Friday, March 29, 2013

Bono Needs You

In my younger years, I spent days listening to U2’s dvds (and cassettes, too, admittedly) screaming, “With or without you.” Well, now U2 front man Bono is pushing for change and he has good news.

In a TED conference in February Bono said, “The number of people living in backbreaking, soul-crushing, extreme poverty has declined from 43 percent of the world’s population in 1990 to 33 percent by 2000. And then to 21 percent by 2010. Halved! It’s heart stopping! If you live on less than $1.25 a day, if you live in that kind of poverty, this is not just data. This is everything. This rapid transition is a route out of despair and into hope.” On the trajectory Bono presented, by 2030 there will be zero people living on less than $1.25 per day.

But Bono knows this trend won’t continue “with or without you.” It needs to be nurtured by governments that are eyeing cuts to charitable programs and supported by people so governments don’t make those cuts.

Bono is hoping that the spread of the facts he gives will make believers, or factivists, out of everyone. Here are a few more facts:  Eight million AIDS patients have been receiving retroviral drugs; Malaria deaths have been cut in some countries by 75 percent; the child mortality rate of kids under five is down by 2.65 million deaths a year. These are amazing statistics.

They’re part of the reason why Bono supports the ONE Campaign. I’d heard about the ONE Campaign before, but hadn’t signed up. Its website is both big and simple. Its issues are AIDS, poverty, energy poverty, hunger, and foreign aid, specifically foreign aid from America. 

Uh oh. That’s a hot button. Some people can’t believe that we are sending foreign aid to other countries when we have more people fighting hunger in America and looking for jobs.

Some of it has been politicized. Are we sending aid to the Muslim Brotherhood? I’m not talking about that kind of foreign aid. What I’m talking about is money for medical aid, food, and basic needs.

The people of our country are going through a lot, but should it cut out all aid to other countries? I don’t think so.  Should it cut some? Maybe.

I give to charities that help Americans and I give to charities that help people in other countries. I don’t think the government is the only venue to help, but it is a big one.

Bono got involved in helping others when he was invited by World Vision to go to Ethiopia in 1986. He developed an education program with his wife that used one-act plays and songs to spread information on health, hygiene, and other issues.

We’ve been a sponsor of a child in Africa through World Vision for years. It’s a Christian organization, not a political one.

Bono has supported over 30 different charities in his life. He’s become known for something more than his music, for his hope and leadership in making the world a better place. I know my readers believe in those things, too, which is why I’ve shared some things about Bono with you. He can't make the change he wants to see in the world without you.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Jennifer Lawrence, A Real Winner

In my series on what charities the stars support, I am going to talk about a younger actress who has been very busy this past year. She was featured in the Hunger Games and The Silver Linings Playbook, for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress. She’s also a very kind and compassionate young woman. 

Last month, Lawrence was part of the Silver Linings Playbook’s support of the Glenholme School, a therapeutic boarding school for students with special needs. 

Growing up, Jennifer was friends with Andy Strunk, who has Down syndrome. They met at church and then became close friends in Kammerer Middle School where she helped him get the title of being “Mr. Kammerer” at the school.

She’s also part of a fundraiser for the Kenny Gordon Foundation which funds research regarding sudden cardiac death caused by arrhythmias, scholarships, and a camp for children. 

Going on through March 27, you can bid in an online auction through CharityBuzz to do a walk-on in her next film with Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Christian Bale. CharityBuzz provides one of a kind experiences and items for auction in which the money goes to charity.

Lawrence has been involved in charity through the Hunger Games, too. Last year through and The Thirst Project, there was a campaign by teens to build awareness around the lack of access to clean water in developing nations by organizing water walks in their communities.

Lawrence also did a video with her Hunger Games costar Josh Hutcherson urging fans to help stop hunger. The actors teamed with Feeding America and the World Food Programme to provide meals for the hungry when people take a quiz about hunger.

Lawrence seems like the real thing, someone who cares about her family and friends and also for people who need her help. If you want me to feature your favorite actor or actress in this series, leave a message below and we’ll see who gets the most nominations in our own little academy awards of charity.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Streep's Women

The two weeks I missed doing blogs during my mother's sickness were around the Academy Awards and I was going to do a series on what charities the stars support. In honor of my mother, the first star I’m going to feature is Meryl Streep. Streep was one of her favorite actresses. She’s an amazing actress who’s won numerous Academy Awards, Emmys, Screen Actors Guild awards and even a Cannes Film Festival award.

