Nov 19

Citizen participation in communities

“It takes a village to raise a child” was a quote I would hear a lot while I was growing up. I did not grow up in the best, or the worst neighborhood in Philadelphia. However I did grow up in a strong community, a neighborhood where we all knew and supported each other. I remember when my grandfather passed, and somehow the community came together to bring us dinner every night for two weeks while my grandmother brought herself together.

Although I did not live in the best community, there was no crime for about a 3 block radius all around. That may not seem much, but it gave us a comfortable setting to play outside, for families to be able to sit on their front steps and not have to worry.

I believe my community created this type of environment because of the citizen participation.

Citizen participation is defined as a process in which individuals take part in decision making in the institutions, programs, and environments that affect them (K. Heller et al., 1984, p. 339)

Our community did this, they held meetings, dinner parties, social media groups, and so much more to make sure we all were on the same page with everything that was going on and we stood strong on our community rules. This is an important quality that many communities are lacking.

The support and “community” that our children and next generation are lacking. This could also be in my opinion, the reason for crime rates going up. Our communities are not as strong as they should be.

I believe people need to begin getting more involved in their communities, get to know their neighbors, build relationships and community rules and respect each other.


Heller, K., & Mansbach, W. E. (1984). The Multifaceted Nature of Social Support in a Community Sample of Elderly Women. Journal of Social Issues40(4), 99–112. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1984.tb01109.x

Nov 19

The Fine Line Between Pessimism and Optimism

Nobody has the ability to predict how the future will play out, however, you have the ability to control how you pursue your endeavors. According to Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, “optimism is a type of thinking that requires a person to be mindful about his or her future goals” (p.457). As students, we are in complete control of our college education. In the beginning of a semester, the first thing handed out is the course syllabus. I am often not alone to say, when looking through the schedule you often become overwhelmed with how much classwork is awaiting your future. At this moment you have a decision to make. Will you approach this feat with optimism or pessimism? This lingering question will arise with any difficult task assigned, but how it is managed will contribute heavily to the outcome.

A pessimist is the complete opposite of an optimist. The pessimist thought process is more likely to expect poor outcomes. Initially, this can be viewed as negative. Yet, in some occasions this outlook is needed. So, how does one find balance between the two? “Research has strongly suggested optimism contributes to better adjustment in occupational settings” (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 463). Nobody likes a coworker with a negative outlook and personality. This will affect the performance of everyone associated with them. But pessimist still hold a place within a company. Foreseeing the potential negative outcomes, can help better prepare everyone for the worst-case scenarios.

Personally, I tend to use both types of thinking. An example of this is when I entered boot camp. From the moment I signed my name on the dotted line, I expected the worst. However, I knew upon completion I would be satisfied with the result. This thought process worked in my favor. In hindsight, the overall experience was nowhere near what I actually expected. Drill instructors are there to keep you motivated, and they do a great job in doing so. My advice for anyone considering joining would be to enter bootcamp prepared to embrace the suck, but also know as long as you don’t quit you will get to the finish line.

Schneider, F.W., Gruman J.A., & Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Nov 19

Master of optimism 

My husband is an optimist. Last year was the toughest year of our lives, but mostly his. He had an open heart surgery and unfortunately he suffered a stroke as a complication. He has come a long way since then and is recovering well with a few hiccups here and there. However, 99% of the time he has been upbeat and always sees the silver lining in everything. I attribute much of his recovery to his attitude. I don’t know anyone who had to endure such tragedy yet come back winning like him. As Schneider et al. (2012) state that optimists make external attribution for bad events. That’s what I think my husband does. He didn’t blame himself or anyone for the surgery and the stroke. Instead, he attributed that to a situational occurrence that while he can’t change it, he can recover from. On a tough day he seems to always find a way to tilt the balance and make optimism outweigh pessimism, something that I still have to learn (Schneider et al., 2012). Affleck, Tennen, and Apter’s (2001) study suggests that the day-to-day levels of happiness of people who suffer from rheumatoid, arthritis, asthma, and fibromyalgia are positively related to their optimism (as cited in Schneider et al., 2012). Additionally, Affleck et al. (2001) assert that optimists can regulate their moods better than pessimists (as cited in Schneider et al., 2001). I found this to be true with my husband. Not that he is never sad or discourage. He is at times. However, he acknowledges his feelings and attributes his sadness and discouragement to external events such as lack of sleep, dehydration, a tough day at the gym, etc. Thus, he constantly teaches himself to be optimistic. Furthermore, he also seems to have mastered the art of problem-focused coping which refers to engaging behaviors that target to correct the stressful situation that is perceived to be controllable and amenable to change (Schneider et al., 2012). Everyday, he focuses on what he can control, his recovery, and let go of what he can’t control, his stroke. More importantly, he is surprisingly really good with emotion-focused coping as well, as he is actively doing everything he can to regain his emotional stability back. Emotional-focused coping is a behavior and cognition that does not directly address the source of stress but targets to reduce an individual’s level of emotional distress (Schneider et al., 2012). He meditates, does yoga, and listens to music to divert and reduce his emotional distress. All of these help him, and in turn help us, cope with our misfortune and make us appreciate life and each other even more. Whenever we are down, we spend time counting our blessings, which are fortunately in abundance, and disputing our misfortunate, which luckily are very few, similar to what Schneider et al.(2012) suggest. We have learned first handed that optimism will take you far and at times it’s the only thing you have left. So, be an optimist. If you are not, the good news is that optimism can be learned and with enough practice everyone can master it. Become one. 



