The Good News

The title of this section is called "The Good News" because this blog is about the amazing things people do to help others, and isn't that good news? I now have a few helpers of my own to keep this blog going. Hopefully you can use this as a resource when you are looking for ways to help or share your talents.

Monday, March 28, 2011

DonorsChoose and craigconnects

This week’s post is a 2-for-1 special and might involve some extra work!
One of the people who inspired me to do this blog is my friend and former colleague from my very first teaching gig, Brandy.  This past October she was visiting from L.A., and we got on the subject of connects people who would like to "donate", to classrooms all over the country.  In Brandy's words, "It is an awesome site for people who want to donate to education.  You can pick from many classrooms across the US and donate any amount toward supplies needed for the classroom.  You can sort by grade level, subject area, and socioeconomic level.  It is easy to find schools in your area."  At the time, I had never heard of it but I thought it was an awesome idea.  Now I see everywhere and I’m glad it gets so much recognition because it is so needed!  You can read more about this organization from their website or from the following website I’m about to introduce.
A couple of weeks ago, another one of my friends and former colleagues (from my first teaching job) sent me an email stating, “you’re in good company.”  When I checked out the attached link, it was to a philanthropy site with an article about Craig Newmark, the “Craig” from craigslist and how he has a blog that highlights different non-profits as well. It is a great site, very professional and he chooses non-profits and charities he has had personal experience with as well as ones that meet the requirements of “Charity Navigator” (so you know where your money is actually going). 
So, my idea was to have you go through to find more information about  You can find the information at the following link:
Or the home site for DonorChoose is as follows:

How can we get involved?
Look at the sites!  Craig Newmark’s site has a lot of great information about wonderful charities and even has certain categories you can check out under the “areas of support” tab.
On the DonorsChoose site, you can look into different projects and maybe find one you personally think is important enough to support.  Try it outJ

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” ~Nelson Henderson

Monday, March 21, 2011

TOMS Shoes

The first time I heard of TOMS shoes was when my oldest daughter, a global studies major in college, was giving me some ideas for different charities to write about.  She told me about TOMS and said practically all of her classmates in her major wore them.
TOMS was founded in 2006 by a young guy from the states who was inspired to help young children in Argentina fight hookworm and other diseases caused from the absence of shoes.  The founder wanted to do something more than just supply shoes for the children once, so he created TOMS with the idea that for every pair of shoes bought, one pair would be donated. 
As stated above, these shoes are pretty popular with college students in universities across the USA.  Once a year, many college students partake in the movement “One Day Without Shoes” and walk around for the day barefoot.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a pair of these shoes but the design takes after a shoe typically worn by peasant farmers in Argentina.  I own a pair of TOMS and I still can't believe how comfortable they are.  The style I chose is very earthy, in fact, they’re made of burlap but I like them just the same.   

If you want to know more about this organization, check out the website:

How can we get involved?
-Check out the selection of shoes that are offered.  You can purchase the shoes from the website or from local retailers listed on the site.
-The website gives information on the “One Day Without Shoes” movement taking place this April 5.

I was curious as to why the shoes are named TOMS and not BLAKE’S as Blake is the name of the founder.  TOMS is short for the “Shoes for Tomorrow Project.”
“There is no TOM.  We like to say that everyone is TOM, because what TOM stands for, it’s a derivative of the word “tomorrow” and the idea that we have a better tomorrow.” ~Blake Mycoskie (

