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Tag Archives: africa

Week 47-People’s Choice, Day 4-Amy & Jen

Day two in Canada is even better than day one.  We were able to see Niagara Falls in the daylight and all the crazy touristyness that surrounds it this morning before heading back to the much more quaint and relaxing Niagara-on-the-Lake.  If you’ve never heard of it, look it up, and you’ll fall in love with it like we have.  It is one of those places everyone needs to visit once in their life.  Okay, now on to the charity superstars of the day.  When Amy and Jen both suggested the Samaritan’s Purse I knew it had to be featured this week.  I was also surprised that it’s taken me 47 weeks to write about it!  They are one of those charities that does so much great work that they probably deserve more than one blog post.  Thank you ladies for nominating this oldie, but certainly a goodie, for this week.

Beautiful Jen and her sweet daughter Fiona

I’m going to be really honest for a minute.  Over the past 11 months that I’ve written this blog I’ve shied away from charities that are religiously affiliated like SP for the simple of reason of not ruffling any feathers.  Today as I am writing this, I am realizing that maybe the whole point of this blog is to get a little messy sometimes.  Why does it matter if SP is a Christ centered organization if they bring so much love and hope to thousands of people?  I’m just here to bring you the facts, and it’s for you to decide if your heart and your wallet are opened up by theses causes.  To me, charity is all about passion and if you follow where your heart leads you then you’ll find yourself exactly where you need to be.  Whew, I feel better, now on to the charities.  Samaritan’s Purse is a non-profit that has been providing physical and spiritual aid to those who are hurting around the world since 1970.  Writing about SP brings me back to my roots because we used to always collect toys, coloring books, crayons, and other fun things to fill a shoeboxes for SP’s Operation Christmas Child.  Even being young I vividly remember feeling sad for the little boys and girls in the world who woke up with Christmas morning with no presents to unwrap.  Even now as an adult I’m fighting back tears to think about those innocent faces that simply want a new pair of socks or school supplies as their gift.  Something as simple as a shoebox filled with items from the dollar store can brighten the spirit of a child for days on end.  Another great SP program that has helped people for over forty years is the World Medical Mission.  Jen specifically said she loved the work SP does in Africa and I have to agree.  WMM provides tons of hospitals in Africa (as well as many other countries) with hospital supplies and essential equipment, as well as arrange assignments for doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals.  SP also works in Africa to provide hope and hearing for the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Prescription For Hope provides HIV testing, youth prevention education, and international workshops to help educate Africans provide positive ways to talk about a very negative disease.  I have literally just brushed the surface of the work SP does in Africa.  You can check out some of the rest here.

Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Box Donation 

Samaritan’s Purse World Medical Mission Donation

So here’s to you Amy and Jen!  You’re hard-working gals that took a few minutes out of your day to help me fill this week with wonderful charities.  You were also the only two who suggested the same charity, and now we all know why.  Thanks for helping me have my own revelation today, and for giving me a reason to write these words from day-to-day.

Amy loves SP and kittens! 🙂

Week 47-People’s Choice, Day 2-Adam

Adam loves to ride!

It’s always hard to move to new place where you have no family or friends.  We were really lucky that we met some great people really quickly after we set up camp here in WV.  The best part of the story is that we met Adam because of the non-profit organization the American Red Cross.  Adam is also a serious mountain biker.  It seemed like he was at a race every weekend this summer kicking butt and taking names.  Adam also has a big heart and was one of the first people to volunteer a charity for people’s choice week.  So this one is for Adam and his bicycle loving ways.

Re-cycle is a charity that is dedicated to proving cheap and sustainable transport in Africa.  Bicycles are so important to those on a limited income because it provides them the opportunity to get to work and school on a consistent basis.  Bikes can also be adapted to carry heavy or bulky items so small-scale farmers and traders can reach a broader customer base.  RC takes used bicycles that are donated, checks them over, and refurbishes them so they are ready for their new owners.  If you think about it, it’s really a win-win for both the UK, where RC is based, and Africa.  People in Africa get a sweet new ride, and it helps reduce waste and landfill products across the pond.  About 400 bikes are sent to seven different African countries each shipment.  RC works with organizations in Africa to make sure those that their donated bikes get to those who need it the most.  I think for most people, myself included, a love for riding a bicycle tends to start from a young age.  Bikes For Goodness Sakes shares the goodness of bicycles with unprivileged children.  BFGS works with local bike shops to host events and distribute bikes to children.  Each bike also comes with a personal biking riding lesson and a custom fit helmet.  Safety is number one people.  Since their first bike giving event back in 2008 they have gifted 512 brand new shiny bicycles to deserving kids.  Good bikes to good kids is the motto of BFGS.  I used to love riding my bike so I can definitely relate to that feeling of accomplishment and pride you feel as you ride off into the sunset with your training wheels for the very first time.

