Thanks(4)giving

It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: AIDS

Week 50-The Golden Week, Day 6-Gold Medal

I think everyone should get a gold medal every week just for making it through another Monday.  I think even for people who like what they do Monday can be grueling.  You just enjoyed two lovely days without work and now you’re thrown back into five more days before you get another break.  I realize that completing a single work day does not take near the dedication or effort that winning an actual gold medal does, but sometimes the small accomplishments help us work up to the big ones.  So today I’m simply thankful for the gold medal of a yummy home-cooked Mexican dinner and being home before 9 pm.

I'll take 3 please

Gold medal snowboarder Hannah Teter does her fair share of winning off the slopes as well.  She started Hannah’s Gold, which is a company that makes maple syrup and donates its profits to provide water for the Kenyan village, Kirindon, and helps buy plots of land for homeless AIDS victims.  You’re probably asking the same question that I am.  What does snowboarding and maple syrup have to do with Africa?  I love Hannah’s answer to this.  “I always felt like there was a lot that needs to be done in the world, and who better to do it than me?”  Exactly!  That is the same way she approached the Olympics and that seemed to work out pretty well for her so she kept spreading her positive energy around.  Hannah grew up in Vermont so making syrup is something that is special to her because she used to do it with her family, and she wanted to share this with others.  She also sells organic cotton/hemp sweat bands to help out bring clean water to Kirindon.  I’d say Hannah is shoo-in for the gold medal in charity work.  Other gold-medal winners like Clara Hughes and Joey Cheek have donated thousands of dollars to the organization Right To Play.  Every child has the right to play, and by jointing with RTP we can help make that a reality.  The power of sport and play for development, health, and peace can be used to help some of the most disadvantaged children in the world.  Sports are capable of bringing children from all backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities together to become active participants in society.  Real social change happens because these children are actively engaging in sports on a regular basis.  More than 700,000 children are a part of sports activities because of RTP.  Officially founded in 2003, RTP has helped countless children build self-esteem resist peer pressure, and learn how to communicate with others.  I wish I could give every one of those kids a gold medal, but they probably feel like they’ve already won.

Hannah’s Gold Products

Right To Play Donation

So here’s to you gold medal!  You’re that shiny prize that every athlete hopes to win every few years when the competition really counts.  We even keep a tally of all the medals each country has won during the Olympics.  It’s a big deal, I get that.  All I’m saying is that maybe the rest of us are pretty good at what we do as well.  Thanks for giving us the motivation to reach for our goals, and help somebody else reach theirs along the way. 

Week 50-The Golden Week, Day 5-Golden Girls

My girls!

Well, another birthday is officially in the books.  I had such an amazing day yesterday filled with love from so many wonderful friends near and far.  I got to do a little shopping, get dressed up, eat a yummy dinner, play some pool, and enjoy a few adult birthday beverages.  I also got lots of Facebook and text message love from those who were with me in spirit.  I was a tomboy growing up so it took me a little while to really appreciate good girlfriends.  Thankfully, I have some of the best ones a girl could ask for so it made the transition pretty easy.

There is no possible way that I could write about Golden Girls without mentioning the ever popular Betty White.  She is an avid supporter of PAWS/LA, which works to keep people and their pets together.  This is one charity that definitely stands out from the bunch.  PLA help low-income seniors and individuals with serious illnesses care for their pets.  Started back in 1989, PLA was founded in response to the companion animal crisis that faced those living in LA county who had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.  The cost financially and physically that this auto-immune disease took on the community left these innocent pets in need some love and attention.  Numerous studies have shown the mental and physical benefits that a pet adds to the life of its owner.  No one wants to give up their pet, and PLA does everything in their power to make sure no disease rips an animal from its master.  Betty is also on the board for the Morris Animal Foundation which envisions a healthier tomorrow for all animals.  You could say that Betty is a bit of an animal lover.  She even posed for the hilarious 2011 MAF calendar.  MAF is a world leader in advancing veterinary research that treats, protects, and cures animals all over the world.  Founded in 1948 by a veterinarian with a vision, MAF has funded more than 1,700 research projects which have led to many breakthroughs in the field of animal health.  MAF supports over 300 research projects every year at zoos, colleges of veterinary medicine, and research institutions.  No wonder the quintessential Golden Girl loves this charity!

