Giving Tuesday was created to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. It has become an international movement around the holidays dedicated to giving, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now synonymous with holiday shopping.
After the frenzied commercialism of Black Friday sales (that now last through the weekend) and the inundation of Cyber Monday e-mails, Giving Tuesday provides a way to make sure we give as good as we get.
Giving Tuesday has become an international phenomenon, and for North Americans it’s an opportunity to harness all of the grateful energy amassed over Thanksgiving and transform it directly into the spirit of helping others. It feels like this year more than ever we are reminded that family, good health, a place to call home, security, access to clean water, and food to eat are not things to be taken for granted. If you are reading this chances are that you have the good fortune to live in a place where food security, education, and housing are the norm. It is basic humanity to extend a hand if we can and there are so many positive ways to give back, and celebrate the true meaning of “The Giving Season”.
Here are a few organizations doubling donations today and working to make the world a better place on #GivingTuesday:
Shot At Life – UNF, Honduras, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Photo Credit: Stuart Ramson
One of the greatest investments we can make in global health is to vaccinate children against vaccine preventable diseases. The impact is undeniable as demonstrated in this Impact Report by Shot@life.
MAM, has agreed to match all donations dollar-for-dollar to shot@life this #GivingTuesday and Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have teamed up to match up to $2 million in funds for nonprofits. To have your donation to Shot@Life matched, donate through Shot@Life’s Facebook Page.
Water is life, plain and simple. This #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to double your impact an provide clean water to families and villages around the world who do not have something most of us take for granted. Clean water.
Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.
Nothing #thesistershood likes more than dressing up for a night on the town. When there is music and women in splendid ballgowns who sing like angels while being accompanied by a genius with a violin – perfection. Sisters from Another Mister was thrilled to be #sponsored to attend the World Tour of Andre Rieu and The Johann Strauss Orchestra. The orchestra began back in 1987 by the man now nicknamed the King of the Waltz and first performed on January 1st, 1988 – they truly make the world a happier place.
Andre Rieu brings magic to the stage with his engaging sense of humor, reeling in his audience with his stories, the occasional slapstick comedy, snowflake and balloon drops, and copious amounts of champagne amongst his orchestra – yes, real champagne. Married to his high school sweetheart, Marjorie, and living in a castle built back in 1452 seems fitting for a man who creates dazzling stages and owns an atelier for the production of the lavish dresses for which the ladies in his ensemble are well known. Rieu often wonders what Strauss, one of the people he most admires and considers his idol, would have thought of him – we think he would give him a high five or perhaps take a bow … just look at this spectacle of gorgeousness.
Photo credit: The Johann Strauss Orchestra
There is something about bringing people together from across the globe to rest in the beauty of music that reminded us of our own sistershood. We believe that no matter where in the world you may be, we can be of one mind, and one heart just as World Moms Network brings together women around the globe to share their journey of motherhood. Music can be the language of lovers, the soother of babes in arms, the passion of the theater and the joy of gatherings from young to old. We should mention that Rieu even has a Kindergarten in his 27 roomed abode for members of his orchestra’s children – as world moms, we approve of this message.
And in bringing together hearts and minds, these words resonate …
I make music to touch the souls of people as it’s a language we all can speak. Andre Rieu
Music can break through barriers both linguistically and culturally, across borders and demographics, uniting old and young and captivating audiences when in the presence of a master like Andre Rieu. His boyish charm and delightful stage antics have warmed the world to classical music with unprecedented popularity. The attention to detail in lavish events, ballgowns to the tune of $3,ooo a piece and the grandiose of the sets for his performances have elevated his concerts to an art form. In fact, back in 2015, Rieu took more than $1M in one day at the box office when his annual Summer concert from Maastricht was broadcast live
The waltz can be sad and at the same time uplifting. You have to see life from both sides, and the waltz encapsulates that. If you’re in my audience you give yourself to me and the waltz will grab you. Andre Rieu
Rieu has also been quoted as saying that he would like to be the first musician to play on the moon – it goes without saying that he has already reached for the stars! So are we fans? Absolutely. And because we totally have a crush at this point, and were so dazzled by the glam and the opulent drama unfolding before our eyes – we invite you to feast on this beautiful video. Then head on over and click on this amazing link which will connect you to your local tv station to bring you more delicious goodness packaged as a 10-part series on Ovation TV, America’s only ART network.
