Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 41: Inspire Your Heart With Art Day


Today is Inspire Your Heart With Art Day. On this day, you can give your heart a special treat. Inspire Your Heart With Art Day celebrates art and the effect it can have on your heart. Art is valued and appreciated for all sorts of reasons. Look at a piece of art and ask yourself: What is it telling me? How does it make me feel? What emotions is it evoking (if any) within me? A sense of love and romance is one of those feelings and emotions that a piece of artwork can awaken and inspire. Looking to create a little romance with that special someone? Try setting the mood, with an appropriate piece of art. While the title of this day suggests you inspire "your" heart, you may want to use today to inspire someone else's heart, to have romantic thoughts of you. You can create your very own work of art or go and visit art galleries and museums. People should take the time to search out art and make it a bigger part of their lives. Art is full of inspiration and can change our way of looking at the world. It has changed people’s hearts for centuries. Maybe looking at a masterpiece painting or a superb piece of sculpture will inspire you to be creative. We all have creative juices in us. Unfortunately, many of us stop being creative when we move from childhood to adulthood. Inspire Your Heart With Art Day may get your creative juices flowing again.

The International Child Art Foundation's mission is to integrate the arts with science, sport and technology for the development of children’s innate creativity and intrinsic empathy – preconditions for a more just, prosperous and nonviolent world.
They look at the
urgent problems afflicting local communities and the world today (global warming, grinding poverty, mushrooming violence) and see them as mere symptoms of something deeper and fundamental? Is it the prevailing system of thinking and feeling? They have a vision for The International Child Art Foundation, to create a world that nurtures children’s innate creativity, fosters their intrinsic empathy, and includes children’s voices in any deliberation on the future

The International Child Art Foundation's is the world’s largest and most prestigious creative education program modeled as “Olympics” of children’s creativity and imagination. They hold the world’s largest international children’s celebration, traditionally held on the National Mall in Washington DC every four years. They provide creative interventions for victims of natural disasters to aid psychological recovery from traumatic experiences. They provide an Innovative approach that reduces inter-generational transmission of trauma and hatred by providing children a new outlook and perspective on opportunities. They have published advertisement-free since 1998 to nurture children’s creativity, foster their empathy, and introduce the world to them through the arts. They provide a display of children’s thought-provoking artworks to inspire dialogue on a better future. They arrange children's panels and youth panels to introduce their voices to discussions on the future.
 
Donation: $5

To support The International Child Art Foundation, please visit: http://www.icaf.org/

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 40: National Poverty in America Month


What does it mean to be poor in America? What does being poor mean to a child?

We know that being poor means being at statistical risk. Poor children live in the kinds of socially toxic environments that generate multiple threats to development -- academic failure, child maltreatment, learning disabilities, and others. That is one clear meaning of being poor in America. Interestingly, this social toxicity parallels physical toxicity; low-income populations are more likely to be exposed to chemical and radioactive waste and polluted air and water. Being poor means that the odds are stacked against you. Poverty has that meaning in a statistical sense.

But what does poverty mean to a child?  Being poor is about being left out of what your society tells people they could expect if they were included. Being poor means being different, not meeting the basic standards set by your society, not being "regular." It is not so much a matter of what you have, as what you do not have. And, it is the messages that difference sends. There is by now overwhelming evidence of a strong relationship between poverty and child abuse and neglect. The great majority of families, to whom child abuse and neglect have been attributed, live in poverty or near-poverty circumstances.


The Child Abuse Prevention Center directly serves at-risk children and families in crisis to prevent and break the generational cycle of child abuse. The Child Abuse Prevention Center is Orange County, California's leading not-for-profit organization focused exclusively on the prevention of child abuse. Their early intervention programs have a well-documented record of strengthening and improving parent-child relationships, working to prevent child abuse before it occurs. Matching families at risk of child abuse with professional social workers to work with them in their homes accomplish their goals. The goal of the intervention is to replace old patterns of abuse with nurturing parenting styles, as well as to empower parents to become financially self-sufficient. The devastating effects of child abuse are life-long and have generational consequences. The Child Abuse Prevention Center believes that by providing their clients with the necessary tools to be successful parents, the center will continue to break the generational cycle of child abuse.