Schneider, F.W., Gruman J.A.,  & Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. 

Nov 19

Standardized Tests in Today’s Education System

Many students today, struggle with behavioral issues, learning disorders or emotional issues, meaning they are already facing challenges in their behavior patterns. A big issue in my opinion, in today’s schools is recognizing these struggles in students. School’s expect students to all meet a certain standard, and are most likely unwilling to conform to the needs of the students. Even with extra support, such as Therapeutic Staff Supports or specialized classrooms, the goal is to get the child to behave in a way the school seems “fit”, or be able to take tests and exams that meet scores “fit” for the school.

Albert Einstein quoted,  “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”. The test is tree climbing, similar to standardized testing across the board. However, not everyone is able to climb a tree, or may need a different way to get up the tree.

Another issue with these standardized tests, is they don’t test subjects such as music, art, or other specials that can give the students a chance to explore their gifts and talents. That may make them confident enough to perform better in other subjects they may struggle with. However these subjects are becoming non-existent in today’s educational system.

I believe standardized tests should be eliminated, your success should not be determined or predicted by how well you can score on a test. It should be measured by your strengths, your talents, your gifts, and sharpening those things.

I am not against education, I believe education is very important. This is why I am still in school. However, I believe school should focus more on student’s gifts, passions and talents. I believe schools will have a much higher success rates if they do. This gives student’s a chance to express themselves, and also helps build confidence to perform better in other subjects.

Nov 19

The bystander effect and social media

This week we discussed the bystander effect and the thought that certain personality types/people will wait for social cues to see if they will intervene in situations. If a bystander   see’s others around they are less likely to act due pluralistic ignorance. We see this in our everyday lives specifically on social media. Incidents are streamed of people getting shot,hurt,fighting as opposed to calling the police or stepping in to assist. Views and letting people know I was here is more relevant than the act of doing. This new era of see everything do nothing transcends through all avenues. Another example is social media activist. These are the people that only complain,rant,or question things on social media. They don’t go into their communities and do any work,they don’t start outreach efforts,contact people in power they just watch. The question comes in to play how can we stop people from watching and have them start doing? I don’t think we can. Certain people possess empathy,and urgency and others don’t. I personally believe this stems from personality type,and makeup. A way we can diffuse pluralistic  ignorance is to stop glorifying the watchers. There was a news story about a man who scaled a building that was on fire to save his mother. He did this with his bare hands and was deemed a hero. We should be commending this behavior and giving it more than a 15 minute segment in late night news. Where people on social media get millions of likes and repost.

Nov 19

New York City: Bystander Effect and The Diffusion of Responsibility Among 8.55 Million

I live in the New York City area, where I frequently see a variety of ambiguous emergency situations.  Given how large New York City is–roughly 8.55 million people–it can be difficult to pay attention to everything going on at the same time in the same space (World Population Review, 2019).  In order to function through the seas of people and overwhelming noise, one must frequently tune out the sounds and scenes surrounding them.  This great degree of noise and scenes is an example of stimulus overload, which happens when one’s body is overwhelmed by the degree of incoming sensory material (Gruman, Schneuder, & Coutts, 2016).  This stimulus overload is what can lead to the tuning out of the environment, such as what happens with many New York City residents daily.

