Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kids Learn About Sharing, Saving and Smart Spending from PNC Bank and Sesame Street(TM)

PRNewswire via COMTEX/ 
New Online Learning Center in "'S' is for Savings" Account Teaches Financial Habits Via Popular Characters and PNC's Virtual Wallet Technology
-- Young children can learn about sharing, saving and smart spending through a new online learning center created by PNC Bank and Sesame Street(TM).
The web site offers audio and video clips, games, activities and financial "tips" for youngsters from Sesame Street's For Me, for You, for Later: First Steps to Spending, Sharing, & Saving, created for PNC as part of a continuing partnership. The instruction is featured in 'S' is for Savings(SM), PNC's new interactive savings account for kids. The account can be easily opened at any PNC branch, through its call center, or online with a $25 opening balance.
"Research shows that most parents feel ill-prepared to discuss financial matters with their children," said Todd Barnhart, PNC senior vice president, director, deposit products. "Our online learning center and savings account for kids help make it easy and fun to learn the basics of good financial habits for life."
Early Start to Financial Basics
The online experience, designed and created by the same PNC team that developed Virtual Wallet, includes animation, sound effects and interactive fun:
Children can easily see how much they have and literally drag and drop their money into jars which represent how they want to divide their money.
Parents or caregivers can also make use of PNC's "auto save" feature to provide a weekly "allowance" by transferring money from their own account.
The site also provides opportunities for children to explore concepts like needs versus wants, waiting, helping, earning, value and choices via audio, downloadable activities, video clips and tips from everyone's favorite furry little monster, Elmo. The site screens can even be personalized with the child's name and a special birthday surprise.
Barnhart offered the following points from the American Bankers Association Education Foundation to highlight the benefits of opening a youth savings account:
Kids who save are more likely to go to college. Research by Washington University's Center for Social Development found that children who have a savings account in their name are seven times more likely to attend college than peers without an account.
Teaching kids to save teaches self control. Choosing to save instead of spend, is an exercise in self control.
Young savers have a better outlook on life. Children with a savings account have lower stress and a greater sense of hope for the future, according to the SEED Initiative, a global partnership for action on sustainable development.
Savers are more financially literate. Kids with a bank account tend to be more financially literate than those without an account, according to a national financial education survey compiled by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.
PNC's financial literacy for young children expands the early education reach of PNC Grow Up Great, a $350 million, multi-year initiative that began in 2004 to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.PNC +0.32% . PNC ( www.pnc.com ) is one of the nation's largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. Follow @PNCNews on Twitter for breaking news, updates and announcements from PNC.
Joe Balaban (412) 768-5095(412) 445-4024 (cell)joseph.balaban@pnc.com
Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sallie Mae Encourages Saving for College in Celebration of America Saves Week

Redesigned Upromise.com Makes Earning Cash Back for College Even Easier
NEWARK, Del., Feb 20, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Sallie Mae, the nation's No. 1 financial services company specializing in education, celebrates America Saves Week, Feb. 19-26, by encouraging more Americans to save for their education.
To assist families in achieving their saving for college goals, Sallie Mae has unveiled a redesigned Upromise.com that enables parents saving for college, students in college, and student loan customers repaying their loans to more easily find opportunities to earn cash back for college. Since Upromise was created in 2001, members have earned a total of $660 million.
"Saving little by little can add up to a lot," said Jack Remondi, president and COO, Sallie Mae. "America Saves Week is a good time to start a habit of saving for college or give your family budget a college savings tune-up."
According to Sallie Mae's national study of college students and parents, "How America Pays for College," 66 percent of parents rely on college savings and income to pay for college. For families who used them, 529 college savings plans provided the highest average amount ($9,729) toward paying for college than any other source of paying-for-college funding.
Upromise by Sallie Mae can help members boost college savings by earning cash back for college when they shop online, dine out or book travel at hundreds of participating companies. Upromise members put their earnings to use in 2011 by transferring nearly $24 million into 529 college savings plans administered by Upromise Investments, $5 million to pay down Sallie Mae student loans and $2.5 million in FDIC-insured Sallie Mae High-Yield Savings Accounts offered through Sallie Mae Bank.
To encourage successful saving, as part of America Saves Week 2012, Sallie Mae will co-host an online event with the America Saves coalition and personal finance blogger Philip Taylor of PTmoney.com. Each co-host will provide tips on how to achieve savings goals and will be available to answer questions on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 8-9 p.m. EST on Twitter at #SallieMaeSaves.
Sallie Mae SLM -0.19% is the nation's No. 1 financial services company specializing in education. Whether college is a long way off or just around the corner, Sallie Mae turns education dreams into reality for its 25 million customers. With products and services that include college savings programs, scholarship search tools, education loans, tuition insurance, and online banking, Sallie Mae offers solutions that help families save, plan, and pay for college. Sallie Mae also provides financial services to hundreds of college campuses as well as to federal and state governments. Learn more at SallieMae.com. Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
SOURCE: Sallie Mae
Sallie Mae 
        Debby Hohler, 617-454-6741 
        Abigail Harper, 302-283-4060 

Friday, January 20, 2012

The History of Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honour Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.

