There wasn’t a dry eye in sight when a company founder gave his employees the surprise of a lifetime this week.
Mark Baiada, the chairman and founder of Bayada Home Health Care, a $1.4 billion private housing company in Philadelphia, announced his grand surprise over a holiday luncheon at the Belleve Hotel in Philadelphia earlier this week.
“I’m taking $20 million, dividing it up and giving it to everybody,” Baiada tearfully told the crowd. I wanted to show some gratitude to everybody for all the hard work you’ve done taking care of our clients.”
The money was given to the staff of 32,000 who received varying sums based on their length of employment. Long-time staffers were given tens of thousands of dollars and new hires received $50. Even retirees who left the company after 2010 received sums, Baiada reported to Yahoo Lifestyle.
“Those are everyday people who work hard in a low-margin service business — I’m honored to work with them,” Baiada told Yahoo Lifestyle. “I don’t go to patient’s homes much, but my employees are there everyday.”
Baiada founded the company in 1975 and in 2016 announced plans to convert his business into a nonprofit, which will open in January. “Nonprofits last longer and I don’t really need the money, so we’re going to turn it over to a newly created nonprofit that’s all mission-driven,” Baiada told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re putting mission over money.”
Some employees already have plans for their munificence.
Nicole Green, a pediatric nurse who works with clients such as those with cerebral palsy and premature babies only worked at Bayada for three years and will use her funds toward her daughter’s college tuition.
“Everyone was in awe — we thought we were just having a holiday lunch,” Green, 48, told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Mark totally surprised us. He didn’t have to do this. I’ve only worked at Bayada a short time, but I’m a lifelong employee now.”
Baiada continued to cry tears of joy that afternoon and expressed his opinion on gratitude. “I just want to say thank you to them all,” Baiada told CBS Philly. “Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude. You look around your life and say, ‘I’m so fortunate.”
There wasn’t a dry eye in sight when a company founder gave his employees the surprise of a lifetime this week.
Emmy Award- winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan was scared for her life when she met with Neo-Nazis for the first time.
Her fear perpetuated her. As Khan filmed members of the group, some of them followed her around, threatening to kill her if she made one wrong move.
“In my mind, I was just thinking if anything happens right now, which it probably will, they could just bury me right here and nobody would ever know,” Khan said.
Despite her fear and distrust and dislike from the neo-Nazis, she wanted to know why men could hate so much.
“I decided to pick up my camera and go and see if I could sit down with people who feel this intense dislike, or even hatred, towards people like me,” Khan told Peace News.
The question of why men could hate so much, inspired her to release her film “White Right: meeting the Enemy.”
“For me it’s about primarily getting in touch with our common humanity,” Khan told Peace News. “To see if it’s possible for us to break down the prejudices that exist between groups.”
Her first interview was with Ken Parker, a member of the National Socialist Movement, the biggest white supremacist organization in America.
Parker’s bare torso was adorned with a swastika tattoo on the right of his chest and a Klan tattoo on the left.
Khan asked him, “Does it matter to you that I think what you are doing is wrong?”
Parker answered with a “no” and became increasingly frustrated and nervous as the questions rolled on. He admitted he was “not responsible for other people’s feelings.”
Khan went on to describe the experience. First describing it as awkward without the anticipated context of angry mobs shouting — but then conveyed a dynamic shift. She continued to be a listening ear.
Overtime, Khan interviewed other white supermarkets and neo-nazis, trying to figure out their motivations.
She figured out that most of the hate stemmed from the stories of their past rooted in abandonment, not fitting in, hopelessness, shame and humiliation, and longing to belong.
“They’re rejected for various reasons in other aspects of their lives,” she explained. “So whether it is feeling rejected by women, or by the job market, by society at large, or feeling as if you don’t measure up, not feeling good enough, shame, feeling humiliated, feeling emasculated.”
Khan added on stating that while there are hate groups — a lot of their actions are driven by love — a love for fellow members of the group who have given them a sense of family and a sense of purpose.
