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For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others. -- Audrey Hepburn
The key is to reach out and to act, in whatever way you can: donating, volunteering, changing, conserving or supporting in even the smallest way. We offer suggestions, some easy, some not. As a solo woman there's no better feeling than helping, and interacting with others, for a good cause. And there's no better time than now!
Scroll down to read all, or click on ... Animal Rescue Site ... Heifer International ... Greek Animal Crisis ... The Walter Reed Military Health Scandal ... Aiding the Iraqi People ... 5 Selfish Reasons to Give ...Consider This Before You Volunteer ... Sites to Find Volunteer Opportunities ... .Planning a Volunteer Vacation ... Responsible Tour Companies ... Breast Cancer Protection Act ... Help Women Overcome Poverty ... The 3 Trillion Dollar Virtual Shopping Spree: a Shocker ... Green Travel, Green Hotel Roundup ... Darfur: Genocide Crisis Remains! ... 10 Tips for Donating Wisely ... 7 Tips for Giving -- Online ... Drink Tap Water ... Protect Our Planet ... Problems in Haiti ... Helping Links ... Helping Ideas ... 10 Creative Kindnesses ... 5 Steps to Affect City Hall, Big Business, the Country, the World ... 5 Recycling Tips ... Warning About E-Mail Petitions ... Political Complaint? Here are the White House Phone Numbers
The AnimalRescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their web site daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals. It
Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising. Here's the web site! Pass it
Choose a gift from Heifer International for the green-minded client, the hard-
inside/out (www.theinsideandout.com), developers of "Humanitourism" trips that combine humanitarian project work with guided adventure travel, announces an assistance adventure trip to Greece in October 2008 to aid in the inhumane conditions that exist for dogs in Greece.
If you want to help, here are some places to start: (1) Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (www.saluteheroes.org), (2) the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (www.fallenheroesfund.org), (3) the Fisher Houses (www.fisherhouse.org) and (4) the Walter Reed Society (www.walterreedsociety.org). And Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund (www.thankmntroops.org).
Five years have passed since the beginning of the war in Iraq and the plight of the Iraqi people continues to worsen.
You can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness! -- Anne Frank
We solo women need to make the most of all our endeavors, including giving.
Meet Celebrities.Want to meet Robin Williams, Bruce Springsteen or Bill Clinton? Chances to shake hands with these and other notable people were recently auctioned off at two different charity Web sites. Be forewarned, these experiences don't come cheap.
Do Interesting Things. Charity Folks recently auctioned off a chance to shadow the elite Special Operations Division of the NYPD, watch the NBC Nightly News from the control room, or attend the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and a party with the super models. People with more modest budgets can get in on the fun as well. Aquariums and zoos offer special behind-the-scenes tours for donors, as do some museums.
Get Cool Stuff. Local charities often hold auctions for autographed merchandise from local professional athletes as a way to raise money. Sports not your thing? eBay's Giving Works auctions off a huge variety of items. Recent offerings include a Civil War bayonet and a hooded sweatshirt for a dog. Charitybuzz was recently offering teddy bears designed by celebs, such as 'My Name Is Earl' star Jaime Pressly.
Meet Interesting People. Charities are finding that people donate because of encouragement from friends and family. Sites such as Network for Good, which AOL helped found, bring together donors, volunteers and charities. Even smaller groups are looking to get people more involved through special events.
Feel Real Good. Believe it or not, donating to charity helps stimulate the regions of the brain associated with pleasure, according to a study published in the magazine Science by scientists and economists at the University of Oregon. Plus, it's the right thing to do.
Just type in your zipcode or city or state, for a list of charities. Or use the sites' advanced search options to zero in on a particular interest or cause. Volunteering is a great way for single women to meet others who give!
Consider joining a grassroots project team in one of the host communities now located all over the world. How rich a vacation! However hard you may work, the rewards are incalculable. The good you do ripples out, and new friends could last forever.
