Thursday, October 30, 2008

Avoid MALWARE Fraud

"Security-on-a-Stick" to Protect Consumers and Banks From Sophisticated Hacker Attacks

Specialized USB-Stick Adds an Extra Level of Security and Protects Online Banking Transactions Despite Attacks on Personal Computers

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You've Been Scammed At the ATM


The next time you go to an ATM and if your card happens to be "eaten", checkout the following scam, along with instructions on how to check to see if this happened to you and how to remove your card, if it did.

Common sense says never give anyone your pin number, especially someone who offers to help you get your card back.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Did you know October is DHS's National Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Ever wonder how secure your information is? Credit Cards, banking, health information.

Checkout the following video from someone who is "doing time".

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lost In The Line Of Volunteer Duty - Tragic Accident

Fairfax County Police Department
Public Information Office
4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Va. 22030
703-246-2253. TTY 703-204-2264. Fax 703-246-4253
News Release: 08/295/1942/EJA/(6)
October 25, 2008

Missing Police Officer Recovered

Divers located Second Lieutenant Frank Stecco at 12:25 p.m. on Saturday, October 25. He was found in Pohick Bay approximately 100 feet from the point at which he was reportedly last seen. Boats, dogs and divers were actively searching when the discovery was made.

The murky waters and the contours and make-up of the bottom of the bay made this a particularly difficult search. The use of technology aided in searching potential areas where Lt. Stecco may have been. Divers turned to meticulous hand-by-hand searches within a grid pattern. Divers likened this search to dropping a quarter on a football field and attempting to find it by hand.

Colonel David Rohrer, Chief of the Fairfax County Police Department, confirmed the recovery saying, “My heart goes out to Frank’s family; my heart goes out to his police family; and my heart goes out to the community Frank worked in and loved.”

Chief Rohrer called Lt. Stecco a highly decorated member of the department. Lt. Stecco was transported with full honors to include a motorcycle escort to the Medical Examiners Office.

Lt. Stecco was a volunteer role player in a police helicopter water rescue exercise at Pohick Bay Regional Park when he disappeared in the bay at 2:47 p.m. on October 21, 2008. Extensive air, ground and water search and rescue efforts began immediately and continued through the recovery today. Federal, state, and regional public safety and military agencies helped sustain the search, contributing sophisticated detection equipment, expertise, boats, helicopters, specially trained dogs and supplies.

Lt. Stecco joined the Fairfax County Police Department in 1989 and served 11 of his 19 years assigned to the Mount Vernon District station. His bold, proactive style of policing earned the respect and admiration of his peers and supervisors and helped distinguish him as a courageous and selfless officer. He was awarded a Silver Medal of Valor in 1994, a Bronze Medal of Valor in 1997, and a Certificate of Valor in 2000 by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce for acts of bravery above and beyond the call of duty.

Fueled by his passion and dedication for serving the children and teenagers of the county, Lt. Stecco opted to leave the Mount Vernon district and join the Department’s Youth Services Division just one month prior to his untimely death.

He leaves behind his wife, their three children, and his mother. Details of services to honor Lt. Stecco are not yet available.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Where does cutting a program tie to humanity?

The potential programs that may be cut due to the current economic situation is really unbelievable. Many programs directly impact the health and safety of our residents, not just locally, but across the United States.

After spending the summer working in a developing region, there must be some takeaway we can learn from that experience to deal with the budget shortfall.

There are people who were struggling to eat and deal with natural disaster, but in the United States besides significant potential cutbacks in critical emergency services, a government health club is at risk.

It is important to prioritize potential cutbacks and ensure that critical lifesaving programs remain in place.

When we look at the article submitted by Michael earlier, we see pictures of volunteers from the Red Cross. An organization that is primarily funded through donation dollars. In any major emergency, the Red Cross is usually there.

What is that in the pictures? We see the volunteers with green backpacks? In the United States, do we think Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) when we see green backpacks?

In this economic time, one thing really comes to mind, consolidation. Could we combine training programs? Could we combine outreach? Could we combine volunteer response? Are there volunteers that are not already involved with multiple organizations?

This is not directed to any CERT program. As several CERT programs across the country either have been cut or are at risk of being cut, could we potentially merge the CERT program with another organization, such as the Red Cross? What about expand the mission of the Neighborhood Watch program?

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is essential in helping our citizens be prepared for a major emergency or disaster and also provides skills that can be applied in their everyday lives.

