Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Stress

The holiday season is one of the most joyous times of the year, but also one of the most demanding, fatiguing, and chaotic. Full of hopes and expectations, it may weigh heavily on time, finances and expectation. The holidays are a “look back” time, offering a celebration of the good things, but also raising memories of loss and sadness.
For some thoughts on making the most of this time, see our December Avantage EAP Newsletter at

Monday, December 14, 2009

Charlie Finn on the Winter Solistice

At our 4th Annual Holiday Season Celebration, Charlie Finn offered his perspective on the approaching winter solistice, and its meaning in our work.

We Are the Winter Solstice

Before we eat, drink and be merry,
let us remember a good reason to do so,
let us remember who we are.
This is the year’s dark time,
the deep and dark December time.
Long nights will keep getting longer
until the great reversal point is reached on December 21st
when, sun standing still, the deepest advance of night
swings back towards the light.
What does this have to do with us?
It has everything to do with us
for we are the winter solstice!
We are the winter solstice in the lives of every man, woman or child
who comes through that downstairs door.
They come at a dark place in their lives,
a stuck place,
a weighed down with worry place,
a heavy with sadness place,
a place that most of all feels like a long dark tunnel,
but they come clinging to a hope there is a light at the end of it
and that some how, some way, some one can help them reach it.
We are the some how and the some way, but we are more than some one.
It’s not just what happens in the counselor’s office.
It’s every single encounter of kindness they receive,
from the first contact over the phone to every contact at the front window,
along with all the absolutely essential business behind the scenes
that make possible that mysterious reversal back towards the light
that can happen in the counselor’s office.
It takes a village, they say.
Well, tonight is for celebrating the whole village of us.
We have reason to eat, drink and be merry,
for we are the winter solstice!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Head Injury in Sport

In a year of controversy about right and wrong behavior in sport, the good news is the serious attention being given to head injury. Football season will always bring its share, but the days of laughing off a hit to the head as a “bell ringer” are fading fortunately into obscurity. The really good new is the message that gets sent down the line to the college game, and to high school and to youth sport. Like it or not what the pros do sets the trend across the board –and, fortunately this is a trend that everyone can live with a little better.
For more information take a look at the article by Mike Sanserino from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (with comment by John Heil) which tries to put into perspective the controversy surrounding the decision of Steeler quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, to sit out this past Sunday’s game.