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Staten Island Non-Profit Receives $50,000 Donation

The GRACE Foundation Presented With Check in Memory of Nicholas D’Amora

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The D’Amora Family Check Presentation
The D’Amora Family presents a $50,000 donation to The GRACE Foundation in memory of their son, Nicholas D’Amora.

NEW YORK (Newswire.com) – On Tuesday, November 7th, Barbara D’Amora, a founding member of The GRACE Foundation, alongside her husband, Billy, and their children, Christian and Natalie, presented a donation of $50,000 to The GRACE Foundation. This generous contribution was made possible through a “GoFundMe” campaign established in memory of their beloved son, Nicholas D’Amora, who recently passed away.

Nicholas suffered a fatal seizure in May, leading to a devastating diagnosis of brain death. The D’Amora family made the courageous decision to honor Nicholas’s legacy by donating his organs through “Live-On New York.” Nicholas’s selfless act has since saved the lives of five individuals, with his organs benefiting recipients ranging from a 34-year-old man to a 66-year-old woman.

Barbara D’Amora, reflecting on the profound impact her son had on those around him, shared her insights: “Nicholas showed us that the inability to speak does not equate to a lack of thoughts or feelings. He conveyed his daily struggles to remain regulated and focused, highlighting the significance of presuming competence in autistic individuals.” She added, “Nicholas’s advocacy transformed the way educators, support staff, parents, and friends perceive individuals with autism, cementing his legacy as a true catalyst for change.”

During the check presentation at The GRACE Foundation, staff, participants, and board members observed a moment of silence in memory of Nicholas. The D’Amora family also paid homage to their son by sharing heartwarming stories that celebrated his life.

Nicholas, despite the challenges of autism and being non-verbal, possessed an extraordinary ability to communicate his passion for cooking, music, concerts, dancing, and playing board games with friends.

Michael Lanza, a spokesperson for The GRACE Foundation, remarked, “We will ensure that Nicholas’s legacy lives on by establishing an all-inclusive kitchen for individuals of all abilities. A special section within this kitchen will be lovingly named ‘Nicky’s Kitchen’ as a tribute to Nicholas D’Amora.”

The GRACE Foundation, which has been dedicated to its mission for 23 years, is now expanding its reach with the establishment of “NICKY’s KITCHEN” in honor of Nicholas’s memory. Barbara D’Amora expressed her commitment to making her son’s dreams a reality, stating, “I am determined to bring this vision to life in memory of Nick.” “NICKY’s KITCHEN” will stand as a testament to the enduring impact of Nicholas’s legacy.

About The GRACE Foundation

The GRACE Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization committed to support, educate and enhance the quality of life for children/adults and their families impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder. For more information, please visit www.graceofny.org  

Source: The GRACE Foundation

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Unanimous Supreme Court Decision Preserves Access to Widely Used Abortion Medication

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Supreme Court Decision

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously preserved access to mifepristone, a medication used in nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the United States last year. This ruling is the court’s first major abortion decision since the conservative justices overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago. The nine justices ruled that abortion opponents lacked the legal standing to challenge the federal Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval and regulation of the drug.

The Case and Its Implications

The ruling came as a relief to many in the medical community and those advocating for reproductive rights. The case had the potential to restrict access to mifepristone nationwide, even in states where abortion remains legal. Currently, abortion is banned at all stages of pregnancy in 14 states and is heavily restricted after six weeks in three others.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who authored the majority opinion, emphasized that federal courts are not the appropriate venue for contesting the FDA’s decisions. His opinion, which managed to unite a deeply divided court, focused narrowly on the legal issue of standing, avoiding any broader judgments on the FDA’s actions or the drug’s safety.

Reactions to the Decision

President Joe Biden praised the decision, highlighting its significance in maintaining access to a safe and effective medication. He noted, however, that the ruling does not change the broader challenges women face in accessing abortion services in many states. Biden signaled that Democrats will continue to emphasize abortion rights in their campaign efforts leading up to the November elections.

On the other side, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, expressed disappointment but directed her criticism towards the Democrats, accusing them of pushing for unrestricted access to abortion.

Public Opinion and Future Legal Battles

Public opinion on mifepristone reflects a divided nation. According to a KFF poll conducted in February, about two-thirds of U.S. adults oppose banning the use of mifepristone nationwide, while about one-third support such a ban.

The Supreme Court’s decision has not quelled the ongoing legal battles over abortion access. Another case before the court involves whether a federal law on emergency medical treatment overrides state abortion bans in cases where a pregnant patient’s health is at serious risk.

Mifepristone: A Safe and Effective Option

Since its approval in 2000, over six million people have used mifepristone. The drug works by blocking the hormone progesterone, which prepares the uterus to respond to a second drug, misoprostol, that induces contractions. This two-drug regimen is effective through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Healthcare providers have expressed concern that if mifepristone becomes unavailable or difficult to obtain, they would have to rely solely on misoprostol, which is less effective on its own.

