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Shikellamy grad to donate portion of book profits to fund college in Valley – Sunbury Daily Item

Posted: April 6, 2021 at 1:50 am

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SUNBURY A graduate from Shikellamy High School who authored a comprehensive college prep course plans to donate part of his profits to the Susquehanna Valley Community Education Project's (SVCEP) efforts to establish a community college in the Valley.

Noah Fenstermacher, 22, who is working toward his Master's in Education from Penn State University in State College, wrote "College Admissions of Guilt: How the Underserved Student Can Still Succeed in Higher Ed," which is being published through New Degree Press of Georgetown University. The book, which is available for pre-order now, will be published on Aug. 21 with 10 percent of the profits going to SVCEP.

"It's a comprehensive college prep book for the underserved student population," said Fenstermacher, a member of the Class of 2016 who recently joined the SVCEP Board of Directors. "It's going to walk you through choosing a school to go all the way through that stage of graduation and finding a job right when you leave the university."

Fenstermacher said he is "absolutely ecstatic and overwhelmed" by the amount of support he has received from the community. He said he hopes to give back to those who gave to him for almost 23 years.

"This book is more than self-help, as it is the personal story of a black transracial adoptee going through undergrad during the Trump administration, and the mistakes made and lessons learned along the way," said Fenstermacher. "Dont just take my word for it, as Ive compiled the advice of EdTech CEOs, college presidents, award-winning professors, and Ivy League alumni on how to navigate academia as a lower-income, nonwhite, and/or first-generation college student."

Fenstermacher interviews Susquehanna University President Johnathan Green; Samyr Qureshi, CEO for an educational technology company called KNACK; and Mike Makowsky, the screenwriter for the film "Bad Education."

Fenstermacher also interviewed a local Klansman in order to identify hate and the best ways to combat that in a college setting and beyond. The interview was conducted at the Hotel Edison in Sunbury with a third party to make sure nothing went wrong.

The initial goal is $5,000, but Fenstermacher also wants someone or some group to purchase a copy for every member of the Shikellamy Class of 2022. There are approximately 200 students.

"It's a lofty goal, but they need all the help they can get during this pandemic," he said.

'A great accomplishment'

Meghan Beck, the president of the SVCEP board, said Fenstermacher has volunteered for the SVCEP in the past.

"I'm really excited for Noah," said Beck. "It's a great accomplishment, and it's very generous. We're honored that he would considering doing this."

A study commissioned by SVCEP predicts a new community college in the region would have an impact of $78.5 million in new economic activity over 10 years. It would require a $1.2 million annual investment from Northumberland, Union, Montour and Snyder counties. Northumberland would be asked to provide $624,000, Union would be asked $240,000, Snyder would be $228,000 and Montour at $108,000, according to the study.

Throughout 2021 and 2022, the group would seek sponsorship from counties with a goal to seek a state application in 2022-23. By 2023-24, the goal is to have a president hired, a board of trustees appointed, administration, faculty and staff in place and programming and instruction started.

Beck and SVCEP officials plan to visit each of the counties' public meetings in the coming months to discuss the project. Montour County commissioners have already voted to not support the project, but Beck said they will go back to the leaders for further discussions and to try to change their minds.

"We've been collecting letters of support from businesses and individuals to show support for the project in the community," said Beck.

The physical book is $39 and the ebook is $15. The books can be pre-ordered at

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Shikellamy grad to donate portion of book profits to fund college in Valley - Sunbury Daily Item

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April 6th, 2021 at 1:50 am

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A Gay Man’s Guide to Life Delivers Empowering Insights to Inspire Personal Growth and Transformation – Milwaukee Community Journal

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Seattle, WA, April 5, 2021 As an innocent child, Britt East was a beautiful blend of masculine and feminine traits a tender-hearted soul who sensed he was inexcusably different, and felt unwelcomed and unwanted by his family and peers.

Its an all-too familiar narrative for gay youths who must learn to navigate the long, arduous road toward self-discovery, all the while trying to reconcile their personal truth with familial and societal expectations of normal behavior. Many young gay men become convinced of their brokenness and succumb to their despair, viewing seclusion (or even death) as an easier path than living their authentic lives.

If we dont live honestly and openly, we wont have the skills, wisdom, or relationships necessary to manifest our dreams, says East in his powerful new book, A Gay Mans Guide to Life: Get Real, Stand Tall, and Take Your Place. But when we do come out, we must confront the full force of societal homophobia, and consider a variety of questions.

Among those uncertainties are how to overcome internalized homophobia and cultivate sustainable gay friendships; how to create a family without mimicking the norms of a straight society; and, in a world of hook-up apps and disposable relationships, how to find lasting love.

A Gay Mans Guide to Life, which is part memoir and part inspirational guidebook, addresses these crucial topics and many others, through the lens of a gay man, for gay men everywhere.

Britt candidly and vividly shares his own traumatic, personal journey, and uses his experiences and insights to inform an approachable, no-nonsense path to help gay men set down excuses and get to the business of improving the most important facets of their lives, including body, mind, spirit, career, family and more. He offers hope and support, giving readers the sense of family that perhaps they never had. A Gay Mans Guide to Life is not comprised of new-age mumbo jumbo or wishy-washy self-help jargon. It is about real work focused on real results to help members of the gay community.

At its core, A Gay Mans Guide to Life is a manual for personal growth and development, with plenty of pragmatic advice to challenge and inspire gay men to uncover their true selves and live their best lives.

Britt East is an author and speaker who uses his experience, strength and hope to challenge and inspire change-oriented gay men to get down to the business of improving their lives. With over two decades of personal growth and development experience in a variety of modalities, such as the 12 Steps, Nonviolent Communication, yoga, meditation, talk therapy and the Hoffman Process, Britt is committed to building a personal practice of self-discovery that he can then share with gay men everywhere. He lives in Seattle with his husband and their crazy dog.