Donation; $5

To support The Child Abuse Prevention Center, please visit: http://www.brightfutures4kids.org

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 39: Poverty in America Awareness Month


How does it feel to be deprived of the necessities of living like food, safe drinking water, housing, and clothing? How would you be able to cope if you lived in squalor or poverty?

Today, 37.3 million American, 1 in 6 children (that’s 18 percent of all American children), are living below the poverty line.  They live in families who are of necessity making hard choices between food, health care, heat and rent. Many American families don’t have enough food to feed their family, enough heat to keep themselves warm, they live without healthcare etc. All these tragedies are compiled into an overwhelming amount of personal and financial misfortune. Unfortunately, the people who suffer the most are our children. The number of Americans living in poverty increased last year, but advocates for the poor say the situation is more desperate than the rising numbers. Poverty is increasing as the country’s social safety net continues to erode and the government uses outdated measures to even determine poverty levels, experts said. The methods used to track poverty are more than 50-years-old and overlook families’ modern problems and dwindling resources.
Poverty in America Awareness Month is to promote public awareness of the continuing existence of poverty and social injustice in America. Individuals are encouraged to support efforts to eradicate poverty by increasing their understanding of the causes and practical solutions and by active participation in and support for antipoverty programs.
Harvesters' mission is to feed hungry people today and work to end hunger tomorrow.

Harvesters is a clearinghouse for the collection and distribution of food and related household products. They’ve been helping people in need since 1979 by
  • Collecting food and household products from community and industry sources
  • Distributing those products and providing nutrition services through a network of nonprofit agencies
  • Offering leadership and education programs to increase community awareness of hunger and generate solutions to alleviate hunger
Their network includes more than 620 nonprofit agencies throughout our 26-county direct service area, including emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes, homes for the mentally disabled and shelters for battered persons. Their network provides food assistance to as many as 66,000 different people each week. Harvesters is a certified member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, serving all 50 states.
Donation: $5
To support Harvesters, please visit:  http://www.harvesters.org/

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 38: Have Fun at Work Day


Have Fun at Work Day is a day to have fun at work for once. Ideally, work should be fun. But normally, work is not intended to have fun. It's intended to get work done. You're a very lucky person, if you if you can get work done and have fun doing it. The lucky souls in this situation, love their job.
Unfortunately, all of us are not lucky enough to have a job that's fun to do. If that's you, then today is a day just for you! Think of ways to make your job more fun and exciting. Look to do some fun things at work today, even if it takes away from production just a wee bit. Wear something a little offbeat to work. People will think you're nuts - or just having a great day. Hopefully it will get the comments started. Perhaps everyone could dress a little funky.
Having a job is so important for one’s character development and for supporting a positive self-esteem. Growing Home provides transitional employment and training for individuals in Chicago facing multiple barriers to securing permanent and unsubsidized employment through a social enterprise business based on organic agriculture. Their program provides experiential learning opportunities and employment in the horticulture field as well as a unique job readiness curriculum that helps reintroduces participants back into the workforce.
Growing Home was started in 1992 by Les Brown, Director of Policy for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, who recognized that not only was the critical lack of living-wage jobs one of the major factors that leads to homelessness, but that a sense of purpose was also a necessary component of breaking out of the cycle of homelessness.
Since its inception, Growing Home has worked towards this by providing a transitional job program that lets previously-incarcerated and previously-homeless individuals prepare to re-enter the workforce not only by teaching job skills, but also by providing the chance to engage in what is for many a transformational experience. Their program is different from other workforce development programs because of their intense focus on the transformational possibilities inherent in learning to nurture and grow one’s own food.
Donation: $5
To support Growing Home, please visit:   http://www.growinghomeinc.org/

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 37: Holocaust Memorial Day


Today is Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) is a national event in the United Kingdom dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of The Holocaust. It was first held in January 2001 and has been on the same date every year since. The chosen date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union in 1945, the date also chosen for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and some other national Holocaust Memorial Days. A great number of Jewish children, Gypsy children, and physically and mentally disabled children were not spared this horrific tragedy. Most perished and many separated from their families. Some survived, but were permanently torn away from their families.


