Meal Train for

Daniel Finney

Updates

Grinding it out

Posted Jan 9, 2022 by Daniel Finney

Hello. I never quite know what to say when I write to this group. Some are friends and family. Some are complete strangers. Yet, I feel like every one of you has shown me this unconditional love that is so beautiful it feels as if each of you are close, intimate friends. A lot of people live their whole lives without that feeling. I am grateful to all of you for reminding me what grace truly is. The last lap starts soon. I start student teaching a week from Monday. We start a week earlier than Drake's semester begins. My nerves are high. This is the time when I find out if I can do this job or if I've made a blunder. I don't think I'm going to fail, but anticipation is the worst part of everything. The big headline on the financial front is I finally got a hearing set with an administrative law judge to arbitrate my eligibility for an extended unemployment benefits program. This is something I've fought for since August. The hear is set for the Thursday of my first week of student teaching — because of course it is. When you finally have a breakthrough with the bureaucracy, don't expect that to be convenient. I'll make my best case that I'm meeting the standards the program requires. I know I'm getting the kind of training the state approves. They said so by approving the training and removing the requirement that I apply for jobs while I'm in school. Arbitration means the judge will decide in my favor or not. That's the end of it. If the judge decides in my favor, I'll receive backpay to a specific date and be eligible for weekly benefits until school ends. If the judge rules against me, that's the end of it. Let's hope that doesn't happen. Until then, I've got to float two more weeks without income until student loans deposit to make rent, insurance, and so on. I put in some expensive but necessary car maintenance. I have to drive about half an hour for my student teaching placement, so I want the old ride to be in as good as shape as we can get it. I know things are tight for people after the holidays, but anything and everything helps. I always hope this will be the last time I have to write and ask. I believe the day is fast approaching when I write the exciting news of a new teaching position and a new career launched by hundreds of hands holding me up in my most desperate hours. I love you all. You have taught me about unconditional love almost as much as Parents 2.0. Bless you for your contributions and your kind, kind hearts. With love and hope, Daniel P. Finney And for those who prefer to contribute outside this system: 1217 24th St. Apt 36 Des Moines, Iowa 50311 Venmo (at) newsmanone Zelle (at) newsmanone

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Happy New Year!

Posted Jan 3, 2022 by Daniel Finney

Happy New Year to all you beautiful people. I had quiet holidays with family and friends. I recovered from an intense finals period with a lot of good rest, and fellowship with family and friends. I'm just shy of two weeks away from starting student teaching and the beginning of the end of my master's degree program. I am very excited to be working in the classroom and incredibly nervous given this is not something I've ever done before. I am STILL awaiting an arbitration hearing on my appeal for Training Extension Benefits. I called in early December to get some sense of where things were at. I was told two weeks at that time. I noted that it brought us to the edge of the holidays. The nice woman on the phone said they were only off one day for Christmas Eve. I said I understood that, but sometimes people tended to take vacation this time of year. Unsurprisingly, we are now into the New Year and the claim I first made in August is still unsettled. Bureaucracy is frustrating. I have been fortunate enough to get through to people whom I can speak with directly or through email. But none of this has helped me lurch forward to a final answer on extended unemployment benefits while I finish graduate school. Still, we've made it this far and we're not going to quit now. When I type we, I mean all of us, ever single donor, ever person who took time to write a kind note, everyone who cared when they didn't have to. I recognize now more than ever that no man is an island and our strength comes from our collective commitment to moving each other forward. I love all of you and appreciate your support of me. I'm an insecure person and often don't feel worth of this love and grace that's been bestowed upon me, but I will not insult all this kindness by telling you you're wrong. Instead, I will redouble my efforts to keep moving forward and become a teacher this community can rely upon to help children read, write, and think. I know the Christmas season is punishing on our collective bank accounts, but if any of you can spare a few dollars, I would be again humbled by your generosity. You may donate through this website or through the sites listed below or by plain old mail. With love and hope, Daniel P. Finney Venmo: (at)newsmanone PayPal: newsmanone(at)gmail.com Zelle: newsmanone(at)gmail.com

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Holiday greetings!