2. Global Citizens sends teams to partner with local grassroots organizations in a world-wide network of one-to-three-week immersions at U.S. and foreign sites. Work on libraries, help with business skills, build a clinic, plant trees… No special skills required, just a desire to help others. Call 800-644-9292 or www.globalcitizens.org
3. Volunteer for Peace, a huge program of international service for two and three-week programs in over 100 countries. Founded 1920, VFP aims to provide essential community services all over the planet -- actively and personally. Call 802-259-2759 or click on www.vfp.org.
Questions to Ask:
According to the Travel Industry Association, one-quarter of travelers say they are currently interested in taking a volunteer or service-based vacation. With this increase in interest, it's important to know how to pick the right volunteer opportunity. And as a solo traveler, this is an especially wonderful way to meet like-minded folks while doing good.
Many tour companies give responsible tourism lip-service, but only a few really do something about it. The companies that comprise Trusted Adventures Alliance have made responsible tourism practices a way of life. While others may treat it as a fad or trend, Trusted Adventures members see it as their social and environmental duty and obligation.
A bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the 'drive-through mastectomy' where women are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.
The world-hunger organization Heifer International has launched a $1 million fundraising campaign to support its WiLD (Women in Livestock Development) projects that have proven to be effective in helping women overcome poverty and injustice.
Get the word out about Darfur! Demand UN peacekeepers and a no-fly zone now! At this moment in Sudan, Africa, a genocide is taking place in the region called Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including women and children, have already been raped, maimed or slaughtered simply because of who they are! The grim situation is similar to the one in Rwanda a few years ago. To find out more, and to offer help, check out savedarfur.org.and genocideintervention.net
At a minimum, you can write your congresspeople, wear a green bracelet or place a lawn sign to help others become aware of this racially motivated disaster. Darfur is now a region of widows and despairing people, left to vegetate in dusty camps, with nothing left but hope that help from the outside world will finally come. Get on board with George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, and especially, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, who have been calling attention to this genocide in lieu of politicians. Act now, please!
A Heartbreaking Personal Message About the Darfur Spillover into Chad
by Mia Farrow
When I first came here in November 2006, I met Abdullah Idris Zaid, who was lying in the tiny Goz Beida hospital. It was a terrible month in eastern Chad. The Janjaweed, Darfur's government-backed Arab militias, joined with Chadian Arab tribes on a rampage of destruction; 60 villages were burned and scores of people were killed, raped, and mutilated. Mr. Zaid's eyes were gouged out by Janjaweed knives.
This month I found him in the Gouroukoum camp for displaced people. He is 27-years-old, a husband and a father. His four-year old daughter Boushra led him to the mat outside his hut and gently placed a cup of water in his hands. He told me that this is the third place they have sought refuge, and still he does not feel safe.
"They will come again," said Mr. Zaid. "They said, 'we do not want you black people here.' The Janjaweed come from Sudan. If the United Nations does not send troops into Sudan and stop them, then they will return."
Eastern Chad has been plunged into chaos and lawlessness. In border towns, pick-up trucks outfitted with machine guns and loaded with armed, uniformed men careen through the dusty streets. No one knows who they are: the army, Chadian rebels, bandits? It makes little difference to the victims of the escalating violence. For about $5 dollars (U.S.), anyone can get a uniform in the marketplace. As I passed through the town of Abeche, a U.N. refugee agency guard was murdered and two staffers severely wounded. About 100 humanitarian vehicles have been highjacked in the last year; aid workers have been robbed, beaten, abducted and killed.
Eight months ago, 40,000 Chadians had been displaced by Janjaweed attacks. Today the number is 175,000 and rising. People have fled from their burning villages and the fields that sustained them to squalid camps across Eastern Chad. "Mortality rates of children under five are double what is accepted as the threshold for an emergency," says Johanne Sekkenes, a Doctors Without Borders program director. "The situation here is massively deteriorating. The needs are huge. Assistance has been too little, and it comes too late."
