UE Charity Spotlight: San Diego Police Foundation

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the San Diego Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting and assisting the San Diego Police Department and bridging any gaps between citizens and the officers. The foundation primarily strives to fund the department and raise awareness of the department’s outstanding service, promote public outreach to department initiatives and events, advocate for better safety measures to keep San Diego communities safe, and strengthen the overall relationship between the department and the public.

Additionally, the foundation offers a variety of fantastic programs centered around many of the aforementioned areas of focus. These programs include, but are not limited to outreach projects aimed at protecting officers from rifle fire, donation programs directly benefiting the San Diego Police Department’s K-9 units, and grant initiatives providing officers with up-to-date training and equipment. Each of these crucial department sectors has its own donation page featured on the foundation’s website, ensuring that no stone is left unturned in terms of department support.

The foundation attributes much of its 20 year success to the contributions of the public, embodying an additional bridge between the San Diego Police Department and the countless communities they manage. I take pride in serving on the foundation’s Board of Directors, and we at UE.co have been happy to provide our support over the years. We have sponsored a new police dog, hosted fundraisers for the foundation in our office, and aided in the foundation’s efforts to provide bullet-proof vests to all officers throughout San Diego. It is an honor to be a part of this exemplary initiative, which works to highlight and preserve one of the city’s most important facets.

To make a donation to the San Diego Police Foundation, click here. For more information on upcoming foundation events, click here.

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UE Charity Spotlight: GiGi’s Playhouse

 

For nearly 15 years, GiGi’s Playhouse has risen as an invaluable resource for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community at large. The initiative offers a variety of programs aimed at educational activities, therapeutic sessions, and career building seminars — all free of charge. This impressive display of selflessness has allowed the Playhouse to serve over 40,000 individuals daily.

UE.co recently announced its Champion-Level sponsorship of the San Diego Donut Run (set for May 20, 2018), the proceeds of which will benefit GiGi’s Playhouse of San Diego. We are proud to work alongside such an esteemed company, which has enjoyed a rich history of progressive community outreach — both in San Diego and abroad.

 

A Vision of Change

GiGi’s Playhouse was founded in 2003 by Nancy Gianni, following the birth of Gianni’s daughter, GiGi. Just hours after GiGi was born, doctors determined that she had Down syndrome. From this moment on, Gianni grew weary of the enduring negative connotations surrounding Down syndrome, and she quickly became determined to end unfounded stereotypes and boost the self-esteem of those living with the condition.

Following a trip to a support group meeting, Gianni’s plan became clear: she would create a place where kids and adults with Down syndrome could connect, hone crucial life skills, and ultimately celebrate their diagnosis as a gift — not a flaw. This vision came to fruition following a period of fundraising enacted by Gianni and her husband. The first GiGi’s playhouse center opened its doors just months later, setting in motion a full-fledged movement of objective, compassionate outreach to those who may need it.

 

An Unstoppable Ascent

Today, GiGi’s Playhouse occupies 37 locations spanning the United States and Mexico — with 200 inquiries to begin additional locations in other parts of the world. The company’s Generation G Campaign for global acceptance gives participating families the opportunity to foster lasting acceptance through daily activity and social engagement, which subsequently gives their loved ones with Down syndrome the confidence to take on new responsibilities, forge new relationships, and most importantly embrace and enjoy life just like anyone else. The company’s San Diego location is no different — in fact, the city recently proclaimed April 7th 2018 as GiGi’s Playhouse Day.

Join us at the San Diego Donut Run! For more information on the run, and Gigi’s Playhouse as a whole, visit https://gigisplayhouse.org/sandiego/san-diego-donut-run/.

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UE Charity Spotlight: Special Olympics

As the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, the Special Olympics’ contributions to athletics are both vital and far-reaching. The organization provides year-round training and competition opportunities to its athletes, who span 170 countries nationwide.

We at UE.co are excited to be supporting the Olympics’ San Diego branch as part of our ongoing charitable giving initiative. UE will serve as a Bronze-Level sponsor for the program’s next four sports seasons (a donation of $20,000), and our volunteers are ready to help program participants eliminate stigmas, find their athletic niches, and most importantly, build unforgettable memories.