Re-cycle Donation

Bikes For Goodness Sakes Donation

So here’s to you Adam!  You’re dedication to changing people’s life through the Red Cross and your mountain biking are both inspiring.  Sure I may say that I hate you because you can eat whatever you want and never gave a pound, but obviously I’m only slightly jealous.  Maybe if spent as much time on a bike as you do I could eat a couple more brownies a week too.  Thanks for making us feel at home here in WV, sharing your love of riding with us, and being an all-around cool kid.   

Week 44-Rocktober, Day 7-Viva Pasta!

After a long day of class, teaching, and studying I can’t even describe how awesome it was to come home to a warm bowl of pasta.  First, my husband is amazing.  Second, he makes the best pasta ever and anyone who’s had it will attest to that.  Apparently we aren’t the only ones who love pasta, because Americans consumes 20 pounds of pasta annually.  The love for pasta runs so deep that the entire month of October is dedicated to it.  So raise your forks and toast the delicious bowl of carbs that we just can’t seem to live without.

You may not believe this, because I didn’t until I read it, but there is actually a National Pasta Association.  Their mission, increase the consumption of pasta.  Ok so they also act as a center of knowledge for the industry and and promote the creation of sound public policy.  Basically they are pasta’s biggest cheerleader.  NPA also has a huge library of pasta shapes to help you pair the perfect pasta to your favorite sauce for the next covered dish supper.  Pasta always seems to get a bad wrap of being loaded with carbohydrates and something we should put on our “do not eat” list.  It turns out that all not only is pasta good for you in moderation, but we also eat it most times with fiber-packed vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish, and antioxidant-rich tomato sauce.  All those things are fantastic, but we all know the best part about pasta is the comfort it provides.  Pasta also reminds me how blessed I am to have food in my belly at all.  I don’t have any memories of going to bed hungry, and Feed The Children has the same mission.  Founded over 30 years ago, FTC gave over 133 million pounds of food and essentials to those in need in 50 states and countries around the world.  Even though FTC has helped countless children, there are still 12 million American kids who are at risk of going hungry tonight.  The drought and famine occurring in the East African and the Horn of Africa has taken the lives of more than 29,000 children under the age of 5.  It breaks my heart to even type that, and it makes me want to pack up the delicious pasta in my refrigerator and ship it to Africa.

National Pasta Association Donation

Feed The Children Donation

So here’s to you my precious pasta!  You have been my favorite food for as long as I can remember, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.  I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful husband who loves you as much (or maybe even more) as I do.  Thankfully I know where to get you, how to cook you, and mostly importantly how to share you with those around me.  Look out friends, the pasta is coming for you!

What? This isn't how you eat pasta?

Week 38-Back to school, Day 1-CPR & FA

I have an announcement.  I am officially trained in First Aid and certified in CPR for adults, children, and infants!  I was in training all day as a requirement for the laboratory classes I am teaching this fall, but I actually kind of enjoyed myself.  So maybe not the whole time, if you’ve ever seen any of the training videos you’ll understand why, but overall I was thankful I had the chance to take this very important class for free.  Plus being back in the classroom put me in the back to school spirit.  All I need now is a new pair of ridiculously overpriced pair of tennis shoes that won’t be cool next semester.

The kids who grown up in South Africa may not need the First Aid that I learned today, but they definitely need a little help.  South African Youth Education for Sustainability is an non-profit that aids in the empowerment of the forgotten children and youth in South Africa.  Founded in 2008 SAYES guides and supports young people as they transition from living in a residential living care to homes to making it on their own.  Each young person is carefully placed with a mentor who works with them one-on-one who offers advice and assistance with housing, employment, education and skills training, and personal development.  SAYES prevents kids from ending up on the streets because they don’t have the education or training they need in order to be employable and support themselves.  And for all you X-Files fans out there Scully, Gillian Anderson, is on the board of trustees for this great organization.  Yea, I didn’t see that one coming either.  I also learned CPR which could save the life of someone in cardiac arrest, but the Larry King Cardiac Foundation works to provide life saving cardiac procedures for people who would otherwise be unable to afford it.  When talk show host Larry King had quintuple bypass surgery he was lucky that he has insurance to cover the cost, but he realized that not everyone is so lucky.  LKCF was founded in 1988 and still embraces the ambitious goal of “saving a heart a day”.  The LKCF is not only saving lives, they are also healing families one patient at a time.  A little heart can go a long way.

