MY COMMUNITY – Making a Difference

There are many things near and dear to my heart like family, friends, good food and helping others, especially children.  I am very fortunate to have four amazing, healthy, and happy children.  They inspire me each and every day.  

Knowing that there are children within our borders and abroad who do NOT have the same benefits as my children (food, shelter, education, immunization, and opportunities) just breaks my heart.  It seems right that I become a part of this community of children and support their needs to grow, learn, and be healthy…

10 x 10 Educate Girls Change the World  http://10x10act.org/

I am excited to help build awareness for 10 x10, a feature film “Girl Rising” and global social action campaign that uses the power of storytelling and the leverage of strategic partnerships to deliver a single message: educating girls in developing nations will change the world.  I feel honored to have joined 10 x 10 recently as Global Ambassador and hope to help make a positive impact with the 10 x 10 mission.  Please keep a look out for a fundraiser I am planning for Spring 2013.

The 10 x10 film “Girl Rising” tells the stories of ten extraordinary girls from ten developing countries.  Each of these girls is struggling to achieve against nearly impossible odds. These are stories of triumph, pain, courage, tragedy, and, above all, determination.  Each girl’s story is told by a talented woman writer from her own country. These international writers bring to the film their own experiences and intimate knowledge of the cultures, while also serving as models of success for girls everywhere.  Research consistently proves that educating and empowering girls breaks the cycle of generational poverty.  Selena Gomez and Meryl Streep recently came on board to spear head the campaign for 10×10.

Don’t miss International Day of the Girl October 11, 2012

I recently met Executive Director Holly Gordon, and was immediately inspired by the film’s mission.  The message hit home with me since I came to the U.S. from Thailand as a toddler to begin my education here not knowing a word of English. Without my education I would not be where I am today. I make sure my kids understand that it is a privilege to have such a quality education and that they do not take it for granted.”

To Donate click 10 x 10 Girl Rising Donate

Pencils of Promise (PoP)

(www.pencilsofpromise.org) the hot non-profit founded in 2008 by Adam Braun to build schools in developing countries by partnering with local communities. “What do you want most in the world?” Braun asked a small boy in India. “A pencil” he replied. After giving that boy his own pencil from his backpack, Braun spent the next five years backpacking through 50 countries handing out pens and pencils to children. In 2008,  POP set out with its first donation of $25 and the goal to build one school.  Since then 50 schools have been built around the world with plans for many more.  POP focuses on early education, high potential females and empowering a new generation of young leaders to create profound good. Justin has become just one of many  outspoken celebrity advocates for the cause and raised over $2,300,000 in 2011 alone  making thousands of young future philanthropists aware of the organization and its work along the way.

To Donate click Pencils of Promise Donate

Kids of Kathmandu (KOK) Kids of Kathmandu is a non-profit organization that utilizes photography and the arts to raise awareness about the needs of orphans in Kathmandu, Nepal. Our goal is to provide a stable financial foundation from which they can grow through funding for education, food, shelter, and immunizations.  With these very basic needs covered, our aim is to provide a sense of safety and encouragement for the children so that they can fully realize their potential in the rapidly changing environment of Nepal.

One of my closest friend, Jami Saunders, and talented photographer is the founder. Last year, she and her husband, Andrew, spent their honeymoon in Nepal.

Here is their story,

“Our wedding overwhelmed us in an amazing way, having our closest family and friends with us to celebrate. And it also proved to us that with this love and support, we could do anything.

Anything.

We chose our anything to start in Nepal.

We signed up to volunteer with IVHQ (International Volunteer Headquarters). They are based in New Zealand and orchestrated our Nepal stay. They in turn put us in touch with Hope and Home, a peace house in Kathmandu that places many volunteers throughout Nepal. As we boarded a plane from New Delhi to Kathmandu, we knew this felt right.
“The only issue I had with going, was knowing I would also eventually be leaving.” – Jami Saunders

While at the orphanage we knew we were not going to change the world in 2 weeks. We knew that while we felt good about our trip, this was hardly a drop in the bucket. Always photographing while we were there, near the end of the trip, we decided that upon returning to the US, we would have a photography show and raise money for the children. It was only upon coming home, that we realized, with the children on the other side of the world, and no way to reach them by mail, email, or phone, that we had to show them in a big way, that we were serious about our concern for them.

We hope that Kids of Kathmandu grows, throughout Kathmandu, throughout Nepal, and throughout other orphanages in the world. But right now, Kids of Kathmandu is a letter to the 41 children at the New Youth Development Center. They were put in this orphanage by no fault of their own, and they deserve a chance. They need the knowledge and the support to know that repeating this cycle does not have to be their destiny. Kids of Kathmandu is a letter telling them that they have not been forgotten, that there is hope, there is a future, and together we can make anything happen.  Anything.”

 To Donate click Kids of Kathmandu Donate

Maria Torres-Emerging Artist Project

The Emerging Artist Project is another great organization founded by dance great Maria Torres, which is helping inner-city children develop their passion for dance. I recently became aware of her cause and put together a fundraiser to benefit these children in August 2009.

I am honored to have recently joined The Emerging Artist Project’s Board of Directors and I am currently working with Maria on a project called “Dancing Towards a Healthier Harlem… Nourishing, the Mind, Body, and Soul.  We are collaborating with Harlem Link Charter School, PS 185 and 208, to educate and build awareness about Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise, fueled largely by the obesity epidemic.  This is a chronic condition that affects how a child’s body metabolizes sugar (glucose).

We’re designing a curriculum encouraging children to eat, make healthy food selections and to develop physical activity through dance. The foundation toward, health, wellness, and well-being.

Somaly Mam Foundation (www.somaly.org)

I have also become involved with the Somaly Mama Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to ending modern slavery and empowering its survivors as part of the solution. Human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar industry, is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. With an estimated two million women and children sold into sexual slavery each year, it is a global crisis that must be stopped.

Co-founded by sex slavery survivor Somaly Mam, the Foundation works to eradicate sex slavery, liberate its victims, and empower survivors to create and sustain lives of dignity and as agents of next-generation change. The Foundation supports rescue operations, shelter services, and rehabilitation programs in Southeast Asia, where the trafficking of women and young girls is widespread.

The Somaly Mam Foundation also runs awareness and advocacy campaigns that shed light on the crime of human trafficking, spotlight its brave survivors as living examples of change, and engage the public, business sectors, and governments in the fight to abolish modern slavery.

Our Vision: A world where women and children are safe from slavery.
Our Mission: To give victims and survivors a voice in their lives, liberate victims, end slavery, and empower survivors as they create and sustain lives of dignity.

To donate click Somaly Mam Foundation Donate

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s