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Since the CDC recommends social distancing and self-quarantining to slow the spread of COVID-19, children find themselves at home and no longer physically around the friends and teachers they’re used to having around all the time. Here’s how to keep your kid stimulated, challenged, and having fun while quarantined. 

1. Virtually Tour Museums and National Parks 
 
Just because you’re staying inside doesn’t mean you can’t explore the exciting and interesting places the world has to offer. From museums to national parks, virtual tours are a great way to experience these places without leaving your home. The National Museum of Natural History is offering virtual tours of their current and past exhibits which you can find here. Many national parks are also offering online tours. Find Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s tour here

2. Reading and Family Story Time 
Reading is always a great pastime, but now is an even better time for kids to crack open some books. For younger kids, read to them and talk about the pictures by encouraging your child to describe what they notice about the illustrations. Ask them what they think characters are feeling and have them predict what will happen next. 

3. Turn a Walk into an Adventure 
 
Take a walk in your neighborhood and bring with you a check list of different objects you want your child to point out. Name and talk about the things that catch the kid’s attention. Describe the object and what the child thinks about the object. 

4. Video Chat with Friends 
A good way to help your child continue social interaction while quarantined is to have them video chat with their friends. Even simply coloring together while video chatting is great for helping children feel closer. 

5. Online Yoga Classes for the Family 
 
It’s important to stay active all the time but especially now that we’re spending more time at home. YouTube has lots of free kids’ yoga classes to choose from to keep your kid busy, active, and having fun. 

Take this time as an opportunity to try new activities and encourage creativity with your kids. Whatever you decide to do with your family as you’re all home, remember to have fun and cherish this time spent together. 


General

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, many small businesses are faced with the challenge of staying afloat while people self-quarantine. Here are some ways you can support the businesses you care about while staying healthy. 

Buy Gift Cards 

Purchasing a gift card from your favorite small businesses is a great way to help get them through this time. Plus, you can use it later or give it to someone as a gift! 

Get Takeout or Delivery 
Many restaurants are still open for takeout, delivery or curbside pick-up. Consider helping them out and enjoying some of your favorite foods by ordering one of these options. 

Give Larger Tips 
Now is the time to be generous, if you can. Giving a larger tip to that delivery person will go a long way in helping them out. 

Take Online Classes 

Many small businesses are offering alternatives to their in-person services. From gyms starting up online fitness classes to music instructors giving vocal and instrument lessons online. There are plenty of options for you to continue your routine from home while supporting the businesses you care about. 

Say No to the Refund 
If a concert or other event you were planning on going to has been cancelled, consider refusing the refund and offering it as a donation instead. This will help performers and venues get by as their events get cancelled. 

Shop Local Businesses Online 
Online shopping is a great option, and more small businesses are embracing it, now that physical shopping is no longer possible. Check to see if your favorite local businesses are now offering online shopping and, if so, go ahead and order something. 

Write Reviews 
 
Your favorite small businesses could benefit from some good reviews. I’m sure you’ve visited a restaurant in the past, had a great experience, and forgot to write a review about it. Take the time now to go online to their Facebook pages, websites, and even review sites like Yelp, and leave that positive review!  

Give Social Media Support 
Along with leaving reviews, try heading over to a business’s social media profile and leave comments, like, and share their content. Giving them this engagement will help their social media profiles grow. Try sharing their posts with people you know who might like what they do. 

Now is a great time for all of us to come together to support each other. Small acts such as liking a local business’s post or even just reaching out and saying thank you for what they do can make a difference. Try out some of these ideas and see what a huge impact they can have on others. 


General

9 Fun Activities to Do From Home

Mar 24
1:19
PM
Category | General

Many of us find ourselves confined to our homes due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. While this situation is challenging, there are lots of things we can do to occupy out time from the comfort of our homes. Take this time to accomplish things you usually don’t have time for. Here are some ideas for things you can do while you’re at home. 

1. Stay in Contact with Family and Friends 

Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways to interact with loved ones. There’s always video chatting or even good old phone calls. Reach out to people you haven’t spoken with in a long time as well.  

2. Write Them Letters, Too! 
With all this time at home you suddenly have, it’s a great chance to practice the sacred art of handwritten letters. A thoughtful card would brighten your friends’ and family’s day while they’re stuck at home. 

3. Meditate 
Now is finally your chance to do all the self-care you’ve been saying you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had time for. Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety, increase self-awareness, and promote emotional health. Look up some videos, podcasts, or apps to help you get started. 