These are not recommendations, but potential ideas to think of ways these programs can continue with limited funding and resources. Many of these changes would need to occur at the National Level, to adjust the guidelines of the organizations.

While the following article, Catastrophe On A Shoestring, is several years old, it shows how these volunteer programs are often first to be reduced.

Now more than ever, organizations are going to need to make best use of their resources, combined resources.

Reach Out Mission - "To serve humanity, is to give time, treasure and talent"

Reach out mission

"To serve humanity, is to give time, treasure and talent"

Around 20 people joined the reached out mission to give school supplies and conduct earthquake drill in Kiman-aw Primary School and Silapawan Primary School at Silapawan, Paquibato District, Davao City.

The 20 people were volunteers from the two organizations, the Philippine National Red Cross- Davao City Chapter and NCCC cares, a foundation of the New Center Commercial Center. Both organizations were headed by the Engr. Edwin Patalagsa, Chapter Service Representative of Disaster Management Service of PNRC-Davao City.

It took three hours and crossing ten rivers just to arrive in the place. Angel May Cabaylo, Red Cross youth volunteer said, "I was so afraid since the road was so stiff." It was even more fearful since the truck wasn’t able to move forward while crossing the 9th river. The volunteers were stranded for almost two hours and through their "bayanihan spirit" of the volunteers and help of some residents the problem was finally solve.

The group arrived at lunchtime; the volunteers were group into two since we will be visiting two schools. I was with the team of Kiman-aw where school children were excited to see the group since they have been waiting for four hours. They welcome the team by singing their native song to their visitors. To some volunteers the experience was priceless.

Ms. Cabaylo added "I would never exchange the happiness I saw where the kids jumping for joy and saw their happy faces while receiving their new bags and notebooks".

The school has a total of 75 pupils ranging from Grade I to IV levels. Most of them were from Ata-Manobo tribe. The teachers were Mr. Mario C. Fernandez and his co-teacher Mrs. Arlene H. Abapo. They were diligent and patience even as it means going away from their homes and families. They deserve to be called us heroes, said one of the pupils.

Although it was plan that there will be an earthquake drill. It was cancelled the reason: it was raining.


The Red Cross Youth (RCY), youth arm of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), is celebrating Red Cross Youth Month this October with the theme "Red Cross YOUth ACT." PNRC chairman and CEO Sen. Richard J. Gordon said the theme is proactive as it intends to motivate the young volunteers of Red Cross to do more for humanity and take part in providing solutions to the different problems of the community.

"We encourage all chapters to take part in this annual event and recognize the vital role of the youth in the PNRC and in nation-building. Let us all support the different activities in line with the Red Cross Youth Month," said Chairman Gordon.

Formal opening ceremonies is slated at 10 a.m. on October 11 at the Robinson Galleria Mall in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Invited guests are singer and RCY Star Volunteer Yeng Constantino of ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Dream Academy (PDA), Ronnie Liang, also of PDA, and Audrey Zubiri, wife of Red Cross Governor Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

This year’s celebration features Partnership and Youth Development Week (Oct. 6-12) wherein there will be a memorandum agreement (MOA) signing with the National Youth Commission (NYC) and Sangguniang Kabataan, a provincial-wide youth instructor’s training course and orientation of local youth committees. The RCY Month will also have a Friendship and Service Week (Oct. 13-19) wherein a local youth exchange program takes place; and Promotion of Healthy Lifestyle Week (Oct. 20-26) which highlights the JFAP (Junior First Aiders Program) Investitures.

Activities lined up during the RCY month include motorcades, parades, Bike for Humanity, mall and campus tours, youth disaster response team camps, and Red Cross youth debate. The youth debate will be telecast at ANC (ABS-CBN News Channel). During the closing ceremony, the PNRC-RCY will honor this year’s Best Chapter Youth Council.

Article Submitted By Michael Esguerra, Neighbors Helping Neighbors International Youth Representative.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stay'n Alive Without Funding

As most have heard, local jurisdictions are facing budget issues.

The following webpage includes details of reduction options presented to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

How do you feel about closing a police station?
What about elimination of Clinic Room Aides from School Health Program?

And the many volunteer programs that could be impacted.

Take a look at the following presentations for detailed proposed options.

Stay'n Alive - With CPR

A New Take On An Old Classic

You get the point. Keep'em Alive.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

First Aid Today - Stay'n Alive

The following segment recently appeared on the Today Show.

