First of all, I just want to apologize for not posting more often! Now that classes are in full swing, I haven't been able to work on Love, Anonymously nearly as much as I'd like to. I've been trying to tweet relatively regularly, though, so if you have a Twitter account, you can follow me @AnonymouslyLove
Luckily, I did have time to finally finish "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion, and it was such a great read!
I was inspired to read "The Year of Magical Thinking" because of the writing class I took last semester, in which we read pieces by Didion. What I love about Didion's writing is that it is so simply beautiful. She didn't need to shout her story, or lace it with flowery prose, she told it how it was, with such plain and beautiful honesty.
"The Year of Magical Thinking" is a memoir that details Didion's life after the death of her husband. It is a startling portrait of grief and loss, and speaks volumes to anyone who has ever experienced either of those emotions. Didion captures sadness, anger, regret, dread, hope, and love with perfect clarity.
What was so powerful about this book for me was that I am currently taking a sociology class on the experiences of grieving and dying. Reading papers by sociologists who have studied what it means to feel grief, however, is not the same as a writer communicating the feeling itself. Didion shows grief for what it is, which is not inherently something to be studied, but a profoundly human emotion that wants and needs to be felt.
If you are thinking of purchasing "The Year of Magical Thinking" off of Amazon, please consider using this link
! Part of the proceeds are donated to The Sharewood Project
, which provides free health care services for the medically underserved!
In 2010, four college students decided to do something amazing. They spent their summer living in a rural community in Guatemala on $1 a day. The percentage of people living below the poverty line, or on less than $1.25 in 2008 was 22%. That's 1.29 billion people
. These college students set out to Guatemala with the purpose of discovering what it is truly like to live along the poverty line. Their experiences were collected in a documentary called "Living on One". You can watch the trailer below:
What these men did is particularly meaningful to me because of the time I spent in Guatemala and the people that I met there. The people living in rural Guatemala suffer from a lack of education, malnutrition, and water-born illnesses everyday because of their struggle with poverty. They are also amazingly friendly, generous, and hardworking. The message of "Living on One" is incredible and so inspiring! If you want to learn more about "Living on One", check out their website
. Take action by spreading their message and even by supporting their microloan projects
I spent my four years in high school volunteering at a local hospital, and if there is one thing I remember, it's how much waiting that patients and family members have to do. They wait in the ER to be admitted, they wait for X-Rays and blood tests, and patients who have to stay for extended period have time have little more to do than wait to get better. As a volunteer, I brought around a snack cart for families in waiting rooms, and a book cart for patients, but luckily, most were adults, and had family members sitting with them. It must be terribly difficult to be a child waiting in a hospital, and it must be especially hard for parents to keep them entertained. I imagine it's nice for kids to have a distraction from everything that's going on around them.
That's why I love Child's Play
! This organization works with hospitals and gamers worldwide to provide children in hospitals with toys and games that are fun, age-appropriate, and offer that "vital distraction" for these kids. They work with a ton of corporate sponsors like Mario Marathon, Warner Brother's Interactive Entertainment, and the Zeldathon Network. If you love videogames, or any time of game at all, this is the charity for you!
Another wonderful thing about Child's Play
is that you can make a general donation, which they will use to purchase new games, consoles, etc. for hospitals around the world OR
you can pick a hospital from the world map to see their Amazon wishlist! The hospitals fill their wishlists with tons of different toys that they're looking for. Therefore, you can pick whatever hospital you'd like, and exactly what game you want to send them, just view the hospital map
I chose to send 'Baby Einstein: Lullaby Classics' by Wolfgang from the wishlist of Boston Children's Hospital
. I thought this was appropriate since I mostly worked with babies when I volunteered at a hospital, and I know that they could use something soothing when they are sick!
One of the great things about having a smart phone is that there are so many apps that allow you to help others at no cost to you! One of these apps is called Charity Miles
. If you're a big runner, walker, or biker, this is definitely the app for you!
Once you download the app, all you have to do is pick a charity, keep your phone on you, and start your walking/running/biking route. Charity Miles
will track your distance, and for every mile that you walk or run, you'll earn 25 cents for the charity you chose! For every mile you bike, you earn 10 cents for that charity. How great is that? Right now, they are partnering with organizations like (RED), Stand Up to Cancer, Feeding America, Every Mother Counts, Autism Speaks, and several more, for various types of causes.
I've never been the biggest fan of running, but today I managed 1.5 miles for Feeding America
! If you're a regular walker/runner/biker, or if you'd like to become one, check out the Charity Miles
On a side note, now that I'm back at school, I may not be able to post as often as I'd like to. I'm hoping to keep up with Twitter
at the very least!
You may remember me mentioning that I was starting to read "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" by Katherine Boo. I just couldn't put it down, and I've already finished!
"Behind the Beautiful Forevers" is a work of non-fiction set in the slums of Mumbai, particularly, Annawadi. Boo follows the lives of several different people, like Abdul, a teenager who recycles garbage to earn money for his family, and Manju, a young woman who hopes to be the first college graduate in Annawadi. She offers a very personal look into their lives, thoughts, and feelings as they face the hardships of growing up in the slums.
Boo examines issues of poverty, corruption, religious and caste tensions as well as the profound hope of a people trying to lift themselves out of poverty. This book is beautifully written and reads like a novel. There were several times where I had to remind myself that these were not just characters, but real people. Some moments were so shocking, and honest, it was difficult to accept that these scenes were happening just half a world away.