Posted Dec 25, 2021 by Daniel Finney

Happy Christmas and merry New Year. Your support and generosity has carried me forward. Student teaching starts in a few weeks. You’ve shown the true spirit of human decency to me this year. I love you all whether a good friend, close family member, or complete stranger. I’ll keep moving forward with your wind to my back. With love and hope, Daniel Finney

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Finals week

Posted Dec 12, 2021 by Daniel Finney

Hello everyone. I am plodding forward through what will be, I hope, the last of my classroom finals. There are a lot of papers and presentations to finish before the semester ends on Dec. 17. I am tired and welcome the coming holiday break to clear my mind and prepare for student teaching. I have a Zoom meeting with my mentor teacher Thursday, which will be my last activity of the semester. Over break, there are a series of online courses I need to take, including lessons on blood-borne pathogens and the state's mandatory reporter law. The fight to claim benefits remains stalled. I applied for a program called Training Extension Benefits, which extends unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks or the end of your training. In my case, it would get me through the end of graduate school in the spring. I won't rehash all the stressful difficulties other than to say this has been going on since early August. I was given incorrect information by my caseworker which mucked up my appeal. After a time, I finally got proper advice to appeal. My appeal is in the system, where it's been since late November. I called the appeals office last week. They said they were just getting to October appeals. I had a minimum of a two-week wait to get on the calendar. That puts us during the holidays. I don't expect to hear anything for a month. Sigh. In other terrible news, I received a letter from the Iowa Department of Revenue that they had refigured my taxes and I somehow owe almost $700. The letter arrived on a Friday and it was too late to call, so I've been stewing about this all weekend. One of the struggles I have with anxiety is knowing there's a problem, not being able to immediately fix it, and then mentally grinding that a parade of horribles is going to march through my life. I will say this much for the last 18 months, I have learned some measure of patience. Most problems I can't fix right away, especially the ones involving the government. My mobility continues to improve. I still use a walker for long distances. Your donations helped me get a new set of wheels that offer more stability. They're much better at negotiating variations in pavement. This will be key if we have a lot of snow and ice this winter. It has been a long 18 months, but I believe I'm right on the edge of something great. I just have to make it through student teaching. Then, hopefully, I'll get on contract with a metro district and begin Daniel 2.0's life. As always, I thank you for your patronage. You have kept this march going both financially and with an immeasurable amounts of emotional support. I have asked a lot of you. You have always responded. I want you to know I hate this. As appreciative as I am of all your support, I hate that you hear from me with my hand out. Perhaps when this trail is over, we can have a gathering after my graduation and I can meet some of you in person, say thank you, give a hug to those who will take it. Then, at least, my gratitude would have corporal form. I know how expensive this time of year is, but if can spare a few dollars, as always, everything helps. I've got to get back to my finals. I've got two left to write and a final presentation. I love you all. You have taught me about unconditional love almost as much as Parents 2.0. Bless you for your contributions and your kind, kind hearts. With love and hope, Daniel P. Finney And for those who prefer to contribute outside this system: 1217 24th St. Apt 36 Des Moines, Iowa 50311 Venmo (at) newsmanone Zelle (at) newsmanone

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How you’ve helped

Posted Dec 4, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I don’t do a good job of showing how your donations have helped me. Here’s a new set of wheels for my walker. The double-wheel makes the assistive devices more stable and better able to navigate uneven surfaces — both of which I’ll need when winter approaches. Insurance pays for the walker, but not the skids, which wear out. The same is true with tennis balls; The balls are cheaper, but wear out quicker. Anyway, thanks for the help. It means the world and its more than just emotional. With love and hope, Daniel

Daniel Finney
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Keeping on keeping on

Posted Dec 3, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I spoke with my therapist in regular session Thursday. We talked about how I was healing from my September knee surgery. You guys remember that, right? Your generosity helped make that happen — for which I am humbled and grateful. My knee continues to get stronger, but, as my surgeon warned, this wasn’t a repair. It was the removal of torn cartilage in my knee. The arthritis would remain. Boy, has it. The recent span of mild weather relieves some of the pain associated with arthritis. I’ve been lucky so far this fall to not have needed to navigate on icy surfaces. That time will come soon enough. I still use my walker for long distances and a cane for short ones. I can navigate at home without an assistive device. I am worried about student teaching. It starts in January, and I don’t know the district or the building. My mobility is slowly improving, but I likely will still be using my walker and cane. I am excited to student teach, though I must get through the final trials of this semester in the coming weeks. I’ll finally get to see if I’m any good at this new career. The only humbug so far is the district I was placed is about a 30-minute drive from my apartment one way. With fuel prices spiking, and everything else from groceries to energy going up, I’m worried about the fuel costs. My car is not a gas sipper. When I finally get on contract with a district, I might buy a gas-sipping car if they built them for the big and tall man, but that is a gripe for another day. My income remains non-existent save the generous donations from you folks. You’ve put food in my belly, kept the lights on, and covered many the increasingly expensive tasks that goes with daily life. The lack of mobility prevents me from doing most of the short-term jobs that are available. I’m building my standing stamina, but it’s slow going. I’m focused on finishing this degree and entering the workforce full-time in a career. I hope I can pick up a summer school class with a metro district to start the paychecks popping right away. I continue to wrestle with Iowa Workforce Development about my eligibility for a program called Training Extension Benefits, which extends unemployment benefits while you are studying for work in a needed profession. I was denied, got bad information from my caseworker, and have been in limbo since my benefits expired in September. Hence, the many appeals for assistance from the generosity of friends, family, and strangers. I won’t rehash the whole situations, other than to say it’s like shadow boxing. You punch and punch and hit nothing but air. I thought we made some progress before Thanksgiving, when the machinery of the bureaucracy lurched one notch forward and acknowledged my appeal. But that’s as far as we got. They have the paperwork. Nothing seems to be moving in any direction. I’m remain optimistic that this will all work out in the end. I may be wrong, but it takes less energy to hope that things will work out than to worry disaster approaches. My mental health is solid. If anything was going to challenge my predilictions for depression and anxiety, it would have been the last 17 moths would have done it. But I’m hanging tough, as the New Kids on the Block used to sing. I’ll close by thanking all of you again. I’ve made it this far because of all of you. I can’t begin to fathom why all of you have been so kind to me, but I am humbled by it. It motivates me. I trend toward negative self-talk, but I remember all the people who have helped me and I think it would be disrespectful to you to dump on the guy you’ve placed so much faith in. Christmas and New Year’s approach, but before that, it’s finals. I have several big projects to finish before the end of the semester. If any of you are of a mind to contribute to expenses while I continue my fight with the state, I am appreciative. Every cent helps. I mean that. Someday, these messages will stop. Hopefully soon. But just know I am doing my very best to be the kind of person and teacher you’ll be proud to have invested in. With love and hope, Daniel P. Finney Venmo: (at)newsmanone PayPal: newsmanone(at)gmail.com Zelle: newsmanone(at)gmail.com