It is a must watch episode and may just Save A Life of a friend, co-worker, or neighbor!

Additional information or classes are available at your local Red Cross Chapter.

In addition to having a first aid kit and learning these essential skills, as Matt says, "Support the Red Cross, contribute if you can". If you would like to contribute to the local Red Cross, please complete the following donation form.

Fairfax County Police Programs at Risk - Citizens To Be Directly Impacted

Crime Prevention, APO, VIPS, and other Citizen Programs
At Risk Of Being Impacted
Who Will Answer The Mail?


"This is your chance to let your voice be heard. Several services and programs offered by the police department have been offered up to be terminated in order to cover the projected budget shortfall. One of the many purposed cuts includes my position, Crime Prevention. This would be for each district station.

I know we have all worked hard to make Fairfax County a safe place to reside, work and visit. It is my fear that if some of these budget cuts are passed, we would be taking a giant step backward in the fight against crime.

Plan to attend one of the upcoming Community Forums to share your feelings on this matter. Speak out and let the police department and Board of Supervisors know what is important to you." (Fairfax County Crime Prevention Officer).

Please plan to attend one of the following two meetings, along with us, either tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 22, Lynbrook Elementary School, 5801 Backlick Road,Springfield, 7-9 p.m.

Thursday, October 23, Fair Oaks Church, 4601 West Ox Road, Fairfax, 7-9 p.m.

Most people have no idea what a Crime Prevention Officer does, but they are impacted. Ever send an email to the local police station? It was probably a Crime Prevention Officer that contacted you. Does your community have a Neighborhood Watch Program? That is coordinated through the station Crime Prevention Officer.

Those are just two examples.

"The primary focus of my job is to be a liaison between the citizens of the district and the officers of the Station. I wear many hats, though. The job may sound pretty tame or even lame, but that is not the case.

In actuality, I am busier now than I was when I was a detective assigned to the Criminal Investigations Section. Crime prevention is a very demanding position. Quite a bit of my time is spent with HOA and Neighborhood Watch groups. Helping them with issues that may be present in their community. I also need to stay focused on recent trends within the various patrol areas and alert the citizens to try and prevent future crimes.

On average, I get 75-100 emails a day with requests or questions. This could be from a citizen, an officer or the captain of the station. Some allow a quick response, but some require research. I am also required to attend three to four meetings a week, on average.

Then there are requests for community events. These events are usually in the evening or on a weekend. Again, some are easy to deal with while others require pre-planning.

Yes, I would still have a job if they were to cut this position. That is not an issue. I do enjoy my job. I think that the citizens would be lacking if they were to cut the crime prevention slot, though. A regular patrol officer would not be able to do justice to the program, as it would be too many responsibilities piled upon them, on top of their patrol duties. This would not be fair to that officer or the citizens.

You asked about VIPS. Unless that volunteer worked at least 40 hours a week in Crime Prevention, it would not work. There are many weeks where 60 hours are not enough to do what needs to be done. So unless you have someone without any other obligations, I just do not see it working. I am the APO and VIPS coordinator, as well. So, I know how many hours most of them contribute. There are only one or two that have a lifestyle (i.e.- retired, no kids, etc.) that would allow them to put in the hours needed to do the job. This is not something that could be worked on for a few hours each week. Someone needs to be here and remain current with requests and evolving situations.

If you wish to discuss this further, we can. There are approximately 30 areas of responsibility which my job covers. Under those areas of responsibility there are many sub-headings. An example of this would be:

Neighborhood Watch-
1. Quarterly training held at the station for community members needing training
2. New Watches – help watches get started, provide training

Watch Maintenance
1. Monthly contact and documentation
2. Watch Revitalization- getting inactive Watches started back up
3. Provide new watches with signs and replace any damaged or stolen signs.

Coordinator’s Meetings

Distribution of Information to Watches (and Community as a Whole)
1. News Releases
2. Fliers

E. Address Community Concerns
1. Entering PSA Complaints
2. Meetings upon request


A. Promote Traffic Watch Program
B. Bicycle Safety Talks/displays
C. Pedestrian Safety talks/displays
D. Aggressive Driving (Laws)
E. Seat Belt talks/displays
F. Station Programs/Initiatives
G. VIN Etching
H. Lobby displays to coordinate with the awareness month/season

So, initially it may not look like a lot on the surface, but once you go below that, there are many areas that need to be focused upon

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

NWS Open House A Win Win for Community And Volunteers

Photo Source: Joshua Kinard

Several volunteers from local Citizen Corps Council organizations, American Red Cross of the National Capital Area and Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) were on hand at the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office Open House.

