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Michael Omidi is proud to provide assistance to Sylvia Hernandez’s charity Sylvia’s Serenity Sober Living Homes, Inc.. Michael believes in Sylvia’s cause of reducing the rate of homeless women in California by providing women with a healthy recovery from drug addictions and providing them with a home during their recovery, it’s hard enough for women to break their drug addictions, they should not be subject to being homeless during their recovery phase.

California Drug & Alcohol Addiction

The amount of people suffering from alcohol and drug addictions in California is troubling, now more than ever we need to provide our support to those in California (like Sylvia Hernandez) who are making an attempt to lower these growing statistics in California.

California Alcohol Abuse & Addiction Statistics

  • An estimated amount of 173,000 individuals in the age group of 12 – 17 years old suffer from alcohol addiction or abuse in California.
  • An estimated amount of 581,000 individuals in the age group of 18 – 25 years of age suffer from alchol addiction or abuse in California.
  • An estimated amount of 1,298,000 individuals 26 years of age and older suffer from alcohol addiction or abuse in California.

California Cocaine Addiction & Abuse Statistics

  • An estimated amount of 53,000 individuals in the age group of 12 – 17 years of age suffer from cocaine addiction or abuse in California.
  • An estimated amount of 259,000 individuals in the age group of 18 – 25 years of age suffer from cocaine addiction or abuse in California
  • An estimated amount of 410,000 individuals 26 years of age or older suffer from cocaine or abuse in California.

California Marijuana Addiction and Abuse Statistics

  • An estimated amount of 443,000 individuals in the age group of 12 – 17 years of age suffer from Marijuana addiction or abuse in California.
  • An estimated amount of 1,109,000 individuals in the age group of 18 – 25 years of age suffer from Marijuana addiction or abuse in California.
  • An Estimated amount of 1,670,000 individuals aged 26 years or older suffer from Marijuana addiction or abuse in California.

California Illicit Drug Addiction and Abuse Statistics

  • An estimated amount of 155,000 individuals in the age group of 12 – 17 years of age suffer from illicit drug abuse or addiction in California.
  • An estimated amount of 306,000 individuals in the age group of 18 – 25 years of age suffer from illicit drug abuse or addiction in California.
  • An estimated amount of 393,000 individuals aged 26 years or older suffer from illicit drug abuse or addiction in California.

Statistics Source: http://www.usnodrugs.com/

It is important to make others aware of these troubling statistics so they better understand the true damage drug addiction is bringing to their home state, and will enact the right people to provide support to fantastic charities such as Sylvia’s Serenity Sober Living Homes, Inc.

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Julian Omidi discusses the importance of literacy and how it contributes to an overall better standard of living. Julian Omidi highlights the importance of organizations that work to improve literacy among children, including the Young Storytellers Foundation.

Literacy affects more than you might think: Literacy allows people to fill out job applications, read prescription labels, and fill out deposit slips at the bank. Literacy impacts the ability of a workforce, contributes to the physical health of a nation, and directly impacts one’s ability to earn during their lifetime.

According to statistics provided by the National Center for Family Literacy, approximately 34 million American adults function at below basic literacy levels. Additionally the United States has fallen behind in the percentage of the world’s population of college students; about thirty years ago the US contained 30% of the world’s college students, whereas today it holds roughly 14%.

When it comes to a standard of living the costs are staggering: those with a professional, doctoral, or master’s degree earn an average of $79,946 annually, while those with less than a high school diploma earned $19,915 annually on average. Low literacy can also account for $73 million each year in direct health care costs, and those that have “inadequate health literacy” had a 50% higher mortality rate than those with adequate reading skills.

It is imperative that children are provided with the opportunity to increase their literacy, and since 1997, the Young Storytellers Foundation has been working to develop literacy through the art of storytelling for hundreds of students in the greater Los Angeles area.

Through the use of one-on-one mentoring and group exercises YSF provides a valuable service to children within the public school system in Los Angeles. YSF performs this service by guiding children to write stories and to see them performed publically. The organization has even been able to enlist the assistance of well-known actors to help bring the stories they children have created to life.

Creative arts programs are often very underserved and underrepresented facet of education in the public school systems and yet they offer so much to the children that are able to participate in them. This is why Michael Omidi and I support the Young Storytellers Foundation.

An organization that helps 100% of its students complete a script of their own and see it performed is something that Michael and I believe is a necessity in Los Angeles, as well as around the world. Please help the Young Storytellers Foundationcontinue to provide this amazing service to children by providing your support.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012 12:31

The Plight of Veterans in California

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As of 2010 the population of Veterans in the United States was 22.7 million individuals aged 17 and older. As of that same date approximately 1,972,000 total veterans resided in the state of California.