War Child is a network of independent organizations, working today across the world to help children affected by war. War Child works with children all over the world to reduce the effects of poverty, provide an education and to defend and promote child rights. War Child works to help children whose lives have been torn apart by conflict, and provide them with the means to build a brighter future. War Child was founded upon a fundamental goal: to advance the cause of peace through investing hope in the lives of children caught up in the horrors of war.

Many of these wars go unreported, often due to political expediency or lack of interest. They reveal a shaming pattern: Sixty million people have been killed in wars during the 20th Century. Over 80% of war casualties are now civilians - mainly women and children.
Children are amongst the first casualties of any armed conflict, always the most vulnerable and innocent of victims. In the last decade alone 1.5 million children have died in wars. Four million have been disabled and a further 10 million traumatized. The severe psychological wounds that war inflicts on children can scar them for life, crippling the very generations that must one day rebuild their devastated countries. For the future peace of the world we must do everything in our power to help these war children.

Donation: $5

To support War Child, please visit:  http://www.warchild.ca/

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 36: Love Yourself Month


January really is known as "Love Yourself Month" -- and it is a genuine reason to celebrate all that is good in YOU. This idea of taking a bit of time out of life's hectic mayhem to just pamper oneself is in keeping with one’s new year's resolutions. Try new things often and give yourself whatever it is you need to feel peace each and every day. Be more consciousness about the importance of being kinder to self--with loving acts for you. You can:
  • Create a loving mantra that you can repeat in the mirror
  • Journal your thoughts before the demands of the day crowd in
  • Create an enchanting place to nurture yourself
  • Do one thing you’re afraid to do

Children’s Body-Image Foundation believes that all children should feel good about themselves. They are advocates for all children. They strive to help children build self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-acceptance by raising body image awareness and helping to educate the public.  They help accomplish this by promoting & providing educational as well as financial resources for families. Their organization highlights the fact that certain medical conditions and traumas can also have a negative effect on a child’s sense of self, both physical and or psychological. Their vision is to see every child accepted for who they are and the joy they bring, for every child to grow up with the self-confidence and courage necessary to pursue their dreams.  They are worthy of today’s donation.

Donation: $5

To support Children’s Body-Image Foundation, please visit: http://childrensbodyimagefoundation.org/

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 35: National Glaucoma Awareness Month


January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease. Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost. it’s permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing it. Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Moreover, among African American and Latino populations, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness, and it is more prevalent. Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians. Over 4 million Americans, and nearly 70 million people worldwide, have glaucoma. Experts estimate that half of them don’t know they have it. Combined with our aging population, we can see an epidemic of blindness looming if we don’t raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision.

Founded in 1915 by Helen Keller and George Kessler, Helen Keller International (HKI) is among the oldest international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) devoted to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition in the world.  Their mission is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. They combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition.
They envision a world where…
  • No one suffers from preventable or treatable blindness or low vision;
  • No one suffers from under-nutrition; and
  • Fewer people suffer loss of their productive years due to disability and premature death.
To accomplish this, HKI builds the capacity of local governmental, civil society and private sector systems and infrastructure, and promotes the development of sustained, large-scale programs that deliver effective preventative and curative eye health and nutrition services. These services are integrated into ongoing programs and initiatives, and are delivered in cost-effective and practical ways that take into account actual community health needs and local realities. Their design is firmly rooted in scientific evidence.

Donation: $5

To support Helen Keller International, please visit:   http://www.hki.org/

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 34: National Compliment Day


Compliments are a simple, yet powerful, relationship-building tool. There are many different reasons to give a compliment. The most compelling - it makes you feel good. You cannot give a sincere compliment without feeling great. It's impossible. There are many hidden benefits to giving compliments. It's amazing that such a small, simple skill like giving away compliments can change the way you view yourself and the world around you. It will strengthen your relationships, boost your self-esteem, and increase your self-confidence. You will experience joy and happiness as you learn to give selflessly.

Each time you give a compliment, you focus completely on the other person. You actively look for positive traits or attributes and specific examples. By doing this on a regular basis (suggested 5 times a day), you begin to see how richly multifaceted people really are. People's positive traits jump out at you. Your thought processes shifts from looking for the worst in people to looking for the best. Being proactive spills over into your life. You see the possibilities, not the obstacles. Compliment giving is a jump-start for looking at the world in a positive, refreshing, stimulating, and creative way.

