Pick Up a Ghabit

Light switch in the bathroom

Light switch in the bathroom (Photo credit: anotherpioneer)

Pick Up a Ghabit: Ghabit is short for Green Habit and is the creation of Milesh Jain, aka Dr. Ghabit. I love this concept of empowering children to be active participants in preserving the environment. By simply establishing a habit of turning out the lights upon leaving a room or walking to and from school, your children can be proud that they’ve reduced their carbon footprint and are actively helping the environment. So, get your family together and pick up a Ghabit. Carry a bag on your walks to collect litter, turn off the lights, use less water, walk more and drive less, the possibilities are endless and Mother Earth will thank you.

via Do-Gooder Kids Activities.

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Turn Playtime into a Volunteer Opportunity!

I’ve written about it before, but this is by far the easiest and most fun way to volunteer your time as a family!  It helps teach your children that their opinions are valuable and that volunteering does not have to be boring.   Volunteering to map playgrounds encourages you as a family to engage in play, explore new playgrounds and communicate in new ways.  So, if you are heading out to a playground or park today, consider snapping some pictures and adding it to the Map of Play.

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Put a Playground on the Map:  The Map of Play is a community generated play space finder and depends on volunteers to put playgrounds on the map. This is the ultimate family volunteer opportunity and perfect for children of any age. All you need to do to volunteer is sign up for an account on the Map of Play website. When you go to a new playground or park, snap some pictures and then ask your kids for their review of the space. Each time you add a play space to the map, you are helping other people find a great place to play!

via Do-Gooder Kids Activities.

Summer Tradition With a Charity Twist

Before bed last night, we read Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink.  My daughters love the Pinkalicious series of books and this particular one is about the ultimate summertime activity – holding a lemonade stand!  I am quite certain that 99% of kids think about setting up a lemonade stand at some point in their childhood.  Lemonade stands can teach kids about entrepreneurship, money management and marketing, but most of all it is a fun way to pass a summer day!  But did you know that you can help your children learn about philanthropy and social entrepreneurship while doing this quintessential summer activity?  Here’s an excerpt from my Do-Gooder Kids Activities page on hosting a lemonade stand for charity.

lemonade stand!

lemonade stand! (Photo credit: amy.gizienski)

Organize a Lemonade Stand: This is the ultimate summer volunteer opportunity for kids! I am fairly certain that at some point in time, every child has set up their very own lemonade stand. Alex’s Lemonade Stand provides all the resources your kids need to step it up a notch and contribute to a worthy cause, finding a cure for pediatric cancer. Or, you can select a charity that is close to your heart and spread awareness about it while serving lemonade to your community. Most groups will provide some informational material for you to distribute if you call to request it!  Looking for tips on hosting a lemonade stand?  Sunkist has a fantastic online guide for making your lemonade stand a success!

via Do-Gooder Kids Activities.

Let Your Child’s Creativity Flow for Charity

Is your child a Picasso in the making?  Does your family enjoy creating masterpieces with paint, markers or pastels?  You can channel that creative energy into a way to support underfunded art programs in low-performing schools!

Host a Clothesline Art Sale:

This is such a fun opportunity to let your children’s creativity shine and support arts initiatives in low-performing schools with underfunded art programs. Fresh Artists provides a step-by-step guide for children and their parents on how to get started. This could be part of a neighborhood wide yard sale, a project for your local playgroup, your child’s scout troop or class at school. Kids will love it because they are getting to create artwork and host their very own “gallery.” Time to get your child to practice their “when I am famous” signature!

via Do-Gooder Kids Activities.

CFC Benefits the Kawasaki Disease Foundation in June

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June’s Chores For Charity dropped into my lap unexpectedly on May 30, 2013 via CrowdRise.

I was drawn into CrowdRise when my husband shared a fundraiser led by Sarah Chalke for the Kawasaki Disease Foundation.   When Josie was 18 months old, she came down with a fever, not such an odd occurrence in a child who was in daycare a couple days a week.  On the 4th day of the fever, the doctors began to become concerned and started her on high dose antibiotics that needed to be injected into her arm on two different occasions.  She had a chest x-ray to look for pneumonia – it was negative. The fever persisted. Then she needed blood testing – have you ever held a toddler down and allowed 4 huge vials of blood to be drawn from her tiny arm?  I have and it was one of the most awful experiences of my life.  The tests showed high white blood cell count, high sed rate, high platelet count – all of which are typical in patients with Kawasaki’s Disease,  a rare childhood condition that can lead to long term heart defects.  But, she only had one of the other symptoms, swollen lymph nodes.  Her tongue did not look like a strawberry, her eyes were not blood shot and she did not have peeling skin or rash.  She was admitted to the hospital on her 8th day 103+ degree fevers.  The doctors diagnosed her with Atypical Kawasaki Disease, though there was disagreement about the diagnosis since she lacked so many symptoms.  She was given IVIG treatment on the 9th day of fever and responded well to it.  She was without a fever for the first time in 10 days.   Her stay in the hospital was prolonged when she picked up another bug just prior to her release.  In total, she was in the hospital for 7 days and our health scare saga lasted over two weeks.