For more insights from the author, please visit, or follow him on Instagram (@britteast); Twitter (@britteast); or Facebook (@brittdawsoneast).

A Gay Mans Guide to Life: Get Real, Stand Tall, and Take Your Place

Publisher: Houndstooth Press

ISBN-10: 1544509227

ISBN-13: 978-1544509228

Available from,, Apple Books and many online outlets

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A Gay Man's Guide to Life Delivers Empowering Insights to Inspire Personal Growth and Transformation - Milwaukee Community Journal

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April 6th, 2021 at 1:50 am

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10 of the best self-help books for career motivation – Yahoo Lifestyle UK

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The Telegraph

If you asked most people to imagine their pre-pandemic selves, theyd probably look back and long for that carefree time. But I wouldnt. Because the pre-pandemic me usually had a drink in her hand, and its only in lockdown, aged 48, that Ive realised what a problem that was. Im not the only one. Yesterday, the Royal College of Psychiatrists warned of a spike in the number of people suffering from the effects of alcohol misuse and dependency as lockdown ends and the pubs reopen. The number of people seeking help, it said, has more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. Alcohol Change UK, meanwhile, has found that one in three adults are drinking more than before, while the Royal College Psychiatrists has reported a sharp rise in people asking for treatment for conditions associated with heavy alcohol consumption. When we talk about drinking problems, our language tends to focus on two extremes: people who are at rock bottom, or those who have recovered. But between the two is a vast grey area containing so many of us, particularly in midlife. Ive long had an intense relationship with alcohol, having worked in advertising in London. The culture amounted to: if you wanted to get the best deals, you never said no to a drink and didnt go home until the client did. I was good at it, and coped with the groggy mornings by never being more than eight hours from the next drink to top up my dopamine (the happiness hormone) levels. Eventually, after a decade of that life, I got sick of the commute. So, ten years ago, I quit to set up a childrens hospitality business in Essex, where I live as a single mum to Olivia, now 10. I loved my new work and quickly became successful, but my drinking habits were still unhealthy. Rather than long client lunches, it became a glass of wine at 6pm as I started cooking. Before I knew it, most of a bottle would be gone. By the time I began experiencing the perimenopause three years ago, I was drinking 50 units a week - not realising quite how far above the recommended number of 14 that was. Then came the pandemic. When the lockdown shuttered my business, I took Olivia and moved to my grandmothers flat in Hampshire. There, I homeschooled, spent time by the sea and re-evaluated. Like many people, I was drinking more out of boredom and anxiety. But one night I was sitting on the sofa holding a glass of wine when I thought, There must be more to life than this. From that day, I started to reconsider my relationship with alcohol. I wasnt wetting the bed, I wasnt drinking with breakfast - but did I have control? No. And that meant I had a problem. Alcohol, I realised, had been a crutch I used to help disassociate and draw a line between work and play; between being Mum and being an individual. So I made some changes. Soda in my wine. Whole weeks off. I began to understand just how reliant on alcohol I had been, which led me to some other significant discoveries. I had always been impulsive and a multitasker someone who takes too much on and, a few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). The ADHD means I struggle to switch off and slow down, which is where drinking helped me to dissociate. The perimenopause is related, too. When women experience this change, our dopamine levels drop, which can explain things like brain fog. Given that alcohol increases dopamine release, who can be surprised that we might be inclined towards an extra glass of wine? It took lockdown for me to realise all this, and now I am urging others to think about their relationship with alcohol. Ive put my energy into creating a lower-strength (12%ABV) alternative gin, called Mooze Booze, and, by and large, Im going to avoid pubs from now on. Watching my intake is one reason. But after a year of meeting friends to walk in nature, I have also realised how much of a con alcohol is. You can have a much more intimate chat strolling outside for an hour - and it will boost your dopamine, too. As told to Guy Kelly Your lockdown re-entry drinking plan Worried about pubs reopening? Here are some tips to keep you on track when you start socialising again For the suddenly sober Avoid temptation: The first 30 days after quitting are the hardest. Sobriety coach Simon Chapple says: When you feel strong enough, carry on as normal but in the meantime swap any boozy nights for something different maybe a nice meal out with your partner instead. Plan something for the day after your night out: Schedule a tennis match, facial or family brunch, so if your mind starts wandering to the thoughts of having a drink, you can focus on feeling great and fresh the next day instead, says Kate Baily, co-author of Love Yourself Sober . Find a sober role model: Ask around and it wont take long to find someone you respect who doesnt drink and who you can use as inspiration. Sober people love to share how great it feels suddenly you will see all the benefits of living a sober, healthy lifestyle, says Claire Owen of sobriety coaching service Soberholic. For the sober curious Keep a drinking diary: If youd like to drink less but not quit completely, measure how much youre drinking and use it to work out by how much to cut your drinking. An app such as Try Dry can be good for setting goals to reduce your booze consumption, by limiting the days of the week on which you drink, for example. Know your social window and stick to it: Often we drink out of boredom, so learn where your threshold is and when to leave. We dont sit drinking coffee for five hours as we would drinking in a bar. We have a catch up for a couple of hours and then generally change activity, says Mandy Manners of LoveSober. Practise mindful drinking: Instead of matching your friends drink for drink, notice what youre drinking and how much youre enjoying it. Aim to drink more slowly than those around you, putting your drink down at intervals. Likewise, take time to choose a drink you really enjoy and savour every sip. For the party person who doesnt want to overdo it Try low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks: If your life demands lots of socialising and you dont want to burn out, mix up hard booze with softer alternatives. It can help to choose a shortlist of three non-alcoholic drinks you like. If you ask for a ginger beer with fresh lime and they say, Sorry, we dont have that, you can immediately say cranberry and soda or virgin mojito That way you wont get tripped up, Baily says. Eat while you drink: Food slows down the rate the drink enters your bloodstream. To enjoy a night out without a binge, meet friends in a restaurant instead of a pub, order a bar snack, or eat before you go out. Ask for help: If you feel your drinking is out of your control, ask your GP for help or read the advice on Lots of people struggle with alcohol at some point in their lives and there's no shame in asking for support. Read more: Our boozy lockdown habits are what led to us piling on the pounds, not junk food Read more: Why we're drinking more but better in lockdown

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10 of the best self-help books for career motivation - Yahoo Lifestyle UK

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April 6th, 2021 at 1:50 am

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York County Domestic Relations office to reopen in wake of COVID-19 outbreak – York Dispatch

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York County Judicial Center(Photo: The York Dispatch)

York County's domestic relations office will reopen Tuesday, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

The office, located in the York County Judicial Center, was closed on Wednesday, March 31, after severalworkers there tested positive for COVID-19, according to AOPC spokesperson Stacey Witalec.

