Category Archives: News

Charities Dedicated to Helping Haitians in Need

Haiti earthquake
Image credit: CNN

In the wake of the tragic and deadly, 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday, people are banding together in order to help those in need who have survived, who are grieving the loss of their loved ones and who are trying to imagine their lives before the earthquake and wondering how they are going to pull through after. When any tragedy strikes, people are always coming forward and asking ‘How can I help?’ and while there are a great deal of generous, kind and giving people in the world, there are also people who prey on the generosity of others. There have already been several confirmed cases of scams and hoaxes that have lured people who want to help the people in Haiti into giving money to what they thought were charities, only to have their money stolen.

We are all devastated over the tragedy that has occurred in Haiti and it is important for us not to feel helpless during this time of great need. I have done much research on the legitimate charities that are out there and who are truly committed to helping the people of Haiti. If you are asking yourself, ‘How can I help?’ please look below for the number of different things you can do that will truly make a difference in the lives of the people of Haiti.

  • Doctors Without Borders
    Doctors Without Borders have been working in Haiti for 19 years, most recently operating three emergency hospitals in Port-au-Prince. They have been successful in mobilizing a large emergency response to the disaster in Haiti and their immediate response in the first hours following the deadly earthquake was only possible because of the private unrestricted donations from around the world that have been dedicated to making the relief efforts of Doctors Without Borders possible. Doctors Without Borders will use your donations to ensure that their medical teams can react to the Haiti emergency and humanitarian crises all over the world, particularly in neglected crises that remain outside the media spotlight. Your donation to Doctors Without Borders is ensured to be earmarked from their Emergency Relief Fund.
    Donate to Doctors Without Borders
  • UNICEF
    UNICEF believes that children are always the most vulnerable population in any natural disaster and they are committed to being there to provide aid to those children. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is absorbing all associated administrative costs so that 100% of every dollar you donate to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF will support their relief efforts for children in Haiti.
    Donate to UNICEF
  • Mercy Corps
    Mercy Corps always distinguishes themselves as one of the first responders when an earthquake hits. They were on the ground in Peru in 2007, in China in 2008, in Indonesia in 2009 and they landed in Haiti as one of the first on the ground ready to help. As stated on their donation page, the next $250,000 in donations made to Mercy Corps for their Haiti Earthquake Fund will be matched by a generous donor.
    Donate to Mercy Corps
  • American Red Cross
    From your mobile phone, regardless of your carrier or plan, text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross (U.S. State Department) or text YELE to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti, the foundation started by Wyclef Jean. Your donations to the American Red Cross will go immediately to the first responders on the ground in Haiti and will be sorely needed.
  • Oxfam America
    Oxfam America has over three decades of experience in Haiti and they have rushed in teams from around the region to respond to their tragic earthquake where their assistance in most needed. Oxfam is providing clean water, shelter and sanitation to the people of Haiti. Your donations to Oxfam America will go immediately to the most critical needs in Haiti and is ensured that every penny will be used wisely.
    Donate to Oxfam America

As you sit down and watch the news every night over the past three nights, you have most likely heard of the amount of money that certain celebrities, businesses, organizations and also our government has donated to the relief efforts in Haiti; do not let this discourage you from donating what you can, as much or as little as you can afford to part with, because when such tremendous tragedy strikes, it takes the world to lean in and help when and where they are able.

Help Aéropostale Help Teens in Need–Donate Your Jeans!

Teens for Jeans Currently, 1 in 3 people who are homeless are also under the age of 18. That fact alone is so completely tragic, but there is something that we can all do to help. For the past three years, Aéropostale has held an annual Teens for Jeans drive. Last year, Aéropostale was able to collect over 200,000 pairs of jeans to help homeless teens and hopefully this year, you can help them collect a lot more!

If you have any pairs of gently-worn jeans that you do not wear anymore or don’t fit, please drop them off at any Aéropostale store between January 19th and February 14th. Every pair of jeans donated will be sent to a local homeless shelter or charity so they are helping the homeless teens in and around your local area, which is a really awesome thing to do and now you have a way to get rid of all of those jeans taking up space in your closet that you don’t wear!