After Khan interviewed Parker and others like him, she felt a sense of liberation.
“It reminded me that they are just people, they are just human beings,” she said. “I have spent my entire life being stereotyped, I am not going to turn around and do that to somebody else.”
The Norwegian born filmmaker, who now resides in the UK recently earned an International Emmy award for her film and was previously nominated for BAFTA awards. Her film was released to Netflix in June and is streaming in America and the UK.
Parker eventually became touched by Khan’s actions. So touched, he removed all his hateful tattoos and renounced his membership in these organizations.
“He turned his back on the entire community,” Khan said. “He left them behind based on a principle he no longer wants to subscribe to.”
Overall, in reflecting on her documentary, Khan realized her project’s main aspect.
“We all have the capacity to effect change,” she said. “Just being human beings with each other, threatening each other with respect and dignity. You know how we feel when someone smiles at us or says something nice, it makes us feel great. The same if someone gives us a dirty look, it shifts how we feel.”
There have been several alerts right after a Youtube-famous-kiteboarding dog went missing from his family last week.
16-year-old Cameroon Maramendies began posting videos of Zeus, a seven-year-old Jack Russell Terrier kateboarding.
Maramendies, a kiteboarder who will compete for team USA in the 2020 Olympics was at a Kiteboarding event in St.Petersburg, Florida when his dog was kidnapped by an older gentleman in a gray Sedan.
Zeus accompanied the family to the event, but stayed behind in the car. When the family returned from the competition, Zeus was already gone.
The family contacted police, hired a pet detective and even offered a $3,500 reward for the return of Zeus; no questions asked. The family simply wanted their dog back.
Maramendies was overcome with worry until an individual helped out.
This individual was Miguel Camacho, an electrian’s apprentice who was studying in West Tampa Park, when he heard about the missing Jack Terrier.
During his study break, a friend of his shared the missing dog article on Facebook. Sparked by curiosity, he read through the article. Seconds later he saw the missing dog.
“I was sitting there reading the article,” Camacho told Tampa Bay Times. “The guy pulls up, gets out of the car, grabs the dog, and I’m thinking ‘man this looks just like that dog.”
After seeing the man in the gray Sedan get out — he snapped a picture of the pup and sent it to Maramendies’ phone, which was listed in a newspaper. The Olympian responded quickly, claiming the dog with the familiar black spots over his eyes, was Zeus.
Camacho did not know whether the man was armed or dangerous and police were not allowed to intervene unless the owner was present.
Maramendies asked Camacho if he could keep an eye on Zeus and his supposed abductor. Camacho heard the despair in the families voices.
Camacho only wanted to help the Maramendies family in any way he could.
When Camacho saw the abductor leave, he got into his car and followed the gray Sedan for a few miles. The abductor stopped, got out of the car and questioned why Camacho was following him.
“I believe the dog isn’t yours,” Camacho told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m on the phone with his owner right now.”
Camacho then walked to the gray Sedan and shouted “Zesus.” The Jack Terrier jumped and ran to him. Later that afternoon, Camacho brought the dog to the car and left the scene. He then met with the Maramendies family in the Westshore Plaza parking lot.
Camacho learned about the reward when he met the family. He picked up the reward money and told Tampa Bay Times as to how he was going to spend the money.
“I have two kids,” he said. “I’m gonna do some Christmas shopping for them and put the rest in their savings accounts.”
Helen Trotman, Maramendies’ mom, was grateful for Camacho’s heroic and kind-hearted act.
“We are feeling completely exhausted, yet elated, and we are still pinching ourselves to see if we are dreaming,” Helen Trotman told Tampa Bay Times. “We are so fortunate Miguel was there and was willing to put himself into a possible dangerous situation to get their dog back.”
Prejudice is everywhere; even in sports. Fans have been attending soccer matches and spewing antisemitic behavior.
Now the Chelesea football club in England will be offering their fans an opportunity to overcome their prejudiced behavior.
