Let’s Discuss Dignity

Twenty-two years ago I spent two days laying face down, crying into my living room carpet . Everything I had tried just failed.  Big things, a thousand small things, all of the things had slipped from my grasp and I was failing.

I had been psyched up to be a wife, and a young stay at home mother, and maybe someone who completed a BA down the road if I found time in my suburban dream. Instead, my relationship crumbled, Mervyn’s fired me (because I was obviously falsifying comment cards, it was impossible that I could be so good with people…but ask me about this another time), and I had 3/4ths of a degree in Physical Therapy with no way to get back into my life as I had known it.

When it “got real”, I pulled out the phone book, found the blue pages of government listing service and looked up the address to the Welfare Office. Bleakness.  I walked into to a dim green room where my shoes stuck to the floor and I will never be certain if the puddle in the chair next to me was apple juice, but I’ve decided to believe it was. In my hands I held a ten page, double sided application, and a pen. I could not fill it out. I must have made five trips to the Help Desk and I still wasn’t comfortable. I met with an eligibility worker who shamed me; pointed out that all the other white people on the building were employees, and send me home with a list of needed documents and a follow up appointment.  That was the day I walked back into my little apartment and folded onto the floor wondering if if I could ever get up again.

Twenty years later, or 2 years ago, I had my Bachelor’s Degree is Sociology, my own car, house, and no debt at all. I found my revenge on the County Welfare system by becoming an employee within it in a job that allowed me to do outreach work and volunteer in my community. My baby was off at  college, but a second child had arrived and I was still a single mother – only by this time I was doing okay. Education, house, career, and home life were all neatly checked off in the Success column.

   The floors of the Welfare office must never get washed.

I had this thought as I was lying face down in the lobby of the GAIN office in Burbank. Just seconds before I was walking a client to the door when the room spun and the floor ate my face. My doctors pulled me out of work and put me on medical leave.

Medical leave is nice and all, but waiting for Disability to come in so I could pay my bills and feed my youngest daughter was nerve-wracking. I had some concerns. I shared these thoughts with the front desk volunteer at MEND one Thursday morning in late January. I was in the San Fernando Road  office working on the silent auction for the Gala fundraiser my local non-profit throws to breathe life into their programs designed to help people survive in an impoverished neighborhood and find ways to leave that desperate economic strata. As we talked, Adela, the volunteer, walked me into the intake room and put me at a desk.  When a third person walked in, Adela said “This is Sonya and she needs to see if she qualifies for your program.” She smiled down at me and whispered “Come to my desk if you have problems with the forms” and disappeared down the hall. A week later an EBT card arrived in the mail.

This was the MEND effect.

Meet each need with dignity.

I was treated with dignity, and not because I volunteered for MEND, but because that is how MEND works. Some Saturdays I walk in through the floor to ceiling glass doors and stand by that reception desk just to watch the flow of faces. Little kids sit laughing at the tables, parents chat in the waiting room chairs, someone is always knitting in front of the clothing boutique, and bent senior citizens angle their grinning faces up to each other while they wait for food, or a medical appointment, or whatever special program is  offered that day.

Mend staff on Oscar night at universal stidios
MEND staff at their fundraising gala

The floor is not sticky. The room is not dim. The chairs are dry and clean. In my five years of volunteering for MEND, I must have had the opportunity to sit in every chair and even the one I broke in Lupe’s office was clean. I never intended to be a MEND client, even momentarily, and I never felt like one. I don’t think anyone does.

I’m used to volunteering at MEND

The MEND Effect is a design feature that started with the Rose family who just wanted to do a little something nice for their neighbors and then let others in on their idea until it grew into the community icon it is today.

MEND is not the heart of Pacoima. MEND is the limbic system that connects all of the other vital parts of the community ; politicians, doctors, dentists, tutors, teachers, schools, grocery stores, dance teachers, Health educators, financial institutions like Home Street Bank and Wells Fargo, ophthalmologist, dental and nursing students and their programs, the Welfare to Work program, courts, and more all touch and mingle in the bright beautiful building at Pierce and San Fernando Road and in the ETC nestled into the heart of Van Nuys Boulevard. MEND staff are likely to shake hands with a Board of Supervisors Member with the same warmth and enthusiasm they shared while clasping  hands with an elderly client.

Nene with “young volunteers “.

