Great Gifts That Give Back

As consumers we have a choice of where to put our dollars, of where and how to spend them so that they are put to the best use possible.  When you are shopping for items for unique holiday gifts this year, why not consider purchasing gifts that give back to those who made them or gifts that pay it forward to charitable organizations? While we can give a beautiful gift to the person on our holiday list, we can pay it forward at the same time and put our dollars to use twice.  With that said, here are 5 suggestions of unique holiday gift ideas that give twice:

A Different Kind of Ballerinatutuproject

Is there someone in your life who has everything but you just want to make them laugh?  Check out Ballerina.  Photographer Bob Carey has taken brilliant photographs of himself wearing a pink tutu in various locations and compiled the photographs into this fabulous table book.  It costs $50, but ALL net proceeds support women with breast cancer.  For more information and to see a few of the photos, go to:  http://www.thetutuproject.com/support-the-tutu-project/ballerina-the-book/.

Cure by Design

Rachel began selling beaded bracelets to raise funds to find a cure for diabetes. Since then she has begun designing bracelets for several important causes. For every piece of jewelry sold at Rachel’s Cure by Design over $30, she donates $10.00 to the cause plus $10.00 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Teardrop2_largeFoundation. Rachel has developed a beautiful selection of bracelets, necklaces and earrings to choose from, all of which would make a terrific holiday gift.  To see her designs, head on over to:  rachelscbd.com

Headbands of Hope

For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s foundation to fund cancer research.  The photo to the right is one of my personal favorites. The rhinestone and pearl trim is detailed and made from premium metal, pearls, and stones. All beading is attached by an elastic strand in the back to fit different head sizes. Cost is $24.85. Purchase your headband for hope and donate one to a girl with cancer at headbandsofhope.org

Let There be Wine

Charity Wines make the perfect gift for the sports fan on your list. The site partners with professional athletes and celebrities to create wines that help raise funds for a variety of charities throughout the country.  To search the site and find a retailer, go to:http://charitywines.com. Hurry, charity wines are exclusively single run wines.  Once they are sold out they are retired and no longer available.

glovesKnitted Beauty

Knits for Life is an Etsy store that makes ethical goods for everyday people.  She uses mostly all organic, recycled, and natural farm-direct materials for her knit wear.  For every hand made item purchased, a tree will be planted through The Nature Conservancy.  To browse the shop for your favorite, go to: http://www.etsy.com/shop/KnitsForLife.

 

Bottom line:  This is the Season of Giving so give the people you love a gift that gives to people you don’t know who need your help :)  HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!!!!!

 

 

Breaking The Cycle of Extreme Poverty

hungrychildrensmDid you know that Universal Children’s Day takes place on November 20th. First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, it was established to promote the welfare of the world’s children, something that  dedicated a lifetime’s work to.

Universal Children’s Day should serve as a reminder that many children around the world suffer from extreme poverty, violence, disease, lack of opportunity, exploitation and discrimination.

Du Boisrouvray says, “If we can lift a community of children out of extreme poverty you can prevent an entire future generation from suffering.”  She feels strongly that targeting child poverty and prevention must be a key focus for those drafting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next year. The SDGs will determine how the $2.5 trillion in development aid is spent up to 2030 and any decision must be made through the lens of how it will affect the world’s poorest children.

A big focus for FXB International is to protect future generations from living lives blighted by extreme poverty, and the hardships that come with that. du Boisrouvray’s goal was to break the cycle of extreme poverty for good, and it became clear to me that no one single intervention in isolation would ever be enough to target these diverse, but interconnected challenges — interventions had to be integrated.

As a result, she developed a program to eradicate poverty by implementing healthcare, housing, education, nutrition, and business.  Each of these drivers relies on the others to help break the cycle of poverty and secure long-lasting change the world’s poorest children and their families.

At the time of setting up FXB International 25 years ago, AIDS was ravaging the African continent, leaving orphans in extreme poverty with little hope for their future. The Ugandan government was one of the few that acknowledged the existence and extent of the AIDS epidemic.  This is where du Boisrouvray decided to start her work supporting orphans and vulnerable children.