As a parent in this situation, it is heart-wrenching to watch your child suffer and be unable to help her.  The number of tests that our little girl underwent while they were trying to diagnose her is staggering.  She had multiple chest xrays, multiple blood draws, strep tests, catheterization to collect urine for a urinalysis, and a CT scan.  I, like Sarah Chalke, just wanted answers and each time the doctors suggested a possible ailment the tests came back negative.  The path to a Kawasaki Diagnosis (particularly with Atypical Kawasaki) is a process of elimination.  Your child’s pediatrician tests for anything and everything it can be, and if it is not that, than it is presumed to be Kawasaki’s and treatment is given.  It would be such an amazing gift for parents and children to have a diagnostic test for this mysterious ailment.    Please support this amazing opportunity to fund research on a prototype of a diagnostic test that could be 95% accurate.  Even better, The Gordon and Marilyn Macklin Foundation will the first $100,000 in donations.  Please consider donating in any amount that you can.  Josie and I will personally thank you.

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Of course, Josie will donate her Chores For Charity earnings in June.  Won’t you join her in helping to ensure that the path to a Kawasaki’s diagnosis is shorter and more concrete?  The Hubs and I already kicked off the fundraising effort – I’d love to raise at least $500 for this cause.  Can you help?

 

If you are looking for information on Kawasaki Disease, I recently found a tremendous resource page compiled by a fellow KD mom.  Please check out Desperately Seeking Kawasaki  for articles, personal stories and more.   You should also visit the Kawasaki Disease Foundation website for information about diagnosis and treatment of KD.

What I Learned About Being a Good Neighbor From My Preschooler

Yesterday, we arrived home from dinner out at an authentic Jersey Diner.  I say authentic, because, if you grew up in NJ as I did, then diners outside of the state do not compare to the yummy goodness and colorful service you get at a Jersey diner.  That aside, as we arrived home and found an ambulance in front of our house.   We immediately knew that our elderly neighbor across the street was ill.  She has a variety of health issues and is a shut-in, so we occasionally (but not often enough) pop over to say hi.  Well, Josie, upon seeing the ambulance was very upset.  She was very curious about what was happening, but that curiosity was fueled by sympathy and empathy.  Genuinely concerned, she wanted to know if our neighbor would be okay; if she couldn’t breathe (our neighbor is on oxygen 24/7); who would take care of her cats and the list went on and on.  I asked her what we could do to help and she said she wanted to make her a card.   I love that she thinks of others and seems to innately realize that our neighbor is frequently alone, sometimes lonely and always appreciates our visits.

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Josie often asks to go over and say hello and I often say “not today” because I really don’t have the time to visit for long and our neighbor really likes to talk.  Next time she asks, I will say yes.  From today on, I will make a conscious effort to be more attentive to our elderly neighbors and relatives.  So many of them have reached a point in their lives when they feel they are ready to die because they are the lone survivor of their group of siblings or friends.   But we need to help them enjoy the life they have left, by showing interest in the stories of their lives, and enjoying a cup of coffee or sweet treat with them.  We need to show them that they are still valued and loved and wanted in this world.

So, we made our cards tonight and will put them in our neighbor’s mailbox tomorrow morning.  We would have delivered them tonight, but, as with any preschooler, minor challenges turn into major tantrums.  For Josie, the fact that her card did not perfectly fit in the envelope on the first try was too much to bear and her screams and cries and wails echoed throughout the house for quite while.  But, as a wise mom once said to me, “This too shall pass” and we will get to try again tomorrow.

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Do you have an elderly relative or neighbor who is lonely?  What do you do to bring joy to their lives?

The Power of Thank You

SONY DSCIf you’ve been reading for a while, you know that Josie donated her Chores For Charity earnings in March to KaBoom!  Well, her mommy had a terrible case of Procrastinitis and finally sent in her donation a couple weeks ago.   Yesterday, the postman delivered a letter addressed to Josie and she could hardly control her excitement.  We read it together as a family and I have to say that she has been beaming with pride about it ever since!  She is so excited that she helped to make a playground and the Thank You Note addressed to her was the perfect reminder.  It will definitely go into her memory box.

Of course, Josie was excited to get mail.  But, I think the fact that it was a Thank You card addressed to her was meaningful and really made her day.  So, my friends, don’t underestimate the power of a thank you.  Go forth and spread gratitude, thanks and goodness!

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