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The Homeless World Cup

July 24, 2009 by  

There are one billion homeless people living in our world today.

The Homeless World Cup exists to end this, so we all have a home, a basic human need.

The Homeless World Cup is an annual, international football tournament, uniting teams of people who are homeless and excluded to take a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country and change their lives forever. It has triggered and supports grass roots football projects in over 60 nations working with over 25,000 homeless and excluded people throughout the year.

The first tournament took place in Graz 2003 uniting 18 national teams. 6 years on 56 nations were united for Melbourne 2008, which included the first Women’s Cup. We are on the road to Milan 2009 from 6-13 September.
The impact is consistently significant year on year with 73% of players changing their lives for the better by coming off drugs and alcohol, moving into jobs, education, homes, training, reuniting with families and even going on to become players and coaches for pro or semi-pro football teams.

The Homeless World Cup supporters include UEFA, Nike, UN, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Ambassador Eric Cantona and international footballers Didier Drogba and Rio Ferdinand.

Visit the Homeless World Cup website for more information.

The Hispanic Paradox: U.S. Hispanics Live Longer, Despite Socio-Economic Hurdles

July 10, 2009 by  

When it comes to Hispanics and health care, the horror stories are well known. Less so is the mysterious phenomenon known as the “Hispanic Paradox.”

Again and again, we hear that the Hispanic population is disproportionately beset by the bugbears of poverty, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and lack of access to quality health coverage and insurance.

These unfortunate facts are indisputable. But what many people don’t realize is that, when it comes to the bottom line — that is, mortality — the news for Hispanics is good. Very good.

In the United States, Hispanics, despite their socio-economic hurdles, on average live longer than blacks by seven years, and whites by five years, says Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, a professor of medicine at UCLA.

“There’s something about being Latino that is good for their health,” Hayes-Bautista told, adding wryly: “Just think if we had access to health care.”

Widely known as the “Hispanic Paradox,” the phenomenon was discovered and coined by researchers decades ago.

Now, Hayes-Bautista is on the front lines trying to figure out why this is so.

“There’s something going on here,” he said. “Is it diet, is it family, is it spiritual, is it the Latino mind-body balance? I don’t know.”

In 2007, the Public Policy Institute of California found that the average lifespan of a Hispanic man in that state is 77.5 years, compared to 75.5 among white males and 68.6 among black males. The lifespan of Hispanic men was topped only by Asian men, whose average lifespan came in at 80.4.

In 2008, the National Center for Health Statistics released a study showing that the overall mortality rate for Hispanics in 2006 was 550 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 778 for whites, and 1,001 for blacks.

Hayes-Bautista said that Hispanics in the United States are 35 percent less likely than whites to die of heart disease, and 40 percent less likely to develop cancer.

Immigration plays a factor, he said, albeit a small one.

Immigrants, he said, are far less likely than U.S. born Hispanics to smoke, drink, do drugs and contract sexually transmitted diseases. Similarly, he said, U.S.-born Hispanics with high levels of education also tend to avoid these high-risk behaviors and their consequences.

This might lead one to ask whether this means that Mexicans live healthier than Americans. Not so, according to the CIA World Factbook of 2008.

On that index, the life expectancy of Americans in 2008 reached 78 (a national record). For Mexicans, it was about 76.

However, Hayes-Bautista said the lifestyle in rural Mexico is much healthier than that of urban Mexico. What’s more, he says, the bulk of Hispanic immigrants in America hail from the rural pockets of Mexico.

Elena Rios, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, said overall, the immigrant Hispanics are younger, and abide by healthier habits, than U.S. born Hispanics.

“With the immigrants, the first generation has healthier habits: less driving, less smoking, less fast foods, more walking,” she told “As the second-generation Hispanic families happen, they pick up the Western — the American — lifestyle.”

As a result, Rios said she wants any healthcare reform package to include an educational component urging Hispanics to get back to their basics, such as traditional foods.

“It is important to have more prevention and education when they are younger, before they get into bad habits,” she said.

To read the full article click here.

Author: Rob Kuznia


Pope Benedict XVI Calls for New Economic Structure

July 10, 2009 by  

ROME  -Pope Benedict XVI criticized the international economic system today and called for a new global structure based on social responsibility, concern for the dignity of the worker and a respect for ethics.

