#OLPC Parenting Expert Delievers 5000 Laptops to Help Empower Children

5000 Lives that are being changed....

OLPC mission is to empower the world’s poorest children through education.

We aim to provide each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop. To this end, we have designed hardware, content and software for collaborative, joyful, and self-empowered learning. With access to this type of tool, children are engaged in their own education, and learn, share, and create together. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future. – OLPC

Parenting Expert and author of over 25 parenting books, Dr. Michele Borba is one of their United States Ambassadors. On her recent trip to Miami she visited schools in Liberty City where she witnessed these laptops interact with students that were in other countries.

Dr. Borba says;

“It was simply amazing! Each click of the mouse was helping them become more connected both to the world and to a brighter future.”

On February 28th, Michele Borba and a team from #OLPC delivered 5000 laptops to children in Nicaragua. (Watch video).

Dr. Michele Borba with the children.

For more information on One Laptop per Child and inspiring stories, visit http://one.laptop.org/.

Maybe you would like to donate, volunteer or find out how you can become involved.  Click here.

Here are the stories from literally around the world – changing the world, one child at a time through one laptop at a time. Click here…. just like they are doing.


Using The Power of Online to Get Teens to do Good Things Offline: Be a part of DoSomething.org

It seems bad news will travel fast and good news will take time to get to us.  However it is about time that we DoSomething to change that.  DoSomething.org is an awesome website designed to inspire teens to make a difference in the world we live in. Watch their video and learn about it here.

DoSomething.org harnesses that awesome energy and unleashes it on causes teens care about.  Almost every week, they launch a new national campaign. The call to action is always something that has a real impact and doesn’t require money, an adult, or a car. With a goal of 5 million active members by 2015, DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the U.S. for teens and social change.

Their cause this month is Green Your School Challenge!

Get your school involved!

From February 1, 2012 thru April 22, 2012:

  1. Register your school to take part in the challenge! Get your friends to sign up too.
  2. Browse projects ideas for your school to tackle to increase recycling, save energy, promote green agriculture, and more!
  3. Report back on your completed projects to be judged by our panel of celebrity and expert judges!Bring the challenge home! You don’t have to just green your school, you can green your home too!

Watch video about Green Your School Challenge.

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Bras that give back: Mothers and daughters join for a good cause

No one is debating that times are tough.

There are more people losing jobs and homes.  There are more food banks crying out for donations and homeless shelters in need of beds.  Not to mention clothing for men, women and children.

Domestic violence is an ugly and sensitive topic that women struggle with, especially once they get the strength to escape the destructive relationship.

Bras are the most needed yet least donated item of clothing for women.  Soma Intimates is committed to change this one bra at a time.

A bra is one of the least donated, but most in-demand items for women in need.  When we learned that there are thousands of women going without an item that most of us consider part of our daily routine, we knew we had to do something,” states Laurie Van Brunt, Soma Intimates’ Brand President.  “At Soma, we believe that no woman should have to make the decision between putting food on the table and buying a bra.  The simple act of donating a bra helps these women to focus on rebuilding and recovering from the hardships of domestic violence.  Over 4 million women need the assistance of a shelter annually and many come with only the clothes on their backs.”

January 12th – February 26th, 2012 simply bring in your new or gently used bras to any Soma Intimate Boutique.  There are many locations in South Florida as well as in the entire state.

To read more about this cause, please read the recent press release by Soma Intimate and The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).

Talk to your teenager daughters about getting involved.  Giving back is actually more empowering to the person that is giving than receiving.  Teens today need to feel good about themselves, it helps them to make better choices in their future.

Be a part of changing the world, even if it is one bra at a time.

Teens Inspiring Teens: How Teens Can Make A Difference

As a parent, you strive to raise your children right and you teach them the value of giving.  Throughout the country and the world there are so many opportunities for youth to get involved in and help others. Over the past 16 years, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have been given to nearly 100,000 middle and high school students across the country for helping the less fortunate, promoting health and safety, protecting the environment, and many other volunteer activities.

The search is now on to identify thousands more who have made meaningful contributions to their communities over the past 12 months, as the prestigious awards program kicks off its 17th year!

In honor of this school year’s application period, I had the chance to interview one of last year’s High School National Honorees, Justin Churchman.  Here is what Justin tells us about his experience and why he encourages more teens to get involved with this year’s awards program:

  • What has being part of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards meant to you?

Being surrounded by other community volunteers for several days was amazing! It give me an opportunity to share ideas, problems and concerns with other volunteers my age. It is inspirational and affirming, at the same time, to see what other teens are doing around the world and to realize that you are making an important contribution as well.

