Category Archives: Making A Difference
This is an inspiring video – where someone’s passion became a way of life and changed the lives of many others. I would love to meet Veronika Scott, CEO of the Empowerment Plan, a young woman with great compassion and the understanding that empowerment and sustainability are the foundation to solving humankind needs.
The Empowerment Plan’s mission is to educate, employee and empower homeless people so they can provide for their families while producing a product for those in need. From GED and post HS education, to employee training, daycare scholarships, tools like computers, sewing toolboxes and sewing machines, employees can gain back independence, secure housing and, once again, take care of their families.
By now you must be wondering what do The Empowerment Plan employees produce. It’s called the EMPWR Coat, a coat that transforms into a sleeping bag. Click here to read more about this amazing coat, how it is made and the Empowerment Plan’s mission to produce 6.500 of these coats this year for the United States and Canada. To date twenty-nine states and three provinces have benefitted.
As another year wraps up I thought I’d update my annual mention of a few of the people and organizations making the world a better place. Yes, even after the indescribable acts we’ve experienced this year, we need now more than ever, to focus on the good that surrounds us.
Some of the organizations are local and some faraway but all deserve high praise for their vision, commitment, dedication and generous spirit. This year the list includes some smaller and perhaps not yet well-known organizations but their vision and passion give me personal inspiration and hope for the future. Take an opportunity to fill yourself with the warmth and love generated by these stories.
- Rotary International’s End Polio Now
- Operation Warm
- Pure Water for the World
- The Dictionary Project
- NABA – Northeast Association for the Blind at Albany
- The Century House Enjoy One, Share One program
- Vascular Birthmark Foundation
- The Animal Support Project
- Tiny Superheroes
- The Empowerment Plan
- Best Friends
- The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary
Greetings of the season to all my friends and family.
Wondering what to do with your Little Library during the holidays? Dressing it up with wreaths, garland, candles or special holiday books is always fun. Some stewards, though, like to go a step further.
Check out these unbelievably creative ways to celebrate reading along with the holidays.
Blind Date With a Book
Here’s how it usually works: you cover some books with brown paper and write only the first sentence on the cover. The goal is to intrigue the reader into picking out a book they may not choose otherwise. This is a popular Valentine’s Day idea called Blind Date with a Book.
Steward Mia Villeta Alvarado gave this idea a holiday twist! Try wrapping a handful of books with wrapping paper like little presents and placing them in a special basket for your lucky visitors to discover and take home.
Instead of a trip to the post office, you walk down the street to your neighborhood Little Library and drop that letter in an authentic iron drop box, right at your height.Your letter is sent express to Santa and then you pick out a book from the Little Library to take home. Amazing!
Steward Maria Gallegos got special permission from her local post office in Dillon, Montana to make this happen. She reported, “It has been a hit! Plenty of kids, young and old, have been making trips to the Library, no matter what the weather is doing!”
Did you ever have one of those advent calendars where you counted down the days to Christmas? Maybe you got a little chocolate, lit a candle or hung a new ornament on the tree each day. Well, steward Debbie Bedbrook has a slightly different take on this holiday tradition.
“I do this every year for my two boys on the last 10 days before Christmas. Each night before bed…they take it in turns to choose a parcel to open (they are all picture books), and this is their bedtime story for that night. They love it. Even now, the 12-year-old still joins in and is happy to listen to a picture book before bed!”
A few weeks ago we shared a slightly different take on this idea on our Facebook page.
You may be thinking but wait, what’s the fourth idea? Well, it’s not a specific idea but rathera fantastic holiday tradition in Iceland that we think everyone should start doing. It involves reading a book and eating chocolate before bed on Christmas Eve. Um, yes please.
Back in December of 2013 I posted a story about then thirteen year old TJ Tracy and his mission to provide Thanksgiving dinners for the needy in Saratoga County in upstate New York. I promised I would continue to follow TJ and report on his progress.
His belief that kids can help kids has grown by leaps and bounds with, not only Thanksgiving dinners, but Christmas dinner, holiday gifts, Easter bags and more. Along the way, he’s garnered many supporters, including businesses and organizations that help him raise money to buy the items that go into the dinners – turkeys, potatoes, cranberry sauce and more. On December 17th a Shopping Fundraiser is planned by the Collamer Building businesses with proceeds going to TJ’s Turkeys.
Over the past six years, TJ’s Turkeys has raised over $30,000.00 to help feed hungry kids. His goal this year is $15,000.00 because the need has doubled.
Childhood hunger is at a all-time high – depending on what or where you get your information, there really is no doubt this is a major problem. People like TJ are doing something about this, not just talking about it. They are making a difference in the lives of children and families because they believe no one should go hungry.
Thank you TJ Tracy.