Tag Archives: no more poverty

Traveling to Philippines to Change One Man’s Life

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Julian and Michael Omidi have long been involved in sponsoring charitable causes that range from standing up to animal abuse to delivering aid to the poor around the world. Aside from donating money and initiating fundraising programs, however, the Omidi brothers also like to go beyond the usual philanthropic efforts. Indeed, in certain exceptional cases, they actually roll up their sleeves and put their skills to directly assist those in need. A remarkable example of their propensity for direct involvement in charitable work took place in the summer of 2013 when Julian and his mother, Cindi, sponsored Michael Omidi’s mission to travel to Philippines and operate on a man suffering from a massive neck lump caused by a thyroid goiter.
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The 20-year-old patient in question had lived with his condition for 10 years. Since his large neck mass set him apart from the rest of people in his village, he found himself alienated from the rest of community, unable to keep a stable job or maintain a romantic relationship. Incapable of supporting himself financially, the man had been living with his aunt and her 6 children since both of his parents had passed away a while ago. For many years, he had been trying unsuccessfully to seek medical care for his condition by applying for various social programs that sometimes covered his doctor visits, but were generally insufficient to provide for any sort of effective treatment.

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When local physicians advised him to undergo tests such as MRI and CT scan, he often found himself unable to follow up on these recommendations. In the absence of adequate medical facilities in his village, the patient’s only option was to travel to the cities in order to have the aforementioned diagnostic procedures done. Unfortunately, not only did he lack the funds to travel, but his social programs did not even cover the tests. Making the mattes worse, local medical facilities required a long wait to undergo the MRI and CT scan, thus delaying the much-needed treatment.

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Upon hearing the patient’s story, Julian and Cindi Omidi promptly gathered the funds to organize a charitable mission and deliver assistance as quickly as possible. To ensure success of the mission, the Omidi family also reached out to Yolanda Abaca, an experienced nurse and philanthropist who helped organize social workers and handled communications with the governor. Her daughter, Maria Abaca, oversaw the surgical details of the medical mission and, working closely with Yolanda, took care of innumerable tasks in preparation for the trip. The success of this mission could not have been possible without their invaluable contributions.

When Dr. Michael Omidi, a renowned plastic surgeon based in the Los Angeles area, arrived in the city of San Miguel, Bulacan Province, to perform an in-person exam, he was greeted with scorching heat. With the temperature outside being as high as 105 degrees, the patient came in wearing a scarf around his neck, immediately raising concerns about the severity of his condition but also attesting to his longstanding plight. Given the urgency of the situation and a limited amount of time at their disposal, Dr. Omidi and his staff quickly made arrangements for a CT scan. In order to guarantee safety of the procedure, they also made a thorough assessment of the facilities at a district hospital and, upon finding them inadequate to handle cases of this magnitude, insisted on access to the university hospital. In order to secure approval, Dr. Omidi convincingly demonstrated that the patient would need blood work, access to intensive care unit, and potent medications to manage the cardiovascular status (e.g., drop the pressure around large vessels, increase the blood pressure, ventilator to manage the airway overnight).

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On the first day of surgery, Dr. Omidi and Dr. Lee Au removed the tumors from the front section of the neck. Following this procedure that took 16 hours, the patient remained in the intensive care unit overnight, intubated on the ventilator. On the second day, the patient was brought back to the operating room and Dr. Omidi spent an additional 8 hours to remove the tumors from the backside of the neck.

In the end, the surgery was a resounding success. All the tumors were removed along with half of the thyroid that was responsible for causing the neck mass. Dr. Omidi and his staff were careful to ensure that there were no injuries to any of the numerous nerves in the head and neck area. The patient recovered well and was sent home 4 days after the surgery.

 

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In the months that followed, the Omidi brothers kept in touch with the patient who has now effectively assimilated back into his community. He no longer has to wear a scarf in the midst of a summer heat to earn acceptance from the townsfolk. The last time we have heard from him, this man has found a girlfriend and is currently studying at the local university to realize his goals of entering the construction industry. His dream is to build a new house for his aunt who lives in an old and rundown shack.

