Posts Tagged ‘Children’

 

  

It’s not over. It won’t be over for years. The nightmare in Haiti continues with lack of services, food, medical care and shelter. Yes,  relief is coming and much has been distributed on behalf of the caring world, but it’s not over. What about tomorrow, or the next day, next week, next month or even next year? The country of Haiti was devastated and the city of  Port-au-Prince was destroyed in one day, but it will take years to rebuild and revitalize that country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am sure that all of us have seen or experienced devastation. Our own country over the years has suffered national disasters that we would not want repeated. In Haiti devastation and extreme loss of life and suffering is being experienced by both young and old, rich and poor. 

            We ask ourselves, “What can I do?” Often we see reports of devastation from the constant barrage of newscasts that surround us. What has happened recently in Haiti is no different. We try to escape it. We occupy our thoughts with other things and the mundane of life, but in the back of our minds we know there is suffering everywhere.

            What can I do? I can’t go. I can’t help. I can’t assist in the search for lost people. But not being there does not mean you cannot help. We have all known someone who has suffered the loss of a loved one or known someone who has been devastated by disaster. Sometimes we are at a loss for words as to what we should say to that person to comfort them because we really do not know what they are going through. But you know what that person will remember without you saying a word? It is your embrace! I cannot go to Haiti. I cannot be there to help. I watch the news reports and say to myself, “Do something!” I cannot physically be there, but I can do something.

            I can give money, offer prayers, and assist in packaging up goods and food that will be taken there by others. I can do something! All of us together can “hug” that country. We can “embrace” those who are suffering with whatever we can contribute.

            I can help. I can make a difference! You do not have to stand on the sidelines and not get into the game. All of us can do something. All of us can make a difference. Please start today. (Please check out to the best of your ability, the charity you are contributing to so that your money is really being used for the cause.) Check out any organization at sites for the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org); the Foundation Center (http://foundationcenter.org), or Charity Navigator (www.CharityNavigator.org). Don’t use Web sites that ask for detailed personal information, such as your Social Security number, birthdate or bank account and pin information.

            Find a way to donate money to Haiti. Join a group, church or synagogue that is packaging up food, clothing, and personal hygiene packages to be sent to the needy and suffering people of Haiti. There are groups forming all over this country who are packaging up goods, food, water and clothing that will be shipped to Haiti.

            There has been extreme loss of life, loss of family, monetary means of support and that will continue for weeks and months and years as the country gets rebuilt. Who is going to do that? You are! All of us together can make a difference that will last for generations to come. Do something today! Please.

Please do not forget about Haiti and the massive needs of the people.
 
Find a way to help through a  legitimate charity, your church or synagogue to make a difference today.
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31 Days

This is a wonderful time of the year. But too often we forget what the season is all about and forget about those around us. We are in such a hurry to get everything done that we do not take the time to really connect with people. We need to take the time to notice people, children, co-workers, pets, the elderly, military families and the homeless. Think about what you can do for the next 31 days. Try it and see what happens. If these ideas do not fit your lifestyle, start your own list and make a difference starting today.

 

I’ve created my list for December and here is what I will strive to do each day this month. Starting today!

DECEMBER :

  1. Start the month with optimism as we enter a wonderful time of the year. Decide within yourself to make a difference.
  2. If there is someone at work who you know is struggling, take a few moments to encourage them and let them know how important they are to the company.
  3. Visit a homeless shelter. Take groceries and clothing to help someone in need.
  4. Take a friend to lunch to let them know how important they are to you and how much you value their friendship.
  5. Visit an animal shelter. Adopt a pet, or donate supplies to provide a better life for the animals there.
  6. Perform one random act of kindness for someone you come in contact with. Open a door, yield in traffic, give a compliment, etc. You know you can do it.
  7. Begin the work week with a positive attitude and despite a troubled economy that affects business and family, make a determined effort to make a difference at work.
  8. Be polite and cordial to everyone you meet, no matter what.
  9. Make a real effort before a family dinner to look around the table and tell everyone in your life how important they are to you.
  10. Do something for the environment today. Think about it carefully and find something that will make a difference. Think green all day!
  11. At lunch today, give something extra to your server and put a smile on their face.
  12. Call a friend that you have not spoken to for a while to reconnect and get caught up on each other’s lives.
  13. Take time to share with your kids how much they mean to you and how blessed you are to be their parent.
  14. If you see any military personnel at lunch today, consider picking up their tab.
  15. Tell your spouse how much you love and adore them and spend time reconnecting.
  16. Visit an elderly person you know and see what they may need or what you can do for them today.
  17. At your next dinner party give everyone paper and pen and let each write down what they are thankful for. Put them in a binder and leave out for all to read.
  18. Find a needy family and bring them a Christmas tree with all the trimmings and food for the holidays.
  19. Donate blood to your local blood bank today.
  20. Visit your local food pantry and ask them what they are in need of and then do whatever you can to meet that need.
  21. Call an estranged family member and apologize, even if it was not your fault.
  22. Call your parents just to talk and thank them for all they have done for you. If your parents are not still alive, then call an elderly person who may need to hear from you.
  23. If you have a grandchild, spend the day with them. Take the time to get to know them and let them bond with you.
  24. Call every family member you can to wish them a happy holiday and let them know how important they are to you.
  25. Be blessed and bless someone else today. Be grateful and thankful all day.
  26. Be positive all day. No complaining, no matter what. Even if you’re fighting crowds to return a gift.
  27. Donate clothes, toys or anything extra you may have after Christmas as there are many needs yet to be met.
  28. Take a walk and reflect on the beauty of this world. Spend some quiet time and enjoy everything around you.
  29. Read a book or write notes of encouragement to friends and family for the New Year.
  30. Think of some wonderful act of kindness someone bestowed upon you and look for opportunities to do the same for someone else.
  31. Plan your 2010 year of giving. Donate to your favorite charity and consider what you plan to do this New Year to make a difference in someone’s life.