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Hanging in there

Posted Nov 27, 2021 by Daniel Finney

The semester grows short. I got my student teaching placement. It’s in the Des Moines metro. I don’t think it would be appropriate to say any more than that. I’ll never write about my students or my district for a while host of reasons. Mainly, it’s just good policy. There’s a lot of work to be done in the coming weeks. I’ll make it through, but the volume of tasks is intimidating. My case with the state moved at a glacial pace. After our last update, I got a call from an official at Iowa Workforce Development. She told me to appeal the denial of my an extended unemployment benefits program called Training Extension Benefits. The program is supposed to give extra benefits to people who left a declining profession for a needed one. Lord knows journalism is in decline. I could site statistics, but local at the quality of your news and ask yourself if this is what you placed your faith in when you were young. As for the needed profession, we’ll, we need teacher. Heavens, Saydel High School had to shut down because they didn’t have enough live bodies. A wave of coming retirements is expected to make the need even more acute. Anyway, I filed my appeal. I received confirmation that the appeal was received. How long it will take to get a hearing with an administrative law judge. That’s an arbitration hearing. The judge hears arguments. Thumbs up or thumbs down on my claim. Until then, there’s still no income coming in, as it has been since mid-September. It has been the generosity of the people on this site that have helped me stay afloat. I am humbled and thank you for all you’ve done. If you can spare anything in this expensive season with inflation on the rise, I will be eternally grateful. I hope to win this hearing (if I get one) and end this cycle. But until then, here we are. If you can help, thank you. If you’ve already helped and take the time to read these, thank you for that, too. And if you can’t and just send your best wishes, thank you for that too. Happy Thanksgiving. With love and hope, Daniel P. Finney

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Movement

Posted Nov 19, 2021 by Daniel Finney

Hi, everyone. First: Thank you 3,000! (Note: Avengers: Endgame reference.) Pause and think about what’s been done here. Your contributions paid for a knee surgery. Your contributions made it possible for me to stay in school. You did that. For me. Friends, you know I struggle with depression and anxiety. But I will have no trouble listing what I’m thankful for this holiday season. The thing that really touches my heart is that I don’t know so many of you. Some I know very. Some are good friends and family. I just heard a couple times from a Drake classmate that I had fallen out of touch with over the years. Whatever you gave, know that it has gone to the ongoing effort to add a new teacher to this community. I hate to make appeals, especially when I said I wouldn’t, but I’ll do so. My application for extended benefits has finally moved forward to the appeal phase. But how long it will take for me to have a conversation with an administrative law judge is up in the air. It could be a couple of weeks it could be months. If you’re inclined to contribute and can afford to do so, I don’t want you over extending yourself to help me, feel free to drop a couple bucks in the till. I could use some help getting through December. I student teach in the spring. Then I’m off and running on a new career as a teacher. Im rounding third. I just need a little help getting home. Thank you for the love you’ve shown me. I will try to put that love into my work with students. Love and hope, Daniel