This successful model has since been rolled out all over the world, and, to date, 86% of FXBVillage program participants have become self-sufficient, bringing themselves of extreme poverty and giving them hope for a better future. Over the last 25 years, the FXBVillage program has helped 12,000 families and 800,000 children out of extreme poverty, in Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Burundi, India, China and Colombia.

Albina-du-BoisrouvrayMy son, François, was passionate about rescuing people. As a helicopter pilot, it was his job – but also his life. When he died, I wanted to keep François’ passion alive – by promoting the things that fascinated him, and by rescuing orphans and people around the world from extreme poverty. And so FXB International was born, with the ultimate aim to bring about peace and security in the world by focussing on children, youth and women.

Albina du Boisrouvray, Founder and Honorary President

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

In honor of the 10th annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day (September 26th), I am dedicating this Win Win For A Cause blog to the topic of Mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen.   The primary cause and risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.

240px-Asbestos_with_muscovite

Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious and fatal illnesses

Since late 19th century, manufacturers and builders used asbestos because of its desirable physical properties:  sound absorption, average tensile strength, its resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and affordability.  These desirable properties made asbestos a very widely used material, and its use continued to grow throughout most of the 20th century until the carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects of asbestos dust caused its effective demise as a mainstream construction and fireproofing material in most countries. However around 2 million tons of Asbestos are still mined per year as of 2009, mainly in Russia (50%), China, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Canada (9% to 14% each).  By the beginning of the 20th century, concerns were beginning to be raised, which escalated in severity during the 1902s and 1930s. By the 1980s and 1990s when mesothelioma diagnosis increased, asbestos trade and use started to become banned outright, phased out, or heavily restricted in an increasing number of countries.

Incidence of mesothelioma is still quite rare, with only 2,500-3,000 diagnoses in the United States each year. There was a spike in reported diagnoses between 1970 and 1984, which has been attributed to the latency period between diagnosis and the height of industrial exposures, which occurred roughly 40-60 years prior to this time. Exposure was common in nearly all industries but was particularly common in the WWII-era military industrial cycle, including Navy Shipyards.

Mesothelioma Cancer

Mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen

Although this cancer is much more common in men over the age of 60 (largely attributed to the industrial exposures within male-dominated industries), mesothelioma in women and children has been described as well. Mesothelioma causes for diagnosis in women and children are mainly attributed to secondary exposure to asbestos, as it was not uncommon for men to bring asbestos back into the home on their body or clothing if proper cleaning facilities were not available on site.  Symptoms of mesothelioma include chest pain, chronic cough, effusions of the chest and abdomen, and the presence of blood in lung fluid.

Understanding how cancer cells develop is important for doctors and health researchers to create targeted treatments for patients. A broader awareness of Mesothelioma will generate more research and, hopefully, an eventual cure for this terrible disease.  Read more:  http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/staff/how-do-cancer-cells-develop.htm

mesothelioma

Ice Buckets for ALS

The phenomenon of the “ice bucket challenge” is sweeping the world right now.  What is even more interesting is that other charities have altered the ice bucket challenge in support of their OWN charities’ goals.  Below are some ice bucket challenges that you should enjoy!

Matt Damon

Neil Patrick Harris

The Cast of Grey’s Anatomy

how to build a strong girl

Girl PowerI recently read a very inspiring story that I wanted to share with my Win Win followers in hopes that they will take away the same inspiration from it that I have.  Popular Bollywood actress, International Recording Artist and UNICEF India Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra, recently visited Chandrapur on International Youth Day at request of UNICEF to visit a new generation of strong young Indian women.   The girls she met are part of the Building Young Futures program, run in partnership with UNICEF.  The program is determined to challenge the difficulties many girls are facing across the world, providing girls with the knowledge and skills they need to become strong financially independent women and also very importantly, to become the agents for change and development in their own communities.

Chopra has been a UNICEF Ambassador for more than 8 years championing the cause of adolescent girls. She  passionately believes that young people are bursting with potential… that they can transform society.  But they need help.   Chopra says “We need to urgently invest in their future and help them realise their potential and I am determined to help make that happen.”

