Showing posts from January, 2011

Called it a night a little early...

Tomorrow we return to our regularly scheduled program.

Day 42- Refugees International and 80's Day

When I looked up "Thai" on (as in "Pad Thai" from last year), only one result popped up.  Luckily, it was a good one.  After visiting the website for Refugees International and poking around, I decided that it would be a great choice for the charity du jour.

Refugees International works to help refugees and displaced people in a number of ways.  The organization focuses on six main issues:

1. Neglected Crises
2. Return and Reintegration
3. Peacekeeping
4. Internal Displacement
5. Statelessness
6. Climate Displacement

...and here's some important info from the site.


Refugee crises left unattended threaten stability around the world. There are 41.2 million refugees and internally displaced people and 12 million stateless people living in limbo without citizenship rights. People forced from their homes by conflict are among the world’s most vulnerable and they all have individual stories of loss, heartache and survival.


Timely re…

Day 41- Youth in Need and Rivalry Victory

I used to drive by the Youth in Need headquarters all the time on my way to and from graduate school.  Every time I saw it, I would wonder what exactly they did there, and one day I finally came home and looked it up.  Here's the answer:

Youth In Need is a nonprofit child and family services agency, headquartered in St. Charles, Mo. Through a variety of crisis prevention and intervention programs, Youth In Need is dedicated to building positive futures for the community’s most vulnerable children, teens and families.

Each year, Youth In Need serves more than 10,000 children, teens and families with residential homes, foster care case management, homeless outreach, counseling and support groups, education and infant, child and family development at more than 25 sites, spanning 100-miles, in six counties in eastern Missouri.

Youth In Need was founded by community volunteers, who opened the organization’s Emergency Shelter in 1974. It is through the generous support of community volunte…

Day 40- New York City Center and Ethan*

This was another one of those days where it was a bit more challenging to make a connection to what I wrote about last year.  I appreciated the simple pleasure of painted toenails a year ago today, so I figured some sort of foot connection would be the way to go. 

I made the connection through the New York City Center.  I figured in order to make other people take joy in their feet, it might be nice to donate to some kind of dance program.  I donated specifically to their education programs.  Here's what they do:

Each season, artists who perform on City Center's stage help bring dance and musical theater education into the classroom for more than 5,000 public school students throughout all five boroughs of New York City.

I hope this makes for some happy feet :).

I gave a reading quiz yesterday that was challenging.  I asked students to answer high depth of knowledge questions by analyzing a quote from the book (their pick from three possible …

Day 39- PAWS and School!

I know I've already donated to PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) once this year, but today was General's turn to chose, and that's what he wanted.  He told me that he will forever be thankful to them for saving his life, and he couldn't possibly think of a better place to send money to in order to save more puppies like him.  I really can't argue with him on this one. 

I am thankful every day to PAWS for rescuing General and for letting us adopt him.  He brings a great deal of joy to both of our lives and a great sense of safety to mine as well.  I can't wait to see him at the end of the day, and he never fails to show me that this feeling is mutual. 

We'll be adding more to the PAWS fund today in honor of our dear General Ferri.  Woof woof!

I can't wait to adopt from them again to bring home a buddy for our General.  I was thinking this would be nice sooner rather than later (with this pretty little lady http…

Day 38- Giving Children Hope and Lady Ballads

Last year we stocked up on supplies at Costco.  This year I wanted to find a way to get those same kinds of supplies to people who might really need them.  Today's donation was made to a charity called Giving Children Hope.  It is a four-star charity from that works to give disadvantaged children the things they need.

The website for this one is quite compelling.  It makes a lot of good points about the choices we make and the things we deem important to spend money on.  I mean, who doesn't throw around $5 for something silly every now and then?  The website compares these luxuries to the important services and supplies they could provide with your money instead ($5 latte vs. week's worth of food for a starving child, $25 night at the movie theater vs. malaria supplies for 78 orphans). 

When you look at it that way...