As a national winner, the experience has been incredible. When you look at the resumes of the teens from throughout the country, you see that kids are not letting anything hold them back – not age, gender, where they live, money and sometimes, adults! We are the generation who will be leading this country and programs like Prudential are making it clear that giving back to the community HAS to be a number one priority.

Application forms for the 2011 Prudential awards are available now online at www.prudential.com/community/spirit and the deadline is Nov. 1. I hope you will encourage your readers to apply!

  • What is the number one reason you would encourage your peers to get involved?

The world is not going to be a better place if we don’t get involved. People don’t have to go to Mexico and build a house or to India and build a well. They can look in their neighborhoods for a senior citizen who can’t mow their grass anymore. They can walk down the street to a school where kids are working hard to learn to read and spend an hour helping. They can organize trash clean ups or clothing drives. And if everyone would just spend an hour or two, unselfishly being there for another person, they would be amazed at the changes inside them – and they will be back.

  • Has this experience brought about new opportunities for you?

Being a Prudential winner introduced me to some of the most amazing teens in the country. I’ve met super achievers who are passionate about changing the world and I’ve met regular kids who are passionate about improving a specific part of their city. It has created networks where I can find support – both financial and physical – and a place I can turn to if I need motivation. I have also gotten some support for my favorite project, building houses in Mexico, at www.casasporcristo.org, and through my new online site https://www.giveback.org/pages/MyGiveBack/MyCauseIntro.aspx

  • How did you go about selecting a volunteer project?

I built my first house when I was 12 by joining a school-sponsored project. I knew that was going to be my passion, so I just made sure I stayed involved with Casas por Cristo, the organization building them. In the early years it was tough, fund raising and organizing and convincing adults I could do the job, but now that I have proven myself it is easier. As for other projects, I just look around. Really, every community has the same needs. There is always trash to be picked up or families in need of food and clothing. There are always younger kids who need an older kid to hang out with or to help them with homework. I just see a need and do my best to find a solution.

  • Why do you feel volunteering should be a part of every teen’s daily life?

I think every teen should be volunteering because we are the next generation of leaders. We learn what we need to in school to get a career and we learn from our families about relationships. We learn from spending time in the community what it takes to grow a community strong and how to find solutions to social problems. Of course, it makes you happy to volunteer, and it rewards you like nothing else can.

As Justin mentions, the search is now on to identify thousands more who have made meaningful contributions to their communities over the past 12 months, as the prestigious awards program kicks off its 17th year!

Get out there and get involved by visiting the official website at http://spirit.prudential.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/spiritawards.


Fresh Air Fund: Summer Opportunity to Make a Difference in a Child’s Life

The time is NOW! Yes, many people are struggling with today’s economy, but one way to feel fulfilled is to give a piece of yourself and your family to a child that has none.  You don’t have to have a million dollars to give a child a fun summer.  Just being there, playing ball, swimming or any other family activity is what many children crave.

If you or someone you know is able to host, please sign up now. In 2010, The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family program, called Friendly Town, gave close to 5,000 New York City boys and girls, ages six to 18, free summer experiences in the country and the suburbs. Volunteer host families shared their friendship and homes up to two weeks or more in 13 Northeastern states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

Thanks to host families who open up their homes for a few weeks each summer, children growing up in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods have experienced the joys of Fresh Air experiences.

More than 65% of all children are reinvited to stay with their host family, year after year.

“It is rewarding to see the smile on our Fresh Air child’s face as she enjoys the simple things we take for granted…”

Friendly Town host families are volunteers who live in the suburbs or small town communities. Host families range in size, ethnicity and background, but share the desire to open their hearts and homes to give city children an experience they will never forget.

Hosts say the Fresh Air experience is as enriching for their own families, as it is for the inner-city children. There are no financial requirements for hosting a child. Volunteers may request the age-group and gender of the Fresh Air youngster they would like to host. Stories about real Fresh Air host families and their New York City visitors are just a click away!

Click here to learn more about becoming a host or call (800) 367-0003!

Fresh Air children are boys and girls, six to 18 years old, who live in New York City. Children on first-time visits are six to 12 years old and stay for either one or two weeks. Youngsters who are re-invited by the same family may continue with The Fund through age 18, and many enjoy longer summertime visits, year after year. A visit to the home of a warm and loving volunteer host family can make all the difference in the world to an inner-city child. All it takes to create lifelong memories is laughing in the sunshine and making new friends.