For your further listening pleasure, you can always order from general retail or Target has an exclusive version of the CD with two bonus tracks which happen to be our favs too – Music of the Night, from Phantom of the Opera, and, Lara’s Theme, from Dr Zhivago. There is something about music that can take you back in time by a memory stirred that simply makes your heart smile.
So with that in mind, take a look through the tracklist to Shall We Dance;
The Blue Danube
And The Waltz Goes On
Godfather ( Main Theme)
Strauss & Co Medley
Love In Venice
A Time For Us ( Romeo & Juliet)
Carnival Of Venice
My Heart Will Go On
Time To Say Goodbye
Music Of The Night ( From Phantom Of The Opera) (Target Exclusive)
Lara’s Theme ( From Dr. Zhivago) (Target Exclusive)
See any old favorites? You will LOVE that Rieu and his talented orchestra have taken them to new heights!
In closing on things loved and this fairy tale evening, I bring the King and Queen of my life, my mom and dad, who were thrilled to be guests of this auspicious event – how cute are they?
Sisters From Another Mister ...
A blog born from the love of 'sisters' around the world who come together to lift eachother up no matter where they are on their life journey.
Meet Nicole, a transplanted British born, South African raised, and American made Mom of two girls living on the sunny shores of South Florida, USA. A writer of stories, an avid picture taker and a keeper of shiny memories.
Sharing the travels of a home school journey that takes place around the globe - because 'the world truly is our classroom'. Throw in infertility, adoption, separation, impending divorce (it has its own Doom and Gloom category on the blog) and a much needed added side of European humor is what keeps it all together on the days when it could quite clearly simply fall apart! This segues nicely into Finding a Mister for a Sister for continued amusement.
When not obsessing over the perils of dating as an old person, saving the world thro organisations such as being an ambassador for shot@life, supporting GirlUP, The UN Foundation, ONE.org and being a member of the Global Team of 200 for social good keeps life in the balance.
Be sure to visit, because 'even tho we may not have been sisters at the start, we are sisters from the heart.'
Global Team of 200 #socialgoodmoms
Champion for Shot@Life and The United Nations Foundation
Halloween dates back to the 8th century when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts during the Celtic festival of Samhain. Celebrated on October 31st, the festival recognized the end of the summer and harvest and the beginning of dark, cold nights. Ghosts of the dead were believed to return on that night and the boundary of the worlds of the living and dead blurred. Somewhere along the line, going door to door looking for candy became involved.
Primarily an American celebration, but also still celebrated in Ireland, Halloween is also one of my family’s favorite holidays. I remember my mom sewing costumes for me and my sister when we were little and my dad still carves intricate designs into pumpkins to display for trick-or-treaters.
I can’t quite remember when I stopped dressing in costume and going door to door filling my Halloween bucket with candy. But when I did, I remember having just as much fun opening the door to kids in costume and handing out the candy. I have to admit I loved dressing my kids in costume when they were little and marching with them down Maine Street in our town’s Halloween parade before going trick-or-treating.
My gym helped bring back my love for dressing up with lots of fun workouts where I’ve shown up as a mermaid, a cop and Wonder Woman. Since my divorce three years ago, I moved into a neighborhood that is one of the busiest in our town on Halloween. It’s the neighborhood where houses decorate with jack o’lanterns, graveyards and spider webs and play spooky music. Friends come over to visit, cars line the road, people come from all around town and the street is packed until houses run out of candy and turn their lights off.
While I’ve loved taking my kids trick-or-treating with a couple of other moms for what we call our “accidental tradition” we started after the parade 3 years ago, I decided I wanted to actually be one of the houses to entertain the revelers this year. My boys and I planned for weeks how we would decorate. We decided I would dress as a witch and hand out candy by a smoking cauldron, which we would create with a fog machine and green light projector. We would turn the lights off in the house and lead people up our driveway with tea lights and into our dark garage where trick-or-treaters would find the green light of the cauldron. I started buying bags of candy four weeks prior to the holiday. There would also be scary music playing in the background.
Our only glitch with the plan was the big wind storm that hit Maine two nights before Halloween and left much of the state without power. Though I was ready to create my smoking cauldron effect with a generator, my town decided to postpone the holiday until the end of the week when more people would have power and the streets safer to walk. Even with the delay, my neighborhood did not disappoint. My oldest, at 12, and went off with his friends for the first time. My youngest, at 8, went with one of the brave moms who took him and 3 other very excited 3rd graders to venture through the kid-lined streets.
