Proof Positivity: Kids Who Care

Kohl’s has announced the  recipients for their Kohl’s Kids Who Care  Scholarship Program which award $10,000 and recognizes outstanding volunteerism.  The winners are between the ages of nine to eighteen.  Kohl’s has also promised a donation of $1,000 per winner to the charity of their choice.

“Through incredible acts such as creating a thriving literacy program at a homeless shelter, harvesting and selling honey to benefit cancer research and leading a local movement to promote teen health, our 2010 winners exemplify the true meaning of volunteerism and demonstrate that regardless of age, people are capable of remarkable and inspiring accomplishments,” said Julie Gardner, Kohl’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “For the past 10 years, Kohl’s has been proud to recognize and support the education of extraordinary kids and hope their selfless acts will inspire more young people to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

This year’s winners were selected from more than 27,000 youth nominees nationwide for volunteer efforts reaching far above and beyond what is normally expected of children. These remarkable efforts include raising funds to provide education to underprivileged kids, starting organizations to raise awareness and money for childhood diseases and providing toys, books and supplies to local families in need.

National scholarship recipients include:

  • Selchia Cain, 17, Kansas City, Mo. – Selchia started a local movement called “Health Hype: Super Size Your Minds…Not Your Bodies” to combat the rising problem of teen obesity in her area.
  • Charles Dewey, 18, Corona, Calif. – Charles founded a literacy program at the Circle of Hope Family Shelter for the homeless, growing a weekly three person volunteer effort to a four times per week 22-volunteer initiative.
  • Eileen Garrido, 11, Downey, Calif. – Born with a serious heart condition, Eileen founded the Beating Hearts Foundation and raised more than $930,000 in seven months for hospitals that treat children with cardiovascular diseases.
  • Carolyn (Carly) Houlahan, 15, Devon, Pa. – Carly co-founded Hives for Lives, a sustainable honey business that has donated more than $160,000 to cancer hospitals and research centers across the country.

  • Pearce Quesenberry, 12, Wilmington, Del. – Diagnosed with a rare brain cancer, Pearce started the Pearce Q. Foundation, which has directly helped more than 1,200 children and family members impacted by childhood cancer.
  • Ben Sater, 18, Plano, Texas – Ben founded KidSwing, an annual children’s golf tournament for kids, by kids, that has raised more than $800,000 for community-supported Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
  • Pooja Shah, 17, Fremont, Calif. – Pooja founded Just Start, Inc., a nonprofit supporting after-school programs for 600 low-income second and third graders at more than 40 elementary schools in California.
  • Ashlee Smith, 11, Reno, Nev. – Ashlee founded Ashlee’s Toy Closet, and collected and donated more than 100,000 toys to kids in her community affected by natural disasters, personal tragedy and illness.
  • Elizabeth (Lily) Toomey, 9, West Hartford, Conn. – Born with a congenital heart defect, Lily raised awareness of and funding for heart health by speaking at American Heart Association events, raising $100,000 for the cause.
  • Jonathon White, 11, Stuarts Draft, Va. – Jonathon worked to collect, fold and pack approximately $500,000 worth of toys, clothes, school supplies, books and hygiene items for distribution to local families in need.

Congratulations to all of these children.


Proof Positivity: Thanksgiving Around The Corner

me1Thanksgiving is on Thursday.  My family will have turkey, stuffing, green beans, and who knows what else.  My mom’s turkey is the best.  This isn’t just my personal opinion this is fact.  My mom’s turkey is so moist it melts in your mouth.  We don’t carve the turkey it falls off the bone.  The turkey cooks all night and by 12:00 PM perfection.  It may not be the most beautiful but it makes up for that in taste.  Anyhow if this is your fist time with the meal there is help for you.


If you could spend $20 on water for the rest of your life would you do it?  With Universal Giving you can do just that.  You can donate $20 and it will go for safe drinking water. You could give a month of care to five orphaned babies or give health back to a child.  the possibilities are endless. “UniversalGiving allows you to shop for gifts in a meaningful way this holiday season.”


Stumbleupon has given me the opportunity to view new sites that I would not otherwise view.  I read a story about two high school boys that sold junk food at school and donated the profit to a hospital.  The person who “discovered” the site had it listed as strange/ bizarre.  Is it truly strange that kids would want to do more to help others?   All I have ever seen in my lifetime is young people wanting to make a difference.    When I was in City Year there were 1,000 City Year members that is only a small fraction of the young people who do Americorps programs.  Since 1993, more than 540000 people have served in Americorps programs.   That group of people don’t include those who do it without the chance of getting a living stipend of a college scholarship.  It’s true that it all starts out as a one sided kind of deal.  When I was involved I went soley for the scholarship.  I didn’t care about the rest so much.  By the end of my two years serving I fell in love with community service and making a difference.  The fact that someone young wants to change the world doesn’t surprise me.  The fact that someone would find it bizarre surprises me. 


Community service has been getting more and more popular among youth.   When my own children reach an appropriate age I hope to be bringing them to soup kitchen during the holidays.  It’s important that the young has an opportunity to make a difference.  Leaders are born this way.  I want them to have the opportunity to find that they don’t have it so bad and they can help someone else by giving them the support they may need.  I do want to make this a family event so I need to be patient and wait until the youngest is 5 or 6.


More opportunities to give:

KIVA “The people you see on Kiva’s site are real individuals in need of funding – not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs’ profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.”

City Year for those a little more well off you can sponsor a team to make a difference.  When I was a member the price tag was $100,000.   This pays for the living stipend and a whole lot of other things that an executive director would do a lot better job of explaining.  You could even get a team together to fund raise.