“Today’s international economic scene, marked by grave deviations and failures, requires a profoundly new way of understanding human enterprise,” Benedict wrote in his latest encyclical, which is the most authoritative document a pope can issue. “Without doubt, one of the greatest risks for business is they are almost exclusively answerable to their investors, thereby limited in their social value.”

In the sweeping 144-page document, Benedict sketches out a new vision of a world economy radically different from the current model and one where access to food and water is a universal right, wealthy nations share their wealth with poorer ones, and where profit is not the ultimate goal of commerce. He advocated the creation of a “world political authority” to manage the global economy.

He denounces “badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing” for causing the current economic meltdown. The primary capital to be safeguarded is people, and he argues economic systems need to be guided by charity and truth.

The encyclical comes one day before President Obama and leaders of other wealthy nations are to gather in L’Aquila, Italy, and discuss the global economic crisis at a G8 summit. The timing demonstrates Benedict, 82, aims to insert his voice into that discussion by focusing on the moral underpinnings of the global meltdown and offering specific prescriptions, such as encouraging micro-finance and irrigation systems in poor countries.

He is scheduled to meet with Obama on Friday and is expected to raise the issues discussed in the encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate” (Charity in Truth). This is Benedict’s third encyclical since taking office three years ago. He has been working on this document since 2007, but has said he delayed releasing it to reflect the world’s current economic troubles.

Analysts say the document places the normally conservative pontiff on the left when it comes to economic issues.

In all, though, “Benedict is significantly to the left of any major political position in the United States,” said Vincent J. Miller, a professor of Catholic theology and culture at the University of Dayton. “You don’t have anything like this kind of trenchant critique of capitalism.”

Benedict also repeated his previous urging humans show more respect toward the environment. But this time he added specific prescriptions — more research into alternative energy, a worldwide distribution of energy resources and pushing more advanced countries to lower their energy consumption, either through technology or through greater “ecological sensitivity” among citizens.

To read the full article click here.

Author:  Jacqueline L. Salmon

Source: Washington Post

Photo Essay of Conservation Corridor threatened by the Border Wall

July 10, 2009 by  

Launch the photo essay featuring the Chihuahuan Desert!

In the heart of North America’s largest desert lies a biological oasis—a little-known expanse of basin and range straddling both sides of the boundary between the United States and Mexico. The Chihuahuan Desert Borderlands, as it is called, is a sparsely populated 30- million-acre wilderness where barren lunarscapes, arid scrublands and cactus forests coexist with majestic canyons, lush grasslands and pine-oak woodlands.

To the abundant populations of year-round and migrating wildlife, the borderlands is a land without borders, a single ecosystem that rivals Greater Yellowstone in its biodiversity. Hundreds of species use the borderlands as a migratory megacorridor, including monarch butterflies, black bear and more than 10 species of hummingbirds. Populations of elk, pronghorn and desert bighorn sheep flourish as well.

Hovering several thousand feet above are sky islands—desert mountains whose peaks snag clouds and drain their moisture. These mountains nourish the region’s relict forests of oak and pine trees and isolated stands of Douglas fir and quaking aspen. This rich habitat is one reason why more than 400 bird species have been seen in the 800,000-acre Big Bend National Park—more than in any other national park in the United States.

The borderlands are the linchpin of one of North America’s most vital wildlife corridors. And yet the region is also the focus of plans that would fashion a barrier along the border, although it is difficult to imagine a more effective deterrent than the canyon walls that rise as high as 2,000 feet above the river.

While most of the discussion about fences has centered on urban areas, concern is being voiced about the potential impact barriers in more remote areas would have on wildlife. “The specter of any kind of barrier that would preclude the movements of native and migratory wildlife back and forth between the United States and Mexico causes us a great deal of consternation,” says Carter Smith, director of the Conservancy’s Texas chapter. Other, more conservation-friendly tactics should be considered in the Chihuahuan Borderlands, he says, such as vehicle barriers, surveillance technologies, and stepped-up border and aerial patrols.

Whatever the outcome, the Conservancy and partners plan to press ahead. “The borderlands is one landscape, irrespective of political boundaries,” says Smith. “We are participating in an extensive binational conservation effort.” Private land owners, agricultural cooperatives, corporations, governments and conservation groups have banded together to place more than 2 million acres on both sides of the border under some kind of protection. And more land is being added every year. Through their efforts, the borderlands remains one of the continent’s wildest places.

to read whole article click here.