I hope that I will be successful with my list and I will make every effort to do so.

Please make your own list and please share with me what you may be doing to make a difference over the next 31 days. I would love to hear from you and share with others what you are doing. Write me and good luck!

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Do you have children? Grandchildren? Niece or nephew? Maybe you’ve bonded with some of the neighborhood kids. Just for a moment, think about a time when you enjoyed a special connection with a child that you’re close to. Maybe it was at a ballgame, or during the holidays, or just playing hopscotch on the sidewalk with the kids on your street. Think about that special time and hold that thought while you read this:

“Most kids are lured into sex slavery because they do not know the deceptive tactics of traffickers. They really think they will be models or Israel 5waitresses. Their parents buy the lies of traffickers.

“‘Just sign here,’ they tell the parents, who never see their daughters again.

“What if we could warn children and their parents ahead of time? What if we could teach them about the lies traffickers use – and how to stand up against them?

“The rate of trafficking would drop and millions of kids would be saved from ever entering the dark world of trafficking.” Excerpt from “The Born2Fly Project” brochure.

Wow. So now, thinking about that special child in your life, what would you do to make sure they are safe from a fate that enslaves 100,000 children in the U.S. today? A trafficker will pay about $300 for a child. What would you do to keep your child — or any child — out of the hands of traffickers? Read on. You’ll find out that safety is not nearly that difficult or expensive.

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10 Questions with Diana Scimone, director of Born2Fly

Diana Scimone

1. Tell me about your business, charity or cause.

The Born to Fly Project works to stop child trafficking, both globally and locally.  Each year more than a million kids are lured into modern-day slavery where they’re raped for profit 30 or 40 times a night—night after night. Some of them are just 4 years old. Many are right in the U.S.

Most kids are lured into sex slavery because they don’t know the deceptive tactics of traffickers. What if we could warn children and their parents ahead of time? What if we could teach them about the lies traffickers use—and how to stand up against them? The rate of trafficking would drop and millions of kids would never enter the dark world of trafficking.

That’s what the Born to Fly Project is all about: educating kids and their parents about the dangers of trafficking, with the ultimate goal of ending it. The centerpiece is a wordless book that teaches kids to make wise choices—wordless so we don’t have to translate it into hundreds of languages. A companion curriculum will reinforce the important concepts in the book.

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Right now the artist Leah Wiedemer is finishing illustrations for the wordless book, and I’m working on the curriculum.  This fall we’ll scan all Leah’s illustrations, and a designer will do the layout. Then we’ll be ready to print…and finally distribute!

2. What keeps you up at night?

Ideas! I’m definitely an idea person, and sometimes it’s hard to shut off the idea machine. I end up doing a lot of middle-of-the-night writing and emailing—just so I can get things out of my brain and onto paper (or someone else’s desk), and then get back to sleep.

3.  Who gives you the best advice about your business, charity or cause?

I read a lot of blogsBeth Kanter, Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, and John Stanko.  John is on my board.  All of them have different advice and always useful; I may not need it right away, but hopefully it’s filed away somewhere in my brain for when I do need it.

Three books that have really impacted me are Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children by John Wood, and Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

4. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Hanging in my office are 16 framed photos of children I’ve met around the world—Sudan, Zimbabwe, Thailand, China, and elsewhere.  I know the names of only a few of them; one is a baby named Han, whom I cared for at an orphanage in China where I volunteered 15 years ago. I’ve been to more than 40 countries as a journalist writing about issues of justice—and I’ve taken an awful lot of pictures, but no matter where I go, when I get home, it’s the photos of kids that jump out at me.

