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JoyBinge Ep. 14: Love Babies

Listen to the episode here!

Listen to the last episode here!

Hi and welcome to JoyBinge, a podcast where we re-learn that good things are happening in the world and celebrate those good things because we are tired of only hearing about the bad crap. We are Kimmy and Sinow and we are not journalists or professionals of any sort in the news industry. We are just in need of some happy news and want to share what we find. Let’s binge on some joy!

As you will see below, the format for the blog posts are a bit different. Because we have conversations about the stories, it's hard to write a transcript. Instead, I just put the highlights we covered in each article along with the promised links. Please listen to the podcast to get the full effect of the conversation and read the articles to get more insight into these stories!

Also I kept saying this episode would be posted on Christmas Eve because I thought Tuesday was the 24th not the 25th (calendars are hard sometimes). So just pretend I say Christmas every time I say Christmas Eve!

News:

UK meets UN target in drive to end HIV epidemic

Highlights for this article:

  • Written by Sarah Boseley for The Guardian on November 29th

  • UNAids set a challenging goal for countries around the world to “diagnose more than 90% of people with HIV, put 90% on treatment and ensure 90% experience viral suppression, meaning the amount of HIV in their body being kept so low by antiretroviral drugs they are not infectious to others.”

  • The UK has hit this goal for 2020, being added to the list of other countries who have also hit these goals: Botswana, Cambodia, Denmark, Swaziland, Namibia, and the Netherlands, according to the article.

  • The UK’s numbers are at “92% diagnosed, 98% of those diagnosed on treatment and 97% on treatment virally suppressed.”

  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PreP is one preventive measure taken by the NHS to help get them to these goals. Getting PreP paid for by the NHS was a difficult journey but since they started paying for it, and using other methods for preventative care such as increased funding for testing, condom use on the rise, and streamlining treatment for those diagnosed has all worked together to help more people with HIV and keep others from contracting the disease.

  • The head of STIs and HIV at Public Health England, Noel Gill, spoke with Boseley celebrating the amazing results they have worked so hard for while emphasizing the importance of early detection for HIV. He said, “With an estimated 8,000 people still unaware of their infection it is vital that people seek out an HIV test if they consider themselves at risk, or accept the offer of an HIV test by a healthcare professional, as early diagnosis is key to stopping transmission.”

  • Amazing how a disease as deadly and contagious as HIV has seen a crisis and heavy decline in areas during our lifetime. There is still a ton of work that needs to be in the UK and around the world but these results are something to celebrate.

  • Boseley reports that “Ian Green, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, ...called for the government to commit to ending new infections by 2030.”

Boston’s miracle: how America stopped young men killing each other

Highlights for this article:

  • Written by Sandra Johansson for The Guardian on Dec 6th

  • The Group Violence Intervention (GVI) program with the National Network For Safe Communities has done unprecedented work in Boston over the years. The program started in the 1990’s led by criminology professor, David Kennedy, and has since seen the rate of youth homicides fall by 63%.

  • While the offices for the program are located in New York City, they work in over 30 cities in the U.S. The Connecticut city New Haven started testing GVI in 2012 and has seen great results. According to the article, in 2016 “there were 349 shots fired in the town of 130,000 and 27 people died. In 2017 it was 110 shots, killing six people. … So far this year, shots fired in New Haven are down by almost 80% since 2011.”

  • She goes on to report, “Chicago experienced a 32% reduction in victims among the gangs represented at call-ins, New Orleans a 32% decrease in gang homicides and Stockton a 55% reduction in homicides.”

  • Stacy Spell is one of the men who makes GVI happen on the ground level. Johansson wrote, “The GVI strategy is based around “call-ins”...a gathering of law enforcement officials, former gang members, and young men attending as part of their probation or parole. Spell gives the men a stark choice. Stop the violence and a whole range of assistance will come their way: nappies for the kids, the right paperwork for a job, even help with relocation to get out of the damaging environment in which they live. Carry on, and prison awaits - or worse.”