Betty White goes all out for MAF

PAWS/LA Donation

Morris Animal Foundation Donation

So here’s to you Golden Girls!  The ones I love on the television screen and the ones I love in my life.  You’re there for me on the day of my birth, but more importantly, every other day of the year as well.  Another birthday has come and gone, but I know the Golden Girls in my life will be around till we’re old and gray.  Thank you for being a friend!

A golden night indeed

Week 38-Back to school, Day 2-Lipstick Jungle

One of my all time favorite things to buy before school starts every year is new makeup!  It’s a well-known rule that if you look good, you feel good, and you gotta feel good when you start back to school.  Clearly makeup is more of a priority for girls than boys, but boys still get to reap the benefits of how dang awesome we look.  I don’t think everyone needs to wear buckets of makeup on a daily basis, but a smoky eye or a flirty lip can brighten your entire day.  Real beauty radiates from the inside out, but putting a shiny new light bulb in the socket helps too.

Lately my go to source for fresh new makeup looks is none other than Mary Kay.  When we moved to WV in February I was reintroduced to the great products (and awesome consultants!) that MK offers, and I’ve never looked back.  I also love purchasing MK products because they are dedicated to ending domestic violence in women through The Mary Kay Foundation.  MKF just recently donated almost $4 million to help women and children from the sales of their Beauty That Counts creme lipsticks during 2008, 2009, and 2010.  MKF also observes National Domestic Violence Awareness Month every October by awarding grants to women’s domestic violence shelters across the United States.  Over 150 shelters in all 50 states received a total of $3 million last year alone.  Over the past three years as the economy has suffered, there has also been an increase in domestic violence and a decrease in the governmental funding for the shelters that help these victims.  I know, it doesn’t make any sense.  AIDS doesn’t make any sense to me either.  I mean, I understand that it’s a retrovirus and all that sciencey stuff, but the devastation it creates on a daily basis astounds me.  The MAC AIDS Fund supports those men, women, and children who are affected by HIV/AIDS.  Founded in 1994, every red cent of the Viva Glam lipstick and lipglass products are donated to the fund.  One little tube of lipstick translates into 1 rapid oral HIV test, or 233 male condoms, or 14 blood glucose monitoring ships, or a pair of shoes for a child orphaned by AIDS.  MAF helps celebrate how precious life is, and connects them to their passion of helping people of all ages, races, and gender affected by this life altering disease.  MAC has also used the faces of RuPaul, Pamela Anderson, and recently Lady Gaga to spread the word about their Viva Glam campaign.  They constantly prove that beauty changes lives.

The Mary Kay Foundation Donation

MAC AIDS Fund Donation

So here’s to you lipstick!  You’re just one little piece of the beauty puzzle that us women put on every morning.  You come in shades of fiery reds, natural nudes, and beachy corals.  You may come in a small package but you pack a big punch.  Thank you for making us look and feel good in more ways than we even realize.

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 25-Celebrity Apprentice, Day 4-La Toya Jackson

You may have heard about this family called the Jacksons.  They’re a pretty big deal.  La Toya has been at the front of the entertainment-driven family since she was a wee tot.  CA gave her the perfect opportunity to keep carrying on the charity work started by her late brother Michael.  She may be lumped in with her very famous family but La Toya has made a name for herself by having her own solo music career and a very infamous Playboy magazine appearance.  She may be the fifth of ten children but she was never one to hide in the crowd.  Usually I’m not a fan of people using their names to get where they want to be in life, but because La Toya wants to be in place that helps people, I’ll let her slide.