Even when residents do notice something–an emergency situation, for example–they may not act.  Rather, they may believe others will act instead, creating what is known as diffusion of responsibility (Latane & Nida, 1981).  When this occurs, individuals assume they do not need to act because someone else will.  Thus, they diffuse their personal responsibility back into others, believing they themselves do not need to be the one to take action.  This can create the bystander effect, which occurs when people do help despite witnessing an emergency situation (Gruman, Schneuder, & Coutts, 2016).  Interestingly, despite seeing an emergency situation, due to the above reasons, many chose to ignore the emergency, and proceed with their activities.  I personally experienced something like this several years ago in New York City.

I was in New York City running errands when I saw several girls surrounding a man passed out on the ground (I briefly mentioned this in my discussion post for this week).  The man looked like he had just fallen on the ground without warning. He had been wearing a baseball hat and the hat was resting just off of his head on the concrete.  I found the situation to be alarming–it seemed like a clear emergency situation to me, as the man was completely unconscious–and I stopped to talk to the girls who were surrounding him.  I asked what was going on, and they said he was unconscious, and they did not know what to do.  They said they saw the man passed out and thought they should stop, but they did not know what action to take.  I said I thought I should call 911, and, since the girls seemed indecisive, I asked someone on the street if I could borrow their phone (I had left mine in the car), and they agreed.  The girls left after I called 911 and the man whose phone I borrowed stayed with me until the ambulance came, which took the man to the hospital.

The experience I had in the above situation was not easily forgotten, as I had difficulty making sense of why the girls did not call 911, or why someone else did not stop and do something.  This lesson, however, has helped me make sense of these lack of actions, due to the phenomenons of the diffusion of responsibility and the bystander effect.  In the particular situation described above, people walked by despite seeing the emergency situation (the bystander effect), likely believing that someone else would take responsibility and help in the situation (diffusion of responsibility).  Interestingly, I think the diffusion of responsibility was likely also at play among the few girls standing around the man.  I think none of them were taking full responsibility for the situation (i.e. they were there, but none of them were doing something to help), as they believed someone else in the group would.  While I am glad I called stopped and was able to borrow someone’s phone to call 911, I am sure there have been many other moments in my life where I have been affected by the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility, partially due to the stimulus overload that accompanies New York City.  Thus, I am grateful that this lesson has increased my awareness of these phenomenons, so I can be more mindful of those in emergency situations as I navigate such a large–and sometimes overwhelming–city.






Gruman, J. A., Schneuder., F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (2016). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Socanil and Practical Problems.

Latané, B., & Nida, S. (1981). Ten years of research on group size and helping.Psychological Bulletin, 89(2), 308-324. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.89.2.308

New York City, New York Population 2019. (2019). Retrieved from http://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/new-york-city-population/.

Nov 19

Setting a Good Example

I work in an autism classroom with children grades 3-5. Most of our students are in our room for the whole day, but we are always working toward them being able to go into general education classes for some periods of time during the day. One of our students has higher functioning autism than the others. This student is able spend a lot of his day in a 3rd grade general education class. He always has me, or another teaching assistant with him to prompt him or help him with things as needed. He also goes to specials with other 3rd graders, such as art, gym, music, etc. Unfortunately while going to these classes with him, I have noticed that his fellow students are not overly friendly to him. He does exhibit stimming behaviors, such as repeating names or phrases, and that bothers some of the students. When told to partner up in gym a few weeks ago, no one wanted to be his partner. I heard another student call him “weird” when he was standing alone without a partner and was so frustrated until another female student came up to him and asked to be his partner. After that, students were interacting with him more and more. Just last week, he was invited (and went!) to a fellow students halloween party at their house. He was so happy and that girl has no idea the impact she had on his day, and possibly even the rest of his school year.

Students follow example from each other their attitudes es and behaviors are mirrored constantly. Many other students do not have patience with the boy I am mentioning, but watching how helpful and patient the girl was to him gave me so much hope that others will see this interaction and want to be more friendly with him.

Nov 19

The Tiny Home Movement

With the rising costs of homes and rent in the United States, there has been an increased need for affordable housing options. According to CNBC (2018), prices for homes have increased over 5% in the past few years and are expected to rise twice the speed of inflation. In addition, there has been a rising interest in the minimalist movement made popular by Marie Kondo, who is well known for her method of cutting out anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” This movement has sought to reduce the carbon footprint, excess clutter, and to save money. One movement that address both of these public concerns is the tiny house movement. This new movement has encouraged people to downsize their lifestyle and live minimally, while also helping alleviate the economic burdens of high rent and mortgage costs. There are now established communities dedicated to those who want to live in tiny homes and live a more minimal lifestyle. These communities often have shared common goals and values that help these communities become more cohesive.

