Archive

November 2012

Browsing

What Matters?

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

  Mother Teresa

We all get overwhelmed this time of year with donation request, causes, and so many people and places in need. We can not give to everything, we can not improve everything but we can make a difference in each gesture of love, kindness and compassion to another…..even if it is just one.  It 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.

 

Caterina’s Club

Last week was Thanksgiving and in my search for feeding the hungry, one name just kept reappearing, Bruno Serato. Call it coincidence but I had received a text from a girlfriend the same day about a non-profit called Caterina’s Club. What do you know? Caterina’s Club is founded by Bruno Serato. I just love it when the magic comes together.

So who is this Bruno Serato? Bruno is a chef and restaurant owner in Orange County, California. He is also a long time supporter of the Boys and Girls Club.  In 2005, after a visit to the Boys and Girls Club Bruno realized that many of those children were living in motels and were not being fed dinner.

Bruno shared this story with his mother, Caterina, who told him he must use his resources to feed these children pasta dinner.  That is how his non-profit Catarina’s Club began. Every night vans from the Boys and Girls Clubs pick up children at surrounding motels, where they live, and deliver them to the Boys and Girls Club for homework help, activities and free pasta dinner.

Today, Bruno has served more than 400,000 free pasta dinners. Bruno has called these children his favorite customers. What he feeds them is more than pasta; it is love, time, compassion and consistency in an often crazy world for these children. Bruno recognized that being fed isn’t always through your stomach but perhaps feeding a child’s spirit is just as important.

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.

Hunger

“If we can conquer space, we can conquer childhood hunger.”

 Buzz Aldrin

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.

Gratitude continues

“Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.”  

Robert Caspar Lintner

Whether this post finds you still full from a grand feast yesterday, waiting in line at the malls for Black friday or on the sofa with football, all of the above are gifts to be grateful for. My wish for you is that the feeling of gratitude stays with you throughout this holiday season.

Today I am grateful for a day off. I hope you are enjoying yours, you deserve it!

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today is Thanksgiving and it is a day set aside for gratitude, which is why I love this day so much! There are so many things that I am thankful for and you are at the top of my list. You have been here every week reading Charity Matters, cheering me on with story ideas, commenting when a post touches you and sharing posts with friends. I am so truly grateful for you.

Your own giving of time and your excitement to share your favorite cause fill my heart each and everyday. As, I sit here up at the lake surrounded by family and friends my cup  is running over. I have been given so much and feel the need to give as much back as I possibly can and I get the sense you feel the same way too.

So wherever you are this year, serving meals to the homeless, slaving away in your kitchen cooking or simply watching football on TV, know that I am grateful for you, your support and all you give of yourself to others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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.

 

The simple act of saying thank you

Tomorrow so many of us will be gathering around tables surrounded by friends and families to celebrate Thanksgiving. Thousands of our troops however, will not be at home this year.

Here is the simplest and fastest way to say thank you. Click on this link to the USO.org and send a quick message of thanks to a soldier. It takes under one minute and is a beautiful way to start Thanksgiving. If your feeling generous, then share the link with others and spread the word.

I know you are all busy packing the car, grocery shopping or cooking but the simple gesture of “thank you” to one of our soldiers is a true Thanksgiving gift. The gift of your time and thought is what it’s all about!

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.

Friday Night Club

One of the best things about writing about inspiring people, who take life’s challenges and turn them into magic, is that my friends are always excited to share when they meet someone inspiring.

Last week, I was with a girlfriend who told me about an incredible young lady named, Natalie Cernius.  Natalie, a senior at Newport Harbor High School, came to speak at her daughter’s NCL program to share a program she started called Friday Night Club. Natalie has a younger brother, Andrew, with autism and she is getting ready to leave for college next year and began to worry about who was going to be friends with her younger brother once she left?

Natalie and Andrew have two older siblings who are already away at college. Andrew had such a hard time when they left because his siblings are his closest friends. Natalie realized that she would soon be heading off to school as well and needed to do something to help her brother fill the void.

Through The Friday Night Club, special needs teens like Andrew can hang out and have fun with volunteers Natalie has recruited with the help of local schools, the autism support group Talk About Curing Autism, and the National Charity League. The group started meting at Natalie’s house but now gathers at United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County’s headquarters in Irvine.

Andrew is enjoying himself and making new friends at the Friday Night club, thanks to his sister. Natalie is busy applying to college, playing in the orchestra and varsity tennis. When she leaves home next year, she leaves not only a happy brother but a legacy of compassion that is a beautiful gift.

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.

National Philanthropy Day

I was raised by a mother who believed that thank you notes should be written for most everything. If someone performed a random act of kindness or a thoughtful unexpected gesture, then a note must have been sent immediately to acknowledge this.

People are innately good and decent and kind.  We all give and do what we can from the goodness within us. We do not do anything for the acknowledgement, attention or a note.  In all of my years in the non-profit world, the most generous were also those who did not need recognition.  We do not give for a note. We give because we care.

Tomorrow is a day that basically tries to give “thank you notes” or recognition to those that give. The irony is of course that each of us gives our time or talent to whatever it is that speaks to who we are. We are not required to give, we give because we are human and we care for one another. The power of philanthropy or charity is that it is driven purely by our own unique goodness to make our world a better place.

In 2012, more than 125 communities and 50,000 people around the world will participate in National Philanthropy Day events and celebrations. These events include award ceremonies, galas, luncheons, seminars and other special events. Outstanding donors, volunteers, corporations, foundations, small businesses, youth in philanthropy and others will be honored on NPD in recognition of their work in improving their communities and their world every day. It is sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Whether you receive a “thank you note”, an award, an acknowledgment or more likely…do not. Consider yourself thanked right here and now. You are acknowledged for your incredible compassion, kindness, humanity, service and love for your fellow-man. It isn’t the note, or the money, or the time, it is the gift of you to another.

