Archive

January 2013

Browsing

Foresight Ski Guides

Foresight ski guidesDid I mention that I’m in Colorado this week for a little snow and family time? As you are reading this I hope to be swishing down a mountain somewhere with a big smile on my face.

Our trip made me think about something I saw a few years back that fascinated me, a blind skier. I know it sounds like a bad joke but truly it is the most remarkable and amazing gift to someone who has lost their sight, the ability to do something challenging that they once did when they had the gift of vision.

Skiing gives you a sense of freedom and accomplishment, a feeling that is often missing when you lose your sight. Mark Davis had this experience when he lost his vision in his forties due to a rare symptom of Multiple Sclerosis.

He was  successful financial professional and a life long skier when his life took an unexpected turn with his illness. Determined to overcome the grief and depression that followed his loss of sight Mark was motivated to not let his handicap keep him from the slopes.

Instead, he approached the Colorado Ski School for the Blind and Mark was  back on the mountain with renewed passion for skiing. That experience inspired Mark to replicate it for others and as a result he created Foresight Ski Guides.Org, in 2001.

Since then, thousands of visually impaired have been able to experience the thrill and excitement of skiing blind. It is amazing how clearly Mark Davis’s vision has impacted so many. This season I won’t be the only skier with a big smile on my face swishing down the mountain.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

SOS Outreach

arn menconi sos outreachSince this week finds me in Colorado looking at colleges and making a few glorious turns on that magical white powder I wanted to share the amazing story of one snow boarder who has created change for thousands of underserved kids. Yes, even snow borders can create more than turns.

His name is Arn Menconi and he grew up in a poor neighborhood in Chicago’s south side in the 1960’s. A trip to Colorado with high school ski club changed everything.  In 1991, Arn moved to Vail, Colorado and decided to replicate his experience for other underserved children by using skiing and snow boarding as the “carrot” to get them going.

In 1993, what started as a way to get underprivileged kids to see the mountaintop turned into a non-profit called SOS Outreach. A non-profit that is much more than skiing and snow boarding but really core values training and mentoring, with a little winter fun mixed in.

SOS teaches courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, and compassion.  The goal is to keep kids in year-round, multi-year outdoor programs with service projects, peer mentoring, and leadership workshops.

Today SOS Outreach, is the country’s largest winter sports based youth developmental agency teaching over 5,000 kids each year at 30 ski resorts with 500 adult volunteers in 15 states.

Arn told Mountain Online, “I started SOS because I saw injustice and wanted kids to have fun. What matters is that something is happening that positively affects the lives of kids growing up in neighborhoods like the South Side, where decades of crime and poverty make it seem like there’s no way out; like there are no mountaintops.”

You don’t need to be a skier or a snow boarder to create change, but simply someone with a passion who cares.  Goodness is everywhere and each encounter I have with a snowboarder this week will remind me that Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”

William Blake

skiing

Well I am heading out of town to enjoy a little bit of winter since its been 80 degrees here in LA all week. Looking forward to taking you all with me to Colorado next week to meet some amazing people who make Charity Matter.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Copyright © 2013 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.

Brotherly Love

Connor and Cayden LongAs the mother of three sons, this story moved me beyond words. You may have already seen it or read about it somewhere but if you haven’t this is a truly beautiful story about one 9-year-old boy’s love for his younger brother with cerebral palsy. Connor and Cayden Long are an inspiration for all.

Click the link below to see their remarkable story.

There is not a better example of love than this.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

Hug someone

free hugs signToday is National Hug Day, who knew something like that even existed ? Who makes these things up anyway? Honestly, a hug can never hurt and can only help…so I say lets celebrate it!

On January 21, 1986, Rev. Kevin Zaborney created National Hugging Day…every once in a while we all need an excuse to go out and just hug someone. So hug your children, your friends, your co-workers and maybe even the mailman. Why not?

It will just remind you that you always feel better when you give of yourself. Sending huge hugs to you all!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

Giving of yourself

mentoringA mentor, sometimes its a parent or a teacher or someone in your life that you look up too…. most of us could name the people who mentored us along the way. Some of us are mentors and don’t even know that we have been role models for others.

