Posts Tagged ‘Huffington Post’

Giving Tuesday—It’s the Intangibles That Count

OK–we made it through Grey Thursday and all it’s attendant protests, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday…a somewhat treacherous (to your wallet) path, but today you have arrived at the pinnacle event: GIVING TUESDAY.

As a follow up to the rampant purchasing, today, Giving Tuesday, has been designated as a time to give to those less fortunate than yourself. It is a campaign to create a NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. We had our day for giving thanks, a few days for getting deals, now it’s a day for giving back. Big organizations are behind it, like the 92nd Street Y in NYC (the incubator of the idea), United Nations Foundation, United Way, Huffington Post, City of Hope, Charity Miles, DoSomething.orgPencils of Promise, American Red Cross, Kiva, Global Giving, and so many more. There are now more than 2,000 Giving Tuesday partners with special initiatives and projects tied to this day, so it is super easy for you to get involved. Choose your favorite cause and give: time, money, both (or a commitment to show up and volunteer soon)…then spread the word…be audacious and vocal about your good deeds, it will inspire others. Here is a whole list of ideas for ways individuals and families can get their giving on. JUMP IN!

Stand Up Against Bullying—Sitting By Is the Worst You Could Do

If you’re not actively waging war against bullying, you are letting this plague wash over the young people in your life. I have to admit, I have needed some education on this. Everyone gets or got bullied when growing up, right? Kids are cruel, childhood is tough. One kid is fat, one is queer, one is poor, one has something that doesn’t work the same way, one has a mom or dad with a bad reputation, one wears glasses, one has freckles, one is too smart, one not smart enough, one wore musty clothes to school one day and will never live it down…my learning curve started there. We all, in the Lord of the Flies environment of the playground and field, banded against one another, with a new target always presenting itself, to try and divert attention from each of us. It never worked, we received the sharp tongues and sometimes pummeling fists, and prayed for tomorrow when it would be someone else’s turn.

Well, bullying is different now. We could go home and shut the door and likely find solace in hot stinging tears and the radio or records that gave voice to our pain more eloquently than we knew how. We likely didn’t tell our parents, but maybe a sibling knew. Certainly a friend did, but the teachers were probably in the dark. We pushed our way through our resistance and readied for battle one day after the next at school, counting the minutes as that clock on the wall clicked backward and then forward at an agonizing pace. Maybe we ran home to beat the crowd, or stayed after with a thin excuse so the heaving mass that seemed pitted against us would go ahead and mercifully find distraction elsewhere. But we got home. And we exhaled.

Now, when a kid gets home, and looks for some tether, some connection to make him or her feel normal or OK, they wake up the computer, and the first instinct is to go to social networking sites–the very language of which is all about “friends” and has even turned “friending” into a verb…and there they find the harshest and cruelest onslaught of all. Then the cellphone pings a text notification, where an anonymous sender has posted a message more cruel than you or I remember kids could be. There is not the escape we once had. Bullies have 24-hour access and can publicly humiliate a victim from the comfort of their own room. There has never been any question that bullies are the most insecure of all, but in their weak and desperate grab for feeling some of their own power, the sky is the limit for the devastation they can bring upon a psyche, self-image, soul, life, and family. It is not just the 24-hour news cycle that makes us think bullying is a bigger issue than it ever was…it is the truth.

Marlo Thomas has just written about the vastness of the issue, and against the backdrop of her groundbreaking album from the 70s, Free to Be You and Me, she, as all of us must, mourns the loss of that freedom in today’s more oppressive climate. She says (in a longer entry on Huffington Post that you ought to read in its entirety here), “For all the walls we thought we’d broken down with Free to Be — and all the stereotypes we thought we’d shattered — children today are not free to be anything they want to be, nor anything they are, and they are dying for it. And no beautiful lyric can fix that.”

Marlo was inspired by a father who wrote on her facebook page of the loss of his son to suicide forced by bullying. That dad, Kevin Jacobsen, created Kindness Above Malice, an organization to help shed light on bullying. Visit the KAM website (Kam was Jacobsen’s son’s name—Kameron), and then visit the topic with the young people you know. Your children, nieces and nephews, scouts, neighbors, kids of friends, grandchildren…don’t let them suffer in silence. Talk about it. Talk the shame away. Pulling pigtails is one thing, but these kids are pulling knots…around their necks…and we are all responsible to them.

Giving Up Birthdays: Alyssa Milano

Actress Alyssa Milano has written an article in the Huffington Post pledging her commitment to charity and planning to,  instead of receive, give a gift to people everywhere. Milano says:

“As a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and the founding ambassador for the Global Network, I’ve traveled to the field and seen firsthand the devastation left behind by waterborne illnesses,” wrote the actress. “On these trips, I’ve run the gamut of emotions that range from mind-bending anger to heart-warming hope. Upon my return from the field, I count my blessings, and then as time passes, I become frustrated with myself that I’m not doing more to alleviate the pain of those I met on my journey.

“It is because of this very frustration that I decided to give up my birthday. I have everything I could ever want or need. All I want is to provide life-giving water for 10 communities, 500 families and 2,500 people. This is my Birthday wish. In lieu of spending money on a party or presents, I’m asking people to donate to my charity:water campaign and help make my wish come true.”

Milnao is aiming to raise $50,000 for the charity. Charity:Water was established by Scott Harrison, a Manhattan party promoter, in 2006. While on a freelance photography trip in Africa, Harrison was shocked to see victims of contaminated water suffering long and painful deaths. He set up the charity to stimulate greater global awareness about extreme poverty, educating the public, and provoking compassionate and intelligent giving.

“Currently, almost a billion people in the world don’t have access to life’s most basic need: clean and safe drinking water,” wrote Milano. “That’s 1 in 8 people on the planet. Over 200 million people right now have a water-related disease called schistosomiasis… It’s a fancy word for parasites. Worms. When you see a heartbreaking photo of a malnourished child with an extended belly, that child most likely has this waterborne schistosomiasis and no matter what food or nutrients you give them, without proper medication and clean water they most likely will not survive.

“I believe it is innately within us, as warriors of the human spirit, to give to those less fortunate. Sometimes, we just don’t know how to go about doing it. If this rings true for you, I encourage you to watch the below video, be inspired, and join me by starting your own holiday campaign today at

To donate to Alyssa’s campaign, click here. Her full article can be read in the Huffington Post here.

Disaster Relief

It is an incredibly turbulent time in terms of natural disasters/incidents in too many parts of the world right now. Indonesia, Vietnam, and American Samoa have been ravaged by disasters in the last week. Typhoon Ondy ripped through Vietnam with torrential rain, causing widespread flooding and loss of life. An 8.0 magnitude earthquake triggered tsunamis in the Pacific and decimated villages in American Samoa, Samoa, and Tonga. Indonesia was slammed by a 7.6 earthquake. The death tolls are in the thousands in these areas, and the secondary effects (when we read reports on loss of human life, other effects are noted as secondary) include thousands of lost and homeless surviving pets, and washed up/stranded sea creatures. There is a particularly large number of sea turtles that have been stranded.

Aid groups are on the ground doing their best to distribute medical care, food, water, clothing, and other emergency services–and the need is dire.

The Huffington Post has this list, updated regularly, of aid and outreach programs working in these regions.Go and work your way through it.

Here is your chance…this blog tends to sometimes be esoteric, and most often ask you to look for ways to be actively participating in making a difference instead of just letting your checkbook do the work…but this is when donations are what is most needed from afar. There really isn’t time to waste–if a donation can fit into your world, find one of these outstanding organizations working in these regions, and make it happen.

Huffington Post

Huffington Post