The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honour of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavoured to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feaSt. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.

Monday, November 7, 2011

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Let us make sure we keep what our mammas gave us!!!!


In many countries around the world, October is Breast Cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is the leading cancer in Ghana at 15% according to sources from Korle Bu Teaching hospital (KBTH). In a study at this hospital in 2007, Dr Clegg Lamptey found that 57% of those who presented with breast cancer had advance cancers with average tumor size about 6x7 centimeters. Another interesting finding by his and two other studies- (Mammocare and Komfo Anokye teaching hospital) is that compared to a country like USA, the age of developing breast cancer was younger in Ghanaians- average age is between 40-49years compared to 60 years in the USA. In a joint Kumasi/USA study, the type of breast cancer found in Ghanaian women were similar to those found in African American women, however, the Ghanaian women had cancers which tended to be locally advanced. All this information shows that Ghanaian women need to take personal measures so that there is early detection and treatment of this terrible cancer. Information or knowledge is POWER, and so it is important to be informed. All women need to know that early detection is the BEST PROTECTION.

Cancer is a disease which is causes by normal cells becoming abnormal and growing out of control. It can occur in every organ of your body and if it occurs in the breast it is called Breast cancer. Cells growing fast form a mass called a tumor. Not all tumors are cancers. Some are benign or not cancerous. The cancerous ones are also known as malignant because they can spread to other parts of the body.

Early stages of breast cancer may not show any symptoms or signs. As it grows symptoms may include
A new lump or mass in the breast. (That is why it is important to know what your breasts feel like!!)
Changes in the skin, size or shape of the breast
Discharge from the nipple not associated with breast feeding
Flaky, red, or swollen skin on the breast
A nipple that starts discharging blood, or is very tender or turns inwards (some people have inward turned nipples all their lives)
Unexplained pain in breast or nipple that does not go away. (Pain is not a common symptom of breast cancer unless it has spread)

All women are at risk but more so those above the age of 40years. There are also certain factors which affects your risk of developing breast cancer. Some of these one cannot do anything to change, but there are others that one can influence.

Although these have been discovered, some women with some of these risk factors do not develop breast cancer, and some women who get breast cancer have no apparent risk factors. There seems to be a combination of inherited factors (genetics) and environmental factors that lead to this and many other diseases. Some of these factors include
Being a woman
Getting older (Over 50years)
Have had previous breast cancer
Have never had children or had your first child after age 30 years
Started your period or menses before age 12years or reached menopause after age 50 years
Having close family relatives- mother, sister, daughter who have had breast cancer or ovarian cancer
Have been treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest in the past
Have used hormone replacement treatment for more than 5years (Used to treat menopause symptoms)
You are overweight
You drink alcohol daily
Being physically inactive
Have a genetic condition involving mutation of genes known as BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Some of the above conditions you cannot personally change but others you can influence by life style changes. For example to prevent breast cancer you can
Stay healthy by maintaining a healthy weight
Exercising regularly and staying physically active
Avoid the use of Hormone Replacement therapy (HRT). Find other ways of treating menopausal symptoms
Limit the amount of alcohol that you drink
PRACTICE EARLY DETECTION by taking CONTROL of your breast health. When breast cancer is picked up early, the 5 year survival rate is more than 98%.The American Cancer Society- a trusted organization has recommended the following screening methods

At Age 20 years:
You can choose to do breast self-examination (BSE). It is good to find out how this is done by talking to your health provider, it is usually done in the shower, lying down or standing in front of a mirror. If you are taught, then you can be comfortable doing this by yourself.

Between 20-39 years
Have a health professional do a clinical breast exam (CBE) on you every 3 years or even sooner. This is a breast exam done on you by a trained health provider.

Age 40 years and above:
Have yearly clinical breast exams and mammograms. If you cannot afford a yearly mammogram you can stretch it to every 2 years. It takes about two years for a tumor/mass to grow big enough to cause symptoms for women in their 40s, but for women in their 70s it may take four years.
Even then, 10% of all breast cancers may not be detected by a mammogram. If a mammogram is abnormal, or your breast is dense, a doctor may recommend ultrasound or MRI of the breasts.

A mammogram is a low dose x-ray of your breasts that is able to detect small changes or lumps which are too small or too deep to be felt by you. They are safe, quick and may just be mildly uncomfortable due to the fact that your breasts will be squeezed between two plates of the machine. The squeeze is important to flatten the breast tissue and give a good reading.