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And the hits keep on coming

Posted Nov 15, 2021 by Daniel Finney

Got an email Saturday saying I was denied for a program that would extend my unemployment through the end of my grad school to become a teacher. Guys, this is a saga. I applied for the program in August. I was denied. I consulted with the person handling my case at Iowa Workforce Development. She told me — and I have the emails to back this up — that I was denied because I applied too early. My regular unemployment benefits had not run out. The denial letter said I had 10 days to appeal. I asked my caseworker if I should appeal now because of that time frame. She said no it wasn’t necessary and again I have the emails to prove this. I should just reapply when my benefits are about to expire. So I reapplied for the program in mid-September about three weeks before my regular benefits were to expire. You are supposed to wait 10 to 15 business days for the program to give you an answer. I heard nothing. I started emailing and calling Iowa workforce development to get an answer on the application. I was finally told that the application has never been received even though I had faxed it from my property managers office and the property manager said the fax went through. Fine, we are in early October at this point. I have not had any income since middle of September. I said I will resend the application with the associated paperwork. I did so and got a confirmation email that it had been received. After about 20 or 22 working days, I finally got an answer which was your original application in August was denied and you didn’t appeal and you can’t re-apply for the program. I called my caseworker again in a panic saying what’s the deal you told me I could reapply as my benefits expired. She said that she never heard anything like you couldn’t reapply for the program again. However rules may have changed since she left her job and unemployment and then returned. She encouraged me to appeal that decision anyway despite the fact that the 10 day waiting period as long since passed and I worry that it will be dismissed out of hand because I didn’t apply for it within 10 days of the August decision. I’m going to fight a decision. But again it leaves me with yet another month with no income. This is a maddening set of circumstances and makes feel like our social safety net is hammock eaten through by moths. The most frustrating part of this experience is that you can never get a straight answer or a consistent answer. The answers seem to change on whatever is easiest for the person on the phone or whatever works against someone having to do some work on your behalf. I’m not trying to run a scam here. And as several cheerful Sol have said to me, “just get a job fat boy,“ I would be happy to but I can barely walk and use a walker to get around. I am taking a full schedule at Drake and then I student teach in the spring. I am trying to become a better taxpayer, a better contributor to society, and a better person through this period. I hate being on benefits. I would much rather have a job where I’m getting paid. I would much rather be teaching right now than be in graduate school. But this is the path toward being the kind of teacher I want to be. Anyway, that’s the status of things. My knees hurt a little bit extra because of the cold right now but it is much better than before the surgery and thank you all again for contributing to that and making sure that was a zero bill. If you feel like contributing to the current situation, I would be much appreciative. I won’t press the matter because so many of you have been so generous. And I feel like at some point I am begging of people who have supported me quite a bit. My therapist says that I am resilient, an assessment which with I agree. However, I would like to start proving it all the damn time. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who are in that kind of thing, and I know that I am thankful for each of you. With love and hope, Daniel Finney.

