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Volunteering - The Perfect Antidote?

While we are BIG on Community Outreach and making a difference in the lives of others, we also believe in attaining personal goals and growth toward becoming the best we can be as individuals.  While we think of volunteering as helping others, did you know that we actually help ourselves, emotionally, socially, professionally and physically when we volunteer? 

An article published in the Huffington Post confirms the personal benefits of volunteering. ” Volunteering Could Boost Happiness, Decrease Depression and Help You Live Longer: Study” by Sara Konrath, Ph.D. provides some interesting information from scientific studies regarding volunteering. An excerpt from that article reads as follows:

“A new paper by Dr. Suzanne Richards and colleagues at the University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, UK, reviewed 40 studies from the past 20 years on the link between volunteering and health. Published today in BMC Public Health, the paper finds that volunteering is associated with lower depression, increased well-being, and a 22 percent reduction in the risk of dying.”

“…Researchers in the Interdisciplinary Program for Empathy and Altruism Research at the University of Michigan, which I direct, are doing some detective work trying to figure out the two big mysteries that remain:

First, why should volunteering be good for people's health? 

 Any activity is good activity. Volunteering means getting off the couch and out of the house, so it makes us stronger and more physically fit. More physically fit people tend to deal with stress better, which can help them live longer lives.

Social connections can be good for us. We are hard-wired for face-to-face contact that includes lots of touch, eye contact, and smiles. Such interactions release a hormone called oxytocin, which helps us bond and care for others, and also helps us handle stress better. Volunteering is a good way to meet others, make friends, and bond over common beliefs and goals.

 It just feels good. Volunteering can give us a deep sense of happiness, which is also associated with longer and healthier lives."

“Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits” at helpguide.org is also a resource that outlines the benefits of volunteering and is well worth the read.

So, feeling a bit depressed and not quite up to par? Step up and out to the field of becoming a volunteer. It could just be the perfect antidote!

 

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/23/volunteering-happiness-depressi...
http://www.helpguide.org/life/volunteer_opportunities_benefits_volunteering.htm

 

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Bargain Shopping?

While we have previously highlighted Dress for Success, this is a "heads up" just to inform you of their current needs as well as to mention a wonderful event called S.O.S. scheduled in April, 2014. (There will be more on the S.O.S. event at a later date). 

This wonderful organization helps women do exactly what it says "Dress For Success".  Currently there is a high need for suits and interview appropriate clothing in size 16 and larger.  This is just a wonderful time to make a donation considering there are great sales and bargains at every department store and just who doesn't love the clearance rack?  Remember, however, that donations do not have to be brand new. If you are cleaning your closet, please note that donations should be gently used and dry cleaned.

The following  is a list of items that are in need. 

  • Interview-appropriate suits and related separates (the greatest need is for items size 16 and up)
  • Solid color blouses
  • Shoes that are suitable for the workplace. Our clients receive brown, black or navy shoes most frequently. Please no heels higher than 3 inches and no open-toed shoes.
  • Unopened hosiery
  • Unused undergarments (Note: Not all locations accept such items; please check with the affiliate closest to you before making this type of donation.)
  • Black tote bags, attaché bags or briefcases
  • Basic professional accessories (including jewelry, scarves, belts and handbags)
  • Unopened cosmetics
  • Coats and outerwear (Note: Not all locations accept such items; please check with the affiliate closest to you before making this type of donation.)

Check back with us for information on the S.O.S. project in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, however, keep it in mind and when you see a bargain, grab it!!  Make a difference in the life of one woman today!!

For more information regarding donations, volunteer opportunities and contact information for your local affiliate, please check out the following link: http://www.dressforsuccess.org/faqs_home.aspx

 

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MaTcH iT UP!

“How can I be useful, of what service can I be?
There is something inside me, what can it be?

v

From Therapeutic Horsemanship to Hospice Volunteers and everything in between, there are TONS of opportunities to step up to the plate and give.  As we determine what our missions will be in 2014, let's not limit ourselves.  Be open minded to change, explore new avenues and make a BIG difference in the community. 

Not sure where to start?  There are some great resources available to help us all match our gifts with the perfect volunteer opportunities- so check it out! 

     http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/index.jsp?r=msa&l=76670

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"The Gift of Life"

On Christmas Day, Our Company President, Jim Fleming,  honored his late son, Brody Fleming,  by visiting  the "2012 Wall of Donors" and "The Wall of Life" at Methodist Harris Hospital in Ft. Worth. He also expressed his appreciation and thanks to the staff of the Neuro ICU unit who worked valiantly in an effort to save Brody's life. The Wall of Life was dedicated in 2010 and the beautiful artwork was created by Rebecca Low.

