Ron Clark Academy Coming to Washington County; Parent Night June 12th

Washington County Community Foundation, through its generous donors, is bringing the Ron Clark Academy to Washington County. The Ron Clark Academy (RCA) is a highly-acclaimed, nonprofit middle school located in Southeast Atlanta. The Academy has received both national and international recognition for its success in educating students with academic rigor, passion, and creativity balanced by a strict code of discipline. The Academy seeks to extend its reach beyond its student body by having an impact upon students everywhere to learn better ways to engage students, promote academic rigor, and create a climate and culture that promotes success.

Kim Bearden, one of the RCA co-founders, will be presenting to Washington County educators on June 12th. Educator training will be at East Washington. Educators can sign up with their respective school corporation.

There will be a Ron Clark Academy Parent Event at 6:00 pm on June 12th at the SHS Presentation Room. Parents will learn about the Ron Clark Academy method. Door prizes of several $50.00 gift cards will be given at the end of the session, but participants must be present to win.

All Washington County parents are invited to attend this special evening.

Washington County Community Foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1993 to serve donors, award grants, and provide leadership to improve Washington County forever

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Simple Steps to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer

Is skin cancer hereditary? My 63-year-old brother died of melanoma last year, and I'm wondering about my risks of developing skin cancer. What can you tell me?

Long-term sun exposure and sunburns are the biggest risk factors for melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. If you have a sibling or parent who has been diagnosed with melanoma, your risk of developing it does increase by two to three times.

Each year, approximately 75,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma and around 10,000 people die from it. While anyone can get it, those most often diagnosed are Caucasians, age 50 and older. Those with the highest risk are people with red or blond hair, blue or green eyes, fair skin, freckles, moles, a family history of skin cancer and those who had blistering sunburns in their youth.

Skin Exams


The best way you can guard against melanoma and other skin cancers (basal and squamous cell carcinomas) is to protect yourself from the sun. If you are over age 50 it is recommended that you get a full-body skin exam done by a dermatologist every year, especially if you are in the high risk category.

Self-examinations done every month or so are also a smart way to detect early problems. Using mirrors, check the front and backside of your entire body, including the tops and undersides of your arms and hands, the soles of your feet, your neck, scalp, buttocks and even between your toes. Be on the lookout for new growths, moles that have changed or sores that do not heal.

Follow the ABCDE rule when examining suspicious moles.
  • Asymmetry: One half of a mole does not match the other.
  • Border: The border of the mole is blurred or ragged.
  • Color: The mole has uneven colors, often shades of brown, tan or black, with patches of pink, red, white or blue.
  • Diameter: The lesion is new or at least a quarter-inch in diameter.
  • Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape or color.
There are a variety of places that offer free skin cancer screenings. Check with the American Academy of Dermatology, which offers screenings done by hundreds of volunteer dermatologists across the U.S., and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Sun Protection


Even though you cannot change your skin or family history, there are some proven strategies that can help you protect yourself.

For starters, avoid tanning beds. When you go outside, apply water-resistant, broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen on both sunny and cloudy days. If you do not like rub-on lotions, try the continuous spray-on sunscreens, which can be easier to apply and less messy. Also, seek the shade when the sun's rays are most intense, typically between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

You can also protect your skin by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves and pants when possible. The best clothing options are tightly-woven fabrics that help prevent the sun's rays from reaching your skin. You can also buy laundry additives to wash in an invisible shield sun protection into your clothes. You can even buy a variety of lightweight clothing and hats that offer maximum UV protection in their fabric.

Treatments


If melanoma is found and treated early, it is almost always curable. But if it is not caught early, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body where it becomes harder to treat and can be fatal. Standard treatment for melanoma is surgical removal. In advanced cases, however, chemotherapy or radiation may also be used, along with a variety of new drug treatments.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published April 27, 2018

Local Firefighters and Law Enforcement Personnel Receive Grants

Thanks to generous donors, the Washington County Community Foundation was able to host a reception on Tuesday, April 24th at the Senior Citizen Center to honor and thank our local firefighters and law enforcement personnel.

Approximately 145 people were in attendance at the event.  Each department present received a $1,000.00 grant.  Additionally, Gibson Township FD, Salem FD and Pierce-Polk FD received an additional grant for having the highest representation.  In total, $17,000.00 was awarded. 

Judy Johnson, Executive Director of the Washington County Community Foundation, stated, “We just wanted to recognize and thank these men and women who are willing to risk their life to keep us safe.  I am thrilled at the turnout! Attendance exceeded our expectations.  We have such wonderful donors and our community is rich with the spirit of giving.  We are grateful that the Washington County Community Foundation was in a position to hold such an event and award these grants.  We could not do these things without our donors.  We know the money will be put to good use to make our community safer.”   