To thank you for helping homeless shelters and charities in and around your area, Aéropostale will also give you 25% off any new pairs of jeans you purchase the day you donate your old ones.

Tri Delta’s Fat Talk Free Week

“You look great have you lost weight?”

“You think you’re fat? Look at me.”
“That’s way too tight for her figure.”

Fat Talk Free Week We are all guilty of thinking and saying stuff like this–to our family members, to our friends and even to ourselves. We are all guilty of self-criticism when we look in the mirror and notice that the skirt that fit us perfectly and hugged our hips in all the right places last season but doesn’t go past our thighs this season. We have all thought we were too fat, we have all dieted in hopes of becoming skinnier, more attractive, the “thin ideal.”

Women have more pressure than ever right now to look attractive, to dazzle with our appearance, to wear all the right fashions and to strive to look like the women who grace the covers of magazines. This is especially true of younger women and teens who obsess over this thin ideal and who will stop at nothing to attain it. These thoughts that so often enter our brains and things people tell us, whether we have gained weight and they ask if we are under stress because of it or if we lose weight and we’re told how great we look because we shed five or ten or fifteen pounds. While we’ve undoubtedly thought this was normal, it actually has a very damaging impact on women. That is why Tri Delta has launched a five-day body activism campaign, Fat Talk Free Week.

Fat Talk Free Week (October 19th-23rd) draws attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the thin ideal on women in society. This annual public awareness effort stemmed from Tri Delta’s award-winning body image education and eating disorders prevention program, Reflections: Body Image Program.

The supermodels and people we see on the covers of magazines are thinner than 98% of women and a great percentage of these women think that they too can look just like what they see on these magazine covers and on television and in movies, but often we see, especially on magazine covers, is an airbrushed and heavily-photoshopped appearance of that person. Not even the person being put on the pedestal of ideal weight and beauty looks like that! Tri-Delta is in pursuit of the healthy ideal, which has absolutely no bearing on our weight or size. The healthy ideal is all about our physical health, mental health and our quality of life and that is what truly matters. Tri Delta’s initiative this past week has been about eliminating fat talk and they believe that by eliminating fat talk, we can begin to change the way women think about their bodies and accept their bodies just the way they are because if you’re healthy, then why does anything else matter? Why do we care so much about the size that sits on the tags of our clothing or how other women and men may look at us and what they may think if they see us in a swimsuit or a form-fitting top or a short skirt.

Can you believe…

  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.
  • 51% of 9 and 10 year old girls feel better about themselves if they are on a diet.
  • Research has shown that very young girls, ages 5-7 who are exposed to Barbie, the best-selling fashion doll in the world who has unattainable and unhealthy body proportions and who if was a real person, would be too thin to menstruate, have lower body esteem and want a thinner body than they have.
  • As many as 10 million females are suffering from anorexia or bulimia. That’s more than are suffering from breast cancer.

Because it is the last day of Fat Talk Free Week, do something good for yourself today. Choose one friend or family member and discuss one thing you each like about yourself. Or start a journal of all the good things your body allows you to do. Learn how to take a compliment! The next time someone gives you a compliment, rather than objecting and saying something like “No, I’m so fat,” practice taking a deep breath and saying “Thank you.”

Fat Talk Free Week promise

The Passing of Senator Ted Kennedy and the Legacy He Left Behind

Ted Kennedy

Senator Ted Kennedy, the Liberal Lion who dedicated his career to equality and health care, passed away the morning of August 26.

Senator Ted Kennedy served his country, but unlike a great deal of politicians in office today, he served each and every single person of his country without bias. His list of accomplishments is long and varied. He fought to reverse the injustices that his fellow human beings encountered daily. He was a strong supporter of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and later authored amendments strengthening enforcement of key provisions of the Act. He played a central role in fighting discrimination in both the Age Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He was also the original Senate lead on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 1994, in 1996 he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and in 1997 he was the original sponsor of hate crimes legislation. He also fought to end the funding of the very much failed abstinence-only education programs, voted for the increase of funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and he was also an outspoken supporter for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, that prohibits gay and lesbian Americans from serving openly in the military.

