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Christmas caring packed in a shoebox

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first_img22 December 2010Thanks to an innovative community project, some of South Africa’s underprivileged children will be able to experience the joy of Christmas.In a heart-warming display of the festive season spirit of caring and sharing, a plethora of presents and a whole lot of love have been carefully packed into shoeboxes to provide almost 32 000 needy children with a gift this Christmas.The Santa Shoebox Project was established in Cape Town in 2006 by Dee Boehner, director of the public benefit organisation then known as From the Children, To the Children.The organisation has since changed its name to the Kidz2Kidz Trust, but its principle of providing privileged children with an opportunity to do something for their not-so-fortunate peers, thereby teaching them the importance and the joy of giving, remains the same.The project’s first outing five Christmases ago saw 180 personalised gift boxes pledged, packed and delivered for distribution to needy youngsters. The following year’s total reflected a strong growth to 2 000 boxes, which burgeoned to more than 8 000 in 2008.Last year’s donations grew even more to see Santa’s bags at collection points around the country stuffed with more than 16 000 beautifully decorated shoeboxes, which were distributed to more than 200 children’s homes, childcare facilities and places of safety.The target for 2010 was initially set at 16 000 boxes, but strong support saw this figure revised upwards to 28 000.In a thrilling indication of how the project has captured the imagination of a caring nation, a phenomenal 31 663 boxes were eventually pledged and have been dropped off at the 15 collection points around the country.This year, for the first time, the project is also extending into neighbouring Namibia, with a collection point in Windhoek.Spreading the spiritOne of those who took part this year for the first time was Lauren Collier of Port Elizabeth. She heard of the initiative from friends in Cape Town who had previously supported it.While Collier was wondering how she would be able to get her box to one of the drop-off points in the Mother City, she learnt that the project was coming to Port Elizabeth this year for the first time thanks to the initiative of local co-ordinator Kim Keen. After also learning of the venture while on a visit to Cape Town, Keen was determined to see it implemented in her home city.And the response has “completely blown me away”, she says.She started her planning with a very conservative and, she hoped, reachable target of 150 boxes. Within a week of online pledges opening nationally on 1 September, all of these Port Elizabeth boxes had been snapped up and Keen was inundated with calls from would-be donors eager to deliver.As word of the project spread rapidly, local pledges kept pouring in until there were 1 125 boxes, enabling Keen to increase the initial list of four beneficiary facilities in Port Elizabeth to 18. Supporters even drove in from the neighbouring centres of Grahamstown and Port Alfred, more than 100km away, to drop off their boxes, she says.But it did not end there. East London, some 300km further up the Eastern Cape coast, got wind of the project and collected 60 boxes for its needy children – despite having no official co-ordinator. Keen roped her mother, a Buffalo City resident, in to help. “She didn’t know what had hit her,” she laughs.Another Eastern Cape town, the surfing mecca of Jeffreys Bay, collected 70 boxes, while a supporter from George, on the Garden Route, approached Keen to volunteer as co-ordinator for next year, to see the project also implemented there.An easy way to contributeBut what is it about this particular project that has caused an interested South African public to so generously open their hearts, and their wallets, for the country’s children?