There have been years of debate as to how the tide of violence engulfing the region can be stemmed. Until recently, the excuse for inaction was the steadfast resistance of the Sudanese government to U.N. peacekeeping presence. Sudan's recent consent to a limited force under African Union command comes in the wake of countless broken promises and falls far short of what is needed. Nonetheless, it leaves the onus squarely on other countries that have the power to contribute troops, but lack the political will to do so.
And so the cacophony of voices continues, deliberating as to whether and how a force should be dispatched, and who should contribute the resources and troops. No one seems to be listening to the most important voice of all -- that of the people of Darfur and Eastern Chad, ringing loud and clear from refugee camps across the region.
Oumda al Fatih, is the leader of 20,000 Darfurians at Goz Amir refugee camp. Between the camp and the Darfur border there is nothing but the ashes of destroyed villages. "Twice, Janjaweed from Sudan came here and attacked us," he told me. The refugees had fled these attackers before, but now they were far from home. With no idea where to find water in the unfamiliar desert, they did not even try to run. "We sat on the ground and we held our children and waited for two days. And we were thinking, 'No hopes for us. No hopes for us.'
"We are the ones being killed, tortured and raped. We are the ones who have lost everything. We are refugees with no freedom, no rights, not enough food, no fields; we are living in terror. We accept the U.N. troops. We are asking for help."
This is the voice of the people of Darfur and Eastern Chad. It calls urgently for an international force with the resources and mandate necessary to protect defenseless civilians and the aid workers who are struggling to sustain them. These desperate pleas are what we should be hearing and responding to -- urgently.
This piece first appeared in The Wall Street Journal.
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. -- Henry James
Here are some tips for safe and effective charitable giving online from networkforgood.org, the place to donate to and volunteer for charities.
by Gretchen Rubin
1. Walk a mile instead of driving. Walking means you're not adding gas fumes and rubber particles to the air, and at the same time, studies show, even a 10-minute walk lifts your mood and gives you a burst of energy.
2. Skip the bottled water. Fact is, there is no evidence that you need to drink eight glasses of water a day--this is a myth, folks! And you CERTAINLY don't need a fresh plastic bottle each time you want some water!
3. Pause before you buy anything. Do you really need that gadget or gizmo? One study suggests that the average household could cut back on 40 percent of housework by cutting back on clutter, which almost certainly would boost your happiness considerably. And by not buying, you save resources that would be spend in production, transportation, and disposal.
4. Buy a gas-efficient car. Because of the hedonic treadmill, you quickly adapt to changed circumstances. Although you may fall in love with a gas-hog in the showroom, once you've had the car for a while, you'll take it for granted--but stopping for gas is annoying every time.
5. Carpool. Unfortunately, a bad commute is something to which people never adjust; it's a pain every single day. Studies show that we enjoy activities more when we do them with other people, so carpooling is better for your happiness as well as for the environment.
6. Pick up other people's litter. Do good, feel good is a happiness truism that really is true. Act like a considerate citizen of the world, and you'll boost your self-esteem.
7. Work in your garden. Research suggests that working with soil may boost mood by strengthening your immune system and flooding your brain with serotonin.
PLUS: some of our ideas:
9 Use an environenmentally responsible bank Many are adopting programs to address global warming. and deforestation. Electonic banking frees you from paper clutter. And skip the receipts.
10. Buy green energy from your power company. From renewable sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, that leave a smaller footprint. You'll have better air to breathe and guilt-free usage.
11. Join in socially responsible investing. You can invest well and support companies that do well by the planet.
12. Get an energy-efficient mortgage. EEMs are part of a government program that encourages energy efficiency. You get a mortgage at a good rate, and in return make improvements to the home to increase efficiency and reduce pollution. The loans are insured by the government. The average EEM home emits two to four tons gewer greenhouse gases each year.You save cash and make your home easier to sell,
13. Green Your Communication. Many phone and Internet providers donate a portion of profits to green causes.( EcoISP.com, EarthTones.com, BetterWorld Telecom.com, to name a few). Rates are competitive.