California is also the epicenter for homeless veterans as a result of number of military bases that are located throughout the state as well as the fact that warm weather permeates the area year-round. The San Francisco Bay Area in particular has a large number of homeless veterans among its population.

Many veterans are also faced with the issue of psychological and physical health needs. Some veterans return to the United States with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, though the percentage of returning veterans diagnosed with PTSD has changed based on the conflict they are returning from (for example approximately 30.9% of male veterans returning from the Vietnam War suffered from PTSD, while approximately 12% of those involved in the Gulf War exhibited the disorder). Additionally, some veterans return with significant physical health requirements related to a multitude of injuries or illnesses.

While this is not to imply that all veterans face economic and psychological issues, the fact of the matter is that there are many who do return requiring assistance and this is where the organization Swords to Plowshares provides help.

Swords to Plowshares has been providing assistance to veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost 40 years and have developed a comprehensive model of care for veterans that is well-regarded and highly-respected.

The core of the services provided by Swords to Plowshares includes:
Health and Social Services – Emergency housing, eviction prevention, mental health services, substance abuse counseling, and financial counseling are just some of the services that the organization provides.
Employment and Training – Swords to Plowshares developed and utilizes a vocational training model in order to provide job opportunities in high-growth, high-wage industries.
Supportive Housing – Offering both transitional and permanent residential programs, the supportive housing programs have been used as national models to provide veterans with the solutions they require to achieve a stable residence.

It is for these reasons that Michael Omidi and I support Swords to Plowshares and hope that you will offer your support to them as well. Please assist Swords for Plowsharesin their efforts to aid veterans.

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At No More Poverty we want to provide you with the information you need to help charities of real value, which is why we are providing this end of year giving guide, which includes tips directly from the IRS on how to give responsibly.

According to Charity Navigator, a leading website that provides impartial statistics and information on charities to assist the general public with “intelligent giving,” 41% of annual contributions from individuals go to various charitable organizations between Thanksgiving and January 1st. This means that many of you will be looking to give during this time of year and we want to help you do so responsibly.

Deciding Where to Give
Many people give to organizations that support causes that are near to their heart, while others are more interested in providing assistance to a charity they know will make a significant impact. In the New York Times article “Putting Charities to the Test,” Tina Rosenberg cites an example of both factions from an essay by Toby Ord, a leading researcher in moral philosophy at Oxford University.

Some people feel that providing assistance to an organization that trains seeing-eye dogs for the blind is an exceptionally worthy charity, despite the fact that training of the dog can cost as much as $42,000. For others they feel that the impact of their personal donation is lost on such a cause and could be better served by a charity such as Helen Keller International, which provides eye surgery to the impoverished of Africa suffering from trachoma. Helen Keller International can provide the surgery at a total cost of $25 per patient, which means any financial donation would make a significant impact.

While neither charity is more important than the other it is a question of which you feel you would prefer giving to. Doing your research on the charity with the help of the Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator will help you decide which organization you feel is the most effective.

How to Give
The IRS has just released a guide to holiday giving as it pertains to your taxes. Here are some of the suggestions they have provided:
Qualified Charities – In order to deduct charitable donations from your taxes you will need to make sure that the charity you donate to has 501(c)(3) status. IRS.gov provides an Exempt Organizations Select Check tool in order to determine if the charity you intend to give to qualifies for deductions.
What You Can Deduct – Typically you can deduct fair market value on any property you have donated as well as any cash contributions, though some donated property such as clothing, cars or boats, and household items have special rules that are applicable.
Keeping and Compiling Records – Regardless of the amount make sure that you keep records of any charitable donations that you intend to deduct such as receipts, cancelled checks, or financial statements. Make sure that they are compiled in a safe place that is appropriate for the amount of personal information contained in the documents.

Don’t Forget…
Financial contributions are not the only way to support your favorite charities or causes; many organizations see a significant influx in volunteerism during the holidays, but after the New Year they desperately require volunteers until the holidays come back around.

There are many amazing charities that could use your help year-round and especially into the spring and summer months. Don’t forget to provide support to the organizations you feel are important throughout the year.

Julian Omidi and I hope that this guide will help you in your charitable giving this holiday season.

