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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Color A Smile

Imagination is more important than knowledge. ~Albert Einstein

Color A Smile

One of my favorite things that my daughter has brought home from school is a journal.  It was actually a series of drawings that showed her memories throughout the year.  A child’s drawing can put a smile on your face and warm your heart.  Today’s organization is spreading smiles through art.

In 1986, Jerry Harris was visiting a friend when he noticed how cheerful their refrigerator door looked with all the colorful artwork from their children.  Jerry’s children were not yet old enough to draw, but he realized how a cheerful drawing can make people smile and brighten their day.  A schoolteacher friend agreed to have her class draw the first batch of pictures to distribute to seniors, adults who live alone, shut-ins and anyone else who wanted them and Color A Smile was born.

The mission of Color A Smile is to provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to experience the rewards of volunteering.  Their main program is collecting crayon drawings from school children to distribute to senior citizens and active military personal overseas.  They are based in Morristown New Jersey, but they receive drawings from every one of the United States and even a few other countries.

Color A Smile

Jerry Harris told me in an e-mail that they receive thank you letters every day from people who receive drawings from the program.  “People say how the drawings make them smile and remind them that someone is thinking about them and took the time to send them a cheerful greeting.”  They have boxes of cards and letters full of thanks and encouraging the organization to keep sending more drawings.  In addition, many parents, teachers, and scout leaders thank them for a program that allows young children to participate and learn the joy of volunteering.  Kids who participate in the program learn that they can help someone else by using the skills and resources available to them in their own home and school.

Since starting in 1986, Color A Smile has sent over one million drawings.  They are proud to have sent drawings to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as thousands of seniors in the United States.  Color A Smile provides a unique opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to make a difference.  Jerry Harris states, “Everyone can help us to spread smiles as long as they like to create cheerful colorful drawings.”

How can you help?

  • Anyone can color a cheerful drawing for Color A Smile to distribute.  Simply go to colorasmile.org to download pages to color.  Then simply mail your completed drawings to the address listed here.
  • You can also nominate someone to receive drawings or request to receive a group of drawings each month for a nursing home on their website.
  • You can also spread cheer by sharing the monthly masterpieces that Color A Smile posts on their website.
  • You can also send a monetary donation to Color A Smile at PO Box 1516, Morristown NJ 07962-1516.

You can learn more about Color A Smile on their website, ColorASmile.org.  You can also contact the founder, Jerry Harris, directly at jerryharris@colorasmile.org or 973-540-9222.

 CAS2

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Family-to-Family

Family-to-Family

Many families look for ways that they can give as a family.  Giving provides teachable moments for children to learn about generosity and gratefulness.  I wrote about one organization called Doing Good Together that offers many suggestions.  Today’s organization provides direct connections between families who wish to give and families that have a need.

In the fall of 2002, the New York Times ran a series of articles on poverty in the United States.  One article featured stories of poverty from Pembroke, Illinois where “some still live in crumbling shacks with caked-dirt floors and no running water.”  The article went on with other staggering statistics such as 98% of their school children qualify for free lunch and the average per capita income was less than half the national average.

Pam Koner, a mom and entrepreneur living in Westchester, New York, read that article and felt compelled to help.  She contacted an outreach worker in Pembroke to share her idea of linking families she knew with the neediest families in Pembroke.  She was given the names of seventeen families and then convinced sixteen friends and neighbors to help.  They began sending monthly boxes of food and letters – one family linked to another family.  The seventeen families quickly grew to 60 families, then after a flurry of media attention, they grew to 900 families linked across the United States.  The Family-to-Family organization was born.

They currently help approximately 2,000 moms, dads and kids in 22 communities across the United States.  Families sponsored through the program continue to be identified by local outreach partners who have specific knowledge of the needs of families in their communities.

Learn about the founding of Family-to-Family directly from founder Pam Koner in the following video:

The mission of Family-to-Family is to alleviate suffering, one American family at a time.  They started by providing groceries to supply seven dinner type meals for a family of five, but have expanded to help families in need in a variety of ways including sponsoring meals for families, a variety of literacy projects, donating seeds to a family to grow their own garden, and much more.

Learn about a recent addition to their program offerings where children in need are enabled to help other children in need to learn how it feels to give to others in the video below.

 

How can you help?

Family-to-Family offers a variety of opportunities to get involved.

  • You can sponsor a family.  They have multiple options on their website including packing and shipping your own sponsorship or sponsoring a family though an online donation.
  • Give a child in need a birthday party including a gift, decorations, and a cake through the Birthday Giving Project.
  • Give the gift of books through their Books for Life or One Book at a Time program.
  • Help a family build their own garden by donating seeds to one of the Family-to-Family community partners.
  • Help children with less learn how it feels to give by supporting the Giving Works program.
  • Monetary donations can be made on their website.  These donations help purchase food for families who are not currently sponsored, expand to additional communities, or general operating expenses.
  • Explore the Family-to-Family website to find additional opportunities to help.
  • You can also watch this video to see how you can help.
  • You can also help by spreading the word.  You can share this post using the share buttons below to encourage others to make a difference.

You can learn more about Family-to-Family on their website, family-to-family.org.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Operation Paperback

Operation Paperback

I have always enjoyed reading.  I take advantage of borrowing books from the library and I am a sucker for a used book sale.  Today’s organization is helping provide books to those in the military who are deployed far from libraries and book sales.