The FDA’s Role and Broader Implications

Biden’s administration and drug manufacturers argued that siding with abortion opponents in this case could undermine the FDA’s authority and drug approval process, potentially leading to increased judicial interference in scientific judgments. Abigail Long, a spokeswoman for Danco Laboratories, which manufactures mifepristone, highlighted that the decision safeguards access to a drug with a long track record of safety and efficacy.

Looking Ahead

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the push to restrict access to abortion pills is likely to continue. Erin Hawley, an attorney for the group Alliance Defending Freedom, suggested that future lawsuits might arise, potentially involving states like Idaho, Kansas, and Missouri, which have shown interest in challenging the FDA’s regulations.

As the nation navigates the complex landscape of abortion rights post-Roe, this unanimous Supreme Court decision represents a significant, albeit narrow, victory for reproductive rights advocates. The ruling underscores the importance of the upcoming 2024 elections and the potential impact of future FDA leadership on access to reproductive healthcare.

https://apnews.com/article/supreme-court-abortion-mifepristone-fda-4073b9a7b1cbb1c3641025290c22be2a

Source: AP

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Salvation Army Research Finds Food Bank Usage on the Rise as Food Security Challenges Persist

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TORONTO /CNW/ – New research from The Salvation Army Canada finds that many Canadians continue to struggle to meet their basic needs with food affordability, inflation and housing security challenges persisting as top issues.

As one of the largest non-governmental direct providers of social services in Canada, The Salvation Army produces the biannual Canadian Poverty and Socioeconomic Analysis to better understand the attitudes, behaviours and experiences of Canadians on issues such as the availability of housing and food, general affordability and related health outcomes.

Salvation Army
New research from The Salvation Army Canada finds that many Canadians continue to struggle to meet their basic needs. (CNW Group/The Salvation Army)

Due to overwhelming feedback from policymakers, news media and other stakeholders, The Salvation Army will now produce the Canadian Poverty and Socioeconomic Analysis twice a year, in the spring and fall. This will allow The Salvation Army to quantify the demand for ongoing social services provided and help the organization to better serve those in need.

The most recent research shows Canadians rank health care, inflation and food affordability as their top concerns. These findings are in line with The Salvation Army’s internal data, which reveal households that were inactive in reaching out for help are now active, and the number of new households seeking assistance, such as food, clothing, furniture and emergency housing, is on the rise.

The report finds that 26 percent of Canadians polled continue to be extremely concerned about having enough income to cover their basic needs, and that concerns around food security are on the rise. While seven percent of respondents said they recently accessed a food bank, food hamper or community meal program (up from six percent in October 2023), the percentage of first-time users is up sharply, to 61 percent compared to 43 Percent in October 2023.

“The increase in first-time users of food banks is an alarming indicator of the conditions that many Canadians are facing,” said Lt-Colonel John Murray, territorial secretary for communications, The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. “We often find that when people show up at a food bank it can be the tip of the iceberg for additional issues they may be facing. The Salvation Army is committed to a holistic approach in supporting people through partnerships that help create a positive impact on individuals and families.”

The number of respondents who said they had skipped or reduced the size of at least one meal increased to 26 percent, up from 21 percent previously (October 2023). More Canadians also said they’d bought less nutritious food to save money and had reduced their grocery bill to pay for other necessities.

On financial issues, 72 percent of respondents described challenges managing limited financial resources in the past year, including cutting back on non-essential needs (59 percent), changing habits to save money (52 percent) and using savings or going into debt to afford basic needs (36 percent).

“Despite easing inflation numbers, life is still difficult for many Canadians,” said Murray. “Food insecurity is just one symptom facing people today. At The Salvation Army, our vision is to reduce barriers and address the root causes of poverty, working together with people to achieve their goals in overcoming them.”

Last year, more than three million visits were made to The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda for assistance, including 2.1 million visits for food, clothing or practical help, 438,000 visits for Christmas food hampers and toys, and 3.2 million community meals.

Survey Methodology:

This report contains findings from research conducted by Edelman Data & Intelligence on behalf of The Salvation Army to uncover Canadians’ attitudes and experiences with poverty and related socioeconomic issues.

The study was conducted March 11-14, 2024, among a nationally representative sample of 1,515 Canadians who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender and region. Note: Canadians living in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut were not included in the survey.

For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. And, where a margin of error is not available, the research department provides a comparable one so that the audience can have some context to the value of the poll.

About The Salvation Army:

The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become one of the largest direct providers of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people in 400 communities across Canada and in more than 130 countries around the world. Its community and social service activities include: hunger relief for individuals and families through food banks and feeding programs; shelter for people experiencing homelessness and support for those needing housing; rehabilitation for those struggling with substance-use recovery; long-term care and palliative care; Christmas assistance, such as food hampers and toys; after-school programs, camps and school nutrition programs for children and youth; and life-skills classes, such as budgeting, cooking for a family, and anger management. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of people in your community. 