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And now ... COVID-19

Posted Nov 5, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I pride myself on having things in common with famous people. For example, New York Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter and I have the same birth date: June 26. Jeter is exactly a year older than me. I used to tell my editors at the local newspaper that I expected to be making what Jeter made when I was his age. The joke, of course, being I will never be Jeter’s age because he’s a year older. The other joke is that newspapers don’t pay more for writers. They lay them off and hire young people at half the salary. That’s less funny. I recently learned I have something in common with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers: We both share a fondness for actress Shailene Woodley. Nah, I’m kidding. I’ve nothing against Rodgers’ fiancée, but to give you an idea of how big a fan I am of Woodley, I had to look up how to spell her first name. Like Aaron Rodgers, I have tested positive for COVID-19. Unlike Rodgers, apparently, I am vaccinated. This is one of those breakthrough infections that took out so many of the Yankees’ players and coaches early in the season. See? I still have things in common with my beloved Yankees. I do feel a little lame. I got COVID more than 18 months into the pandemic. How behind the times can I get? No wonder my younger classmates sometimes shout “OK, boomer!” at me. I’m actually Gen X, but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings with facts. I don’t feel bad. If it had been any other time in my life, I would have assumed this was a chest cold. It feels like I get one with every change of season. That’s how I treated the symptoms: runny nose, a slight wheeze, and a mild, productive cough. What an odd medical term “productive cough” is. I suppose you need some less inelegant way of saying “hacking up lung butter,” but still “productive” is something I associate with work rather than the convulsions of my chest while ill. Anyway, Mom 2.0, the kindly east Des Moines hairdresser who raised me after my parents died, suggested I get a test. My Uncle Jim recently endured a breakthrough COVID infection. What could it hurt? The test is free. I drove a sight by Hoover High School. They offered a rapid test with results within an hour and a slower, more accurate test. I chose the slower route. I got a text in just more than 24 hours: I was positive for SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. I informed Drake University, which told me to stay off campus for 10 days since I started showing symptoms, which was Saturday. I went to my Shakespeare class Monday morning to deliver a presentation, felt more peaked, and went for my test. I feel bad for my classmates. Not only did they have to endure my Shakespeare presentation — which included references to “The Simpsons,” “Petticoat Junction,” and Akira Kurosaki’s “Ran” — they were also exposed to COVID. That’s a crap morning. I mean I think they can forgive the COVID exposure, that’s life in a pandemic. But a “Petticoat Junction” reference? That’s a step too far. I informed my doctor, the magnificent Shawna Basener. She worries about my asthma, which tends to be sensitive to seasonal changes and my animal allergy. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Sarah Michelle Gellar has asthma and is allergic to cats. We’re practically twins! I’m not famous, just fame adjacent. Dr. Basener wants me to go to the hospital Friday for something called Bamlanivimab treatment, or Bam treatment for short. I like the nickname “Bam treatment.” The 1966 “Batman” TV series displayed a symphony of onomatopoeia. “Bam!” I’m almost in the same company as the late, great Adam West. Anyway, the Bam treatment, delivered by IV, sends in some synthetic antibodies to fight the spread of COVID while my own immune system churns out its own virus Avengers team to pummel the virus out of my system. Bam is best for people within 10 days of their initial symptoms (that’s me) and have a complicating health factor such as asthma (me!) and obesity (sigh, also me). Quarantine isn’t so bad, other than being sick. I recall a time in high school when I got grounded for having a girl over to the house while Parents 2.0 were out of town. That sounds more adventurous than it was. We sat in separate chairs and watched a video we rented. It didn’t rise to the level of “Netflix and chill.” We actually sat and watched a movie — nothing happened. Then she dropped me off at my grandparents’ house, where I spent the night. Anyway, Parents 2.0 were ticked off. A girl in the house without supervision was out of the question. They grounded me for the weekend. I remember it being a beautiful October Saturday. I mowed the lawn, showered, and finished my homework. I watched the baseball playoffs on TV. Mom 2.0 decided to give me a haircut. She asked me how my day was going. I told her it was a great day. The baseball game was good. I was caught up on my reading. Mom 2.0 tells this story to this day. My response chagrined her. She thought I would be mopey, forced to stay home all weekend. The lesson for both of us is you can’t punish an introvert by ordering them to stay home and keep to themselves. I am, however, ready to be done with my Aaron Rodgers impression. This is an update from my regular website paragraphstacker.com. You can also search for me on Facebook as Daniel P. Finney Paragraph stacter on Twitter. The handle is newsmanone. This site is shutting down soon, so if you want to follow along my misadventures, those are your outlets. Thank you all. Your help means more than I can express.

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Wow.

Posted Nov 1, 2021 by Daniel Finney

Imagine you're a guy who is struggling: physically, financially, emotional. The works. A person you haven't had much contact with since 1992 comes out of the woodwork and says, "Hey, I'll help you out." She sets up one of those online fundraisers. Sure. Fine. That'll be a big help. You don't believe it. And then, boom, 270 donations over several months. Surgery for your bum knee? Paid for. Surviving without income until the state and federal governments decide your eligibility for an extended benefits program? All on those people. Thank you. Thank you. Thank. You. It's just so beautiful. It's lovely. I feel the love. I care. Things remain uncertain. I'm plugging along in graduate school. I'm still waiting for a decision from the state on the training extension benefits. I'm hanging in there. This site is still live. If you're inclined to contribute, I can only say, "Thank you, 3,000." (That's a reference to "Avengers: Endgame" for folks not addicted to Marvel movies. I want you all to know that not every day is great. Depression and anxiety go on. But one of the reasons I drag myself out of bed and find my way to my seat in class, plow through another few pages of Shakespeare, and fuss over the details of a lesson plan, is because of the faith you've all placed in me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, 3,000. - Daniel P. Finney