The mission of the Washington County Community Foundation is to engage people, build resources and strengthen our community.  Visit the website at www.wccf.biz and like the Foundation on Facebook. 

How to Replace Vital Documents that are Lost or Stolen

Can you tell me how to go about replacing important lost documents? My wife and I recently downsized and at some point during the move we lost our Social Security and Medicare cards, birth certificates, marriage license and passports.


Replacing important documents that are lost, stolen or damaged is pretty easy if you know where to turn. Here are the replacement resources for each document you mentioned, along with some tips to protect you from identity theft, which can happen if your documents end up in the wrong hands.

Birth certificate: If you were born in the United States, contact the vital records office in the state where you were born. This office will explain what you need to do to order a certified copy and how much it will cost you. Birth certificate fees typically range between $9 and $30.

Social Security card: You can replace a lost or stolen Social Security card for free. Residents of certain states may request a replacement card online at ssa.gov/ssnumber.

If you live in a state that does not permit residents to apply for a new card online, you will need to fill out Form SS-5 and bring it to your local Social Security office, along with your driver's license, state-issued non-driver ID card or U.S. passport (photocopies are not accepted). You may also submit these documents to your local Social Security office by mail. Any documents you mail in will be returned to you. To find the Social Security office that serves your area, call 800-772-1213 or visit ssa.gov/locator.

Be aware that losing your Social Security card puts you at risk for identity theft. If you find that someone has used your Social Security number to obtain credit, loans, telephone accounts or other goods and services, report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at IdentityTheft.gov (or 877-438-4338). The FTC will also give you specific steps you'll need to take to handle this problem.

Medicare card: To replace your Medicare card for free, you can call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office. You can also request one online at ssa.gov/myaccount. Your card should arrive in the mail in about 30 days.

If you lose your Medicare card, you need to watch out for Medicare fraud. Check your Medicare Summary Notice for services you did not receive and, if you spot any, call the Inspector General's fraud hotline at 800-447-8477 to report them.

Marriage certificate: Contact the vital records office in the state where you were married to order a copy. You will need to provide full names for you and your spouse, the date of your wedding and the city or town where the wedding was performed. Fees may range from $10 to $30.

Note: Divorce certificates can also be ordered from states' vital records offices (fees may range from $5 to $30). Divorce decree documents can be obtained from the county clerk's office for the city or county in which the divorce was granted.

Passport: A lost passport also puts you at risk for identity theft, so you will need to report this as soon as possible to the U.S. State Department. Go to travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/lost-stolen.html and fill out Form DS-64. You will receive an email acknowledging that your report was received. Within a couple of days, you will receive another email (or letter, if you request one) confirming that your passport has been entered into the Consular Lost or Stolen Database.

You can apply for a replacement passport at a Passport Application Acceptance Facility. Many post offices, public libraries and local government offices serve as such facilities. You can search for the nearest authorized facility at iafdb.travel.state.gov. The fee for a replacement passport is $135.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published April 13, 2018

The Wall That Heals Committee Encourages Businesses and Residents to Decorate for Procession

The Wall That Heals will be making its way through Washington County beginning at 9:00 on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. The Wall That Heals procession with motorcycle escort will be leaving from John Jones Police Pursuit Vehicle Lot at that time and will be travelling at approximately 15 miles per hour through the route. The route will be going past each of our county schools and around the Square before assembly begins at the YMCA/Learning Center/Senior Citizens Complex. The full route is as follows:

Left turn on to IN 60 traveling East to Pekin, Indiana. Turning left onto Main Street to Eastern School Road to circle Eastern High School campus and back to IN 60 heading back to Salem. Returning to John Jones and continue traveling south on Jackson/IN60 to IN135N (Main Street) North appx 1 mile around eastern half of Salem Square to Intersection IN 56/60 and IN 135, turning West on to IN 56 to Right turn onto IN 60 West to Campbellsburg. Left turn onto West Washington School Rd. straight thru to IN 56 turning left heading East back to Salem.

Continue East on IN56 turning left on Shelby street heading North to Destination YMCA

Residents and businesses along the route are encouraged to decorate their business or yard in a patriotic manner or just wave to the procession as they go by.   For information about The Wall That Heals or the procession, please contact the Washington County Community Foundation office at 812-883-7334.