But what happens to those children who don’t have a positive role model in their life? According to Mentoring.Org there are over 15 million children still in need of caring adult in their lives. There are mentoring opportunities everywhere, it is a way that you can give one on one and make a significant difference in a child’s life with the gift of an hour per week.

There are so many mentoring stories but I found one on Steve Harvey, I thought worth sharing.

So if you are looking for a way to make a difference, become a mentor. You can lift someone up at work, at school or through an organization (like Mentoring.Org) in need of someone special like you. The greatest gift you give is yourself. Share that gift with someone today. The world becomes a better place because of you.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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 u

January is National Mentoring Month

mentoring worksHave you ever had someone who changed your life? A teacher, a mentor who guided you to a different place? If the answer is yes, then perhaps this month is the perfect time to pay if forward. January is National Mentoring Month. Here are few ways you can make a difference from National Mentoring Month.Org

10 THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY

You don’t have to do all 10 but take a peek at maybe just one? You are amazing and have so much to share, its a shame keeping all of that goodness to yourself. What lucky person are you going to help?

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

Mentoring Matters

“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.”

Bob Proctor

Be a mentor, change a life.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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?

“I shall not die of a cold.  I shall die of having lived.”

Willa Cather

I was reading through my news feed on Facebook and saw a beautiful tribute from a friend whose mother had recently passed away. She wrote about her mom, “She didn’t change the world but she changed her world. She was the sum of a million little actions and a maybe a dozen big actions that constituted a life.”

So beautifully stated. I think that it is easy to feel that if we didn’t invent penicillin, find a cure for cancer, create a foundation or leave any huge mark on this world that perhaps we simply weren’t “successful.” They say the greatest gift one can give the world is a life well lived.

My friend is spot on, it’s the sum of those million little actions and each person whose life is better because you are in it. These are the gifts that matter.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

Brotherhood

Victor McClintonWhat is the measure of a life well lived? Is it how many lives you touched or impacted? Is it the number of people who come to your funeral or the number of people you leave behind that are lost without you? Is is what you have or what you give?

Last week I attended a memorial service for an amazing man named Victor McClinton. A man whose life was measured by the incredible impact he left on our community. Victor McClinton was a local hero in Pasadena and was tragically shot on Christmas Day. He was 49 and a leaves behind a wife and two teenage sons.

What made Victor a hero? What he gave, his commitment to his community and the underserved kids in it.

I know this because he directly impacted my family, teaching my son football, a passion that continues to be a driving force in his life today. Victor brought our city together regardless of address and taught our children as early as age 3 that we are one community regardless of circumstances.

He grew up without a father and attended Verbum Dei High School in Watts. It was there, that Victor started coaching as a Senior in high school and was hooked from that moment on. Twelve years ago he brought the Brotherhood Crusade program to Pasadena creating a youth sports league whose mission was to provide the children of the community with a quality youth sports program.  His philosophy was everyone plays, everyone wins.

Victor had a full-time job, Brotherhood was what he did on the side. Every weekend, every night after his own long day he was there, waiting for a single mom to get off work to pick up her child from practice. He never stopped giving.

Victor’s life was a gift to all who knew him.  I think the legacy he leaves is “everyone plays, everyone wins.” We were all winners for knowing Victor.  The measure of a life well lived  is the impact that you make while you are here, the lives you touch and what you give. Thank you Victor for reminding us all.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

Oh those resolutions!

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions!” 
 
Joey Adams

New Years resolutions

Oh, it’s that time of year again. We sit, we toil, we ponder and then the tv ad is over and we abandon the thought of those nagging New Year’s Resolutions. For me, it is a process I have embraced for as long as I could hold a pen. The more tragic part of that is looking back each year at those resolutions that I did not complete or achieve.

However, the flip side is there are usually more achieved than not and each year my goals become a tad more  realistic…Ok I confess, last year I did write down an absurd amount of Twitter followers that I had hoped to coax to the nest….but I’m a big dreamer….I think you all know that by now.  Looking back, maybe I was a bit too optimistic?

However, if we don’t give ourselves a moment to dream, to really think about what we  want then how are we ever to achieve it? This year one resolution that I hope to achieve is to revamp The Charity-Matters web-site. Phew, I said it. Now, for the follow through.