Sometimes, it takes not only financial assistance but also personal commitment and hard work to make a difference in someone’s life. At the end of the day, Julian and Michael Omidi know that helping a fellow human being in need is worth every effort, penny, and time spent.

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Filed under Animal Support, Health, Poverty, Uncategorized

Government Programs Reduce Poverty

Julian Omidi discusses government programs

Today, Julian Omidi discusses an interpretation of new data from U.S. Census data on poverty levels in the nation. It seems government safety nets are doing some good.

You often hear debate about whether certain government programs do anything worthwhile. Most of the time it is just baseless speculation.

A new study from PEW Charitable Trusts offers some real data from the U.S. Census Bureau to shed some light on the subject.

Social Security, food stamps, unemployment benefits and earned income tax credits all seem to have an effect on the poverty level. Some of the study’s findings include:

  • The official poverty rate in the U.S. was 14.5 percent (45.3 million people)
  • Without food stamps, the poverty rate would be 17.1 percent (an additional 8 million people)
  • Without Social Security, poverty rate for Americans 65 and over would be 52.67 percent instead of 14.6 percent currently
  • Without programs like earned income tax credits, poverty for children under 18 would be 22.8 percent (19.9 percent currently)

These numbers are staggering. Consider what America would look like if each of these programs were removed or cut back significantly. That is what safety nets are for. No one wants people to live in poverty, but America continues to have problems with income inequality.

The great poverty divide

In the current political debate on poverty, both sides have answers, but they seem to be coming from opposite directions. Those on the right wish to see these programs cut or changed, and those on the left wish to see them improved, for the most part.

Most Americans are somewhere in the middle. Some reform is certainly necessary, but these programs are helping people currently. How can we improve things and make sure no one slips through the net while curtailing abuses? This is one of the most difficult questions of our time.

We can certainly use some better metrics on the matter. Census information only considers income level to determine whether someone is under the poverty level. This doesn’t include things like food stamps and other programs that help people.

In 2010 our government introduced the supplemental poverty rate, which considers consumer spending on necessities like shelter, food and utilities. Someday this measure may be used as to determine assistance levels. It has the potential to reign in abusers and find those eligible people who need help.

Things keep getting better, as a whole, for all of us. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continually try to improve. Look for solutions and not ammo. Our public discourse will be much better off.

Thanks for reading,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi and his brother, Michael Omidi, are co-founders of No More Poverty, a charity committed to the eradication of income inequality.

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Poverty Rates in Los Angeles Greater than National Average

The state of California’s poor

Julian Omidi talks about poverty in Los Angeles

Julian Omidi talks about the ongoing issue of poverty. Here, he examines the alarming poverty rates in Los Angeles County.

The U.S. Census bureau has released new estimates that show poverty is more widespread in Los Angeles County than in California or the U.S. as a whole. Eighteen percent of people in LA County live below the poverty line. This isn’t a new development, but rather a lingering reminder of just how bad things are for the area’s residents.

Poverty rates are even worse, a staggering 20 percent, for county residents who were born in another country. The foreign-born often have a tough time finding work due to language barriers and a lack of social support systems. Los Angeles County is home to many unskilled immigrants who are forced to live on the economic fringes of society.

California’s poverty rate was reported at 16 percent, while the overall number for the U.S. is 15 percent. The country has been slow to pull out of the recent recession and still needs job growth. The national unemployment rate is near 5.9 percent, though California’s has stayed above 7.3 percent. The state’s poverty rate likely won’t improve much until the national economy begins to grow.

What does this mean for LA County and California?

LA County has suffered with chronic poverty for decades. Government programs help many citizens get what they need, but often fall short. High housing costs in the area make it difficult for poor people to find affordable homes and apartments.

High unemployment rates create a large group of people starved for work. These people are likely to settle for lower pay, driving local wages down or keeping them stagnate.

