Give With Purpose This Holiday Season {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I received a bracelet and earring set but all thoughts are my own.)

There is nothing better than a gift that gives back. I’m happy to be working with World Vision again this year to help promote their Gift Catalog. The World Vision Gift Catalog offers more than 250 items that help fight poverty and save lives here in US and around the world. With a financial contribution, donors can select one of the 30+ Handcrafted Gifts that can be shared with a loved one and at the same time help a person in need.

I received a Colors of Africa Bracelet & Earring Set to review. This gorgeous Zakale bracelet and earring set from Nairobi are made from recycled materials by Kenyan artisans. The people received a loan from World Vision to grow their business and lift themselves out of poverty. With a $100 donation people can get this set for free.

This colorful set would make the perfect gift for any woman or girl. I love how the beads really capture the light. Knowing the story behind the bracelet makes me even prouder to wear it.

Want to donate without receiving a gift? The Gift Catalog lets you choose how your donation is sent. Love playing soccer or have kids who do? Donate soccer balls to kids who would normally play with “soccer balls” made of banana leaves or rolled-up trash. Passionate about education? Give kids books and tools they need to be successful in school and help them fulfill their potential and even lift themselves out of poverty. Or maybe you just simply want to give a child food, water, or clothing to protect them from the freezing temperatures.

Want to go beyond yourself? I love these ideas that World Vision shared:

  • Organize a family giving night and have kids select charitable gifts from an organization such as the World Vision Gift Catalog. Talk with your children about how giving back changes lives of children and families living in poverty and that their efforts truly make a difference.
  • Host a house party for friends and family and ask your guests to contribute to a share of a group gift such as a farm animal, winter clothing or school supplies to families in need, or even a water well. Make the selection of the item, how to raise funds for that gift, and the collection of the money a collaborative, group effort.
  • After Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping, consider celebrating Giving Tuesday (12/3) and make meaningful, life-changing gift purchases such as medicine, mosquito nets or a fish pond.
  • Be active in your giving — volunteer at your local homeless shelter or senior living center; cook a meal or bake cookies for an elderly family member or neighbor.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a bracelet and earring set like the one mentioned above

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

 1) Leave a comment telling me what gift you’d give a child in need

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends November 24, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must a a US resident and 18 or older to enter.

Join The Flash Flood For Good

Everyone should have access to clean, drinkable water but they don’t. Unsafe drinking water is a struggle for 1 billion people worldwide. Water supplies are often contaminated with parasites and diseases, making diarrhea a leading cause of death among infants and children in the developing world. In fact, more than 2,000 children die every day from dirty water, more than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined.

World Vision is working to change this and there is a super easy FREE way you can help this month. I’m posting to urge you all to join me in the Flash Flood For Good. Through Flash Flood For Good we’re going to turn social currency into real currency to help clean water and save lives.

For 72 hours, starting September 24 at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, World Vision will focus the world on clean water. If you add your Facebook and Twitter feeds to Flash Flood For Good, you’ll post together with World Vision and millions of others around the world. Hundreds of millions of people will see our message and can donate instantly. A $10 donation will give one child a year of clean water.

I hope you will join me! Find out more at https://www.flashfloodforgood.org/.

(Images and information courtesy of World Vision and Flash Flood For Good.)

World Vision Experience: Kisongo Trek {Free Nationwide Tour}

I recently had the opportunity to check out the World Vision Experience tour bus when it stopped at my Church. It was just a short 15-30 minute experience but I really wanted to go on the bus as a family. We sponsor a little girl named Rita through Compassion International (another Christian ministry) and she also lives in Africa so I thought it would be great to show the boys how she may live. Images and visuals are 10x better than just words alone. I could never describe, in words, living arrangements or what her village is like in a way that they could understand because they live in a middle-class neighborhood in the United States. This bus really helped them experience life in Africa the best way possible until they can physically go visit the country.

Here’s what the website has to say about the experience:

Through Kisongo Trek, the newest World Vision Experience, you can “travel” to Babayetu’s home and hear the real-life story of how his village moved from poverty to hope with help from World Vision. This immersive experience brings the sights and sounds of Africa to life using innovative technology, state-of-the-art cinematography, and captivating imagery — all in the back of a mobile semi-truck. You’ll go on a bus ride down the roads of Tanzania, get an up-close glimpse of what it’s like to live in poverty, and discover proven solutions that help families build a better life. Kisongo Trek gives you and your entire community the opportunity to step into a world where poverty is in the past and children can look toward a bright future.

Find out where the bus will be next here.

I Just Signed Up To Run My First Marathon…

{Funny story….}

I sat in a meeting where I signed up to run a marathon. Then, after the meeting, I discovered Sinisa had not picked the boys up from their Sunday School classroom {like I thought he would do while I was at the meeting} so I sprinted through Church to pick up Jacob. By the time I got down the hallway I was out of breath.