Not only did I pull off the smoking cauldron, I was complimented all night for being one of the best houses to visit. My kids had a blast both hanging at the house with me and exploring the neighborhood. We had tons of fun with friends who shared the experience. I got to see kids of all ages in costume, some of them wide-eyed trying to figure out how my smoking cauldron worked and asking me what I did with it.
My kids counted their candy at the end of the night and reported a record year. And for the third year in a row, we ran out of candy to give out. Another fun night of Halloween memories and a new tradition in the books. Not even a storm could keep away the fun. I wonder what we’ll do next year.
Do you celebrate Halloween or something similar? What are your traditions?
Last October, I attended an Interfaith Memorial Service for the homeless at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in East Los Angeles. The service remembered the 472 homeless people who died on the streets in Los Angeles County in 2016. Seven of the deceased were under three years old.
At the service I thought of a girl who called herself Latoya, who I met eight years ago while covering an adolescent drug dealing story. She moved into a teenage drug dealer’s tent under an overpass in downtown San Diego after running away from her foster family. One year later she gave birth to a baby girl. She was fifteen; her boyfriend was eighteen. Social workers took away their baby because apparently, the parents were too young, on drugs, and homeless.
When I met Latoya, I was fresh out of journalism school and she was long out of school. She was seeking help from a volunteer attorney with a non-profit organization helping homeless children.
“She wanted to go back to school, get a real job,” the lawyer told me. “And eventually get her daughter back.”
That surprised me. I had assumed that drug-using, homeless, teen parents were irresponsible and careless people. The reality is that they love and care their children just like any other parent.
When the adolescent drug dealing story was done, I wanted to follow up with Latoya’s story, but my assignment editor decided to cut it because “following a homeless teen mom is way too resource consuming, we cannot afford it.”
In the end I wrote a short article about Latoya and her efforts. The piece was included in my first book “Wēi Zúyǐ Dào”, published in 2011. The book sold 80,000 copies in five years, but Latoya’s story remains incomplete. I lost contact with her, but in eight years I have never forgotten her. In fact, over the years I have met many Latoyas and their children.
One of the Latoyas was 25-year-old Venessa Ibarra, who last June set her SUV on fire, threw in her three-year-old daughter Natalie, and then got in herself. They both died.
The death of a homeless child gets very little attention, and the authorities have many difficulties determining their identities. These children are called “baby doe” and their stories are rarely told.
In the cases where these stories do get attention, the media tends to sensationalize them, playing up the deaths of the poor children, especially babies. A negative connotation that has arisen from these over-sensationalized stories is that less advantaged women are not to be trusted with babies. This has a backlash for homeless mothers who also need help.
I tried to follow up with Ibarra’s story, but it was difficult. The authorities said that she had experienced “issues and a little bit of a drug problem.” But many questions remained unanswered. There weren’t even records to show whether she had received medical attention, or whether any efforts had been made to prevent the tragedy.
I can’t stop thinking about Latoya, Ibarra, and other mothers who live out of cars, in tents, under bridges and on the streets with their babies. How well could they be coping while living on the streets? Homelessness affects every facet of a child’s life, inhibiting his or her physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and behavioral development. And without proper maternal care, the pregnancies of homeless women can be at risk from many preventable obstacles. As a journalist, I don’t just want to present the statistics stacked up against homeless mothers and their children, I want to listen to them. Yet they are so hard to reach, with most of them fleeing from the media and social workers. That is one of the reasons why this country’s child welfare program is unable to help homeless children. In addition, most programs serving the poor are underfunded.
Last November, Los Angeles County voters approved Measure HHH, a proposal to create 10,000 units of permanent supportive housing and affordable housing for the city’s homeless population. The measure has not yet translated into visible effects, and homelessness remains an ongoing public health issue.
Two days after the Interfaith Memorial Service, the remains of the 472 deceased, including the children, were cremated and interred in a common grave with only one plaque marking the year of interment. Baby does didn’t get a name. Their story remains untold. It is Autumn again and the church is preparing for another service. More baby does will soon join those buried.
This is an original post for World Moms Network by To-Wen Tseng. Photo credit: Mu-huan Chiang