In The Spirit of the Season
by Michele Christopher
It's that time again. Group LNT. This is when we poll the FTTW writers and ask them a question and see who responds. As always, people write in if they like they topic and have something to say. Usually we get about half the writers to chime in.
See, my theory is that if we keep doing this, eventually you guys will get to know all the writers.
It's just a theory, ok?
Since this is the season, we decided that a good way to show our holiday spirit is to tell us about your favorite charities. Which ones do you donate to, plan on donating to, or just think of them as a worthy cause.
This is what we got for this weeks LNT.
What are your favorite charities?
My favorite charity, despite all appearances, is Child's Play which was started by the web-comics folks over at Penny Arcade. The goal is to provide games and entertainment to kids in children's hospitals.
Geekiness, video games, and feelin' good about doing something for the less fortunate. Sounds like a winner to me.
Okay, here's my favorite charities site: Care2
My favorite charity is the Freedom Alliance. It's an organization founded by retired Lt. Col. Oliver North to educate the public about and encourage military service. Their primary charitable service is a scholarship fund:
"Students are eligible if they are the dependent child of an active duty service member who died or was permanently disabled (100% rating) in the line of duty, or who is currently certified as POW or MIA. The applicant must also be a senior in high school, a high school graduate, or enrolled in an institution of higher learning, including colleges, universities, or vocational schools."
They provide monies depending on the amount of charitable donations they receive during the year. Typical scholarships range from $500 - $2,000 per
I am also fond of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital both for the work they do and for the amount of funds that go into research and their work.
My charity is AMT Children of Hope Foundation. They are a local (Long Island) organization that provides funerals for abandoned babies and safe havens for those who wish to give up their babies.
After finding the abandoned bodies of a number of newborn children, Nassau AMT Timothy Jaccard and several of his colleagues in the Emergency Ambulance Bureau founded the AMT Children of Hope Foundation,to give these children proper funerals and dignified burials.
It's sad how often this happens. In fact, just last week the body of an infant was found at a train station and Tim and his crew gave the baby a proper burial.
The safe havens were set in place in an effort to help curb the amount of abandoned babies.
It is thanks to the safe havens that my sister was able adopt their son (now 6 years old) through Tim (a family friend).
So this is where my Christmas charity money will go this year, as it has before.
My favorite charity/organization is the Disabled Veterans of America:
Everyone always "supports the troops" when there's a war on, but once these people come back, they're pretty much ignored and forgotten, especially our disabled vets. They've got a tough road to hoe (tougher than most), and they deserve more than token gestures and empty support. I've worked with disabled vets in VA hospitals and other places. They're like a piece of furniture that's been put away and forgotten by their families and their countrymen, but most of them are still in good spirits and have positive attitudes despite of everything. They're great people who've gone and done things that
DAV's the only place that gets my money and volunteer time.
I'll have to say the Ronald McDonald House specifically the one in Stanford. Ronald McDonald House at Stanford provides a home-away-from-home and support for all families of children with life-threatening illnesses receiving treatment at local hospitals.It's kinda cool. They take these kids who are really messed up and basically have to spend a lot of time in the hospital and move their family into the houses' to be closer to their kids and to give the kid as much as a "normal" upbringing they can.
They are in need of toys for Santa's Workshop. If you would like to donate a new unwrapped toy for one of the children at the House this holiday season, please contact Marilyn Lowerison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mine would be the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.They helped find my baby brother who was gone for two full years. Probably one of the saddest days in my entire life was when he was featured on those "Have you seen this child?" postcards that come to your mailbox.
My little brother was kidnapped when he was 4 by his mother. "By his mom? Big deal," you might say. Well, my dad had full custody of him after his mother was deemed a nutbag by the court. She took him through several states and as far west as Phoenix (we live in Atlanta) and north to the UP in Michigan. She had some quack ass doctor prescribe him some adult-dose of an ADHD-type drug because she said he was uncontrollable, etc. They were found the night before she was headed into Canada.
Soooooo yeah, that's the story of mine.
My regulars are:
For more than 20 years, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has been a global leader in the fight against breast cancer through its support of innovative research and community-based outreach programs. Working through a network of U.S. and international Affiliates and events like the Komen Race for the Cure(r), the Komen Foundation is fighting to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by funding research grants and supporting education, screening and treatment projects in communities around the world.
In addition to providing appropriate work wear, our goal is to give a boost of self esteem to socio-economically disadvantaged men and women in the community who strive to become self-sufficient.
Youth Music also aims to support wider aspects of music-making through funding training for music leaders, as well as working strategically to bring together partnership organisations from across the music, education and social sectors.
I don't like people. Seriously. Fuck 'em. I don't like hearing bad things happening to people on the news, but it doesn't affect me. You hear me about people abusing animals, though, and it sets me off. I love this place because this is where I got Fritz. They take in abandoned animals and put them in "foster" care till permanent homes can be found. No cages in a big cement room; no euthanasia. These are dogs and cats that have been abused and abandoned, and all they want -- all they need -- is to be loved.
