Monthly Archives: December 2013

Help Us Adopt: Changing the World One Grant at a Time

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baby (hua)

Parenthood is an amazing thing—not for everyone, but certainly for me. I’m a sucker for pregnant bellies, babies and toddlers, but I don’t discriminate; kids of all ages bring me joy. Which is good, since I’ve brought five of them into the world.  And even though my experience is changing as one-by-one they’re heading to, or graduating from, college (something I’m admittedly struggling with), I never lose sight of how generous biology has been to me; easy conceptions, easy pregnancies, easy deliveries, a not-so-uncommon feat for many women, yet impossible for others. A fact I consider every time I start to fret about my eventual empty nest status. Having five kids’ worth of parenting memories, and more to come as they reach new milestones, is a gift that I don’t take for granted. Because I know that many, many women, and men, would trade my lament for the chance to bring even one child into the world with such ease.

It’s heartbreaking to watch friends and family struggle with infertility. Equally so, with adoption, a word filled with possibility, but also with uncertainty. After months of failed infertility treatments, “uncertainty” is a very difficult state to sustain. I know, because I have looked on helplessly as several of my friends have navigated the path of uncertainty with mixed results. Adoption can be a beautiful alternative, but it’s far from smooth-sailing. And though not everyone chooses adoption because of difficulty conceiving naturally, those who do, are emotionally and physically tapped out by the time they reach that decision.

What these men and women need most, is a strong support system, friends and family who will share the ups and the downs of their journey optimistically and lovingly. Who can help them vet resources and find creative ways to pay the bills.

One such resource is Help Us Adopt, a financial assistance grant program that provides qualified couples and individuals (regardless of race, religion, marital status or sexual preference) with grants of up to $15,000.00 towards their adoption expenses. Since filing as a 501(c)(3) in 2007, this dynamic, New York-based nonprofit has awarded $770,000 to 91 families. Grants are awarded twice a year, in June and December. The most recent awards were just announced last week: $10,000 to 10 families—two LGBT families, five heterosexual married couples, and three single women.  Continue reading

Reflection & Prevention on Sandy Hook Anniversary

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(In collaboration with parenting strategist and licensed counselor, Tricia Ferrara, MA)

A lot of things are on my mind this week, but bubbling up to the surface is Sandy Hook’s anniversary, just hours away. I’ve managed to table my reaction regarding the public release of the 911 recordings (many news stations’ decision to not air them helped), but I’m a bit on edge amidst uncertainty over how the media is going to handle this very difficult and intimate memory in its retelling. The Associated Press’ decision to set up in Newtown has left me with mixed feelings, as I am sure it has others. Anyone following the news knows by now, that residents have requested that the media allow them to take in the day in privacy.

Before hearing that, I had been hopeful that the media would respect this request and refrain from deploying news trucks and reporters. Regardless, I have been, and still remain, anxious about what images will be shown on television; I could not watch any of the coverage last year when it happened; the radio broadcasts were barely manageable…

Like everyone else, it was too easy to put myself in those parents’ shoes, and to imagine my children in that scene. And a year later, I am in awe that these families, and this community, have managed to get up and participate in life, to do good things in the world and to stand together as an extended family. It is a beautiful way to honor those lost, and to honor the children, families and teachers that are very much alive today, filling Newtown with new, joyful memories. The people of Newtown have given each other the greatest gift possible in the aftermath of such tragedy: a future.  Continue reading

#GivingTuesday—& thanks: CVS Caremark delivers

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Wow! What a way to celebrate #GivingTuesday and the spirit of volunteerism, and what a great gift to give: $25,000 toward 25 colleague-nominated organizations nationwide—generously donated by CVS Caremark Charitable Trust. In case you’re not so good with numbers, that’s $1,000 to each. For a list of recipients, click here.

I am personally excited because I recently had a chance to get to know CVS Caremark earlier this fall, spreading the good word about its All Kids Can-Special Olympics partnership.

Also on CVS Caremark’s #GivingTuesday agenda, is the launch of its new YouTube channel. It’s exciting to see how big brands and nonprofits are using social media, and taking the step into video is a perfect fit for this dynamic organization and its partners. By highlighting colleagues who volunteer in their communities, All Kids Can programs and more, CVS Caremark is upping its storytelling game. These videos are a terrific way to say thank you to those who help make these programs a success, and to spread the good word that volunteering is a crucial—and rewarding—endeavor.

Take a look:

 

—Logo and video courtesy of CVS Caremark

Giving Tuesday: Think Globally, Act Locally

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JUST IN from the #GivingTuesday team: Game Day details. Click the icon to find out how you can show your support for the next 24+ hours. It’s not too late.

Get into the GIVING spirit and spend your time and money where it has the power to transform your community, and maybe even the world.

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Here’s the original post… 

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday… by now you’re likely familiar with these trending—and trendy—designated holiday shopping days. Lesser known, is Giving Tuesday, a philanthropic spin on conspicuous consumption. The initiative is picking up steam as we close in on this year’s day of giving, Tuesday, December 3. I enjoyed reading, earlier today, that Bill Gates posted about this on his LinkedIn page; big names behind causes typically result in people paying attention. Which, they seem to be doing.

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Type #GivingTuesday into your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr search bars and you’ll be rewarded with all kinds of details, including what others are doing to show their support.  Continue reading