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I believe we could all use a reminder of the power found when we come together, especially as we start a new year. I just wasn’t expecting to find such a strong message in a unique place! Traditionally, we don’t place incarcerated individuals and foster children in the same category, but a prison in Missouri is doing just that — and in the process, it’s helping restore community divisions one stitch at a time. Seven inmates from South Central Correctional Center in Licking, Missouri, spend hours each week making quilts that are then donated to children in the foster care system of Texas County, Missouri. The goal is to utilize the time the incarcerated individuals have to mutually benefit two groups of people whose situations are not all that different. Adults in prison and children in foster care are each tangled in a difficult system that can often leave them feeling forgotten and underserved. For the inmates, it’s an opportunity to grow and heal from the crime that landed them in South Central Correctional Center. Joe Satterfield, a case manager at the prison, explains to National Public Radio (NPR) that the quilting program is part of a larger effort through the prison’s restorative justice program. As NPR reports, restorative justice provides tangible rehabilitation to inmates and can come in many forms, including dog training for local shelters and growing food for food banks, as South Central Correctional Center does. Each quilt given to a foster child comes with a hat, school supplies, and hygiene items. The care package provides essentials that might otherwise be difficult for foster children to obtain because they may not have many items they can claim as their own, or they may simply outgrow certain STITCHING A COMMUNITY TOGETHER Prison Inmates Make Quilts for Foster Children
items and lose their possessions over time. The quilts can be a welcome sign of comfort — a memento made especially for them.
Each quilt is unique. Some feature cartoons and animals for younger children, while others are designed with a greater metaphorical meaning, encouraging the children who receive the quilts to remember they are cared about. Regardless of the design, each inmate spends hundreds of hours meticulously sewing and crafting the donated fabric together to create one-of-a-kind quilts for kids who deserve a little extra love. Beyond the criminal justice theories and program implementations, for inmates in the quilting program, sewing is a way to find peace in an otherwise chaotic home. “For a foster child, they don’t get a lot; they’re in a home that may or may not really make them feel like part of the family,” South Central Correctional Center inmate Jim Williams tells NPR. “So, when I see this quilt laid out here on the table, I get emotional. I really do.” When I first read about this amazing story of connection between two communities, I knew I had to share it. It’s a great reminder that we can all make a difference in our communities regardless of our circumstances, and I believe it speaks volumes to the humanity of us all. I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did, and if you’re feeling inspired, the quilt program at the prison relies on donations. You can learn more by contacting the South Central Correctional Center.
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6 Scientifically Proven Ways to Boost Your Brain Power IS NEUROPLASTICITY THE SECRET TO SUCCESS?
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt throughout your life, forming new connections that can have a direct impact on your energy, productivity, focus, creativity, motivation, and much more. Your brain can expand and grow even after an injury.
Exercise is crucial because, according to brain plasticity researchers at IOS Press, exercise “alters the synaptic structure and function in various brain regions,” promoting brain growth and even delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Promoting growth can also be as simple (or as difficult) as focusing our attention on thoughts that bring us joy. Gratitude promotes very different brain activity than negativity, anger, or bitterness, and studies on gratitude show that the positive effects can be lifelong.
That’s why many entrepreneurs are saying the same thing: One of the smartest ways to invest in your business is to devote resources to your most important asset — your brain. But how do you keep your brain active, healthy, and functioning at a high level? Param Dedhia, MD, says six key areas are involved: sleep, exercise, joy, nutrition, internal medicine, and inflammation. All of these factors work independently, but together, they can promote neuroplasticity, which is why they all require equal attention.
Nutrition can’t be understated either, since it can assist your body in maintaining health and fighting inflammation. The brain uses about 20% of the body’s
calories, and eating plenty of omega-3 fatty acids can strengthen brain cells, while antioxidants reduce cellular stress and inflammation, which are linked to brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
Everyone wants to stay engaged with the world around them, but you can’t do that without sleep. In fact, research published by the journal PLOS One discovered that getting six or fewer hours of sleep was associated with memory and executive function problems, i.e. problem-solving, planning, and execution. So, make sure you get enough sleep before tackling your day.
With the right habits, you can keep your brain healthy for many decades to come. You might even grow in entirely new and unexpected ways.
For Real, This Time How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions
Start small. On Jan. 1, you’re probably enthusiastic about your resolution and ready to hit the ground running. Not so fast — doing too much too soon is a classic mistake. It’s okay to be excited, but working out until you’re sore all over or constantly eating salads you hate will turn your resolution into a chore that you’ll want to avoid. Start with light workouts or replacing some of your carbs with veggies. Once you get the hang of that, you’ll be ready to scale up slowly. Using these guidelines, you’ll make lasting changes that extend beyond February. Get 2022 started off on the right foot, and next year you’ll be ready to make a whole new resolution — and keep it.
