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August 2016

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Back to school…dear teacher

dear teacher, back to school

As thousands of students head back to school in the next few days and weeks ahead, it is time to take a look at what these young brilliant minds have to say about school and learning. More specifically, these wiggly little souls with learning disabilities, who are now facing months of sitting still, (oh the agony ahead of them) after a summer full of playing.

As the mother of children that faced similar challenges, once upon a time. Brilliant and extremely smart, but their brains do not process like the average brain, the following video really spoke to me.

Today, there a so many resources for parents and students with learning disabilities. The most well-known, is The Learning Disabilities Association of America or the LDA, which was founded in 1963 by a group of parents in Chicago that wanted to explore their concern over this growing group of students. By January 1964, these parents had formed a 501c3, non-profit to do just that.

Since that time, a number of significant Federal Legislations were passed because of these passionate parents. Today, hundreds of volunteer leaders across the country continue this important work and LDA‘s national conference draws over 3,000 people committed to the mission of helping those with learning challenges.

 

Charity Matters.

 

 

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Time for school

“Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.”

William Butler Yeats

back to school quote

It is amazing that learning as an adult, is something so exciting and fun.  My memories of school, which I liked, would not necessarily be described that way.

Today, there is nothing I love more than learning something new and being involved with education.

 I spend a great deal of time volunteering on a number of school boards because an education is truly the greatest gift you can give anyone.

So, as we begin another school year, it is time to celebrate all those who volunteer to make our schools great and perhaps light a fire for those of you who might just want to go back to school….to volunteer, that is!

After-all, there is always something to learn.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2016 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.

Joan Didion

” I’m not telling you to make the world better….

I’m just telling you to live in it.

Not just endure it, not just suffer it,not just pass through it, but to live in it.

To look at it.

To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances.

To make work and take pride in it.

To seize the moment.”

Joan Didion

Joan-Didion

I am a huge fan of Joan Didion and her writing. Her book The Year of Magical Thinking was a gift to me after losing my mom. Her writing, if you have never read it, gets so deeply to the point.

I know, I do try to share inspiration to make our world better each week, however, this quote spoke to me so completely that when I read it I began to cry.

All we have is now and this moment. So let’s make the best of every one we have!

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2016 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.

Push up challenge

22 push up challenge

Last year this time it was the ice bucket challenge to bring awareness to MLS and this year the challenge no longer involves ice but push ups…..22 push-ups to be exact. I have been challenged to do the 22 push ups a day by a friend of mine to bring awareness to the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day across this country due to PTSD.

In 2012 a Veteran’s report came out releasing the shocking statistic about our veterans and suicide. In 2013 a non-profit called Honor Courage Commitment began to spread the word about this epidemic amongst veterans. In July 2015, the non-profit split into an additional non-profit called #22Kill . 22Kill’s mission is to create a global movement that will bridge the gap between veterans and civilians to build a community of support.

 

A bucket of ice last August helped spread international awareness and raise millions for ALS. Today, 22 push-ups a day to bring awareness to the suffering of millions of our veterans, is a small sacrifice and privilege to help those who have served us so bravely. Join us, in honoring those who have served us.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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 other side

the other side

It is that time of year again, the house that was once  full of noise and chaos, begins to empty out as the kids pack up and head back to school, in our case off to college. Something I’m not sure I will ever really get used too. Last year when we went from one gone to two, it nearly took me down.

People like to ask, “Have you worked through it all?” Or “Once they leave it will be easier, you’ll be on the other side of it.” What does that mean, “the other side?” Maybe, I’m an exception here…and by all means, feel free to tell me if I am. I don’t think loss, grief, sadness is something that you “just get through.”

It is not like a marathon with a finish line and once you have run your race, there is a solid line to cross that signals the end and you cross under “the other side” banner. Rather, its feels more like walking with a heavy bag of stones and each day you can drop one and eventually the bag is lighter but somehow it doesn’t seem to ever leave, just get lighter.

Of course, there are a million moments of joy, fun, laughs and life in between. But those moments when you are alone and begin to think….you realize that the bag is still there. For me that is what loss has felt like. The loss of my mom and the loss of my children leaving the nest.

It is life, it is a part of the journey but I’m really not so sure about this other side…but I promise to let you know when I get there.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

Time to go

time to go

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

It’s that time of year again and our children are all packing up and leaving the nest. Moments of sadness, joy and everything in between. Excited for them to fly and yet so sad to see them go… They say a parents job is never done but there is something about the process of packing and leaving that makes you feel that a large part of it is…

I could not be more proud of the men we have raised but watching them leave the nest, just never seems to get easier.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2016 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.