“I always like to do something for those less fortunate at Christmas, and this seemed an ideal way to contribute,” says 23-year-old Collier, who has just completed her studies as a primary school teacher.What especially appealed to her were the very clear guidelines for packing a box, which she found on the project’s website“This makes it so much easier than trying to figure out what is appropriate to give – and all the children at any one facility then get more or less the same sort of things, making sure no one is disappointed when they open their box.”Another aspect that appealed to Collier was the personalised gift-giving. Project supporters can select the age and gender of the child (or children) for whom the box is intended, and receive a gift label with the child’s name to be attached to it. They also know the organisation through which the child will be reached.Keen agrees that this is one of the project’s most appealing aspects – that supporters can know exactly where their donations will be going and who will benefit. However, generic boxes are accepted when the number of boxes donated exceeds the number of children whose names have been provided by the beneficiary organisations.The project, on its website, explains that many people want to contribute to their community or do their bit for charity, but often do not know where to start.“The Santa Shoebox Project takes pride in channelling all that positive energy and goodwill into something that is credible, achievable, makes a real difference in a specific child’s life and leaves the donors feeling really good about themselves,” it says.Gift guidelinesThe website indicates a list of items that must be packed into each box – and those to be avoided. Boxes are required to contain a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap and a facecloth, an item of clothing, educational supplies, sweets and a toy. This carefully thought-out list ensures the child gets something to use, to wear, to do, to eat and to love.Gift ideas for each category are provided, with further ideas for boxes for babies and teenagers. All gifts must be new and age-appropriate. The organisation also warns of items which should not be packed into the box, such as fragile objects, electronics, medicines or violence-related toys such as guns or soldiers.Creativity is encouraged in both gift selection and decorating of the boxes, which can then become special keepsake boxes for the children – many of whom might never previously have had anything they could claim as exclusively their own.Volunteers at the designated drop-off points receive the boxes for distribution – this year to about 350 child-care facilities throughout the country, usually at Joy of Giving celebration parties.And Keen found plenty of local businesses only too happy to come to the party this year – all of Port Elizabeth’s celebration events have been sponsored by local companies, further enhancing the children’s Christmas experience.For her, being involved in “this amazing project” has been a humbling experience, Keen says. “It has been absolutely fantastic to realise how many genuine, caring and wonderful people filled with humanity there are out there.”And she has indeed seen the joy that both giving and receiving can bring. “Parents have really encouraged their children to get involved and make this project their own,” she says. “So youngsters have arrived beaming and proudly bearing their boxes – to be given to ‘a little boy’ or ‘a little girl … just like me’.”And the excitement and joy that opening a box holds for the receiver are something to behold, she says. “We had one young boy of about 10 who nearly went into orbit with delight when he unpacked his box to find a really cool Ben 10 t-shirt inside.”So, while it might not yet be the night before Christmas, Santa’s ever-growing band of helpers is already out there, hard at work delivering the goods.First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