I like having company in the kitchen when I cook.  Sometimes when Tom asks what he can do to help…

Day 37- Compassion International and The Opposite of Procrastination

Today required some creativity once again.  I was beyond delighted last year to experience crushed ice from our new refrigerator because I had never had that before.  I had only ever lived in places where I had to fill up the little trays and delicately balance them while waiting for them to freeze.  I was able to appreciate the crushed stuff that much more when I had my very own for the first time as a twenty-something.

I am fully aware that there are other kids that grow up wanting a whole lot more than some crushed ice.  (Is this transition working for you?)  I decided to donate to an organization that would help kids to experience so much more, Compassion International.

While we don't have the means to sponsor a child for the year on top of our other donations, we are happy to add our $5 to the cause today. 


It seems as if everyone always talks about how much they looooove lazy Sundays.  It seemed that way even more last year when I was workin…

Day 36- Community SeniorServ and Spring Break Booking

I found one of my favorite movies of all time on this day last year.  I think no matter how many movies I see in my lifetime (which is actually not all that many lately, but I'm sure will increase once again), Up will forever remain one of the best.  I'm not sure I can think of many other movies with the same high laugh/cry ratio.

In the movie, the relationship between the elderly man and the young boy is vital in both of their lives.  The boy teaches the man how to feel young again and how to live his life with independence and dignity.  I wanted to find a charity that would honor this idea today, and by golly, I found one :).

"Community SeniorServ's mission is to improve the quality of life for older adults and their families by creating a safety net of health, nutrition and supportive services designed to enhance their independence, well being and dignity."

I think one telling sign of a society is the way in which it treats …

Day 35- Nonprofit Leadership Alliance and My Clear Driveway

Well, there just wasn't anything that fit in with what I wrote about last year ("scented goodbyes"), so I'm running free today with my choice of charity.  Wahooooo.

The good news is that I think I found an excellent place to highlight and contribute to today.  While looking through a list of reputable organizations, I found one that really intrigued me, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (formerly American Humanics).  Once I read the description of what they do and cruised around their website a bit, I was sold.

Here's a little snippet from their "Who We Are" section.

American Humanics is the only workforce development organization that certifies diverse, work-ready talent for the nonprofit sector. Our alliance of educational programs and nonprofit partners produces the leaders whose work strengthens communities worldwide.

And from

American Humanics is a national …

Day 34- Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and Leftovers

At this time last year, I was enjoying Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet with my students.  Well, I was enjoying it, and a good number of them were as well.  I'm not sure I can speak for everyone there.  However, like it or not, there is a reason that Shakespeare is still in the curriculum of high schools and universities and grad schools all over the world.  It is classic literature that is still relevant after all these years, and it is meant to be experienced. 

Shakespeare festivals have popped up all over the country and all over the world, and today I supported the one we have here locally.  Their mission is "to produce professional Shakespeare theatre, outdoors in a city park, free and for a diverse audience, and to provide education through schools and community outreach."  What I want my $5 to say today is that I believe in literature and the arts and their importance in the education of us as human beings.  If we fail to support these things, and we lose them i…

Day 33- Alex's Lemonade Stand and Modern Family

There's really not a direct charitable tie in to last year's post about a kitchen timer, but I think I have found a way to make this one work.  If not, at least I'm making a contribution to a charity about it :).

I searched for "time" on, and one of the highest rated charities that came up was Alex's Lemonade Stand.  This is an organization that raises money for research to fight childhood cancer.  Perfect, I thought, there's my connection.  This charity is, simply put, trying to give the kids more time.  Here's what they do (this is a long description, but it's worth reading... I had goosebumps and tears in my eyes):

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) shares the vision of our founder and creator, Alexandra “Alex” Scott—a cure for all children with cancer.

When Alex, who was diagnosed with childhood cancer just before her first birthday, was four, she told her parents she wanted to set up a front-yard lemonade stand. Her …

Day 32- American Skin Association and New Computer

Last year's wacky dermatologist translates well into this year's American Skin Association contribution.  Here are the ways they explain themselves and brag about themselves on their website:

In the two decades since its founding, the organization's Mission has remained to...