4. Read the Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read  

Do you have a pile of books somewhere, waiting to be read? Well, now’s the time to finally crack those open. Dedicate some time to curl up with books you’ve been wanting to read. 

5. Start a Journal 
Set aside a specific time each day to write a journal entry. Jotting down a few thoughts can help reduce stress and organize your thoughts. Journaling is also known to help inspire creativity which is something you’ll need to make the most of this time. 

6. Clean Out Your Inbox 
Is your email inbox overflowing with old emails? What better time to devote to cleaning that out than now when you’re stuck at home? Devote a half an hour to deleting emails that are just causing inbox clutter. You’ll feel so much better once it’s done. 

7. Use Coloring Books 

 Coloring books aren’t just for kids. It’s a great tool for relieving stress and anxiety for everyone. Plus, if you have little ones at home with you, this is a great activity you can all do together. 

8. Learn a New Skill 
There are plenty of new skills you can learn without having to buy any supplies. From learning a new language or improving your handwriting to becoming a better dancer, learning to code, or teaching your cat tricks, the internet is ripe with helpful content for learning something new.

9. Enjoy Music 
Speaking of playing an instrument, this is a good opportunity to enjoy some music. If there’s a new album that came out that you haven’t had the chance to listen to yet or there’s that one artist you love that never gets old, turn on some music and relax. 

No matter what you do, try to develop a routine. Routine and structure will help keep you from going completely stir-crazy. Keep in touch with loved ones and keep washing those hands. For more information on how to stay safe during this crisis, visit CDC.gov. 


General

Daniela Bigalli on Fintech Hunting

Mar 18
8:42
AM
Category | General

We’re excited to announce that our Senior VP of Sales & Marketing, Daniela Bigalli, is being featured as a guest on Fintech Hunting, a podcast that highlights lending leaders, tech visionaries, and innovative executives. Hosted by Michael Hammond JD, CMT, keynote speaker, author, and founder of NexLevel Advisors, Fintech Hunting brings you valuable insights from the industry’s greatest financial leaders.

You can find Daniela’s episode on Fintech Hunting on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or Anchor FM. Tune in to hear Daniela’s insights.


General

International Women’s Day is a wonderful chance to celebrate the strong women all around us. Here at Homestead, we’re surrounded by smart, hardworking women who help our company grow and improve every day. In honor of this day, we interviewed our Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, Daniela Bigalli, who is just one of the many exceptional women at Homestead.

Tell us about your background and what you do now.
I am a first generation American. My parents were born and raised in Italy and emigrated to this country in the early 70’s. I was the first female to go to college in my family, and I worked my way up in the mortgage industry. I am currently the Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for Homestead Funding, which allows me to lead a team of great individuals who all have the same goals in mind. We all strive to help our borrowers achieve their home ownership goals and help the people in our communities.

What would you say was the biggest challenge you had to overcome to get where you are today?
Personally, I have had many challenges. English was not my native language, and this caused some issues early on in my education. My parents worked around the clock to support us, so I grew up very quickly. Much of my childhood was spent helping them with the restaurant they owned instead of participating in normal childhood activities. This upbringing instilled a determination and strong work ethic in me.

What has been your biggest accomplishment?
First and foremost, my two amazing little girls are my biggest accomplishment. Secondly, finding a partner in life, my husband, who is very supportive and my greatest champion. Regarding my career, I always knew I wanted an executive leadership position where I could make a difference and help other people reach their maximum potential. Whenever I see someone achieve their personal mark for success and they feel that my leadership was a part of that success, I feel I have accomplished something great.  Working with the right team to ensure people achieve the dream of homeownership with the least amount of friction is what gets me excited every day.

What advice do you have for girls and women aspiring to be successful in the professional world?
Know you are only restricted by the limits you impose on yourself. The ceiling only exists if you allow it. Work hard and smart and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. At all costs, do not sacrifice or compromise your personal values and don’t be scared to follow your instinct. Finally, find a mentor, male or female, who will help and guide you.

What advice do you have for men to support women?
It is important to look at what value a person brings to the team. Recognize that everyone, men and women, working together will create the best environment for everyone to be successful. Some of the smartest and most successful men I know realize that value, loyalty, and intelligence is not defined by gender.

Happy International Women’s Day!
Today is a day to be proud of and thankful for all the strong women around us, so remember to show the women in your life how much you appreciate them.


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