Five Worthy Causes For Your Kind Consideration On Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday.

What’s Giving Tuesday?

Well think of it as the Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) of charity.

Giving Tuesday is like “opening day of the giving season.”

It is a day to think about others and to take advantage of a doubling of your dollars because many charitable organizations have a “matching” sponsor. This means that you literally double your donation in some cases.

Give $20 and your organization receives $40.

Donate $50 and voila $100 goes to your favourite fund.

How cool is that?

You can learn more about Giving Tuesday here (please do!) but I want to quickly share with you a handful of my favourite organizations, in case you want to make a donation before midnight!

Free The Children Free The Children is the brainchild of Craig and Marc Keilburger and you can read all about how they founded this amazing organization and the subsequent We, Me To We, and We Day awesomeness here.

David Suzuki Foundation – I have been a fan of David Suzuki for as long as I can remember. A few years back, he actually stepped down as the head of his own foundation to take attention away from his own struggles with a government that seemed determined to paint him as a radical. Oh! He’s radical alright! Radically awesome!

World Wildlife Foundation (Canada) – I hope you know about WWF Canada, for the love of our planet. This organization is famous for its symbolic wildlife adoptions (which make fabulous gifts for Things of all ages), Earth Hour, and many other initiatives. I wear my feelings for WWF Canada on my sleeve and I make no apologies for it. I wrote a guest blog way back when. I have written about it here on my blog and also here. We have one home. It’s the planet we live on. It’s time to show it the respect it deserves, isn’t it?

Because I Am A Girl – I am! You might be. Thing 2 is. My sister is. My mother, too. You either are one, have one or were made by one. Girls matter! Educating girls improves the lives of everyone. BIAAG Canada is taking this knowledge and sharing it around the world. You may have heard about their Pink Lemonade Stands and their using small actions to drive big change initiatives. How wonderful! We are big fans and my face goes all gigantic grin every time Thing 2 emerges from her room in the morning sporting her pink BIAAG T-shirt. “Girls’ rights are human rights.” Your darn right they are!

BIAAG, Thing 2,

Malala Fund – Oh Malala! What a wonderful human being! If ever there was a person with a higher purpose than she ever could have known, it is Malala Yousafzai. Malala is an education activist and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. She was in school when the call came that she had won. She told her teacher she would finish her studies for the day. Malala is walking the talk. I am a fan. Her book is beautiful, the children’s adaptation is great, and now there is even a movie!

So, whether you donate, share, learn or do some small act of kindness today you have taken part in Giving Tuesday and you have made a difference.

What you do matters.

I, for one, appreciate it.

Thank you!

NaBloPoMo No Mo’

Chained to work

This is it. I have reached the end of my NaBloPoMo journey and I am happy to report that I survived!

For the past thirty days I have written (mostly) a post a day as a part of National Blog Posting Month.

What an exhausting challenge!

Seriously. All you writers who write under the pressure of a deadline all the live-long day – every single day – my hat* is off to you. You are one very dedicated and disciplined bunch of people. Good for you!

I have learned a lot during these thirty days.

I have unlearned a few things, too.

I’ve had some pretty good confirmations, as well. I procrastinate. It works for me, sometimes, as procrastination does. When it works out, I get a rush of adrenaline that makes all the suppression of fleeing the scene worthwhile. When it doesn’t work, well, may we never know!

Oh yes, that random positive reinforcement is quite the thrill, but it is certainly no gentleman.

Clearly, whether it is right or wrong, I work well under pressure. When there is nowhere to run to, baby, no where to hide, I find my stride.

This, as you can imagine, can be very draining on a person’s energy stores. There were nights when I was up way later than I should have been. There were mornings that came way too early. Early Band** days very nearly did me in.

My husband and my Things were the most supportive humans on the planet (they usually are, by the way). They were cool with my vanishing to write or upload photos. They really were, but I was not comfortable with missing anything important, so I was very much burning my candle at both ends. Thank goodness this is a 30 day month. I honestly don’t think I could handle 31***.

I think this was a really good exercise for me. I wrote every day and I believe the practice was good. I felt a sense of accomplishment/panic every single time I hit “Publish”, but I kept right on hitting it. Go me!

I am sure I will have that oh-no-I-slept-through-my-exam panic at least once this week, as I plan on not posting every day for December. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

I mean, I love writing for this little ol’ blog and I love the people who read, comment, and even ask me to write a little something here or there for them, but I have very strong feelings about not being chained to my computer (for work or hobby or otherwise!). If anything was highlighted this month, it’s that there is a whole world out there just waiting to be experienced, nurtured and changed.

Besides, when I get to be Empress of the Universe and fulfill my destiny as a professional philanthropist, I won’t have time to be attached to my computer.

Face Time

 

But feel free to call me.

