Hofstra University holds knitting sessions for underprivileged youth

Threading Love for Youth

As Hofstra University celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) History Month, The Pride Network and Student Leadership and Activities have come together to coordinate an event, Threading Love for Youth,which contributes to Hofstra University’s 75 Acts of Kindness. The purpose of the event is to allow students to come together and knit winter gear such as: handmade scarves, beanies, gloves, and mittens. The event began Oct. 1 and continues until Nov. 22.

William Moriarty, a junior and the co-chair of the Pride Network feels there is a huge discrepancy of how many homeless youth are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. “Many young people get kicked out of their homes and take the street as soon as they come out to their parents, said Moriarty. “Several youth come from different parts of the country who believe they can make something of themselves there and not need anyone to support them.”

Moriarty encourages people to attend knitting sessions scheduled during GSA meetings. “Some of our members knit fairly well and regularly, so I encourage anyone who wants to learn to come to our meetings and get involved,” said Moriarty.

All finished products will be sent out to Love Threads, a national nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. that aspires to raise public awareness of homelessness among LGBTQ youth. Moriarty and other club members are hopeful to see a large number of students lend a hand. “It is not required to attend our GSA meetings to get involved even though we always like to see new members,” said Moriarty.

Any student who has knitting experience and would like to make a donation is encouraged to do so. Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) meetings are scheduled every Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Brower Hall. Any student interested in supporting this cause can check out The Pride Network: Hofstra University Chapter on Facebook to see updates on any planned knitting sessions.

Members of the Pride Network will be at The Day of Dialog on Oct. 27 to promote the Threading for Youth event. Students who want to get involved can attend and start knitting. There will be a table set up in front of the bookstore for students to go talk to group leaders and actually sign out supplies on Nov. 4. Students can sign the pledge to take out crochet needles and yarn for completing winter accessories in room 260 of the Mack Student Center. All finished products must be returned in the same location by Nov. 22 at the latest.

Kimberly Rhyan, assistant director of Student Leadership and Activities, feels that acts of kindness can come in different forms. Not all forms require hands-on service. “We take putting a scarf on for granted but to some individuals to be given a scarf is a gift, a gift of warmth for the whole winter,” said Rhyan. “When most people are home snuggling over the holidays the homeless are going to be freezing. They need our help.”

Rhyan reflected on a homeless simulation she participated in during college. Upon being dropped off in the bitter cold of January at 5 a.m., Rhyan and her classmates pretended they were homeless. They were forced to determine where to find food and clothing. “We had people come up to us who were homeless and I can still remember their stories they told us. It was a life changing experience for me, “said Rhyan. “I love my job because I know I can always continue to open people’s eyes to those in need and encourage them to lend a hand and make a difference.”

Hofstra University’s VOICE Day 2010 Welcomes Outer Community Members

dr.perkins pics

VOICE Day 2010 was opened to the public for the first time this year. A wide variety of individuals ranging from Hofstra students, to individuals with all disabilities, parents, professionals and exhibitors attended. This event took place on October 2, and provided an opportunity for everyone to come together and observe the importance of diversity. A count of 60 different agencies volunteered their time to support this event, and a total of 170 exhibitors and volunteers had previously committed. A few options that were available for attendees to explore ranged from an assortment of workshops, to disability history displays, and a film festival.

VOICE Day 2010 would not have had its large turnout without the help of Hofstra University Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Studies Dr. Andrea Perkins, who took over the reins of the event as Chairperson in March. Perkins has been teaching at Hofstra for five years, and immediately became interested in running the event due to her profound interest of disability advocacy and activism. Planning for the event started as early as May and several meetings were coordinated over the summer to ensure that this event would turn out to be the best it could possibly be. “Hofstra has a very rich tradition in Disability History. Individuals, who were responsible for starting a lot of the major organizations for people with disabilities, include Dr. Frank Bowe, and Paul Hearne whom are graduates of Hofstra. Back in the 60’s, Hofstra was one of the only accessible campuses for people with disabilities in the country,” said Perkins. Her goals for making this event happen was to ideally create a standing group that would be able to come together and traditionally make this event happen for years to come.

“I was so thankful to have a great board ranging from 12 to 15 campus and community partners to help me plan and coordinate this event. The event was free for everyone. For the $2,000.00 budget we had, everyone really pitched in to make the event a positive one,” said Perkins. “The career center provided food and Hofstra student groups came together to help wherever they could.” Perkins wanted to expand the event more to help individuals learn about different programs available for people with disabilities, such as recreational groups geared towards all disabilities, and even services representing seniors.

Overall the event was geared towards being a celebration of helping individuals meet their potential. “I have been running events like this since I was in college. I attended Springfield College, which was responsible for first starting the YMCA it is very big on community involvement so dedicating my time to supporting others is just instilled in me,” said Perkins. “I think I’ve been doing this since I was about 18 and I truly enjoy event planning. I was in awe of the role models that Hofstra has provided Dr. Frank Bowe, Don Dryer, Robert Mauro, and Paul Hearne. If I can hold myself up to be half of what they were I would feel grateful.”Perkins was glad to have a lot of her students involved in this day as it was an opportunity for them to learn about Hofstra’s history, and all of the services available in the community.

