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International Day of Friendship

July 30 is a whole day dedicated to celebrating the beautiful friendships throughout the world, otherwise known as International Day of Friendship. The day is most heavily celebrated in South African and South American countries, but is spreading in popularity. There are no set traditions in how to celebrate International Friendship Day, so here are three ways to show your friends how much you love them:

Flowers or a plant—Pick out your friend’s favorite flower or plant, like a daisy or little basil plant. It’s a simple, inexpensive gift that any friend would love.

Their favorite things—Since it’s International Day of Friendship, dedicate the day to all of their favorite things to do. Take them to their favorite restaurant, to the park or to the movies—whatever they choose.

Gift basket—If you can’t dedicate the whole day to your friendship, then create a simple gift basket with of few of their favorite things. Fill it with their favorite candy, gift card or movie.

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Potomac Health Foundation Award

Brain Injury Services, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, has been awarded a grant from the Potomac Health Foundation to establish a new community-based program to enhance treatment for individuals who have experienced residual effects from a stroke and other acquired brain injuries. The Collaborative Rehabilitation to Enhance Stroke Treatment (CREST) is a specialized model to insure individuals have the supports needed after this catastrophic event. The program will utilize innovative team-based services, cutting-edge technologies, and specialized trainings to assist survivors in discovering individualized solutions so independence, proficiency, and dignity can be maintained or improved.

The program headquarters will be in eastern Prince William County serving that location as well as, Lorton, and North Stafford communities through the Potomac Health Foundation’s Howard L. Greenhouse Large Grant Program. The Howard L. Greenhouse Large Grant Program addresses the Foundation’s mission to improve the health of the community by awarding grants to programs that strengthen access to primary health care for medically underserved residents, reduce the impact of preventable illness and disease, and support innovation around emerging health needs.

More than three and half million people sustain a brain injury annually in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke, an acquired brain injury, is a leading cause of serious long-term disability. Over 25 years ago, many of these individuals would have died but due to advanced emergency medicine, progressive technology, and increasingly rapid response systems, people are surviving this injury today but at a COST. The aftermath for some of these individuals with long term cognitive, behavioral and physical deficits is an inability to function in their community and the need to “redefine themselves”. This devastating disability can create enormous confusion and debilitation that drains them and their families financially. Brain injuries steal the future from youth: deprive a family of a parent and wage earner; deplete the financial and human resources of a community.

According to the Greater Prince William Community Needs Assessment 2013, even amongst the general population “it is not unusual for a patient to walk out of his/her physician’s office confused and unsure where to go, or even what questions to ask… Even highly educated healthcare consumers can meet with seemingly insurmountable barriers to care when information is provided in a less than understandable way.” One can only imagine how impossible this process must seem to a person who survived a stroke and experiences impairment in areas such as memory, communication, problem-solving, information processing, etc.

Brain Injury Services (BIS) was established in 1989 as the first community-based organization dedicated to serving individuals with brain injuries in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the last twenty-six years, the agency has gained considerable expertise in developing and providing innovative services to this population and shared this expertise not only in the local area but also nationally and internationally. BIS has a history of creating innovative and successful programs. At any given time, BIS serves approximately 500 survivors of brain injury in northern Virginia. These clients turn to BIS for services run by highly skilled staff members to support their continued recovery and reentry into the community.

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Simple Ways to Save Water

Water is a precious, limited resource that should be used wisely. The earth has its natural cycles of drought and flood, but water has become scarce and many regions are calling upon its citizens to save water in any way possible. If you’ve been following current events, you may have heard California is in an emergency drought state. You can do your little part, which will create ripple effects. Here are 10 ways to conserve water:

  1. Don’t water your lawn.
  2. Take 10 minute showers.
  3. Construct a rainwater basin in your backyard.
  4. Invest in water conservation high-efficiency appliances.
  5. Cook food with as little water as possible.
  6. Put decorative water fountains on a timer.
  7. Use the garbage disposal sparingly.
  8. Instead of building a private pool, join a community pool.
  9. Play less water-involved activities, like a water balloon fight.
  10. Spread the water-conservation word.

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United Nations Nelson Mandela Day

July 18 is United Nations Nelson Mandela Day, a day dedicated to the former President of South Africa promoting peace, civil liberties and freedom. July 18 is Nelson Mandela’s birthday, and he remained loyal to civil rights cause throughout his life. For 67 years, he was a human rights lawyer, prisoner of conscience, international peacemaker and the first democratically-elected South African president. Nelson Mandela promoted and fought for equality and peace in South Africa, as well as throughout the world. Encourage a little peace in your life and remember these authentic quotes said by Nelson Mandela:

  • “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
  • “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
  • “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
  • “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
  • “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
  • “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
  • “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

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How Pets Make You Happier

They say a dog is man’s best friend and, well, they’re right! Science shows that pets affect our emotional well-being. They make us more social, more conscientious, have better self-esteem, and healthier relationships. Even just thinking about a cute animal curbs our loneliness and boosts endorphins. Still skeptical? Here are three ways pets make you a happier, better person:

Reduce stress—Had a rough day at work? Spend some time with your furry friend. Science shows that pets are more effective than medication in decreasing blood pressure, heart rates and the stress hormone cortisol.

Boost exercise—Dogs crave an active lifestyle and require their owners to live actively, too. According to, “dog owners are 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of exercise.” Plus, owning a dog promotes more family activities and bonding.

Encourage empathy—While pets offer unconditional love and support, they always teach those values, too. Kids who grow up with dogs and cats display more empathetic personalities than those who grew up without pets.

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