The Constellation





May is Pet Month (5/8/2019)
May is National Pet Month.  We at Orion Associates, Meridian Services and Zenith Services love pets.  One of the benefits of working at the company is that you can bring your pet to work.  Here are some fun facts about animals and tips to keep your pet healthy.

Here are some fun facts about pets!

  • 60% of American households have 1 or more pet
  • Dogs do not have an appendix
  • Cats do not have collarbones or move their jaws from side to side
  • The 1st pet insurance in America was purchased for the dog who played “Lassie
  • Each cat and dog has a unique nose print; no two nose prints are the same
  • Saluki is the oldest dog breed, which originated in Egypt
  • A bird’s heart beats 400x per minute when they are not actively moving
  • Goldfish can live up to 30 years in captivity with proper care

Here are some tips for a healthy pet!

  • Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed, so they don’t get an ingrown nail that causes them pain
  • Discard old worn out toys, old toys can be choking hazards and have sharp edges that harm pets
  • Obesity can shorten your animal life span, so keeping them lean is important
  • Socializing your pet with others at an early age helps reduce detrimental behavioral effects
  • Take your animal to the vet regularly.  Taking them often help reduce the risk of serious health problems
  • A good diet will strengthen your animal’s immune system
  • Keep your animal’s mouth clean by brushing their teeth.  A clean mouth decreases dental pain for the pet
  • Ensure your pet has a collar with an updated address and contact info.  Microchipping your pet can help if your pet gets lost

Here are more fun facts about animals!

  • Doctors recommend Emotional Support Animals for PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress, and social shyness
  • Individuals who suffer from a mental disability show vast improvements with an Emotional Support Animal
  • Pets help humans reduce stress better than other human companions
  • When sea otters sleep, they hold hands to stop from drifting apart
  • Having a pet can increase opportunities to socialize with others
  • A male puppy will usually let a female puppy win while playing
  • Pets aid in the recovery from heart attacks
  • Having a pet helps increase your daily exercise
Seven Ways to Promote Well-being This Spring (4/16/2019)

Get a Jump on Your Summer Garden!  Growing your own produce is not just good for your pocketbook, its good for your health too!  Gardening burns approximately 250 to 350 calories an hour.  For optimal health benefits, garden three times a week for an hour at a time.  Remember, anything that makes you sweat…mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, hauling mulch…qualifies as exercise.

Use the Spring Months to get Ready for Summer Safety! Sign up your kids for swimming lessons.  Drowning is the leading cause of accidents and deaths in children.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids aren’t ready for formal swim instruction until they’re 4 years old.  As always, talk with your child’s pediatrician when making a decision.  Until then, never allow babies or toddlers near a pool unsupervised, even for a minute.  Most drownings occur in kids under 2 years old.

Spring Clean Your Makeup Drawer!  Like most products, cosmetics expire.  Most between 3 months to 2 years.  Makeup can carry bacteria and other critters you don’t want to put on your skin.  This spring, while you’re cleaning out your medicine cabinet, toss out that tube of mascara, powders, and any other makeup that has expired.

Consider Becoming an Early Bird! Studies have shown that people who wake up earlier are healthier than those night owls who snooze the morning way.  Taking advantage of the morning light, enjoy some quiet time before starting your day.  Waking early also gives you a chance to get out and exercise-giving a good dose of needed vitamin D!

Take a Walk During Your Lunch Hour!  Not only will it give you a chance to stop and smell the daffodils; a walk will also get you from your desk and provide the moderate exercise the doctors keep recommending.  If you take advantage of our pet-friendly policies here, this is a great way to get your pet some exercise as well add some fun into your day!

Trade Your Flip-Flops for Foot Friendly Kicks! Wearing flip-flops makes wearers more susceptible to injuries like stubbed toes, rolled or sprained ankles, tendinitis, blistering, arch pain, and stress fractures.  If you are providing direct support, remember, close-toed shoes are a required part of the dress code.

Get Dirty!  And let your kids get dirty, too! Getting dirty isn’t just fun, it created an opportunity for exposure to common bacteria.  When common bacteria routinely inhabit our bodies, they can produce vitamins and proteins we need and help make our immune and gastrointestinal system work.

Volunteer Highlight: Crystal Winklman (4/12/2019)
Tell me about the kind of volunteering you choose to do.

I have volunteered with Headwaters Relief as well as All Hands and Hearts, both are disaster Relief organizations.  I have volunteered with Headwaters in Haiti, Texas and Arkansas. I volunteered in Puerto Rico and will soon with be going to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help with Hurricane Maria relief.

What is your “why” for volunteering? 

I think volunteering can make a lasting impact on the individual you are helping, the community, as well as yourself. It gives you the ability to gain new experiences, develop skills, and meet new people while giving back. If I can make a difference in one person’s life, then I am happy.

What values and/or lessons would you pass along to someone? 

Be flexible. It’s said before every trip but it’s so true! You have to be open to all kinds of experiences because you never know what is going to happen during the day. One day you can be mucking and gutting a house that is filled with cockroaches and the next day you could spend the afternoon talking with a homeowner about their experience and trauma.

What do you do to avoid burnout? 

Travelling definitely helps me avoid burnout. I try to do an international trip at least once a year.  I also try to run a few times a week, especially in the summer. Also, have you tried having a cat? They’re Pretty great.


Volunteer Highlight: Lauren Kosmatka (4/11/2019)

What is your education and employment background?
I have my BSSW from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and I am working towards my MSW from St. Cloud State University. I previously worked as an Adult Mental Health Case Manager, and I am currently a CADI/BI Case Manager with Dakota County.

What has been your favorite volunteer experience?
I have had the opportunity to travel to Texas and Haiti with Headwaters. I really enjoyed both trips because we devoted a full day to working on various projects. I have also enjoyed my experience working with MSSA and helping assist with the yearly conference. It is very hard to pick a favorite!

Why do you volunteer?
Volunteering is an incredible experience and brings immense value to the community and you personally gain purpose and meaning. If one person can make a difference, imagine if everyone gave it a try!

What is a fun fact about you?
I love to prank people and joke around. I like to keep it lighthearted around the office because of the challenging work we do! I am a major goof ball, and I love a good cheesy joke! I really enjoy eating Mexican food, so if you have any local recommendations, please let me know!


May is Pet Month

Seven Ways to Promote Well-being This Spring

Volunteer Highlight: Crystal Winklman

Volunteer Highlight: Lauren Kosmatka

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