News releases, articles and updated information can be found at https://salvationarmy.ca/
A list of regional media representatives can be found at: https://salvationarmy.ca/news-and-media/media-contacts/

SOURCE The Salvation Army

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Making a Difference

McDonald’s USA ® Joins Forces with Elaine Welteroth & Fashion Industry Experts to Elevate Emerging Black Designers

To address underrepresentation of Black designers in the fashion industry, the Golden Arches will collectively grant $200K, provide industry mentorship and additional resources to help rising talent scale their brands and more

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CHICAGO /PRNewswire/ — McDonald’s USA is proud to introduce the Black & Positively Golden (B&PG) Change of Fashion, a game-changing program aimed at uplifting emerging Black fashion designers and equipping them with career-propelling mentorship, resources, and financial support that will accelerate their career trajectories.

Fashion
McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Change of Fashion

Although Black designers have made a transformative impact in shaping fashion – from zoot suits in the 1930s to hip hop tracksuits of the 1980s, their representation in America stands at a mere 7.3%, hindered by systemic barriers and racial disparities.[1] This imbalance allows the fashion industry to profit from Black culture while neglecting to embrace Black talent. Recognizing this disparity, McDonald’s USA, a brand embraced by streetwear icons and renowned designers, has launched the B&PG Change of Fashion program to advocate for industry-wide change.

McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Change of Fashion

Building on the brand’s annual B&PG Change Leaders program, McDonald’s B&PG Change of Fashion program pairs five emerging Black designers with five Black industry experts to complete a year-long mentorship filled with access to valuable resources, education and national exposure to industry experts that will culminate with the launch of a capsule collection.

“Having navigated the fashion industry as a Black woman, I understand first-hand the challenges around Black designers breaking through and sustaining a profitable business,” said media personality and television host Elaine Welteroth. “Partnering with a global brand like McDonald’s, I am honored to leverage my experiences as a fashion editor to mentor the next generation of designers and to ultimately help foster more inclusivity in an industry that thrives on Black culture.”

Through the B&PG Change of Fashion program, the Golden Arches and its Owner/Operators will grant funds to each designer, totaling $200,000 overall, offer one-on-one mentorship sessions, provide access to expert-led masterclasses and more. Change of Fashion Designers are featured in a national television commercial alongside their mentors, which include author and television host Elaine Welteroth, Matte Collection CEO Justina McKee, retail executive Shawn Howell, Laquan Smith COO Jacqueline Cooper, and Founder of luxury concept retail stores, McMullen, and Founder & CEO, Sherri McMullen.

“For decades, McDonald’s has leveraged its size and scale to invest in and support the diverse communities we serve,” said Tariq Hassan, Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer at McDonald’s. “The Change of Fashion program builds on that legacy, pushing new boundaries in an effort to inspire real change, not only for our five designers, but for the fashion industry at large.”

MEET THE DESIGNERS

  • Durrell Dupard, New Orleans, LA, Founder of Freddie Estelle | Inspired by streetwear, Durrell began creating custom 1-of-1 designs for close friends at 15 years old. Freddie Estelle specializes in merging streetwear trends and upcycling to create unique custom designs. 
  • Shareef Mosby, Richmond, VA, CEO of VICTIM15 |Motivated by personal adversities and a challenging upbringing, Mosby has molded his brand to transmute traditional, utilitarian fabrics and silhouettes into urban-chic, contemporary ensembles juxtaposed against traditional artistic backdrops.
  • Larissa Muehleder New York, NY, Founder of Muehleder | Muehleder isn’t just a brand—it’s a testament to the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to dream, to create, and to defy their insecurities and self-doubt. With each design, she continues to write her story and find a piece of herself in everyone. 
  • Heart Roberts, Brooklyn, NY, Founder of HEARTHROB | Their passion for denim and leather knows no bounds, particularly in the art of manipulation and distressing. Enter the realm of HEARTHROB, where sustainability intertwines seamlessly with high fashion, forging a path toward a more conscious and stylish future. 
  • Nia Thomas, New York, NY, Founder of Nia Thomas | Nia started a clothing line producing limited-edition garments and original jewelry inspired by inward discovery nourished by her worldly travels. Today, Nia is a luxe lifestyle brand with handcrafted pieces for people who own their power, sensuality, and capacity for love.

Change of Fashion designers were carefully chosen by a selection committee. To learn more about each designer, please click here. 

Since commencing in 2022 under the McDonald’s B&PG Futures 22 platform, the B&PG Change Leaders program has provided Black thought leaders nationwide with tools, resources, and more than $600K in funding. The McDonald’s B&PG Change of Fashion program is just one of the many ways the company is serving up bright futures in the communities it serves. For more than 65 years, McDonald’s and its Owner/Operators have fed and fostered the Black community by awarding scholarships to HBCU students, creating impactful partnerships with community organizations like the National Urban League, NAACP, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and more.

Fans can follow the designers’ journeys and explore the meaningful impact of Black fashion in an industry seeking greater diversity by visiting changeoffashion.com or @wearegolden on Instagram.

About McDonald’s USA
McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s approximately 13,500 U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent business owners. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mcdonalds

Reference
Fashion Designer Demographics and Statistics [2021]: Number of Fashion Designers in the US (zippia.com)

SOURCE McDonald’s USA

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