It was closed so the office could be cleanedand staff members could be cleared by medical professionals to return to work, she said.

Some of the workers in that office failed to follow guidelines regarding social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment, according to the state office. That lack of mask-wearing and disregard for guidelines resulted in employee-to-employee transmission, according to a previous AOPC news release.

On Monday, Witalec announced that the domestic relations office will reopen Tuesday and has been thoroughly cleaned.

Also on Monday, the AOPC alerted media that another judicial center employee has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

The employee last worked there on March 26 and had abided by social distancing and PPE guidelines, Witalec said.

At this point there's no indication that the public was exposed to the employee, she said.

The AOPC has notified the public about at least 35 employees in the York County Judicial Center who have tested positive for the virus.

The state agency isn't notified of every case of COVID-19 exposure in York County's courthouse. It's notifiedonly in cases where affected employees'jobs are considered part of the state court system, according toWitalec.

The judicial center offices and departments that are considered part of the state court system, according to Witalec, arecourt administration, adult and juvenile probation, the county bail agency and its support office, court appointed special advocates (CASA), court interpreters, court reporters, the court's self-help center, divorce masters, domestic relations andcounty judges' judicial chambers.

Employees in York County's 19 magisterial district judge offices also are considered part of the state court system, Witalec has said.

She said offices in the judicial center not included in AOPCnews releasesare the clerk of courts office, district attorney's office, facilities management, protection from abuse advocates, prothonotary's office, public defender's office, register of wills/recorder of deeds and the sheriff's office.

At least two of those offices the DA's office and the clerk of courts office have made public announcements about employees who have tested positive for exposure to the virus.

Most recently, District Attorney Dave Sunday announced publicly on Facebook that he had contracted the virus and is recovering at home.

Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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York County Domestic Relations office to reopen in wake of COVID-19 outbreak - York Dispatch

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April 6th, 2021 at 1:50 am

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COVID has been rough on kids. From clinginess to self-harm, here’s how to help. – Houston Chronicle

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How badly has the COVID-19 pandemic affected kids mental health? Mental Health America of Greater Houston recently held listening sessions with students, parents, teachers and administrators in the 28 Houston-area school districts that work with its Center for School Behavioral Health and what they heard was alarming.

According to Jamie Freeny, the centers director, K-12 students are now more frequently dealing with grief, family stress and isolation. Theres more clinginess, more self-harm, more cyber-bullying, more suicidal ideation, disrupted sleep and acting out. Kids are more frequently being diagnosed with anxiety, depression and stress-based diseases such as shingles.

Freeny, who has doctorate in public health, did her Ph.D research on childhood trauma. Here, she discusses specific ways that parents and other adults can help kids who are struggling.

I know that the Center for School Behavioral Help works to change systems in ways that help families. But could we talk about things that individuals can do to help the kids in their lives? For instance, what should a parent do if a 5-year-old clings to their leg and cries whenever the parent leaves the house?

Its really about assuring that little one that they are safe, that they are loved, and that you will be back. The clinging could be from a point of anxiety, not not knowing when they would see you next time, not knowing whats going to happen or whos going to keep them safe.

So you reassure them that you are there for them, that you love them, that you will be back and that they are safe. If youre leaving them at a day care or with a babysitter, make that connection. If the babysitters name is Mary, say, Mary is going to make sure you have food and make sure that youre safe. Then Ill come back after work.

Give them as much information as you can. With toddlers its difficult because they dont have the words to articulate feelings, nor can they understand time. But when youre dealing with kindergarten-age kids who are clingy, make a point of listening and validating them: I understand youre fearful. I understand youre upset. I understand youre scared.

Name the emotion. Tell them what it is so that they can start to articulate it: Mommy, Daddy, Im feeling scared. Or Im really worried.

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Its really important when talking with kids that we are aware of our own tone and body language. Oftentimes children pick up on that first. So if youre leaving and youre angry or frustrated, or maybe youre rushing because youre running late, the child may understand the mood as as something theyre causing. They might take your anger at a situation to mean that youre angry at them.

If you give them a hug and your hearts racing and youre breathing fast, more than likely their heart is going to race and theyll breathe faster as well. When you hug them, you want to be calm and present. Its really important that you are present, that youre looking at them and talking to them. Over time, if you do that consistently, they will start to understand, OK, Mommy is going to be back.

Then maybe youll see less of a that clinginess. But its not going to happen overnight, and its certainly something that you dont want to ignore.

A lot of parents are under huge stress too. Many are depressed or anxious. If Im a parent whos dealing with these issues, how do I insulate my child?

That is so important. The first thing that we do at Mental health America of Greater Houston is encourage people to take care of themselves. We cannot stress self-care enough.

Give yourself permission to take care of yourself, because if you dont prioritize your own health, no one else is going to.

Students work on their laptops as they attend virtual Houston Community College classes in the NHECHS Cafe at North Houston Early College High School Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021 in Houston.

What does that kind of self-care look like? Are we talking a me-time bubble bath or what?

