Idva Helps The Disabled Learn To Scuba Dive By Awarding $75,000 Grant To Diveheart Foundation

A $75,000 grant has been awarded to the Diveheart Foundation in New Jersey by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) in a bid to help disabled veterans enjoy thrilling activities despite their incapacitating condition.

The grant will help fund scuba diving holidays and water activities for disabled people so they can overcome debilitating barriers as they become weightless.

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs has awarded almost $10 million to help local not-for-profit organisations offer supportive programmes to veterans. The department also runs the Veterans Assistance Fund which is made up of sales from the Illinois Lottery’s Veterans Cash scratch-off game tickets.

During scuba diving holidays, disabled veterans will be able to learn how to explore the underwater world with the help of professional diving experts and instructors from the Diveheart Foundation.

Diveheart’s founder/president, Jim Elliot, said: “The Veterans Cash grant has been a blessing for Diveheart.

“The funding helps my team deliver life-changing physical and psychological therapeutic experiences as well as recreation to Illinois’ disabled veteran community.”

Elliott, set up the organisation when after teaching his blind daughter to downhill ski, he saw the benefits of her increased confidence.

Also a certified scuba diver, Elliot soon realised how powerful and therapeutic scuba diving adventures can be to disabled people and he has devoted his time to Diveheart since 2001, taking the charity to scuba diving destinations such as the Caribbean, Australia, and Mexico.

Now in its tenth year of operations, the organisation provides scuba diving opportunities for children, adults and veterans with disabilities.

“Win or lose, people who play the Illinois Lottery’s Veterans Cash scratch-off game are helping our state’s veterans,” explained Erica Borggren, the Director of IDVA. “Diveheart is among a host of Illinois-based non-profits that are committed to serving those who have served. Diveheart’s unique program truly makes a difference for veterans suffering from paralysis, traumatic brain injury and amputations.”

The Veterans Cash Grant Committee of the IDVA reviews the applications and then awards grants to organisations that help veterans overcome problems with health, homelessness, health insurance, disability benefits, long-term care and assistance and PTSD. Over the past six years, the department has granted nearly $10 million across 160 worthy charities and organisations.

A Permanent Solution – Laser Hair Removal In New Jersey

Most of us women start worrying about hair removal from the age of 16. We spend a lot of money on various hair removal products and items like creams, razors, wax etc. and what all is available in the market. If we were to sit down and calculate how much we have spent on all of this we would have saved a fortune and could have gotten rid of all of that unwanted body hair through new advancements in medical technology which is the new Laser hair removal technique.

It’s not only about the money we have spent but also how we struggle to make time to perform the old hair removal methods and for what when it all grows back again and the cycle of time and money continues. Laser Hair removal does require 4 to 6 sitting per area covered for permanent hair removal which makes it a little time consuming.

One also has to ensure that the area that needs to be treated is not shaved or waxed for at least 2 weeks prior to the treatment. Laser hair removal also works best on light colored skin with dark hair tone but now this technology has advanced enough to treat all skin types. The only thing that really changes is the level of the laser used which one has to be very cautious of. Therefore it is of utmost importance that you make a good choice of clinic and doctor.

Choose your specialist very carefully specially if you have a darker skin tone. New Jersey has some renowned Laser hair removal clinics that you can choose form like the Derma Laser Center, Laser hair removal in Marlboro, American Health and beauty clinic, Ethos Spa Skin and Laser center are among the many more that you can go to.

The Three R’s of Branding

Everyone has heard of the 3 R’s of education: “Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic”, but have you
heard of the 3 R’s of branding? They are Recognition, Reputation and Reaction.

Recognition: We want our products to be recognized. We want the hard work that goes into packaging our products and services, the money we spend on advertising, and all the planning we do in marketing, to benefit our brand, not the competition’s. This is why logos are important. This is why we craft tag lines and slogans. This is why Coke is so fussy about the exact shade and hue of red in their packaging. This is why McDonald’s is so aggressive about controlling the use of “Mc____” wherever it can.

Reputation: In the end your branding is a suggestion that your company makes about its relevance and meaning, and it is your customers, prospects and partners who get to decide what your brand truly means to them. You can be well recognized, but if your reputation is bad the recognition can hurt you. On the other hand, if your product is undistinguished from your competition, a well-recognized brand alone may not be helping you as much as you think. How often have you sneezed, asked for a Kleenex, and been handed a Puff? Did you notice the difference? Did you care? Recognition is naturally associated with reputation, but the reputation is strongest when it encompasses a unique value or serves the needs of a particular niche.