Aurhor:  Joe Nick Patoski


Giving New Meaning to “Walking the Extra Mile”: Success Stories from the FCC DTV Initiative

Hispanic Access Foundation’s team was proud to work with the FCC in their DTV Walk-In Center and Mobile Clinic outreach initiative. We are equally proud and, at the same time, humbled by the wonderful collaboration we have experienced from our Church and community partners in carrying out the FCC DTV initiative in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago and Puerto Rico—they are the heroes in our “Walking the Extra Mile” Success Stories.

Whether representing an Evangelical or a Catholic Church, or even another community-based organization,  our partners are men and women that are giving back with heart and soul to their community, many of them walking the extra mile to truly help those most in need.   Living in different parts of the country, each has a unique background and as well, a compelling story.

We will be telling our unsung hero stories by recounting their contributions everywhere we are participating in the FCC DTV initiative. Following we will tell you about our heroes in Los Angeles.

You can find Pastor Carpio, at the Iglesia de Dios Church, right at the heart of downtown Los Angeles.  His is a store-front church in a high foot-traffic area: many passers-by are day laborers in the clothing manufacturer sector of the city. These are workers that are paid by the piece; they may make clothes that we wear, but they do not know how to read or write well.  Due in part to the centrality of their location and in large measure due to their great dedication to our campaign, Pastor Carpio’s team made a tremendous contribution in providing large numbers of laborers and the elderly with assistance in filling out the on-line application form for the converter box, as well as providing live demonstrations of the converter box installation process. Up to July 1st, his team alone had assisted 1,051 people, and is our undisputed leader among Walk-In Center results!

Nearby in downtown L.A., Univision Channel 34 took notice of Pastor Carpio’s special contribution, and through him, took notice of our unique faith-based initiative. Not only did they visit Pastor Carpio twice for News Report interviews, but as well visited our other faith based Walk-In Centers. Impressed by the quality of our Church partners, Univision asked us collaborate with them in their televised phone bank program on June 11th, targeting people who still needed assistance to make the DTV transition.  All our Los Angeles Supervisors collaborated with Univision in this program, arriving at 3:30 for training, and staying through to 11:30 pm to man the phone bank through the entire 5 ½  hour televised operation.  There were 400 callers that were assisted that night!

We’d like to thank all our wonderful Walk-In Center Supervisors that contributed to this special marathon-like effort: Pastor Carpio, Pastor Villarreal (Iglesia de Dios Pacoima), Martin Valladares (Our Lady of Peace), Nancy Plascencia (Saints Peter and Paul Church), and David Gomez (St. Bernard Church).

Last but not least, we’d like to share the story of the St. Bernard Church team, a unique example of the very special, heartfelt contributions of our partners.

The St. Bernard Church team, David Gomez and Susan Sigala, were hired from Homeboy Industries, a non-profit organization started by Father Greg Boyle over 20 years ago, and a national leader in gang intervention programs.  David has been with Father Boyle’s group almost since it started, and is now the Supervisor of the Part-Time Youth Work Program for ages 14 through 19, as well as our Supervisor for the St. Bernard Walk-In Center.

While manning the phone bank for the Univision initiative on June 11th, David assisted Elizabeth Hernandez, an elderly lady who was bed-ridden with an injury, had asked for help multiple times, and had not been able to receive coupons or get a converter box installed.  She explained to David that she speaks little English and doesn’t have relatives or friend s in the U .S. After feeling comfortable with him during their phone conversation, she pleaded with David to visit her urgently and not refer her to anyone else. As she was about 4 miles from St. Bernard Church, David visited “la Sra. Elizabeth” with his wife, purchased a converter box with an extra personal coupon that he had, and installed the converter box so that she could be assured of having television communication during her illness.  In gratitude, she called yours truly to thank David and the HAF team for the help provided. David and his wife visited with la Sra. Elizabeth three times to provide food, comfort and assistance.

These all, I believe, are beautiful examples that our Church and community partners have provided  of what it is like to care enough to walk the extra mile in helping one’s fellow man and woman, working with the heart as well as with the mind.

All of us at Hispanic Access Foundation are honored to be involved with such wonderful people!

There will be more to come in the next few weeks—Stay Tuned!

Author: Jeryl Skinner

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