Free Outdoor Swimming in NYC

Today was the first day of the outdoor Learn to Swim classes in NYC. If you are interested in signing up for a free swim class, go toΒ http://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/pools and click on the Learn to Swim link. The first session has already started, but you can still sign up for the session II and III, or go to a pool location to sign up for a class. Keep in mind, many locations are filled and you may have to put your name on the waitlist.

There’s free lap swimming. There are free Learn to Swim classes for toddlers, children and adults, senior splash, adapted aquatics, swim team… and if you’re not interested in any of those, then you can go to any outdoor pool from 11am-7pm (typically) and go swimming for free. Gotta love NYC Parks.

In a Shift, Biggest Wave of Migrants Is Now Asian

In a Shift, Biggest Wave of Migrants Is Now Asian

I can’t believe it — is this really true? In this article, it states that 49 percent of Asian Americans have college degrees compared to Americans — 29 percent. And sure, there are much less illegal immigrants among Asian Americans (10-15% compared to Hispanics at 45%). “They” value marriage, being a good parent, career and success. They even make more than the average population on average – $66K vs $49.8K. It is reasonable to see that people will stereotype Asians as being the smart, geeky people.

However, it is important to remember about Asians being considered the “Model Minority“. Asians still need love and care, assistance, fair treatment gaining admission into colleges, culturally appropriate health care and representation in the government and policy making.

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Lost in Recession, Toll on Underemployed and Underpaid

Lost in Recession, Toll on Underemployed and Underpaid

It sucks to see that companies are decreasing wages and cutting benefits for employees… and worse to see that college students aren’t getting the jobs that they envisioned, aren’t utilizing the skills that they have, and that older adults who have been laid off are competing to get entry level jobs. This is just terrible.

It is no wonder why many young adults in their 20s work at unpaid or low paying internships to gain experience and because that is what they think employers what to see on a resume. Sometimes, by doing so, it is filling in a role that a paid person may do, or for the intern, it may not give them the skills that they would’ve otherwise acquired at typical summer jobs.

Beat Your Own Personal Record

I think a lot of times, we like to compare ourselves with others. This is highly prevalent in races, such as one at the swim meet. Some of the swimmers come up to me and say,

That girl beat me by 0.04 seconds!

or

Ugh, I got 13th place and that means I don’t get a ribbon

or

yes! I got third place in my heat!

While these are normal reactions, I often ask them if they beat their PR, or ‘personal record.’ If they answer no, then I tell them that their goal is to beat it at the next meet. If they answer yes, then I tell them that they should be proud of the fact that they beat their PR!

Focusing on your own accomplishments rather than comparing yourself with others helps you think about how to better yourself as an individual. In the long run, it works out better because you will always find a way to make yourself better.

In my opinion, if the focus is to always beat others, what happens if you give up? What happens if there is no ‘competition’, if it doesn’t exist?

This applies in school and work too. Instead of, ‘Suzie got an A and I got a B. I must beat her!’ think, ‘I got a B. How do I get an A next time?’

Fitocracy: Great “fit” community to keep you motivated

On a Sunday afternoon, I scrolled through the “Featured apps” on my iPhone and saw one called Fitocracy. At first, I was a little bit skeptical but after recording all the exercise I did in the past week, I saw that I was ‘leveling’ up. That was nice, but the best part was that other people gave ‘props’ to show that they are excited about my progress and my workouts. Even though it is a bit of a virtual ‘caring’, you still know that someone out there in the real world made the effort to do so.

I felt that joining the Swimming group was particularly great — probably because I enjoy swimming and it is so awesome see that others are logging in more and less distances. There is so much support in that group and I think that is great.

So instead of telling my real life friends and family about my fitness progress, I’ll share it to a group of online people who will keep me motivated to work out.

Maybe you ought to try it out:Β http://www.fitocracy.com/.

Ask Questions

Don’t ask something that you can easily search up on Google. Instead, ask questions where answers are not accessible except through a specific person. Now that’s how you sound intelligent! πŸ™‚

New law protects foster kids from identity theft – Yahoo! News

30% of foster kids have their identity stolen. That’s sad. πŸ™ I’m glad that there are new laws going into place to prevent this from happening.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) β€” Dee Saint Franc left the Rhode Island foster care system eager to start life on her own. But when she tried sign up for cable and Internet at Verizon, she learned that breaking free from her past wouldn’t be easy.

A customer service representative told Saint Franc that someone had used her identity to rack up $3,000 worth of delinquent bills dating back to 1998.