Well, I am so glad you are here to hold my feet to the fire, to complete the resolutions and to enjoy every precious moment of the journey. As Emerson said, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”  I guess that way regardless of resolution its perfect either way. That is one resolution worth adding to the list this year. What are your resolutions?

Charity Matters.

 

The amazing gift of life

kelly-portraitI mentioned to you the other day that I am both a Pasadena girl, California that is, and an alumnus of an amazing girls school that’s motto is “Actions Not
Words.” This mantra has defined so many alumni of our school and none more than Kelly Langs.

Kelly, went to Mayfield Senior School and was told at a very young age that she needed a lung replacement, although she had never smoked. Kelly passed away a few days ago on New Years Day 2013. Last night Kelly donated her organs, a gift she had waited a lifetime for and now was able to share with others.

I am reposting Kelly’s last words via her blog here which she wrote on Dec 2, 2012, prior to her receiving her own gift of organ donation by someone else on Dec 6, 2012.

True Beauty in Organ Donation:
Organs are precious and they have the ability to keep giving. … It’s the cycle of life, and we as humans have an amazing choice to make in that hour of our end – to give the gift of life to someone next to you who needs it.

It’s not like any other gift you’ll ever have the chance to give again. It’s a onetime thing, and the most precious gift of all, one that you could very well be asking for one day yourself! We’re all human, we all function on organs and we’re all part of this cycle of life – together.

I’m on the transplant list, waiting for lungs. I’m also a registered organ donor in case there’s anything of quality and strength that can be passed on. I know my eyes are awesome, 20/20 vision! So someone will be able to see for the first time when I leave this body. That truly makes me happy and makes me feel like I’ve chosen the ultimate human gift!

You can give the gift of life too.

In honor of Kelly we have set up a way for you to become a registered organ donor.  If you feel you have learned from Kelly’s journey this is something you should consider.  To learn more about becoming an organ donor please click here: http://www.donatelifecalifornia.org/KellyLangs

Multiple people this very second are preparing for their journey to receive the gift of Kelly’s organ donation.  They “got the call” a few hours ago and are told “we have a match for you”.   They are rushing to the hospital, calling their loved ones with immense anticipation and fear, and probably updating their blogs too.  Believe in yourself, Kelly would say to them, everything will be okay.   Appreciate every moment.

Kelly donated her organs at 11pm PST, January 3rd.  Her liver and both her kidneys will be going to three very lucky people.

During the organ transplant last night at 11pm there was a moment of silence as Kelly’s words above were read out loud in the operating room to honor Kelly’s gift and the remembrance of her life.

“Actions Not Words” Kelly.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.

Everyone loves a parade, even the day after

2013 rose paradeBeing a Pasadena girl, I love a good parade as much as anyone, its part of my DNA. This year’s Rose Parade was especially meaningful for me for a handful of reasons.
For starters, a dear friend of mine’s daughter made the Rose Court and this year’s Rose Queen, Vanessa Manjarrez, is a senior at my alma mater Mayfield Senior School. A school thats motto “Actions Not Words,”  has become a life mantra for us alums.

It was exactly that, action that I saw in the parade. No, not the horses and marching bands but rather a subtle call to action from service organizations such as the Shriners, the Rotary Club, Kiwanis International and the Lions Club. All organizations whose sole purpose is service to help another.

Not to mention floats from non-profit organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Aids Healthcare Foundation, City of Hope and Donate Life.  85 million people watching those colorful floats going down Colorado Blvd and yet, it’s somehow so much more than dried flowers on a float but rather the message of hope and service.

Wells Fargo made my day when they put boys from Verbum Dei High School in Watts inside their stage-coach.  They could have chosen anyone and yet, Wells Fargo chose underserved boys who work to put themselves through high school….again the call to action and a personal highlight because I love this school.

The best part of the parade is right here, click for the most moving moment. http://nbclosangeles.com.

However, the real star of this year’s parade was the Eric Pazz on the Canines with Courage float, which honored dogs who served in the military. It was the surprise reunion between this purple heart winner and his wife and son, that took the entire world audience’s breath away. A real moment of action and love that was palpable. At the end of the day and the beginning of a New Year, isn’t love for one another whats it’s all about?

Definitely a parade to remember….

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 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.