"Wall of Life Dedication"  2010
Commission
In the collection of
Texas Health Harris Methodist
Hospital and LifeGift Organ
Donation Center

Fort Worth, Texas

 

Jim at the "2012 Wall of Donors"

Staff -  Bloxom Tower, 3rd Floor Neuro ICU

"Bridging the gap between grief and happiness" - organ and tissue donation.  For more information on giving life, as Brody Fleming did, read more about giving and receiving the gift of life.  http://www.lifegift.org/resources/files/Calendar_2013_LoRes.pdf

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Beautiful Gift of Life

“Nearly 120,000 Americans and their families currently await life-saving organ transplants, while every year, hundreds of thousands of people need donated tissue to prevent or cure blindness, heal burns or save limbs.  Millions more benefit from blood donations.”

Brody

Established in 1987, LifeGift is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization that recovers organs and tissue for individuals needing transplants in 109 Texas counties in North, Southeast and West Texas. Their vision is to create a community where everyone says yes to organ and tissue donation.

“Organs and tissues are a precious community resource. LifeGift is an integral part of the health care community helping to manage them. Thousands of residents of the areas we serve – and beyond – have had their lives restored by receiving organ and tissue transplants provided through our unique partnerships.

This topic is very close to the hearts of our leaders, Jim and Carrie.  The life of their son, Brody, will be honored this year by a rose placed on the “Light up the World” float in the 2014 Rose Parade. A rose is a symbol of love, loss and renewal. To those who are recipients, it is an offering of gratitude. When Brody left this earth, he gave the gift of life to many others through organ donation.

The riders on this float, as stated in the following press release, are transplant recipients who live today only because of the gift they received through organ and/or tissue donation.

LOS ANGELES, CA, Oct. 22, 2013 – From Massachusetts to Hawaii and across the Pacific to Korea and Taiwan, the families of 81 organ, eye and tissue donors will complete memorial "floragraph" portraits of their loved ones that will "Light Up the World" as beacons of hope in the 2014 Rose Parade. Each honored individual is remembered by their generosity, compassion, and lives saved and healed through donations after death. The floragraphs will grace the lanterns of light that illuminate 30 float riders – all transplant recipients – and the 12 living donors who will accompany them on foot along the five-mile route seen by more than 40 million viewers nationwide.

"As we enter our second decade in the Rose Parade, we appreciate how parade viewers honor our floragraph honorees with standing ovations and heartfelt appreciation for their life-saving gifts," said Stewart. "Through these unique creations, we shine a light on the compassion and generosity of all donors – those who have given life in their passing as well as the 110 million who have signed up on their state donor registries."

Beautiful, the lives saved by organ and tissue donation. Beautiful, the gift given.

More information on your decision to give the gift of life can be found at the following links:

http://www.lifegift.org/lifegift/info/lg_about_us/
http://www.donatelifefloat.org/prod/components/

 

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"Finding My Place"

Holiday Youth World is an event that takes “at-risk” children to Target Stores allowing them to choose their own Christmas gift while shopping with their sponsor. Our leaders, Jim and Carrie, were on scene with the children and participated in this wonderful event.  Carrie had 5 girls and Jim had 3 boys!  According to Carrie, this was a LOT of fun as well as an awesome experience.

 At Youth Word Dallas Learning Center, “Finding My Place” is the motto for every child. Often, we think of giving as being associated with the Holiday Season; however, there are opportunities to give of our time and money to organizations that help change the lives of children every day, year after year. This is what Youth World does.

“Youth World Dallas Learning Center is a non-profit youth organization that reaches out to “at-risk” children. These are children who seem to be the nobodies in the community that are not on a “list”. They are not waiting to be adopted; they are not waiting for a transplant or diagnosed of a terminal disease yet in desperate need of outside help! They are children who have had no voice and no choice. Youth World has been successfully serving the community since 1998.

 71,819 lunches served to hungry children in need.

19,194 books read affecting literacy

89% higher homework grades reducing dropout rate

2,184 children received new school shoes at Shoe Ride events

1,456 children received Christmas shopping trip.

Clothes and backpacks full of school supplies provided for children in need.

Youth World has recently moved into a new larger facility which will make it possible to reach an even greater number of “at-risk” children who make up our future. The new location is at 1121 W. Wheatland Rd, Dallas 75232. In this community, 1818 juvenile crimes were reported in one year alone! Youth World took a bold step forward to rescue more children than ever and began the “Build a Future” project to build a facility to meet the demands of the community. The facility is just 10 minutes from the current location at Edgefield and Davis in an area of south Dallas where juvenile crime rates are high and HIV is even higher. The new building located at Wheatland and Polk is 24,700 sq. ft. compared to 7,000 sq. ft. at the existing location.”  http://www.youthworld.org/buildafuture.html

The following link is a letter from the director of “Build a Future Project”.  This is an incredible opportunity to get involved, not only personally, but as a group within your company.  If we are seeking inspiration - if we truly desire to make a difference – THIS is one place we need to be.
 http://www.youthworld.org/DansUpdate_May2012.pdf

              Carrie with some of her "kids". 

