28 December 2008


In case you've been wondering about some places that could use some of your extra Christmas money, these are some great organizations. If you've donated before, you know that anything given before the 31st will be tax-deductible for this year (*subliminal motivation*).

Invisible Children
is trying to help people in Uganda, Africa living in the middle of a 23-year civil war. Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been kidnapping children in efforts to vanquish the government. The children are brainwashed into becoming vicious soldiers while loosing their childhood. IC, like all of these organizations, strives to foster empathy and global awareness.

KARA (Kids At Risk Action) tries to influence the public agenda regarding children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect. Mike Tikkanen apparently is one of the advocates. KARA focuses on promoting support programs for those involved in the child protection system including: mental and physical health, legal and criminal justice, and education.

WildAid has acquired grants to pay for their administrative costs, so that 100% of what you donate is used for their programs. The current programs include conservation awareness, Samlaut, Cambodia (MJP), Galapagos island ecology, activist training, and shark conservation. Their motto is "when the buying stops, the killing can too," advising that people should stop buying items made at the expense of endangered species.

National Council for Support of Disability Issues (NCSD) seems like a very informative and active organization. They are advocates by facilitating employment, legislative improvements, encouraging voting for candidates concerned about people w/ special needs, informing the public about current issues, and promoting recreation.

Greenpeace is currently addressing the issues of global warming, oceans, forests, nuclear energy, and toxics. You don't really have a choice about which of the issues you want to support; you're funds just go into the whole pot. It seems there are always side projects & petitioning to policy makers for law changes. GP has a laundry list of accomplishments from the beginning of their endeavors in 1971.

Kiva organizes micro-loans to people trying to get a business off the ground gaining economic independence. Some of the loans are $175, some $600, etc. Several people can contribute to one loan or you can devise a "team" for lending. These are 0% interest. Entrepreneurs profiles are on the website for you to choose from.* Journal updates are posted on the site & e-mailed to you regarding your personal loan. This is a loan system, so you'll receive repayments, which can be recycled into another loan or cashed out. To date, Kiva has facilitated raising over $540,000,000 worth of micro-loans. ----- *Aparently, Kiva has had a great influx of donations and all of the loans have been met as of right now. However, this is temporary, so keep checking back as new loans are updated hourly. You can also contribute to Kiva for overhead expenses.

Prosperity Rings focuses on helping women become entrepreneurs. They facilitate micro-financing, which is where we come in. Like w/ Kiva, these women are trained in creating a business plan and form groups that keep each other accountable for monitoring their monies and repaying the loans. They do charge interest though.

My friend Sue is participating in "Climb Tampa" 03-21-09;
She is going to climb 42 flights! This is a fund raiser for the American Lung Association which helps to "fight against diseases such as lung cancer, asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." CLICK HERE to visit her personal web page and contribute towards her fundraising goal of $200. If you're in Florida and feel up to it, go climb with her!

Folks at Stuff White People Like have a list of 17 charities to donate to, 11 w/ descriptions, some which are listed here. A handful of the org. they highlight I am familiar w/ and their work is impressive. They're also planning on donating proceeds from t-shirt sales to one of eleven org. and you can vote about which one you think should get the proceeds. They also have a link to Charity Navigator if you would like to look for more non-profit groups in need.

There are a variety of ways to also help these organizations without donating money. The websites will certainly tell you how. These are just the tip of the iceberg; all you have to do is look for org. in need and you'll find them. If you have any others you like to support, please leave a comment. I'll check it out, at least. ^_^

All of t
he above are classified as "non-profit 501(c )3 organizations."

26 December 2008

African Proverbs

Grassroots is a fair trade store in Anchorage. I bought a friend a desk calendar that has African proverbs in it. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order. Enjoy!

"Every door has its own key." (Swahili)

"The horizon will not disappear as you run towards it." (unknown)

"The heart is a market place." (unknown)

"A butterfly that flies among thorns will tear its wings." (Liberia)

"Never was good work done without much trouble." (Sudan)

"A good wind is no use to a sailor who doesn't know his direction." (Zambia)

"When one mountain is climbed, another one is seen." (Ethiopia)

"If while climbing a tree you insist on going beyond the top, the earth will be waiting for you." (unknown)

"The bird which flaps its wings too much will drop its feathers." (Kenya)

"Where there are two people there is double wisdom." (Zambia)

"A single ear of corn can produce a whole shed full of corn." (Ghana)

