Monthly Archives: November 2008

Give Thanks in a Meaningful Way

In honor of Thanksgiving, I would like to tell you about GlobalGiving’s “Everybody Can Win!” challenge. GlobalGiving is a global marketplace for philanthropy that helps donors support causes they are passionate about. Using its public website, GlobalGiving connects donors to more than 500 community based projects worldwide. The site hosts projects which range in topic from education and the environment to healthcare and human rights in more than 69 countries. Over the past 5 years, more than $13 million has been raised through GlobalGiving.

GlobalGiving’s Everybody Can Win! Challenge is an opportunity for donors to help innovative children’s health and education projects earn up to $25,000.

What is the challenge?
Just for participating, Project Leaders start out with a $2,500 prize! But to keep it, projects must raise $5,000 from 50 unique donors (at least 50 different people) between November 15 and December 15, 2008. In addition to keeping the $2,500, projects can compete for other rewards. The project that recruits the most unique donors will earn an extra $15,000, and the project that raises the most money will earn an extra $10,000.

Why give?
Your donation matters! Every donation supports the health and education needs of children around the world. And from November 15-December 15, your donation has the potential to have an even greater impact by helping these projects get one step closer to these amazing opportunities.

Who are the participants?
Participants are pre-screened, pre-selected project leaders from around the world who are working on health or education projects that support children. I have a particular GlobalGiving project that I would like to recommend, one I have visited and worked with personally: Little HEARTS orphanage.

As part of a month-long trip I took to India in 2007, that was part volunteer vacation and part research and interview for this book, I spent several days with the children at Little Hearts. These children have been orphaned by AIDS in Andhra Pradesh, the Indian state with the highest infection rates in a country that has the most AIDS orphans of any country in the world. In this south Indian state, where 30% of adults have HIV/AIDS, C.P. Kumar and his family took in 26 abandoned children. They need to build a second story onto their house and provide education, health care, food and love. With help, these small projects can grow into a network of local care providers who can rescue great numbers of children. HEART House, which now cares for 26 orphans, is poised to expand, but needs our help.

You can read my story about Little Hearts here. I have been a consistent donor and supporter of C.P. and the children of Little Hearts, and have seen the direct results of my support. I sent $500 US to build toilets (previously there had been only one sub-standard toilet for all 26 children); a few months later I arrived, and saw the new toilets and sinks being completed!

Click here to donate or read more about Little Heart’s GlobalGiving fundraising campaign.


From India to Kenya – The Girls of St. Monica’s

Although I usually focus on India, today I would like to share the story of a handful of amazing Kenyan girls. I write regularly at Mothers Fighting For Others – an organization started by Rocky Turner and supported by a terrific group of women whose goal is to inspire all Mothers to find their passion for paying it forward to make this world a better place. 

In October of 2007, Rocky took a leap of faith and flew to Nairobi, Kenya. There she met twenty four amazing girls who had the most beautiful smiles and amazing spirits. These are the girls of Saint Monica Children’s Home. Rocky spent two weeks with them. They laughed, played, did homework, and cried together. “My heart was full,” Rocky wrote. “Their needs are many, their dreams are big, and my goals are lofty.” Rocky wrote this about her last night with the girls:

Our last night at Saint Monica’s was an emotional one. All of us were crying. The girls could not control their emotions and they found their faces buried in their hands. It was so sad and beautiful all at the same time.

It’s amazing what happened during those 14 days at Saint Monica’s.

Our lives changed. And it was all so very simple.

We got on a plane and opened our hearts. It is truly that simple. My goal was to do my best and try to change the life of one child. But with all your help and support, we were able to change the lives of all the girls. They kept telling us again and again that no one has ever shown this kind of love and generosity.

What I have learned is that all it takes is an open mind and a loving heart. It can happen in your own home, in your neighborhood, in your own country, or it could take you to a part of the world that you have only dreamt about. If you open your heart you can learn so much about life and about yourself.

I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of these girls lives. I’m the lucky one. I’m the one that received more than I could have ever imagined. This is just my beginning.

Mothers Fighting For Others is dedicated to help educate the girls at Saint Monica’s. But, we need your help. Since Rocky’s visit last year, the needs of Saint Monica’s have not only changed, but have grown. Six new girls have arrived. Our goal is to try to raise funds so each girl can receive the best education. With a private school education, we know they will become amazing young Kenyan women.

Our new goal is to put 10 girls into high school next 2009 school year.  Please check out our Gift of Education page to see how you can help!

If you would like to learn more on how you can help with the Education Fund at Saint Monica’s, contact Rocky at You can also donate today, online via PayPal:

Or, make checks payable to:
Mothers Fighting For Others
Mail to:
MFFO Saint Monica’s
27943 Seco Canyon RD #533
Santa Clarita, CA 91350

A New Day in America

I am proud of my country today.

It’s a new day in America, isn’t it? It’s thrilling to think that kids who are 8 or 10 years old today, this is a whole new place for them. When they become of age to vote, they’ll wonder why it was such a big deal. Like the way when I was growing up, I thought how impossible it seemed that there were once separate water fountains for whites and blacks. The fact that kids today will grow up in a world where a person of color holds the most powerful office in the world – and women are routinely running for such offices – is an amazing thing.

Equally inspiring is the fact that citizens of the United States have made our voices heard – not just to the electorate, but to the rest of the world. We are as tired of war, of unilateral bullying, of arrogance and of a country that’s run as if it’s an empire, as the rest of the world is. For the first time in a long time, I feel the potential of peace and solidarity with the rest of this small place we call earth. 

For the first time in a long time, I’m not embarrassed to be American.