•Advance research
•Champion skin health — particularly among children
•Raise public awareness about skin disease

Led by patients, families and advocates working with eminent physicians and scientists, the organization's Achievements include:

•Committed $7.4 million for dermatological research — historically one of the most underfunded areas of medicine.
•Sponsored scientific studies by over 120 gifted young investigators with the energy, drive and creativity to find new innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat skin cancer and disease.
•Provided 8+ million children in all 50 states with free school-based instruction in skin health and cancer prevention through such award-…

Day 31- C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Michigan basketball made my day last year with an exciting win.  It is only fitting that I honor Michigan athletics today with a donation to a place where all Michigan athletes spend a great deal of time with their own philanthropy.

C.S. Mott Children's hospital is affiliated with the university and is one of the top pediatric hospitals in the nation.  Here's a description from the "Who We Are" section.

When a child you love is sick, your top priority is finding the best care available. Mott isn't just a hospital: it's a place where patients and families always come first; where 170,000 patients annually from Michigan, the United States and the world seek general and specialized inpatient and outpatient treatment; where top medical students compete for some of the most highly sought-after pediatric residencies and fellowships; and where children with the most complex medical problems are guaranteed access to the most advanced care. Our rich history, collaborat…

Day 30- Sundance Institute and Nancy the Neighbor

There aren't very many things that can match the fabulousness of movie theater popcorn.  I blogged about popcorn in all its buttery glory last year, so this year I found a charity that helps to support work to entertain me while I'm in my seat at the theater.

Their thank you note for my contribution was nice.  It also gave me a great little synopsis of exactly what they do, and this is much more concise than I could be.

Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization committed to discovering and nurturing independent artists in film, theatre, film music and creative producing. Your generous support is crucial to helping us advance the creative voices of our time. The artists we support are defining and pushing the limits of our cultural landscape and society. Thank you for believing in our work.

Advancing the creative voices of our time?  Yes, please!  Since I know you're going to rush to donate, make sure you have $10 for this one.  That's their minimum contribution f…

Day 30- Coming Soon...

Stay tuned!

Day 29- NOW Foundation and St. Chuck Shopping

How in the world might I connect some sort of donation to "SUV at a Four-Way Stop" from last year?  This one is going to be tied as loosely as a 4-year-old's shoe. Not funny?  Eh... I tried.

I went to for help.  This website lists all kinds of reputable charities and gives ratings based on a number of different categories.  Basically, it gives a lot of information to help a sistah decide whether or not charities are legit and worthwhile.  I put the key words "stop" and "right" into the search bar today, and I came up with a list.  Looking through this list, I found a real gem.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is one of the largest groups in the country to fight for women's rights.  They have one initiative that I feel especially warm and fuzzy about, the "Love Your Body" campaign.  It focuses on body image, addiction, eating disorders, and a number of other issues that affec…

Day 28- Missouri Botanical Gardens and Three Day Weekend

  Botanical Gardens, 2009

If you ever need to take a little time to stop and smell the roses, the Missouri Botanical Gardens are the perfect place to do it!  Since I wrote about the show "Parks and Recreation" on this day last year, I thought it might make sense to donate to one of my favorite parks in the area.

The Missouri Botanical Gardens are truly spectacular.  There are a wide variety of different types of gardens and colors and areas and plants and a million other things to catch your eye and hold your attention.  There is no way I can do justice to the beauty of this place with words alone.  We even enjoyed strolling around one summer in 100-degree heat.  Gorgeous.

I hope everyone gets a chance every now and then to take a deep breath of fresh air scented with sweet perfume from thousands of roses.  The whole thing just kind of makes a dozen seem silly.

For information that will convince you to visit this magical place (and for information about donating, of course),…

Day 27- Idol Aid and Aaron*

In one of many guilty pleasure television posts last year, I wrote about an inspirational American Idol contestant.  If you've ever watched the show (c'mon, you might as well admit it... there are millions of us), you know that Idol started a big push for charities around the country and the world a few years ago.  There's an episode each season now called "Idol Gives Back."  Carrie Underwood sings touching songs while video montages are played of the judges volunteering for different organizations, and fans are encouraged to call in their contributions for good cause after good cause.  It's a full-fledged extravaganza!

