Archive for the ‘ Causes ’ Category

Got An Hour To Spare?

16 years ago when I moved to St. Louis, the Residence Life Office where I worked also housed the Volunteer Programs Office for the University. Wanting to make a good first impression and because I wanted to meet some imagesnew folks, I went in to see where some local needs might be. Since I didn’t have a predictable schedule and didn’t want to over commit, I requested something that was less than 5 hours/month. Their first suggestion was to be a reader/helper for an elderly woman who was visually impaired and I agreed to give it a shot.  Mrs. Kelley and I met a week later and we’ve been together ever since. We read her mail, pay bills, do taxes, run occasional errands or enjoy a quick meal out.

 There are a million places and ways to volunteer but many times people don’t know where to start. Volunteer Match is one of the best comprehensive sites that can connect you locally and in an area of your interest. Enter your ZIP code, city or state and keywords describing the opportunity you’re looking for or you can enter the skills you have or would like to develop.  Idealist.org and Kids Care are good places if you have kids or teens that want to volunteer.

I’ll admit that there are days that I groan when Mrs. Kelley calls as I’ve got a thousand other competing priorites but I’ll always find a way to fit her into my day/week. Who can say no to a woman who gave me a beautiful black shawl for Christmas (she loves to listen to QVC) so I’d have something to wear if my husband ever wanted to take me dancing?

The Butterfly Effect

There are many complex definitions of the butterfly effect, but essentially it means that one small difference in one part of the world can create huge changes in another location. This has been debated and proven across images give a littlevarious platforms, but for my intent today, it has to do with giving. Wendy Smith wrote an incredible book called Give A Little: How Your small donations Can Transform our World. If you’d like to add it to your summer reading, great; but if not, here are the highlights – from me to you.

“*It takes all of us to fix the world. That means you and me-doing good, lifting lives, remaking the world.

*Organizations use small contributions from everyday donors to address four critical issues related to poverty: (1)hunger, (2) health, (3) education and (4) access to tools, technology, and infrastructure.

*This is not in lieu of where you may already make donations to your favorite causes and charities, but to add to your current giving with a few modest donations this year. ”

Give a Little provides a host of organizations, certified and accredited, where you can start. I’m going to start with a $10 donation to Heifer n136299005939_106International for a share of a sheep and if 11 others do the same, we’ve bought a sheep for a family. If you aren’t familiar with Heifer International, Read the rest of this entry

Just One Click

Hmmmmm, whether to start with something self serving or selfless. Either way, one click can add up to something great. At some point in your past, I’m betting that you had the hunger site bookmarked. It was one of the first sites that made it extremely easy for you to do something good with just one click. If you’re like me, you haven’t thought about in a while so I thought I’d bring it back. If you haven’t heard about this site, it’s really as easy as it sounds. Go to thehungersite.org, click a box and sponsors pay for cups of food to help fight hunger. While you are there, you can easily move about to other sites such as Breast Cancer, Child Health, Literacy, Rainforest and Animal Rescue, and again, with one click, you can bring support to a cause.

Taking things in a different direction is Swagbucks. Swagbucks.com is an online portal dedicated to helping you earn digital dollars called “Swag Bucks”, which can be redeemed for exclusive swagbucks.com merchandise. I type in whatever I’m looking for online, and with just one click, I can earn Swag Bucks. Now, it’s not every time but I’d estimate about 80% of the time, I’m online, I’m awarded. Then I can redeem them for giftcards, magazines, “eco-swag”, etc.

With both of these sites, thehungersite.org and swagbucks.com, one little click, over time, can add up to great things!

“Find a need and fill it.” ~Ruth Stafford Peale

Each day, about 77 people receive organ transplants. However, 19 people die each day waiting for transplants that can’t take place because of the shortage of donated organs. If that’s not a need then I don’t know what is.

April is Donate Life month and I want to encourage anyone and everyone I can to sign up to become an organ donor. Many people I know have already generously signed the back of their Drivers License but, in many instances, that is not enough. If you don’t have your license with you, if you haven’t registered with your state, or if you haven’t had a conversation with your family, then your wishes may not be known.

If you are interested and you have a few minutes, take a look at the National Organ Donor site which can answer all your questions, link you to your state registry (where applicable), provide you with a down loadable donor card and even order a free organ donation awareness pin.

“Don’t take your organs to heaven with you.  Heaven knows we need them here”.  ~Author unknown, attributed to both Dan and Barbara Hladio and Thomas Boyadjis, Sr.

Birthday Buddy

Tired of getting candles / scented lotions for your own birthday or sick of more plastic toys for your kids?  Take a look at this phenomenal program I discovered last year called Birthday Buddy. This is currently through the St. Louis Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition but anyone from anywhere can participate or see if your own local agency has a similar program.

You can make a foster child’s birthday wishes come true by registering to be a Birthday Buddy!  As a Birthday Buddy, you ask your guests to bring birthday presents to donate to a foster child in lieu of gifts for you or your own child. There are currently over 4000 children in foster care in St. Louis and most children spend at least 2 birthdays in foster care.

It couldn’t be easier to become a birthday buddy: Read the rest of this entry

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

A few years ago a friend of mine gifted me $25 on Kiva.org.  If you’ve never heard of Kiva, I strongly encourage you to take a look when you have a chance. Their tag line is “loans that change lives” and that quite accurately is what they do.

For as little as $25, you are able to loan someone in another country a portion of a loan they are requesting in order to start, expand or continue a business. You are able to sort through close to 1000 people and your search can be broken down into gender, sector (education, health, fool, etc.) and region. There is typically a photo and a paragraph outlining how much the person needs, what is will be used for, re-payment terms/schedule and any previous loans they have requested/repaid. Read the rest of this entry

Be nice to me, I gave blood today

Now let’s begin with the fact that I am the biggest wuss when it comes to anything medical or dental. I get woozy when someone describes a cut, passed out when I was training to be a lifeguard because they talked about tourniquet use to stop limb bleeding and still request nitrous oxide to get my teeth cleaned. However, I do donate blood to the Red Cross every 56 days.

It all goes back to a bet I lost with a college student that I was working with a few years ago. She was organizing a Blood Drive and was trying to get volunteers. I went through my list of issues that I have with blood but she was not easily dissuaded.  She and I made a bet regarding some frivolous campus issue and if I won, she had to assist me with a huge project I had been putting off and if she won, I had to donate blood … and so I did. Read the rest of this entry