Instead of having the club confiscate their season tickets for a period of three years, those who have exhibited racist behavior can either accept the three-year ban or participate in educational courses taught at Auschwitz.
Roman Abramovich, the part owner of the club, is the primary force behind this initiative. The Chelsea football club will cover the costs of the program since they are set on terminating racist behavior.
Abramovich, who is Jewish himself, has already organized two visits to Auschwitz as part of its efforts to combat antisemitism. Fans who choose the option of taking a course at Auschwitz will be invited on future trips.
“If you just ban people, you will never change their behavior,” said Cheslea chairman Bruce Buck, according to The Sun. “This policy gives them the chance to realize what they have done, to make them want to behave better.”
“In the past, we would take them from the crowd and ban them, for up to three years. “Now we say ‘You did something wrong. You have the option. We can ban, you or you can spend some time with our diversity officers, understanding what you did wrong.’”
“Following a proposal raised at our Fan’s Forum, the club is launching an education program for supporters banned for anti-semitic behavior, as well as helping them to understand the impact of their actions, with participation in the course potentially leading to a reduction in the length of their ban,” the club said in a statement.
The initiative has been looked favorably by the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that protects Jews from anti-semitism.
Head of CST policy, Dave Rich, told Huffpost UK: “Giving people the opportunity to change their views and learn, and tackling anti-semitism through education is definitely something to be welcomed.
“If it works, then it’s much better than just banning somebody,” he continued. “If you ban someone from your football stadium they still have their racist views, it’s much better to change them.
“This sets an example of how to tackle anti-semitism, not just for football clubs, but others in society.”
The Say No Anti-Semitism initiative was also launched in March and a delegation from the club attended the March of the Living at Auschwitz.
Two months later, 150 Chelsea fans visited Auschwitz and two Holocaust survivors, Harry Spiro and Mala Tribich, spoke of their experiences.
“Hearing from a survivor, learning about the Holocaust, and understanding what language constitutes hate speech, all contribute to a better understanding and greater awareness of what anti-semitism is and how to combat it,” said Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust.
Through this initiative, the Chelesea football club is making a real commitment in fighting this issue within the games and the wider community,” she added.
This past Sunday, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) took to walking with members and supporters through the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland in the hopes of raising $225,000 for mental health services.
Many walking had a special connection to the cause, and in an interview with KATU2, one young woman involved with NAMI explained her reason for walking. Having to resort to a hospital stay for emotional distress, Trillian Stanton realized the importance of support in recovering from mental illness. This realization is what inspired her to create Project Self-Care.
The project creates self-care boxes with various comforting items, such as fun snacks, journals, coloring books, a fidget toy. Each box also includes a handwritten note letting the recipient know that he or she is in someone’s thoughts. She states in her explanation of the project that “the idea behind project self care is to remind people that they are worth loving, we give them the materials to then use to help nurture themselves when they are in times of crisis.”
In the interview, Stanton stated, “When you’re in the middle of the night, and you want to not be here anymore, and you open this kit and you’re trying to take care of yourself, and you’ll think, ‘look at how much the community wanted to take care of me.'” She hopes this feeling of community will help those struggling with mental illness.
In the past three months, she has already given out 30 kits and is currently fundraising for $1,200 to help her project.
Stanton is not the only one however attempting to help those with mental illnesses in Oregon.
In a statewide study released earlier this year, Oregon was found to have a higher than average number of teens struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health issue in a year, but in Oregon, the average was actually 1 out of 3 students.
Multnomah County is currently taking measures to counteract this statistic by providing services in the schools, including providing specific people to talk to or a place to get more professional, serious help. The County health offices now also provide resources on their website as well as a through a phone line 24/7.
David Hidalgo, Director for Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services, stated in an interview with KATU2, “For students, being able to have a healthy mind is critical to being successful in school.”
The supervisor for School Based Mental Health in Multnomah County, Stephen Dunlevy, also stated in the interview the importance of teen’s mental health and the need to reduce the stigma. “It’s important that we reduce stigma so that getting access to mental health services is just like going to your doctor.