Self-care is any activity to help yourself come back to a state of balance and calm, and to be in the present. Self-care is not a luxury. Self-care is not something that only people with money can participate in. It doesnt have to be a luxurious bath with candles, and scented fragrances and oils. It doesnt have to be a trip to the spa. Self-care can simply be taking time to walk out to your garage, sit in your car for five minutes, and take some deep breaths.

Just to be away from my screaming child?

Just to be away from your screaming child. Or to be away from your significant other. Or be away from any other distractions, even the TV. Maybe youve been watching stuff about the George Floyd trial or voting rights, and it upsets you.

Whatever it is, remove yourself from it so that you can then focus, take deep breaths, and engage in mindfulness or prayer or whatever works for you. Its very important for you to do that. Its not selfish.

Some people find self-care in daily walks. Some people find self-care in listening to music or watching birds. Its very personal.

Its important that you model that kind of behavior for your children. If they see you taking deep breaths when youre angry or upset or anxious, or holding your stomach, or closing your eyes, they will start to model those behaviors as well. So not only are you doing something good for yourself, youre setting a good model for your family.

What if my kid is sleeping for hours and hours on end? What should I do then?

We tend to see that with older youth. In the teenage years, more sleep is not uncommon. But if theyre sleeping for long periods, like, over a week or two, that is certainly a red flag. Thats time for conversation.

Ask the teen, How are you feeling? Whats motivating you? What are your goals? What drives you every day?

You might find that they dont have any motivators. They may be tired of this whole pandemic and want to sleep it away. When you are asleep, you dont have to worry about other people and socializing and bullying and what you look like and you know, all this stuff. So we should definitely recognize changes in sleep patterns as a red flag for stress or mental health concerns.

Then talk to the teen and help them set up some structure, make a plan. It might be, Every day at 11:30, were going to take a walk together. Every day at noon, were going to eat lunch together.

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Its important to ask that teenager, What is something you can look forward to? and then try to to fit that into the daily or weekly schedule. Its really difficult to get out of bed if you dont have anything to look forward to, or if you think the day is just going to drag on and not going to be a good day.

You also want to get to the root of the problem. Are they sleeping more because theyre tired of school? Or is it because theyre physically tired? Maybe its boredom: Extreme boredom was a huge topic of conversation during our listening sessions, and that can also drive a person to just want to sleep.

Ask open-ended questions. Why do you think that youre sleeping more these days? Listen. Just listen to them. Dont try to fix the problem. Dont try to come up with solutions. Listen and validate their concerns. Validate their emotions. If they say, You know what, Im tired of all this, and I just want to sleep, validate that.

Say something like, You know what? I am too, and we are going to get through this together. I can understand why you feel fearful or tired or uncertain or unmotivated. We all struggle with that at times. What can we do to move forward? Because this isnt healthy.

Dont make it about you, the parent, and what your expectations are not in that moment when theyre sharing with you. Be open and listen. You can come back later and set those expectations. But really work with them. Engage them in that conversation and engage them in planning a solution.

That general approach can work for a lot of problems with children and teens. It can pertain to teens who are not eating at all, or else overeating.

It can also pertain to children and teens who are complaining of headaches every day. Youd say something like, This is new. So tell me, what are you thinking about before this headache comes on? Or What are you doing before this headache hits? What are some things that we can do to that might alleviate that?

A stuffed animal with a mask is pictured in this file photo.

The self-harm behaviors are especially alarming. If my kid is cutting themselves or chewing their fingernails until they bleed, what could I do?

Again, start with showing your concern, not bringing it up as a punishable behavior but showing empathy and listening, I cant stress how important listening is. Oftentimes, we listen to respond. Especially if its our loved one, we want to fix the problem, move forward and sweep it under the rug or dismiss it. But thats just not what works well.

For me, those behaviors are hard to fathom. Why do kids do that?

Well, its not too difficult to understand if we remember that a teens brain is still developing. Theyre trying to understand their emotions and how to respond to them. And sometimes, when it comes to painful emotions, the go-to coping mechanism is to do whatevers going to get rid of that pain. For some youth, and for some adults, its exerting pain elsewhere: I am transferring this pain that Im feeling from embarrassment, shame, fear or whatever it is, to something that I can control. I cant control x, y or z, but I can control how often I cut. I can control the feeling.

I wont say thats always the crux of self-harm, but its a component. Thats why a lot of kids engage in substance abuse smoking, drinking, other forms of substance abuse. It helps release the pain.

Thats why its crucial for parents, mentors and educators to talk about healthy ways of coping and to help them understand that we can work through these temporary issues in other ways. Dont dismiss whats driving the behavior, and dont assume that you know whats driving the behavior.

At the beginning of this pandemic, we were like, Oh, children are so stressed out about wearing a mask and about social distancing. Well, not necessarily. Children were stressed out because they couldnt see their friends, they couldnt go to school, and they couldnt go outside and play.

So its really, really, really important that when we are observing these behaviors that we dont ignore them, we dont make assumptions, and we approach with empathy and concern. Its okay for parents to say that they may not know what to do themselves.

You may walk in on a child cutting themself, or see a childs burn marks on their legs or scratch marks on their arms. The approach then is to listen and to understand.

And know that there is help available. I wouldnt open up the conversation with, I see youre cutting. Im gonna send you to a psychiatrist. Thats not how that conversation should go.

Listen first. Then maybe, This has helped me understand why. I really feel bad for you. I hate that youre experiencing this. What can I do to help? I may not know the best next steps, but lets think about talking to a therapist. Or lets think about reaching out to your doctor. Because I want you to remain safe, and I want you to to be able to cope in more healthy ways.

Lots of kids have been stressed out by the same world events that are stressing out adults: By all the COVID deaths, or the election, or the deaths of George Floyd or Brianna Taylor. How can we talk about those things with kids?