Finding the answer

finding the answer

I suppose when you pose such huge questions to the universe, as I did on monday with, “Where is the love?” The universe begins to send answers, and of course you begin to see answers everywhere.  So as we end the week, I thought this was the perfect story to share. If you have seen it once, it is more than worth seeing again.

It is the story of a man who received an organ transplant, more specifically a heart transplant and if ever there was an answer to the question, where is the love? It is here….

 

Two strangers connected by a heart and there is the love.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

Summer kindness in action

kid mow kindness

I know on monday, I asked the question where is the love? I thought today I would share a little piece of inspiration. A friend reached out to me when she saw this and thought of Charity Matters and it made me smile, so my hope is that it does the same for you.

Last week a Minnesota police officer came home to find his front lawn newly mowed and this note taped on his front door. The note was left by the young neighbor and lawn mower, who wanted to show his support of the local police by doing something kind for the officer.  He says, “Because your job is hard enough and I think people like you should know that we are behind you guys. Take the extra hour that it takes to mow and spend time doing what you love.”

A beautiful gesture and a perfect follow-up to Project Giving Kids Summer Kindness Challenge.…as well as the answer to the question…Where is the love? Love is all around us, we just have to look, and to share it all.

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

Where is the love?

where-is-the-love

I’m not sure if all the travel has put me in a reflective mood or if it was the amazing book I read on my trip, but regardless I have been thinking a lot about love lately. While we were gone, the terror continued across Europe and here at home watching the news of our Presidential election makes me feel almost as sad. I find myself thinking over and over, where is the love?

The book I read on vacation, The Nightingale, was about the holocaust, the spread of fear and hate.  A period of time that we all say could never happen again. And yet, sadly over and over, with each terrorist attack the hate shows its ugly face…again. I find myself asking the same question reading my book, that I ask myself watching the news….where is the love?

In a world where I am privileged to both teach and witness acts of kindness between middle and high school students daily, I try to remind myself that love and kindness exists in our world….. and more importantly, love always wins.  Something I think we all need to keep reminding ourselves and showing one another daily.

One simply act of love and compassion, goes a long way to making our world better.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

Ideas for summer kindness

PGK summer kindness

On Monday, I shared a guest blog post by Molly Yuska, founder of Project Giving Kids. In it, she reflected on the importance of teaching kindness, not only for the healthy development of our children but for our society and our world at large.

This summer, Project Giving Kids is challenging kids and families everywhere to get in on the action to see just how far and wide the message of kindness can be spread. You too can join the #SummerKindnessChallenge.

Any act of kindness, however big or small, will do. Quick, easy, important and the only way to make our world better, one small act of kindness at a time.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 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.

 

 

Guest blogger: Molly Yuska Project Giving Kids

Since Charity Matters just celebrated its 5 year anniversary it seems time for some fresh perspectives. So I have invited our first guest blogger, my friend and non-profit founder, Molly Yuska. Molly is not only a mother but founded Project Giving Kids, a place to empower and teach children about philanthropy.

So, without further ado, here is Molly….

molly yuska pic

 

For many of us, the world has started to feel rather scary lately. Almost every week there seems to be a report of some major attack somewhere on our small planet. I can’t help but think how much scarier it must feel to kids who can’t remember a time when the world seemed at peace.

I believe when faced with these kinds of tragedies, we have a choice – to move away in fear and try to hold on even tighter to safeguard our own self-interest in hopes the tighter grip will protect us just a little bit more (or at least make us feel that way) OR to put the fear aside and see it as a call to action, a call to spread kindness and to turn that dark tide back toward the light.

I recently came across an article about kindness and kids. In it, a teacher by the name of Marlem Diaz-Brown states: “I have learned that when you teach kindness and compassion to students and they really understand the concept, everything else falls into place. This should be the first lesson of every teacher.” (Article: http://bit.ly/25IIynS)

Whether the teacher be a parent, an after-school mentor, a grandparent or an actual teacher, I think our children today, perhaps more than any generation that has come before it, need to be reminded of the power of kindness. I want my children to live in a world where they don’t walk the streets in fear of what senseless tragedy may come next. I want them to walk the streets knowing that the power of kindness is stronger than the fear that drives violence. And the sooner we turn them on to their own power to create ripples of kindness, the better off we all will be. After all, kindness is a choice like any other.

I couldn’t have said it better myself! If you want quick and easy project ideas your family can use to begin teaching kindness, visit Project Giving Kids.

Charity Matters.

 

 

Copyright © 2016 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.