Making a difference doesn’t have to be an organization such as what’s listed above.  What if you really like art.  Go to your local art museum or one that you really enjoy and become a sponsor.  The money will go toward educating children about Monet, Georgia O’Keefe, and Picasso.


Go to a small community theatre and become a sponsor or make costumes.  Community theatres get very little money for what they do.


Read to a child. If you have no books there are a few sites you can go to:  at Big Universe you can read books for free.   You can read stories at Reading is Fundamental.  You can go to Starfall to learn how to read. 


Making a difference doesn’t have to cost a lot it just takes the kindness and giving of your heart.

Proof Positivity: Things Will Get Better


The auto industry is in trouble.  If it goes under that means a whole lot of people are out of jobs.  I do know what’s going on in the world even though I don’t typically blog it.  I am probably more aware of what is going on than most people.  I do blog positive and I do give solutions to the negative and even when something bad is happening I can honestly say it will get better.  It may not be now or a week from now but eventually things will get better.  In the words of Little Orphan Annie ” The sun’ll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow they’ll be sun!”


People seem to think that when you want to surround yourself withpositive that you have blinders on to all that goes on my own husband thinks this way.  My husband made me sit down and watch a video on something negative I can’t remember what though.  He said “You’re too happy and positive.  You don’t know what’s going on with the world.”  Hmmmm… this is awful funny since I can think of at least one organization that has a solution to the problem that I was forced to view. 


After a long conversation on the videos I view away from my husband he began to realize that I do know what’s going on probably far more than he does.  Blogging about the positive makes me more aware of everything.  You cannot have an organization that fights against slavery without having slavery in the world.  You cannot have medical relief without a natural disaster.  You cannot have the positive side of it unless the negative happens first.  When our world becomes the perfect world I will have less to blog.  Since us humans are made to be competitive and some of us take it to the extreme I think I will have to keep blogging.  On with the news…


Trees for Troops Program Approaches 50,000 Milestone


 For the fourth  year in a row, FedEx Corp and the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation are teaming up for Trees for Troops. 


“Trees for Troops delivers much-needed cheer to those families whose loved ones are serving our country and will not be home for the holidays,” said Douglas G. Duncan, president and chief executive officer, FedEx Freight. “This program gives us a chance to say thanks to the men, women and families who give so much to protect our freedom.”

National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) members will donate the trees, while FedEx Corp. is donating transportation and logistical services to the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, the NCTA’s philanthropic branch.

This even kick off on November 12th in Columbus , Ohio with the pick up of 300 trees to be delivered to activated service members stationed in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The  Trees for Troops program has grown rapidly since it began in 2005, when 4,300 trees were delivered to troops and military families at five bases in the U.S. and overseas.  Last year, more than 750 tree growers in 29 states donated 17,000 trees that were delivered by FedEx to 40-plus military bases.  Combined over 34,000 real Christmas trees have been distributed to families in every branch of the military at 40-plus bases in 17 countries.  In the U.S., FedEx Freight trucks have traveled an estimated 90,000 over-the-road miles to pick up and deliver the trees during the past three years.


How Do You Use The Internet?


The Olive Garden is asking students in first through the twelfth grade to answer the question “”How would you use the Internet to change your community for the better?”

The annual Pasta Tales contest winner will receive a $2500 savings bond and a trip to New York City.  The essay must be 50-250 words long and this will be for United States and Canadian students.  you can get an entry form and rules here.


Inspiring Stories About How To Make a Difference



Designer and activist Kenneth Cole released a book today that celebrates the heritage of Kenneth Cole Productions, marrying his long term social mission with his new AWEARNESS initiative for empowering, encouraging and supporting acts of service, volunteerism and social change.

829  Cole said about the occasion, “I’ve said for 25 years that ‘What you stand for is more important than what you stand in.’ I have been fortunate in my life to have been given an opportunity and a forum through which to deliver a message of activism and awareness. I wanted to commemorate the 25th anniversary of my company by celebrating the people and the stories that have inspired me — people who have achieved extraordinary change often through ordinary acts or resources.  We’re launching the AWEARNESSbook and initiative with the hope that we can encourage everyone to get involved to help make a difference.”

This book tells you how and where to get involved

Exerpts from the book:

Robert Redford on keeping speech free:  “Change is going to come from the ground up, not from the top down. We’ll have a better movement from the grass roots — where the public is, where the voices of America are.”

Jacqueline Murekatete on genocide prevention: “After I learned about the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, and the Bosnian genocide, it became clear to me that what had happened in Rwanda in 1994 was not unique to Rwanda, that genocide had happened before and could happen anywhere. I realized it was a cycle that would continue to repeat itself for as long as we permitted it by our silence, our indifference, and lack of actions to prevent it.”
Martin Luther King III on community building: “Nonviolence teaches us how to live on a higher level with higher standards. The nonviolent principles of service and love are the bricks and mortar that we need in order to build the “beloved community” and realize my father’s dream.”

Chris Gardner on giving and getting second chances: “I’m proud to have put a face on homelessness — and it’s not the face of a drug addict or a convict.”

Feel free to visit the AWEARNESS BLOG

A few appearances Kenneth Cole will make to promote the book:

Cole will support the launch of the book with these events and appearances:

San Francisco, November 17 — Hosted by Kenneth Cole and Mayor Gavin Newsom

Boston, November 20 — Hosted by Kenneth Cole and Service Nation founder Alan Khazei (Woo-Hoo also a City Year Founder that I have met!)

New York, November 24 — Kenneth Cole will make a public appearance at Barnes&Noble Tribeca


I’m getting excited about this book!  I need to go to Books-A-Million and find it!


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