"The fuel of the lamp is consumed, yet it provides light for others." (unknown)

"Never compete with the elephant in defecating." (Kenya)

"There is not a tree which has not been swayed by a breeze." (N. Africa)

"A feather is a delicate thing when removed from a bird yet it carries the bird anywhere in the world." (Sudan)

"When the drumbeat changes, the dancers must adapt." (Burkina Faso)

"The heart that truly loves has no room for grudges." (Ghana)

"If you dream of moving mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting small stones today." (Muritania)

Ten Thousand Villages {Compiled by Annetta Miller 2005. Paulines Publications Africa, Nairobi}

21 December 2008

Back in the Saddle

No, I'm not playing Aerosmith. Well, now I have the song playing in my head. But, lets face it, that's one snazzy subject title.

Yes, it's been 4 months since thine eyes have glanced upon MySpace. It's kind of a strange feeling. Almost as strange as partaking of the fruits of this Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile (now 2/3 down the bottle & quitting) or driving or streets or going to a movie (I watched "Seven Pounds") or people watching in a mall. Some of these experiences I'm content to live without, really I could do without all of them. Yet I still find the need to "check" every now & then. Anyway, I'm enjoying exploring what is daily life to some, a spectacle to me at this point.

Long story short, I'm in Anchorage for almost 4 more days than I expected. Seattle had some bunk weather & crosswinds. By the time we were back on the plane, after de-boarding prior, the crew had timed-out, literally it was a matter of less than 10 minutes, & our flight was canceled. This was a 9 hour ordeal. I was able to visit w/ some folks also waiting to get out + get a mini-European history lesson from Duane. The next available flight is the 24th, which I'm re-booked on. I'd rather be in NC, but Anchorage is a pretty nice town.

Oh, happy winter solstice! Here in Alaska, this day marks the upslope towards seeing our friend, the sun, return. It will only be about 1 minute a day, moving towards up to 10-15 minutes a day increase until we are once again "the land of the midnight sun".

15 December 2008

"Unbearable Lightness of Being"

"What fell to her lot was not the burden but the unbearable lightness of being." ~ Milan Kundera

This has to be my new mantra! I've started to reflect on this semester. Admittedly, I have been rather heavy; in how I have viewed my personal growth & "catching up", my actions w/ others, my pedagogy, school as a system, etc. I realize that the "burden," as Milan points out, can simultaneously, or in the end, intensify the benefit or fulfillment. *fingers crossed* I'm sure everyone reading this has undergone something that was quite difficult: grad school, heartbreak, the challenges of child rearing. I'm not saying I'm going through things That difficult. Though, in short, now I need to be on the flip side, to lighten up. As our holidays are approaching, this lighter mentality has started to seep inside of me, though I'm still feeling the weight. I'm sure some time away from AK will give me more perspective and increase my "lightness of being," though hopefully not as far as being unbearable. ^_^

... I'm not usually one to count down to breaks, but upon winter solstice I'll be in NC. Hip, hip, hooray!

13 December 2008

crunch time

No, I'm not eating cereal. Wrong again, I'm not walking in the snow. Nope, sorry, I haven't taken up wrestling. My fellow teachers probably know what I'm referring to.

It's the end of the first semester; 81/190 days under our belt now. So, over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of assessing to make sure these little troopers are on track for their academics. The results? We're doing ok. We are approaching the 1/2 way point in their math. Reading "scores" are varied; many are behind, though progress has been made. More are reading at home to supplement what we do here. This is a huge help. And they are kicking tale in writing! This is a subject I think is quite challenging to foster, especially when getting them to write anything is an issue. But, upon grading papers this week, which I have neglected for a while, some of them blew me out of the water & are ahead of the game. *jumping & clicking heels to the side*

Also, we are practicing a mini-musical for the school c-mas program. This is a first for me & definitely a first for them. It's very simple with 9 short songs to familiar tunes along with narration. We have been making some props & they are really getting into it. My fingers are crossed for audible voices & calm nerves once they're on stage this Thursday.

... Friday is the last day of school for 3 weeks. I fly out on Saturday en route to NC. So far, I have a one way ticket. I may be able to go to Korea to visit a friend, given airfare has dropped. Or, I might try to visit a friend in ND {Jenny, expect an e-mail from me soon. *_*}. I may come back to AK a bit early to prep for the 3rd quarter. Decisions, decisions...