You will hear that MEND is volunteer run. Seasonal volunteers, like me, drop in for special programs like the Santa’s Workshop, Christmas in the Spring, and Head to Toes. Day to day volunteers answer the phones, pack food boxes, drive delivery trucks, teach English, send out mail, scheadule medical, vision, and dental appointments and perform the technical arts of Dentistry and Medicine. Volunteers are everywhere and they are hard to spot unless they come in the form of a Scout Troop. (It is safe to say that eleven-year-olds are not on the payroll.) MEND volunteers are trained, knowledgeable and efficient. This is not accident. Every volunteer is assigned to a department and each department has  staff members tasked with being an expert in their area and teaching their volunteers everything they know. Sharing their knowledge keeps the program alive and the volunteers take these skills back to the neighborhood where they are passed around again and the entire community is better educated, elevated and healthier.

The first time I used the EBT card (it is in my wallet as a reminder, ask and I will show you) was at Food 4 Less in Van Nuys and Glenoaks. The cashier leaned over and whispered “If you need more help than that, go to MEND”.

Volunteers at the 2017 Gala

 Poverty and food scarcity is only a paycheck in either direction. I donate money, time, and goods to MEND because I keep being reminded of this unfortunate truth. Through MEND, poverty can be survived with dignity.

Dignity will pull you up off the floor, not push you down in tears.

The Vocational Assessment 

The primary goal of GAIN is to be a true Welfare to Work plan. before a client finds work, it is helpful for them to have an idea of their strengths and interests.

Enter the Vocational Assessment.

Today I went to the Valley Assessment Center at Los Angeles Valley Community College and took an assessment .  Guys, my head hurts.

Parking was a challenge so I parked on the street. 

Then I went to Bungalow 14 where I was warmly greeted by Paz and walked to the testing center. 

The Desks in the LAVC assessment center
For the next 2.5 hours I studied patterns, lost my place on the scantron bubble form, did applied math, realized I don’t know how to add negative numbers anymore and tried reading comprehension . 

Now I am waiting for Rosie to score it and tell me my aptitude for my chosen career goals and set up ideas based on the perceived Welfare Time Cock.block.

Hmmmmm, what do we think it will show? I am kinda nervous. 

People are Problems and I am the Pep Squad

I went from Information Management to Social Worker to I.T. Director back to Social Worker. Yesterday was my official 7 year anniversary in my job in the Welfare system as a GAIN worker .

What do I really do?

I solve people.

image

( and then I fill out a gang of forms that have nothing to do with what I did )

Sometimes clients don’t make it out of the lobby. They don’t want help and I don’t have time for them until they do.

Some people unzip their souls and spill out all over my desk, self hatred and hopelessness oozing like ectoplasm containing microbeads of hope.
        These are often the reason I know the Burbank Police Sargent so well.

Others come in to break up with me. (these are my favorites) they are working or engaged in something that will take them off of public assistance.

Most often, my first meeting is with someone who is terrified by the right angles, ugly color scheme and sterile environment over illuminated by the worst florescent lights in existence.
My typical client is a single mother who has been in a long term game of dodge ball with family, friends, and strangers hurling insults and preconcieved ideas at her. She is emotionally bruise from the hits.
I wander down to the lobby with coffee in hand, and Instead of calling her from the doorway I walk into the room and ask for her. I meet her at her lobby chair and shake her hand. If she has her child and parenting paraphernalia I offer to help her carry the burden.
We talk in the elevator about my daughter and her kid (s) and I selfishly stop in front of the photocopier and ask if there is anything (paystub, schedule, fan letter to Justin Bieber) she wants me to copy before we walk the Green Mile to my desk.
I have a secret box of toys under my desk where only the rowdy crawlers will find them after escaping their mom. I have bubbles by my keyboard and washable markers for desk drawing. My client faces the window and my computer screen is turned so she can see everything I do. I have no secrets. I tell her that she has all the power and is in charge … essentially I blow her mind.
And then I destroy her.
I tell her all of my shallow judgements because she needs to know that she is articulate, eloquent,  poised, good with her child, has nice handwriting, can problem solve etc. These statements vary by the individual and are always accurate. I won’t lie to anyone, but she will suspect me of deception because no one else has told her these things since before she was poor. She has stopped believing them.
I do this because I have hired staff before and I would not hire someone mired in self doubt. Also, we are currently being told to not tell girls they are smart because then they won’t work out problems. .. This is some crappy science and it doesn’t work. The noise of parenting and poverty drowned out the inner voice of self confidence.