Katherine Boo spent years in India working on this book, recording interviews, researching, and listening, and her efforts show. "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" is an exciting, heart-breaking, beautiful look at life in the slums of Mumbai and I highly recommend it.
If you'd like to purchase "Behind the Beautiful Forevers", you can buy it on Amazon
. It is still in hardcover, so you may want to wait until it comes out in paperback, or until it's available at your local library. Happy reading!
Meant to post about this earlier!)
If you've been paying attention to "The Count" on the right hand side of this blog, you will have noticed a section for box tops. With the help of my Aunt and my sister, I've been able to collect a bunch of them! I'd always planned to give my collected box tops to my hometown's school system, but after the tragedy in Connecticut, I figured I would send them to Sandy Hook Elementary. It's not much, but hopefully they can use them!
If you're wondering, this is what the sticky note says:
I'm not sure if you can use these, but I figured I would pass them along. There are 116. The earliest expire in June 2013.
Donating box tops to your local school system (or any school system of your choosing!) is such an easy way to give back. There are so many products, items that you probably buy already, that come with box tops. For a list, check out their website
! Just make sure that the box tops you send in haven't already expired.
Now that I've sent them all in, it's time to reset "The Count" back to 0 Box Tops!
It's the new year! I can't believe it's already 2013. It's my last year of being a teenager, and by this summer, I'll be halfway through my college education! Where has the time gone?
As we rang in the New Year, I tried to think of what I wanted to accomplish this year. For the last six years I've written a list of New Year's resolutions, but I've found that I rarely accomplish any of them. After about a week, my list gets tucked away in a box somewhere and forgotten until the year ends.
Of course, I still have goals for this year. Like most people, I'd like to eat better. I'd love to exercise more. It'd be great if I could read a certain number of books, or spend a specific amount of time practicing the piano, but I'm not holding my breath. There is excitement in setting unrealistic goals, in looking at another year as something brand new, bright with possibility, but I don't want to end 2013 in disappointment.
This year, I'll have one goal for myself: I want to be better and I want to make the world better. Wasn't that always what I was aiming for anyways? When we set goals for ourselves, isn't that really what we're trying to get at? I know that my impact will be small, and that I will touch very few people (if any), but when 2014 rolls around, I'd like to be able to say that it was a good year, and that there are people in this world who are better for having lived it.
That being said, I'd like to start off 2013 with another good deed! Luckily, one of my very close friends from home will be spending her winter break volunteering in an orphanage in Thailand (I have very kind friends! :) ), and she reached out for anyone who would like to send school supplies and other items for the children there. Here's a picture of what I'll be sending with her. Hopefully they can use these things to make the year great!
All the way back on Day 23
, I decided that I wanted to anonymously send someone an item on their Amazon
wish list. I was finally able to complete this task because I stumbled upon a Facebook event started by a young woman named Kate. Kate is an English teacher at a public school in NYC that has never had a library before. Determined to change that forever, Kate contacted a group of friends and family members asking for donations of money or books (new or used) for the library. Luckily for me, Kate created an Amazon wish list, and I was able to send her a copy of one of my favorite books, "The Maze Runner
" by James Dashner, for her new library. It may be that I have never met Kate before, but I can't help but love anyone who spreads a love for reading!
If you would like to contribute to Kate's new school library, check out her Amazon Wish List
. If you would like more information on the school's library, check out Kate's website
I've been working on another challenge to ring in the New Year, which will be my next post, but until then, Happy New Year's Day!! :)
If you were on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, you may have seen a lot of posts with the tag #P4A. P4A stands for Project of Awesome
, which was started by John and Hank Green in 2007. Every year, YouTubers make videos about their favorite charities, and everyone is able to vote for which charities should receive a donation from the project. This year, they raised over $450,000 for charities! Just incredible! They also created a TON of awareness for several different organizations around the globe. Project for Awesome taught me about many non-profits, and people doing good.
One of these groups was Tab for a Cause
. Anyone who has read this blog or any of my tweets knows that I'm a huge fan of organizations that think of creative ways for people to give back. Thanks to Tab for a Cause
, if you are a Google Chrome
user, you can donate to charity simply by using the Internet. All you have to do is download the Tab for a Cause Extension, and your work is done! With the extension, one of every few new tabs you open on Chrome will be directed to a donation page for one of the sponsored charities. Ad revenue from these pages is donated to the charities at the end of every fiscal quarter.
Who do they support? Educate!
, Room to Read
, and several other great charities! It's such an easy way to give back, and takes only a few moments to install. If you use Google Chrome, please check out Tab for a Cause
, and don't forget to pass it on to friends!
"You can't get a cup of tea big enough, or a book long enough to suit me." -C.S. Lewis
There are few things I love more in the world than a good book. The sad truth, however, is that the are many people in this world that don't have the easy access to books that I'm lucky enough to have. It's so easy for me to hop over to the nearest bookstore, or the local library and head home with the latest NYT bestseller in hand, but this isn't the reality for many people, especially children, around the world.
I'm a huge supporter of anyone who gives books to others, especially to those who really need them. Julia and Emma Mogus are two teenagers doing just that. The sisters have a goal of giving other children the same educational opportunities that they have had growing up. They started Books with no Bounds
in an effort to provide books for the Aboriginal children and youth of the Nishnawbe Aski nation communities in Northern Ontario. These girls have done an extraordinary job of collecting books, already sending over 10,000 of them to First Nation Youth in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Such amazing work!
If you'd like more information on Books with no Bounds, or if you are interested in donating, check out their Facebook page here
! You can also follow them on Twitter