There are 1.2 billion adolescents in the world today.  I remember the dreams I had for the future when I was a teenager.  I had support and encouragement that I could make those dreams a reality.  With support, opportunities and a lot of hard work, I’ve been able to make them happen. But I know that many youngsters aren’t this lucky.  In Maharashtra, for instance, girls are held back by not completing education, early marriage, ignorance around health issues and a lack of financial understanding.  Mostly, they have no voice for decision making.  We need to show adolescent girls around the world that they DO have a voice and that we’ll support them in their dreams for the future because it’s OUR future too.

Support for young people can only have a positive impact on our nation and society as a whole.  So what are the ingredients for a strong girl or boy?

• Teach a young person not what to think but HOW to think
• Encourage a young person to dare to believe because they have the skills to realize their dreams
• Foster a young person’s confidence to voice their own opinions and solve their own problems
• Instil an understanding of savings, money and business so she may become financially independent
• Nurture an interest in their community so their impacts can be shared and beneficial to others

Alongside all this… add a bit of magic… encouraging adolescents to share their new power and use it to do good for the community. Teach others and the ripple of empowerment spreads.  It’s a real, tangible, positive effect that is there for all to see.

All girls and boys can make their own name and fate and be independent.  I thought that was a great message for young people everywhere on this international youth day. With ‘Building Young Futures’ and UNICEF’s involvement these positive stories and messages will only grow in number.

Five ways to turn a social media campaign into a movement

86% Of Charities And Nonprofits Use Twitter, 71% Say Social Useful For Donations

86% Of Charities And Nonprofits Use Twitter, 71% Say Social Useful For Donations [STUDY] 98 percent of charities and nonprofits in the U.S. are active on at least one social media site, with YouTube (97 percent), Facebook (92 percent) and Twitter (86 percent) most favored, reveals new data from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research. 71 percent of respondents to the poll said that social media was “somewhat useful” or “very useful” for fundraising initiatives.   The use of social media as a powerful tool for social movement is unquestionable. Any individual or organization can launch a campaign on social media, AND do it without spending any money.  Simply starting a movement is not enough. The goal is to champion a cause in such a way that it resonates with others. When it comes to creating a social media campaign that engages with people on a human level, the following five elements are key.
????????????????????????????????????????1.  Pick a cause you believe in The obvious first step is to pick a specific cause – such as raising awareness of a political concern, fundraising for a charity or highlighting an environmental issue. The important thing is that it’s something you genuinely believe in. Authenticity is a key aspect of a successful social media movement. A campaign that appears to be self-serving won’t resonate with others and is unlikely to have a significant impact. 2.  Define the goal of the campaign The aim of the social media campaign must be clearly defined. This objective will influence everything from the language used, the platforms that are leveraged to how people engage with the campaign. Determining the ultimate goal will also help to create a compelling call to action. By giving people something they can respond to and rally behind, you greatly increase the chances of the campaign going viral. 3.  Show what the cause means to you The virality of a movement on social media is determined by whether people can empathise on a human level. You need to show why people should care about a particular cause andwhat impact it could have on them or someone around them. By providing your personal reasons for supporting this cause, you can lend credibility and increase the likelihood that it will strike a chord with people in your network. Share your Story4.  Let others share their story The most effective campaigns have a human touch that people can connect with and that prompts them to share their experiences. A campaign must provide a platform for contributors to express what a particular cause means to them. It should also give people the flexibility to share in a manner that suits them best – the It Gets Better Project enables contributors to share both video and written submissions of their stories. A social media movement that fails to allow people to add their own experiences is less likely to take off. In fact, it is the emotion that others express in response to the cause that enables a campaign to gain traction. 5.  Select the right social media tools The tools you use will depend on your objective. If it’s to raise awareness, effective messaging and a social presence may be all that’s needed. Idle No More was initially viewed as a local campaign before it used Facebook and Twitter to gain international recognition. A petition platform – such as Change.org – can be combined with social networks to urge policymakers to address a political or societal issue. The Guardian-backed End FGM Campaign is a good case in point. If the aim is to gather and showcase personal experiences, it’s important to make it easy for contributors to share their stories. When starting an effective social media movement, it’s worth remembering that the greater the authenticity and flexibility, the greater the chance of virality and, ultimately, success.
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