Knowledge is power. Knowledge is key. The more facts that you have, the better prepared you can be to answer certain questions. That means doing some research, understanding whats happening not just what youre seeing in social media or what your friends or co-workers are saying, but really getting to the facts and then talking to your children using those facts. The most important thing that we can do is teach children to listen and to learn and to be respectful, but always to go back to the facts.

Try to explain things in ways kids can understand. So when you talk about a protest with a small child, you could say, You know how I might tell you to stand up to a bully that you see at school? Or how, if you and your friends want to have pizza at school every Friday, you might get together and make some signs. You might go talk to your teacher. You might go talk to the principal and say, Hey, we want to have pizza every Friday. Thats what protests are: Protests are recognizing changes that need to happen.

And youll want to talk about whats driving the protests that they recognize mistreatment of a group of people, that the protests are a way of speaking up about it.

When we talk about racism, oftentimes the question I get is, Whats the appropriate age to talk about that? Research tells us that between the ages of 4 and 5, children pick up and act on differences in skin color.

Its really important that those conversations start at home. You introduce skin color and race as something that is different about how a person looks, but thats the only thing it is: Its just a difference in skin color. You can say, Look at all the beautiful skin colors! and figure out ways to celebrate those differences.

That way, when children are up against other diversity issues, such as meeting a child in a wheelchair or somebody that is missing a limb, they meet them with a positive curiousness, rather than downplaying them or degrading them because they dont look the same.

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Remember to check your own biases. When we talk about race, or when we talk about the elections and the different Republican and Democrat parties, whatever side of the aisle that you are on, think about how you are talking about the people that are on the opposing side. When we talk about racism and discrimination, think about how you are describing people of other races and ethnicities.

If you were I dont know at the post office, and you dropped a piece of mail, and a Black man picked it up, be mindful of how you describe that. Is it necessary to say Oh, a Black man helped me instead of some nice man picked up a piece of mail for me?

Your body language and nonverbal cues are very telling there. Theyre as important as your words. Children pick up on that.

Those things are difficult to catch. Were not always conscious of them. Its just natural. Its happened in our families for so many years. But its crucial that we try because children pick up on those nuances. Be intentional about making those changes.

When children are asking questions about what theyre seeing on TV, asking, Why are adults so angry?, take the time to engage in those conversation. Applaud them for paying attention and asking. Often children are dismissed, so when things come up later on in life, they are scared to say something about it. Or they go to their social media, or they to their social group and try to figure out whats happening.

You really want them to come to you. As the parent, as the caregiver, as the educator, you want them to come to you. So you can start with being open and being honest, and and not being punitive.

Fifth grader Victoria Thomas uses her laptop to work on math at William Lloyd Meador Elementary School in Willis on Sept. 8.

With some mental-health challenges for instance, suicidal ideation after Ive had that first hard conversation with my kid, I am clearly going to want outside help. How do I get that? Where do I find it?

Try your childs school, your primary-care doctor, and resources such as Mental Health America of Greater Houston. NAMI, the National Association on Mental Illness, and the Hogg Foundation in Houston both provide information on mental illness. Those are great resources to to have in your back pocket.

For a young child, Sesame Street has some really great lessons on how to talk about race and racism, and how to talk about the elections, and how to talk about depression or anxiety, how to talk to a child whose parent is struggling with a mental illness.

The more that we talk about depression or anxiety or schizophrenia, the more normal these things will be. We can start to dismantle some of the stigma thats related to them.

People that struggle with mental illness are not bad people. Theyre not more violent. Theyre not scary. Theyre no one to be feared. We need to make sure that when we talk about mental illness, that were talking about it just like were talking about somebody who breaks their leg, or somebody who has a heart attack. The brain is just a part of the body, like the arms and the feet and legs. Mental illness is just another part of physical health.

Children experience stress and fear when somebody leaves or dies. They may cry. Those times are opportunities to talk about how to cope with emotions, so that in the future, those things dont advance to mental illness. We can teach kids early and intervene early so that they dont become adults struggling with depression or anxiety.

Check your own biases, your own thoughts, your own feelings and your own experiences, especially when it comes to things related to mental illness, illness, and suicidal ideation. Some of those words and behaviors may be a emotional trigger for you, because of your own experience. Maybe this is something that happened to you when you were younger, or you had a loved one who had those experiences. Understanding and checking that first, before you respond, is crucial. You dont want to take any anger or fearfulness or uncertainty from your own past experiences and pass them on to that child. Thats not their responsibility to handle, and it could complicate things more.

You absolutely can share those stories, but be mindful of what youre saying and how youre talking about that. If you had a sister that used to engage in self-harming behaviors, be mindful of how you describe that. Talk about what made her do that, and why she thought that was the only outlet, and then talk about, But here is what we know.

Theres a lot to keep in mind. Its hard being an adult.

Adulting is hard! But its a challenge that many of us rise to every day. And those who engage in self-care tend to do it better.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.,

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COVID has been rough on kids. From clinginess to self-harm, here's how to help. - Houston Chronicle

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What Does It Mean To Be Customer-Centric In 2021? – Forbes

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Many companies aim to be customer-focused but struggle to know what it actually looks like and how to truly make customers the center of their businesses.

Customer experience is continually evolving as technology and customer demands change. Just because a company was once customer-centric doesnt mean it still is in 2021.

What does it mean to be customer-centric in 2021? Consider these six factors of customer-centric companies:

Led By Customer-Centric Leaders

True customer-centricity starts at the top. The most customer-centric leaders set the example to ingrain a customer focus into the culture and make customers central to every decision the company makes.

Truly customer-centric leaders systemize customer-focused leadership and development in their organizations to train the next generation of leaders how to serve and connect with customers. When training is an organized part of the company, customer-centricity becomes a long-term hallmark for the company instead of something fleeting that fades when a customer-centric leader leaves.

Tricia Griffith is a customer-focused leader as CEO of Progressive Insurance. She sets the tone within the company by continually listening to customers and employees and taking risks to try new things to best serve customers. Her creative thinking around customers has created a culture where employees are encouraged and empowered to take big risks for customers. And her leadership makes a differenceProgressive is regularly included in lists of satisfied customers, and the company has a 94% employee satisfaction score. Clearly, customer-focused leaders make a difference.

