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October 2012

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Happy Halloween!

“Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold.” 

Judith Olney

Happy Halloween!

Charity Matters.

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Trick or treat for charity

Of course I love candy as much as the next person and Halloween is a great holiday but today some parents like to use  this scary night to try to avoid the dentist and make a difference. Since people often ask me for suggestions, here are a few alternate ideas for your trick or treaters this year.

Trick or Treat For Unicef

Unicef has been doing Trick or treating for children’s rights all over the globe for over fifty years. Their bright orange collection boxes to collect change can be requested from their website. If you don’t have enough time you can improvise. For more info you can reference my post on Unicef from last Halloween here.

Trick or Treat For Sight Night

Sight Night is in its 10th year of collecting for charity. Instead of collecting cash, Sight Night wants you to collect people’s old unused eyeglasses. The eyeglasses that you collect are repaired, cleaned and delivered in person to people in third world counties that are not able to get glasses of their own. You can request a free kit from the Sight Night web site here or even print out your own. Since starting, Sight Night has collected over 1,000,000 pairs of eyeglasses and they even give you a certificate of recognition for helping others.

 Trick or Treat for canned donations

Instead of signing up with a charity, you could collect cans of food on your own to give to your local homeless shelter. identify where you will be donating the cans of food so you can tell people why you’re collecting and who you’re collecting for. Have the kids make a sign to put on a wagon or cart that shows what good they are doing. They will inspire those whose door bells they ring and the other kids as well.

These are just a few ideas and of course you can always trick or treat the old-fashioned way, get as much candy as possible and hope you can avoid the dentist and the scale! Just talking about some of these with your kids simply reinforces 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.

Volunteer Match, its a date!

When I first heard about Volunteer Match, I thought it must be one of those new trendy dating services. Actually, it’s even better because it’s for everyone and the purpose is to match us with amazing volunteer opportunities. How great is that?

This amazing idea began in 1994 when four MBA’s (Mark Benning, Joanne Ernst, Steve Glikbarg, and Cindy Shove) developed a plan to launch an online nonprofit that would promote community involvement.  Their idea spread and funding came along with the non-profit community. Then came Oprah in 1999 and what followed was millions of users.

Today, Volunteer Match is the preferred internet recruiting tool for more than 89,000 non-profit organizations and has referred over 4,000,000 volunteers! Now that is a connection that matters!

Charity Matters.

P.S. If you’re looking for a great place to volunteer for Make a Difference Day tomorrow, this is the place. Happy Weekend everyone!

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.

Make a Difference Day is Saturday

This Saturday, October 27th is Make a Difference Day, yes, THIS saturday. I know the list of activities you probably have is a long one between fall sports, birthday parties, Halloween activities and the list goes on.  However, heavy your load may seem, chances are someone else’s load is heavier.

What exactly is Make a Difference Day? Well, it’s actually the largest national day of helping others in our country.

The day started 21 years ago by USA WEEKEND Magazine and its 800 carrier newspapers. Make A Difference Day has become an annual event and takes place on the 4th Saturday in October each year.

Take a look at their web-site to share what you are doing or to get inspired by other great ideas. Oh, did I mention that you can win $10,000 for your charity? So, whatever you decide, I know you will lighten the load for someone. What way are you going to Make a Difference?

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.

What Matters?

“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
 Winston Churchill

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.

What is a picture worth?

“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.”  

Ansel Adam

I am still haunted by Wednesday’s posts on The World Memory Project and it made me ponder what our photos really mean to us? They are much more than simply pictures but rather a glimpse into who we are. Treasure your moments, your photos and your weekend!

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.

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A picture worth more than a thousand words

As I sit here writing this I am surrounded by family pictures on my desk, some very old and some new. We all have these images to remind us if those we love and those we have lost. Sadly, not everyone has these images.

The World Memory Project is building the largest free online resource of information about victims and survivors of Nazi persecution—to restore the identities of people the Nazis tried to erase from history and enable families to discover the fates of missing loved ones. The project allows anyone, anywhere to type information from historical records into databases that are being made searchable online for free.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…..but perhaps its worth a little bit more.

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.

100 cameras

One of the things I love the most is discovering how one idea, one thought, one picture can turn into positive change for thousands. That is exactly what this story is about……a simple idea and the power of a photograph.

In 2008, four girlfriends living in NYC  had an idea. What if they could give cameras to impoverished children all over the globe to document their lives through photography? Their plan was to then sell the children’s photos to raise funds and awareness that would go back into the children’s’ communities. 

Their belief was simply that a camera could be a tool for change.  By 2009, that little idea became the non-profit 100 cameras.

The girls began their first photography project in Sudan. They then held photography exhibit inside a tiny apartment on the Upper East Side. What started with 80 people attending an exhibit, to purchase the photographs taken by children in the Sudan, has morphed into events across the country and projects helping children around the globe.