South African Youth Education for Sustainability Donation

Larry King Cardiac Foundation Donation

So here’s to putting safety first!  Going back to school can be very exciting, or earth shattering depending on who you ask, but being safe is priority number one.  Don’t run with scissors, or choke on your food, and be sure you sit down if you feel faint.  I hope I never have to perform CPR on anyone, but I will be thankful if I ever save a life, and I bet they will be too. 

Week 36-Birthday Week! Day 6-Roger Federer

Pick up your rackets and strap on your sweat bands because we’re gonna party like it’s Roger Federer birthday!  And it’s a big one at that, the big 3-0.  He is also considered to be one of the greatest, or greatest depending on who you ask, tennis players to ever serve up a neon colored ball.  I could go into the statistics that back that last sentence up but some of you out there probably already know them and it would take way too long anyway.  Let’s put it this way, the Olympic gold medal that he won in Beijing back in 2008 is just one of many trophies and silver accolades on his shelf at home.  I know some there will be some really thankful tennis players when Federer decides to retire.

Serve up some cake while you're at it Federer

The other thing that Federer has that’s made of gold, is his heart.  He started the Roger Federer Foundation in 2003 to help support education, sports, and leisure activities in places where there is little to no funding for programs.  Programs offered by the RFF are located in Federer’s native Switzerland and in multiple countries in Africa.  RFF focuses its basic education and early learning efforts in Africa, and it’s youth sports talent development in the very neutral Switzerland.  Another cornerstone of the RFF is the fact that they share the responsibility of solving a communities’ problems with them and not for them.  Everyone from the children to the adults are involved in assessing the problem, figuring out how to fix it, and putting the pieces in place to make things happen.  Like so many singers, politicians, and writers have said before me, the children are our future so let’s make sure they know what they’re doing.  The Humpty Dumpty Foundation is making sure that kids have the opportunity to grown up and be the future we need them to be.  As you might expect from the adorable name, HDF is putting children back together again.  They buy vital and even life-saving medical equipment for neonatal and pediatric units in hospitals across Australia.  Over the past 15 years that HDF has been changing lives they have grown into an organization that serves more than 150 different hospitals.  There is no falling off a wall for this organization.

Roger Federer Foundation Donation

Humpty Dumpty Foundation Donation

So here’s to you Roger Federer!  I bet you don’t even blow out your birthday candles.  All you have to do is swing that arm back and serve up a ball to do the work for you.  You can’t play tennis forever, but I have a feeling that you will be helping others out long after you retire your short shorts and tennis shoes.  Thanks for thinking beyond the scope of your career and giving people a reason to remember you besides your 16 Grand Slam wins.

Week 36-Birthday Week! Day 5-Charlize Theron

I couldn’t have picked a better week to write about birthdays because it has been chocked full of great people like Ms. Charlize Theron who make my job easy.  This native South African isn’t just beautiful on the outside either.  Anyone who has even seen Monster knows that she can get pretty down and dirty for her cinematic roles, and prove to us all that she isn’t just a pretty face.  This theme of hard work and dedication is also apparent in the huge chunk of her life that she has dedicated to charity work.  Thanks for making my job easy Char!

It only makes sense that Theron would have an affinity to help the people of her native Africa.  She started Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project in 2007 with the help of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.  They had the common goal of creating a healthier and safer life for African youth by supporting and working with organizations that provide HIV/AIDS prevention education.  The only way this organization could get any better is if they had some connection to Oprah.  Oh wait, they do!  They collaborated with the Oprah Angel Network for their first project which provided mobile health and computer clinics designed for improving the health and social development of Umkhanyakude district youth in the KwaZulu-Natal province.  If you’ve got Big O on your side, you know you’re doing something right.  CTAOP also began a project last summer called Home Field Advantage, where they build soccer fields with clean drinking water for the community.  This not only provides the obvious health advantages, but it’s also a way to uplift the people and provide a prime location for the mobile health units.  Theron has also been a supporter of the Rape Crisis Center in Cape Town, South Africa.  RCC wants to end violence against women, specifically rape, and help women achieve their right of a violence-free life.  RCC trains and counsels women who have suffered the trauma of rape in hopes that they will encourage other women report rapes, and increase the conviction of rapists.  They are helping ordinary women believe that they can do extraordinary things.  Power to the women!

Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project Donation

Rape Crisis Center Cape Town Donation

So here’s to you Charlize Theron!  As your birthday winds down I hope you’re looking back at this year and seeing how much you’ve done for the world.  You may be the face of Christian Dior, but to the children in Africa you are helping, you are the face of an angel.  And even though Dior is a label anyone would love to be caught wearing, the label of Giver is all the rage every fall.

