GivingTuesday is almost here!

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We survived Black Friday, contributed to our favorite local store on Small Business Saturday, now many of us are shopping online today for Cyber Monday.  But my favorite day of this week is right around the corner…#Giving Tuesday!  It was created to promote a national day of giving at the beginning of the holiday season.  Last year there were over 2,500 partners involved and $10 million online donations were raised in one day! More then 50 million people worldwide spread the word which has now turned #GivingTuesday into an international day of giving.  This is a wonderful campaign as it sheds light on the importance of giving back. Please join me and millions of others to celebrate this day of generosity!

Last few days of November, but you can still contribute to Movember!!

I know everyone is getting ready to eat turkey and sit on the couch for some football, but there is still time to raise money for Movember and Dollar Shave Club wants to help! They are donating $10 dollars to the Movember Foundation for every person who signs up for Dollar Shave club, using a special Movember proMO code. What is Dollar Shave Club?  It’s a club that sends you razors every month at great prices.  You will never have to overpay for razors again! So sign up today and help the Movember Foundation as well! Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s National Adoption Month, Let’s Support Davion Navar Henry and Others!

a4s_DAVION100813c_11665242_8colI am sure many of you have heard the touching story of Davion Navar Henry last month.  A boy who spoke out to his church and then to the world about simply wanting a family. His words were simply but touched so many of us. “My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born… I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either. I’ll take anyone. Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.”

This month is National Adoption Month and last Saturday was National Adoption Day.  I realized through social media, how many of my friends have adopted children like Davion and have made beautiful, loving families.  Adoption is something I think about often. I  know one day, when I am ready to be a mom, there is a good chance I will find my child through the adoption process.  I  think about how blessed I am to have been born into a wonderful supportive family and want to be able to give that to someone else.  There are so many children in need of loving homes. Let’s never forget them.  If you are interested in learning more about adoption and how you can help those in need, check out some of the organizations below.

Alliance for Children’s Rights- protects the rights of impoverished, abused and neglected children and youth. By providing free legal services and advocacy, the Alliance ensures children have safe, stable homes, healthcare and the education they need to thrive.

Adopt US Kids- their mission is to raise public awareness about the need for foster and adoptive families for children in the public child welfare system; and to assist U.S. States, Territories, and Tribes to recruit and retain foster and adoptive families and connect them with children.

The Dave Thomas Foundation- is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for the more than 130,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s® founder Dave Thomas, who was adopted, the Foundation implements results-driven national programs, foster care adoption awareness and advocacy initiatives.

Batkid’s Wish is Granted!

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I wish more news stories were as great as the one making its way around the world today! If you are on social media, watching the news or on the internet at all today, I am sure this story has caught your eye. It is the story about a 5-year-old boy named Miles, from San Francisco, who has been battling Leukemia since he was 18 months old. Like many kids his age, including my nephew, he loves his super heroes; especially Batman. With the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Greater Bay Area, and the city of San Francisco, they have made his dreams come true.  He has already saved a damsel in distress, stopped the Riddler from robbing a bank and is now  on his way to stop the Penguin once and for all!  It is amazing to see how much support Batkid has received today, including a shout out from President Obama.  As someone who has personally interacted with Make-A -Wish Foundation and their children, when I worked at Walt Disney World, it is great to see the media attention they are getting.  This attention has given them so much website traffic, that the website even crashed momentarily!  Make-A-Wish Foundation has fulfilled over 225,000 wishes for kids with life threatening medical conditions since 1980.  The joy this organization brings to these children and their families is amazing.  So keep those donations coming and see how you can get involved in helping wishes come true in your area!

Serve Those Who Have Served!

THANK_YOU-veterans2Today we honor our veterans. Those like my Dad and Grandpa who served our country to protect our freedom as Americans.  Unfortunately, I feel that many of us only remember them on this one day out of the year. And it seems like I am constantly hearing about the struggles of our military men and women.  Why aren’t we taking care of our own? Are we just so far removed from them as many of us don’t even know someone serving today? How can we get more involved on a regular basis? I was just reading an article today on Huffington Post on how veterans are turning more and more to non-profits for assistance. I personally have worked with several local organizations such as Operation Gratitude and The Veteran’s Holiday Celebration.  If you are looking for a place to serve those who have served our country, here are few other great organizations that are really making a difference!

Wounded Warrior Project- They provide services and raise awareness to meet the needs of our injured service members.

Operation Homefront-   Found in 2002 to support families of deployed service men and women after 9/11. They still work to provide emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors.

Fisher House Foundation- known best for building homes on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers or near by, to enable family members to be close to them during the hospitalization for a combat injury, illness or disease.

Happy Movember!!

movemberIt’s that wonderful time of year again where men all around us seem to be growing more facial hair then usual.  Some might be doing it to keep warm during the winter months, but many of them are doing it for a great cause.  Last year over 1 million people worldwide participated in Movember to bring awareness to prostate cancer, testicular cancer and other men’s health issues. Movember was started in 2003 by 30 men in Australia who banned together to grow mustaches in November, naming the event Movember.  The following year in 2004, they decide to take it to the next level and grow their ‘staches for a cause. After being inspired by a friend’s mom, who was raising money for breast cancer, they decided to raise money for prostate cancer and raised $54,000.  Today, Movember has become an international yearly event, raising $147 million in 2012. I think this is one of the best causes for men to get involved in, since 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.  This year, Movember is especially important to me, as two of my uncles have been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.  I started to research ways to get involved as a woman, since I don’t grow facial hair.  I found several ways that I can support the cause, as a Mo Sista! Check out how you too, can get involved. And long live the ‘Stache!

Sunday morning at Alexandria House!

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of starting my Sunday volunteering at Alexandria House, here in Los Angeles.  Alexandria House is a non-profit transitional residence that was started in 1996 to help women and children in the transition period from emergency shelter to permanent residence. They have two homes next door to each other that can house approximately 24 people. Behind the homes, there is a beautiful backyard and community garden where they grow vegetables to promote healthy eating. There is also a back house that has a day care center as well as a teen center upstairs.  While I was there I helped Salima, who runs the day care center.  Along with a couple other volunteers, we cleaned and organized everything for the kids who would be coming in this week. The other half of our group helped our project leader Mark, clean rooms to prepare for new arrivals. Mark has been leading a volunteer project there through L.A. Works for ten years! Over 80% of the women who have moved through their program have been successful in becoming financial stable and finding permanent residence.  As with most smaller non-profits, they rely heavily on volunteers to help them operate. The volunteer opportunities include anything from organizing, to childcare, to helping cook dinners. Check out how you can get involved or donate!