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Remembering Boutros Boutros-Ghali

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first_imgIt was a tricky global environment when Boutros Boutros-Ghali became the secretary-general of the United Nations in 1992. The world was emerging from the Cold War and countries were redefining relationships with each other. He navigated a new path for the organisation.United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali addresses the International Conference on Population and Developments in Cairo on 5 September 1994 to produce a Programme of Action. (Image: UN Photo, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr) • Connecting women to technology  • South Africa’s competitive advantage in the developing world  • South African feminist a global voice for women  • UN launches Mandela Rules for prisoners • UN awards first Nelson Mandela prize Priya PitamberBoutros Boutros-Ghali became the sixth secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) on 1 January 1992, when he began his five-year term at the helm of the global organisation. He died on 16 February 2016 at the age of 93.“We pay tribute to the former UN secretary-general and wish to convey our deepest condolences to his family and his country, Egypt,” said President Jacob Zuma on his death. “May his soul rest in peace.”Born in Cairo, Boutros-Ghali was the first African to hold the position of secretary-general of the UN. During his tenure, the world was in a “critical post-Cold War period when the world body was redefining itself and engaging in more international peacekeeping operations that often received criticism for its efforts”, said the Presidency.Time of promise and perilAddressing the General Assembly’s special tribute at UN Headquarters in New York, current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Boutros-Ghali had both the fortune and the misfortune to serve as the first post-Cold War UN chief.“While the United Nations was never as paralysed during the Cold War as many have portrayed, the new dynamic gave the organisation new leeway to act,” Ban said. “This brought promise and peril – and Mr Boutros-Ghali experienced both.Memory of former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali honoured at the UN, see more: https://t.co/TPqYWDcec1 pic.twitter.com/Wci00qhHbE — United Nations (@UN) February 18, 2016“Perhaps he was too direct for some; he might have been too professorial for others. Some definitely found him too independent – a goal that he considered among the highest virtues for any secretary-general of the United Nations,” said Ban.He described Boutros-Ghali as relentless in defending the organisation and its charter, and quoted the former secretary-general:“With all the convulsions in global society, only one power is left that can impose order on incipient chaos: it is the power of principles transcending changing perceptions of expediency.”Boutros-Ghali broke barriers & new ground – @UN_Radio covers Friday’s #UNGA tribute https://t.co/LJJ6fo4jh6 pic.twitter.com/ldpRS4uXMM — United Nations (@UN) February 19, 2016Career highlightsSoon after Boutros-Ghali was inaugurated, the UN Security Council met in it’s first-ever summit of Heads of State and requested a report on the way the organisation could strengthen capacity for preventive diplomacy, peace-making and peacekeeping. It resulted in a report, penned by Boutros-Ghali, called An Agenda for Peace.“As secretary-general, he presided over a dramatic rise in UN peacekeeping,” Ban told reporters. “He also presided over a time when the world increasingly turned to the United Nations for solutions to its problems, in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War.”Boutros Boutros-Ghali, secretary-general of the United Nations, with President Nelson Mandela at the presidential residence in Pretoria on an official visit to South Africa on 26 April 1996. (Image: John Isaac, UN Photo, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)In his article celebrating 70 years of the UN, Boutros-Ghali wrote that the invention of peacekeeping was one of the organisation’s proud moments.Another standout moment for him was the declaration of human rights and the World Conference on Human Rights held at Vienna in 1993. “There have been many conferences setting world agendas and goals before and after Vienna, but for the world to come together to define human rights, and to state clearly a global commitment to their achievement, was an important moment in history,” Boutros-Ghali wrote.See more from Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s tenure as Secretary-General in @UN_Photo gallery: https://t.co/fcoW75ZBqP pic.twitter.com/3CTQvjkMJu — United Nations (@UN) February 18, 2016Watch more on his appointment to the UN:About Boutros-GhaliBoutros-Ghali was born in Cairo on 14 November 1922. He received a Bachelor of Law degree from Cairo University in 1946 and diplomas from Paris University in subjects such as political science, economics and public law. He received his PhD in international law from Paris University in 1949.He became Professor of International Law and International Relations at Cairo University, and from 1974 to 1977, he was a member of the Central Committee and Political Bureau of the Arab Socialist Union.He “had a long association with international affairs as a diplomat, jurist, scholar and widely published author”, according to his profile on the UN website.He became a member of the Egyptian parliament in 1987 and was a member of the secretariat of the National Democratic Party from 1980. Until assuming the office of secretary-general of the UN, he was also vice-president of the Socialist International.Boutros-Ghali was also part of the Camp David Summit Conference in September 1978, which resulted in the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, signed in 1979.“He led many delegations of his country to meetings of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, as well as to the Summit Conference of the French and African Heads of State. He also headed Egypt’s delegation to the General Assembly sessions in 1979, 1982 and 1990.” Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (third from right) visits with young residents of a UN-supported orphanage on 22 October 1993, operated by the Irish humanitarian organisation GOAL. To the left of the secretary-general is Brigadier General Maurice Quadri, commander of the French contingent of the Second United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II). (Image: F Ribere, UN Photo, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr)In celebrating the 70th anniversary of the UN, Boutros-Ghali wished to build on past achievements and update it for a changing, modern world. “Just as the United Nations invented peacekeeping, we now need to modernise the practice, and the Security Council’s use of the instruments at its disposal to promote international peace and security. We need a new Agenda for Peace,” he wrote.last_img read more

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How to prepare yourself for an investor: a guide