She also acts as National Spokesperson for the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM). Last Friday was International Women’s Day. The Women’s Museum is still a dream that hasn’t come true yet with legislation in Congress to be passed before it can become a reality.

But NWHM has already gotten a monument of Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony out of its 76‑year confinement in the Capitol Crypt to the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol so that DC visitors can see this testament to the contributors of the women’s suffrage movement. This year marked the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Suffrage Parade and was celebrated by a similar parade in Washington.

Streep voiced one of the nine stories of girls in Girl Rising, a film about the impact education can have on a girl’s life. Girl Rising runs through today in New York at Cinema Village, and in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Theatre.

I have written about Half the Sky Turning Oppression intoOpportunity for Women Worldwide, which is a book about women’s rights and issues in the world. It explains the power of education to help women.

I also wanted to mention that there is a new Half the Sky game on Facebook that allows people to see what kinds of decisions poor women have to make in impoverished countries, sometimes between food and medical care for their families. You can also donate to women’s causes through the game and even earn money for these causes just by playing. Additional mobile games are being distributed in India, Kenya and Tanzania to reach millions of low-end mobile devices in the developing world.

Streep has also supported charities for disadvantaged youth, AIDS, hunger, cancer, and environmental protection to name a few. Yesterday, her public service announcements encouraging people aged 50 and over to get screened for colon cancer launched, in conjunction with National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.

Another popular charity that Streep supports is Stand Up toCancer (SU2C) whose September 7 television event this year raised $81 million for cancer research. SU2C funds collaborative cancer research and was cofounded by Katie Couric. Its 2012 television event was produced by Gwyneth Paltrow.

This famous woman has used her fame to support many kinds of causes. I salute her today for doing so.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Since November of 2011 when I started this blog, I have not missed a Friday of blogging, until the last two weeks. My mother has been very ill and she has passed on into heaven and that’s why I’ve missed the last two weeks.

I’m not sure what to write. I still have lots of topics about charity and volunteering that I can use, but right now they seem kind of distant. Usually I love writing about people doing good and causes we can support in fun ways.

Today I want to talk about just loving your family and appreciating them. In 20001 we moved back to Florida to be near our families. My husband’s and my family both lived within a few counties of each other back then and they have since moved into adjoining counties.

As a result our then five month old has grown up knowing his grandparents, something I never really got to experience. My family moved from Massachusetts down to Florida before I was born. So, although we did go visit them, I didn’t really know my grandparents.

We live in a mobile and global world. People go off to college and then get a job somewhere that could be far away from their family of origin. I don’t want to make people feel guilty about doing that. We all have dreams and aspirations that sometimes just don’t work out at home. I went off to college, then to Japan, back to the states, and lived a while in Texas before coming back to Florida.

But there are things you can do whether you’re close by to your family or not.

1.       Share memories. When you went to the zoo with your sister, nieces and nephews, what was their favorite animal and who was scared by the giraffe? You can share these memories in person or via one of the other many ways we can now connect.

2.       Some of those ways to connect are through Facebook, Twitter, Skype and the good old fashioned phone, too. When my husband was deployed, I couldn’t wait for our Skype time. I used to even keep small lists of things I wanted to say because I knew we wouldn’t have much time to talk and I didn’t want to forget anything. With far off family members, having a short list is a good idea to keep the conversation going.

3.       Share family traditions. One of our traditions is making a special recipe for Thanksgiving for stuffing that has been passed down from an Aunt in Massachusetts. The last few years Mom hasn’t been able to make the stuffing by herself and it is very special to me that she was able to come to my house and make the stuffing with me. Even if you can’t do that, you can pass family recipes around and do some of the other things you always did at holidays, birthdays or whenever.

4.       Always take photographs and share them. When you do get together, take lots of photos. Last year for Christmas, I made a small scrapbook for each of the grandparents of photos of the family. I had so many photos that I had to give them the extra ones. You can also take photos doing every day things or at special events and send them via phone or email to let relatives in other places keep up with what your family is doing.

There are many more ways to keep in touch with relatives whether you’re far away or close by. Please add your ideas in the comments. Thanks for sharing your ideas and have a good weekend!