Posts Tagged ‘Ellen DeGeneres’

Shoe4Africa–Work for the Sole

Photo: Shoe4Africa. Kenyan school girls running for peace at the post-election clashes

Photo: Shoe4Africa. Kenyan school girls running for peace at the post-election clashes

Yesterday’s blog post was all about being shoeless intentionally (Barefoot College), and today is the flipside–trying to get children shod to fight disease and injury and increase the quality of life while also empowering and educating through sport. Shoe4Africa started in 1995, when donors sent shoes to athletes in Kenya. By 1999, the organization was promoting AIDS awareness through sport. While the name says “Africa” they have worked in many nations: Russia, Sri Lanka, Dubai, Morocco, refugee camps, parts of America, etc. By 2006, they held a race: the largest women-only event in Kenya, then a similar event in Tanzania. By 2008, they had such a continent-wide and Internet savvy presence through their AIDS education work, that they were asked to build an East African children’s hospital–only the second one in all of Sub-Saharan Africa. TV star Anthony Edwards turns his fame from the show “E.R.” into philanthropy for the cause, and many international Olympians have also joined the efforts. Athletic events pepper the annual calendar, including a Deaf and Disabled run, plus malaria campaigns, general health education, and the cause continues to grow, attracting the likes of Natalie Portman, Hugh Jackman, Elijah Wood, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rosario Dawson, Tom Cavanagh, Michael Stipe, Ellen DeGeneres, and more. Food packets now get distributed in addition to shoes, scholarships for youth help them reach previously unattainable levels of education, primary schools have been built and outfitted with textbooks and some laptops, and in the wake of the devastating storm, Sandy, that hit the NY area around the same time a Shoe4Africa 5k race was o be run in Manhattan, they turned their focus, temporarily, to relief for the children affected by the storm. Now the work continues in an ever more facile way, finding holes in the fabric of the systems for African youth, and plugging them. Find out more, get super-inspired, and support Shoe4Africa (send shoes, send donations, donate air miles, etc).

Lohan and Bieber and Sheen, Oh My…

At a time when we have accidental front row seats to the unraveling of teen stars who are all grown up (yes Ms. Lohan and Mr. Sheen…duh…winning), it is nice to see the flipside…when celebrity doesn’t chew up and spit out a young person (I know, Charlie Sheen is old enough to be Lindsay Lohan’s dad, but he was young when he first hit it big as part of a famous entertainment family)

Justin Bieber, he of the most beloved head of hair since Dorothy Hamill, has donated his locks to love (though not directly TO Locks of Love–a fantastic organization.) The teen heart throb, who croons to screaming throngs around the world, cut off a hank of hair and gave it to Ellen DeGeneres to auction in support for her charity, The Gentle Barn, which takes in orphan animals and works with at-risk kids, teaching them how to care for other beings. That little lock of hair was put up on eBay, and brought in nearly 100 bids, with the final selling price of….wait for it….$40,668.00 For his HAIR! Rock on Justin! Keeping in the same vein, Justin reached out to fans around his 17th birthday, asking for donations he hoped would total $17,000 to give to charity:water, and already, that campaign has raised $45.306.95! His birthday was March 1, but you can continue to donate to the cause here.

Celebrities Gone Good

It’s that time of year when every form of publication and broadcast is doing round up pieces…the best of…the top ten…of the year gone by, or predictions for the year beginning. has, on their Celebs Gone Good pages, an article that points up the charitable work of the famous among us—it’s a list I love. It is the Top 20 celebrities and their charitable work throughout 2010. The usual suspects are here: Ellen (in addition to her commitment to ending hunger, shining a spotlight on bullying and the amazing work of The Trevor Project), Oprah ($40 million to charities), Matt Damon (, Alicia Keys (Keep a Child Alive)…and a few that really stepped up, perhaps for the first time, in the past year—Lady Gaga (Hands Up for Marriage Equality), Justin Bieber (Pencils of Promise), Sophia Bush (advocacy and awareness of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster), Nick Jonas (Change for the Children Foundation and his tireless work for diabetes treatment and awareness)…

And you! Celebrate the great work you did in 2010, and plan to ramp it up even more in 2011–our commitments to the world grow because we grow…and we grow because of our commitments.