Terry Akins, Judy Howell, Andrew Levy, Ian Sterne, and Margaret Fowke spoke about the value of these programs, how to prepare for a disaster, ways to volunteer, and training programs available to the public.

The weekend also provided the opportunity for the volunteers to see the operations of the forecast office. A couple of CERT members, including a current CERT student, also attended the Skywarn class that was offered during the open house.

Thank you to the NWS for providing the wind and cold front, and a special thanks for Margaret Fowke (NWS and Red Cross Volunteer) who provided a behind the scenes tour of the facility.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Local to the National Capital Region? Make A Difference

For those that are not local to the National Capital Region, there are many other community events as part of "Make A Difference Day 2008".

Did you know that, "Make A Difference Day is the largest national day of helping others -- a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Everyone can participate. USA WEEKEND and Newman's Own salute Make A Difference Day volunteers by awarding $100,000 for charity."

The USA Weekend website lists many projects you can get involved with on Make A Difference Day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Make A Difference Day 2008

Looking for that perfect Halloween Costume, but don't have the money to purchase a costume?

Why not consider trick or treating as a volunteer?

Thanks to Gabrielle for the idea, pictured below, wearing her costume (for the day) and volunteering at the Reston Fall Festival held yesterday, as part of VolunteerFest® 2008.

"The 14th annual VolunteerFest® on Saturday, October 25. Part of the national “Make a Difference Day,” this community-wide day of service engages more than 700 volunteers around Fairfax County at schools, libraries, parks and nonprofit agencies.

Volunteer projects include building outdoor classrooms, painting offices, creating a wildlife habitat and environmental cleanups. Service projects start mid-morning and end around lunch time. Make the most of your Saturday and volunteer.

Over the last 13 years, VolunteerFest® has engaged more than 15,000 volunteers at 490 projects for a total of 47,000 hours of service to the community."

Additional information and registration details for next weekend's events can be found on the VolunteerFest website.

Mark your calendars for next weekend.

See you at one of the many events in our local community!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Did you know that

$25 provides five blankets at an emergency shelter

$350 will provide emergency food and shelter for 25 disaster victims for one day

$2,500 deploys one emergency response vehicle and drivers (including housing and meals for drivers) to a disaster relief operation.

There are many ways you can make a donation to your local Red Cross Chapter.

Here are some additional ideas,

Remember to designate the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area (UW #8022 and CFC #96686) or your local chapter during the United Way/Combined Federal Campaign!

You can also make a donation directly on their donation website.

Friday, October 17, 2008

With all the recent discussion, time for a light video

With all the recent comments, it seemed appropriate to take a step back and realize the value of both sides.

What does the National Weather Service really do?

If you are in the Washington, DC area this weekend and looking for something to do, why not check out

National Weather Service
Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office
Open House and Dedication
Saturday October 18th and Sunday October 19th

At the newly occcupied, brand new NWS Forecast Office
43858 Weather Service Road
Sterling, Virginia 20166
Free Parking On-Site

Directions to our new office can be found here

Things to do:
* Family Friendly with Demonstrations for the Kids
* Weather Balloon Launches every hour
* Get Registered as a NWS Spotter with our Basic Weather Spotter Class
* Tours of the NWS office
* Tours of NOAA's wind tunnel & environmental extreme chambers
* 4-5 pm each day: "Weather in Music and Prose" - A multimedia show combining computer imagery, poetry, and live music performance
* Watch Presentations by our Meteorologists to Learn About our Weather
* New Office Dedication Ceremony with Government Officials and NOAA/NWS Leadership at 1pm Saturday

SKYWARN™ Spotter classes will be offered at 2:00 PM Saturday, and 2:00 PM Sunday. Please click here to register! (Classes are limited to the first 75 participants for each day).

Representatives from the American Red Cross and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will also be on hand.

Additional information can be found here,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

International Youth Representative Selected for Youth Exchange

Oct. 28 to Nov. 5, 2008
South Korea

The (Philippine) National Youth Commission will be sending ten (10) youth delegates to South Korea for an RP-Korea Youth Exchange on Oct. 28 to Nov. 5, 2008.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors youth representative, Michael Esguerra, has been selected as a delegate.