A community is described as a group of individuals with shared values, goals, and attitudes that bring them close together. According to Gruman, Schneider, and Coutts (2017), a strong sense of community must include membership, influence, integration, and a shared emotional connection. In many tiny home communities, the members often share resources and have a strong communal bond with one another because they live in such close proximity to one another. In one tiny home community, Tiny Tranquility, members of the community share a 12,000 square foot greenhouse that can be used to grow crops, an entertainment room to interact and bond with other community members, and outdoor areas to have bonfires and play games. Most tiny house communities have a common goal that aims to reduce their attachment to debt and material items to achieve optimal life satisfaction. According to Business Insider (2019), many tiny homeowners are able to live debt free and can even double or triple their savings to the six-figure range. Other common goals shared among many tiny home communities is the desire to reduce waste and live a greener lifestyle. Some communities utilize solar energy and home gardening not only for convenience but also to minimize the effects on the environment. According to Renewable Energy World (2015), tiny homes produce about 2,000 pounds of CO2 in comparison to the average home which produces 28,000 pounds annually. These shared values and strong communal ties allow tiny home community members to thrive and achieve their common goals, while also fostering new relationships with those with similar interests and hobbies.

Although strong communal bonds can exist in the standard neighborhood, tiny home communities allow those with similar interests to comingle and share resources while also influencing each other to have a more minimal and greener lifestyle. Tiny home communities can help alleviate the economic burden of rising housing prices while also providing affordable housing to those who previously didn’t have access like homeless veterans. These communities often aim to not only have economic freedom, but also allow members to live healthier and more fulfilling lifestyles. These tiny home communities foster strong communal bonds between its members while also allowing those with a common life purpose and goals to flourish and prosper.



CNBC. (2018, June 6). US house prices are going to rise at twice the speed of inflation and pay: Reuters poll. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/06/us-house-prices-are-going-to-rise-at-twice-the-speed-of-inflation-and-pay-reuters-poll.html.

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (2017). Applied social psychology: understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.

Hoffower, H. (2019, July 27). 6 people on how living in a tiny house has changed their finances, from going debt-free to saving six figures. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/tiny-house-living-advice-financial-changes-to-expect-2019-7.

Renewable Energy World. (2015, November 14). Tiny Houses Have Even Tinier Carbon Footprints. Retrieved from https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/2015/12/14/tiny-houses-have-even-tinier-carbon-footprints/#gref.

Tiny Tranquility. (n.d.). Long term stay plots for Tiny Home and Vintage Trailer owners. Retrieved from https://tinytranquility.com/.



Nov 19

CrossFit Community

When it comes to fitness there are many different options out there. Each option provides different results and includes different exercises. Individuals can select group exercises, solo exercises, cardio based workouts, weight training and many other different options. Due to so many options out there, it can be hard to separate everything and select the best workout plan depending on the goal for that individual. CrossFit is a type of workout program that has been around for a while and continues to grow and gain momentum. One of the things that has helped CrossFit gain popularity is the sense of community because this is something that is very different from the traditional gym in which people work out by themselves and don’t speak to anyone.

A community is a group of individuals that are connected to each other by one or more attributes (Morgan, 2015). The element that brings them together is the core of the group which could change over time. People have access to many different communities based on their interest and ultimately a community is about growing with other people. Humans beings are social beings that thrive best when connected with others. It is a mistake to think that most humans prefer the solitary life because the truth is that we are the most comfortable when we are connected and sharing emotions and stories with others (Morgan, 2015). People find that sense of belonging/community in a church, friends, family, social media, sports and many other ways. That sense of belonging and community is what makes CrossFit slightly different from other exercise programs.

A study showed that when it came to sense of community CrossFit was significantly higher when compared to other physical activity groups (Pickett et al., 2016). Participants that had a higher sense of community about their physical activity had a higher perceived value of the service provided. Also, participants that said that their gym had a high sense of community enjoyed going there more. This leads to more frequent attendance and commitment. It is important to point out the impact that sense of community can have when it comes to exercise. The social aspect is something that people are obviously searching for and finding it through exercise can help them grow in many different ways. CrossFit is welcoming to everyone and allows people to connect through exercise. Fitness is something that a lot of people are looking for, but being able to find a community that shares the same goal is what makes this special. While everyone is different and has different fitness goals, the group setting concept is what keeps people coming and attending. These type of gyms are not only for extremely fit people because the workouts can be scaled depending on the ability of each individual. When it comes to CrossFit is more about competing with yourself and allowing the group help push you past your limits (Blake, 2013). Members really value and emphasize the sense of community associated with their gym. It is really about the encouragement and finding like minded people that share a common goal (Blake, 2013).