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first_imgA recent survey found that many South African entrepreneurs needed help with things such as business planning. Find out more about how to prepare yourself for an investor, here.The Real State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa 2017 survey finds that some entrepreneurs do not know where to go for funding. There are various sources of funding, such as angel investors and crowdfunding. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterFunding is one of the challenges faced by many entrepreneurs in South Africa. In the Real State of Entrepreneurship in South Africa 2017 survey, many entrepreneurs indicated that they required education specific to the practicalities of running a business such as marketing support and business planning.According to the Seed Academy, which conducted the survey, there were more than 1,200 respondents this year. In addition, to deepen its insight into the true state of entrepreneurship in South Africa, the survey expanded its scope from start-ups to all entrepreneurs at any stage of business development.It was found that 18% of respondents had attempted to get funding from banks or development funding institutions such as the Industrial Development Corporation or the Department of Trade and Industry.“Some entrepreneurs indicated that they simply didn’t know where to go for funding, especially in light of the fact that most early-stage business funding requirements are below the R100,000 threshold,” said Donna Rachelson, CEO of Seed Engine, which incorporates the Seed Academy and the WDB Seed Fund. This is the third annual survey the Academy has conducted.Here are some learnings to prepare yourself before you approach an investor for funding:The different types of fundingOnline publication Entrepreneur Magazine lists the different forms of funding as angel investment, funding from a bank, crowdfunding, funding for previously disadvantaged individuals, and bootstrapping.Angel investment is when a wealthy professional provides you with start-up capital in exchange for equity in the business or a fixed percentage interest on the loan. Angel investors can be individuals or can be part of an angel network, to distribute risk.Bank funding depends on the different types of loans available and which kind is best suited to your needs. You need to provide a full set of financials and a comprehensive business plan for the bank officials to examine.Crowdfunding is similar to angel investment, but many individuals may pledge different amounts to the business in exchange for equity, interest or other more creative returns. There are South Africans platforms for crowdfunding: startme.co.za, thundafund.com and crowdfunding.co.za. You can also try international crowdfunding platforms such as kickstarter.com, indiegogo.com and rockethub.com.Funding for previously disadvantaged individuals can be in the form of a grant, loan or tender, which is given to previously disadvantaged people who have small businesses.Bootstrapping means starting and growing your business without any external help.Essential elements an investor wantsMarketability, sustainability and the business owner’s passion for the project were the essential elements that would interest an investor, said Gerrie van Biljon, executive director of Business Partners. He told the online business network SME Toolkit South Africa that entrepreneurs should prepare a concise story around their business idea.Van Biljon also advised that the entrepreneur know every detail of their idea and business plan. “Your value proposition should come through succinctly – what are you offering to whom, and why will they be prepared to buy it.”Useful documents for preparing your business planDownload the Industrial Development Corporation’s guidelines on how to prepare a business plan; or download the Seed Academy’s Essential Guide to Funding, or download the Yali Network’s business plan checklist.Experts on what investors wantTafadzwa Madavo, business development manager at Riversands Incubation Hub, told SME South Africa that if entrepreneurs were looking for funding, they should test their ideas first. “They call it a minimal viable product. Don’t look at getting a R1-million for a concept you haven’t even tested.”Robynne Erwin, operations manager of FinFind, agreed with this sentiment. “If you are still at the ideas stage, you need to be aware of the fact that ideas are considered to be cheap. [It] only gets a value when you have taken a step to make it real.”Andrew Louw, CEO of +Louw, advised that the entrepreneur must be able to explain their idea simply and easily in 30 seconds or less. “Focus on the things you can do easily without raising funding. Also, bootstrap as far as you can without needing to raise extra capital.”Watch the three experts give more advice, here:Speaking to the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science, social entrepreneurs unpacked lessons they had learned when approaching investors.Pat Pillai, founder of Lifeco UnLtd, said the fundraising secret was to always trade for change. “Whether it is an investor, or it is someone who pays you a fee to make sure you grow young entrepreneurs in the most deserving and unprivileged part of our country, there’s always a report back on a return.”Sharanjeet Shan, founder of the Maths Centre, said that clarity and conviction about who you were and what you wanted to do was important. “If you’re not talking from the gut, it’s not going to work.”She added: “Why should I invest money in these people? I’m investing money because somebody’s life is going to change. If one person’s life changes, the lives of their community and the people around them change.”Stacey Brewer, co-founder of the Spark School, said she had learned that you should not change your mission nor your vision based on funding. “Believe in what you are and keep going, keep going.”Gregory Maqoma, founder of the Vuyani Dance Theatre, explained the conversation he had with his funders: “I allow them to understand the vision.“I also allow them to understand where we’re going — we talk about a five-year strategy. So, it’s a long term commitment rather than just focusing on a project. We align ourselves with what is desirable in terms of the space that we are serving.”His company was contributing to a bigger picture. “We can also be in a position where we can say it’s not only serving the community directly affected by the Vuyani Dance Theatre but it’s also about influencing policy; it’s about influencing change on a bigger platform, on a bigger scale.”Watch the video here:Know the term ‘due diligence’?You should educate yourself about due diligence if you are on the hunt for funding for your business, or if you are hoping to work with the government or with bigger companies as a supplier.SME South Africa explained that small and medium enterprises underwent due diligence when an investor evaluated the business as a potential investment opportunity, or a buyer was looking to acquire the enterprise.“Due diligence is a process where a business owner investigates the organisation based on their needs or requirements. The investigation can be legal, financial or anything that the business owner wants to evaluate before they contract themselves,” it reported.Learn more about how “due diligence” works, here.Sources: SME Toolkit South Africa, Entrepreneur Magazine, SME South Africa, Industrial Development Corporation, the YALI Network, and Seed Engine.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

