At 72 Beaver Dam Road in Bellport, New York, about 70 miles from Manhattan, a modest home on a lush, tree-lined street is tucked somewhat anonymously into a residential area surrounded by industrial warehouses, paving companies, trucking lots, and construction supply facilities.
Crystal Brown, 36, was born in the Village of Patcogue on the Great South Bay of Long Island, 20 miles from that home, the second of five children, to parents, George, a custodian, and mother, Lucille, a homemaker.
And she remembers a moment on the front lawn of that home where she played with her siblings. Her cousin, Kim, was visiting. And she had news.
That memory – almost three decades ago – stayed with her throughout the years.
“In that moment, I remember wanting more,” she said. “Kim was letting the family know that she was going to law school, and it inspired me to set goals like that for myself.”
First responders do exactly what their name implies. They are the first to arrive on the scene of incidents as mild as a senior adult seeking assistance or as tragic as a violent death. They work days and nights separated from the comfort of their own homes, missing milestones within their own families and maintaining odd schedules to provide comfort to crying mothers, distraught fathers and lost children who pass in and out of their lives. It’s all part of just another day’s work. Why, then, is there so little effort being made to meet the needs of these individuals who are an integral part of our communities?
A recent survey conducted by the University of Phoenix reveals the current nature of mental health within the first responder community in the United States. As of April 2017, a reported “85 percent of first responders have experienced symptoms related to mental health issues”. Of this 85 percent, only 34 percent have received a formal mental health disorder diagnosis, which indicates a significantly smaller number, or one-third, of individuals who are seeking help for the symptoms they are experiencing.
To put this in perspective, of the estimated 2.8 million first responders in the U.S., only an approximate 400,000 of them are not experiencing symptoms related to mental health. There still are more than 2 million first responders facing mental health symptoms: 2 million first responders whose families are affected by their loved one’s work, 2 million first responders who deserve just as much concern as the people they serve every day.
“Our church is a place where no questions are asked and we follow the pastor with our whole heart.”
“Our morning service is typically around an hour and a half and is filled with exuberant worship. We clap and lift our hands, sing aloud and offer sincere expressions of worship, including laying hands on you to pray over you.”
“We fill up quickly, so get here early! We keep the sanctuary lights dimmed, so it’s hard to see where the open seats are.”
Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”
Did any of these statements make your heart race a little faster, make your stomach a little queasy or just make you a little uncomfortable?
“Traumatic events can range from one-time physical traumas, such as a car wreck or an assault, to long-term poverty or abuse.”
These are examples of statements, situations and scripture verses printed in church bulletins, preached from the pulpit or published on a church website. While most likely well-intended, these and similar sentiments have something in common that may surprise many Christians and congregational leaders: they can be triggering and re-traumatizing, causing harm to persons who have experienced trauma.
As Foster Care Awareness Month ticks along in May, I love scrolling through Instagram and finding images of families like mine, sharing their stories to bring foster care to light.
But I can’t help but think it’s not enough. Really, what foster families need are public policies that make it easier to say “yes” to a child, beginning with paid leave for new parents.
As a social worker and foster mom, I know the statistics well. More than 690,000 children spend time in foster care each year, with more entering the system than leaving it annually. Meanwhile, the number of foster families isn’t growing at the same rate. In many communities, including my own, there is a growing need for placements, meaning Child Protective Services often has trouble finding homes for children. As a result, kids’ entire lives are uprooted when they are taken into custody. Some are forced to move to new places and change schools because there aren’t open foster homes nearby. Others have to sleep in CPS offices, hotels or makeshift shelters until longer term accommodations can be made.
KILLEEN, TX — A Temple veteran, who struggled in school, went off to push boundaries in his higher education.
Kino Hickey was working at the VA sterilizing medical equipment when he dreamed of a job where he could help people battling mental illnesses. But this plan would require him to pursue a degree.
Before working at the VA, 10 years ago, he was failing out of school and later dropped out. Now, he's older and chose to further his education. However, he knew that he would likely be in classrooms with much younger students.
He also has dyslexia, which would be an added challenge in the traditional classroom setting. It would be a tough road to fulfill his goals.
Hickey's wife inspired him to give education another try. He enrolled in Central Texas College where he doubled his former GPA with a 3.8. He continued his success at Texas A&M Central Texas before going on to get his master’s in social work from Baylor University.
DECATUR, Ga.—A Missouri senior pastor and young leader deeply invested in CBF life is the nominee to become the next Moderator-Elect for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship at the 2019 General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala.
The CBF Nominating Committee has selected Carol McEntyre to serve as Moderator-Elect in 2019-2020. McEntyre has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Columbia, Mo., since 2012. She previously was community minister at First Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tenn. (2005-2012) and Christian education minister at Church of the Holy Comforter in Augusta, Ga. (2004-2005).
McEntyre is a graduate of George W. Truett Theological Seminary and the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University, where she earned her Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work in 2003. While in seminary, McEntyre served as ministerial assistant at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, from 2001-2003. She was ordained in 2002 at Lake Shore Baptist.
A Tennessee native, McEntyre is a graduate of Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn., earning her bachelor of arts in human services and psychology. She also has a doctor of ministry from Drew University in Madison, N.J.
McEntyre has received numerous honors and awards that recognize her passion for congregational ministry and her commitment to Cooperative Baptist life. She received CBF’s Young Baptist Award in 2015 and Carson-Newman College’s Outstanding Young Alumna Award in 2010. McEntyre also completed the Center for Congregational Health’s Young Leader’s Program and is a graduate of the inaugural class of CBF Fellows (2012-2015).
She has served on the Leadership Team for Baptist Women in Ministry (2015-2018) and is currently a member of the CBF Governing Board.
MARLIN, Texas (KWTX) History was made in Falls County Tuesday night--twice.
Carolyn Lofton made history when she was sworn-in Tuesday night as the new Mayor for the City of Marlin. (Photo by Rissa Shaw) The City of Marlin not only now has it's first female black Mayor, Carolyn Lofton is the first black person who has ever held the office, according to city officials.
It was made official during the swearing-in ceremony at Tuesday night's regularly scheduled council meeting where well over one-hundred supporters packed Marlin City Hall to celebrate the milestones for minorities.
According to 2018 U.S. census data, more than 41 percent of Marlin's nearly 6,000 people were black or African American.
"My goal is to unite the citizens of Marlin around issues that need to be corrected here in Marlin, work together as a team to get these things corrected and let's make Marlin a great place to live again," said Lofton.