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August 2012

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Happy Labor Day Weekend!

“Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day.  It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken.”  

Bill Dodds

Wishing you all a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

Charity Matters.

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Teachers Matter

I’m sure all of you can remember that one teacher that really made a difference in your life. For me it was Mr. Hatch, my high school history teacher, his love of learning was contagious and just being in his class room made you want to be better.

As we pack up the back packs this week and close the book on summer I wanted to do a shout out for all our great teachers that helped us on our path. Thank you for all you have done and for all the students out there…..I hope that you are moved, inspired and excited for the year ahead.

Here are a few great teachers making a difference.

Teaching isn’t charity, it’s a calling that matters.

Charity Matters.

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Back to School

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”  

Winston Churchill

Happy Back to school everyone.

Charity Matters.

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Goodbye Summer

“There Shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.”

Cecilia Thaxte

Thank you summer for the rest, the warmth, the fun, the fresh fruit, the sand, the sun and mostly for the memories we will cherish. I hope your summer was magical.

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.

Give it Forward

While I love telling the stories of my non-profit heroes almost more than eating peanut butter and chocolate, I am equally inspired by the host of young entrepreneurs that continue to create new and amazing ways to positively impact the lives of others. This story is exactly that.

Give it Forward.Com is an amazing way for people to fundraise for something they care about online that isn’t necessarily a non-profit but a personal cause.

The story of how GiveForward got started as a personal fundraising website is kind of long, but the short version is this:

After Hurricane Katrina, Desiree wanted to create a company that allowed small-scale donors to have a bigger say in where their donations were going. She was disappointed that the only way to raise money online was if you were a non-profit and she wanted to try to help an individual or family in need. So, in early 2008 she set out to create a site that would let anyone raise money for anything.

Around the same time, Ethan having raised money for a major non-profit in a marathon, thought there should be an easier way for marathon runners to raise money for any charity, not just the charity affiliated events .

A mutual friend introduced Desiree and Ethan, and within a couple of months they had formed GiveForward. Here is how it works.

So whether you are trying to raise money for cause or a friend that is ill and needs some help, this incredible tool makes it possible for you to Give Forward. Thanks Desiree and Ethan for making it so easy for Charity Matters.

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CASA Poem

This is a bit of a follow up from Wednesday’s post about the incredible organization, CASA that has provided volunteers to stay with a children of abuse and neglect through the chaos of the court system and foster care.

A volunteer who worked with CASA wrote this about her time with one of these children and I thought it was so lovely it was worth sharing with you all.

The Advocate

This is not about
Rescue, so as to feel good
When the child lights up with a smile. This is not about
the comfort of compassion.
This is hard work,
Struggling with ripped families
And children in clouds of pain,
anger dancing round in their hearts in the turmoil of a world
made crazy. This is caring,
yes, but also what is just,
what should be demanded.
It takes love
And a certain measure of courage. And in the simple act
Of person helping person,
It becomes extraordinary.

Mercedes Lawry

Another reminder that kindness to one another is the greatest gift.

Charity Matters

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CASA

I recently had a friend ask me what was my favorite charity that involved child abuse? Somewhat of an oxy moron, I think. Truth be told I didn’t have a “favorite” but of all the amazing organizations that do so much to protect children, this one truly spoke to me. That organization was CASA which is not a home but an organization that’s goal is to provide a good one for the half million children currently stuck in our court systems due to child abuse or neglect.

When we hear about cases of child abuse and neglect I think we often assume that the court system more or less has it handled, sadly that wasn’t always the case. In 1977, there was one judge, David Soukup, that simply couldn’t sleep at night worrying about all the children that came through his court and were often “lost in the system” for months at a time.

In 1977, he asked his bailiff to see if he could gather a few volunteers, that they might be able to train to follow these children through the court system and guide them through a very scary time. Judge Soukup was shocked when 50 people arrived at his first meeting and shortly thereafter, CASA was formed. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates and these volunteers truly become advocates for abused and neglected children.

In 1994 CASA went national and was in every state in the country. Judge Souklup retired from the bench and became a CASA volunteer himself and said he ended up right where he started up at 4am worrying about his “kids.” Because of people like Judge Soukup today over 2 million children have been served by Court Appointed Special Advocates.  One person can make a difference.

Charity Matters.

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What matters?