This was an editorial in The New York Times.
On the streets of New York or Denver or San Mateo this summer, it seems the telltale cap of a water bottle is sticking out of every other satchel. Americans are increasingly thirsty for what is billed as the healthiest, and often most expensive, water on the grocery shelf. But this country has some of the best public water supplies in the world. Instead of consuming four billion gallons of water a year in individual-sized bottles, we need to start thinking about what all those bottles are doing to the planet’s health.
I think freedom is quite illusory. When I stop thinking about myself all the time and put other people before me on a regular basis, that's real freedom. -- Madonna
Here are the hard, dry facts: Yes, drinking water is a good thing, far better than buying soft drinks, or liquid candy, as nutritionists like to call it. And almost all municipal water in America is so good that nobody needs to import a single bottle from Italy or France or the Fiji Islands. Meanwhile, if you choose to get your recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, you could spend up to $1,400 annually. The same amount of tap water would cost about 49 cents.
Next, there’s the environment. Water bottles, like other containers, are made from natural gas and petroleum. The Earth Policy Institute in Washington has estimated that it takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the water bottles Americans use each year. That could fuel 100,000 cars a year instead. And, only about 23 percent of those bottles are recycled, in part because water bottles are often not included in local redemption plans that accept beer and soda cans. Add in the substantial amount of fuel used in transporting water, which is extremely heavy, and the impact on the environment is anything but refreshing.
Tap water may now be the equal of bottled water, but that could change. The more the wealthy opt out of drinking tap water, the less political support there will be for investing in maintaining America’s public water supply. That would be a serious loss. Access to cheap, clean water is basic to the nation’s health.
Some local governments have begun to fight back. Earlier this summer, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom prohibited his city’s departments and agencies from buying bottled water, noting that San Francisco water is “some of the most pristine on the planet.” Salt Lake City has issued a similar decree, and New York City recently began an advertising campaign that touted its water as “clean,” “zero sugar” and even “stain free.”
The real change, though, will come when millions of ordinary consumers realize that they can save money, and save the planet, by turning in their water bottles and turning on the tap.
Pump Up Properly inflated tires could improve gas mileage up to three percent. The average American who drives 12.thousand miles a year could save about 16 gallons of gas annually.
Lose the Phone Book You're probably using an online directory anyway. So call to stop delivery of your paper phone books. These books take up almost 10 percent of waste at dump sites.
Share For example, if just half of us shared our popcorn at the movies we could save the packaging for more than 2.5 billion quart-size servings.
Car Pool If the average commuter carpooled every day they would save 500 gallons of gas and 550 pounds of poisonous exhaust emissions every year.
Go Compact Replace burned out incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. If everyone in the US replaced just five bulbs, we'd keep one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of our air.
Forget the Receipt. If everyone in the US didn'tt take the ATM receipt, it would save a roll of paper more than two billion feet long, enough to circle the equator 15 times.
Stop Junk Mail Go to www.dmaconsumers.org/cgl/offmailinglist. Each year the average US household receives about 1.5 trees worth of junk mail. (It costs a buck, but well worth it.)
Don't Wash Your Own Car Commercial car washes use up to 100 gallons less water. If everyone who washed their own car used a professional car wash just once, up to 8.7 billion gallons of water could be saved -- soapy, polluted water diverted from rivers, lakes and streams.
Cool Down Use the warm-cold, or cold-cold cycles. If everyone in the US did it, it would save 100,000 barrels of oil a day.
Stay Home Work home at least part-time. Telecommuting saves almost two billion gallons of gasoline.
The key to living green is small gestures that might become habits "encouraging a new way of accepting responsibility for the well-being of our planet." -- Diane Keaton
Other Ideas When possible, live moderately; as we have precious supplies of natural resources. Skip the paper/plastic bags at the market. Bring a reusable string bag. Do errands in clumps, so you don't keep driving. Turn off faucets while brushing teeth. Set your thermostat at 72 or above when you use aircon; lower heat when you leave a room. Short of buying a hybrid car, you can unplug electrical appliances when you're not using them. Do fewer washes and dishwashes.