People in poverty tend to experience higher levels of stress, which makes logical sense. If you have your needs met, you have less to worry about. It’s a simple as that. These problems are not purely economic in nature. The health of our communities is at stake. Money problems can quickly turn into housing and nutrition problems.

My brother, Dr. Michael Omidi, and I founded No More Poverty to help alleviate some of these issues. These problems are close to our hearts and we want to do what we can.

While government programs do help the less fortunate, they cannot do it all. Find a charity or food basket near you and help out however you can. If you’re concerned about poverty, vote for politicians who share your concerns. Together, we can make a difference.

Thanks for taking the time to read about this important issue,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi works with a number of charities. No More Poverty was established by Julian and Dr. Michael Omidi to support individuals and charities making a difference.

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Julian Omidi on the Findings of Exercise Memory

In this article, philanthropist Julian Omidi discusses the study suggesting that exercise assists with physical memory retention.  Julian Omidi is cofounder of No More Poverty with his brother, Dr. Michael Omidi, MD.

If you are interested in increasing proficiency in a new skill, jump on a treadmill!

Yes–it seems, according to a recent article in the New York Times, that in addition to providing massive benefits to physical and emotional health and well being, exercise actually improves information retention.

The study consisted of a test group of fit men who were given the task of tracing a trail on a computer screen using a joystick controller.  A portion of the test group exercised vigorously for 15 minutes before the tracing exercise, another portion was made to exercise after the tracing exercise, and the rest were not permitted to exercise at all.  All of the test groups repeated the tracing experiment again one hour, one day and one week later.  The group that exercised after the initial tracing experiment managed to perform the exercise the most accurately, with the group that exercised before the tracing experiment performing slightly less proficiently than the previous group, but still better than those who didn’t exercise at all.  According to the article:

“What this result suggests, says Marc Roig, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Copenhagen who led the study with his colleague Kasper Skriver, is that physical exercise may help the brain to consolidate and store physical or motor memories. Consolidating a memory is not instantaneous, after all, or even inevitable. Every memory must be encoded and moved from short-term to long-term storage. Some of those memories are, for whatever reason, more vividly imprinted than others.”

So, what does this mean?  The evidence suggests that physical exercise can help with the retention of physical memory.  Physical memory is classified by the association with the memorization of patterns of physical movement, as opposed to intellectual memorization of word patterns or formulas. Previous studies have indicated that exercise does improve the ability to remember, but there hasn’t been any data specifically linked to physical memory.  Now that these results indicate that exercise might strengthen physical memory, the possibilities are legion. Physicians in Copenhagen, where the experiment was conducted, are working with children to find out if engaging them in a workout after their schoolwork helps them to retain information at higher degree accuracy.

It isn’t exactly known what induces the brain to retain memory after exercise; it is suggested that the substances such as noradrenaline released in the brain might have some effect on learning.  However, the timing of the exercise is essential; it must occur immediately after information is first retained.

This exciting discovery might lead to innovations in education and memory rehabilitation after an injury or trauma!

By Julian Omidi

Source:

Reynolds, Gretchen. “How Exercise Can Help You Master New Skills.” NYTimes.com. The New York Times Company, 26 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. <http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/how-exercise-can-help-you-master-new-skills/&gt;.

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Julian Omidi on the Link Between Education, Income, and Obesity

Julian Omidi is concerned about the increasing rates of obesity in the United States and the most recent projections about that from a new study. Julian Omidi here discusses some of the common issues faced when fighting against obesity.

Recently the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation projects released research that projected about half of the adults in the United States could be obese by the year 2030, less than 20 years from now.

Currently about 35.7% of adults and 16.9% of children are obese in the U.S. Projections could see some states reaching obesity rates as high as 60% with all states seeing rates of at least 44%. Delaware, for example, could see obesity rates as high as 64.7% based on the rate of increase they have experienced since 1999, and that would make it only the third most obese state.

