Posts Tagged ‘Giving’

The Gift

Posted: December 8, 2013 by kibler in Hope, Uncategorized
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THE GIFT

By an unknown soldier stationed in Okinawa, Japan

T’was the night before Christmas      Image

He lived all alone,

In a one bedroom house made of

Plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney

With presents to give,

And to see just who

In this home did live.

I looked all about,

A strange sight I did see,

No tinsel, no presents,

Not even a tree.

No stocking by mantle,

Just boots filled with sand,

On the wall hung pictures

Of far distant lands.

With medals and badges,

Awards of all kinds,

A sober thought

Came through my mind.

For this was different,

It was dark and dreary,

I found the home of a soldier,

Once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping,

Silent, alone,

Curled up on the floor

In this one bedroom home.

The face was so gentle,

The room in such disorder,

Not how I pictured

A United States soldier.

Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?

Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?

I realized the families

That I saw this night,

Owed their lives to these soldiers

Who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world,

The children would play,

And grownups would celebrate

A bright Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom

Each month of the year,

Because of the soldiers,

Like the one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder

How many lay alone,

On a cold Christmas Eve

In a land far from home.

The very thought

Brought a tear to my eye,

I dropped to my knees

And started to cry.

The soldier awakened

And I heard a rough voice,

“Santa don’t cry,

This life is my choice;

I fight for freedom,

I don’t ask for more,

My life is my God,

My Country, My Corps.”

The soldier rolled over

And soon drifted to sleep,

I couldn’t control it,

I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours,

So silent and still

And we both shivered

From the cold night’s chill.

I didn’t want to leave

On that cold, dark, night,

This Guardian of Honor

So willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over,

With a voice soft and pure,

Whispered, “Carry on Santa,

It’s Christmas Day, all is secure.”

One look at my watch, and I knew he was right.

“Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night.”

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I recently read a poem by Rose Marie Rideout and wanted to share this wonderful poem with you. Please think about your Christmas this year and what you can do to share the Christmas warmth and cheer with someone in need.

 

A Beautiful Christmas

By Rose Marie Rideout

The streets have gone to silence,

Even the poor has laid their heads to rest.

Tonight Santa remembers all,

Each year he’s put to test.

The list gets larger every year,

No one wishes for peace and love,

No one takes the time to remember,

We celebrate Baby Jesus birthday up above.

How many think of our loved ones away,

Who give their all for us this day,

The hungry who are homeless and alone,

With no food and no place to call home.

No comfy pillow, no blanket to hug,

Just an old dampened box, and no one to love.

The beauty we see on the streets every year,

The lights and the soft glow glitter we share.

Just give a dollar, a pair of old worn gloves,

A scarf you don’t wear to show off your love.

The smiles and laughter show that we care,

If we’d take the time to wipe away another’s tear.

Buy an extra coffee along your way,

Reach out to a homeless cold person this day.

Let them see someone really does care,

Stop them before they shed another tear.

A pair of wool socks that sat in your drawer,

A coat that’s just not your style anymore,

It can keep another one warm from the cold,

Your heart will be happy inside I’m told.

Close your eyes and thank God up above,

For helping you know the meaning of love,

For making a difference to someone today,

By sharing a little throughout your day.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

An interview with Molly Mattessich

What’s your favorite part of a typical day?

Getting to the office is something that I look forward to every day, because it is when I feel most connected to people.  First thing in the morning, I spend about 15 minutes checking in with online communities, and get the jolt of energy that comes not just from my cup of coffee but from reading what everyone else is up to and inspired by.

Are there any words of wisdom that help guide your work or your life?

I’ve spent a lot of time, decades in fact, pondering my vocation.  Ultimately, I had to make that choice and find, “where the world’s greatest need meets my greatest bliss.”  In my current work, I have found that.  I also read Parker Palmer’s book, “Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.” His words inspired me and I continue to ask myself every day, “is the life that you are living the same as the life that lives in you?”  Having my actions be congruent with my thoughts and desires is not an easy thing to do, but to me this is the challenge for each of us: to do what we are meant to do and not always what is expected of us.

Tell me about your business, charity or cause. Share your passion.

Eight years ago, I lived in a rural village in Mali for two years serving as a Peace Corps volunteer and it was the most transformative experience of my life.  Many of those months also were the loneliest of my life and when I felt completely disconnected to friends, family, and everything that was familiar.  Now, I’m making up for the disconnect by managing the online communities for the National Peace Corps Association, the leading nonprofit organization that supports and engages serving and returned Peace Corps Volunteers to help them continue being of service to their communities and the world.  In this role, I launched and still manage Africa Rural Connect (ARC), an online platform that gives a voice in the international development community to those who may not previously have been heard. On the ARC site, we’re trying to come up with solutions to the agricultural challenges faced by people living in sub-Saharan Africa.  So far, it’s been rewarding to see the creative, thoughtful, and practical plans proposed by people participating from over 130 countries and the partnerships being formed that are helping the ideas to take shape.

If you could change anything you have done in your business, charity, cause, what would it be?

Get rid of the cynics in the development space.  It’s easy to criticize an idea but don’t do it unless you can offer an alternative plan in the same breath.  I wish that people would continue to be positive and support ideas, partnerships, and initiatives. Negativity is the easy way out.  I’d rather engage with problem solvers.

What keeps you up at night? 

The concept that it’s hard to build something, and so easy to destroy it.  This equation has to change.  I also wonder who I should be talking to or connecting with that I don’t know about.

