Friends, Nonprofit

16 Hours Tomorrow

In her 40s, Pauline Crowther scaled the Brooklyn Bridge… not once, but several times.

In her 30s, she held down a full-time job while raising three kids on her own, and she made sure they never missed a rehearsal, practice, or playdate.

She loved art, music, culture… and most importantly, she brought light and life to everyone she knew.

In 2008, at age 51, Paulette Crowther was diagnosed with Anal Cancer. This isn’t as attractive a topic to read about – I know – but that’s all the more reason why we should. In spite of her illness, and possibly partly because of it, Paulette went back to school for her master’s in landscape design at Columbia University. She traveled the world with her three children, and she greeted me with a smile and sincere interest in my life every day when she came in to work. We lost Pauline in April of 2010, but she lived on in everyone who knew her, and in July 2010, her three children started The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation in her honor.

Over the next 48 hours, we have an opportunity to raise up to $100k in support of Pauline and others like her. Jonathan Feldman will swim 2.5 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles (a full marathon) tomorrow in the the Ironman triathlon in Zurich, Switzerland to support the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. A generous donor will match every donated dollar, up to $50,000, and the money raised will go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation for research on prevention methods and therapeutic treatments.

Every dollar you contribute will make all the difference.

If you’re unable to contribute at this time, all we ask is that join us in sharing this message with your friends and family members… for Pauline, for Jonathan’s friend, for their families, and for the 30,000 people who will be diagnosed with cancers caused by HPV this year.

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Friends, Nonprofit

On Changing the World: How Does One Person Make a Difference?

For several years, I have grappled with how to make each day of my life count, how to give back to the world, and how to ensure that I am proud of the person I am… I volunteer, donate, educate myself, and strive to be a positive force in the lives of others. But, it is when I come across someone like Shanley Knox, a recent college graduate working to help a village become self-sustaining, that I am truly reminded of how much each of us can do to make a difference in the lives of others.


Shanley Knox on Founding Nakate Project
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“In 2010, we met a 7-year-old named Cossy Nakate. Suffering from AIDS, orphaned and living in a small African village called Kakooge, Cossy impacted us in a way we couldn’t stop thinking about. We shared our lunch with her. We started paying for her food every month. But it wasn’t enough. We knew we had to change not only her life, but the lives of the women in her village – and the lives of their daughters after them.

7-Year Old Cossy Nakate; Photo credit: Nakate Project

So, we brought home a sack of necklaces, and we started the Nakate Project. That was our piece of Africa, our way of beginning to carry Nakate with us into our every day lives – so we wouldn’t forget her, or the way we had pledged to make a change.
Here at Nakate, we’re looking to put a little bit of Africa – a little bit of Cossy Nakate – into every woman’s life that we meet. That way, when they take a little piece of Africa with them, they can help pass it along, until we all are aware, and we all are working to prevent stories like her’s. Whether you’re someone who wants to buy a necklace, or you’re a designer, a photographer, a woman with a dinner group, a book group, a blog or a fashion show, we’re asking – where will you take Africa with you today?”

Since its founding in late 2010, Nakate Project has grown to support over 20 women in Uganda. Each month, Shanley wires money to the women of Kakooge in payment for paper jewelry that they make by hand and ship to her. She receives no financial compensation. She’s just doing her part to better the world….. I find it (and her) to be pretty incredible.

So how can you make a difference?

Donate to raise funds for Shanley’s next trip to Uganda.
Take home a piece of Africa, available here.
Tweet about @NakateProject.
Blog
about Nakate Project.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” -Anne Frank

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Career, Friends, Health, Love

Life Choices: The Positive Rewards of Taking a Chance

The weekend after giving notice at my old job, my boyfriend, Ron, and I were enjoying a relaxing Sunday brunch with Ron’s old roommate and his roomate’s girlfriend. After finishing our Eggs Benedict, Bloody Marys, and a lively discussion about social media, both of them were kind enough to offer to pass my resume along to their employers…  I had grown accustomed to unanswered inquiries, companies not hiring, and the other usual job market evils that most of us have encountered in this economy. So, when I sent them my resume, I definitely did not expect to hear back; in fact, I didn’t even give it a second thought. Crazy enough, the following morning, there was an email in my inbox asking when I might be available to speak to Human Resources…

Fast forward one week (and throw in a few interviews with this amazing social media agency)? Hired!

It was unbelievable. I had quit my job, fully expecting to go back to school. I figured I would see where life took me, and I could waitress and pick up the odd job here-and-there in order to pay the bills. Instead, I had (almost overnight) landed my dream job.

Serendipity? Fate? Luck?

When you’re trying to decide whether to leave a job, people are very quick to tell you to stick it out, that it’s easier to find a job when you have a job, you shouldn’t be impulsive, keep your benefits, etc. etc. Now, I don’t discount the validity of any of this; in fact, I think it’s true. But, something changed for me when I resigned from my job: my energy for life. You see, I had fallen into a rut. I wasn’t feeling motivated and I was carrying a weight around with me. When I chose to follow my heart (and accept the inevitable financial consequences), I essentially freed myself of this weight and I truly think the subsequent positive energy helped me to land this job. The universe (and the social media agency) saw that I was EXCITED about life, EXCITED about social media, and EXCITED about what I could be doing.

What has been even more amazing is how many other people have told me of similar serendipitous events in their own lives following a decision to put their emotional needs first… I don’t think Americans are encouraged to do this enough; and for me, it has served as proof that sometimes the answer really is following your heart, believing in yourself, and allowing the chips to fall as they may.

As I prepare to start my new job by reading up on viral marketing, social media, and customer relationship management, I am also trying to prepare myself emotionally. It is essential that I carry this newfound positivity and confidence into the office on Monday, and ultimately, into every subsequent phase of my life.

6 Things I have found to be important for this:

Sleep

I definitely require at least 7 hours a night. Serious emphasis on the “at least.”

Friends

My friends are inspiring, supportive, and intelligent. I can count on them for anything and everything, but most of all, a ton of laughs and a listening ear.


Animals
My dog, Stella, is the love of my life. I can’t even describe my love and gratitude for her… If you have a pet who you feel that way about, you know what I mean. There are also other animals in my life who are pretty important; but for today, I just want to  focus on her: sheer perfection.



Nutrition
I’m bad at this one. I love bread, pasta, chocolate, and anything that is made with spices, butter, or cheese. However, I know that I feel better as a whole when vegetables, fruit, and protein are incorporated… Working on it.

Yoga
Exercise and I have had an on-again-off-again relationship for some time now… I would really like to make it work. We all have to start somewhere, so I’ve committed to Saturday mornings.

Downtime
Whether it’s eating at my favorite restaurants, escaping for the weekend, reading a book, shopping, blogging, or watching tv, this includes anything that is purely for my own enjoyment.

I’m interested in finding out what other people find to be helpful… What’s important to you in maintaining your positive energy and outlook?

P.S. Feel free to leave social media tips and/or info as well!

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