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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Backpack Drives

Today, we were supposed to bring a backpack for the Backpack Drive at our church and I completely forgot!  So, this week’s post highlights local “Back to School” drives or “Backpack” drives. 
Although school has begun in a few of the districts, drives continue to be held around the Valley.  This post is a quickie because instead of writing, I need to go out and get a backpack!

Here are a few links to some drives maybe happening in your area:

Promises 2 Kids: San Diego

Rowan County, North Carolina

Volunteers of America:  Operation Backpack

Phoenix Area:

Loving Through Literacy

How can we get involved?:
·         Check out the links…Operation Backpack includes drop-off locations in numerous states
·         Search your area for local Back to School or Backpack drives and donate if you can!
·         Host a backpack drive (most likely for next year)

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them humanity cannot survive.” ~ Dalai Lama

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homeless Sleeping Mat Project

This is so cool!  Read about how people around the states are making sleeping mats out plastic bags for the Homeless. 
The following article explains one woman's experience with this project.

St Paul’s Catholic Church Homeless Sleeping Mat Project      

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  Anne Frank
Fortunately at St Joseph’s Hospital, where I have worked for many years, we are sent daily quotes and prayers.  This one struck a chord with me; “God gives blessing to us so that we can give blessings to others.  The beauty of grace is that you receive blessings without reason.  Gracious Living is to give blessings to others for no reason.”   I had just finished the yearlong Just Faith program at St Paul’s which delved into many social justice issues, along with the fact that my daughter and I had volunteered many hours at Chris Becker Dining Hall through National Charity League, seeing firsthand the homelessness issues.  All these experiences working together brought the Homeless Sleeping Mat Project to existence. 

Nearing the end of 2010, a coworker told me about a church group back east that was taking plastic shopping bags and turning them into sleeping mats to give to homeless people. I was immediately excited about the idea and Google searched it as soon as I returned to my desk after lunch.
Then, I printed off the information and emailed the ladies at the church my questions regarding the project. Our family has been recycling and using canvas shopping bags for years. Luckily, my coworkers and my sister’s coworkers helped me round up the needed 700 to 900 bags to make one sleeping mat. I gradually cut up the bags to turn them into “yarn”, (think intertwining rubber bands) and I used my large P crochet hook to crochet the mat. I also added an attached cord to allow the mat to be rolled and then secured while also having a handle to carry the mat. There is a large pocket at the top of the mat that can be used, when stuffed with clothes, as a pillow. After finishing my first, I discovered that one mat could be completed in approximately fifteen hours. When a person receives a mat, they will also receive a Ziploc bag filled with travel sized toiletries, a letter discussing the process of making the mat, and an information card from St Joseph’s the Worker, an organization which provides job training to the homeless, amongst other resources. I deliver the completed mats to Chris Becker’s Dining Hall clients.
If you would like to help with this project, we meet at St Paul’s Catholic Church from 1 to 3pm the second Saturday of every month in room 10 to cut and create the yarn as well as crochet the mats. All are welcome and encouraged to attend; no prior experience necessary! I hope to have anyone interested in learning this process to come out so they may bring it back to their churches or other organizations. Just imagine how many plastic bags we could keep out of the landfills and how many people we could make just a little more comfortable in their unfortunate situations with just a little bit of time and effort!

Thank you,
Yvette Morelli Giesemann
How can we get involved?:

Friday, July 22, 2011


Aevidum, a program run by teens in Pennsylvania, is the organization I’m highlighting in this post.  It is not a non-profit, but as this blog is called “ripple affect:  awareness leads to action”, it’s one of those programs that everyone should know about as its mission is “to make the general public aware of the warning signs of depression and suicide.  By using the word aevidum, we will empower students to shatter the shame surrounding this illness and save lives across the nation.” (
Aevidum means “I’ve got your back.”  It started in a high school in Pennsylvania in 2003/2004.  It’s pretty impressive how much these students have accomplished.  Check this out:
The website is an excellent resource for anyone who is involved with kids.  Warning signs are listed as well as contacts and resources for kids experiencing any of the signs.  What I like about this program is that it is run by kids, making it that much more kid friendly.  Kids, especially pre-teens and teenagers are typically much more open to being involved with something peer-related than adult-imposed. 
To learn more about this fantastic, much needed program, check out the website:
How can we get involved?:
·         Share the information
·         If you are a teacher, you could help the students start up aevidum at your school
·         If you are a parent, you could encourage your child to start up aevidum at your child’s school
·         Make a donation to aevidum’s message (number located on website)
“In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people.” (NIMH)

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Have you ever wanted to volunteer but you don’t know where or how to begin?  This week’s post highlights a few websites designed to help people get connected with their community.  I’m so happy there are organizations like these because it makes volunteering easier by clearly listing what’s needed on a day to day basis.

The first website I found, VolunteerMatch, is available to users all across the USA.  Just punch in your city and it should give you current volunteering opportunities within a 20 mile radius.  For example, when I punched in Phoenix, AZ, it gave me over 700 volunteer opportunities.

The following two organizations I listed are local (Phoenix, AZ).   One of my husband’s friends made a New Year’s resolution to volunteer more so he signed up for Phoenix Philanthropists and really enjoys it! This website is neat because it lists the volunteer job, plus, how many spots they still need to fill.

The Phoenix Philanthropists:

My friend, Anna, uses the following website when she wants to volunteer.  She too likes how easy it is to pick and choose from the list of jobs available. I like this website because it gives you age suggestions on the jobs available (i.e. 5 and up).

Phoenix Volunteers:

How can we get involved?
·         Check out one of the websites
·         Volunteer
·         browse other organizations’ websites that provide this type of service in your city

“If you think you’re too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.” ~Betty Reese