And, recycling is great, but pre-cycling is even better! Stop waste before it begins to avoid junk piling up and entering the waste stream:
Our earth is heating at an alarming rate according to almost all of the most noted world scientists. If you've seen the movie, or read An Inconvenient Truth, you'll know why. This is not a political issue, but a moral one. There are simple things we can do to slow it down. Fewer emissions. Less waste. Check out climatecrisis.net for more ideas. Do what you can, and be aware. And for more info, read thegreenbook.com.
Noting the importance of stability on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, the president of the Dominican Republic has urged international attention to the problems of Haiti, its neighbor.
What we make gives a living; what we give, makes a life. -- Arthur Ashe
Help with natural and wartime disasters, and those in need. If you want to contribute to crisis victims at home and around the world, here are several official websites where you can make a difference, no matter how small the donation:
...American Red Cross: www.redcross.org
...Changing the Present: (like a charity mall, with 33 causes): www.changingthepresent.org
...Humane Society of America: www.hsus.org
...Phones for Life (collecting used cellphones, reprogrammed for emergency use): www.phones4life.org
...Markmakers (geared to kids, whio can choose their cause): www.markmakers.org
...The Pajama Program (gathers new pjs): www.pajamaprogram.org
...Salvation Army: www.salvationarmyusa.org
To send funds and help in international crises, here is more info about the previous agencies and some others:
AMERICAN JEWISH WORLD SERVICE
AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE
CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS/RED CRESCENT
INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES
SAVE THE CHILDREN
U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
U.S. FUND FOR UNICEF
WORLD FOOD PROGRAM
Warning: Beware of unsolicited emails or calls. Go to the charity sites yourself before you contribute. To research a charity: www.guidestar.org
Everyone is guilty of the good [s]he doesn't do.-- Voltaire
If you don't act on these for yourselves, you can often donate in someone's name. Donations make great gifts! And pass these ideas along to other solo women!
Stop Torture. Join over two million others throughout the world in the Urgent Action Network. Free prisoners of conscience and others threatened with torture or death. amnestyusa.org
Provide Clean Water. The charity has raised almost two million dollars and helped more than 800,000 people in 27 countries. Money goes to building protected wells and other water-related projects in some of the most remote areas of the globe, assisted by The Scientific Exploration Society. justadrop.com
Help the Neediest. For 97 years people have been contributing to The Neediest Cases Fund, administered by The New York Times Company Foundation, which raises millions of dollars to help thousands of individuals and families in distress. The assistance is rendered by seven NYC social service agencies.The Times pays the Fund's expenses, so all contributions go directly to provide services and cash assistance to the poor .nycharities.org/neediest
Supply School Needs. Pencils, books, field trips for public schools in need. Purchase a gift certificate for any amount, and the recipient will select the project to donate to.donorschoose.org
Offer Mercy. Select from more than 20 "Mercy Kits" aid packages ($20-$1k) that support such causes as Hurricane Katrina and African refugees. mercycorps.org
Install a Toilet. Or part of one. Donate at least $10 for a low-flow toilet for Habitat for Humanity homebuilders (or join a team to build!).habitat.org
Plant a Tree. For $6 and up you can plant a tree in your honor, or a recipient's. arborday.org
Donate Organs. People are dying every day for lack of organs needed for transplant. Someday it may be you or a loved one. One person's death can provide organs for up to eight people. If you want to donate organs after your death, be sure to tell your loved ones that you wish to become a donor. Mark it on your driver's license. And check out shareyourlife.org
Provide a Micro Loan. Almost 100 percent of these tiny loans to third-world countries, have been repaid! Even $25 can help a peanut butter vendor in Africa or a sandal maker in India. The loans have added up to over 10 million dollars, one by one. Oprah and President Clinton support it. kiva.com (see also, SixDegrees.org, and DonorsChoose.org.)
