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'Veterans'

Dec 23

Free Dental Services for Veterans

Posted to Community Services News on December 23, 2019 at 10:28 AM by Janet Lo

2019-12 VET dentalCommunity Engagement and Outreach
Free Dental Services for Vets
The Veterans Services Officer Dr. Michael Ellis is always seeking resources to assist Veterans.  He recently helped to establish a partnership between the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry and Alpha Omega Veterans Services along with Dr. Russell from the University of Tennesee's College of Dentistry. The VSO set up a meeting with both parties.  Now, Veterans who are enrolled in a program at Alpha Omega Veterans Services are currently being transported weekly from Alpha Omega to U.T. College of Dentistry to receive free weekly dental services (Examinations, Cleanings, and Treatment Plans). 

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Nov 22

Director's Message - Honoring Those That Serve

Posted to Community Services News on November 22, 2019 at 10:25 AM by Janet Lo

Director's Messageyoung headshot 1-101-2


Honoring Those That Serve

Activating the Benefits of Gratitude

This month, Shelby County and the entire nation focused attention on honoring men and women who have served our Country through military service. During our own Annual Veteran’s Day Luncheon, Celebration Breakfast, and daily e-stories this month of employees who have served, we have had the privilege of honoring those who have chosen to serve millions of us that they will never even meet. To every individual who has ever served our country reading this message, the Division of Community Services says THANK YOU!

Honoring veterans and others who dedicate themselves to service is indeed a privilege for us because it allows us to activate our gratitude. This link between honor and gratitude is what makes November one the most special on the calendar. The more trips around the sun I go, I realize how critical being grateful is, not only to survive each day, but to thrive and live our best lives. Research also supports my realization. According to a recent article in Psychology Today, there are several scientifically proven ways that gratitude benefits our lives:

  1.        Gratitude opens the door to more (and better) relationships. If there is one thing that I have learned within my career and life in general, relationships matter. Good relationships are built on trust among people. The more you can focus on the good within your co-workers, clients, supervisors, and even family and friends, the easier it is to be vocal about what you appreciate about them. Who doesn’t welcome being appreciated?

2.        Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people have less aches and pains and self report feeling healthier than others. Apparently, gratitude also helps to better endure the 5:30am workouts that someone (me) committed to because of the Division’s plan for self-care (See September’s message).   

3.        Gratitude improves psychological health.  An intentional moment of gratitude increases the release of several hormones and neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin. Serotonin increases feelings of satisfaction, happiness, and optimism. Having a rough day? Break for some gratitude.

4.        Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.  During this year’s annual staff meeting, I challenged us all to have grace for ourselves and others as we work through the complexities of human services daily. It is inevitable that we will all make a mistake in action or word at some point. If you adopt an attitude of gratitude, it is far more likely that you will react in a way that heals and moves the team (and yourself) forward in a positive, productive way.

5.        Grateful people sleep better. Thanksgiving > Insomnia. Is there any debate here?

6.        Gratitude improves self-esteem. One of the greatest superpowers of gratitude is how it can make you feel better about yourself. When we feel good about our own abilities and potential, we maximize our performance at work and home. Gratitude also reduces the likelihood of comparing yourself to others and minimizing your awesome unique skill set and contribution to the team. Gratitude helps you to remember that you are indeed a rock star!                    

7.        Gratitude increases resilience. As a Vietnam Veteran, my father has told countless stories about the horrors of war and conflict. Even as he struggled through those years and the years after returning home, the one thing that kept him was his being focused on gratitude for his family, friends, and faith. No one is immune to challenges and difficulties, whether here at work or in your personal life. Building up a reserve of gratitude can help you to face those inevitable moments with resilience and hope.

I am hopeful that moving forward, each of us will commit to activating our gratitude individually and collectively every day. As we move towards a culture of gratitude, the better positioned we will be to best serve Shelby County and her families, children, and individuals.

Dorcas Young Griffin
Director of the Division of Community Services
Shelby County Government

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Nov 21

Honoring Our Veterans

Posted to Community Services News on November 21, 2019 at 4:16 PM by Janet Lo

2019-11 Vet Breakfast2019-11 Vet Breakfast Awards2019-11 Vet Ellis headshot

Office of Community Engagement and Outreach
Honoring Our Veterans

The Shelby County Veterans Services Office partnered with other Veterans organizations to provide information and resources at events throughout this month honoring our Veterans and their families.

The month-long Veterans celebrations began with the 17th Annual Military Appreciation Luncheon held at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn. Sponsored by the County (Mayor Lee Harris) and City (Mayor Jim Strickland), the luncheon hosted over 600 Veterans and their family members. Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings gave a stirring keynote address and the event was highlighted with Mayor Harris making a special presentation to retired SCG Veterans Services Officer Joseph Kyles. 

Shelby County Mayor Harris and the Veterans Services Office honored the Military Veterans who work at the County by inviting each employee to a breakfast held at Graceland in their honor. During the breakfast, Mayor Harris presented each Veteran with a special gift and certificate.

On Veterans Day, the County's Veterans Services Officer, Dr. Michael Ellis, participated in several Veterans events. His day started with Memphis expressing its appreciation to Veterans with the Annual Memphis Veterans Day Parade where Dr. Ellis served as part of the parade’s pass and review stand. The Annual Veterans Day Lunch sponsored by Congressman Steve Cohen was another great success. 

Beyond celebrations, we want Veterans to know that we are actively trying to serve their needs as well by providing information about the services we provide. To that end, the Veterans Services Office will hold a Veterans Resource Seminar for county staff. Alpha Omega and West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery are two resources who will participate in this event and provide useful information for the Veterans to utilize.

Contact your Shelby County Veterans Service Office at 901-222-4237, located in 1060 Madison Ave. (Memphis) and 7930 Nelson Street (Millington). 

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