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

On a professional level, I get lots of feedback from my advisor, a man outside of my organization who served in the Peace Corps nearly 40 years ago and has a breadth of knowledge about business, service, and international issues.  Personally, I get advice from a close circle of intimate friends and my boyfriend, who doesn’t let me rest too long after any success, but encourages me to think creatively and move on toward the next goal.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

I took this position never having managed the launch of a large-scale website.  I dove into the projects and was able to draw on my knowledge from other very different jobs and volunteer roles to make all of the pieces come together and succeed with the constraints of a nonprofit budget.  I’m proud of hiring a hard-working and committed team of people to help make it happen.

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

I’d like to see the National Peace Corps Association become as much of a recognized brand as Peace Corps, the government agency.  People generally serve no more than 2 years in the Peace Corps, but they are a returned volunteer for the rest of their lives.  Our mission is to help volunteers prolong that Peace Corps experience by offering opportunities to teach about it, share stories, continue serving others and perpetuate the rise of caring and connected global citizens.

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

I would want to make it mandatory and possible for everyone in the world to travel to another country if they haven’t already.  We can all benefit from a little perspective on our lives, no matter where we are from.

Bio: Molly Mattessich launched and now manages the online platforms for the National Peace Corps Association: AfricaRuralConnect.org and Peace Corps Connect.org. She also leads many of NPCA’s public relations, marketing, and business development initiatives. Her work on Africa Rural Connect is profiled in the just published book Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler of Forrester Research.

From 2002-2004, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, where she initiated a market clean-up venture, educated villagers on how to prevent water and food-borne illnesses, and became fluent in Bambara and Malinké.

Molly earned a degree in psychology from Wellesley College. She is Co-Chair of the Wellesley Women in Nonprofits network in Washington, DC. You can follow her on Twitter at @MollyMali.  Find Africa Rural Connect on Twitter @IdeasforAfrica and the National Peace Corps Association @PCorpsConnect.

We asked our friend Diana Scimone to guest post for us this week. Diana is director of The Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking. B2F educates at-risk children and their parents about the dangers of trafficking through a strategic 6-week community campaign called The B2F Project. B2F creates awareness about child trafficking with the ultimate goal of ending it.

We wrote about Diana and The Born2Fly Project last year:  What is a Child Worth?

This Sunday, Born2Fly is sponsoring the 10/10/10 Twitterthon to raise funds to fight child trafficking. The goal is 10,000 people giving $10 each to help stop child trafficking. We’ve already donated—and wanted to let you know why.

Begging

By Diana Scimone

Director, The Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking.

I can’t get a picture out of my head. Maybe you can help me. Recently I met with an anti-trafficking colleague who does great work rescuing trafficked kids in Cambodia, Ethiopia, and even in the US.

A few months ago he and his colleagues were in Ethiopia in a red-light district rescuing girls. They could rescue only a certain number of girls because that’s all the room they had in their safe houses.

But more girls showed up. A lot of them.

And this is the picture I can’t get out of my mind: They ran up to him carrying all their worldly possessions in little plastic bags—and they begged him to take them away from the horror.

And he had to say no. I can’t even imagine the pain in his heart at having to do that. I cried for days after he told me.

You might say, “Why didn’t he just take them all? Figure out what to do once he had them.”

Easy to say from your comfortable computer chair reading this. Where would you take 100 traumatized little girls? You can’t just hail a cab. You can’t just show up on someone’s doorstep and say, “Can you take a girl or two? Feed them, clean them, house them, heal them, love them?”

When my colleague told me this story, we talked about another kind of begging—that we constantly feel like we’re begging for money to fund our projects to help kids trafficked for sex. I spend as much time fund-raising for Born to Fly as I do on the actual project. It’s sad but true. He’d tell you the same thing.

Last year someone accused me of constantly begging for money for Born to Fly. “Something must be wrong if you’re always begging for money,” this person graciously wrote in an email. “I’m going to ask God what’s wrong in your life. There must be sin somewhere that He’s not blessing your efforts.”

Ooookay.

I don’t mind begging for money to help little girls like the ones I can’t get out of my mind. This Sunday—10/10/10—we’re hosting our second annual Twitterthon to raise funds for The B2F Project to stop child trafficking so that girls like the ones in Ethiopia never get trafficked in the first place.

Our goal is 10,000 people giving $10 each on 10/10/10. The only problem is I don’t know 10,000 people. And maybe you do not either—but all of us working together probably do.

So here’s what I’m asking you to do:

  • Donate: Use the Chip-in widget above (or here) to donate $10. (You don’t have to wait until 10/10/10 to donate of course.)
  • Email: Tell 10 people about 10/10/10 and send them to www.born2fly.org or http://www.dianascimone.com.
  • Blog: Post about 10/10/10.
  • Facebook: Talk about 10/10/10; include the Chip-in widget.
  • Twitter: Tweet about it. Follow me, @DianaScimone, director of The B2F Project.
  • Updates: Check my blog for the latest: www.dianascimone.com
  • Show: Add a Twibbon to your Twitter and Facebook photos: http://twb.ly/9Hccsi

Traffickers think kids are commodities. On 10/10/10, tell kids they’re priceless. All it takes is $10.

Forgive me for begging…but if those little girls can do it, so can I.

Diana Scimone is director of The Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking. She blogs at http://www.dianascimone.com.

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!