Giving people compliments help young people’s self-image, their self worth. Compliments allow individuals to feel validated. I Am Authentic is a self-image campaign focused at young women and men. Through community outreach and monthly workshops IAA spreads its goals. Right now they are getting started in the Billings community by spreading their name through events. I Am Authentic believes that through loving yourself, you gain confidence, strength, and a beauty never before seen. Love is a powerful tool. Compliments build on that powerful tool.

Donation: $5

To support I Am Authentic, please visit:  http://www.iamauthentic.org

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 33: National Handwriting Day


National Handwriting Day is an opportunity to reintroduce yourself to a pen or pencil and a piece of paper. And encourage or introduce a child to handwriting. We know that children who master handwriting are better, more creative writers. So encourage students to explore—in their best handwriting of course—the arts of poetry, story, essay, and other creative writing. In this day of computers, more and more information, notes, and letters are sent back and forth via a keyboard and cyberspace.  The lost art of handwriting is one of the few ways we can uniquely express ourselves. There’s something poetic about grasping a writing instrument and feeling it hit the paper as your thoughts flow through your fingers and pour into words.

The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association established National Handwriting Day in 1977. Their motive is obvious...to promote the consumption of pens, pencils, and writing paper. January 23rd was chosen because this is the birthday of John Hancock. John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence.


Writopia Lab is a New York City-based national community of young writers, ages 8-18. If children love the idea of developing their first short story or memoir, or if they are already a prolific writer who is thrilled by the idea of polishing exceptional short stories, journalistic pieces, personal essays, poetry, and dramatic or comedic scripts, then they can join a year-round after- school, weekend, and school-break intensive creative writing workshops.

Writopia Lab is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization founded in New York City in April of 2007. They run creative writing workshops for kids ages 8 to 18. All of their workshops have a maximum of six students and are led by a published writer who has been fully trained in our time-tested methodology. In each of the past three years, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized more kids from Writopia Lab, on both the regional and national levels, than from any other school in the nation.

Donation: $5

To support Writopia Lab, please visit:  http://www.writopialab.org

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 32: Celebration of Life Day.


Celebration of Life Day is a time to honor our children and grandchildren in America. Each child and each life is to be held as a precious gift and should be treated with the highest respect and dignity. This is not for a good life, for a healthy life, or even for a long life. It is simply for life, recognizing that life is indeed good and precious and should always be celebrated and savored. Life should be lived in all its fullness, an overflowing life that impacts others. No one could live life by themselves. We all need someone else.

Suicide is not an acceptable answer to be rejected by others simply for being yourself. We need to support and protect our children in their most vulnerable time, there is enough pressure for a teen to fit in and be liked as it is. It is increasing more difficult for those youth who are LGBTQ. The Trevor Project is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone.

Their vision is a future where the possibilities, opportunities and dreams are the same for all youth, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Inclusiveness is one of their mantras. They are rooted in the belief that everyone should be treated like a human being regardless of their sexual identity, gender, or race. As an organization, they will not turn any one away who asks for help. They will show them compassion. And, in recruiting staff and volunteers they will reflect the diversity of our community. They are a worthy organization that celebrates life everyday and deserve today’s donation.

Donation: $5

To support The Trevor Project, please visit: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 31: National Hugging Day


What a great day! This is an opportunity to give and to receive. Give a hug, and you automatically receive one in return. Sure, someone might not hug back. But, how often does that happen? Hugs are loving. Hugs are therapeutic. Hugs are caring. Hugs are celebratory.  Hugs make you feel good inside. Have you ever received a hug from someone who didn't care? I didn't think so. That's proof positive that you're loved and cared about.

National Hugging Day is a different form of sharing.  We've got more than our quota of whiners and far too few huggers these days.  Most of us have a little person inside who needs human contact in this stainless steel, computerized society where we are kept at arms length.  Consider hugging as non-sexual, like a handshake or a high-five.  Such personal contact makes you feel good.  A good hug warms relationships between people.  That's what National Hugging Day is all about.  A hug has a universal meaning of support, concern or just a way of saying, "I'm here."

Celebrate today by giving hugs to family, friends and loved ones. You'll love the warm feeling you get.  