In 1999, Chief Master Sergeant Rick Honeywell was deployed to a base in the Middle East without access to much in the way of relaxation or entertainment.  Dan M. Bowers, Rick’s father-in-law, decided to help him out.  He sent over 800 paperback books to Rick, creating the first Operation Paperback library overseas.  Rick’s wife, Chrissy Honeywell, thought this was a one-time occurrence, but her dad had a larger mission in mind.  Dan put stickers in the books to let the troops know how to write and request books.  He also started looking for other locations which needed books.  This was the founding of Operation Paperback.

The mission of Operation Paperback is to provide reading material to any military who requests it.  Their original mission was to support deployed troops who were in locations without access to reading material or other entertainment, but today many overseas locations have libraries of paperback books due to the 14 years of help from volunteers.  So, their mission has been expanded to reach veterans hospitals as well as individual veterans and military families in the United States and abroad.

The Operation Paperback is incorporated in Pennsylvania and their administrative location is in the Boston area, but they have individual and group volunteers spread across the United States.

Each volunteer or group of volunteers collects, labels, packs and sends their books directly to a troops, veterans, or military families.  Many thank you notes are sent directly back from the military directly to the volunteers.  This personal connection is what makes Operation Paperback unique according to current administrator, Chrissy Honeywell.  You can see examples of the thank you notes sent from troops on their website.

In 2012, Operation Paperback had 16,000 volunteers and sent 20,000 books per month.  Since their founding in 1999, volunteers have shipped almost two million books to troops, veterans, and military families.  Occasionally, the organization sends special requests to their volunteers.  For the past several months, they have been supporting a Behavioral Health Unit in a veteran’s hospital with self-help books and other personal care items.  This special project has helped young warriors dealing with post-traumatic stress and other personal issues.

How can you help? 

  • Anyone can participate by becoming a volunteer shipper.  Once you have registered with Operation Paperback, you can use their website to determine who could use the books you have.  Then you label and pack the books, include a letter and ship the box.  You can send a single shipment or several, it is up to you.  Learn more and sign up here.
  • You can also make monetary donations to help support the program including website costs and special requests.  Learn more and make a donation on their website.
  • You can also help by spreading the word.  Simply share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, etc. using the options at the bottom of the post.

To learn more about Operation Paperback, please visit their website operationpaperback.org.  You can also follow them on Facebook.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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The Jumbo Foundation Elephant Orphanage

The Jumbo Foundation Elephant Orphanage

This week is my daughter’s birthday so I felt compelled to write about an animal organization since my daughter loves animals.  At a festival one summer, I rode an elephant with my daughter.  We got on to the saddle and held on for a short ride in a circle.  Just before the end of the ride, we passed the other elephant, who reached his trunk into the air and wiped it against my arm.  My daughter still tells the story of the time an elephant wiped his nose on her mommy.  Today’s organization is making a difference for these large creatures.

Jenny Webb has always loved animals and she has been rescuing animals since she was a child.  In recent years, she volunteered at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, an organization that works toward releasing injured wild animals, especially primates, back into the wild.  Jenny has also brought injured animals to their facility to be nursed back to health.

In February 2012 she received a call from a friend to say there was a four day old elephant calf that had been orphaned and was in desperate need of care.  No facilities in Malawi were able to take care of this little elephant due to the high level of care he required, the cost, and the small chance of success, so Jenny agreed to take the elephant, named Moses, herself.  Due to this one orphaned baby elephant and the absence of facilities in the country to take are of large orphaned or injured wildlife led her to form the Jumbo Foundation Elephant Orphanage.  Larger animals including elephants, rhinos, buffalo, and hippos require more funds to rehabilitate, very personalized care, and a quiet stress free environment.

Moses spent his nights in Jenny’s home sleeping on her floor and his days in the garden area of the property with either Jenny or his two keepers, Matimat and Jim.  Baby elephants cannot be left alone because they require bottle feedings every two hours and require warmth and protection from the sun that a mother elephant would typically provide for the first year of their life.  Unfortunately, Moses died after living with them for nine months.  You can read posts about Moses on the organization’s blog or watch a video here (note that some videos contain some graphic images).

The Jumbo Foundation Elephant Orphanage’s mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and return to the wild orphaned and injured large wild animals.  They are located outside of Lilongwe, Malawi in Central Africa.  They have also built up a close working relationship with other elephant orphanages in Zambia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe to share knowledge of animal husbandry, milk formulas, veterinary care, and more.  They also have close working relationships with highly acclaimed wildlife vets in Zambia, Kenya and the United States who are on call 24 hours a day for veterinary advice.

If elephant poaching continues at the same rate as 2011, wild elephants will become extinct within 12 to 15 years.  Elephants are emotional creatures and when babies are left to die in the bush, it results in a very traumatic and terrifying death.  You can learn more about elephants and their emotions on The Jumbo Foundation website or from the Unforgettable Elephants documentary from Nature.

Elephant with Ball

Volunteering with orphaned elephants is not recommended since they form strong emotional bonds with their keepers.  Also, the elephants need to retain their natural fear of humans to ensure they will still run away from poachers.  However, you can still help.

  • You can find options to make a monetary donation on the Jumbo Foundation website.
  • You can also find a wish list on their website of other items they need for the care of the animals or for the building of their new barn.
  • You can purchase art of Moses the elephant to help support their program.

To learn more about The Jumbo Foundation, please visit their website, jumbofoundation.com.  You can also connect with them on Facebook.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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