Focus on Personalization

Modern customers have experienced hyper-personalization from big companies like Spotify, Amazon and Netflix and now expect every company, big and small, to offer high levels of personalization. In 2021, companies cant afford to not prioritize personalization.

Personalization is at the heart of customer-centricity. When a company is wholly focused on customers, it wants to deliver unique experiences to each person instead of one-size-fits-all solutions. Customer-centric companies know that simply plugging a customers name into a mass email isnt enoughthey need to create a unique experience tailored to each customer.

Tesla focuses on personalization throughout the entire customer experience, but especially through its driver profiles. Tesla cars remember each drivers preference for seat, steering wheel and mirror location, as well as suspension, braking, radio presets and even driving style. The seamless integration of driver profiles into the Tesla experience makes the car an extension of the driver and allows each person to drive the car in the way they want and that is most comfortable to them.

Personalization comes in multiple forms, from AI-powered apps to recommendations and products designed specifically for each customer.

Make Customers Lives Easier, Even If They Have To Work Harder

One of the main things customers are looking for in 2021 is convenience. They want to be able to get the information and service they need on their schedules, not on the schedules of the brands they do business with. Customer-centric companies realize the importance of convenience and go out of their way to make customers lives easier, even if that means they have to work harder.

Its easier for companies to make customers call a contact center between certain hours to get help. But limited availability means customers are stuck to only getting assistance between certain hours and often having to sort through a difficult phone tree or explain their situation multiple times. A customer-centric alternative is a self-service option where customers can chat with a bot at any time of day or night and then be seamlessly transferred to a human agent if they need extra assistance. Self-service options may be more difficult for companies and require more time and resources, but they make customers lives easier.

Undergo a Digital Transformation

To succeed in the era of customer empowerment, companies must undergo a continual digital transformation to create digital solutions for their internal and external customers, tear down silos and use technology to solve everyday problems. When done well, digital transformation creates an agile and technology-driven company that can best meet customers needs. Companies shouldnt undergo digital transformation simply to say theyve done it or to adopt the flashiest technology; real digital transformation is rooted in solving customer problems and delivering a consistently high-quality experience.

GEs digital transformation included a radical restructuring of the company that created a new market and consolidated business units to report digital information on a straight path to the CEO. The radical transformation allowed the company to help customers with a digital-first approach and made digital the focus of the company.

A customer-focused digital transformation shifts the mindset of the entire company to solve problems with digital solutions. In todays world of technology, companies have to continually transform to stay relevant.

Proactively Use Data

There has never been more customer data available than there is today, and customer-centric companies use that data to paint an accurate picture of their customers. Some organizations may scratch the surface of data, but truly customer-centric brands use it to proactively serve customers. Predictive analytics can pinpoint when a customer is most in need of a product or service or when they might require changes or additional service. Its at these moments that the best companies step in to offer support before customers even realize they need it. Customer-centric companies arent just focused on putting out fires or addressing concerns customers have with their productsthey proactively aim to create positive experiences, recommend products and solve problems before they become larger issues.

Sephora is as much a data company as it is a beauty company. With its wealth of customer data, Sephora uses its app to predict when customers will need to purchase new products and when they may be looking for something new. Other companies prioritize customers by predicting major life events that may trigger customers needing new products or advice.

Innovate and Pivot

If 2020 taught us anything, its the importance of agility. Customer trends and needs change at a rapid pace, and customer-centric companies can swiftly change direction to meet those needs, often even before customers realize the need for something new.

Customer-centric companies arent afraid to take risks and innovate. No matter their size, they dont get bogged down with red tape and bureaucracy and instead operate with a startup mentality to move and be agile. Companies that are truly focused on customers aim for continual innovation to bring the best products and services to customers.

Customer-centricity is vital for companies in 2021. When a company is truly customer-centric, every decision and action is done with customers in mind. Its the customer-centric companies that set the tone and lead the charge with loyal, satisfied customers.

Blake Morganis a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and the author of the bestselling bookThe Customer Of The Future. Sign up for her weekly newsletterhere.

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What Does It Mean To Be Customer-Centric In 2021? - Forbes

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A Better Time Management Strategy: Understand the Difference Between Distraction and Diversion | Forge – Forge

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Photo: Alistair Berg/Getty Images

Because I write about distraction and how to avoid it, I often get asked the question Arent distractions sometimes a good thing? Dont we all need some distraction in our lives?


Distractions are always bad. Period. Diversions, on the other hand, can be good. This isnt just hair-splitting: The two concepts are fundamentally different, and if you want to use your time productively, you need to understand the important distinction between them.

As I explain in my book Indistractable, distraction is an action that pulls you away from what you intended to do.

Distraction prevents you from living out your values and becoming the person you want to become. Its the opposite of traction, actions that move you toward what you really want.

In contrast, diversion is a refocusing of attention. Diversions can be healthy: There are situations in life when the best thing you can do is to refocus your attention, especially when youre turning away from suffering you cant control.

Heres one of my favorite examples of a helpful diversion: Children are notoriously anxious before surgery, and their levels of preoperative anxiety are known to reduce the effectiveness of anesthesia and increase recovery times. But sedative medications arent generally a good idea for kids, so physicians need alternatives to keep them calm.

In a 2006 study, one group of children was given anti-anxiety medication before surgery, another group played handheld video games, and a third control group was given no medication and no video games before surgery. The kids in the video-game group were the only ones to show a decrease in anxiety before surgery. Amazingly, they also required less anesthesia during the procedure and suffered from fewer medication side effects after surgery.

The video games proved effective, researchers believed, because they diverted the childrens attention from uncertainty and fear. The engaging nature of the video game helped children focus away from the inevitable discomfort of their situation and toward the challenge of the game.