Being faced with huge problems like how to put your baby to bed in a box behind a store and stay safe all night can make anyone feel stupid.

As I set this person on the Los Angeles County prescribed program of self sufficiency I do what Sherry Hays and Joleen Swenson did for me in highschool. I cheer them on with a smile and genuine optimism . I am a pep squad of one.
When I drop her off in the lobby again there is a handshake or a high five and then I want to take a nap but I do it all again for 9th hours a day,

Private Vocational Training vs. Public

Community Colleges and Occupational Centers don’t advertise.
They don’t have to. In High School all of the counselors talk to the students about college options and many kids go directly to community college. Others don’t get into the 4 year they want and then do the time and basic transfer units at a community college. Others, finding that state hospitals and other adult programs were cut in the early 1990’s – have found Community Colleges as a great place to spend the day with enrichment classes or exploring their passions.

Private Vocational “Colleges” have some of my favorite commercials ever. They are inspirational and even make me want to go. *Disclaimer, I started calling the numbers on my television in an attempt to get a vocational certificate when I was 12. Hey, I had the free time and wanted to start ahead of the game. My mother quickly ruined that dream and pushed me into traditional education Well, she was a school teacher and all.

“Hey you, get up off that couch! What are you waiting for? Start living today and be able to go to nice lunches with your friends in shiny red cars and support your family of 5 and for the first time ever make your parents proud of you!”

Um, okay.

No. Not okay.

For many (not all) of the educational programs offered, you can find the same trainings at a public school. The cost is far less and sometimes free. Sometimes it even costs less to go to a private 4 year school and apply for the financial aid and grants and scholarships. (I love you University of La Verne ! )

If you are a low income parent, you may qualify for the Board of Governors Grant and then qualify for with a CARE or GAIN or EOPS program to help you with fees and supplies and transportation and child care costs.

However, if you dropped out of high school – physically or mentally – you may have missed this message form your guidance staff and community colleges don’t advertise. All you will see are adverts from the diploma mills or businesses that need you to come in and sign up for Federal Financial Aid so they can have the money and run their business. They may not be education centered, first and foremost.

Do what is best for you. Do it fully informed.

This week I listened to a presentation from a private school about tuition costs and he handed out this flyer. I fixed it for you.

I Had to Take a Walk Before I Ranted

What I hear vs what I want to say
What I hear vs what I want to say

There is enough scrutiny and complaints about people on Welfare without me adding to the pile. Mostly, people on public aid are under-employed and under-educated and trying hard to end their own poverty. I am a fan of the underdog and I love watching success.

I believe in people. Professionally. Being a social worker means I am a professional cheerleader and coach combination.       

I am also goal oriented. My goal is to team up with my clients and move them out of poverty. If I am the only person in the team working for this goal and my team mate is trying desperately to keep the Letterman’s Jacket without ever getting off the bench – I want to scream.

Today I listened to a woman talk about how she was too good for community service and volunteering. Also, her therapy takes up 2 hours of her week so she did not have time to get a job or go to school. She is a parent. She has a child who will follow her lead and want to be her. She is teaching her child to fail by not trying. The excuse she used was “I’m smart!”, as if the Welfare to Work programs are for stupid people.

Here is what I wanted to scream :

No! No you are not smart. You are insecure and make terrible life decisions without reflection or personal accountability. If, indeed, you were intelligent, even I – with my meager intellectual powers of divination would be able to discern that you are employing your problem solving skills and abilities and mixing them generously with temperance and mercy for the people your decisions impact.  You are a selfish creaton. No, not the village of Creaton – look it up in the Urban Dictionary and learn to go with the flow of expanding vocabulary and changes in society. Adapt, damn it. Stop insisting that we let you define the world and your participation in it.  The world is populated with other people. There are people who are NOT YOU, and who don’t know about your existence and even if they do know about you: they do not care. You are insignificant; not because you are unimportant, but because you are self-important. Do good in the world.  Do good for the world. Be good. Be yourself, for the good of those around you. Be self-sufficient as much as possible and be someone to lean upon more often than you demand others hold you up and carry you through life.”

