Dignity, acceptance, and a chance to reach one’s potential – these are human rights worth promoting for everyone. Since 1968, Special Olympics has been bringing one message to the world: people with intellectual disabilities can and will succeed if given the opportunity.
Special Olympics is a program of which we should all be proud – of both the program and the participants. If you haven’t witnessed a Special Olympics charity event, you really should attend one as the participants just shine with joy at even the smallest accomplishment. Truly a great program and quite heartwarming to witness. If you can’t attend an event, the next best thing is to lend your support to your local Special Olympics.
Through year-round sports training and competition, Special Olympics empowers individuals with intellectual disabilities in more than 180 countries. Special Olympics often is the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities and develop belief in themselves. Many live lives of neglect and isolation, hidden away or socially excluded from full participation in schools or society. Transforming the athlete, Special Olympics sports are a gateway to empowerment, competence, acceptance and joy.
Special Olympics transforms communities. When people see Special Olympics athletes in action, they see their humanity, their joy in competition, their pride and their potential, and they begin to believe in a different kind of world – a world in which everyone is respected and included.
Special Olympics is a catalyst for societal change, fostering community enrichment around the globe. Special Olympics is a leader in diversity and tolerance education, bringing young people with and without intellectual disabilities together.
Special Olympics is a research leader, partnering with governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to develop new ways to include people with intellectual disabilities in all aspects of society. Special Olympics is also the world’s largest public health organization serving people with intellectual disabilities, offering free health screenings to the world’s most neglected populations, and is the fastest-growing grass-roots volunteer movement on the planet, with the potential to improve the quality of life for 200 million people with intellectual disabilities – 3 percent of the global population.
There’s something alluring about walking into a house that feels like a home and reflects the owner’s personality so perfectly. Your interior may present beautifully, with well-designed furniture, high-quality finishes and a practical layout, but could be missing that homely vibe.
SHOWCASE YOUR MEMORIES
Frame up your personal photos of family, friends and adventures to inject some character into your space. You could create a gallery wall of several photos in a variety of frames or simply blow up some of your pics and hang them individually around your home.
Adorning your walls with your child’s favorite artworks is another way to brighten up your home and make it your own. You’d be surprised what a nice frame and some glass can do to their masterpiece.
FOCUS ON YOUR FLOOR FINISHES
If you walk into any unfurnished interior, you’ll notice that bare floors will accentuate the emptiness as there’s nothing to absorb the sound and everything echoes. When you layer in textiles, instantly it will make your space feel more homely.
Consider laying down a rug underfoot to help warm up your interior, define the space and add an extra layer of personality.
CONSIDER YOUR STORAGE
Functionality is a big component of any home. Often when we’re decorating our home we focus on design aesthetics first and the necessities of quality storage becomes an afterthought. Solely relying on building in cabinetry can leave your interior looking a little sparse.
Invest in storage that looks visually pleasing and adds another layer of texture to your space. A timber console, an open bookcase or handmade baskets all enhances the feeling of your home. They also give you an opportunity to display treasured, personal items.
UTILIZE YOUR WALLS
For those short of floor space, utilizing your walls not only adds interest, it also improves the functionality of your interiors. Simple shelving made with L-brackets and filled with neatly arranged personal items can create a great visual impact.
ACCESSORIZE WITH SENTIMENTAL OBJECTS
Whether it’s a scented candle to make you feel at home, a collection of mementos from a holiday or an art piece that tells a story, filling your space with sentimental objects is what makes your house feel like a home.
DISPLAY FLOWERS A beautiful vase of flowers brings life into your interior and signifies that you’re house proud. In rooms of your home that lack personality, arranging flowers will instantly lift your space. If fresh cut flowers are not an option, opt for a few indoor plants that only need to be watered once a week.
Keep out of the way as much as possible. Once you’ve communicated any necessary details, try to stay out of the immediate areas where movers need to work.
Resist the urge to offer advice. Shouting “Careful! That’s breakable!” every few minutes really isn’t helpful. Try to avoid micromanaging movers. No one does their best work with a supervisor breathing down their neck.
Consider tipping. Official moving charges never include a gratuity, so if you’re movers do a great job, you may want to tip them. The amount you should tip will vary depending on the scope of the project, but 5% is standard when this bill is a few hundred dollars or more.
Unpacking. Set up and make beds for all family members. Getting this done right away will ensure you get a good first night of sleep in your new home.
Put up shower curtains and set out towels and toiletries. Functional bathrooms are a must, especially after the sweaty business of moving is done.
Set up coffee-making equipment. This will be key to a good first morning and will help fuel your unpacking efforts. Order pizza. As soon as you have the essentials unloaded, order enough pizza for everyone who’s helped you with the move, and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
1. Not knowing what you can afford to buy
If you haven’t been pre-approved, don’t go shopping. Understand the math of your future home loan or mortgage and know what you’ll qualify for – this will stop you from looking at homes or neighborhoods that are beyond your financial reach. Be aware that pre-qualifications are not the same as pre-approvals. So make sure you know what you can afford with an official pre-approval notice. A real estate agent can recommend lending institutions or banks. Be sure you shop around for the best short- and long-term plans for your particular financial situation.
2. Ignoring the additional costs
Although you may be used to paying rent and utilities, there are more monthly and annual expenses associated with home ownership. Some costs are easy to calculate prior to home ownership like property taxes, homeowner’s insurance or even homeowner’s association fees. But there are a multitude of unforeseen additional costs like emergency repairs or replacements. Along with regular maintenance costs, first-time home buyers should have a clear understanding of just how much it might cost to own and operate the home each month. Most experts advise setting aside about 1%-5% of the cost of the home each year to save for future upgrades and maintenance costs. Although that might sound like a significant amount, knowing that you’ve saved money for emergency repairs will help alleviate stress on your paycheck.
3. Thinking a fixer-upper is easy and cheap
Although a few first-time home buyers purchase a home with the expectation of a full-scale renovation, most home buyers simply want to move in and make it their own. Making cosmetic changes like painting walls, replacing the front door or refinishing floors are fairly easy and inexpensive. But all too often, first-time home buyers see a home as having unlimited potential without understanding how much it might actually cost to renovate. They might also make the mistake of thinking they can do it all themselves. It’s too simple to think that you can tackle major structural changes on your own (unless you happen to be a licensed home improvement professional). If you’re tempted to purchase a home and really want an expert opinion as to potential costs, code upgrades, permits required or other important information, consider hiring a professional general contractor to tour the home with you and give you a realistic cost and time estimate for your desired renovations.
4. Not hiring an inspector
Even if your bank doesn’t require it, you should always have a home inspection contingency on your home purchase. Hiring a licensed and experienced home inspector who will thoroughly inspect your home is an important step on the home buying experience. Regardless of the age and condition of the home, first-time home buyers can benefit from the expert advice of a home inspector. Home inspectors spend several hours assessing a home and provide a lengthy, written report on their findings.
5. Thinking you can do it solo
Although you’ve probably done your homework, it’s always best to hire a licensed real estate agent, especially if this is your first home. Real estate agents know the market, they understand the comps (the competitive prices of comparable homes), and can help you identify the home that will best fit your needs.