Congratulations to you.  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.

 

Veterans Day

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who gave us the freedom to demonstrate

It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag.

And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC

Today is the day that we observe Veterans Day and this year it could not come at a better time. Our country is divided from this past election between Democrats and Republicans, rich and poor, black and white…..but none of these matter. What matters is that we are all Americans before we are anything else.

Today, lets take a moment to honor all of those men and women who have sacrificed to give us this great nation. They are more than mere names on a wall, they were fathers, sons and most of all American heroes we proudly call veterans. God Bless you all!

 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.

 

Ten Years later

Today is the ten-year anniversary of my mom’s death. I think Dr. Phil calls it one of the 5 defining moments in your life, I think this was my number 1 moment. My mother was  hit by a bus, yes I know it’s an expression that doesn’t really happen but in her case it did. She was 60 years old, celebrating my dad’s birthday with all of their dear friends and  loving life when this happened not only to us but to 3 other families as well.

A decade later and I still miss her everyday, think about picking up the phone to give her a call. I wish she was here, to see the men her grandsons are becoming. Some days it feels like yesterday and others seem so much longer, since I received that fateful call in the middle of the night.

The tears stopped long ago but that void is always there.  I think the magic and irony of loss is that with it comes growth. There isn’t a forest fire with out new fertile soil and a new forest, an earthquake without rebuilding, a death without a rebirth.

My mother’s death began my rebirth. I really do appreciate moments that before, went by unnoticed. I spend my time and try to use it as the gift that it is. I am driven to make a difference and feel she is propelling me to do so. My joy comes from my children and truly by helping others. This is my rebirth.

It began a year after my mother’s death when a friend asked me to come down to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. My friend John, was a hospital chaplain, for a hospital that had 300,000 patients come through its doors with only 2 chaplains, no one at night and no one on weekends. He asked for help from 10 of us and I knew it was something I had to do. In that hallway at CHLA almost 10 years ago we founded The Spiritual Care Guild, a non-profit that provides non-denominational chaplains at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Today, we have chaplains 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Founding Spiritual Care Guild  was my rebirth. Seeing the thousands of families that have chaplains by their children’s bedside has brought purpose to my mother’s death and giving has brought more joy than receiving ever could.

I know each week I tell the stories of people who started these non-profits but what I haven’t shared with you is that their story is mine as well. I too am one of these people.  This is not my pulpit but simply my voice. Giving, service and charity have healed me in unexpected and imaginable ways.  I share this in hopes it might do the same for you or someone you love.

I still miss my mom but know that wherever she is, she’s smiling.

This is why Charity Matters so much to me.   

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.


Reading Partners Follow Up

Hearing these words from 9-year-old Tavan last week was pure joy!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

I was invited to see the opening of a new chapter of Reading Partners, a literacy program for elementary school children, here in town.  You may remember the  post on Reading Partners from last spring.  It was so exciting to witness progress in action. When 9-year-old, Tavan got up and read Dr. Seuss in front of a group of strangers with pride, you can’t help but get excited.

Reading Partners began a decade ago, as three women noticed their local elementary school in trouble and wanted to help. Their goals were simple:

  • Focus on children from low-income communities.
  • Give one-on-one instruction at the student’s reading level.
  • Recruit and train community volunteers to work with children.
  • Partner with high-need elementary schools to offer an effective program on campus.
  • Provide a way for volunteers to give a small amount of their time to make a huge difference in a child’s life.

These three women started out with one school and today Reading Partners has over 5,000 volunteers in 65 schools in 5 states…all because a few women cared about their community and committed to making it better. Do you have an hour to spare a week? Maybe do you know someone who might? Simply click here and go under volunteers. You can change a child’s life simply by helping them read.

“Oh! The places you’ll go!”

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.

 

Voting Time

“The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.”
Dwight D.Eisenhower

Wow, it has been one heck of an election year and whoever’s team you are on I hope you exercise the amazing privilege, that we have all been granted in this country, to get out and vote tomorrow!

God Bless America

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.

Sandy

Each week I try to tell stories of human courage, inspiration and people who take adversity and make it a gift. This week so many of our friends, families and neighbors are in real need of our help. What do we do when tragedy strikes and the unexpected occurs? How do we come together? How do we show our compassion and humanity for our friends on the East Coast without power, food or roofs over their heads?

We act. We give. We share. We do what we can do little or big. Here are a few ways to lend a hand.

American Red Cross

How can you help? Donate blood.

Approximately 300 Red Cross blood drives have already been cancelled due Hurricane Sandy and more are expected. This represents a loss of as many as 10,500 blood and platelet products. The Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations in areas where it is safe to do so. To schedule an appointment, please go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.  Financial donations help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy,

Feeding America

How can you help? Donate food, have a food drive.

When a disaster strikes, Feeding America supports relief and recovery in communities by distributing assistance through the more than 61,000 local agencies that they support. Feeding America also provides immediate relief through emergency feeding centers operated by NVOAD partners, including the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is serving those impacted by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic with food, clean-up kits, as well as emotional and spiritual care. For the latest updates, and ways you can show your support,visit their blog. At this point, in-kind donations, such as used clothing and used furniture, are not being accepted for hurricane relief. However, these items are vital to supporting the day-to-day work of your local Salvation Army. Please consider giving these items to your local Salvation Army Family Store or dial 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825). Checks may be made out to The Salvation Army Disaster Services Center, PO BOX 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301. Please designate “2012 Hurricane Season” on all checks.

At the end of the day, whether you email a friend back east, say a little prayer, clean out your canned goods or give blood….its what we do. We act. We give. We share.

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.