100 cameras allows us to see the world through the perspective of a child, through purchasing their photos or sponsoring a “child photographer.” When these young photographers are taught how to capture and tell their story, they develop a better view of themselves and the opportunity to share and record their story.

Ansel Adams said, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” I would say the same goes for these four girlfriends and founders, they didn’t just take an idea and a photograph, they made it….. into something powerful for thousands all over the world.

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.

 

Run don’t walk

The other day I suggested it is a lovely time of year for a walk, a walk for others that is. I certainly didn’t want the runners to feel left out.  There are hundreds of charity walks and runs all over the country and the world, if you want to go big.

I came across this and thought it was the perfect way to start your weekend and re-iterate that there are so many fun ways to make a difference.

So call your friends and dust off those sneakers and enjoy this beautiful fall. Walking, running, breathing and being grateful.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

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.

Lets take a walk this fall

The weather is turning crisp, here in LA we are dipping down into the 80s, the leaves are falling and signs of autumn are beginning to appear. Along with jack o’ lanterns, pumpkins and scary decor there seem to be multiple walks for charity this time of year.

Really, why not? It’s a great time of year to grab a friend or your family and take a stroll to raise funds for a great cause, whatever matters to you. It seems that everyone is walking for something this month.

Here are just a few links to organizations sponsoring walks all over the country right now:

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Walk for Hope (City of Hope)

 Autism Speaks

Parkinsons

Diabetes

If you find yourself with a few hours to spare, a pair of sneakers and the need for a great new t-shirt than this is for you. If these causes above don’t make you feel like walking than just google Walks for Charity in (your city) and before you know it, you too will be outside enjoying the beautiful weather and making a difference with all the other people like yourself that know 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.

 

What matters?

“Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage.” 

George Patton 

 

Who do you want to be? What are you willing to do to become that person?

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.

Nancy Brinker, the woman behind the Cure

On Wednesday, I posted the story of Susan G. Komen as told by her younger sister, Nancy Brinker. I thought a follow up from Nancy was fitting. If by some crazy chance you didn’t see Wednesday’s post, I’ll refresh you with how Nancy ended it, she asked this question.

Can one person really make a difference?” 

Here are Nancy’s follow up thoughts in a letter from the non-profit she founded, Susan G. Komen for the Cure:

As I look back over the more than 25 years since I founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure, I am amazed at our accomplishments. What began as a promise to my dying sister, Susan G. Komen, has evolved into the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.

I am in awe of our victories over the last three decades.  Thanks to research, the breast cancer death rate in the U.S. has fallen by more than 30% in 20 years. Five-year relative survival rates for women with early stage cancers (before they’ve left the breast) are at 99% (up from 74%when we started). Most importantly, women today know that they are never alone with breast cancer, as they were when Suzy was diagnosed. There is a global community, millions strong, sharing our victories, fighting for us and working together to end a dreadful disease.

We began the global breast cancer movement with $200 and a shoebox full of names in my living room in 1982. We have since built a global community of scientists, advocates, neighbors and friends, working together to make this disease a distant memory.

I thank all of our friends and supporters for making so much possible. Thanks to you, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has invested more in breast cancer research than any other organization – $685 million to date.

We have fought for access to care for the poor and uninsured; funded the clinics that educate, screen and treat people with breast cancer; paid for the groceries, transportation, wigs, prosthetics and insurance co-pays to help women face breast cancer with dignity and hope. We are doing this in more than 50 countries around the world, with more to come. We have invested more than $1.3 billion to make these programs possible.

With the help of Komen Affiliates, corporate partners, individual donors, Komen staff and activists, we’ve saved millions of lives, making the 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. the largest group of cancer survivors today.
The sad reality is there is still tremendous work left to do. We don’t know – yet – why breast cancer starts. We don’t know enough about how to prevent it. A woman dies of breast cancer every 74 seconds somewhere in the world: about half a million will die of breast cancer this year alone.

We know that we can change those numbers because we have already changes the reality of breast cancer for the better for so many women. Thank you for making the first three decades  years of progress, community and hope. Let’s make the next 30 years the generation for cures for the most aggressive forms of breast cancer, and for making those cures available to women everywhere.

Together, I know we can fulfill our Promise to every woman, man and family.

With love and gratitude,

Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker
Founder and CEO

I don’t know, what do you think? Can one person make a difference? 

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.

Who was Susan G. Komen?

It is October and with the pumpkins and beginnings of fall mark the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month. By months end you might not want to see another pumpkin or pink ribbon but I think learning WHO was behind that splash of pink will stay with you long after the pumpkins have passed.

This is Susan G. Komen’s story as told by her sister, Nancy Brinker and the founder of Susan G. Komen For the Cure: (I know its longer than usual but treat yourself, its worth it)

Growing up, Suzy and I were just about as close as two sisters can get. Suzy was the perfect older sister.