Most of these photos were taken long before Born to Fly was born, but it’s as if these kids were calling out to me way back when saying, “You took our picture—now don’t forget us. You might not be able to help us, but there are others you can help.”  Some of those countries were not easy to travel to or visit, but I knew I was supposed to go and tell the stories of people who live there and endure so much. It was on those trips—particularly to India and Thailand—where I began to learn about child sex trafficking and knew I had to do something.

5.  What would you like to see happen with your business, charity, cause?

I’d like to be out of a job!  Someday I hope we can remove the words “child trafficking” from the dictionary.  Call me crazy (and people have), but I think we can do it.  I wouldn’t do what I do if I didn’t have hope.

6. Share a failure and a triumphant outcome to something you have faced in your life. Diana Scimone with children

How much room do we have? One that jumps out at me is Han—probably because I just told you about her.  The orphanage where she lived was pretty awful, and the staff were doing the best they could under grim conditions, but let’s just say it was not a pleasant place. Han was very sick and the meager medicine she was getting was not really helping her. The day our team left was very difficult.  You can imagine how hard it was for us to leave these kids, knowing we were going back to our nice, clean homes.

About 9 months later the director of the charity called me from China to say that Han had died.  He wanted me to know that someone was holding her and rocking her at the time—that she wasn’t alone like so many other orphans when they die.  That was some small comfort.

At the time I got that call, I’d just finished an article for a major Christian magazine about orphans in China. Han was, of course, a big part of that article. I called the editor and asked if we could add a few lines about her death. We already had a blurb at the end with an address where people could donate to the charity. We squeezed in her photo and a few lines about her death.  That article raised more than $15,000 for the organization I helped with.  It was almost as if Han’s death—a child no one knew on the other side of the world—had a purpose. She wasn’t forgotten. (Han is pictured below.)

China 19--orphanage

7.  If you were in charge of everything in the world for a day, what’s the first change you would make?

I’m pretty big on prayer, so I’d probably have everyone stop, drop, and pray for a day!

8.  What surprises people about you?

That I love sports—not participating but watching.  I love football, love the NFL (go Redskins), and after 25 years of living in the south, I’m finally learning to love college football.  I love soccer, too, and went to one of the World Cup games when it was in the US in the 1990s.  Every four years when the World Cup rolls around, I have my schedule right by the TV and watch as many games as I can. In 2006 I was in Mexico when their national team played in the World Cup, and it was so fun to be there and watch the entire country shut down as everyone huddled around TV screens in malls, streets, and anywhere they could. I was right there with them!

9.  What has surprised you recently?

Being named as one of the Top Ten Women Warriors of Twitter!  That was a surprise (and a nice one) to find myself on the same list as Oprah and Queen Rania of Jordan. I think I’ve finally started breathing again.

10.  What are some hidden talents [or interests?] that people don’t know about you?

I love dance. I studied ballet when I was 3, but a budding career was ended at 5 for unknown reasons.  I picked it back up again in my mid 30s and one day came to the tragic realization that the New York City Ballet simply did not have me on their radar screen.  Today I take Funiq twice a week—a “fun and unique” workout that combines Latin dance, hip hop, kickboxing, cardio, Pilates, and more.  In my dreams, I’m in Swan Lake.

Let’s get back to Born To Fly. Tell us about the 09-09-09 Twitterthon, and how our readers can help.

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It’s a 1-day fundraiser for the Born to Fly Project to stop child sex trafficking: 9,000 people each giving $9 on 9/9/09.

The books and curriculum are nearly complete so we’re raising funds to print them and give them to at-risk kids and parents around the world. We’re asking people to:

  • Donate: Go to www.born2fly.org and use the Chip-in widget to donate $9. At any of these links look for the Chip-in widget to make a contribution to this valuable cause.
  • Email: Tell 9 people about 09-09-09 and send them to www.born2fly.org.
  • Blog: Post about 09-09-09. Include the logo & Chip-in widget.
  • Facebook: Talk about 09-09-09; include the logo and Chip-in widget.
  • Twitter: Tweet about it. Follow @09_09_09. Add a Twibbon after you’ve donated.
  • Updates: Check Diana Scimone’s blog for the latest:  www.dianascimone.com
  • Add a Twibbon

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Diana Scimone is a journalist who has traveled to more then 40 countries including Sudan, Zimbabwe, Thailand, and India. She founded Born to Fly to respond to the critical needs she has seen among the world’s children. Born to Fly has helped AIDS orphans, street kids, and children devastated by earthquakes, hurricanes, and the tsunami. Today our sole focus is working to stop child trafficking in the U.S. and abroad.