Page 10 - HH_2_24
P. 10

By Sally KalosLocal Author of Misplaced Childhood: A True Story of Resiliency and Child AdvocacyServes As An Inspiration For Others To Support Children In Foster CareJoan Ulsher and her have been living in Helotes since 2005. This move coincided with Joan’s retirement from the US Army at Fort Sam Houston and her husband’s deployment to the Gulf.In September 2023, after dedicating nearly two and a half years to writing, research, and editing, Joan published her memoir. Titled “Misplaced Childhood: A True Story of Resiliency and Child Advocacy,” her book serves as an inspiration for the community to explore ways to support children in foster care. In her narrative, Joan takes readers through her life journey, beginning with a traumatic and abusive childhood, her experiences in the military, and ultimately her volunteer role as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) at Child Advocates San Antonio. Her motivation comes from the children she represents in Bexar County, as she aims to show them that hope, and resilience can prevail despite challenging pasts. Joan believes that one’s past should not define them, but rather, it’s how they use those experiences that matters. Her goal is for every child in foster care to have their “best interests” represented by a CASA or GAL advocate,Joan Ulsher, Authoras she herself lacked this support during her teenage years in Western New York. By sharing her journey, she hopes to spread the mission of CASA far and wide.Joan donates 100% of her net author royalties to her local CASA program, highlighting her strong commitment to thecause.In 2018, Joan and her husband becameCASA volunteers, often serving jointly on multiple cases, advocating as a team for several children or youths. Their teamwork has enriched their lives both individually and as a couple. They find immense satisfaction in knowing that their efforts, advocacy, communication, involvement, and love for children contribute to successful outcomes for cases and bring happiness to children, sibling groups, and families. Every positive outcome is a testament to their extra efforts. This experience has transformed how they view their community, recognizing that every child or family they interact with represents the future of the community. By making a difference in their lives today, they believe they are positively shaping the future of their community. This hope and the success stories drive them to challenge the status quo of the child welfare system. They aim to model clean living, healthy relationships, and resilience, often mentoring children, youths, parents, or guardians to do the same. Witnessing positive change in those they serve has changed their lives profoundly.To learn more about Joan’s advocacy experience, you can visit her website at Additionally, if you want information CASA, satx.orgM Self-Care Strategies To Protect Long-Term Mental Healthental health has always been anxiety can adversely affect the body’s benefits. A 2009 study from researchers at important, but the need for nervous, cardiovascular, digestive, immune, the University of Sussex found that reading people to prioritize their and respiratory systems. can reduce stress by as much as 68 percent.emotional, psychological and social well- being gained greater attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing restrictions designed to reduce cases of COVID-19 contributed to feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety in millions of individuals across the globe, sparking a heightened sense of curiosity about what people can do to safeguard their mental health in the short-term but also over the course of their lives.Pandemic-related restrictions have long since been lifted throughout much of the world. But the need to prioritize mental health remains. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that self-care can play a vital role in maintaining mental health. With that in mind, individuals can consider these strategies as they look to safeguard their mental health over the long haul.• Exercise regularly. Exercise benefits the body in myriad ways, and those benefits extend to mental health. The NIMH reports that a 30-minute daily walk can boost mood. In addition, the United Kingdom- based Mental Health Foundation reports that regular physical activity positively affects self-esteem and can even lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety. That’s important to note, as the online medical resource Healthline reports that chronic• Maintain social connections. The NIMH also touts the benefits of maintaining social connections, including relying on friends and family for emotional support and practical help. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that people who are socially connected and maintain stable and supportive relationships are more likely to have better mental health outcomes than those who don’t.• Eat a nutritious, balanced diet. The American Society for Nutrition notes that diet can be an important ally for people looking to improve and preserve their mental health. Numerous studies have examined the relationship between diet and mental health, and the ASN notes a growing body of research suggests a strong connection between a healthy diet and mental health. A 2019 review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables positively affects psychological health. That same review also indicated daily vegetable consumption provides a therapeutic effect that can help to reduce symptoms among people with clinical depression.• Resolve to read more. Much like exercise, reading has been linked to a host of positive health outcomes, including mental healthEscapism is another potentially potent benefit of reading, as a recent report in Psychology Today noted that researchers believe narrative absorption, which refers to the experience of being immersed or engaged while reading a story, provides an escape or opportunity for mental reflection. Self-care can go a long way toward promoting long-term mental health. Various strategies and activities fall under the umbrella of self-care, and each can have a profound and lasting effect on mental health.Proposal - continued from page 6on a park bench or on the incoming tide can make it more magical. Adjust proposal area plans for busier crowds expected on Valentine’s Day.Have the ring at the readyJewelry shops are in demand around Valentine’s Day, so be sure to choose and have the ring sized well in advance of the proposal. This ensures the ring will be ready in time. If the ring will be a surprise, get hints beforehand to understand your loved one’s design tastes. Consider bringing a friend along when shopping to offer support and advice.Use chocolate to your advantageBoxes of chocolate are ubiquitous onValentine’s Day. Nestle the ring inside of a box of truffles or another favorite confection and have the question “Will you marry me?” attached to the inside of the box.Hire a photographerWork with a photographer to capture the moment, whether it’s a professional photographer or a friend enlisted for the task. This way you can be fully immersed in the moment as it unfolds, and then look back on the experience from a different perspective when the photos are printed. Valentine’s Day is a popular time for wedding proposals. With a little planning, the occasion can be even more special.10www.heloteshighlights.comFebruary 2024

   8   9   10   11   12