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Hacker Poll: What Do You Think of Oracle’s Decision to Drop Support for Ruby in NetBeans?

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first_img7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Last week Oracle announced it will discontinue support for Ruby in NetBeans. RedMonk’s Michael Coté doesn’t think it’s a big deal. “NetBeans was a nice tool, but it wasn’t the lynch-pin of success for that community,” he writes. “There’s a wide array of free and commercial tools out there that developers love using.”Coté thinks that Oracle’s withdrawal of support is motivated by a lack of revenue from supporting Ruby. “Arguably, growing the ruby community helps Oracle grow the sales pie for MySQL (which they also now own), but I’m not sure that’d be big enough or a direct enough correlation for the money-minded Oracle decision makers,” he writes.However, as analysts are urging enterprises to look elsewhere for a programming language, it’s not hard to see Oracle’s move as signaling something deeper about Oracle’s relationship to the developer community in general and to the open source community in particular. What do you think?Also, are you a Ruby developer using NetBeans? If so, what IDE are you going to move to? klint finley Related Posts Tags:#hack#Polls center_img How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Why You Love Online Quizzes Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoidlast_img read more

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13 hours agoRaul insists Wolves aiming for Europa League knockout round

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first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Raul insists Wolves aiming for Europa League knockout roundby Freddie Taylor13 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveRaul Jimenez says Wolves are fighting to reach the Europa League knockout stages.The Molineux outfit recorded a brave 2-1 away win over Slovan Bratislava on Thursday, with Jimenez scoring the decisive penalty.He told BT Sport: “For me it’s always in my mind that I’m going to score. It’s my style of shooting penalty kicks, I’m never going to change. I had a lot of confidence and it was a good moment to score the second goal, we’re in the fight now.”We came here knowing that if we won the game it would be better for us, we’re fighting to go into the next round now.” last_img read more

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HBC ordered to provide more documents in alleged deceptive pricing practices case

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first_imgTORONTO – The Competition Tribunal says the Hudson’s Bay Co. must provide more documents about sleep sets by Dec. 20 in an alleged deceptive pricing practices case.The tribunal says the retailer must provide the commissioner of competition with specific documents from February 2015 onwards relating to HBC’s marketing of end of line mattress and box spring sets.The commissioner had filed a request for HBC to produce documents related to the sleep sets and other products.However, the tribunal ruled other products fall outside the scope of the application.HBC had argued that the commissioner is asking for irrelevant documents and imposing an unrealistic time frame.The retailer filed a request earlier this week asking the tribunal to give it three months to produce the sought after documents.In February, the Competition Bureau accused the department store chain of misleading consumers over sleep set prices.HBC disputes the allegations.last_img read more

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Synthetic peptide may help treat Alzheimers disease