Reaction: This is where the money is made, or lost. You want your brand to provoke a positive reaction, to get people to choose your product over the competition’s. You want a reaction so positive and strong that it can beat a sale price on a similar item or have a customer choose your service over another solution. But a negative reaction can be brutal. Whether you are being ignored on the shelf, or actively boycotted, a negative reaction cycle can be ruinous to your business. So how do you tune your branding to get the reaction you want? Well the magic won’t happen if the recognition and reputation aren’t right. You have to take Recognition beyond merely locating yourself in an industry or slapping a logo on your business card. You have to approach Reputation in a mindful way – don’t just let it happen, participate! Align your values with the expectation you set for your brand. Know the boundaries of your message and the expectations that you are setting with your brand promises. Be prepared to walk your talk and fix it when you stumble. You are in the business of developing and maintaining trust.

Here are a few more R’s for you: Repetition, Reinforcement and Rigor: Consistent and attentive behavior, clearly communicated value, and a track record of disciplined delivery will support the 3 R’s of Branding and will get you seeing the Reactions that matter!

Being the Ambassador of Your Brand

This one goes out to all the good folks who are up early in the morning, going to their local chamber of commerce, hitting that networking breakfast, and doing their part to keep the economy going through good old fashioned hustle. You are the ambassador of your brand.

When you swap cards at the chamber you are engaged in economic diplomacy, and the stakes are high for you and your business. When you stand up and give your 60, or 45, or 30-second speech at that networking lunch you are in the process of setting policy and expectations for inter-business relations.

Now here’s the rub: you are you, AND you are the impression-setter for your company. You are the window by which your friends, partners, customers, and prospects become acquainted with your brand. If you are not projecting an image that is consistent with your brand then you are creating a disconnect in the minds of the people you meet; yet you must also be authentic to yourself. Of course it is easier when you own the company and you are the one setting the tone for vision, mission and values. However, even if you are working for someone else, you are shouldering the responsibility for framing the brand story for the people with whom you interact – if you are phony, it reflects on the brand, if you are impatient, it reflects on the brand, if you are overly “what’s-in-it-for-me”, that too, reflects on the brand. A brand can be a lot of things, and a person is a whole lot more complex, but you have to find a harmony that fits, that gives people access to you, and through you, to all the great value your company can bring.

A brand is in some ways an agreement between consumer and company about the value you promise, and your ability, consistency and quality in fulfilling that promise. As an individual working within the confines of your community you would call this “reputation”, but thanks to the Internet and the proliferation of social media, reputation is no longer bounded by mere geography. Reputation can carry well beyond the reach of a handshake. The reach isn’t only measured in distance, but in time. Like an elephant, the Internet never forgets, and the accumulation of information about you that becomes the basis of your reputation is hard to scrub away. You can add to the story, but almost never remove from it. Being the ambassador of your brand is acknowledging this. It is recognizing that the ripples you create will persist and reflect back on you over time. Your community is bigger than ever, yet closer than ever before.

Whether we realize it or not, the actions we take are measured against expectations created by our brand. This is true for businesses, but it is also true for individuals. In some cases expectation setting can be a slippery slope. Consider the deliberately expectation-setting tag line for Avis car rental service, “We Try Harder” – certainly this phrase leads to an assumption that the service from Avis will reflect more effort than their competitors. We infer that the extra effort will result in better service. It’s a memorable phrase, and a noble goal, but what does it mean for the individual, for the brand ambassador? That depends on the follow-through of every Avis employee you meet. If the employee adopts a positive, service-focused, can-do attitude then there is an alignment between the brand message and individual. If however, the trend is to have service that is poor, attitudes that are uncaring, or worse, surly, then the brand message collapses under the weight of the failure of the individual to live up to the expectations created in the mind of consumers.

In the age of the blogosphere, disconnects between promise and follow-through can be rapidly exposed. The lesson boils down to “walk your talk.” Sometimes the “talk”, the expectation, is set by your boss, or corporate policy, but you take on the responsibility of the “walk” every time you pass your business card to a new prospect or partner. If it is your own company you do get the benefit of being able to choose the expectations you set at a policy level, but you are also under even stronger scrutiny when it comes to follow through.

Since Avis has used the “We Try Harder” line for a long time now I will gladly assume that it has been a fair reflection of their actual brand experience. However, not every tag line is so overt in the expectations it sets. What promises does your branding imply? And do you deliver on those expectations? Like any ambassador, your role as ambassador of your brand is to promote and develop trust. Consistency of message and behavior are some of the most powerful tools in developing trust, but they require time to nurture and grow. Trust is an essential asset and a powerful catalyst to accelerate business, but it is also incredibly fragile. If expectations are repeatedly out of alignment with delivery then trust will not be established and your brand diplomacy will be a failure.

A brand ambassador is also in the business of building consensus and support amongst allies. When you go to a networking event, you take the time to dress up, you make sure you have your business cards in your pocket, you practice your elevator pitch, but have you put any thought into who your strategic allies might be in the room? Retailers put a tremendous amount of time and energy into tweaking and tuning the merchandising of stores. There is a conscious effort to setup product adjacencies that will encourage increased sales, complementary product sets, and impulse buys. Why not apply the concept to yourself at the next chamber of commerce luncheon? You probably already know some of the folks in the room – think about what they offer and how your offering would look on the shelf next to them. If you own a car wash, maybe you can work a deal with the local mechanic to offer a mutually beneficial offer that brings added value to your customers (wash & tune anybody?). By combining your strengths with those of your ally you can extend the reach of your brands and grow a larger community of consumers.