Washington County Community Foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1993 to serve donors, award grants, and provide leadership to improve Washington County forever

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What to Know About the New Medicare Cards

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What can you tell me about the new Medicare cards? I've heard there are a lot of scams associated with these new cards and I want to make sure I protect myself.

The government will soon be sending out brand new Medicare cards to 59 million Medicare beneficiaries. Here is what you should know about your new card along with some tips to help you guard against potential scams.

New Medicare Cards


Starting this month (April 2018), Medicare will begin mailing new Medicare cards to everyone who receives Medicare benefits. These new Medicare cards will no longer include Social Security numbers. The reason for this change is to help protect your identity and to reduce medical and financial fraud. The new cards will have a randomly generated 11-character Medicare Number. The issuance of these cards will occur automatically. You will not need to do anything or pay a fee to obtain your new card.

Medicare will mail your card—at no cost—to the address you have on file with the Social Security Administration. If you need to update your official mailing address, visit your online Social Security account at SSA.gov/myaccount or call 800-772-1213. Your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.

If you have relatives or friends who live in other states who receive their cards before you, do not fret. The cards will be mailed in waves to various parts of the country over a 12-month period starting in April 2018 and ending in April 2019.

Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia will be the first to receive their new cards sometime between April and June. The last wave of states will be Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee, along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

When you receive your new Medicare card, do not simply throw your old one in the trash. Instead, put it through a shredder or cut it up with a pair of scissors to ensure that the section that shows your Social Security number is destroyed. If you have a separate Medicare Advantage card, keep it because you will still need it for treatment.

Watch Out For Scams


With the issuance of these new Medicare cards, be on the lookout for Medicare scams. Here are some tips:
  • Do not pay for your new card. It is yours for free. If anyone calls and says you need to pay for it, it is likely a scammer.
  • Do not give out your personal information. If someone calls claiming to be a Medicare representative and asks for your Social Security number or bank information, that is a scam and you should hang up. Medicare will never require you to provide your personal information to get your new number and card.
  • Guard your card. When you get your new card, safeguard it like you would any other health insurance card or credit card. While removing the Social Security number cuts down on many types of identity theft, you will still want to protect your new card because identity thieves could use it to obtain medical services.
For more information about changes to your Medicare card, visit go.medicare.gov/newcard. If you suspect fraud, report it to the FTC (FTCcomplaintassistant.gov), AARP's fraud help line at 877-908-3360 or your local Senior Medicare Patrol program. Go to SMPresource.org for contact information.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published April 6, 2018

Free College Tuition Blast May 3rd

Your child may be eligible to attend college for FREE. 

Washington County Community Foundation is sponsoring a 21st Century Scholar Sign-Up Day on May 3, 2018 from noon-7:00 PM at the Community Learning Center at 1707 N. Shelby Street in Salem.  Current Washington County 7th and 8th grade students are encouraged to enroll in the 21st Century Scholar program on this day at the center.  Families that submit their application on this day will walk away with a $10.00 gift card to a local business AND be entered in a drawing for a $150.00 gift card.  The blast day is for students not already enrolled in the program.

If you are unable to attend the Free College Tuition Blast on May 3rd at the Community Learning Center, please contact your student’s school counselor for a time to fill out the 21st Century Scholar application. 

Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program offers income-eligible Hoosier students up to four years of paid tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university after they graduate from high school. In middle and high school, 21st Century Scholars are connected to programs and resources to help them plan, prepare, and pay for college. Once in college, Scholars receive support to complete their college degrees and connect to career opportunities.

For more information, please contact the student’s school counselor or the Washington County Community Foundation at 812-883-7334or Karen Barry at the Community Learning Center at 812-883-6989.

Washington County Community Foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1993 to serve donors, award grants, and provide leadership to improve Washington County forever

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How to Improve Your Balance

I have always been a walker, but after I fell last month, my doctor suggested I start doing some balance exercises. Is this really something I need to practice?

Most people do not think much about practicing their balance, but it is a good idea to do so. The same way that you walk to strengthen your heart, lungs and overall health, you should practice maintaining your balance. 

As we age, our balance declines, which can increase the risk of falling. More than one in three individuals age 65 years or older falls each year. This risk only increases with age. A simple fall can cause a serious fracture of the hip, pelvis, spine, arm, hand or ankle, which can lead to hospitalization, disability, loss of independence and even death. 

How Balance Works


Balance is the ability to distribute your weight in a way that enables you to hold a steady position or move at will without falling. It is determined by a complex combination of muscle strength, visual inputs, the inner ear and the work of specialized receptors in the nerves of your joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons that orient you in relation to other objects. All of these factors are sorted out in the sensory cortex of your brain, which takes in all of this information and gives you balance. Aging dulls these neurological pathways and causes individuals to gradually become less stable on their feet. 