New Year’s Eve has come and gone, and now that the champagne is finished and the decorations are put away, it’s time to buckle down and work on those New Year’s resolutions. The only problem is ... your resolutions for this year and last year are the same. Change is tough, so you’re not alone in being unable to stick to your resolutions. This year can be different, if you want it to be. Here are some tips to keep you on track. Have a specific goal. Many resolutions are vague — along the lines of “exercise more” or “eat healthier.” That’s too ambiguous to inspire motivation, and vagueness leaves room for excuses. Make your goal more concrete, so you can measure your success. Specific goals
could include going to the gym three times a week, being able to bench a certain number of pounds, or only indulging in fast food once a month. Make your goal realistic — if it’s too drastic or difficult, it’s easier to give up. Have a plan. Bad habits are hard to break, so change won’t come about naturally. It’s important to consider how you’ll structure your day around your resolution and what obstacles you might face. When will you go to the gym, and what will you do if that time gets interrupted? How will you plan meals to avoid spontaneous drive-thru visits? Write down what you want to accomplish and all the things that might stand in your way. Then, figure out how you’ll deal with them before they happen.
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Easy, Affordable Ways to Embrace Nature in Your Home
Thanks to the chaos we’ve experienced since 2020, many design experts are looking to create spaces that are calm, welcoming, and grounded. Enter one of the biggest design trends of the 2020s: neutral, natural elements. Here are some easy ways to bring nature inside and boost your home’s look without overspending. The obvious option is to add more houseplants. And plants don’t have to be difficult! Consider your home space, first. How much light do you get? Is it a dry or humid home? How likely is it that you will remember to water a plant? Bring these concerns to your local nursery, and they will help you find the perfect leafy friend(s) to fill your space. Then, opt for pieces that won’t decay. When choosing new decor for your home or when updating your knickknacks for the seasons, look for wooden or natural items that don’t have a life cycle. Fake plants, wooden statues and picture frames, and piles of stones or vases with rocks can bring the richness of the great outdoors into your home with little effort and can be reused each season. Now, look to your backyard! If you have a big pine tree that produces pine cones each year, don’t let those go to waste! Baskets or vases filled with pine INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
cones can be great fall and winter decor pieces,
while lots of clever crafters have made
wreaths, scent diffusers, and other fun items with pine cones found in their yard. Just be mindful of what you take from nature. Don’t take anything of value
to the ecosystem, and don’t grab items from state or national parks.
Finally, utilize windows. Part of embracing natural design elements is letting nature do the talking! Focus your design in each room around windows. For instance, fix plant displays near windows or hang bird feeders in trees you can see through your windows. If you really want to get cozy with the outdoors, consider installing a skylight! To find more inspiration, take a walk and discover how Mother Nature has designed her space. Bring those ideas into your home and enjoy the comfort of the great outdoors within your own great indoors.
CHICKEN WITH LEMON HERB SAUCE Inspired by FoodNetwork.com
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland with this citrusy chicken! Ingredients
1/3 cup and 2 tbsp olive oil, divided 4 boneless chicken breasts 1 clove of garlic, minced
• • • • •
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup parsley, chopped 1/3 cup mint, chopped
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1 lemon, for juice and zest
1. Preheat oven to 450 F. 2. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil.
3. Season chicken with salt and pepper if desired and sear it in the skillet for 3 minutes on each side. Bake chicken until its internal temperature is 165 F. 4. In a blender, add 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, parsley, mint, pepper, and lemon zest and juice and blend ingredients until coarsely mixed. 5. Top chicken with sauce and serve!
Get Neil Crowley’s comprehensive guide to Massachusetts car accident claims and expert advice you need to get your life back on track. Go to BrooksAndCrowley.com/reports to request your free copy!
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439 Washington St. • Dedham, MA 02026 Inside THIS ISSUE 1 How These Prison Inmates Change Foster Children’s Lives 2 Make Neuroplasticity Your Secret to Success Stick to Your Resolutions — For Real, This Time 3 Add More Nature to Your Home in 4 Simple Ways! Chicken With Lemon Herb Sauce 4 Local January Events in Boston
As the holiday season comes to an end, you can still spend time with your family and friends at some of these events that are happening in Boston. Catch a musical of a classic love story, become an explorer of the prehistoric times, or catch a hockey game and cheer on the Boston Bruins. There is a little something for everyone this January! Enjoy Time With Family After the Holiday Season What’s Going On, Boston?
‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’ Jan. 18–30
Dinosaur World Live Jan. 22, 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Emerson Colonial Theater 106 Boylston St. EmersonColonialTheatre.com
Boston Opera House 539 Washington St. Boston.Broadway.com
Boston Bruins vs. Winnipeg Jets Jan. 22, 3–7 p.m. TD Garden 100 Legends Wy. TDGarden.com/events/detail/bruins-vs-jets-21-22 Enjoy your Saturday with some hockey. Watch as the Boston Bruins take on Manitoba, Canada’s Winnipeg Jets. This is a home game for the Bruins, so be sure to come out and make some noise for your team. While buying your ticket to the game, don’t forget to purchase a parking pass as well.
Hollywood’s most beloved 1990 romance story, “Pretty Woman,” is on tour, and you have a chance to see it live. It centers around Vivian Ward (Olivia Valli) and her journey with a wealthy businessman, Edward Lewis (Tony Award nominee Adam Pascal). Ward is hired by Lewis to stay with him for the weekend. This unlikely pair soon began to fall hard for each other. If you loved the movie, you are sure to love the musical.
Do you love “Jurassic Park”? Have you ever wanted to see a dinosaur up close and personal? Now is the perfect time to release your inner explorer with Dinosaur World Live! This is a family-friendly event where you will be able to explore the prehistoric world. You will get the chance to see the Tyrannosaurus rex, a triceratops, giraffatitan, microraptor, and segnosarus. This interactive show is fun and educational and your family will enjoy it.
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