Showing posts from 2011

Goodbye 2011. What I Will Change in 2012?

On this, the next to last day of 2011, I’m looking back as well as forward to see what I might do differently in 2012.I heard on the radio yesterday that losing weight is not in the top three for resolutions any more.Instead reading more, traveling more, and volunteering more are the new top resolutions.

Well, since I’m halfway through writing my own book and just got a Kindle for Christmas, I’d have to agree with the first one.I also love to travel and have visited nine other countries and gone around the world.I’d love to add more to that total.But I think I’d change the last resolution slightly. In 2011, I volunteered six hours a week for the American Cancer Society.I ran in charity 5Ks.I worked in a soup kitchen, sent items to soldiers and pajamas to orphans and donated to several charities. I helped lead an American Cancer Society Relay for Life team for my church and raised donations on my own.I gave food and money to food banks. I sponsored a child in Africa and sent Christmas …

Experience Will Tell

I’m fighting a cold today and definitely feeling under the weather so my blog will be shorter than usual.I read somewhere once that people enjoy and remember experiences more than gifts.It makes sense. I will have forgotten who gave me a scarf for Christmas three years ago, but I won’t forget when my husband and I went parasailing last summer.

So I’m about to share a great place you can buy one of a kind experiences.I couldn’t end the giving season of the year without mentioning CharityBuzz.Now, you can give an exciting experience to your loved one that cannot be found in any store.The great thing about it is that the money you spend on the experience will also go to a charity.

What kind of experiences are available? Meet and greets with celebrities and sports figures, trips of a lifetime, concerts, cooking classes and consultations with a professional life coach or famous designer are just a few of the items up for bid. It’s all done in an auction format.Items are also for sale such …

10 Last Minute Gifts That Don’t Require Shipping

Christmas is getting closer but it’s not too late to do something to make a difference this holiday.The unique items below can be given with the best intentions—to help others.You can also send the notice of the present by email or in many cases, you can print out your own card to hand to your friend or family member.

Sight for the Blind in Nepal from Alternative Gifts International- $110 pays for lens implant surgery for one person or $33 pays for equipment, training, or outreach for an eye care clinic.

Soccer Ball for Needy Children from Compassion International - $13 pays for soccer balls and sport camps for kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to play. A llama from Heifer International – A share is $20 while a whole llama is $150.Heifer provides all kinds of animals from chicks to water buffalo to families that can use them to generate income and useful resources for the family.

Crickets from Mercy Corps International – for $33, they provide a meal for chickens and a small business fo…

Slaves In Our Midst

I’m reading a book called Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.It’s about women the world around being stolen, raped, trafficked and abused.It’s also about their successes getting free from their captors, getting an education and turning their situations around. It’s a very inspiring book.

The United Nations International Labour Organization reports that at least 12.3 million people around the world are slaves.Other nonprofit groups like Free the Slaves say that there are 27 million slaves in the world. Last Friday was the United Nations International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, marking the date in 1949 when the UN adopted a resolution for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.

The UN explains the different types of slavery like this. “Forced labour takes different forms, including debt bondage, trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. The victims are the most vulnerable – women and girls forced into pr…

World AIDS Day

Because this blog comes out on Friday, I wasn’t able to write about World AIDS Day on the actual day, which was yesterday.But fighting AIDS isn’t a one day event.This is the 30th year since AIDS was discovered. According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 34 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS, two million of which are children. Some of the organizations that fight AIDS on a daily basis are: AIDS United
America Social Health Association
Bailey House
Elton John AIDS Foundation
Gay Men’s Health Crisis
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation
Keep A Child Alive
Project Hope

The theme for World AIDS Day this year is 'Getting to Zero.'That stands for zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. If you want to be a part of doing that, you can do something tangible by donating to the 2015 AIDS quilt.It includes more than 94,000 names of people who have donated and created a panel for the largest ongoing community art project i…

Making a Difference in 2011

I write about a lot of volunteering days and another one is coming up December 5—International Volunteer Day.This one has been sponsored by the United Nations since 1985 and 2011 is the ten year anniversary of the year of the volunteer in 2001.

The UN General Assembly will be discussing volunteerism between now and December 5 and you can listen to and chime in on their discussions here. There’s also a photo contest to show how volunteering can help countries meet peace and development goals. November 19 was also National Family Volunteering Day. But none of these volunteering days means a thing if they are not celebrated in the spirit of volunteerism, by doing something to help others.

So, on the Wednesday before National Family Volunteering Day, my son and I went shopping.We bought sunscreen, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, razors, dental floss, candy canes, summer sausage logs and crackers for a group of 800 Army soldiers in Afghanistan. The unit we bought these items for is also equi…

2011 Alternative Gift Options: 17 Shopping Websites for Charitable Gifts

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up quickly, I thought I’d provide a few shopping resources for the conscientious charitable shopper. Here is a list of places you can buy gifts that give in more than one way.These gifts make the receiver smile, help someone in need and give you a good feeling inside.

Gifts That Give to Charities
A number of companies now give a set amount or percentage of the sale to a charity when you purchase goods from them.It’s an easy way to get a product that you would normally buy while also giving to a good cause. – has put together a list of gifts which give a portion of the proceeds to different charities including products from Ralph Lauren, LaCoste and Clarins Gifts that Give – designer products you can buy where 20 percent of proceeds go to charity
Gifts That Give More from the Hunger Site – buy a wide variety of items from around the world and food goes to the hungry
Shop For Good – items from well known companies ranging from Barnes &…

The Movember Month and Military Day

This month is a phenomenon in men’s health known as Movember. It’s all about sporting a Mo (mustache) and growing it to great lengths while you shun shaving for the month. At the end of the month, you can show your Mo at a Mo Party.

In the meantime, you can share why you are growing your facial hair and why else? To support men’s health.The Movember site has tons of information about men’s health, prostate cancer and testicular cancer as well as health resources for men.

While growing your Mo, you can also raise money to support research on cancers that affect men such as prostate cancer.The funds go to programs run by Movember and its partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

You can create an online page to which people can contribute for your Mo growth. Movember offers prizes for the teams with the best Mo page, the team and individual that raises the most money and also has random prizes for those that raise smaller amounts.

Before you …

Me, Myself and Why

As my first blog for my own website, I felt I should explain a little bit about how I got to this point. Since August of 2010, I have been blogging about volunteering and charity work for Working Mother Magazine’s website. I call it the Heart to Heart blog because I believe that helping others is a heart matter. When we help others, we connect hearts.

We may never see the fruit of our heart work, but it is there in the heart of the recipient.That is why I chose to call this blog Helping Hearts. We are hearts that help other hearts when we reach out to others through volunteer or charity work. I am a writer who has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since 2002, but I found that there was a particular type of article I was writing that I felt was more important than the others, that had more meaning.I was writing features about teachers, volunteers and other inspiring people who gave of themselves without expecting a payback.

They reminded me of how I wanted to live my life.I…
My website is live and this Friday I will post my first Helping Hearts blog post. Until then, you can check out my other blog for Working Mother Magazine. It's called Heart to Heart and is about easy ways for families to volunteer, donate to charities and help others. If you want to contact me, my email is Thank you for all of your patience waiting for my new blog and remember:

"When you give yourself, you receive more than you give." Antoine De Saint-Exupery