 

Now, please point me in the direction of the best darn gluten free cake you can think of because this gal needs to celebrate!

 

 

 

*I’m not actually wearing a hat, but if I am getting a hat in your imagination make it something cool and festive, okay? Thanks!

**More so.

***But I would, because PRESSURE!

 

Source: http://www.alec-longstreth.com/writing/2008/chained.jpg

Source: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/techno.sm9_.gif

Do You Have Change For 365?

Never mistake motion for action.

I have a secret.

It’s a really good one.

I have been keeping it since the beginning of October and at first I really didn’t believe that the thing I am about to share could even be real, so there was a lot of “Seriously?! Are you sure? Really?!” going on in my mind.

You see, I am a bit of an activist. Nothing too radical, but it’s true, I am.

It’s small actions that lead me because I believe small acts of kindness or small acts of charity or small acts of love can really add up over time and change people’s lives for the better.

This is a philosophy I have imparted on my children (Daddy-O, too!) and when I see the reflections of my philosophies in Thing 1 and Thing 2 I just want to burst with pride. It’s an amazing feeling when you see your child make connections that show they really get what you have been modelling (read: preaching!). I am sure you know what I mean.

Well, since Thing 1 is in Junior High, I have been extolling the virtues of Free The Children, Me to We and the We Act charities and we talk a lot about the Kielburgers and the extremely amazing things they have accomplished in their very young lives. Amazing people!

I have been encouraging him to join his school’s We Act Committee since last year because what better way is there to put theory into practice than, well, by putting theory into practice?

Have you ever seen the work that goes into organizing a bunch of teenagers to do anything? It’s not easy, is it?

Well, the amazing thing about the kids that choose to take part in the We Act Committees in their schools is that they are the ones organizing everything. They are self motivating. They know they are doing good things.

They know they can be the change they want to see in the world and furthermore they are being that change.

Isn’t that amazing?

So, I am very proud to say that Thing 1 *is* a part of We Act – and he’s very proud to say it, too. (That’s one win for the Mom, in case you are keeping track!) Yay!

Of course, there are those who might think these kids are working only for We Day and all the amazing celebrities they might get to see, should they get to go (there are no guarantees!), but the work the kids do is happening all year long. That’s right. 365 days of the year, teens in Canada (USA & UK, too!) are taking action to make this world a better, safer, more educated place.

Pretty cool, right?

365 days. That seems rather ambitious, doesn’t it? I mean, you can imagine how difficult such an undertaking might be. It could be overwhelming to try and keep track of a year’s worth of actions.

It could be, but it isn’t. Why isn’t it? Well … because … there’s an app for that! (Yeah! I said it!)

TELUS (a proud sponsor of We Day) created We365, a free mobile app that enables youth to use their phones for good and propel social change through the power of technology, every day of the year. I downloaded the app when it was first released and played around with it. I may not be the target market, but I know a good app when I use it.
The new and improved We365 app will help youth do even more to help their communities. Using the app, tweens (like Thing 1 and Thing 2) and teens can rally friends around causes they support, share their accomplishments, and earn badges and points. Parents of students who must complete “mandatory” volunteer hours (Ontario students, for example) will also be happy to hear that the app tracks volunteer hours, which can be shared electronically and remove the need to keep track of all that oh-so-easy-to-lose-track-of paperwork.
Isn’t that wonderful?
Here’s a glimpse of a challenge you might see when you use the We365 app.
World Kindness Day
World Kindness Day? Oh, you get me We365 app. You really get me.
Or how about this?
Remembrance Day
Wait. You mean Craig Kielburger himself uses this app? Yes. Yes he does. Come on! That’s cool.
badge
How about some badges to reward you for completing challenges? Fun, right?
It can be very motivating to get this simple feedback and motivated people do wonderful things!
Obviously, I am a fan of this app. Can you tell?
I love the idea of tweens and teens cutting their social media teeth, if you will, in such a positive environment. I am encouraging Thing 1 to use the We365 app as a way of introducing him to the brighter side of social media. He is well aware of my perspective on using one’s powers for good. He knows how much of my time is spent online using social media. He knows that for the most part I really do practice what I preach. See the good, be the good!
We often hear about creating a positive electronic footprint. What a great place to start!
Now, about my little** secret. I am going to tell you, but you have to promise not to tell Thing 1, because he hasn’t a clue.
I have been invited, by TELUS, to attend We Day Atlantic, on November 28 at Scotiabank Centre (along with a few of my blogosphere peers) to take in all the awesomeness.
I am so grateful.
I believe so much in this initiative and kind of activism.
Oh, and I’m still kind of freaking out.

 

*That Ernest Hemingway quote is one of my all time favourites. This is kismet! So excited! Like, *happy jumpy claps* excited!

**It’s HYOOGE right?!? So happy!!