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January 2012

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The Free Wheelchair Mission

I am so intrigued by that moment, that light bulb, that overtakes someone and springs them into action. What happens that touches their soul and compels them to do something to help someone else? In the case of Don Schoendorfer, it was witnessing a handicapped woman dragging herself across a dirt road while others simply looked away.

For this M.I.T. graduate and Orange County dad, this was unacceptable. This was his moment, his light bulb. He was going to use his talents as an engineer to create an inexpensive wheelchair for handicapped people in third world countries. That moment, nine years ago became FreeWheelchairMission.org.

Don knew that his mission was not going to be scientific but rather a “push of passion and compassion.” He knew he had hit the mark, after creating his first wheelchair out of bike tires and a plastic resin chair.  It simply took seeing the look on a mother’s face who had carried her 70 pound son for miles to know that he had made an impact. That is when Don knew his life would be different forever.

Don quit his day job and devoted himself to helping the over 100 million people around this planet who are in need of a wheelchair. So far, Don has donated over 600,000 wheelchairs and for $63.48 he says anyone can change a life.

Those moments, those light bulbs and seeds of compassion are really what matters. Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Three Jars

These past few weeks I have been looking at new and different ways for my children to give. In my research, I came across another great resource for parents to help show their children the power of giving. That resource is a great site called ThreeJars.Com

Three jars is an online tool that basically takes the philosophy of a jar for saving, a jar for spending and a jar for giving to others. It makes allowance a powerful tool for planting the seeds of compassion in our children.

So while technology isn’t always my friend. I really believe that it can be a powerful way for us to teach our children valuable lessons on compassion and finance. Both are keys to making Charity Matter!

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


The Snoball Effect

I know its January and in parts of the world it is snowing but now regardless of where you live you can create a snowball effect of giving thru the incredible new website called Snoball.

Snoball is a new social media concept that lets you donate to over 1.6 million nonprofits through customizable micro-donations or one-time gifts. Share your causes with friends, and watch your snoball effect grow! Here is how it works.

Once you’ve created your account, you can interact with other users and nonprofits via Your Story. From there you can share new Snoballs you’ve created, let your friends know about new charities you’ve discovered, and share stories and anything else that crosses your mind.

My son is already planning his football season, with each touchdown he scores he will create a Snoball for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Now that is a snoball fight that I welcome, any day!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


I Have a Dream

Since this week was Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday I thought it only fitting to share with you my “I have dream” post.

I have always been labeled a big dreamer and as the years roll by, it is a label that I am increasingly proud of.  My dream is to continue to share with you inspiring stories of people that have taken their tragedy and turned into something much bigger. In many cases, it is the story of the small non-profit that began from someone’s pain.

I am familiar with this story and this journey because it it also my own. When life hands you a tragedy you are given a choice, to let it destroy you or to define you. I hope my life is used doing the latter. In these moments you realize just how little time it is that you have on this planet to really make a difference. As Dr. King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Silent is not my strong suit. There is much that matters. There is much to do.  The non-profit that sprouted from my tragedy (created with an incredible group of people) is called The Spiritual Care Guild at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Being a part of building a non-profit and being able to provide chaplains to children and families at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been a defining moment and a dream that has become a reality.

Like all big dreamers, somehow the dreams become bigger. That big dream is to help to give a voice to these stories with Charity Matters.  There are 1.7 million non-profits in the United States and many of them started from a tragedy, as mine did. These stories need to be told.

Dr. King used his voice to spread a message of hope. It is my dream to use my voice to continue to spread the message of these non-profits and the bigger message that Charity Matters. I think its a dream that Dr. King would approve.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Donate Life, Jessica Melore’s story

I was recently reading Glamour magazine and came across the amazing story of Jessica Melore. She is so inspiring that I needed to share it with you.

Jessica was 16 when she suffered a massive heart attack. She waited 9 months for a miracle, a heart transplant.

Today, Jessica is 30 and due to the gift of life she has attended Princeton University, interned at Good Morning America, Sesame Street, and New York City’s Lincoln Center.  She is an advocate for youth with disabilities and a beacon of hope for the 110,000 people waiting for an organ donation today.