When you go for the mammogram make sure you wipe off any powder, cream or deodorant from under your arms and your breasts as these may interfere with the mammogram
Drink sufficient water to keep you well hydrated before the exam
If your breast gets tender during your monthly period/menses, then the best time to have a mammogram done may be one week after your period ends.
Let your doctor know of any symptoms or problems you have before the exam
If your last mammogram was done at a different place or you have a copy of your previous mammograms, then take them with you so that the new one could be compared to the previous ones

A few women have told me that they do not want to get a mammogram because they would rather not know they have breast cancer. I think that is acting like the proverbial ostrich who sticks its head in the sand but the rest of the body is exposed. When breast cancer is discovered late, it may have spread to other parts of the body and the cancer cells strangle the other cells in other organs or parts of the body, causing a lot of pain for the victims. It is not a pleasant situation to be in. It is a painful death. To avoid all this and have your piece of mind, get a mammogram done. There are several health facilities and free standing radiological imaging centers available in Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast and other regional capitals.

Dr. Barbara Entsuah (Nee Amoo-Lamptey)
Family Medicine Specialist

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Free breast cancer screening in Lagos

The exercise aims to encourage regular clinical breast exams, self checks and promote knowledge and awareness of the disease

As part of its activities to create awareness during the month of October, which is breast cancer awareness month worldwide, Stand up to Cancer Naija (SU2CN), a non-profit advocacy group, will conduct free clinical breast exams for women of all ages in Lagos.
SU2CN is a movement reaching out to a world affected either directly or indirectly by breast cancer. The organisation preaches early detection and awareness as means of fighting the disease.
SU2CN is made up of young professionals in Nigeria. The executives include: Constant Asabia, a senior special adviser to the Ondo State Governor; Synthia Japhet, the secretary to the country director of FAO at the UN; and Caleb Egweonu, a cancer advocate and the brain behind the initiative, whose aunt died from Breast Cancer.
Previous SU2CN events were the bowling for boobs, an event which took place in Abuja. The event was supported by Nollywood professionals such as Ini Edo, and Uche Jombo, and Uti Nwachukwu of the Big Brother Africa fame, who joined hands to raise funds for breast cancer patients.
Statistics from the free breast cancer screening held in Abuja earlier in August, 2011, showed that about 20 percent of females in attendance had breast lumps.
The screening in Lagos is set to take place on October 29, 2011 at the Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island, Lagos from 11am to 6pm.
SU2CN ambassadors such as singer/song writer EVAEZI; Nma Isiwu (Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Tourism 2011), Stella Damasus, Oge Okoye, Nikki Laoye, Weird MC, Ufuoma Ejenobor and others will be participating in the event.
Members of the public are also urged to donate to combat breast cancer and provide regular screening centres around the country. Emails can be sent to standup2cancernaija@gmail.com for further enquiries.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Breast Cancer survivor walks to raise money for research

Bonnie Heater Assistant editor
“Somewhere in the world, a woman dies from breast cancer every 69 seconds,” said Marilyn Norris, a breast cancer survivor. The Casualty Assistance Team leader at Fort Gordon was the guest speaker at the Garden City Chapter of Federally Employed Women’s monthly program held Oct. 11 in the Signal Towers Fish Bowl Conference Room.
The Army veteran and mother of two was diagnosed with breast cancer 14 years ago.
“I went in for my regular mammogram as I did every year when I was a Soldier,” explained Norris. “I was told the results were abnormal and I was sent to University Hospital in Augusta for a follow up appointment and biopsy.”

“I felt normal,” recalls Norris. “I didn’t have any pain or other symptoms at the time.”
The former Youth Challenge Academy platoon leader underwent surgery and radiation treatments. Today, she considers herself an advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness. Her personal story appears with other breast cancer survivors in Marcie Curry’s book, “Be a Strong Blessing.”
The court appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children in Georgia, participates annually in the Susan G. Komen three-day 60 miles Breast Cancer Walk which is held throughout the United States.
“I committed myself to walk in Atlanta, Ga., and to raise a minimum of $2,300 to help fight breast cancer,” said Norris. I started my own team this year – ‘Strong Blessing.’ We walk because we must; we are strong because the journey demands it. Together in body and united in spirit, we lay down our footsteps for this.”
Norris, who is also the first vice president/secretary of Cher Best Sister’s Only Club, a local civic organization, has participated in the Relay for Life, Miracle Mile.
This event sponsored the local Survivor’s Night of Fashion where cancer survivors modeled in the program to raise funds for breast cancer research and cancer care.
“It’s important to me to raise money to help fund research for breast cancer because I am a survivor and I know the fight and everyone deserves a lifetime,” said Norris. “Together we can work to put an end to breast cancer.”
For more information or to make a donation to the Breast Cancer 3-day, contact Marilyn Norris at (706) 466-2233 or visit the website: http://www.the3day.org/.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Breast cancer awareness: ANGELS to the rescue