Light the Night. Celebrate and commemorate more than 712 thousand lives touched by leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Walk in twilight holding illuminated balloons --white for survivors, red for supporters. Start your own team. Raise money and join the celebration. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society funds lifesaving research, patient information and support. lighthenight.org
Save a Mother. The U.N. Population Fund has a maternal health program but it’s difficult to expand, because President Bush has cut U.S. funding for the population fund — even for African programs — because of false allegations that it supports abortions in China. Two women have tried to recoup American honor by starting a group to make up the shortfall with private donations.The idea behind this project is to ask 34 million Americans to donate at least $1 and in turn, send a message that Americans support the program. UNFPA helps the most vulnerable women in the world plan their families, give birth safely, and protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. It promotes the rights of women by encouraging equal access to food, education, and healthcare. UNFPA works worldwide to eliminate gender-based violence including female genital cutting and rape used as weapons of war .www.americansforunfpa.org.
Give a Smile. Millions of children in developing countries suffer with cleft lip and palate, condemned to a lifetime of malnutrition, shame and isolation. The Smile Train empowers local surgeons to give these kids a new smile, and a new life. 100% of your donation goes toward programs. Contact www.smiletrain.org
Teach English. Mukhtar Mai, the famed Pakistani anti-rape activist welcomes American volunteers to teach English in the schools she has started. You would have to commit to staying six weeks or more, but would get free housing in her village. You can apply by contacting www.4anaa.org
Also, New Light, is a terrific anti-trafficking organization in Calcutta. Urmi Basu, who runs it, welcomes American volunteers to teach English classes to the children of prostitutes. You would have to stay at least six weeks and budget $15 a day for food and lodging; for more information go to www.uddami.org/newlight.
Race for the Cure. Walk. Get inspired. Get involved. Join more than a million participants worldwide -- and make a difference against breast cancer. Find a Komen Race for the Cure® event near you. www.komen.org/ Also, Paper Bride and Paper Mama will be donating 15% of all purchases made through their Web sites (www.paperbride.com and www.papermama.com) to breast cancer research (Susan G Komen foundation and others).
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not. -- Dr. Seuss____________________________________________________________
Support our Soldiers. Whatever you may feel about the political situation, visit www.americasupportsyou.mil a U.S. military web site, to email messages of thanks to our brave troops (click on Show Your Support on their Web site toolbar for the email form). This site offers "America Supports You" dog-tags which you can order, free of charge, for your kids. The US Postal web site provides mailing tips and support suggestions, www.usps.com/supportingourtroops/, and many girl-scout troops seek donations for overseas armed forces care packages.
Load a Bag with Groceries. For a food pantry (www.secondharvest.org www.worldhungeryear.org), a battered-women's shelter (http://batteredwomenshelters.com), or a central drop-off for a local pantry. Consider donating a few hours at a soup kitchen.
Offer Sight. The Lion's Club seeks discarded eyeglasses to match with people who otherwise cannot afford or obtain needed eyeglasses www.lionsclub.org Or, donate your used glasses to a LensCrafters, Pearle Vision store, or Sunglass Hut. The Gift of Sight Foundation provides free eye care and eyewear worldwide, and matches up glasses to the right pair of peepers.
Donate Blood. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) Want to know more about what to expect? View the online info: .www.redcross.org/donate/give/
Buy a Cow. Or a sheep, or part of a goat, or a flock of chickens, and such. www.heifer.org helps villagers in need. And those who receive help pledge to provide for others (eggs, lambs, rabbits and so forth). The Heifer Fund is a respected charity which offers a fun way to make a difference; great for children who can choose the animal (s) they want to contribute.