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Reflections

Posted Oct 23, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I never thought very much of myself. That’s just how my brain works. I grew up with a mom who was addicted to opioids before it was a trend. Her behavior was erratic at best. I later learned the drugs she used caused memory loss. This explained why she would do or say something horrible or outlandish and then later deny it with such vehemence that it caused me to doubt what I had seen and heard. I grew a face that I showed the world: boisterous and sardonic, but hit my insecurities and self-loathing. I suppressed that kind of thinking for a long time. But it came out in other ways: unhealthy eating that led to obesity, bad financial management, and chronic depression mixed with acute anxiety. I made my way as a writer for a long time. I never thought I was good enough. I always worried that people would discover the secret of my mediocrity and fire me. I eventually did get let go. But it wasn’t about me, not really. The business changed. The world got greedy, impatient, and angry all the time. As you know, I’m making my way through graduate school to become a teacher. There are easier career choices. I might be able to make more money in marketing or public relations. Those are fine jobs. I chose becoming a teacher because I wanted to give back what had been given to me: an environment where creativity is fostered, ideas are valued, reading expands understanding and empathy, and the ability to communicate with speech and writing is the centerpiece to civilized discourse, I enter this phase of my life with great trepidation. The Drake program is good preparation, but you really don’t know how it’s going to go until you’re in front of students. I miss knowing what I’m doing at an instinctive level. I don’t miss journalism — especially the digital metrics worshipping version of it that it has mostly become. But if an editor ordered me to go cover a homicide, I could do it quickly and with practiced skill. Teaching is different. I am awash in new concepts and ways to deliver information to young people. Nothing comes instinctively. But I keep going. I am still ignorant (or arrogant?) enough to believe I will be good at this new job. The trials have been great. My unemployment ran out in September. Despite multiple applications and regular checks, I still have not heard whether I will be accepted into a benefits extension program that would pay my unemployment benefits through the end of graduate school. But I reflect on all of you here who have helped me since my friend Mary set up this to help with meals and cash flow during my knee surgery and again when I made a special appeal. How blessed am I to know I have touched so many lives? Some of you are family and friends, but many of you know me only through my work. How could I ever wonder if I was worthwhile as a human being when so many people have both told me and shown me to though you immense generosity? Thank you feels trite, but it is the best we are given in our limited language. I’m holding up. Things are still tight financially. It’a going to be a long couple of months. But we will find a way. I will find a way because I’m fighting for more than my future. I’m fighting to prove all of you right — that Daniel P. Finney is a person worthy of your love and support. You have helped me change my perspective on myself and people. Thank you again. Daniel Finney (The site remains open if anyone chooses to donate or wishes to assist.)

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A final appeal, a lifetime of thank yous

Posted Oct 4, 2021 by Daniel Finney

We are slightly less than $600 from reaching our goal. If you can spare a few dollars, we will be set. Please share this with anyone who might be interested. I still have not heard back from the state about training extension benefits. I don't know when that answer will come. If I am denied, I will appeal to a judge who will arbitrate a final decision. How long any of this will take is a mystery to me. What I do know is that your generosity has bought me the time to negotiate the cumbersome state government sloth. Your kindness towards me overwhelms me. I promise this will be last appeal on the matter of donations. It will not, however, be my last thank you. I will spend the rest of my days paying your kindnesses forward.

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So much, so fast

Posted Sep 30, 2021 by Daniel Finney

In about two days, you donations have already raised about half the goal of $5,000. I am slack-jawed with awe and humbled beyond words. As many of you know, I live with depression and anxiety. I struggle to see the value of me. Yet, so many of you, with words and deeds see something so clearly that is foggy to me. This is a lesson for me. Accept grace where it is given. I cannot repay. That's not the point. When kindness is given, I must mark my ledger and extend kindness not just to those who've helped here, but to all my future students, indeed, all the future people I meet. My job from here on out is to make good on the promise all of you have bet on — to see the value in the light of my life and use it to help others wherever I can. Be it the student who loathes to write or the friend who needs a hand, I will remember the days when I was down, with my hand out, and so many pulled me up to my feet, dusted me off and pushed me into the future. Someday soon, I will sit down with hiring managers and human resource directors from school districts in the Des Moines metro. At some point, I imagine, they will ask me why I want to be a teacher. I think I will smile. I'll fold my hands in my lap and say, "Let me tell you a story about how I came to be here." You're all apart of that story and you're all a part of my heart, whether you donated anonymously or are a longtime friend. Please share this with people you think would be interested. Let's close this uncomfortable, for me at least, fundraising chapter, hit the $5,000, so that I may devote full intellectual resources to becoming the kind of teacher everyone wishes they'd had and the kind they would want their children to learn from. Thank you all again. With love and hope, Daniel P. Finney

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Humbled

Posted Sep 29, 2021 by Daniel Finney

In just 12 hours, so many have you donated that we raised a net of about $1,400. This means my financial needs for October are covered! Thanks does not do this generosity justice. I am humbled beyond description. I don't like to talk about my needs, especially financial ones. Maybe nobody does. But for those who can and are willing, please consider a donation. And share this site with anyone you think might care. I am fighting for my health and my future. And my future means teaching. This long, painful, and tedious process has taught me empathy for the travails endured by many of our students as well as enhanced my appreciation for resilience, true grit. Above all, I have learned none of us can make it alone and sometimes we all need help. I need it now. Someday soon, I will be in a position to give it. Thank you for considering a donation. Thank you to those who have donated. With love and hope, Daniel P. Finney