Unfortunately it seems that education and income have been linked to obesity directly. This most recent report found:

“About one-third of adults without a high school diploma were obese, compared with about one-fifth of those who graduated from college or technical college. And one-third of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year are obese, compared to one-quarter of those who earned $50,000 or more per year. The obesity-poverty connection reflects such facts that calorie-dense foods are cheap and that poor neighborhoods have fewer playgrounds, sidewalks and other amenities that encourage exercise.”

This study shows that as contradictory as it may seem, poverty and obesity can be directly related. These findings only further my resolve to assist the impoverished through the not-for-profit organization I founded with my brother Michael Omidi. Our charity No More Poverty works to assist the impoverished in all areas whether they be hungry, homeless, or unhealthy.

These are just projections and we can make change the tide in the fight against obesity through regular exercise and a healthy diet. Hopefully, as a nation, we can keep these projections from coming true.

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Julian Omidi Supports The Story Project Because of Benefits of Storytelling

Julian Omidi formed No More Poverty with his brother Michael Omidi to enrich people’s lives. Julian Omidi understands the importance of storytelling, which is why the Omidi Brothers are supporting The Story Project in Los Angeles through No More Poverty.

An article that I read last year has always stuck with me. The article I read was from the New York Times and discussed the benefits that storytelling had on patient health. What was most interesting was that there was information from a study included in the text that had scientific data that pushed the benefits of storytelling beyond anecdotal evidence.

The study, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at the positive effects of telling and listening to stories on blood pressure and found that not only did all of those in the study see better blood pressure control, but those that suffered from uncontrolled hypertension achieved and maintained a drop in their blood pressure as significant as those that took medication.

Knowing this, think of the benefits that teaching children early on to use storytelling as a healthy mechanism in their lives could have on not only their lives but also on the lives of those around them. This is why I feel it is imperative to support charities such as The Story Project.

To quote Dr. Thomas K. Houston, who led the study:

“Telling and listening to stories is the way we make sense of our lives. Storytelling is human. We learn through stories, and we use them to make sense of our lives. It’s a natural extension to think that we could use stories to improve our health.”

The Story Project provides children with the ability to learn how to tell these stories through increasing literacy. Creative talent throughout Los Angeles volunteers their time and mentor children after-school, relating their skills and their personal experience in order to teach and inspire.

My brother Dr. Michael Omidi and I are proud to provide our support to The Story Project and help in their effort to provide the children of Los Angeles with one of the most important skills in life. Whether these children choose to go into the arts, marketing, history, science, or medicine, the ability to create and understand stories is imperative in all of these fields.

The Omidi Brothers hope that you will support the efforts of programs like The Story Project and others through our not-for-profit No More Poverty. Visit the No More Poverty Facebook page to learn more about this program and others.

Source:

Chen, Pauline W., M.D. “When Patients Share Their Stories, Health May Improve.”NYTimes.com. The New York Times Company, 10 Feb. 2011. Web. 11 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/health/views/10chen.html?_r=2&emc=eta1&gt;.

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Julian Omidi Calls to Help Drop in the Bucket and the Alpha Primary School

Julian Omidi is the cofounder of No More Poverty along with his brother, Dr. Michael Omidi. The Omidi Brothers have created a non-profit organization supporting efforts to help those stricken by poverty. The Omidi brothers’ organization supports a variety of charities like Children’s Hunger Fund and Drop in the Bucket.

Hey guys,

Julian here. Today I’d like to bring your attention to a great initiative from one of the charities Dr. Michael Omidi and I support, Drop in the Bucket. Drop in the Bucket is a charity which seeks to ensure accessibility to water for poorer areas of Africa by drilling wells for drinking water and creating means for sanitation for hundreds of villages in East Africa.

I bet you were unaware that according to a World Health Organization study, approximately 327 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa struggle to find access to safe and sanitary water! Furthermore, the United Nations has estimated that as much as 80% of illnesses in developing countries are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. The statistics are just astounding. Drop in the Bucket is working to help provide these basic human needs to the developing villages of East Africa.