With the organization’s 50th anniversary on the horizon, here is a quick look at its history of inclusiveness and empowerment.

Making a difference

The Special Olympics was founded in 1969 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family. The program was originally named Camp Shriver and served as a modest day camp hosted at Shriver’s home in Potomac, Maryland. Shriver’s mission was simple, yet incredibly ambitious: provide intellectually disabled children the joy and fulfillment of athletic involvement. The camp became an annual event, and it eventually evolved into a full-fledged movement — with many colleges, community centers, and recreational departments obtaining grants to host similar events. In time, the “Camp Shriver” moniker was replaced with the “Special Olympics.”

Later, the first International Special Olympics event (1972) was held right here in Southern California. Competitions took place at UCLA and Santa Monica City College. These events helped establish a tradition of expanded Special Olympics activity in California, as the next two decades saw the inception of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for California Special Olympics and the division of the program into two state chapters: Southern California and Northern California.

Carrying on tradition

Today, the Special Olympics have only magnified the ideals they were founded upon. The organization’s reach officially expanded to over 4.4 million athletes in 2017 — with over 80,000 events being held annually. The Olympics’ Southern California branch alone houses over 32,000 athletes, a staggering number that is more than indicative of the program’s lasting resonance; it pledges to always put its athletes first while fostering a culture of “honesty, integrity, and mutual respect.”

These notions in mind, UE is honored to be a part of a storied and successful initiative, one with a proven track record of selflessness and compassion.

For more information on the San Diego Special Olympics, click here.

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How philanthropists can leverage technology

For philanthropists, it can sometimes be difficult to get capital to places where it is truly needed. As a result, some people decide to keep their money instead of giving it away.

The good news is that new technology is making it easier to invest in quality charities worldwide.

Online Fundraising

One of the best ways to leverage technology is to conduct an online fundraising campaign. There are many people who do not understand all of the benefits of using the internet to raise money. There are numerous websites dedicated to helping people in this process.

There are some people who prefer online fundraising because it is easier to assemble a massive group of people using this method. Other people prefer online fundraising because it shows how many people are investing in similar causes.

Small Loans for Business Owners

Another vital aspect of giving is to change the culture of an area. There are many places where people do not have the opportunities to invest in a new idea. For these areas, small business loans are a great way to help people get started. In some parts of the world, there are no banking systems to help new business owners. If someone does not have the cash to invest in a business idea, they usually do not have the chance to start a company.

Starting a business without capital is now possible with the internet. There are numerous websites that allow wealthy people to lend money to others who want to start an idea. Not only does this help people get out of poverty, but it can improve the local economy in a variety of ways. Over time, this is one of the best ways to donate money to people in need.

In the coming years, technology will continue enabling people to donate more efficiently. No one wants to donate money to a cause that is not going to have a positive impact in the world.

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Snowboarding tips for beginners

Snowboarding is a fun, but tricky sport, and learning it might be frustrating and time consuming at first. However, with a little time and patience, you will be able to pick up and eventually master the sport faster than you think.

Here are some basic tips for first-time snowboarders.

 

Protective gear is not just there to keep you safe; it will help you learn

Your first attempts at snowboarding will likely result in a lot of falls. This might be annoying and frustrating at first, but proper protective gear will make the process easier by reducing the risk of injury. Therefore, if you fall while practicing, you should be able to bounce back up without much of a problem and continue to hone your abilities.

 

Try not to learn in “boilerplate” conditions

Do not try to learn in hard/icy conditions. This will make the experience first time hard and a little more dangerous. It’s best to go during times where the snow is soft and easy to learn on. If possible, go when there is fresh snow.

 

Start on powder

In fact, when starting out, try to favor the powder snow on trails. Ice will be dangerous and hard to navigate. Powder, on the other hand, will allow you to move more seamlessly. Also, if you look for untracked snow, you will have more creative opportunities to explore new terrain and learn faster.

Best of luck, snowboarders!