 I know that change is hard and scary. Being self sufficient is part of parenting. If you feel like you can’t be a part of society – should you be raising a child?

Also, sure you are smart : but, only one of us is being paid to sit at this desk. (ha ha, it is me!)

Healthcare for the poor – is it quality or user friendly?

Full disclosure – this is going to be gross. Also, I have permission to share this with you.
Yesterday a very nice man sat at my desk and cried. Tears were mixed with blood. BLOOD!  Dripping from his eye where his tear duct used to be – but now a three-headed cancerous nodule sat growing across his face – was blood.

Doesn’t he have health insurance? Why yes, yes he has Medi-cal which is California’s version of Medicade.

But, he did not know which insurance card is the current card, did not know who his doctor is, and he can not walk into the emergency room again because apparently they do know which card is correct and have told him that it is all “charged out”  for the month. Then they told him to go to his primary doctor – but no one seemed to know who that was.

So here he sat. Unable to go to accept his job offer because he is a walking biohazard, this man sat mired in poverty with no easily solvable way out.  How would he get the Cancer treated and removed – or at least placed in a non weeping state if the good folks at Olive View in Sylmar could not do it? They did take biopsies months ago, but he does not know what they plan to do with the information since the results have not been shared with him.

—- Hi, my name is Sonya and I am a social worker in the GAIN program. My job is to help others prepare for and find employment. —-

Clearly fixing the river of blood now dripping on my desk was necessary as preparing him for employment. I have a college degree and over 15 years of experience – and it still took me 45 minutes to find out who his doctor was and another 30 minutes to change the physician to a health care provider closer to him – (read in the same county). I called the DPSS Cash Aid office,  MEND Medical Clinic – Meet Each Need with Dignity, I called 211, and I called every number on the cards.

So here is the answer on how to do this. Call this number:
(800)430-4260 for Health Care Options. Know your address , and your birthday,  and have any and all cards in front of you. You will be reading account numbers over the phone.

Bandaid for his face, Advil for my headache and hand santizier for everyone even after the blood was wiped away. that's right, I have 5 bottles of sanitizer at my desk. Deal with it.They were able to tell me which card is current and if there were sub-plans. They were able to tell me who his doctor was and how to get ahold of the parent company for his insurance to transfer his case to someone more local. His provider was in Santa Ana in ORange County. We only moved his doctor – his wife and child will have to call to move the rest of the family to another provider.

The change is effective immediately – he has a new location and physician and after the first of the month new charges to his health insurance can be made. I am sincerely hoping the doctor gathers the biopsy results and other tests from Olive View (so no one is paying for these twice – and it could be faster) and fixes this dudes face.

band-aid for his face, Advil for my headache and hand sanitizer for everyone even after the blood was wiped away. that’s right, I have 5 bottles of sanitizer at my desk. Deal with it.

He wants to work. I want him to work. He is desperate to be self-sufficient and financially supporting of his family and this is the biggest obstacle.

He offered to let me take a picture of his face and eye. You can thank me for declining.

Today in the GAIN office has been good

So far, so good.

Today has brought in a steady stream of clients reporting earnings and brandishing paychecks. Also at my desk I had a young man come in just to ask if he could continue to volunteer at the location he used to do Community Service for GAIN at; even though it isn’t a GAIN activity for him any more.  Sweet. 

Then there was the mother of a little boy . She brought her son in because he is attached to an oxygen tank and shw can’t find a day care provider to watch him – but she desperately wants to earn her High School Diploma. Don’t worry ; I will find a way to make that happen for her.

I have been using a bottle of hand sanitizer a week : on my hands, phones, and to clean my desk. It turns out that hand sanitizer is great for cleaning up the drawings I do in marker on my desk. Cool. None of that has prevented me from coughing and sneezing all day.

About 10 feet away, someone is moving into my old cubicle and it sounds like he found my secret stash of vases and Diet Coke. Okay, it sounds like the stash fell on him. Oppsie: sorry Hardie.

We are making big and small changes here and overall it is a positive experience …. heck, the phone is ringing

Wicked Witch of the Welfare Office

 ImageUsually I feel pretty good about my job. Today I am disenchanted. I had an imaginary conversation with myself.

I am the evil witch lurking…ahem…working in the welfare office.