Poor balance can also lead to a vicious cycle of inactivity. For some individuals, if they feel a little unsteady, they end up curtailing certain activities. If they are inactive, they are not challenging their balance systems or using their muscles. As a result, both balance and strength decline. Simple acts, like strolling through a grocery store or getting up from a chair, become trickier. This can shake their confidence and cause them to become even less active.

Balance Exercises


If you have a balance problem that is not tied to illness, medication or some other specific cause, simple exercises may help preserve and improve your balance. Some basic exercises you can do anytime include:
  • One-legged stands: Stand on one foot for 30 seconds or longer, then switch to the other foot. You can do this while brushing your teeth or even while waiting in line somewhere. In the beginning, you might want to have a wall or chair to hold on to.
  • Heel rises: While standing, rise up on your toes, lifting your heel as high as you can. Then drop back to the starting position and repeat the process 10 to 20 times. You can make this more difficult by holding light hand weights.
  • Heel-toe walk: Take 20 steps and, with every step, touch your heel to your toe on your opposite foot. Keep your focus straight ahead instead of looking down at your feet.
  • Sit-to-stand: Without using your hands, get up from a straight-backed chair and sit back down 10 to 20 times. This improves balance and leg strength.
For additional balance exercises visit go4life.nia.nih.gov, a resource created by the National Institute on Aging that offers free booklets that provide illustrated examples of many appropriate exercises. You can order your free copy online or by calling 800-222-2225. 

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published March 23, 2018
 

Putting Together Your Will — A Few Considerations

Though it may seem hard to believe, at age 65, I have never gotten around to making a will, but I'd like to now. My question is: Do I need to hire a lawyer to write my will, or can I draft it myself? I want to get my affairs in order, but I'd hate to pay an attorney fee if I didn't have to.

It's not hard to believe at all. Fewer than half of American adults have a will, mainly because they either haven't thought about it or haven't gotten around to it, or they have put it off because they don't want to think about dying.

Having a will is important because it ensures that your money and property are distributed to the people you want to receive it after your death. If you die without a will, your estate will be settled in accordance with state law. Details vary by state, but assets typically are distributed using a hierarchy of survivors. Assets go first to a spouse, then to children, then your siblings and so on.

You also need to be aware that certain accounts take precedence over a will. If you jointly own a home or a bank account, for example, the house and the funds in the account will go to the surviving owner, even if your will directs otherwise. Similarly, retirement accounts and life insurance policies are distributed to the beneficiaries you designate, so it is important to keep them up to date too.

Do You Need a Lawyer?


There are do-it-yourself software programs which allow users to set up a simple will. This may be acceptable in some cases, particularly if you're single and have a modest bank account.

It is best to seek professional advice, especially if you have significant financial assets or a complex family situation, like a blended family or a child with special needs. An experienced lawyer can make sure you cover all your bases, which can help avoid family confusion and squabbles after you are gone.

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA.org) and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC.org) websites are good resources. These websites have directories to help you find someone in your area.

Costs will vary depending on your location and the complexity of your situation, but you can expect to pay somewhere between $200 and $1,500 on the drafting of your will. To help you save, shop around and get price quotes from several different firms. Before you meet with an attorney, make a detailed list of your assets and accounts to help make your visit more efficient.

If money is tight, check with your state's bar association (see www.FindLegalHelp.org) to find low-cost legal help in your area. You may also call the Eldercare Locater at 800-677-1116 for a referral.

If you do create your own will, it is wise to have a lawyer review it to make sure it covers all the important bases.

Where to Store It?


Once your will is written, the best place to keep it is in a fireproof safe, a file cabinet at home or in a safe deposit box in your bank. Make sure your executor knows where it is and has access to it. If a professional prepares your will, keep the original document at your lawyer's office. Also, be sure to update your will if your family or financial circumstances change or if you move to a different state.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published March 30, 2018
 

WCCF offering $40,000.00 in Spring Grant Cycle

Grants are issued from the Washington County Community Foundation’s Touch Tomorrow funds.  The total amount available for this grant cycle is $40,000.00.

Grant applications for the spring grant cycle are available at the WCCF office located on Shelby Street in the Learning Center complex. The Washington County Community Foundation is currently accepting applications. The application deadline will be 3:30pm, April 15, 2018. For more information, you may call Judy Johnson or Lindsey Wade-Swift at the Foundation office. The number is 883-7334.

Washington County Community Foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1993 to serve donors, award grants, and provide leadership to improve Washington County forever

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