The charity that La Toya is playing for on CA is the AIDS Project Los Angeles.  This charity was close to her heart because Michael was such a big supporter before he passed away a couple of years ago, and she can honor his memory while she helps those in need.  La Toya has helped APLA by visiting with patients who have AIDS, bringing them food, and assisting them in any way she could.  APLA is dedicated to improving the lives of those with HIV/AIDS and reducing the incidence of this terrible auto-immune disease.  Founded back in 1982 APLA uses education to empower LA and realize there is nothing more important than protecting yourself.  Another great charity that is fighting back against the AIDS epidemic is Keep A Child Alive.  I actually found out about KACA because they started following me on Twitter!  I knew that week of blogging about social networks would pay off.  There are so many great things about KACA but I absolutely love their Daily Inspirations page.  It gives the public a place to see why they do what they do day-in and day-out.  KACA knows there is a profound difference between life and living.  They work in South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and India to save lives of innocent people by giving them anti-retroviral medication and endless care and support.  The best part is, you don’t have to go to any of those places to save a life.  You can just buy it.  Seriously, when you donate to KACA you are buying a life.  “Because the more  you buy, the more you save.”  Simple, inspiring, and powerful.  Amazing.

AIDS Project Los Angeles Donation

Keep A Child Alive Donation

So here’s to you La Toya Jackson!  You may or may not have had too many surgeries, but we all know that beauty is not only skin deep.  Your heart and your pocketbook are both made of gold, and you love to give of them both freely.  You and your brothers taught us ABC was as simple as 123, and tonight I’ve discovered that it is so simple for you because charity is number 1.

Week 23-Emotions, Day 5-Loved

loved past participle, past tense of love (Verb)

1. Feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone): “do you love me?”.

2. Like very much; find pleasure in: “I’d love a cup of tea”; “a fun-loving girl”.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!  Even though I’m not physically spending the day with my Mom she is always in my heart and on my mind.  I could not have dreamed of a better mother.  She taught me so many things that I will never be able to thank her enough for.  She taught me to be responsible, always do my best, and always treats others the way I want to be treated.  In all honestly I have learned a lot from all of the great women in my family.  My grandmothers, aunts, cousins, nieces, and sisters-in-law are all women I look up to in some way.  Even though I’m only a mother to children who have four legs and fur, I still feel so loved today because I know my Mom would do anything she could for me.  Thank you Mommy for being you, and having me.

It's true 🙂

Mothers are often the driving force behind the change that happens in a family.  Mothers4Children is a charity that unites a wide array of women for change, but it’s so much more than that too.  As a mother all you want is a better life for your children.  M4C is a sisterhood of women who are mothers, aunts, godmothers, daughters, and grandmothers that want and believe that ALL children deserve love and the best start in life possible.  M4C also seemed like a perfect charity for today because they were founded on love.  The love a mother has for her child is unconditional and the potential to harness that unwavering love to help transform the lives of children is both powerful and enduring.  Just think about a momma bear with her cubs.  Would you challenge her?  I didn’t think so.  Sometimes mothers have to help other mothers out.  Mothers2Mothers is a charity that helps prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and support the health of mother and child after both.  HIV can be transmitted during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding, but can be prevented with treatment.  M2M not only treats pregnant women with HIV in Africa, but they also teach them about being a new mother living with HIV.  They provided Mentor Mothers who work with new moms one-on-one and become role models in their community as they earn salaries to support their family.  M2M saves lives and empowers women at the time day.  Happy Mother’s Day indeed!

Mothers4Children Donation

Mothers2Mothers Donation

So here’s to you loved!  You are the feeling that warms our hearts and reassures our minds.  Lots of us feel this way because of our fabulous mothers!  They were the first people to really show us what it means to love without condition or trepidation.  You are the emotion that moves us to create holidays for the invaluable people in our lives.  Thank you for giving us another reason to honor the women who gave us life.

My Mom sent me this today! I feel so loved to know she is always thinking about me!