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While there have been many signs of recovery in the United States economy, recently released statistics from the Urban Institute have uncovered that poverty is still striking children at an alarming rate. According to these newly released findings approximately 20% of children in the United States currently live in poverty. Here are some of the additional statistics:

• A 71% increase was seen in the number of children living with an unemployed parent from 2007 to 2011.
• 2.7 million more children in 2012 lived with an unemployed parent during a typical month this year than in a typical month in 2007.
• 9% of children in the United States lived unemployed parents.
• 27 states in the U.S. qualify as having high childhood poverty rates, compared to 14 states before the 2007 recession.

Childhood poverty is a significant problem for those living in the state of California as well, where the number of children with unemployed parents has followed the national trend. Since 2007 the number of children in California with unemployed parents has risen from 535,900 to 1,008,000, a growth of over 88%. Additionally the number of individuals receiving food stamps as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as SNAP) has seen an increase of 93% from 2007 to 2012.

Childhood poverty in Sacramento is also of great concern. Within the region of Sacramento (which includes cities located in Sacramento County) over 113,000 children live in poverty. This number equates to about 22% of local children living in poverty, which is very near to the national average.

In the city of Los Angeles childhood poverty is an equally large issue. Statistics published in 2010 provided the startling result that about 24% of children in Los Angeles lives in poverty.

The Omidi Brothers will continue to fight poverty throughout the United States and close to home in Los Angeles through No More Poverty. With your help in assisting charities that focus on relieving childhood poverty, together we will make a difference.

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Through No More Poverty my brother Julian Omidi and I have been able to highlight not just charities that help the impoverished; we have also been able to spotlight issues that the poor are facing in the United States and across the globe.

I want to use this space to continue to alert you to some of the problems relating to poverty that people in America are currently facing; from issues of homelessness to hunger and beyond.

In an attempt to keep from slipping into poverty many American households have been taking on “additional adults.” This term refers to individuals that live with someone other than a domestic partner or spouse and are not considered the head of the household they reside in. Additional adults include those living in group houses, sharing a home with multiple roommates, and those utilizing the spare rooms of their parents to call home.

In 2007 the percentage of legal adults over the age of 18 that could be defined as “additional adults” was approximately 16%. According to the latest Census survey almost 18% of legal adults now fall under this category.

The good news about the increased numbers of this demographic is that many have avoided a higher poverty rate by living with someone else compared to living on their own. In addition, many of those that have taken in additional adults have been able to avoid higher poverty rates.

The study also found that the youngest adults – those aged 18 to 24 years old – made up the largest part of this group at 35.3% followed by those ranging in age from 25 to 34 at 30.5%. Unemployment rates have also plagued these particular age groups; approximately 13% of those aged 20 to 24 are unemployed compared to the overall jobless rate of the United States of 7.9%

The Omidi Brothers will be looking for charities to support that assist this particular demographic, and hope that you will share with us your knowledge of any organizations that work to help the young and unemployed.


Thursday, 29 November 2012 09:50

Julian Omidi Blog on No More Poverty

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No More Poverty and the Omidi Brothers have achieved a great deal in the last year with so many more exciting opportunities on the way. We have been able to highlight and bring attention to many wonderful charities, which was the purpose of founding this organization in the first place.

As we continue into the end of 2012 and begin 2013 we want to have a definitive place where we can continue to bring attention to these charities and increase the public awareness; in doing so we will be able to alleviate poverty in all of its forms around the world and at home.

The GO Campaign is one such charitable organization that I want to highlight here for its impact on children suffering from poverty. Their efforts to connect donors to local heroes that deliver impactful solutions through grassroots projects have helped to “Give Opportunity” to children across borders, which is why the Omidi Brothers are proud to support GO Campaign.

One of the most impressive aspects of the GO Campaign is the way they provide their services:

  • Partners are thoroughly vetted to make sure that they meet all of the necessary criteria for providing grants.
  • Local partners are listened to and a collaborative effort is engendered.
  • 100% of the donation provided by donors goes directly to the project of their choice.

Since its inception in 2006, GO Campaign has provided assistance to projects such as:

  • Skills for A Sustainable Future – This project is a partnership between GO Campaign and the Community Connection Cambodia vocational training school, which seeks to provide education that will benefit the Cham population in the areas of computer literacy and English.
  • Harvesting the Rain – This project is in conjunction with the Kithoka Amani Community Home in Kenya, which provides a home for children in the area of Meru. Due to inadequate rains this project will help to install a water harvesting system for rainwater, which will help to ensure the children are adequately fed throughout the year.
  • Right to Education – A cooperative effort between GO Campaign, the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights, and the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre, this project works to preserve the right to education for the indigenous children in areas of Mexico such as Guerrero.

We hope that you will help these projects reach their maximum impact by supporting GO Campaign in any way that you can.


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