Face of an angel...

Week 23-Emotions, Day 7-Needed

needed past participle, past tense of need (Verb)

1. Require (something) because it is essential or very important: “I need help now”.

This is a very big week for lots of students at West Virginia University, because graduation is on Saturday!  For me, this means lots of work for me at my School of Pharmacy job.  I didn’t really know anything about pharmacy, or pharmacy school before I started this job but now I’m pretty much an expert.  Okay, not really, but I can stuff a graduation envelope and type 84 graduating names like nobody’s business.  I love being busy and feeling like I’m needed.  Maybe it’s the type A personality or the aptly diagnosed ESFJ “Provider” personality that makes me this way, but I love helping people.  Helping to make sure someone gets their oath of a pharmacist in their graduation packet may seem futile for you, but I’m thankful for the chance.

Dramatic Needs reaches out a helping hand...

Everyone has different things that they need in life, but universally we all need love and glue.  Laugh, but it’s true.  Needing love is pretty obvious, but if you think about it I bet there have been several times in your life when you wished you had some glue and you didn’t.  The non-profit Kids In Need Foundation works to provide both for school kids across our nation.  Since 1995, KINF has been giving away free school supplies to students who need them to be successful in class.  They have three main programs they use to get these gratis supplies to students and teachers.  They have resources centers where teachers can shop for free to get the supplies they need for their classroom, teachers are also awarded grants through KINF to provide new and exciting learning opportunities, and lastly school boxes with supplies are distributed to kids K-8 by corporate sponsors.  I think KINF needs a round of applause!  School supplies are a very concrete and tangible need that school kids have, but hotties like Hayden Christensen and Josh Harnett believe that kids also need drama.  Not the reality-show-make-an-ass of yourself kind either.  Dramatic Need is a charity that sends local and international actors, musicians, and artists to South Africa and Rwanda to host creative arts workshops for underprivileged kids.  Music, art, and drama can provide an outlet for theses African children to better cope with poverty, hunger, and disease.  Almost 5,000 children are reached in 19 different schools because of the hard work KINF and its volunteers provide.  Most people should still stick with the saying, “Save the drama fo yo momma”, but these kids can be as dramatic as they like!

Kids In Need Foundation Donation

Dramatic Needs Foundation

So here’s to you needed!  You are that emotion that reminds us that if we weren’t around, there would be some sad people.  It could be our boss, our kids, our spouse, or even our parents who makes us feel this way.  I actually love feeling this way because it is usually accompanied with feeling loved and wanted; two other great feelings.  You may not be an emotion that I experience on a daily basis, but thankfully, you always show up when I need an ego boost.

True story

Week 22-California!, Day 3-Jewelry

Who else out there watched the royal wedding in the wee hours of the morning?  K and I took a little nap and awoke a few hours later to the fabulous hats and gorgeous gowns in London town.  There was also no shortage or beautiful bling either, which I loved.  So in order to celebrate we went shopping to get “something new” in the jewelry department for ourselves!  Who isn’t thankful for a little retail therapy every so often?  Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I have a slight problem when it comes to collecting earrings.  I remember being 8 years old and staring at my grandmother’s endless jewelry box full of earrings and wondering why in the world she needed so many.  Now I know.

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend then Diamond Empowerment Fund is a charity lover’s new bff.  Started back in 2007 by some VIPs in the jewelry industry, DEF helps empower the people of Africa.  Diamonds are a great natural resource for a lot of countries where it’s citizens are lacking a good education.  DEF works to raise money to support education initiatives for those in need.  There are also lots of celebrity power couples out there designing jewelry for charity.  Brad and Angelina have a serpent inspired collection with British luxury jewelry designer Asprey that benefits Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which was founded by Ang a few years back.  Even though they have recently separated Courtney Cox and David Arquette designed a line of jewelery adorned with butterflies for Satya which benefits children with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a rare genetic condition that affects the skin.  All the benefits from the jewelry sold goes to the EB Medical Research Foundation.  Let’s think about this for a second.  Buying jewelry to help adorable little children, where and how fast can I sign up?

Diamond Empowerment Fund Donation

EB Medical Research Foundation Donation (or buy the goods!)

So here’s to you jewelry!  You’re the addiction I never want to quit and the collection I am continually growing.  You can bring a smile to my face, remind of a great party, or help me remember that I got my love of you from my wonderful grandmother.  You help me express myself and be thankful that a little bit of you can go a long way.