Jessica is working with Donate Life America on their 20 Million in 2012 campaign, to increase donor registration in state registries.  “I am so proud to be part of Donate Life America’s 20 Million in 2012 campaign.  Real life stories like mine can inspire people to sign up to be organ, eye and tissue donors, and provide hope to the more than 110,000 men, women and children on the organ transplant waiting list.”

Jessica is committed to giving every person waiting for a transplant a second chance at life.  Will you? I just did.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.



Martin Luther King Day of Service

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 17th annual Global Citizen/Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service is expected to be the largest MLK Day event in the nation. Approximately 80,000 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware will participate in more than 1,200 community projects, resulting in breaking down barriers, building ongoing partnerships and promoting a realization that we have more in common than our differences.  Regardless of politics, this message of service is the message Dr. King wanted our country to spread.

So, if you have a little extra time on this holiday, perhaps you can answer Dr. King’s question, “What are you doing for others?” I’m sure the answer is creating a legacy of service that would make Dr. King proud.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


All For Good

In the past few months since the launch of Charity Matters I have been asked by a number of people for resources to get involved. So many people want to help but just don’t know where to start.

There is a great resource called All For Good that is about a year old.  All for Good’s mission is to bring together volunteerism and community service. In order to do that they developed a custom volunteer opportunity oriented search engine that is powered by the largest database of volunteer opportunities on the Internet.

Translation: you can just plug in a date or a zip code and they can connect you with non-profits looking for help.

I think its All for Good and Charity that Matters!

The Power of One

Can one person really make a difference? Take a look and see. Click below and enjoy!

http://www.bkconnection.com/stepping-up/steppingup.swf

We can all make the difference together or as one.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Never Ever Give Up! NEGU.Org

I just got a Facebook posts a few minutes ago that Jessie Rees passed away at 12 years old from an inoperable brain tumor. Jessie was an incredible girl, who in her 12 short years touched thousands of lives. Her motto, “Never Ever Give Up!” In her battle, she created a non-profit aptly named just that the TheNEGUFoundation.Org

Jessie was determined to help others rather than worry about herself. She wanted to be better not bitter, according to her Dad. During her battle with brain cancer Jessie created Joy Jars, jars filed with play dough, crayons and little treasures to give sick children joy and comfort during their time in the hospital.

This is her story and you just might need to grab the kleenex.

Jessie handed out over 2,500 Joy Jars during her short life, created a non-profit to inspire thousands of children with pediatric cancer, made over 50,000 Facebook friends that she referred to as her prayers and left us all a legacy of compassion, love and inspiration. Thank you Jessie for showing us all that Charity Matters. May you rest in peace, sweet angel.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


Skip1.Org

I don’t know about you, but I know I over did it this year with a little too much holiday cheer. With New Years resolutions abounding about giving up sugar, flour and all things decadent I thought this would be the perfect time to share this amazing story about a Hollywood producer who took skipping it to a whole different level.

Her name is Shelene Bryan and she was a producer, a mom and someone with a big heart.  Today, she is still a mom but her newest title is founder of a non-profit called Skip1.Org.

It is people like Shelene that are my heros. Everyday people just like you and me, who have a passion and use it to create change in such simple ways. So when you decide what you are going to give up this New Year, perhaps, rather than giving something up, you can simply Skip1. Nothing feels better than giving something up and giving to someone else at the same time. Simple Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.


How Do You Eat an Elephant?

“How do you an eat an elephant?” One of my husband’s favorite phrases. The answer, “One bite at a time, of course.” As a triathlete, he is accustomed to breaking down his goals and resolutions into small steps or bites. Something particularly relevant as we all set our plans in motion for the New Year.

I recently read about a girl from London, Alexis Liming, who has created a large New Years resolution called 2012 for 2012. Alexis is planning on running 2,012 miles this year for charity. Her motivation, giving back to the hospital that helped her little brother during his battle with neuroblastoma. Her little brother didn’t survive his battle but his older sister, Alexis will run for him and others with the disease. A resolution as big as an elephant.

As we all set goals, big and small, its important to celebrate each step, each mile or each bite of our accomplishment. Whether you run 2012 miles, enter a charity race, give more time at your child’s school or just support something that touches your heart. Celebrate each moment, each step and every bite. Before you know it in 2012 you might be able to eat an elephant and make Charity Matter for something you care about.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.