Have a Heart. Support the American Heart Association, which helps fund research to find cures for the number one cause of death among all ladies -- solo or not. Enroll in You're the Cure to send a message directly to your lawmakers to ask them to support the HEART for Women Act. www.americanheart.org
Offer Basic Supplies and Books. Contact The Virginia Literacy Foundation, www.networkforgood.org, www.aelweb.vcu.edu, to see how your family can help. In New York, Project Cicero conducts annual book drives for its city schools (www.projectcicero.org), and in Georgia contact www.children.org.
Host a Potluck Meal. And donate the money you save on a restaurant bill to Dining for Women (www.diningforwomen.org), which raises money for charities dedicated to making life easier for impoverished women -- every cent goes to groups like Habitat for Humanity and Women for Women International.
And..."That best portion of a good ... life; ... little, nameless, unremembered acts Of kindness and of love. -- " William Wordsworth________________________________________________________________
Be Thoughtful. Allow cars into your traffic line. Give up your seat to the disabled and pregnant women. Let others go ahead in an elevator. Open doors for people. Lend a hand to a person who can't lift their luggage. Say "Thank you" often. Write a personal note instead of email, once in a while. Speak to all people with respect. These and other simple kindnesses add up. They help others in simple yet meaningful ways, and help you to feel good about yourself.
Think about ways to surprise others. As a single woman, even small gestures make a big difference. Here are some examples to adapt and expand on.
-- When someone is celebrating at a restaurant, call ahead to pay for wine or dessert.
-- Jot down one special thing each day about someone you love. Present them the list of 365 things when you finish the year. (Best for birthdays, end-of-year holidays.)
-- Bring homemade cookies to your local fire or police station, or to schools or places where people have been helpful. (Take along your kids!)
-- List shops and services for new neighbors.
-- Send a thank-you note to a favorite teacher. (The school office or the Internet will help find that teacher.)
-- Invite other singles to holiday festivities.
-- Carry a bag to pick up litter while walking.
-- While commuting, offer your newspaper to another, rather than tossing it.
-- On a rainy day, carry an extra, inexpensive, small umbrella to offer someone stranded.
-- Drop old magazines and books at a local women's shelter.
Add 10 more creative kindnesses that you can think of, and adapt into your life.
Here's an example...
In Perkins Coie’s Chicago office, members of the law firm’s “happiness committee” left candied apples on everyone’s desks. The previous month, the happiness committee surprised lawyers, paralegals and assistants in the Washington office with milkshakes from a local Potbelly Sandwich Works, a favorite lunch spot.
“That’s the whole beauty of it all — it’s random acts of kindness,” said Lori Anger, client relations manager of Perkins Coie, which is based in Seattle. “We have pretty strict hours, so it’s a nice way to surprise people.”
You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. - Lee Iacocca
You don't have to be Bill Gates or have access to a president to make a difference. As a solo woman you can affect a community issue, battle a major company, impact the country, change the world in even a tiny way. Just act, and start with these basic steps which apply to changes big and small:
1- Formulate a plan
for City Hall: Develop a realistic solution.
for Big Business: See if other groups are already working on your issue, and how other corporations have responded. (see corpwatch.org)
for the Nation: Ask experts.
for the World: Donate money if it seems to daunting. (Check with guidestar.org to check out fiscal practices.)
2- Create partnerships
CH: Don't rule out people whose motives might differ from yours.
BB: Think beyond consumer watchdog groups.
N: Groups you can work with probably already exist; check them out.
W: Contact a non-profit with a presence in the place the problem exists.
CH: Determine who needs to be convinced, and go as high as you can.
BB: Prepare an argument.
N: For every letter, politicians figure 25-50 people feel the same way.
W: See if your congresspeople are on the Budget or Foreign Relations Committees: gpoaccess.gov
4- Build awareness
CH: Contact reporters in local media -- tv, papers.
BB: Compose a statement of your views.
N: Be useful to journalists on the scene, with photo ops and sound bites.
W: Explain your personal connection to the issue, be brief (less than 200 words) and compelling.
CH: Handouts, demonstrations, info booths -- get seen and heard.