Week 22-California! Day 1-Sunshine

This week is all about the beautiful state of California because I am here for vacation!  Luckily I have a beautiful best friend with a fabulous, and generous family that welcome us whenever we need a little girl’s get away.  This is the third time I’ve been lucky enough to come to San Diego with K and the beauty still amazes me.  The weather is perfect, the houses are out of a movie, and this list of things to do are endless.  I’m also pretty sure that the sun loves it here, because it hardly ever leaves.  After being a rain-induced comma in WV the sun was sight for sore eyes.  I am so thankful for the sunshine in the sky and in my heart from quality time with quality people.

Sunshine does a pretty good job at warming my heart, but it does a really good job and warming houses, schools, and hospitals.  SolarAid is working to bring clean, renewable energy to the poorest people in the world by installing solar panels.  Clinics, schools, and community centers in remote areas of South and Eastern Africa are now benefiting and thriving from solar power due to SA.  Africa is a perfect place to harness solar energy because many regions receive the highest levels of sunshine in the world!  Even though it’s hard to believe after today, they eve have San Diego beat.  They have also started Sunny Schools in London which is a program that is educating children on the issues of climate change and solar power on a global level.  If we don’t teach our children about it now there will be no one to lead us into the future.  The Solar Electric Light Fundis right there with SA working hard to provided energy to the developing world.  They stand behind their belief that energy is a human right.  Their projects help to provide power for pumping water, drip irrigation, homes, street lights, and wireless internet.  Founded over 20 years ago in 1990, SELF empowers people and communities to become active participants in the installation of the solar power systems.  Both village men and women are trained to install, maintain, and repair the systems that are installed.  Talk about being SELF sufficient.

Such power in a small package.

SolarAid Donation

Solar Electric Light Fund Donation

So here’s to you sunshine!  You are my only sunshine, and you definitely make me happy when skies are gray.  I think you know how much I love you, so please don’t take my sunshiney vacation away.  I promise I’ll bask in you and be thankful for all the energy you are providing for people around the world.  I have a feeling this week is going to be filled with bright, bright, bright sunny days.

Week 20-Social Networks, Day 3-YouTube

Today when I was walking to work it hit me like a ton of bricks that YouTube is also a social networking site.  I hadn’t even really considered blogging about it before, but it turns out that there’s more to this video uploading site than crazy twin babies and Rebecca Black.  Founded back in 2005 YT became an overnight sensation.  After only one year 65,000 videos were posted a day, and today more than 24 hours of video are posted every single minute of every day.  Viral videos are quickly becoming the best thing since sliced bread, and charities and non-profits are getting in on this high exposure social network.  Thanks to YouTube you can broadcast yourself for good.

I’m not a huge YT buff so I did just a simple search with the word charity today and found some really amazing causes.  World Bicycle Relief was one of those causes.  Their cool intro video really caught my attention as I was trolling for ideas.  We use our bicycles here in America for a nice afternoon ride, to compete in races, or a few of us use them to get to work when the gas prices get really high.  In rural Africa a bicycle in the hands of a girl changes everything.  Owning a bicycle means freedom, education, confidence, knowledge, and power.  Fewer girls attend school in Zambia because of the risk of a long commute to school, early marriages, and poverty, but bicycles are changing all that.  They are able to travel up to four times the distance they would on foot, and reach their goal of getting an education.  WBR is stopping the cycle of poverty with cycles of hope.

Help finish this sentence...

I would be fibbing a little bit if I said I found this next charity on YT first, because I discovered their YT channel after they started following me on Twitter this afternoon.  A Broader View makes it as easy to volunteer as it is to tie your shoes.  ABV was founded by Sarah and Oliver Ehlers after they returned home from a trip Chile, South America, because they were so moved by the difference volunteers were making at local orphanages.  When they started researching volunteer programs it quickly became clear how expensive and restrictive most of the opportunities were, and they were determined to change that.  ABV has over 180 customized volunteer programs in 21 countries that last anywhere from 1 to 24 weeks.  You choose when, where, and how long you want to volunteer and they help you make it happen.  In case that wasn’t enough to sell you, all of the program costs and the airfare are all tax-deductible!  Still not inspired?  Watch this video on their YT channel.

World Bicycle Relief Donation

A Broader View Donation

So here’s to you YouTube!  Because of you we can watch music videos, talking dogs, live concerts, and tutorials on how to fold origami elephants out of a dollar bill.  You have helped us broadcast our best and worst moments over the past five years.  You help us be in two places at once, and see and experience things we could only dream of.  You spread comedy, news, joy, technology, knowledge, and encouragement all over the world.  Thanks for helping us tune into what really matters and channel our inner giver.