Blake, Jack. (2013). The power of the CrossFit community. Retrieved from https://www.boxrox.com/the-power-of-the-crossfit-community/

Morgan, Nick. (September 1, 2015). We humans are social beings-And why that matters for speakers and leaders. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2015/09/01/we-humans-are-social-beings-and-why-that-matters-for-speakers-and-leaders/#46494e636abd

Pickett, Andrew C; Goldsmith, Andrew; Damon, Zack; Walker, Matthew. ( 2016). The influence of sense of community on the perceived value of physical activity: A cross-context analysis. Leisure Sciences. 38(3), 199-214.






Nov 19

How Long Love Lasts?

How long do you think love lives? One French writer called his novel, “Love Lasts Three Years”, but Is it true?

Three years usually lasts a candy stage of relations; a period of passion and love. When the heart beats more often, the future is radiant, the lovers are concentrated on each other and much is forgiven to the partner; and it seems that it should always be so. But no. The enchanting extravaganza fades away, and somewhere in the depths a spark begins to flare up a true love; but after violent passions and vivid experiences can it be very difficult to feel it. True, mature love develops and is realized gradually; and for its disclosure, the internal development of a person is necessary. Immature people often do not discover this gift in themselves. It is the mental immaturity of partners that ultimately leads the union to cataclysms.

Broken boats of love

Psychologists know that almost a third of people suffer from problems in relationships, such as distrust, suspicion, addiction, betrayal. The art of love is almost forgotten. This is the ability to accept and appreciate and consider a partner as his property, without the conditions and expectations that these relationships are forever and ever. Even those who parted with their partner are usually given a chance to meet a new suitable person. That is, never was it about one single half. However, if people didn’t “grab” their life companions with a death grip, then there would be much fewer problems in relationships, partings. Moreover, women are especially afraid of changes in their personal lives.

How to get through some of the relationship’s problems:

  • Relationships in a pair – this is only a matter of two. No need to let outsiders into this space, even if they are relatives and friends. Especially if they perceive your partner negatively, and this even applies to children – tactfully, gently, but do not let the child stand between you, quarrel you.
  • Discuss all the problems that arise in the family: monetary, related to relatives, ex, friends, as well as your feelings and doubts, etc.
  • Try not to focus your attention on your partner’s annoying habits: eat on the go, don’t wash dishes, etc. Otherwise, the internal accumulating tension can one day explode, and starting from a trifle, turn into a grand scandal.
  • None of the partners should consider their desires more important than the needs of another. Suppression, domination destroy the family. Relationships require respect.
  • Show your feelings more often so that loved ones understand that you are dear. Try to avoid reproaches, claims, claims. Show your love right now – then it may be too late. And “turn off” criticism in yourself, thinking about a partner, you can always find something to complain about, only this destroys the relationship.

Crisis management

There are age crises of each partner when you want changes and novelty, family crises in changing circumstances (birth of a child, death of relatives, forced relocations, etc.) and crises of development of life together. At such moments, it is important to maintain the internal unity of the couple, respect and affection for each other. And do not succumb to erroneous, usually formed in childhood emotional reactions, such as: the habit of feeling sorry for oneself (usually accompanied by reproaches from others), the desire to take responsibility for malfunctions in relationships (based on guilt, for example, because of the fact that feelings have cooled), removal from a partner (due to fatigue, etc.). With the right approach, respect and appreciation, love will keep growing and you can be sure: will last very long.



Durayappah-Harrison, A. (2011, February 3). Brain Study Reveals Secrets of Staying Madly in Love. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/thriving101/201102/brain-study-reveals-secrets-staying-madly-in-love

Gregoire, C. (2014, December 24). The Psychology Of Loves That Last A Lifetime. HuffPost. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/psychology-of-lasting-love_n_5339457

Harra, A. (2014, September 27). 7 Ways to Save a Struggling Relationship. HuffPost. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/love-and-relationships_b_5624213?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAAxisiqyJcy3K-YMecXl181egMQUDKLNbvMcdXlcfZz8mJmcnLk5Pxtwxlbs5_MOSAerHZuyhBqut3aHDx2-GuPxHKy7rIhgQQplI6PpJ327CEQBu0EAglI-JiFIRFbKKgTF6ODyHfFtNk4TfZSZmWtv1SOiuVrij7QNKpl1vgHQ

Johnson, S. (2010, June 1). Can Love Last a Lifetime? Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hold-me-tight/201006/can-love-last-lifetime

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