Okay, Idol, along with my Jan./Feb./March each year, I'll send in $5 too.  Make it count :).

Aaron approached me in the hallway on his way to another class.
"Hey... uh... Mrs. Ferri?"  He flipped his little skateboarder boy hair to the side.
"Yes, Aaron?"
"I'm sorry.  I …

Day 26- Girl Scouts and Stirrings

Oh man.  "Girl Scouts and Stirrings."  I hope that title doesn't get me put onto some sort of watch list.  I promise this will be completely innocent :).

Since I wrote about brownie sundaes last year, making a donation to the Girl Scouts this year was the most clever thing I could come up with.  Brownies are a type of Girl Scout, in case you didn't know.  That makes sense, right?

Besides making INCREDIBLE cookies, the Girl Scouts Organization is a wonderful thing for young girls to be a part of.   They use all of the right girl power words in their descriptions to win me over- empowering, courage, confidence, character. 

In Girl Scouts, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Through a myriad of enriching experiences, such as extraordinary field trips, sports skill-building clinics, community service projects, cultural exchanges, and environmental stewardships, girls grow courageous and strong. Girl Scouting helps girls develop their fu…

Day 25- YMCA and David Brandon

Q: What's a four-letter word for something that helps people's bodies, minds, and spirits and is also the topic of the 1/11 blog?  Hint: It starts with a "y."

A: yoga (last year)
A: YMCA (this year)

Today's donation was made to our local YMCA Strong Community Campaign.  That just sounds good, doesn't it?  I mean, who doesn't want a strong community?

Besides being a catchy song with an enjoyable cheesy wedding dance attached to it, the YMCA is a fabulous organization.  Their whole purpose is to strengthen communities, and they have many different means to this end.  There are programs to help teens.  There are programs for military families.  There are programs for older people and neighbors and education and neighbors and family connectedness and all kinds of other things.  They build foundations for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.  There's just so much good to be done, and I'm pleased to make my little contribution, …

Day 24- Victory Junction Gang and Oregon's Socks

I'm donating to the Victory Junction Gang today because Taylor Swift said so, and I wrote about her last year.  Here's what they're all about.

Founded in 2000 by Kyle and Pattie Petty, Victory Junction Gang enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun, and empowering, in a safe and medically-sound environment. Victory Junction is a year-round camp that serves children, ages 6-16, with a variety of health issues. During the summer, the Camp offers week-long, disease-specific sessions with up to 128 kids per session. During the fall, winter and spring, family weekends are offered with 32 families per weekend. Victory Junction serves children from all areas of the country.

From their "thank you for donating" letter:

We are grateful for the support received for the children and families we serve.  To date, more than 12,800 campers and families have ex…

Day 23- AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and 9:30

My day was made last year by a fortunate sequence of green lights.  I often find myself hitting that same set of green lights, and it makes me smile every time.  What makes me smile even more is the fact that I have zero... ZERO... zero traffic lights on the route I take to work.  The timing is predictable.  I like that.

Anyway, what made the most sense to me for today's donation was to find some sort of organization that helps other people's rides to work or home or wherever else they're going to be just that much better.  The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety fits the bill nicely.

"The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on the roads. Since 1947, the Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them, and minimize injuries when they do occur. We have used this research to develop dozens of focused, high-impact educational materials for drivers, pedestr…

Day 22- Rachel's Challenge and Harpo's

The connection between last year's entry and today's donation may be a bit suspect.  The charity, however, is not.  Since I wrote about one of my favorite episodes of Friends, I thought about finding some sort of charity that had the word friends in it or had something to do with friends.  I remembered back to last year.  In the homecoming parade at SCWHS, there was one float that confused me.  It was for the "Friends of Rachel" group.  I wondered who exactly this Rachel chick was and how she managed to get her own float and why everyone wanted to be her friend.

It turns out that the Rachel in this situation is Rachel Scott, the first victim in the Columbine High School shooting.  After her death, many of her journals and writings were found and shared, and they proved to be quite inspirational for those around her.  An organization was created in her honor named Rachel's Challenge, and clubs have sprung up in schools all over the country in connection with this.…

Day 21- Help the Children and Date Night for One

The Matzwas delighted me last year with "Fleecedo," and this year they delighted me with their choice of a charity.  They have selected the Help the Children organization for today's donation.  The mission of this charity is simple, clear, and of great importance.