But what Senator Ted Kennedy is most known for and what he devoted his career to is ensuring that each and every American citizen has the right to universal, affordable health care. He had first introduced a bill to ensure universal health care for all in 1970 and he worked tirelessly to make this a reality for the past four decades. This past summer he had also wrote an essay on the need for universal, affordable health care services, appropriately titled ‘The Cause of My Life.’ He wrote in that essay:

It is a key reason that I defied my illness last summer to speak at the Democratic convention in Denver — to support Barack Obama, but also to make sure, as I said, “that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American…will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not just a privilege.” For four decades I have carried this cause — from the floor of the United States Senate to every part of this country. It has never been merely a question of policy; it goes to the heart of my belief in a just society. Now the issue has more meaning for me — and more urgency — than ever before. But it’s always been deeply personal, because the importance of health care has been a recurrent lesson throughout most of my 77 years.

Senator Kennedy indeed accomplished quite a lot in his life and while his person, tenacity, and ambitiousness will be missed, I hope that his life’s work will inspire others in our Senate and in our government as a whole to ensure that each and every single American has the right to receive health care that they not just need, but deserve.

Easy Ways to Go Green

There was a lot of talk about going green and saving the planet for Earth Day, but it isn’t just important to make an effort or worse, talk about making an effort for Earth Day; to truly make an impact on the world we live in, we need to continue to talk about the importance of going green far after Earth Day has come and gone.

There are ten easy steps we can take to make our planet a little healthier.

Education
We all know that knowledge is power and when you have all of the facts about what poor shape Mother Nature is in and the threat global warming has over all of us, you have a deeper understanding of what you need to do in order to do your part to help.

Create Awareness
Now that you have spent some time (or a lot of time) researching the facts of global warming, energy consumption, pollution, and everything else that has had an impact on the planet, it is time to spread the knowledge you’ve acquired. Tell friends, family members, and even complete strangers about what you know to be the truth about this global epidemic and they will follow suit with their concern and spread the word.

Recycle
Recycling is one of the best (and easiest) ways to do your part in helping the planet. Recycling reduces the amount of garbage that winds up in landfills, reduces carbon emissions by reducing manufacturing and transportation emissions and allows our planet’s natural resources to be more evenly distributed among everyone in the world.

Politics are Key
We need our government to get behind going green. By getting involved in politics, you can see first hand who the people working for you are and if they share your sentiments about going green. It is very important to vote; vote for politicians who share the same values as you do and don’t be fooled–Voting is important and every vote counts. Voting is what we have to make our voices heard and by voting, you are screaming from the rooftops that you care about the green movement and it is a requirement for our elected officials to feel the same way.

Get Your Bicycle Out
Carbon emissions from vehicles are one of the leading causes of global warming. By driving less, you are not only helping the environment, but it also saves you money and improves your health because if you are not driving a vehicle, you can try walking, bicycling, using public transportation, and carpooling.

Turn Off & Unplug Your Appliances
When your appliances, such as your lights, computers, televisions, toasters, microwaves, coffee pots, etc. are not in use, turn them off and unplug them. When your appliances are left on and plugged in, they are still emitting electricity which also makes your electric bill skyrocket.

Donate Your Old, Unwanted Frames

There are different ways for people to help the environment as well as people in need that many people don’t know about. We wrote an article on how to donate and recycle your old mattresses and the response from that post was great because there were many people that didn’t know what to do with their old mattresses.

Another great way to cut back on the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills and not only that, but also help a great amount of people in need is to donate your old glasses. Your old, out of date, mildly misshapen frames can be donated to people who can’t afford or who would otherwise not be able to see their best—Because of you and your donations, you will be giving people the gift of sight.

You can donate your old glasses at most local eye facilities–Drop off old prescription or nonprescription glasses at your local Lions Club, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears, Target, or BJ’s Optical store. You can also mail in your old glasses.

Time for Change: Get Marijuana Law Reform on the Agenda!

After all the victories we’ve seen in the realm of marijuana law reform and the recent election, it is now time to act! According to the NORML blog, “The election of Barack Obama, coupled with Democrat control of both the House and the Senate, presents a unique and critical opportunity for federal marijuana law reform.” A vast majority of you voted to change the laws regarding marijuana arrests; now is the time to make sure your vote doesn’t go unnoticed.