I freely admit, I don't often give money to charities, and I don't know much about them. The one thing I do that is "charitable" is mentor a kid at a local middle school. I encourage everyone to do this. The school is down the road from my office, and I go once a week for about thirty minutes. I've been mentoring this particular kid for almost three years now, and it's been amazing to watch him change (albeit, slowly) from the child I originally met.
Mentoring gives me a weird sense of satisfaction. It's a satisfaction composed of pride in the act, frustration with the state of public schools and how they teach our children, and shame that I don't do more. Over the years, I've seen my kid go from someone who is failing every class to a young man who is getting As and Bs in all but two classes. I can only hope that part of his acceleration in learning is due to our time together.
There are mentoring programs such as this at almost every public school in the country. I encourage anyone who has a lunch hour every week that they can spare to look into it. While thirty minutes a week might not seem like much to you, it can make a world of difference to a child.
*cue cheesy music and some washed-up celebrity giving a thumbs-up*
My favorite charity is more like an initiative than a charity at this point. It's the concept for distributing $100 laptops powered by hand crank generators throughout the world's poorest nations to allow the children there to have Internet access. The lap top is being designed by Nick Nigroponte of MIT. The initiative is sponsored by Google, so perhaps you're rolling your eyes about that. None other than Bill Gates publicly condemned the effort, so it can't be all bad. Read article here. Personally I really like the concept of providing something tangibly useful to these children, something that will have an unimaginably profound impact on their futures.
I love that we are talking about giving and charity, especially at this time of year when we all can get caught up in all the consumer crap that’s going on around us.
Charity is important. I’m a big believer that you get back whatever you put out into the world and my thinking is if I can afford to give, I should and I do.
At work we have the annual United Way campaign and I have a donation deducted from every pay cheque. The thing I like about it is that I can direct my contributions into the programs that mean something to me.
Every year I participate in the Canadian Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life”. Cancer and the fight against it is a big part of my life, my Mom has been fighting the spread of her colo-rectal cancer for SEVEN YEARS. She is an amazing woman and the Relay for Life is an amazing event. Tent cities spring up all over the county as teams take part in a non-competitive overnight relay, it is an inspiring experience.
But we are part of the Global Village too. It’s astonishing to me how something so simple as a mosquito net can protect people from the number one killer of children under 5 (in Africa) – Malaria. Spread the Net is an organization that provides protection for up to 5 years. $10 bucks. To quote Canadian political commentator Rick Mercer – “If there is a war that Canadians can get behind it’s the war on mosquitoes. We spend enough of our time coming up with ways to kill them at home, let’s spread the love in Africa.”
Keith from The Lift Hill
My other favorite is Caring Bridge. They provide a great blogging system for hospital patients/families. When a child is sick in Intensive Care, the parents can easily keep their extended family updated on progress, conditions, milestones, setbacks, etc.
My nephew was born a month early, and had trouble breathing on his own. He ended up in NICU in Sioux Falls, hooked up to a ventilator for a couple of weeks. Such a tiny baby, breathing by means of machinery and hoses. My brother and my sister-in-law were able to keep us all updated via Caring Bridge, easily putting in updates and pictures as things progressed. It was incredibly helpful to our family to see things as they happened, and to keep up with little Will's progress.
For those of us with a blogging background, the service is pointless. But for the non-wired, Caring Bridge is a genuinely useful tool.
And Will is now a healthy, chubby, giggling baby, safe at home with his Mom and Dad.
In terms of Christmas charity, I get together with my brother and sister-in-law each year and we take a big haul of toys over to the Marines for Toys For Tots, or to a local fire station doing a charity drive of their own. It can be pretty fun to do and it's something a little more immediate than just handing over some money. I think most anywhere you can find a local fire or police station that's helping out some families around this time of year and a lot of times they're low on what they need. Even better than just taking over toys is to contact them beforehand and find out what specifically they could use--often times there's an age range that not much is coming in for.
I also give a recurring monthly donation to the Humane Society of the United States. They do a hell of a lot of good work for animals--much more than I think a lot of people realize. They also seem to be pretty effective, which is always important.
One organization I have had tremendous respect for over the years is The Boys and Girls Clubs Of America. Too often today, kids are left to their own devices, with little to no supervision and no sense of direction. With no one around to encourage and challenge them, some go the hard road and end up places most of us don't wish to be. And others find the right path. But too many kids are left with no path at all. That's what The Boys and Girls Clubs give you. They teach you to empower yourself and to use your mind, while giving you a sense of belonging and role models to mentor and educate you. At least that's what I see them do every day in Philadelphia. I cannot recommend enough that you donate your time to this fantastic organization. Remember, that if the children of today are left with no path to the future, they'll never find it.
So that's it for us. Or, from some of us.
Please feel free to add your own in the comments. Anything you think we missed or something that needs to be known.
And have a great holiday season.
From everyone at FTTW.