My Inner Angry Republican pitches a fit about 50 times a day. And with good reason too.  But my out Professional Social Worker tries to seek better solutions and keep it all in check.

Money for nothing?! Not really – you have to work (or prepare for work) to be granted cash aid
But if the parents don’t work the family still gets money True – but we choose to believe the parents are not spending any cash aid on themselves and only on their children
You are on crack, right? At least tell me you are screening the welfare peeps for drugs. No. We don’t test the parents – but we do ask them 7 questions to screen them for substance use and abuse
Then you take their money away, right? Of course not. We schedule them for a Clinical Assessment and chose to believe they are not buying beer, weed, crack, coke, schrooms, uppers, downers, etc . We need to believe these drugs are DONATED to them.
Why do you believe that? Because a habit is expensive, if they could afford a strong heavy habit – they don’t need Welfare funds and we would have to cut them off
What’s bad about that? Because we know they are not magically “finding” the money and we sleep better knowing the money has at least made it into a parent’s hands and there is a chance that it is being spent on the family
Do you require receipts for how the cash aid money was spent No
Why not? Too much trouble
Don’t you believe that if people were accountable for how the money was spent, they would spend it on toothbrushes and rent etc and not on cat food, veterinary bills, drugs, strip clubs and gambling Did I tell you about the time I did ask for receipts and the person bought job interview clothes at Caesar’s Palace Shops?
Why did you ask for receipts that time? Well, because GAIN  – or Welfare to Work gives money for job clothing, school books etc.
Oh, so there is some accountability. How does that work out? One time a lady bought 7 pairs of shoes as her work clothing.
What, was she a stripper? Many of my clients are strippers or in elicit but legal trades. I give them credit for making the effort.
So you encourage this activity? I encourage work of any kind. They need to do 32-35 hours of work type activity a week.
Why only 35? I do at least 40 hours of work and 20 hours of volunteering and have up to 4 kids in my house. I don’t know. At 32 hours an employer is supposed to be offering benefits like health care so families can leave Medi-Cal Insurance.
What if they don’t want to work or train, etc? Then they can say they have mental health or substance abuse or domestic violence issues or are homeless and the requirement for these hours can be waived temporarily or permanently.
Are you serious? Of course, It is the compassionate thing to do. If someone is so stressed or overwhelmed that they really cannot function in society; I don’t want to set them up for failure
So you take their children away, right? Why would we? We take a licensed professionals word – or sometimes the client tells us – that this person cannot work or go to school or do community service. What does that have to do with parenting?
Well, a 40 hour a week job is easier than 24/7 parenting. Never the less. We trust that these parents are doing what is best for the children.
Does Welfare really look out for the WELFARE of kids. Kinda,. Sorta. We make food funds and cash aid and medical funding available to the family and trust they are being accessed on behalf and for the benefit of the kids.
That’s it? Also, we ask that once a year a report card or immunization card is turned in. See, we care.
But there is a time limit on this, right? Bill Clinton put a time limit. Yes, the Federal Time Limit is 5 years or 60 months of Cash aid per family
Whey. At least that is clear and simple But some people stay on Cash Aid from the 7th month of pregnancy until their child is 18 years old.
WTF? Or until the baby graduated from High School. 
How can you stay on Welfare for over 18 years Easy. Say you were in a domestic violence relationship. Or that you are too emotionally disturbed to hold down a job or really benefit from the program. How can we push you out of the nest?
OMG Oh, my goodness indeed. See me? I am saving the world over here.
Do you really feel like that? Of course.
You’re sick. No. no fever, I feel fine. Thanks for the concern.
How are you really helping them? I am not. I make sure they have the resources to help themselves. Poverty sucks. People will move on  at their own pace. All I can do is offer options.
Like what? I will pay for child care so they can work, or I pay for books, fees and supplies for vocational training or college.
Vocational Training? Sure – you know, so people can be hair dressers and such
Very few hair dressers live far above the poverty line and there are no medical, dental, vision or life benefits with that position usually Well, then I hope each of them is the next Vidal Sassoon or Jose’ etc. I realy can’t be bothered to make sure it will make them rich or middle class. I just want to say I have “X number of clients participating” and then hope they can keep their heads above water off Welfare.
Seriously? Seriously.
Why didn‘t I hear that you pay tuition? Are they required to use their cash aid for tuition? No. The tuition at a public Community College will be waived and Federal or other financial aid will cover it at other types of schools.
When I went to school, I paid Tuition Well, you should have had a child an not been able to afford it.
Speaking of that… when new children come into the family – what happens? Usually the Medi-Cal and Food stamps increase but not the cash aid. After all – birth control is free on Medi-Cal.
Did you say “usually”? Well yes,. Some children are exempt from the Maximum Family Grant.
Meaning they qualify for raising the family cash aid amount Sure, if they show proof they were on long term birth control like a shot or IUD – or they can say they were raped and then we take their word and cover the baby as well.
OMG I know. Aren’t we nice? And – we have thousands of families leaving welfare each year.
How many of them leave before their time limits are up?How many stay on despite the time limits