Week 22-California!, Day 4-Mercedes

image

Let’s just discuss all the incredibly awesome things that have happened to me in the past 24 hours.  I had my very first experience at Ruth’s Chris steak house, I bought some sweet new kicks, I got to hear some very funny stories, and I got to ride in the most pimp car I’ve been in ever.  This Mercedes has everything from the sweet rims to the blacked out windows so we truly felt like movie stars.  It also rides like an absolute dream.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever own a Mercedes at any point in my life but I sure am thankful that I had the chance to ride in one this week.  The people I get to ride around with are really what makes the experience unforgettable.

I don’t know how many of you out there watch America’s Next Top Model, but on the second season (or cycle as Tyra as coined it) there was a contestant named Mercedes who was also battling lupus.  Watching her tell the other girls that she had this autoimmune disease was really inspiring, and even today she continues to work the Lupus Foundation of America.  There are many kinds of lupus and it affects everyone a little differently and, like a lot of other autoimmune diseases,  it is treatable but there is still no cure.  Over 1.5 million people in America alone suffer from some form of lupus.  The research conducted by the LFA is vital in discovering the causes and potential cures for this terrible disease.  Another devastating autoimmune disease is HIV/AIDS.  A few years back, tons of celebrities came together to sign a Mercedes-Benz C350 to be auctioned off to benefit Nelson Mandela’s charity, 46664, which raises global awareness about HIV/AIDS.  The charity takes its name from the prison number Mandela was assigned during his incarceration in South Africa.  46664 utilized fun and unique events like live concerts and other music related events.  I’m sorry but if Nelson Mandela doesn’t inspire you to get out and change the world then nobody will.

Lupus Foundation of America Donation

46664 Donation

So here’s to you Mercedes!  You are the epitome of luxury and style.  You are loved by celebrities, professional athletes, and regular Joes.  You come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but you always deliver top of the line quality.  Thanks for showing me it’s great to have nice things, but they mean nothing if you can’t share them with people you love.

Week 10-Groups of tens, Day 6-Things I Hate About You

Nothing to hate about Heath...

Many of us first fell in love with Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You.  We all wanted to be Kat, aka Julia Stiles, and have a diamond in the rough kind of guy like Patrick, Mr. Heath Ledger, sing to us on the bleachers and buy us fancy guitars.  It has been just over three years ago since Ledger’s tragic death, and I am thankful to have experienced what he was capable of as an actor and a humanitarian.  I hate the way I don’t hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

Two bucks for a heart? That's a steal

Variety-The Children’s Charity has adopted the mission of improving the lives of children in local communities and around the world.  Ledger and his Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Glyllenhall shared this mission, and auctioned off a couple of their shirts from the screenplay for Variety.  Over 80 years ago a group of eleven men from the entertainment business gathered in Pittsburgh, PA (better luck next time Steelers) to discuss their newly formed charity to help children.  Today they have their Kids on the Go! program that helps families afford walkers, wheelchairs, specially-designed adaptive bikes, strollers, prosthetic limbs and other devices to help kids gain mobility and confidence.  You can also bear a heart of gold like Yogi starting next month.  Patrick used music to win Kat over, but Ledger believed that the power of music can educate young people about HIV/AIDS prevention.  Enter Lifebeat, the non-profit charity that was created nineteen years ago to bring awareness to a terrible disease through beats and lyrics, and some famous faces.  Britney Spears, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Jay-Z, Tina Turner, Ozzy Osbourne, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Moby, OutKast, Sarah McLachlan, and Destiny’s Child have all invited LB to be a part of their tours and distribute condoms, and life saving information about HIV/AIDS prevention and testing.  LB also harnesses the talents of singers to lift the spirits of those living with HIV or AIDS in New York City.  Even Jewel and LL Cool J have crooned for LB’s Hearts and Voices program.

Variety-The Children’s Charity Donation

Lifebeat Donation

So here’s to you things I hate about you!  You gave us a movie to watch again and again, and a beautiful boy to fall in love with over and over again.  You gave us a catchy poem that has it’s own web address so people who didn’t memorize the words from watching the movie can enjoy it as often as they like.  How do we love charities?  Let us count the ways!