Julie A. Yindra, Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, was glad to have Perkins lead the event this year stating: “Andrea was the center of the universe when it came to Voice Day.”Yindra went on to explain that in previous years rehab counseling coordinated a small scale film festival around disability awareness. Last spring Yindra was approached to become part of the board and was responsible of coordinating three specific aspects of the day. First being the transition room, where a series of schools and agencies came together to present disability and transition from childhood to adulthood. A number of agencies related to disability in transition present in the room talked about the kind of things students with disabilities need to be prepared for before transitioning to a career or higher education. There were a series of workshops that Yindra put together. The first panel discussion was based on college success. Yindra selected one recent Hofstra graduate, two current Hofstra students and a parent of a Hofstra student to discuss key readiness skills, attitudes and abilities that allowed these students to get to college and to be successful.

Richard Cavallaro, a junior at Hofstra University attended this event. “I was glad to be a part of Hofstra’s special day dedicated to students with disabilities. It was a great opportunity for people to be able to recognize that we are the same as everyone else. We are capable of achieving success and doing great things on the same level as any other student here at Hofstra,” said Cavallaro. “I feel Hofstra welcomed me on this campus and made my transition to college go smoothly, and for this I am thankful.”

The second and final panel discussion was based on topics related to Autism Spectrum Disorders and Aspergers Syndrome. This discussion covered the specific challenges students with that kind of disability undergo when they leave home to go to college or out into the work place. “They are a very unique group of people,” said Yindra. Present for this panel discussion were one graduate student at Hofstra, a parent of a Hofstra student who focused on the autism spectrum, and a professional whose job is to work with students with that type of disability.

“I think it was important to have this event at Hofstra particularly now after we just celebrated our 75th anniversary. We have a very long history of disability advocacy so I think as we reflect on our history it is important to recognize the roll we have played in disability services,” said Yindra. “Lastly, we have to celebrate one of our key populations in terms of celebrating diversity. On this campus there are a large number of students with disabilities. It is highly important to recognize the role these students play in ideally shaping who we are as a university.”

Has Facebook Transformed Into a Professional Tool?

As Facebook continues to gain its popularity, many people believe someday nearly everyone in this world will be taken under Facebook’s powerful wing. Facebook has continued to grow as the most popular social media tool, in fact I’m sure several people can concur that upon discovering Facebook they turned around and divorced their MySpace accounts. If one were to take a random poll as to why individual’s feel Facebook is so essential as I did they would probably receive some of the following responses: To keep up to date with day to day gossip, to reconnect with friends they haven’t seen in quite some time, continue their game addictions, or even elevate their overall popularity factor. When you ask a variety of people if they feel Facebook is used as a professional tool in society answers vary.

Kaitlyn Victoria Jorgensen, a former FJC Security intern worked with the business to maintain the security of Facebook, Twitter and WordPress pages, and was responsible for increasing brand awareness among the online community, and helped to evaluate, plan, organize, and and manage all social media channels during the duration working for the company. “Through my experiences working as a professional, I realized that Facebook is already being used for Professional purposes,” said Jorgensen. “This can easily been seen by looking at the amount of businesses, news stations, and politicians who have created Facebook pages simply to promote themselves, their products and more. It’s fascinating.”

John Kramer a junior at Nassau Community College agrees with Jorgensen’s claim. He believes Facebook is already being used for professional purposes, and feels that more companies have been creating Facebook profiles to advertise their companies. He also feels that Facebook automatically places companies in view of their demographic audience. “Landscaping companies show their design work to reach a wider consumer base. Restaurants use Facebook to show menus, and locations,” said Kramer. “Facebook also provides advertising in the way that offers customers coupons from specific companies, and invitations to special events.”

Endicott College sophomore, Lauren Greene had to use social mediums like Facebook and twitter for her winter internship last year. She mentioned that she didn’t really realize the great impact Facebook had on businesses previous to her internship. “I know people that are hired purely to control social networking for a company or agency,” said Greene. “I think that this trend is only going to continue to spiral into something larger and more businesses will start to develop their own Facebook pages just for company usage. This may turn into a popular trend.”

Springfield High School junior Julie Hannan disagreed entirely from all of the college students that were interviewed. She believes that Facebook is merely an outlet for students to release their personal issues to the world. “I don’t think Facebook will ever be used for professional purposes because middle school students and high school students use it way too much to post crazy amounts of drama,” said Hannan. “I have had a Facebook since I was in 7th grade and have used the site to play games and talk with friends. Facebook really became a replacement for msn messenger. I truly think using Facebook for professional matters would take the fun out of having an account.”