She was beautiful and kind and loving, not only to me but to everyone. She was the star of our hometown of Peoria, Illinois—the high school homecoming queen, the college beauty queen.

I, on the other hand, was bigger, heavier and taller than most of my friends and her friends. I was a tomboy and a mischief-maker and delighted in nothing more than spending hours galloping around on horseback. Suzy tried desperately to teach me about the pretty things in life but none of it seemed to work. The boys didn’t know I was alive, except that I was Susan Goodman’s younger sister.

Suzy came back to Peoria when she graduated from college and got a job modeling locally. Eventually, she married her college sweetheart, Stan Komen. As if it were yesterday, I can remember the phone call I received from Suzy one Tuesday afternoon. Her doctor had found a lump in her breast that was not a cyst. He recommended a biopsy.

At the age of 33, Suzy had breast cancer.

The most difficult concept to grasp about cancer, I think, is the fact that when it is first detected the patient usually feels just fine. There is rarely any pain associated with breast cancer in its early stages. So when you are told you’ve got a life-threatening disease, and the treatment sounds more heinous than the thought of a little lump in the breast, it is understandable that a woman uneducated about cancer might opt for no treatment at all.

Such was the case with Suzy. My sister was terrified, naturally, but adamant against having a mastectomy. This surgeon suggested performing a subcutaneous mastectomy, a procedure in which the outside of the breast is left intact, but an incision is made and the breast tissue is removed. He would then do an implant ten days later. Suzy would be left with a small scar but no more cancer. She felt it was her best option.

For the next five months or so, Suzy felt pretty good. She was convinced she was cured. But before six months had gone by, our worst nightmare became a reality. Suzy found another lump. This time it was under her arm. Despite everyone’s optimism her cancer had spread.

Suzy decided to seek treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. When she arrived, she was a Stage IV cancer patient. This means that the disease had spread to other organs in her body and was still growing. It was a very critical situation.

Suzy’s doctor’s approach to the disease was an aggressive one. Thus began the saga of intense chemotherapy, nothing can prepare a woman for the shock and embarrassment of baldness. She bore up under the strain with all the dignity and grace she could manage, although I know she was devastated. Little did I know that even then, my sister was teaching me.

Whenever we felt as if we couldn’t go on, that the load was just too heavy, it was Suzy’s grace and humor that got us through the day. She was able to find something to smile about with every turn of the road, and her infectious, warm concern was felt throughout the hospital.

The one thing Suzy never found humor in, however, was the aesthetic conditions of the waiting rooms.   She was more concerned with the treatment of the patients while my concern was the treatment of her disease. “Nan,” she said, “as soon as I get better, let’s do something about this. You can find a way to speed up the research. I know you can. And I want to fix up this waiting room and make it pretty for the women who have to be here. This isn’t right.”

For about fifteen months, the Houston doctors were successful in slowing down Suzy’s breast cancer. But then, for reasons known only to God, the disease started to rage inside her once again.

Our time together was drawing to a close. In a flood of beautiful memories, I began to look back on the sacred relationship I shared with my sister. Frantically, I wrote my memories down, fearing somehow I might forget one later. I didn’t realize then that memories so special are never forgotten. I also didn’t realize that what I was writing that sunny afternoon was my sister’s eulogy.

It was time to begin saying our good-byes.

I quickly kissed them both good-bye and jumped out of the car. I was just about inside when I heard a funny sound that sounded like my name. I stopped in my tracks and turned around. There was Suzy, standing up outside the car on wobbly knees, wig slightly askew.

With her arms outstretched, she said gently, “Good-bye, Nanny, I love you.” I hugged her so hard I was afraid she might crumble. And then I ran to catch my plane.

I never saw my sister alive again. After nine operations, three courses of chemotherapy and radiation, she had lost her three-year war. By the time I flew back to her side it was too late. She was gone.

I spent a lot of time thinking about Suzy. There is no way to accurately describe the void her absence left in my life. I also spent a great deal of time questioning my faith and wondering why such a good person was taken from a family that needed her so desperately. I often wonder, as many people do when they’ve lost a loved one, what really happens to a soul when a person dies. Was Suzy watching me? Did she hear me when I called her name out loud? After much thought I came to the conclusion that I would never know until I died myself, but I sure didn’t want to die in order to find out. Just in case, I wanted to do something to let her know how special she would always be in my heart. I was haunted by our last conversation and lay awake sometimes all night wondering what I could do to help other women with breast cancer.

Could one person really make a difference?

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.

What matters?

“We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.”  

Winston Churchill

It’s October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In 2012, it is estimated that among U.S. women there will be 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 63,300 new cases of in situ breast cancer.

39,510 breast cancer deaths this year.

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.