The same technique works on adults, too, as shown in burn patient research. Burn patients are typically given large doses of medications to help them through the excruciating pain of cleaning their wounds. But scientists at the University of Washington, Seattle, designed a virtual reality game that diverted patients attention and immersed them in a different set of circumstances. The researchers found that patients who played the game during wound cleaning felt up to 50% less pain. In fact, playing the virtual reality game was more effective at reducing pain than using medication. Thats a healthy diversion.

The game was still traction, not distraction, because it was exactly what the patients wanted to do with their time and attention. They were simply diverting their focus away from suffering they couldnt otherwise control.

So, beyond painful medical scenarios, when exactly is diversion a good idea?

Heres a rule of thumb: When the suffering youre experiencing is outside your control and unreasonable for you to escape.

You cant reasonably expect someone whos undergoing burn treatment to be 100% zen. Similarly, you cant reasonably expect a young child to be totally quiet and relaxed on a five-hour flight. Theyre going to suffer some boredom, and that suffering (depending on their age) may be outside of their control. In those times, something like an iPad can be a great diversion.

This is why, even though Im a proponent of raising indistractable kids, when I take my daughter on a very long road trip or flight, she can spend more time watching movies and shows. Thats not a distraction from something she ought to be doing; its a perfectly healthy diversion from an uncomfortable situation thats outside of her control.

On the other hand, I dont support letting the iPad become an iNanny at the dinner table, where a gadget would be a distraction from family time. Distractions are never good.

Diversions, however, can be a great tool for enduring pain or discomfort. By understanding the distinction, youre empowering yourself to use diversions in a healthy way while avoiding wasting time on unhealthy distractions.

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A Better Time Management Strategy: Understand the Difference Between Distraction and Diversion | Forge - Forge

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The Truth About Prisons – –

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Mary Fish does not deserve to die in prison. It will not benefit her or anyone else. On the contrary, making the sixty-eight-year-old Native American woman finish out the eight remaining years of her 2002 sentence at a state prison in Oklahoma will rob her of the chance shes earned to contribute positively to society.

Law, in her issue-by-issue approach, writes about the invisibility of incarcerated women and trans people, even as the rate of incarceration for women has grown since 1980 at twice the rate of men.

Fish, whose story was told in the December/January issue of The Progressive by freelance writer Victoria Law, has stopped using drugs and alcohol and taken part in self-help groups and other prison programs. Her health history includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which put her at a higher risk from COVID-19. Shes a little old lady, for crying out loud.

Yet, even if the current push to reform the nations prison system advances, Fish may not see a reprieve. Thats because Fish, like nearly half the 1.5 million people in U.S. state and federal prisons, has committed violent offenses, which in her case tied back to her abuse of drugs and alcohol. And this, writes Law in her ironically titled new book, Prisons Make Us Safer, leaves her excluded from the narrative that mass incarceration is driven by nonviolent drug offenses, which in fact make up just 22 percent of the whole. She urges policymakers to move past pronouncements about nonviolent drug offenders to include the more complicated and nuanced scenarios involving violence.

Law also torpedoes the demonstrably false beliefs that prisons promote rehabilitation; that the threat of incarceration serves as a deterrent; that stiff sentences reduce the incidence of murder and sexual assault; that smaller prison populations mean higher crime rates; and that publishing the names of sex offenders on public registries enhances public safety.

The author of an earlier book titled Resistance Behind Bars, Law goes after prison myths on principle, even challenging commonly held assumptions such as seeing privately run prisons and immigration detention centers as a main driver of mass incarceration. In reality, she writes, privately run prisons incarcerate [only] between 8 and 8.5 percent of the U.S. prison population.

Law, in her issue-by-issue approach, writes about the invisibility of incarcerated women and trans people, even as the rate of incarceration for women has grown since 1980 at twice the rate of men. She recounts how policing and imprisonment became tools for incapacitating communities before they could organize and demand social change. She stresses the role of race in mass incarceration, including that all but eleven of the more than 2,000 people federally charged for crack cocaine over a three-year period were Black, and none were white. She points out that the tortuous conditions within jails and prisons often exacerbateif not causemental health issues.

Worst of all, Law argues, mass incarceration robs victims as well as offenders of approaches that can help bring closure and a start to reconciliation. Instead of encouraging offenders to take responsibility, prisons simply act as warehouses, removing people from societyand from any chance of trying to make amends.

Law identifies better approaches, from education programs that cut recidivism rates almost in half, to deferment programs for young offenders like the Common Justice initiative established in New York City in 2008, to restorative justice programs, to calls for the abolition of prison altogether.

The problem with prison policy isnt that we dont know what works and what doesnt but that people who have other agendas dont care. As Law puts it, The criminal legal system isnt broken. Its functioning as intendedas a form of surveillance, control, and punishment and as a way to conceal rather than address societys problems.

This urgent and useful book makes a compelling case for making a break from that past.

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Girls’ Confidence Plummets at as Young as 8. Here’s How to Help Them or Yourself – NBC4 Washington

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What to Know

Do you wake up every morning feeling like a fierce queen?

Some days its tough, an eighth-grade girl said in response to the question on a Washington, D.C., confidence coach's podcast.

The days that I have confidence, I use it to the best of my ability. I fight with it. I strengthen it. I make it big. And the days that I dont, I kind of fake it til I make it, the 14-year-old named Bella said.Her family opted to withhold her last name to protect her privacy.

Confidence coach Dina Scippa works to help women and girls "embrace the fundamental belief that they are enough, she said. Her company, Enough Labs, is named after that goal.

My vision is for girls to embrace how enough they already are. You have no idea how enough you already are, she said during Womens History Month.

Scippa, 39, offers one-on-one and group coaching sessions, workshops and retreats, both in-person and online. She launched her company last year on the H Street Corridor of Northeast D.C.