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first_imgWashington: Scientists have developed synthetic peptides that target and inhibit build up of small, toxic proteins which trigger Alzheimer’s disease. The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may be pave the way for treating the neurodegenerative disorder at an early stage. Alzheimer’s is a disease of aggregation. Neurons in the human brain make a protein called amyloid beta. Such proteins on their own, called monomers of amyloid beta, perform important tasks for neurons. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USHowever, in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid beta monomers have abandoned their jobs and joined together. First, they form oligomers — small clumps of up to a dozen proteins — then longer strands and finally large deposits called plaques. For years, scientists believed that the plaques triggered the cognitive impairments characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. However, newer research implicates the smaller aggregates of amyloid beta as the toxic elements of this disease. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsResearchers at the University of Washington in the US have developed synthetic peptides — which are designed to fold into a structure known as an alpha sheet — can block amyloid beta aggregation at the early and most toxic stage when oligomers form. The team showed that the synthetic alpha sheet’s blocking activity reduced amyloid beta-triggered toxicity in human neural cells grown in culture, and inhibited amyloid beta oligomers in two laboratory animal models for Alzheimer’s. These findings add evidence to the growing consensus that amyloid beta oligomers — not plaques — are the toxic agents behind Alzheimer’s disease. The results also indicate that synthetic alpha sheets could form the basis of therapeutics to clear toxic oligomers in people, according to Valerie Daggett, a professor at University of Washington. “This is about targeting a specific structure of amyloid beta formed by the toxic oligomers,” said Daggett. “What we’ve shown here is that we can design and build synthetic alpha sheets with complementary structures to inhibit aggregation and toxicity of amyloid beta, while leaving the biologically active monomers intact,” she said. The peptides protected laboratory animals from toxic oligomer damage. In brain tissue samples from mice, the team observed an up to 82 per cent drop in amyloid beta oligomer levels after treatment with a synthetic alpha sheet peptide. Administering a synthetic alpha sheet to living mice triggered a 40 per cent drop in amyloid beta oligomer levels after 24 hours. In the common laboratory worm Caenorhabditis elegans, another model for Alzheimer’s disease, treatment with synthetic alpha sheets delayed the onset of amyloid beta-induced paralysis. Daggett’s team is continuing experiments with synthetic alpha sheets to engineer compounds that are even better at clearing amyloid beta oligomers. “What we’re really after are potential therapeutics against amyloid beta and diagnostic measures to detect toxic oligomers in people,” said Daggett.last_img read more

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Buckeyes finish nonconference season undefeated with 10040 win over UTMartin

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The No. 2-ranked Ohio State men’s basketball team completed a perfect non-conference season and improved to 13-0 with a 100-40 victory over the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks on Monday. William Buford led the way for the Buckeyes with a season-high 23 points. The junior guard got off to a fast start, connecting on his first four shots and scoring the team’s first seven points. “I had my legs under me today and was just focused in on if I had good looks, just take them and knock them down,” Buford said. Coach Thad Matta said he was content to ride the hot hand, as Buford matched his previous season high of 16 points in the first 20 minutes of action. He was also the last starter to get a rest, first leaving the court with 10:59 remaining in the first half. “Will is one of those guys who gets stronger as the season goes on,” Matta said. “That was good to see him play well and go 9-for-11.” Behind 12-, 13- and 10-point scoring runs and solid team defense, the Buckeyes built a 49-17 halftime lead. Those trends continued as OSU opened the second half with an 18-0 run to extend the lead to 67-17. Buford accounted for seven points, two steals and an assist over that five-minute, 37-second stretch. Freshman Deshaun Thomas added 20 points and nine rebounds, and classmate Jared Sullinger recorded his sixth double-double of the year with 18 points and 11 boards. The Buckeyes shot 59 percent from the field en route to their second 100-point performance this season. OSU held the Skyhawks to a mere 27 percent shooting, the best they’ve done against any opponent this season. “I didn’t think it would be as bad as it was,” said Skyhawks coach Jason James. With OSU starting the game with a 27-5 run, Matta was able to go to the bench early and often. Nine Buckeyes saw playing time in the first half, and 10 saw at least six minutes of action. “We’ve been able to get guys a lot of minutes,” Matta said. “I just hope they keep the same mind set and work to get better.” With an 89-32 lead, Matta went with a lineup of five freshmen for the final 5:54 of the game. The lopsided score prompted many in attendance to make an early exit. Those who stayed stood in applause as Thomas approached the free-throw line with a chance to push the Buckeyes’ point total to the century mark. “We were just ready to come in and blow this team out, you know, get 100,” Thomas said. “How we play and (with) how many teammates we have that can score the ball, we can put up 100 every game.” The last time OSU was undefeated entering conference play was during the 2005-06 season, which saw the Buckeyes earn an outright Big Ten title. This year’s team will start its quest to equal that accomplishment when it travels to Indiana on Friday. “That’s a whole new season,” Buford said. “That is nothing like the non-conference.” read more