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It takes a lot of smalls to create BIG

According to news reports, there are currently 50,000 children in the Metroplex who will receive nothing for Christmas unless it is provided through charitable organizations. Due to the ice storm, many drive- through toy donation events were cancelled. One local television station, WFAA, has phone banks set up to accept monetary donations. With these donations, much needed toys will be purchased to provide Christmas gifts for these children.

Santa is scheduled to make his appearance in only 14 days.  Time is short and toys are still in high demand. 

There are many ways to make a difference.  Cowboy Santas in Ft. Worth are, at the time of this post, still seeking volunteers to help with bagging toys.   Find a place to volunteer your services, buy a toy or do both.  Lend a helping hand in our community, and in the lives of others, this holiday season.

 Never underestimate how much your "little" can help. It takes a lot of smalls to create BIG, so bring them on!!

"Every thing depends upon the small parts in order to function". 

http://cowboysantas.org/volunteer.html

http://www.toysfortots.org/

http://www.wfaa.com/santashelpers

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Big-Texas-Toy-Run/195272321018

The links povided above represent only a fraction of the organizations seeking to help needy children this Christmas. For more information on other groups involved in this effort, a list is available at the following link: http://list-of-christmas-charities-by-state.uniquedesire.aidpage.com/ Also, never underestimate the power of Google! 

"Merry Christmas Children!"

merry christmas children

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Turkey Trottin'

Each Thanksgiving, many people in the DFW area participate in the YMCA Turkey Trot.  The 5k run/walk event helps raise money for the YMCA to continue to provide scholarships and serve underpriveleged youth in the area.  

This year, two of our leaders laced up their running shoes and participated in the Ft Worth Turkey Trot.  The 2013 race was unique because all of the races across the nation were paired up through a partnership with BSX Atheletics in an attempt to claim the Guinness World Record for the most participants in a multi-venue race.  While the results have not yet been released, we are proud of Jim & Carrie for setting an example with active lifestyles and continuing to support the local community causes.  We will keep everyone posted on the results, maybe we have two Guiness World Record participants amongst us!  

trot

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"We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem we just can't solve." -Linda Lingle

The Homeless

The homeless population includes people from all walks of life:

The National Student Campaign Against Homelessness and Hunger reported:

In the U.S., more than 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year.

35% of the homeless population are families with children, which is the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.

23% are U.S. military veterans.

25% are children under the age of 18 years.

30% have experienced domestic violence.

20-25% suffer from mental illness.

homeless

 

In urban communities, people experience homelessness for an average of eight months.

Christina Rosales, with Dallas News recently reported that "after years of gains in a decade-long effort to end chronic homelessness in Dallas County by 2015, the hard-to-serve population has increased by almost 40 percent from last year.

While that especially vulnerable subset is on the rise, the total number of homeless men, women and children counted this year decreased from 3,447 in 2012 to 2,972, according to the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance. That suggests some gains in helping get the county’s needy off the streets.

But the annual count, conducted on one day in January, doesn’t reflect what many local advocates are seeing as they serve homeless families, unaccompanied children and veterans. They say some shelters are operating at capacity, even after expanding their facilities significantly over the last couple of years…

Since 2004, when the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance and city leaders committed to the goal, chronic homelessness has decreased 52 percent — even with this year’s increase factored in.

Meanwhile, The Bridge homeless assistance center has seen the number of self-reported chronically homeless increase in the last year.

There’s this dynamic that there’s more need than resources for people at risk of homelessness and those who are already experiencing homelessness,” said Jay Dunn, chief executive of The Bridge. “I think that even though our local governments are trying to combat that dynamic, it’s still an uphill battle.”

While strides are being made in creating solutions for the homeless situation in Dallas, all organizations are in need of help. 

The following links are only a few of the many agencies working to combat the problem of homelessness and reaching out to those in need.

Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County

www.ugm-tc.org

OurCalling, Inc.

www.ourcalling.org

Dallas Life Foundatio

www.dallaslife.org

 

*Photo by PA; www.telegraph.co.uk

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com·mu·ni·ty

com·mu·ni·ty

 noun, often attributive \kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\

: a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood)

: a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.

: a group of nations

 

Full Definition of COMMUNITY

1
:  a unified body of individuals: as
  

b :  the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly :  the area itself <the problems of a largecommunity>

 

c :  an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location

2out·reach

 noun \ˈat-ˌrēch\

: the activity or process of bringing information or services to people

Full Definition of OUTREACH

1
:  the act of reaching out
2
:  the extent or limit of reach <the outreach of the Ohio floods — Clifton Johnson>
3
:  the extending of services or assistance beyond current or usual limits <an outreach program>also :  the extent of such services or assistance
 
 
 
 
 
                         
 
                         
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