This summer, they put out a new call for help. The Alpha Primary and Boarding School of Lira, Uganda is under the threat of being closed.

In 2001, the residents of Lira, Uganda, concentrated their efforts into building a nursery for the local youth. It was called the Alpha Nursery. While it started as a nursery, it quickly expanded into a primary and boarding school, providing local children with an education about the world and important life skills. Today, it has over 500 students and has a solid reputation within the community for its high-quality education.

Unfortunately, the school is in desperate need of help, otherwise it will be closed down. The school is threatened by a dangerous lack of clean water and sanitation. Its bathrooms are overflowing and consequently, children are forced to go to the bathroom outdoors. The inability to properly dispose of the fecal matter creates a dangerous health hazard, as it creates a breeding ground for disease that can infect the children and the members of the village.

Drop in the Bucket is asking for your help to help the school stay open by providing it and the community with clean water and proper, sanitary bathroom facilities. Please consider donating to the charity so they may ensure that the children of the Alpha School continue to have the opportunity at a proper education.

Thank you guys for your generosity and I know that the children of the Alpha Primary and Boarding School thank you for helping provide them with a better future.

Sources:
WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2010.” Available at www.wssinfo.org/
United Nations. Statement by Secretary General Koffi Annan. June 2003. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sgsm8707.doc.htm

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Julian Omidi Supports A Place Called Home

Julian Omidi is co-founder of No More Poverty. Through No More Poverty Julian Omidi and his brother Michael Omidi have been able to provide support to various charitable organizations that combat poverty. 

Unfortunately the South Central District of Los Angeles is plagued by drugs, crime, prostitution, and gangs, but the fact of the matter is that honest, hard-working people work there as well. They want to provide their children with an opportunity to get out but they can’t afford to relocate. Many children turn to these illegal activities because they feel they have no other choice or opportunity to get by. These are the real effects that poverty has on real people.

Luckily, there are people that spend their time and efforts providing the youth of this area with alternatives and opportunities and the non-profit organization A Place Called Home has been doing this since 1993.

A Place Called Home provides at-risk youth in South Central with a safe haven, a place where they can recognize their talents, abilities, and opportunities in the world. Just some of the programs and services that A Place Called Home has to offer youth in the area include:

  • Music and Art Classes
  • An All-Day School Program
  • Mentoring and Tutoring Programs
  • Computer Lab

No More Poverty (NMP.org) has partnered with A Place Called Home to provide support to their invaluable programs. With your help A Place Called Home can continue to provide services that are so crucial to the betterment of children’s lives and give kids opportunities they never thought possible before.

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How You Can Help No More Poverty

I, Julian Omidi, have formed a non-profit organization with my brother Michael Omidi in order to combat poverty across the United States and around the globe. No More Poverty is an agency that partners with other like-minded charitable organizations to further their efforts.

No More Poverty takes advantage of the social media revolution to help us solicit suggestions for organizations you feel are worthy of our support. Charities you suggest will be featured as a Charity of the Week on our Facebook page. Part of this campaign includes direct donations to these featured charities for every “Like” that the NMP.org Facebook page receives.

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The purpose of this campaign is to get you involved in philanthropy in an interactive way; you will be doing more than just making a financial donation, you will be a valuable part in an effort to end poverty around the world.

Some of the charities that we have supported so far have come as direct suggestions from the worldwide community, people just like you:

  • Portland Hoop Kings – A basketball program that teaches not only the fundamentals of the game but the fundamentals of life as well to inner city youth.
  • Pacifica Resource Center – A community program that aids residents in Pacifica, CA with food, shelter and housing, and financial programs.
  • Simone’s Kids – This organization helps children in Uganda, but their biggest effort currently is their goal to build a new school and community to provide education to over 300 children.

Getting involved with philanthropy is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and I encourage you to do the same by getting involved with No More Poverty.

You can also follow the progress and efforts of No More Poverty by following me, Julian Omidi, through my Linked In account.

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