BB: Hit where it hurts: the brand image.
N: Take it to the Supreme Court. We all can.(check out supremecourtus.gov for instructions).
W: Protest, but aim to be diplomatic.
1. Old cell phones and batteries. I work with the non-profit Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), which has collection boxes all over the United States in stores like Best Buy, Lowe's and Radio Shack collecting old cell phones. This is really the best place to donate your phones. Lots of people think they can donate their old phones to be reprogrammed to call 9-1-1 to help domestic violence victims. Maybe 10 years ago---when cell phones were astronomically expensive---it was a good idea. But, today, it's really not the case, with cell phone companies giving away phones. The greenest and best choice is to recycle them. RBRC collected, sorts and recycles them into new metal products. And if you have old rechargeable batteries that no longer charge up (they're found in cordless products like power tools, a Blackberry, a cordless phone), you can toss them into the recycling box for free, too. www.rbrc.org.
2. Eyeglasses. Maybe you had Lasik surgery. Or you just have lots of old eyeglasses you can't part with. Well, you can give someone else less fortunate the gift of sight by donating your old eyeglasses. Bring them to any Lenscrafters store and they'll clean, fix, and retrofit them to give eyeglasses to people in need all over the world. www.lenscrafters.com
3. A burnt-out compact fluorescent bulb. We all know CFL bulbs are good for the environment since they use a fraction of the energy than an incandescent bulb and last up to eight times longer. But they do eventually burn out. And because there is tiny amount of mercury in the CFL bulb, it's not a good idea to toss them away in the trash. Just save them up and bring them to Ikea. You'll usually find a recycling box near the Customer Return section. Just drop 'em off and go. www.ikea.com
4. Brita water filters. Weird, I know. But I know lots of people who save these water cleaning filters. And it's a good thing they do: these filters actually work, removing mercury, chlorine, lead and other nasty chemicals out of your water. So after cleaning your tap water for two months, these little carbon filers become tiny, toxic bombs. Throwing them away in the trash just re-contaminates the ground with all those chemicals. So save them up and visit earth911.org to find a local household hazardous waste drop-off site. Maybe it a twice-a-year habit to bring all your HHW items like paint and smelly cleaning products to be safely disposed of.
5. Junk Mail Revenge. Even with all the "do not mail" lists out there, junk mail still finds a way into mailboxes and lots of it gets stashed into the junk drawer for review later. And then most people just throw it away. I like to get revenge of the postal spammers. In most junk mail, you'll find a postage paid business reply envelope. This is provided for people who actually sign up for whatever product their hawking. Instead of signing up, stuff that envelope back with all the paper--the original envelope, letter, paperwork---they sent you. Seal it up and mail it. Not only will they get the junk mail back, but they'll have to cover the return postage cost for it. If enough people did this, I truly believe junk mail would stop.
Almost all e-mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all this type of e-mail is, is to get names and "cookie" tracking info for telemarketers and spammers to validate active e-mail accounts for their own purposes.
When you see an e-mail that says "forward this on to ten of your friends," sign this petition, or you'll get bad luck, or whatever, it has either an e-mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and e-mails of those folks you forward to, or the host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of "active" e-mails to use in spam e-mails, or sell to others that do.
If you forward this notice to others, you'll be providing a good service to your friends, and you will be rewarded by not getting 30,000 spam e-mails in the future.
Check it out: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/petition/internet.htm
The offices are taken from the White House site, and the numbers are formatted like so: 1-202-555-1212 / 1-202-555-1212, where the first number is via internet search, and the second, italic number is from the Directory.
Be polite and concise.
The offices included in the Executive Office of the President:
Council of Economic Advisers: (202) 456-1414 / (202) 395-5084
The offices included in the White House Office:
Domestic Policy Council: (202) 456-1111 / (202) 456-5594
And the Vice Presidential Entity, whatever branch he ends up in:
Dick Cheney: (202) 456-9000 / (202) 456-1414
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