v. to make radically different
n. a fresh set of clothing; money

Change t-shirts 52 times in 2010 to raise awareness and funds for 52 world changers.

What do you change for?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


What does it take to have a friend?

I don’t mean having friends in the sense of gaining popularity among your peers. I mean taking the risks to find a true friend.

A buddy.

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) faces this question every day. Through a series of advocacy events and agendas which promote inclusion and acceptance, NDSS provides services, opportunities, and help for the over 400,000 Americans with Down Syndrome.

Sarah Schleider of NDSS explains that “NDSS is the first national organization to design and distribute a national public awareness campaign for people with Down Syndrome across the U.S. garnering exposure in national and local media. The campaign, My Great Story, was launched in September 2009 and to date has attracted over 150 million viewers.”

Participants in the “My Great Story” campaign. like Sara Wolff and Sujeet Desai, tell unique stories about their passions of public speaking and travelling around the world. The stories highlight the accomplishments and life goals of individuals with Down Syndrome, and the campaign aims to “gather the stories of the 400,000 Americans with Down syndrome in our online storybook” to help advocate and promote the inclusion of those affiliated with NDSS.

While the online storybook has created a new interactive community of people living with Down Syndrome, NDSS is constantly advancing its education, policy, healthcare, and scientific research plans.

For the past 15 years, NDSS and its 300 affiliates around the country have worked with local organizations and individuals to facilitate the annual “Buddy Walk.”

The one mile “Buddy Walk” has grown from 17 walks in October 1995 to over 280 walks in October 2009. Millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of walkers later, the “Buddy Walk” continues to be a central part of NDSS’ success.

Framing the concept of the “Buddy Walk” around the accomplishments and capabilities of its participants ensures that every individual does indeed have a place among their peers.

Not only a place, but a community. A community of buddies.

Thanks Sarah (and Jordana) for sharing NDSS’ Great Story!

Please visit for more information.

(The National Down Syndrome Society is improving the quality of life for people with Down Syndrome by ensuring that they are valued members of society.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Get rid of that extra weight in your wallet.

Donate that ever accumulating pile of gift cards from the store you will never visit to Gift Card Giver, an organization which redistributes gift cards to help non-profit organizations and individuals in need. (Giving away your leftover change would probably ease the weight as well.)

Jeff Shinabarger, one of the four founders of Gift Card Giver, explains “that $8 BILLION goes unused in gift cards every year. People don't generally view gift cards as money, so they're much more willing to part with them. I had a theory that with a statistic like that, people must have unused gift cards in their wallets. I tested out my idea at a wedding, and walked away with $50 to help someone in need. It's grown from there.”

Grown to say the least.

Shinabarger and his friends continued collecting gift cards and have since created an extensive network to connect the unused $8 billion in gift cards to non-profits in need of supplies and materials through Gift Card Giver.

Once $100-$500 has accumulated in gift cards for any given company, the cards are then distributed towards a project, person, or organization as a big stack of cards or as direct gifts purchased from the money on the gift cards.

Cards of any amount are welcomed (even the 68 cents from the store which wouldn’t give back your change).

Every cent helps. One of Jeff’s favorite stories illustrates the direct impact of these seemingly “useless” gift cards. A little girl with a terminal illness drove with her parents “from Alabama to Boston…to get treatment. It meant her mom had to quit her job. So they were now living on a single income, with more expenses and a very ill daughter. A friend of theirs contacted us and let us know about their situation. We were able to send them gift cards for restaurants and for gas to help with their expenses. The family wrote us the nicest notes assuring us that as soon as they were able, they'd pay it forward for someone else in need.”

Paying it forward is as easy as 123:

1- Use as much of your card as you want (or send a full card).

2- Write how much is left on your card using a permanent marker.

3- Place the card in an envelope and send it to:
Gift Card Giver
PO Box 17628
Atlanta, GA 30316

To kick off the summer gift card donation style, Gift Card Giver is “taking a huge summer tour! We're throwing 30 parties in 30 days at different locations in the US to collect gift cards! The people hosting the parties can choose charities they would like their parties to benefit, then we will send that charity back gift cards that they can use. We're expecting our summer tour to help us exceed our goal of giving away $50,000 in gift cards this year!”

Imagine a world of bouncers collecting gift cards.

Thanks Jeff, for teaching us the true meaning of “getting carded!”

Please visit for more information.