Today’s donation is given to CEDARS. The children and families they serve really need the hugs! The Reverend Charles and Alberta Danner founded CEDARS in 1947, when they opened their home to homeless youth. CEDARS has a rich 63 year tradition of improving the lives of abused, neglected and otherwise vulnerable children and their families. As one of the largest nonprofit child caring organizations in Nebraska, CEDARS is committed to keeping each child safe while helping them to rebuild or find their forever family. Their services include: community outreach and prevention services, early childhood development and school age programs, out-of-home residential services, and community based services

Donation: $5

To support, please visit:   http://www.cedars-kids.org

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 30: International Creativity Month


For one month each year the world celebrates International Creativity Month - a month to remind individuals and organizations around the globe to capitalize on the power of creativity.
Unleashing creativity is vital for the personal and business success in this age of accelerating change. International Creativity Month was founded by Randall Munson and is celebrated around the world annually in the month of January. Take advantage of International Creativity Month to refocus your attention to creatively improve your business and personal activities.

As a teacher working with children with special needs, it becomes important that whatever I can do help those with disabilities, with special needs, I will and do so continuously. Today’s donation is given to Our Time.  Our Time is a non-profit organization that uses the arts to improve the confidence and communication skills of children who stutter. It is estimated that more than 60 million people in the world stutter, including 5% of all children. In a world that can be unkind to those who are different, kids who stutter often struggle to step out of the shadows of shyness and shame, and find the courage to express their unique and important voices. Through a local New York City-based program and a summer camp open to children from around the nation and abroad, Our Time helps young people transform their fear and shame from stuttering into confidence and determination to reach their fullest potential.  Our Time participants gain enriching friendships and experience tangible success, giving them the confidence to overcome the challenges presented by stuttering.  

Donation: $5

To support Our Time, please visit: http://www.ourtimestutter.org

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 29: National Mentoring Month


Created by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR, National Mentoring Month (NMM) celebrates its 10th anniversary this month. By focusing national attention on the need for mentors, as well as how each of us—individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits—can work together to increase the number of mentors, we assure brighter futures for our young people.
NMM celebrates mentoring and the positive effect it can have on young lives. Its goals are to raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms, recruit individuals to mentor, especially in programs that have waiting lists of young people, and promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations to engage their constituents in mentoring.


The youth are our national treasure. We have a responsibility to them to make sure their future is bright and meaningful. Mentoring USA is doing just that. I gladly give today’s donation to them. Their mission is to create positive and supportive mentor relationships for youth ages 7-21, through a structured site-based model. Mentoring USA believes that the presence of a caring adult in a young person's life increases self-esteem, strengthens relationships with peers and adults, improves academic performance and attendance, and helps combat school drop-out.  Research increasingly indicates that children who succeed, despite often enormous personal, economic or social obstacles, do so because of caring, competent adults who believe in them.  Mentoring outcomes are reciprocal: mentors attest to enhanced self image and self esteem, fulfilling expression of personal values and accrue cultural capital and a diverse perspective.

Donation: $5

To support Mentoring USA, please visit: http://www.mentoringusa.org/

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 28: Winnie the Pooh Day


Every year January 18 is celebrated as "Winnie-the-Pooh Day" because it is the birth date of AA Milne, the creator and writer of the famous children's books and poems Winnie the Pooh. Mr. Milne was born in Kilburn, London on January 18, 1882 and amongst his best remembered works happens to be Winnie the Pooh books wherein the only human character is Christopher Robin who in reality is his son Christopher Robin Milne. The Pooh Bear we all know today was a bear whose real name was Edward. A Canadian army officer brought with him a bear from his town in Winnipeg in Canada while Pooh is a name that Christopher Robin liked when he was a swan while on vacations with his parent. Thus, the name Winnie the Pooh.

Twice a year, I witness RIF bring, and give out free books to the school I work at, giving a book to every student. Today’s donation is given to Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) who is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States. Their vision is a literate America in which all children have access to books and discover the joys and value of reading. Their mission is to motivate young children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF's highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. They prepare and motivate children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most. They inspire children to be lifelong readers through the power of choice. RIF provides new, free books for children to choose from and make their own.

Donation: $5

To support, please visit: http://www.rif.org/