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Looking into the future of Ohio State mens basketball

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The Ohio State men’s basketball team’s season came to a disappointing end Friday with a 62-60 loss to No. 4-seeded Kentucky. With no more Buckeye basketball to be played this season, looking to the future is the only option. Though the season just concluded, much can already be determined about next year’s squad. The team will return two starters, freshman forward Jared Sullinger and junior guard William Buford, assuming they hold true to their stated intentions not to enter the NBA Draft. The Buckeyes also will welcome back freshman point guard Aaron Craft, who was fifth on the team in minutes played, and freshman forward Deshaun Thomas. Beyond those four seemingly known commodities, the future of OSU basketball becomes less clear. The star Recently named first-team All-American, Sullinger is arguably the most talented player the Buckeyes will have next season. The 6-foot-9 post player led the team in points and rebounds last season with 17.2 and 10.1 per game, respectively. “He’s extremely productive. … He commands a lot of respect,” coach Thad Matta said. “He’s a great player.” The forward also took home Freshman of the Year honors and remains a finalist for the Naismith Award, given to the nation’s best player. With a year of experience under his belt, Sullinger is expected to excel futher during his sophomore campaign. The OSU youngster is likely to be the nation’s front-runner for the Naismith Award next season, regardless of whether he brings home the hardware this year. Sullinger is making sure to put in the work during the offseason. Following his team’s final loss of the season, Sullinger said, “I know I am going to be back in the gym as soon as we get back.” The veteran Although Sullinger likely will be the Buckeye who receives the most attention, Buford will be the one with the most experience. As a senior, Buford will be the only player on the OSU roster who will start the season with more than one year of program experience. He has three full years in the system. Besides leadership, Buford brings a shooter’s touch to the 2011–12 squad. “Will’s an awesome guy,” Craft said. “He’s definitely willing to take his shots, and he (has) knocked them down.” Buford shot 44.2 percent from 3-point range this past season, good for the third-best 3-point shooting season in school history. The guard was also second in scoring on the team, with 14.4 points per game. Buford sits at 22nd in school history in points scored, with 1,424. If he maintains this past season’s scoring pace next season, he will finish fourth. The engine With Sullinger expected to score in the post and Buford expected to score from the outside, Craft will be expected to push the defense and facilitate the offense. Throughout the season, the freshman point guard was praised for his on-ball defensive abilities. Craft, who averaged a team-high two steals a game, embraces the role of lockdown defender. “I’ve always just enjoyed doing it, even in AAU. I always had to guard … the team’s best player,” he said. “It’s something I’ve grown into.” With fifth-year senior forward David Lighty, whom Matta often has called the best defender in college basketball, departing from the program, Craft will be able to take over the role of the team’s best defender. Besides his defense, Craft will be required to set up the offense from his position. The freshman was fourth in the Big Ten in assists last season, with 4.8 per game. “I think as you really get to know Aaron, you get to spend time with him, you watch him develop. It’s amazing,” Matta said. “He’s been so steady throughout the course of the year.” Craft played his best basketball late in the season, logging an OSU-record 15 assists against George Mason in the NCAA Tournament. The tank Thomas came off the bench last season to average 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in just 14 minutes per game for the Buckeyes. With the departure of wing players Lighty and Jon Diebler, Thomas likely will be a starter next season. Despite his single-digit scoring average, Thomas scored double figures 10 times during the season and notched 20 or more points on three occasions. “I think we’ve seen, throughout the course, that Deshaun can score in bunches,” Matta said. “He’s a very talented player, and he really has a knack … for finding open areas, finding the seams.” Besides providing instant offense, Thomas’ 62 offensive rebounds were good for second on the team. With added minutes next season, expect those numbers to rise. The unknown Craft and Thomas will likely join Sullinger and Buford in the starting lineup next year. But determining who will fill that fifth spot, and how Matta will use his bench, will be more difficult to determine. The remaining player with any significant playing time from this past season is freshman guard Jordan Sibert, who appeared in 25 games and averaged 8.3 minutes a game. Starting Sibert would create a relatively small starting five. Matta has shown a tendency to start multiple post players in the past. This past season, the coach started the 6-foot-9 Sullinger and 6-foot-8 senior center Dallas Lauderdale. If he wants to go big again, he seems to have two options: Boston College transfer forward Evan Ravenel and incoming freshman center Amir Williams. Ravenel averaged just 3.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.5 minutes off the bench when he played for Boston College. Despite the underwhelming numbers, the forward does have a year in the program on his side. Williams, on the other hand, could become the newest freshman post player to start at OSU. The 6-foot-9 center is the nation’s No. 7 center and No. 73 overall recruit, according to Rivals.com. Matta, who has often used a short bench, will need to decide how he wants to use the remaining talented players. Freshman guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. received playing time in blowout victories, and freshman forward J.D. Weatherspoon did the same before being ruled academically ineligible for winter quarter. Four recruits, including No. 17-ranked point guard and No. 62 overall recruit Shannon Scott, will join Williams in vying for playing time as freshmen. Regardless of how Matta pieces together the puzzle that is next year’s season, the established pieces and young talent are there. Whichever grouping of players the coach relies on will strive to accomplish the goal that the 2010–11 team could not: a national championship. read more