Obama’s transition team has established a website recently with an agenda of things to be addressed once Obama is in office. Looking at the current list, I was upset to see that Marijuana Law Reform is not even mentioned. Thankfully, the website has a page asking for OUR ideas to help solve challenges facing our country.

That means it’s up to us to get Marijuana Law Reform on the list! All you have to do is go to the page linked above to contact Obama and his transition team, and demand change of the current marijuana policy. Thanks to the wonderful people at NORML, you can even include the three suggestions below:

1. President Obama must uphold his campaign promise to cease the federal arrest and prosecution of (state) law-abiding medical cannabis patients and dispensaries by appointing leaders at the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the US Department of Justice, and the US Attorney General’s office who will respect the will of the voters in the thirteen states that have legalized the physician-supervised use of medicinal marijuana.

2. President Obama should use the power of the bully pulpit to reframe the drug policy debate from one of criminal policy to one of public health. Obama can stimulate this change by appointing directors to the Office of National Drug Control Policy who possess professional backgrounds in public health, addiction, and treatment rather than in law enforcement.

3. President Obama should follow up on statements he made earlier in his career in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana by adults by calling for the creation of a bi-partisan Presidential Commission to review the budgetary, social, and health costs associated with federal marijuana prohibition, and to make progressive recommendations for future policy changes.

As if this hasn’t been said enough – This is the time for change! I cannot urge you enough to write this letter to the President Elect and get Marijuana Law Reform on the agenda. You already showed that it’s what you want by voting for it in the election – Now is time to make your voice heard and tell them why and how!

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Ally is a girl from New York who writes Sweet Leaf Tribune, an informational blog about marijuana law reform and cannabis culture, as well as medical marijuana, recipes for ‘baked’ goods, stoner how-to’s, and a lot more.

Register to Vote Using Your Xbox

I Voted The 2008 election is almost upon us and many people still aren’t aware of the impact they have when they vote. Voting, especially for women, had become a well-deserved and well fought for privilege 88 years ago and since then, has become our responsibility; not just as women, but as Americans. This election is the most historic and crucial election perhaps in all of history and to let this election go by and staying silent would be a travesty. So while you’re playing video games, even if you’re unable to get yourself away for the amount of time it takes to download, print out, sign and mail out a voter registration form, Xbox has you covered!

You can now register to vote using your Xbox who have recently partnered up with Rock the Vote. As long as you have an Xbox Live membership it is completely free to sign up to vote; not only that, but it is pretty easy to do, too! With over 12 million members currently on Xbox Live, what they are doing is absolutely amazing to get more people out to the polls.

Not only can you register to vote, but Xbox has made voting fun with online polls and downloadable gamer pics of the candidates to show your support!

The Sisterhood is Traveling to New Orleans

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 As part of a marketing campaign for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, the cast is helping out Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans.

If you’re thinking, what on Earth does a movie about four friends and a magic pair of jeans have to do with Habitat for Humanity you will surely be surprised. Alexis Bledel stated in an interview, “They are recycling jeans and making these tubes for insulation that will help insulate the houses they are building down there.” See, get it? Magic jeans, using jeans for insulation. Yeah!

The sisterhood aren’t the only ones helping out with this amazing project; Cotton Inc., GUESS, and Warner Bros. Pictures are spreading the word about the Habitat project to people who are purchasing GUESS products and if you’re one of those people, you should also be aware of the fact that you also have the opportunity to help with the efforts in New Orleans simply by turning in old pairs of jeans you may have laying in back of your closet gathering dust. Not only that, but if you do turn in a pair (or multiple pairs) of your old jeans, you will receive a discount on your new purchases for every pair of jeans you turn in. Your old jeans will be reclaimed into cotton and turned into energy efficient insulation.

So get out there, buy some new pairs of fabulous jeans, bring in the old jeans you never wear anyway and get a discount on said fabulous jeans. It’s as simple as that!

Oh, and if your Gilmore Girls antennae goes up at the mention of Alexis Bledel and you’re like me and so many other Gilmore Girls fans, Alexis was also asked in the interview about a Gilmore Girls movie coming out to which she replied with she didn’t know and hadn’t heard anything. Come on Gilmore Girls cast, crew and writers, we want a real ending! Give us a movie and shut us up, please.