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Humbled

Posted Sep 29, 2021 by Daniel Finney

In just 12 hours, so many have you donated that we raised a net of about $1,400. This means my financial needs for October are covered! Thanks does not do this generosity justice. I am humbled beyond description. I don't like to talk about my needs, especially financial ones. Maybe nobody does. But for those who can and are willing, please consider a donation. And share this site with anyone you think might care. I am fighting for my health and my future. And my future means teaching. This long, painful, and tedious process has taught me empathy for the travails endured by many of our students as well as enhanced my appreciation for resilience, true grit. Above all, I have learned none of us can make it alone and sometimes we all need help. I need it now. Someday soon, I will be in a position to give it. Thank you for considering a donation. Thank you to those who have donated. With love and hope, Daniel P. Finney

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A second appeal

Posted Sep 28, 2021 by Daniel Finney

Friends, family, neighbors, and kind souls I’ve not met: This is Daniel Finney. I again want to thank you all for your generosity in helping me get through knee surgery on Aug. 20. The recovery has been more arduous than anticipated and my arthritis is complicating things. I’m using a walker to get around campus as I finish my teacher certification classes. I am ashamed to admit I write to you again with my hat in my hand. My unemployment runs out this week. I applied for a federal program that extends benefits while a person completes training for a needed profession. Teacher is on the list. Unfortunately, the application is in bureaucratic hell. The federal program is administered by the state and they have not moved on my most recent application. This means after Friday, I have no income. With my arthritis, I have great difficulty walking, so much that Drake allowed me to take a portion of my courses online to less the wear and tear on my joints. Folks, I’m just trying to survive October, November, and December. I need to make insurance payments, groceries, and my car payment. I’m asking to raise $5,000. I know you have been generous. If this offend you, please disregard. But if you can and are willing to help, please drop a few dollars in. Everything helps. I am truly a desperate man and it shames me to ask for charity, especially from those who have already helped so much. All I can promise is that I will be the very best writing and journalism teacher I can be in whatever community hires me. I will work to the benefit of our children until my last day. Humbly yours, Daniel Finney

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A second appeal

Posted Sep 28, 2021 by Daniel Finney

Friends, family, neighbors, and kind souls I’ve not met: This is Daniel Finney. I again want to thank you all for your generosity in helping me get through knee surgery on Aug. 20. The recovery has been more arduous than anticipated and my arthritis is complicating things. I’m using a walker to get around campus as I finish my teacher certification classes. I am ashamed to admit I write to you again with my hat in my hand. My unemployment runs out this week. I applied for a federal program that extends benefits while a person completes training for a needed profession. Teacher is on the list. Unfortunately, the application is in bureaucratic hell. The federal program is administered by the state and they have not moved on my most recent application. This means after Friday, I have no income. With my arthritis, I have great difficulty walking, so much that Drake allowed me to take a portion of my courses online to less the wear and tear on my joints. Folks, I’m just trying to survive October, November, and December. I need to make insurance payments, groceries, and my car payment. I’m asking to raise $5,000. I know you have been generous. If this offend you, please disregard. But if you can and are willing to help, please drop a few dollars in. Everything helps. I am truly a desperate man and it shames me to ask for charity, especially from those who have already helped so much. All I can promise is that I will be the very best writing and journalism teacher I can be in whatever community hires me. I will work to the benefit of our children until my last day. Humbly yours, Daniel Finney

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Surgery is a success

Posted Aug 20, 2021 by Mary Hoover

Daniel underwent surgery this morning to repair the torn meniscus in his knee. Surgery went as anticipated. He said his knee felt better going home than it did when he went in. He said he's icing his knee and watching Johnny Carson reruns. He plans to rest for the next couple days and then head back to school next week. He could really use some help with meals the next few days as he can't stand very long to cook. Thank you everyone for their continued support for Daniel.

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A note of thanks from a humbled man

Posted Aug 14, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I have a pre-surgery physical Monday morning. The surgery is Friday. The bill is paid. That last statement is because of the generosity shown by all the people receiving this email. i am humbled by this outpouring of support. As I've written many times, I often think I'm a lowly, unlovable jerk. But when I was up against it, unemployed and physically broken, all of you came forward and said with action that you see something in me that I often fail to see. I look through this list and see family, friends, readers from my time at the local newspaper, the odd ex-girlfriend, classmates, and complete strangers. In your actions, I feel the hand of God nudging me to embrace the value that each of you have encouraged me to see. I thank you for your gifts. I won't be able to repay in the traditional sense. But this much I vow: I will make every class, succeed at student teaching, and become the kind of teacher that you always wanted to have for yourself or your children. It's high time I saw that I am living a great life. I got paid to be a writer for 27 years. Now I'm off to help the next generation hone their reading and communication skills. And thanks to all of you, I'll be standing on my own two feet, taking one bold stride at a time into the future. With love and hope, Daniel P. Finney

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Thank you, thank you, thank you

Posted Aug 9, 2021 by Daniel Finney

Patty Graziano dropped by last week with some stuffed pasta shells. Your continued kindness overwhelms me. We're almost to our fundraising goal. Read a longer version of this thank you here: https://paragraphstacker.com/2021/08/09/fighting-breast-cancer-she-still-helps-others/ You'll have to cut and paste the link. The software doesn't allow me to add a hypertext link for some reason.