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Greater Collective Purpose Needed to Leverage Contributions of Veterans Groups Report Says

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first_imgA new study points to a “lack of collaboration, coordination and collective purpose” among public, private, and nonprofit organizations serving veterans and military families as a significant factor in the nation’s failure to ensure veterans receive needed medical, social and financial assistance.“Notwithstanding the combined goodwill and determination across all sectors of our economy, collective efforts remain largely fragmented in addressing veteran and military family challenges,” states the report from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF).Researchers found that nearly 45,000 nongovernmental, nonprofit groups nationwide focus on veterans and military issues, with many “largely going it alone in their efforts” to provide services, reported Military Times.The authors make the case for a “collective impact” model — a framework for bringing diverse organizations together around complex social problems — to help communities advance the lives of veterans and military families.In late 2014, IVMF launched a pilot coordinated provider network in New York City, AmericaServes. The initiative is aimed at supporting communities committed to improving the lives of veterans and family members through the creation of comprehensive, accountable, and evidence-based service delivery networks of resources and care.“Our observations of ongoing practice in the veterans’ space are sufficient enough to understand that the single-most obvious gap in community-based services supporting America’s veterans and their families is in fact the space between providers themselves,” said Jim McDonough, IVMF’s managing director of community engagement and innovation.“Unless we address this now through these collective designs and effort, our communities will never be in a position of strength and excellence to serve the needs of veteran families,” McDonough said.The institute’s pilot will be expanded to Pittsburgh and North Carolina this summer.The report also stresses that caring for veterans is a national moral responsibility, one that extends far beyond what a single federal agency can provide.“Wellness encompasses far more than sustaining physical health and fulfilling material need,” it states. “The VA was never designed to reintegrate veterans into civilian society, repair their existing social relationships or build new ones in the communities in which they ultimately settle.” Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

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