How many are forced off or “timed out”?

I don’t know. But aren’t I nice?

 

 

 

 

Child Support: end profiting by discriminating against single parent families on cash aid

Stop profiting by discriminating against single parent families on cash aid!

A two parent family who lives as a household on public aid is not expected to repay public assistance. . A two parent family who lives separately while one parent and the child(ren) receive public assistance will have to repay the entire assistance .

My daughter just turned 18 years old and is two weeks from graduating High School. For the past 12 years I have been her sole support except for $240 a month; a partial child support payment. There is a $10,000 balance on the child support case and my daughter and I will never see a dime of it. I was on cash aid for about 5 years and completed college against the advice of my DPSS social workers. For the last 12 years I have not been on cash aid but the County of Los Angeles is still collecting Child Support to pay for five (5) years of cash aid.( I actually work in the welfare system now) The County of Los Angeles has received over half of my child support order for 17 years. This $10,000 is past due child support never paid to me.
A two parent family who lives as a household on public aid is not expected to repay public assistance. . A two parent family who lives separately while one parent and the child(ren) receive public assistance will have to repay the entire assistance grant even though fewer dollars were given to this family than to the family living under one roof.
For example:
Joe and Sue live together, have a child together and together they request cash aid. They receive a cash aid payment for Joe, Sue and Baby . Cash aid ends and Joe eventually moves out. Joe and Sue enter into a Child Support agreement. Sue is able to collect the full amount of child support ordered.
But maybe:
Joe and Sue don’t live together when they have a baby and apply for cash aid. Sue receives cash aid for herself and Baby for three years when Sue completes her education and finds a self-sustaining job. The County of Los Angeles demands Sue give her child support rights to them and they take all but $50 of child support. After Sue leaves cash aid the county continues to take more than half of the child support. After the baby turns 18 the county continues to bill Joe for all the cash aid Sue and Baby received when he was not living with them. There is an additional 10% interest charge added to the debt the county believes is owed to them.
Why do we ask some parents to repay cash aid and not demand that all parents pay this back – or let none of them pay it? Is it double dipping to take tax payments out of paychecks and have the taxes go to social welfare programs and additionally garnish money to pay for the social welfare your child is using?
And, who monitors these accounts? The California Child Support system has been adding on 10% for years and I think the outstanding debt on the account is more than any cash aid award my family received. I was labeled a Welfare Mom, he was labeled a Dead Beat and the state of California and Los Angeles County are making a profit.

CalWORKS teen

Sorry to ramble, I discovered this as my new assignment 48 hours ago – and I am excited and scared. I really want these students to think of their HS Diplomas as a small step to entering a real school, holding a well-paying job and leaving poverty forever. And frankly, I have never met anyone who went to UCLA or USC  and struggled afterwards.

This baby already knows she will go to college. Darla ♥'s Traveler and USC

 I will have pregnant and parenting teens ages 16 – 19 until they earn their high school diplomas. Ideally I will be able to guide them to meet the Freshman enrollment standards as outlined by local schools .  The only perk to being poor is that everything except for tuition will be paid for these students if they directly go to college (We, CalWORKS,  pay child care, transportation, books, class fees and materials), if they go to a JC their tuition will be waived under the BOGG2 – and FAFSA may take care of the rest.

 Having worked with the adults in this population – I discovered that no one ever expected these children to go to college or presented it as an option. No one has ever asked them what they want to do/be when they grow up.

 I am contemplating posting pictures of my more successful friends in their UCLA and other college sweatshirts, and buying pennants and mascots from all the local schools to decorate my cubicle.

 If you have any other information or brainstorms, feel free to share.