Help the Children (HTC) is a nonprofit Christian humanitarian relief organization dedicated to help alleviate the suffering of children and their families throughout the United States and around the world. Help the Children’s mission is to increase self sufficiency by providing food, clothing, personal care items and medical supplies without regard to political affiliation, religious belief, or ethnic identity. Internationally, Help the Children is committed to serving people with diverse cultural and economic strata. We strive to meet their emotional, spiritual and physical needs with Christ based principles.

This organization is near the top of most lists of the best charities in America, and their web…

Day 20 AmeriCares and The Giver

At this time last year, I was listening obsessively to Michael Buble.  Right around the same time, Haiti was also being rocked to its core by a terrible earthquake.  In response, Michael and a number of other artists lent their beautiful voices to a single to raise money for the relief efforts. 

It only makes sense, then, that my donation today will go to AmeriCares.  This organization delivers medical and disaster relief to people in crisis all over the world.  Here's just a small section of information from the website that gives and idea of what they do.

"In times of epic disaster, daily struggle or civil conflict, AmeriCares restores health and saves lives by delivering donated medicines, medical supplies and humanitarian aid to people in need around the world and here at home.

The World Health Organization estimates one-third of the world’s population - nearly 2 billion people - lack access to essential medicines. In addition to a shortage of medicines, health care …

Day 19- Shepherd's Table and Dress Made Out of Sweater

Clearly blogger and I were not seeing eye to eye last night.  Let's try yesterday's post again.

Last year= Shepherd's Pie (mashed potatoes, meat, carrots, peas, corn, etc.)
This year= Shepherd's Table (mashed potatoes, meat, carrots, peas, corn, etc. for the homeless)

Shepherd's Table and I have one extremely important thing in common: neither one of us ever miss a meal.  This organization offers a dinner for people in need seven days a week, and they also provide other services like their Clothes Closet and Resource Center for the homeless.  Basically, they do great work.  They are located in Silver Spring, MD, which just so happens to be the place where my sister and brother-in-law live (and my dog niece and nephew).

I'm pleased to make a small donation to them today, and I hope you will be too :).

I experienced all kinds of wonderful today.  My students are starting to read The Giver, and I had them working in g…

Oh What a Night!

Day 18- Cell Phones for Soldiers and "Men Love This Steak"

I thought I had lost my Zack Morris phone forever on this day last year.  Luckily, I found it.  Little did I know that less than a year later I would have to surrender it forever...  I also didn't know that I would end up with a fancy schmancy new iPhone... and that I would kind of... really... like it.

I got to thinking about today's donation and how to tie into the idea of cell phones.  Tom came up with an excellent idea, which I will be using (much like he has just informed me that he will use a joke I just told him to earn himself some laughs and some points on mgoblog tomorrow).  We will be donating to Cell Phones for Soldiers today.  Their mission is quite simple: help soldiers call home.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist from Norwell, Mass., with $21 of their own money. Since then, the registered 501c3 non-profit organization has raised almost $2 million in donations and distributed more than 500,000 prepaid calling c…

Day 17- KaBOOM! and The Bachelor: Redemption

I had a whole bunch of wonderful coworkers at Home Depot, and Dina was no exception.  She was one of the store managers who really made it a point to get to know the people who worked around her.  She was funny and fair and kind and personable and knew just how to make me laugh at the end of a loooong shift last year (see Day 17- 2010 style). 

I'd like to make a donation in her honor to one of the important charities that Home Depot supports.  Dina is not only an exceptional manager; I also witnessed her being a fabulous mother, so this organization is really a twofer for her. 

Today's donation was made to KaBOOM!  This is an organization whose mission is "to create great playspaces through the participation and leadership of communities."  Their ultimate goal is to build a place to play within walking distance of every child in America.  How awesome is that?  What KaBOOM aims to do is to create solutions to all kinds of existing problems.  By "saving play,&qu…