What’s your brand’s diplomatic policy? I’ll leave you with this exercise: Try writing down the 3 to 5 most important aspects you want your business contacts to recognize in your brand. Then write down the 3 to 5 perceptions you want people to have of you. How well do they align? Ask a trusted friend if this is the image you are projecting. Go over your elevator pitch, your handshake line, your stadium speech, and see if it serves both you and your brand. Does it meet the criteria you’ve written down? Keep tweaking and tuning – you’ll know when you’ve found the right balance, because it will both feel good, and will attract the people that you want to connect with: the ones aligned with the value you offer and the working vibe that suits you best. That’s the best kind of business diplomacy.

Future Work Skills For 2020

The Skills Of The Future

Do you realize that in the last 30 years the median income hasn’t risen much, meanwhile, productivity has more than doubled!

Why do you think that is?

I can tell you. It’s because of automation, computers and the internet.

How can you have any doubt that job security and the economy are becoming more and more dependent on the skills of the future?

Those skills are web design, search engine optimization (SEO), online marketing, and among many others, one of my favorites being, new media literacy. Where do they come up with these names?

The newest statistics show that by 2045, roughly half of all jobs will be automated.

When you see and understand trends, you can position yourself to leverage them.

By understanding the trends, you can prepare for, and create security.

Why not plan for a better future? By acquiring new internet based skills you can:

-Create your own affiliate business
-Discover how to create your own products to sell online
-Become a consultant
-Improve your current position
-Go for a better position, or better job with a new company.

What if you had the opportunity to earn while you learn? What you are really doing is creating opportunities. Opening doors that may not have been possible before.

You create your future. You and your future are a priority. Are you placing enough importance on what you want, and how you want to live? Or are you just settling, comfortable with being uncomfortable and living an ok life?

What do you want your life to look like in one year? The year is coming and going anyway. Will anything change if you don’t change it?

For more information on an educational platform where you can gain the skills of the future AND earn while you learn, and meet the co-founder of this state of the art platform click below for a complimentary video training series that explains it all.

Future Work Skills of 2020 Infographic: http://livingwellforsuccess.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/FutureWorkSki…

Article & Infographic: http://livingwellforsuccess.net/future-work-skills-for-2020/
Author’s Bio:

I have been married for almost 35 years to the same wonderful, supportive, loving – yet sometimes taxing man! He would say the same of me!

We have two fantastic kids whom we love with all our hearts and are very proud of, five super special grand kids, (I am a “Mimi”, I have bragging rights) and two adorable canine adopted kids that let us live in the house with them. Not to mention saltwater fish and corals that are part of my addictive reef keeping hobby.

When I was in my early thirties I was hit hard by a condition called CFIDS, or Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as CFS, and ME in the U.K. for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. I was flat on my back for a year, and it took me a few years after that to return to a somewhat normal lifestyle.

A couple of years ago I was hit with a relapse of the condition while I was working full-time and going to school part-time, trying to get a degree. I spent 6 months flat on my back again, and during this time suffered from a heart attack. We aren’t sure why, but I believe it was a byproduct of this condition.

Now, I have good days and not so great days, depending on how “good” I am about monitoring my activities. I have a type “A” personality, so it’s difficult for me to reign myself in sometimes!

I am determined not to let this condition define me as a person, or hold me back from realizing my dreams.

I am passionate about business and anything entrepreneurial. I believe that small businesses of all kinds are the foundation of this country as well as the world economy. I have, in fact, owned a brick & mortar business, and have mastered internet marketing skills which I can do from home, at my pace.

This state-of-the-art digital academy has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me! Since becoming a student and affiliate I have learned so much!

Through the academy I have discovered the in’s and out’s of internet marketing. I am now able to understand the different types of internet advertising, SEO, blogging, social media marketing, copy writing, etc. There are many affiliate opportunities available on the internet, including the affiliate program that I have been able to learn how to do as well.

The academy provides training for small business owners that want to learn online marketing in order to take their business into the online world, as well as how to develop a brand properly, and how to grow a professional internet business presence. The mentorship from individuals that have built successful businesses has been invaluable, and I really appreciate the relationship I have built with my mentors.

I love what I am doing, but most of all, I love the community! We are like-minded people from all over the world, committed to help each other succeed. It is a truly rare thing! We are a great big family!

The training gave me the skills I needed to be able to develop an online marketing consulting business. I am able to help small business owners, locally and globally, develop custom marketing plans that help them be more successful. I LOVE helping small business owners grow their businesses!

I have invested in myself just like I was doing when I was investing in a college education. The difference is that with this digital business academy, I have been able to apply the practical, and real world information I have learned to build an online business .