Scippa is one of many coaches and writers working to boost the confidence of women and girls. A look at the publishing world alone suggests theres a big market for the guidance; the self-help books Untamed, by Glennon Doyle, and You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero, are bestsellers.

Dina Scippa (Credit: Courtesy of Dina Scippa)

Research suggests that many girls confidence takes a nosedive at as early as age eight. In their 2018 book The Confidence Code for Girls, writers Katty Kay, JillEllyn Riley and Claire Shipman found that girls confidence drops by 30% from ages 8 to 14, with a particularly steep drop starting at age twelve.

The writers and a polling firm asked a diverse group of more than 1,300 girls across the country, How confident are you? Some boys reported lower confidence at the same age, but not to the same extent.

I feel like everybody is so smart and pretty, and Im just this ugly girl without friends, one teen girl told the authors. I feel that if I acted like my true self, that no one would like me, another said.

Scippas tween and teen clients report self-doubt, pressure to please others and a compulsion to be perfect, she said. Many girls are completely disconnected to what makes them happy, she said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made some of these feelings worse and separated girls from friends and activities that give them a sense of identity.

Scippa, whos trained as a youth coach, said her own confidence plunged at age 10 or eleven. She didnt feel attractive or like she fit in, and those feelings as they do for many people carried into adulthood. Her turning point came in her late 20s, as she worked as a gender equality specialist on international development projects.

I saw the impact I was having on girls around me, she said.

1) Identify and squash negative thought patterns. The more energy you give a thought or idea, the more it grows. Youre not far behind; youre right where you need to be.

2) Motivate with courage, not fear. Imagine what courage would look like.

3) Help a girl connect with what makes her happy. Find it and youll help her thrive.

Scippa said shes hopeful about girls future when she sees individual girls start to accept themselves as they are.

Your smile should be big and you should walk so fearlessly

Bella, the 14-year-old girl on Scippas podcast, said she started to compare herself to other girls when she was about 9 years old.

Things start coming up. Dress sizes become a thing. Bikinis become a thing. And suddenly its, Is my stomach too big? Is my hair too long? Am I too tall? Am I too short? All of these thoughts just start flooding in, she said.

Lately, though, her perspective has changed.

Nothing should matter except who you are, and the only thing that you should worry how big it is is the size of your smile. Your smile should be big and you should walk so fearlessly, she said.

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Girls' Confidence Plummets at as Young as 8. Here's How to Help Them or Yourself - NBC4 Washington

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People thought I was crazy: Working with DTC brands inspired former agency exec to found a skin-care brand mid-pandemic – Glossy

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Last July, Maddie Fantle left digital marketing agency Direct Agents with the goal of starting her own direct-to-consumer brand. In her role as an associate director of creative and marketing at Direct Agents, 28-year-old Fantle had worked with DTC brand founders and entrepreneurs, many of whom were also in their late twenties, and that served as inspiration to her.

For Fantle, becoming an entrepreneur was a long-time goal that was accelerated by the pandemic. Hearing from other entrepreneurs and working with brand founders to help them accomplish their goals made Fantle reevaluate her own and ultimately led her to take the leap to leave the agency and bring her own brand to the market. By January of 2021, Fantle did just that with a DTC skin-care brand, Maes Face, putting her savings as well as funding from a friends and family round of financing into building the brand.

I wanted to become an entrepreneur and build something like they built, said Fantle, adding working from home amid the pandemic made her reevaluate her goals. No matter when you start a business, theres a type of risk associated with it. In my case, it was during a pandemic people thought I was crazy.

Maes Face now has four employees and sells four colorful vegan face masks; Fantle is intentionally starting small with one type of product, but hopes to grow into a larger wellness beauty brand in the coming years and aims to produce a new product within the next six months.

Fantle is one of a number of agency execs looking to go from working with brands to become a brand founder. Former DTC creative shop Gin Lane famously pivoted to become Pattern, a DTC brand holding company. As previously reported by Digiday, former Huge CEO Aaron Shapiro is using his agency chops to bolster a DTC life insurance start-up, Dayforward. And performance marketing shops have also been wading into the DTC space, building their own brands while continuing to work with them.

We have all learned how precious and short our lives can be and thats part of why I believe there is going to be a talent drain this summer and into fall, said Christie Cordes, a talent recruiter for ad agencies, of the impact of the pandemic and why agency talent may be eyeing creating their own brands. The agencies who drive mass content work and productivity based on lowest price are fighting their way in a race to the bottom.

The pivot from DTC agency to DTC founder may also be due to agency employees close ties with those brands. Ive observed that DTC brands have a more intimate relationship dynamic with their agencies than, say, Fortune 500 brands have with their AORs, said Michael Miraflor, independent consultant at Third City Advisory. Theres more of an understanding of the business model, the levers to pull from a performance media perspective, and how it all works together with brand building.

Miraflor continued: Also its known that some DTC agencies have retainer/ equity relationships with the brands they help launch and grow, so theres more of an entrepreneurial bent in general that I think gives DTC [agency] executives a base of knowledge and confidence to launch their own brands.

While Fantle had a passion for skin care her college roommates made fun of her use of avocado and manuka honey on her face she took a data-driven approach to brand creation. The truth is I thought of the consumer first, and then I compared it with things I do like, said Fantle, adding that the popularity of self-care and selfies with Gen-Z and millennials led her to create Maes Face. You can have interests, but that doesnt always translate to a business.

As for marketing, Fantle spent the first month building up an audience for the brand on Facebook and Instagram organically. Since then, the brand has started to use paid advertising Fantle declined to share marketing budget figures primarily on Facebook and Instagram. However, with the privacy changes and iOS 14 update looming, Fantle plans to diversify that spending to other channels like TikTok shortly.

Were still in our learning period, said Fantle, adding that the brand is only in month three of existence.

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People thought I was crazy: Working with DTC brands inspired former agency exec to found a skin-care brand mid-pandemic - Glossy

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