"The National Youth Commission wishes to inform you that you have been chosen as one of the official delegates of the country to the RP-Korea Youth Exchange Program to be held on October 28 to November 5, 2008 in South Korea."

If you can provide any expense assistance to Michael, please contact him at

Fighting Crime with 1's and 0's as Discussed at World Bank

There was also discussion about the NYPD Real Time Crime Center during the presentation.

The following video highlights some of the specifics to the solution and how integrated technology can solve crime.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

SOA Key To "Connecting" Emergency Management Solutions.

The following picture highlights a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), as described in the presentation. Also included are links to some of the services that were discussed.

Solutions Highlighted During International Day on Disaster Reduction

During the International Day on Disaster Reduction presentation, several technical solutions were highlighted.

Over the next few days, addition material will be provided on these offerings. All of which can be operated independently or integrated together through the VirtualAgility solution.

VirtualAgility technology is secure, reliable and scalable. All of which are key elements to a disaster management solution.
The VirtualAgility OPS Center (VOC) is a COTS portal framework that integrates single sign-on, GIS, incident management, weather, presence awareness, comprehensive communications and other information sharing applications.
It is an SOA interface that aggregates data and applications and presents them in a user-defined display to provide a common operational picture. Context for data point display can include GIS maps, RSS feeds, weather, SOPs and plans.
Access to data can be authorized by role, mission or organization. Secure system access can be granted ad hoc to any approved user with a standard web browser, allowing instant additions of personnel during a crisis.

Additional information can be found on the VirtualAgility website at

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Taking an International Workshop to the Next Level

As part of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, the World Bank e-Development Thematic Group (e-TG) has added a topic, Disaster Risk Management in the Information Age, to their edevelopment blog.

Some of the lessons learned from the workshops are being blogged under the topic of Disaster Risk Management in the Information Age.

International Day for Disaster Reduction - Presentation Now Available

Some may have noticed this blog pretty quiet over the past week.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors had the opportunity to participate in multiple forums, including International Day for Disaster Reduction with representatives from the World Bank, United Nations, NGOs, universities, and industry.

The presentation that Andrew Levy delivered is available on the World Bank website.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of this collaboration with you and the audience found this workshop very useful according to feedback we received.

We could now leverage this spirit of collaboration and goodwill which emerged between participating organizations as a result of this workshop. We have discussed the need for stronger collaboration to take this agenda forward, in addition to highlighting a number of best practices, specific solutions and lessons learned." (World Bank).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Innovation Jam

It is not too late to join around the world for Innovation Jam 2008.

"More than 1,100 CEOs shared their visions of the Enterprise of the Future, as well as their aspirations and ambitions to build it. For many, however, the way forward is still uncertain. Right now, leaders around the world are asking: How can my organization turn our vision into the reality we seek?"

Now is your chance to help influence some of the world's greatest challenges.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is pleased to contribute on topics related to Disaster Preparedness, Social Networking, and other topics.

Why not start JAMming today at

Thursday, October 2, 2008

International Day for Disaster Reduction

Did you know that Wednesday October 8, 2008 is International Day for Disaster Reduction?

Working with representatives from the World Bank and United Nations, Neighbors Helping Neighbors is proud to be a partner and speaker at International Day for Disaster Reduction.

During the next week, Neighbors Helping Neighbors will focus on best practices and questions related to disaster reduction, with a focus on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Children Around World

A few days ago, we had the opportunity to hear "A Prayer for Children" again.

This poem fit very well to the experiences that have been shared on Neighbors Helping Neighbors over the past year.

From helping a community in a developing country reduce their risk from a disaster or helping a fellow neighbor, it is important to realize that others may not be as fortunate as others.

At the same time, realizing that we should not feel sorry for those that do not have the same tangible item, as they lead very happy lives within their means.

The following poem is really appropriate for any religion and can be found on multiple websites.

A Prayer for Children

We pray for children…
who put chocolate fingers everywhere,
who like to be tickled,
who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak Popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never “counted potatoes,”
who are born in places where we wouldn’t be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
who cover themselves with Band-Aids and sing off-key,
who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can’t find any bread to steal,
who don’t have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
who love visits from the tooth fairy,
who don’t like to be kissed in front of the school bus,
who squirm in church and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at
and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren’t spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move,
but have no being.

- Ina Hughes