“What many great minds and hearts have concluded after a lifetime of discovery is that a simple act of kindness can be one of the most profound acts a human being can perform.”

– John-Roger

Charity Matters.

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Happy Anniversary

I know that we are all sad that summer is coming to an end faster than we would like but after a week talking about grief and loss, I wanted to end on a happier note.

Twenty-one years ago today, I married my best friend and I thought this quote was the perfect one for both the topic of loss and our anniversary.

“True love stories never have endings.”

  Richard Bach

So happy anniversary to my best friend and thank you for ensuring that

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.

 

Camp Erin

Summer time is fleeing all too quickly and I think many of us are clinging to these last precious weeks. I shipped my youngest off to Boy Scout camp last week and am now anxiously awaiting his return. There are so many camps doing such amazing things for children but when I heard about Camp Erin it really struck a chord with me.

Camp Erin is a weekend camp that specializes in bereavement for children. Its was founded by Jamie and Karen Moyer in 2002 in honor of 17-year-old girl named Erin Metcalf, who the Moyers met thru the Make A Wish Foundation. It was Erin’s concern for other children and their siblings that touched the Moyer Family.

When Erin died in 2000, the Moyers felt that a camp for grieving children would be the perfect tribute. In 2002 the first Camp Erin was formed.

Grief is overwhelming at any age and can swallow you up but the pain and confusion a child feels with such enormous loss is unimaginable.  The Moyer family and their foundation has made it their mission to help children in distress. Today there are 40 Camp Erin’s throughout the country, that are healing children’s hearts and  giving them the tools to go forward with their lives in a positive way.

Summer is a time for being carefree, enjoying the simple pleasures and there is no greater joy than a smile on a child’s face. Thanks to Camp Erin there will be a lot more smiles this summer.

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.

 

Charity Matters Quotes

“ Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.” 

Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere

Charity Matters.

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The changing face of Skid Row

As you know this week we have talked about the amazing history of Skid Row and the Union Rescue Mission, as well as the inspiring story of Reverend Andy Bales. As the CEO of the URM, he has made eradicating homelessness his life’s mission.

How do you take on a problem like ending homelessness? It seems enormous, especially since Los Angeles County is the homeless capital of America with 74,000 men, women and children living on the streets every night. Well, the URM has had tremendous success with their program of getting people off the streets and back on their feet.

They do so much more than provide 1.2 million meals each year. URM begins with reaching out offering food, clothing and emergency services like housing. Women and children are sent to a facility called Hope Gardens where they are safe and far from Skid Row. The next step is the transformation phase where the Mission offers medical, dental and legal support. There is a full-time program that provides counseling, job training, volunteering and recovery from addiction….all with a 66% success rate.

The final phase is the restoration, take a look.

My experience at the Union Rescue Mission was truly inspiring. I began this journey unsure, nervous and not clear what to expect. I left Union Rescue Mission with a renewed faith in compassion, dignity and the power of one.  The face of homelessness will never look the same again, there is hope on Skid Row.

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.

To the rescue, Union Rescue Mission

 As I mentioned the other day that spending any amount of time on Skid Row is a humbling experience and one that I will treasure as a reminder of gratitude and perspective.

There are so many emotions that occur when I see a homeless person. It runs the gamete from pity to sadness to frustration, fear and sometimes even anger but usually ends with confusion. Then I drive on and the emotions are forgotten, because its easier to forget than to try to figure out what to do.

Sadly, I don’t think I’m alone. So when I heard Reverend Andy Bales (CEO of Union Rescue Mission) personal story, I was truly inspired to know that my reactions are not unique. What is unique however, is not Andy’s reaction to homelessness but his action. Take a look.

We are all faced each day with choices but what moved me so deeply about Andy’s story was that when he realized he wasn’t practicing what he preached he went back and took action. Not only did he feed the man who he turned away but he made a commitment to take on homelessness with a passion. He has since fed hundreds of thousands, 735,909 meals last year alone.

Like Lyman Stewart, the first steward of the Union Rescue Mission, Andy Bales has given a face to all of those that we pass. He has made feeding the homeless and breaking the cycle of poverty his life’s work.

The work is paying off, see what happens when one man can inspire a community, create a template that is followed nationally and run an organization that served 1.2 million meals last year on donations.

Reverend Andy is an inspiration and on friday I will share some of the great successes of    this amazing organization. The face of homelessness will never look the same again.

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.