroll in this low-income assistance program which would've charged me %10 of my income regardless of what I owed for each bill. It sounds like great idea because my bill would remain stable. But that means I would have to pay $100 every bill even if it's summer and I'm not using any. If it gets to the winter and I realize I need it I can get it in, but it's very unlikely that I will have a gas bill over $100 in the coming months. Plus, I get the deposit back in a year and it will have earned 6% interest each month. That's an awesome saving plan.

Off to LUSH to learn about selling strategies. It's so interesting to spend an entire morning learning how to get people food stamps and then spending all night learning how to sell people a $10 bottle of shampoo (awesome organic shampoo, that wasn't tested on animals though)! I got free things to try and I tried this butterfly bathbomb. You throw it in the bath and it fizzes away. This one had dried flowers in it and a cloth butterfly that remain in the bath. It seemed like a cute idea until I had to spend time after my bath picking the flowers out of my bathtub.

The only sour karma things that really happened are that it looks like I won't be going to New York after all with Ainsley and his staff because I have to work and my power cord doesn't seem to be working anymore and I only have an hour left on my computer. Now 56 mins. I'm gonna go, but I'll hit you up later players!

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