Monday, March 14, 2011


This post is dedicated to the Japanese “survivor” who escaped the water by running to the third floor while holding her daughter’s hand.  She was unable to maintain a firm grip and lost hold of her daughter.  Her daughter is missing.  I can’t even begin to imagine the pain the people of Japan are enduring.
Although there are many reputable organizations for Disaster Recovery that are sending aid as I write, the organization I chose to highlight is GlobalGiving.  Based out of Washington D.C., its mission is to “build an efficient, open, thriving marketplace that connects people who have community and world-changing ideas with people who can support them”(  Although GlobalGiving is not a Disaster Relief specific organization, their website has quick and easy ways to donate as they have a Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.  GlobalGiving is unique in that this organization keeps you informed as to how the money was spent/used. 
Typically, a person going to GlobalGiving can look into over 1,000 projects being developed all over the world and select a certain project by topic, such as:  human rights, women and girls, education, etc.  The projects are carefully prescreened and selected by a team from GlobalGiving.  Once a project is selected, a donation is sent via GlobalGiving and feedback is given regarding the donation as well as updates on the project’s progress. 
So, how much of the total donation goes to GlobalGiving versus the project? 15%, and it is stated right off the bat.  If you do choose to donate, you will have the option to add on the 15% right then and there so 100% of the donation you intended will actually go to the project.  For example, if you donate $25, it will give you the option of donating $28.75 so the full $25 will go to the Disaster Relief Fund.  Confusing?  Check out the website.
I like this organization because I think it truly is a neat concept for people who are looking to give their money to where their passions lie.  Right now, Japan is overwhelmingly in my heart.
If you want more information on GlobalGiving, check this out:

If you would prefer to go straight to the core of Disaster Recovery/Relief organizations, check out the list NPR gathered:

How can we get involved?
GlobalGiving:  Consider giving someone the “gift of giving” by getting a friend a gift card as he/she will get to choose which project she/he deems valuable.

Disaster Relief:  So many options are available; it’s just more about taking the time to look into an organization with which we feel comfortable.  It’s also about recognizing we do have the power to help.

“Now’s the time that we need to share, so find yourself, we’re on our way back home”  "Give a Little Bit" ~Supertramp

Monday, March 7, 2011

Girls on the Run

Ivonne, my good friend and when I can keep up, running buddy, gives the perfect description of the charity I’m highlighting this week:  Girls on the Run. 
“I love this because it combines the sport I love, running, with the idea that women are strong, independent, self-confident and capable people...starting as early as the preteen years. What a wonderful and delightful focus for an organization to use sport and physical activity, teamwork and camaraderie, and all the good that comes with it to help build up the confidence in young preteen girls. Complete awesomeness!”

Like many other of the organizations I have highlighted in the past two months, Girls on the Run began because of one person’s idea.  In response to the horrible statistics showing the correlation between body dissatisfaction and negative body image with depression and suicide among young girls, Molly Barker started what has now become an incredible movement.  In 1996, the pilot program began in North Carolina with this mission, “Educating and preparing girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living” (  Girls on the Run combines a curriculum that addresses young girls’ (3rd-8th grade) social and emotional well-being, with running, to enhance positive behaviors and choices in hopes to minimize at-risk behaviors common among female adolescents.  Girls on the Run is now in over 170 cities across the U.S.A. and Canada.
The following is a description of Ivonne’s personal experience with Girls on the Run:
“I came across this organization when I was asked to be a running buddy at a local 5k in town. I was assigned to run along with one of the young girls that had been through the program. It was an honor to be a part of her reaching her goal and feeling strong and accomplished. I felt like this organization truly struck a chord within in me. We have the good fortune of feeling the amazing effects of running and camaraderie everyday with the runners we know. So, sharing this same excitement with a young girl was quite the experience. I ran alongside this gal telling her how amazing she was, how she could do it, don't give up, and gave her a big hug and high five at the end. When her family walked up at the end and gave her a big, hug supportive hug for reaching her goal, I was in tears! It was so touching.”

To find out more information about Girls on the Run, check out the following websites:
Maricopa County, AZ: (

How can we get involved?:
Check out the “Get Involved” tab on the website as there are multiple ways to volunteer and help out.  I listed a few:
·         Coach-time requirement… on the heavy side but I bet it is totally worth it!
·         Serve as Site Liaison:  good at administrative stuff?
·         Register your daughter
·         Sign up to be a Running Buddy-if you don’t have the time to coach, this is a good option
·         Become a SoleMate: good at fundraising?
·         Join a Committee:  more administrative, but necessary stuff to keep the program running
·         Various One-Time Volunteer Opportunities
·         Be an Advocate-Ivonne is an AWESOME advocate for this organization! (Girls on the Run is on FB)

“Your capacity to love is your capacity to experience the I of another.”
~Walter Starcke