(Gift Card Giver is a grassroots organization that redistributes used and full gift cards to individuals and organizations in need.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


To Write Love on Her Arms (TWOLHA) began as a story.

A real story typed on a computer and posted on the social networking site: MySpace.

It began as one story written to help one friend.

This story, however, did not remain on the page for long—it leapt from the confines of a computer screen to inspire a movement.

Since its inception in 2006, TWLOHA has reached hundreds of thousands of individuals suffering from depression, suicide, and addiction.

Jamie Tworkowski wrote the story: “To Write Love on her Arms” after witnessing the struggle of his suicidal friend, Renee Yohe. In an effort to raise awareness about Renee’s tragic condition, Jamie posted her story (TWLOHA) on his MySpace page, and sold t-shirts to raise money for her rehab treatment.

The result was overwhelming.

Tworkowski’s friends wore the TWLOHA t-shirts while playing on stage and hundreds of people soon contacted and connected with Jamie via MySpace to tell their own stories of suffering from depression and addiction.

TWLOHA burst into a growing movement as stories continued to pour into Jamie’s inbox and MySpace page. He was inspired to connect and create a community of love and support for the hundreds of thousands of people who had written to him since his initial post in 2006.

While TWLOHA gives a large amount of the donations it receives to other organizations that help with treatment and recovery, TWLOHA serves people struggling with depression and addiction by informing and inspiring them to focus on the goal of treatment and recovery.

The small team at TWLOHA “responds to MySpace messages and emails everyday. That’s the heart of what we do. That's the most important piece; it is the interaction and being in a place to encourage people who are hurting. In so many cases, those are folks talking about these issues, sharing their struggles, asking for help, for the very first time.”

Through social media outlets such as MySpace, and now, Facebook and Twitter, TWLOHA has received a large following of fans as well as victims crying out for love and support. TWLOHA initiatives to raise support for those suffering from depression and suicide include concerts; UChapters, TWLOHA clubs at colleges; MOVE, a workshop about how to overcome “stigma and shame with honesty and compassion.”

TWLOHA is inspired by the impact of community.

Instead of merely giving people tools to promote TWLOHA, their goal is to teach people how to understand and address these issues, to help people in every day life who may be suffering from depression, addiction, and suicide.

What movement will your next MySpace or Facebook post ignite?

Please visit for more information.

(To Write Love on Her Arms offers hope and finds help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

LOVE 146

They never knew her name.

They never knew her age.

They never knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.

All they knew was her number.


On a trip to Southeast Asia in 2002, Rob Morris, Desirea Rodgers, Lamont Hiebert and Caroline Hahm created Love 146, an organization dedicated to ending child sex slavery and exploitation.

Standing in a brothel to learn first hand about the atrocities and tortuous life of over 1.2 million children who are trafficked annually, Rob Morris, President and co-founder of Love 146, described the scene among “the usual group of ‘customers’” waiting to bid on the little girls.

While the blank-faced children stared at the playful cartoons on the TV screen in front of them, one girl stood out from the rest. Rob writes that this girl’s eyes, full of life and hope, stared beyond the TV directly into the one-way mirror where Morris and “the usual group of ‘customers’” were “hiding.”
The number pinned on her red dress was 146.

Since Rob was undercover at this point, he could not help 146 or the other girls escape. However, that brothel in Thailand has since been raided and the children have been rescued—146 was not among them.

Although nothing except her number is known, 146 has inspired a movement to aid those victims of sexual exploitation through aftercare and preventative services at Love 146’s Round Homes.

Designed in a circular shape, emphasizing safety, love, and growth, Round Homes provide holistic care for trafficking victims. And children are now given a second chance at life both physically and emotionally.

As Love 146 was just getting off the ground in 2002, Rob received a letter from an individual who ran a large organization in Cambodia. She wrote about a major problem that repeatedly occurs when Americans respond to crisis situations.

They don’t think. They react.

Rob took this consideration to heart and expanded Love 146 through thoughtful research and has focused on raising awareness to provide prevention services in vulnerable populations and aftercare services for survivors.

Love 146 has indeed found its niche and its fans. The movement is picking up momentum in governments and communities around the U.S. and is helping to renew children’s lives around the world.

146’s stare of helplessness and hope will never escape Rob’s mind. Has her message reached yours?

Please visit for more information.

(Love 146 is focused on ending child sex slavery and exploitation.)