Daniel Finney
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Overwhelmed

Posted Jul 30, 2021 by Daniel Finney

Positive emotions — especially those directed toward me — are hard for me to accept. Chalk it up to adverse childhood experiences too complicated to get into here. When Parents 2.0, the people who raised me after my parents died, first took me into their home, they did not understand why I refused to accept their love. To this day, I struggle. I just don't see what others see in me. I never have. I'm imperfect. I've been cowardly and cruel, at times. I try to be kind, but that is a new path for me. I spent much more time trying to be cool or smart or right or funny. I look in the mirror and see only the bad things. That's why I am so humbled, so deeply moved by this generosity from family, friends, my community, and beyond. At some level, I still think, if you really knew me, if you really saw me in all my ugliness inside, you wouldn't say all these nice things. You wouldn't bring meals or send money. But you do. You keep doing it. And you've done so well that I will be able to get surgery, if not on Aug. 20 as originally planned, than after I've finished school in the spring. I am so moved by what all of you have done for me. I promise you these two things: First, I will become the very best teacher I can and pass on all the things I've learned about writing, reading, communicating, and being human to my students. Second, I will work hard to see the me that all of you see, to accept love, and believe that I deserve it. I love you all. May God bless and keep you. — dpf

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I don’t know what to say

Posted Jul 29, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I struggle to accept love or, really, an positivity directed toward me. But all of these people, all that you’ve done for me, I can only say thank you and that doesn’t seem nearly enough. I don’t know for sure how much surgery will cost or when I’ll have it. But I will be able to keep moving forward to becoming a schoolteacher and living a healthier life thanks to all of you. I am so humbled. — dpf

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Thank you!

Posted Jul 29, 2021 by Mary Hoover

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated. I'm so amazed how people have come together for Daniel. Our story is gaining attention. Take a look at the article posted this morning. I appreciate the continued support. https://www.axios.com/newsletters/axios-des-moines

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So much love 💕

Posted Jul 26, 2021 by Daniel Finney

Roast beef with baby potatoes and mixed vegetables from my friend Val, a high school classmate I hadn’t spoken to in person since we graduated 27 years ago. I am almost thankful for this knee injury because it has reconnected me with so many special people I’ve met — and introduced me to scores more of faithful readers, loyal East alumni, and strangers who just want to show grace. This changes my perception of my community and my fellow humans.

Daniel Finney
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Forgot the photo, not the love

Posted Jul 25, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I forgot to take a picture of the beautiful ham and cheese quiche my friends Tyler and Sarah provided. But I didn’t forget the generosity. For reasons too complicated to detail here, I have never thought much of myself. At times, I’ve hated myself. But this experience which my health and employment troubles has given me the gift to see how others see me. I may not feel deserving of it, that’s my problem to fix, but I absolutely feel the love. Thanks to all of you. — dpf

Daniel Finney
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So much thanks

Posted Jul 23, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I live with depression and anxiety and the last few years have overfed those disorders. But how can I get down when so many of you show me such grace and kindness? I am truly humbled for you see something in me I don’t recognize. But I will do my best to find it as I negotiate these perilous days and fight to make my way to the front of a classroom. Thank you all so much.

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So many blessings

Posted Jul 21, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I was newsman for 27 years. I turned hard and cynical on the job. I believed everybody was in it for themselves and nobody cared about the little guy. I’ve been out of the trade for some time now and I’ve struggled. Unemployment. Mental and physical health issues. Serious financial insecurity. But this outpouring of love and kindness shown to me by strangers and friends has given hope to my weary, wary soul. People have been so good to me. I won’t spit in the eye of their kindness and say I’m undeserving. Instead, I will become the best teacher I can and pay this love forward. Photo: Ham balls, green beans with almonds and baby potatoes from Sarah Teske

Daniel Finney
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Mary Hoover’s stew

Posted Jul 20, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I ate the last of Mary’s stew Monday night. It was thick and yummy. I wanted to take a long winter’s nap after each bowl. She packed it with carrots, potatoes, green beans, corn, and stew meat. I could barely get the ladle in there to scoop out a bowl. Thanks, Mary! My longtime friend Tyler Teske is bring some meals by Wednesday prepared by his lovely, kindhearted wife Sarah.

Daniel Finney
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Thank you is not enough

Posted Jul 19, 2021 by Daniel Finney

I am humbled by your generosity as both friends and people I've never met but know me through my paragraphs. Thank you.

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