  • Social workers and relatives go to the meetings to offer more support. Johansson reports, “The police also use peer pressure dynamics in criminal gangs to reach all members, not just the individuals present at the call in.”

  • They even bring in people who have benefitted from this intervention to give testimony of how much better life has gotten for them since they participated.

  • The article goes on to tell the story of a man named Duke who met Risco Mention-Lewis, New York City’s deputy police commissioner, through one of these interventions. It’s a moving story and worth taking the time to read.

  • The results of the GVI has been so surprisingly successful that they are gaining international attention. Police officers from Malmo, Sweden, attended one of the meetings Johansson covered so they could learn how to implement the practices of GVI back in their city.

  • Glasgow even has their version of the GVI, as Johansson says, “offering young men a way out of crime through education, training and mentoring - delivered by people with experience of street violence.” Because of Glasgow’s success, London is now developing their own anti-violence unit to work against knife crime.

  • Three cities in Mexico, including Juárez, “one of the world’s deadliest cities due to the drug cartel wars,” are integrating GVI in their communities. There is even interest in using the GVI model from the police in El Salvador.

Slices of Texas and Scotland:

Friendships Between Scotland And Malawi Celebrated At Christmas Tree Festival

Highlights from this story:

  • Written for Scotland Malawi Partnership’s website on Dec 7th

  • Celebrating 25 year partnership between the two countries through the Mamie Martin Fund that supports education for girls

  • In the 1920’s, Mamie and her husband, Jack, went to Malawi as missionaries and recognized the need for girls accessing education

  • Unfortunately Mamie passed away in 1928, giving birth to her second child

  • Margaret was the oldest child and she returned to Malawi 60 years later and decided to continue her mother’s work by setting up the charity

  • “This year alone, the charity has supported 112 girls in Northern Malawi to attend school and is focused on expanding their support in 2019.”

  • A Christmas tree festival is being held in Edinburgh where charities can decorate Christmas trees to raise awareness for their work so The Mamie Martin Fund has one decorated with fabric from Malawi and stories of women who have used the education they received to progress their lives

  • There are now two networks that work between the two countries: the Scotland Malawi Partnership and the Malawi Scotland Partnership

  • “The work of the SMP isn’t just about ‘international development’, with donors on one side and recipients on the other. It’s about partnership, about joint working, and about friendship.”

  • The Fund has several ways of donating and participating in the work they do with Malawi, including purchasing gift cards that go towards buying uniforms, supplies, and other necessities the girls need in their educational journey

  • The article has a fabulous video that gives background and information about the festival, history of the fund and work done in Malawi, definitely worth checking out!

17-year-old on a mission to say thank you to people he never met

Highlights from this story:

  • Written by Sean Giggy on Dec 13th for WFAA ABC News

  • Cale Balusek from Flower Mound, Texas, is working hard to thank the doctors and nurses who saved his life as an infant.

  • Cale was born two months early in 2001 because his twin brother passed away in utero. Due to the unexpected tragedy and early birth, he was under constant care at Baylor Scott and White in Grapevine.

  • A healthy young man now, Cale started an annual tennis tournament to raise money for the hospital to thank the people who worked so hard to keep him alive and well. The fundraiser is called the Love Babies Tennis Tournament. Last year was the first year and they raised $7,000 which went towards the NICU’s new x-ray equipment. This year he raised a whomping $15,000 for rocking chairs in which new mothers can rock their newborns. Who knows how much they will raise next year?

  • He told Giggy, “It’s just a thanks. This is the biggest thing I could think of to thank them for saving my life.”

Thanks for listening to some of the joy found in the world this past week. If you have stories of good people doing good things in your neighborhood or anywhere, send them to us! We’ve got an email, joybingepodcast@gmail.com or tweet at us @joybingepodcast or visit our Facebook page and Instagram account. TELL US THE GOOD STUFF!

Byeeee

The music for this podcast is "Industrious Ferret" by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have a great week!

"Industrious Ferret" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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