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The health benefits of being a sports fan

With the NCAA National Championship fresh on our minds, the Superbowl right around the corner, and the March Madness bracket on the horizon, it is currently a great time to be a sports fan. Many fans — particularly those with strong allegiance to a single sport or team — pour their passion into the games they watch. To some, these competitions may seem trivial and devoid of emotional implications, but to those who “get it,” the drama of big wins and losses is almost unparalleled in its resonance.

Put simply, it is fun to be a sports fan, but did you know that your fandom can also improve your health? It is true; sports fans have been linked to a variety of trends in improved health — both mental and physical.

 

An exercise in anxiety

Most dedicated sports fans have endured that game, where the scores are close, the tensions are high, and every second counts en route to a potential victory. If you have ever sat sweating over the build-up to a game tying field goal or a final second three-pointer, you have most likely given yourself a respectable calorie burning workout. The average person can burn around 100-200 calories when watching a game from a stationary position, and that is not even including the potential jumping, standing, and pacing that may come with an especially tense contest. Sudden changes in the action can also elicit a spike in heart rate, which can improve cardiovascular health in regular doses.

 

An emotional boost

There is perhaps nothing better than the euphoria we receive when our favorite team wins — especially if it is a victory over a heated rival or a tough opponent. These feelings can be far reaching in their impact on your health, and by associating with a successful and/or victorious team, you can actually make yourself happier. This fact is perhaps obvious to trace; identifying with happy players is infectious — it is human nature. Furthermore, fanhood is a powerful, at times intimate passion mechanism, and it can quickly manipulate our self-confidence in significant times of success and defeat. Just make sure to keep things as fun as possible.

 

An improvement in relationships

We not only identify with the players on our favorite teams, we also gain a communal mindset with other fans. As a result, game watching experiences can strengthen our relationships with those we share them with. The sometimes overpowering feelings associated with a competition’s results serve as the ultimate bonding factor, and they have been found to aid in relationship longevity over time.

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What can Bill Belichick teach us about leadership?

There are many different definitions and interpretations of “success,” but on the professional football front, it is safe to say that Bill Belichick embodies the term through and through. Belichick is one of the winningest coaches in NFL history, and he has led the New England Patriots to five Super Bowl titles since the early 2000s (and he is currently in pursuit of a sixth). 

Belichick recently discussed his five rules to exceptional leadership. Here, I will examine several of these points and the lessons we can learn from them.

 

Adaptability

Whether you are a seasoned leader or an aspiring one, adaptability is one of the most important traits you can adopt, as your work environment and list of responsibilities will likely be ever-changing throughout your career. Belichick, and most NFL coaches in general, are highly aware of this notion, but Belichick regularly exemplifies effective adaptability, extensively planning for opposing teams with one sentiment in mind: “every battle is won before it is fought.”

This preemptive strategy may serve you well in your own leadership role; lay out major company goals and potential challenges and nip them in the bud by planning in advance. Then, when these matters enter the foreground, you will be even more prepared.

 

Culture

Belichick strongly believes that culture beats strategy “every time.” In the NFL, it is obvious that rostered players have the abilities to play well; it is their cohesion as a unit that will ultimately win them championships. To fortify this characteristic, Belichick is said to hold a revolving door of team building exercises, including trivia nights and Navy SEAL training sessions, that help to establish team culture off the field.

In business leadership, this blend of in-office and out-of-office team building can be just as vital, as your company’s success will likely hinge on both personal chemistry and collective work ethic. A nice balance of fun and hard work will not only facilitate a strong bond between your employees, it will also keep them motivated and mentally sharp.

 

Passion

Leaders must exhibit some form of enduring passion to keep their employees happy and ready to work. It is no secret that Belichick’s passion for his craft is mostly introverted — he is usually a man of few words and low tones — but his undeniable tenacity has kept him coming back year after year, usually to consistent success.

However you plan to implement your passion, make sure you are leading by example in terms of drive, motivation, and focus. No one is saying you have to bounce off the walls on a daily basis, but just as Belichick proves annually, infectious passion can take many forms; the first step is finding your niche.

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