The majority of Fresh Air children are from low-income communities. These are often families without the resources to send their children on summer vacations. Most inner-city youngsters grow up in towering apartment buildings without large, open, outdoor play spaces. Concrete playgrounds cannot replace the freedom of running barefoot through the grass or riding bikes down country lanes.

Fresh Air children are registered by more than 90 participating social service and community organizations located in disadvantaged neighborhoods in the five boroughs of New York City. These community-based agencies are in close contact with children in need of summer experiences in rural and suburban areas. Each agency is responsible for registering children for the program.

What do Fresh Air children enjoy?

  • Playing in the backyard
  • Laughing in the sunshine
  • Catching fireflies
  • Riding bicycles
  • Learning to swim
  • Running barefoot through the grass
  • Gazing at the stars on moonlit nights
  • Building sandcastles
  • Making new friends
  • Simple pleasures of life away from the inner-city

The Fresh Air Fund at the Five Boro Bike Tour

Join The Fresh Air Fund at the Five Boro Bike Tour on May 1st! The largest recreational cycling event in America, the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour, leads bikers on a 42-mile fun course through the city and you can be a part of it! The Fund provides guaranteed entry into the event in exchange for a fundraising minimum. What better way to bike through an amazing route while knowing that the money you raise will help children from low-income communities who live throughout the city. Along the way, bikers will enjoy entertainment, rider photos, bike repair, medical support and the company of thousands of well-wishers! Click here for more information about the race! If you have questions or are interested in participating, please call Kate Brinkerhoff at (212) 897-8890 or email kbrinkerhoff@freshair.org.

Community Service: Teens Honored for Volunteer Work

Wouldn’t you agree that it should be every parent’s mission to teach their children about the positive impact volunteering can have on the world? If you just shook your head yes, then let’s speak further! Get involved with the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards to encourage your community to support the 102 youth volunteer Honorees for the 2011 season.

What is The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, exactly? Created 16 years ago, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represent the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. The program recognizes young heroes who have made exceptional impacts on the lives of others through acts of volunteerism. Each year, two honorees from each state receive $1,000 dollars, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for several days of national recognition events. Support from parents, family, friends and communities show the young heroes are being cheered on and recognized.  It is truly inspiring!

While in D.C., ten students will be named National Honorees on May 2nd, receiving an additional $5,000, gold medallions, trophies, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for a charitable organization of their choice.

Do you want to become part of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards family?  There are a few ways you and your readers can do so:

1. Find your hometown hero here and then show support by sharing their volunteer project and story with your family and blog readers.

2. Visit The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Facebook Page this month and tell us what great volunteer project you and your family plan to do this spring. You can also tweet about your plans using hashtag #spiritawards.

3. Share the LIVE webcast event with your readers this coming April and urge them to watch with their family.  I can add you to “The Prudential Spirit of Community Blogging Family” and send you the official webcast link as the awards ceremony gets closer!

More information can be found at http://spirit.prudential.com.

Sue Scheff: Teens Helping Teens with Special Needs through Circle of Friends

Teenagers can have a difficult time with today’s peer pressure. Keeping up with the trendy fashion, hair styles, tech gadgets and hanging with the cool group is all part of being a teen in high school today. However when it comes to teens with special needs, having a friend is one of the hardest parts of going to high school.

Circle of Friends
is making strides of changes and bring light into some very dark and lonely lives of teens. Circle of Friends is a social skills programs for teens and adults with disabilities such as autism, through understanding, acceptance, friendship and inclusion. They go into local high schools, teens are inspiring lives. They provide valuable support and friendship to those with disabilities. Teens and adults that were once isolated and lonely with their disability are now experiencing living through Circle of Friends. From a simple phone call, to going out to eat, Circle of Friends is providing a sense of normalcy to people with disabilities.

Special events are planned such as dances and organized outings to the movies, restaurants and shopping help these disabled people learn better social skills and enhances their communication skills with others. Circle of Friends helps make dreams come true for these otherwise isolated teens and adults with disabilities.

A priceless gift that Circle of Friends creates is the gift of giving. Teens that take part in Circle of Friends are influenced by bringing an awareness of understanding and acceptance to those that have disabilities. It is true, it just feels good to give!

Encourage your school and community to open a local chapter today. Read Ella’s story. Learn more, click hereRead more.

In Jacksonville (North Florida area) Autism Speaks has many chapters.  Click here for the locations and contact information. Empowering adults with Autism through art with Art Possibilities, learn more.

Watch video and be inspired to start your own chapter today! Read more.