“I was like, ‘$3,000? I just turned 18,'” recalled Saint Franc, now 21 and going to college in Providence. “It didn’t make any sense. I was 8 years old in 1998.”

Saint Franc is one of a disturbingly high number of children who leave foster care only to find that someone has stolen their identity to open credit accounts, take out loans or pay bills, authorities say. Studies show that foster children face higher rates of identity theft than other children or even adults.

A provision in a new federal law requires states to run credit checks on older foster children and help resolve cases of identity theft so they can enter adulthood without the burden of someone else’s debt or the stain of bad credit.

Children, and particularly foster children, make great targets for identity thieves, child welfare officials and researchers say. Too young to take out a loan or credit card, they have Social Security numbers that are a clean slate, ripe for exploitation. Children aren’t likely to realize their identity has been stolen until they grow up and apply for credit.

And too often, foster children come from struggling, troubled families where a relative might see a child’s Social Security number as a way to keep the lights on, put food on the table or feed an addiction.

One researcher estimates that as many as 30 percent of foster children may be the victims of identity theft, based on reviews of the credit reports of foster children.

“These children are already behind the eight ball,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat and co-sponsor of the new law requiring credit checks for foster children. “They’re already dealing with psychological and emotional problems because of abuse and neglect. It’s outrageous that they would be further victimized by identity theft and find out about it just when they’re trying to establish themselves with a car loan, apartment or job.”

Overall, children are more likely than adults to be targeted for identity theft, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The researchers worked with an identity protection company to comb through records of 42,000 children and found more than 10 percent showed signs of identity theft.

About 4 percent of adults are victims of identity theft, according to federal estimates.

The discrepancy may be even worse for foster children. Officials in California reviewed credit reports of foster children in Los Angeles County and found more than 100 victims of identity theft who were 16 and 17 years old. Victims had an average of more than two accounts opened in their name, with an average of $1,800 in debts in each account.

Medical bills and telephone services were the most common type of account, followed by cable television service, credit cards and utilities.

One child was found to have a $217,000 home loan.

Robert Fellmeth, a law professor at the University of San Diego and director of the Children’s Advocacy Institute, estimates that as many as 30 percent of foster children may be the victims of identity theft.

The culprit could be a close relative wanting to pay a bill, open a utility account or support an addiction, Fellmeth said, though foster parents and child welfare officials are sometimes to blame, too.

Fellmeth said states have done a poor job of protecting foster children from identity theft. Too many, he said, age out of the system only to discover their credit is ruined and they have nowhere to turn.

“When these kids turn 18 many of them fall off a cliff,” he said. “The state hands out some brochures, give them a website address and it’s sayonara.”

States including California, Colorado and Connecticut have passed laws mandating credit checks for foster children before they leave state custody.

Langevin said he pushed for the new federal law after hearing one too many heartbreaking stories.

President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law Sept. 30. Langevin said he’d like to build on the law in the future by requiring annual credit checks for all foster children, regardless of their age.

Langevin said he worries that children in the juvenile justice system may be at an increased risk of identity theft, too.

“More broadly, we need to look after these young people in our care and make sure their credit is not abused,” he said. “They’re our responsibility.”

The new law requires child welfare officials to help a foster child fix any problems that pop up on a credit check. Several nonprofit child advocacy groups already provide the service.

Saint Franc entered state custody at age 8. She believes a family member stole her identity and ran up the charges at Verizon. With the help of her social worker, Saint Franc persuaded Verizon to waive the debt. She never reported the crime to police or confronted the relative she suspects of using her identity.

No foster child should have to reopen old wounds like that just as they’re trying to build a life, she said.

“You’re 18, you don’t have a job, don’t have a credit card, don’t have a car or an apartment,” she said. “At least you should have a clean slate.”

via New law protects foster kids from identity theft – Yahoo! News.

What do you do when you see someone litter on the subway or smoke in the park?

Today I was sitting on the subway, holding onto my backpack. Through my peripherals, I saw white, mashed up a ball drop onto the subway floor. I looked up at the man who dropped it: he looked to his right with his hands held in front of his lap. He pretended as if nothing happened!

Should I have told him, “Sir, you dropped your trash on the floor. You should pick it up.”? Though he didn’t look like someone who would beat me up if I said anything, I didn’t want to cause any trouble.

For example, one professor of mine told a man in Central Park to not smoke (because since May 23, 2011, it has been illegal to smoke in NYC parks). The man told him to “f you, and his dog.” Yeah… not exactly the most friendly thing you’ll see.

So who should enforce these public rules? Should laypeople like us, or should there be specific people who enforce these rules?