Yet I somehow think I’m going to make it 26 miles…

What did I get myself into!?

***

I’ll be running {err more like gasping for air with each step I take} the Chicago Marathon in October and raising money for World Vision to give clean water to children in Africa. I love the cause and I love the Charity so I’m really excited to be doing this. Who has good tips for beginning runners? I’d love to hear them :)

 

Making A Difference With World Vision {Giveaway}

Looking for ways to make a difference this season? Here are three good ways to do so, courtesy of World Vision:

•Volunteer Virtually: Not everyone is able to physically volunteer, but you can volunteer virtually by donating food kits online through World Vision. Each ‘kit’ contains enough food to feed a family of five for one day ($16 per kit).

• Give a Meaningful Gift: World Vision’s Gift Catalog has hundreds of gifts such as goats, fresh water wells, and life- saving medicines that can be given in the name of a family member, teacher, co-worker or child and help one of more than 825,000 people around the world who benefit from gift catalog items. Gifts range in price from $16 to $39,000, and there are more than 250 items online to choose from. After purchasing a Gift Catalog item, the person whose name the gift was given in, can receive a special card describing the gift and its impact.

•Teach Generosity: Help children understand the importance of generosity and giving to others. World Vision’s Gift Catalog can be a helpful educational tool. The Pendleton family, of Colorado, adopted their son from Kazakhstan. When he saw the Mongolian Ger in the catalog, he immediately wanted to buy one for people in his homeland. “I didn’t know how to explain to a 10-year-old that $1,862 is a lot of money, so I didn’t,” said mom Amy. “And sure enough, he raised it all!”

I shared how my four year old created a “giving list” from the World Vision catalog. You can read that post here.

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 GIVEAWAY:

One of my readers will win an Artisan Beaded Necklace from World Vision

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me how you give back to others

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Subscribe to this blog via email or RSS {look in the upper right hand corner}

4) Comment on another blog post

Giveaway ends December 23, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US 18+ only.

(Disclosure: I received a scarf from World Vision but this is a cause that’s important to me and all thoughts are my own.)

Jacob’s Christmas GIVING List

Jacob is a typical four year old. He sees a commercial. He wants the toy featured. He goes in the toy aisle at the store. He wants this toy and that toy and oh, this one, too.

He started his Christmas list months ago and it includes more toys than he will ever get. And it keeps on growing and growing {which is partially our fault because they’ve been very spoiled on past holidays}.

My goal this year is to get him to think about how he can give to others and focus on what others might need instead of just what he wants. We started by looking at the World Vision Gift Catalog which is full of gifts we can give to others to truly change their lives. Gifts like cows to feed families, chickens to produce eggs they can eat and sell, and water, something we take for granted everyday. As we looked through the catalog I read him what each thing was and explained why someone would need the gift. For example, there were soccer balls in the gift catalog and I explained that some kids kick around a ball of trash and leaves because they don’t have any balls to kick when they play soccer.

After we looked through the whole thing I asked him what item he would like to buy for someone else.

He took the catalog from me, opened it to the first page and said “2 chicks”.

What happened next surprised me and brought me to tears.

“and a cow. and 3 pigs….” and on he went until I had to grab a paper to remember all he was saying he wanted to give.

And so his Christmas Giving List was created.

When I told him that all of this was a lot of money he suggested we sell his “baby” toys to get the money for all of the things he wanted to give. How sweet is that?

How do you help your children think of ways they can bless others?

Tips to Teach Children & Teens the True Spirit of the Holidays‏

Tips courtesy of World Vision:

There is not a better time of the year than the winter holiday season to involve children and teenagers in charitable giving and teach them why the old adage, “It is better to give than to receive,” is true.  World Vision offers five great ways for parents to lead by example and teach their children the true spirit of the holidays:

–    Consider do-it-yourself gifts, like no-sew fleece blankets that you can make with your children. Donate those blankets to a local homeless shelter.

–    Cherish the stories of your family. Have your children talk to their grandparents and write down the stories of their past. Create a book to share with the entire family or record it online.

–    As a family, select a charitable organization you’d like to support. Use online tools like Charity Navigator to find an organization that you trust. Give your children a budget and encourage them to decide how your family will donate to that organization this holiday. For example, flipping through the World Vision Gift Catalog will give children an idea of the difference they can make in other people’s lives.

–    Work with your children to create a coupon book for your neighbors that might need an extra hand this year.  Coupons could include shoveling their sidewalk, watching their children or providing a meal.

–    Bake cookies or sweets with your children and deliver them to your local nursing home or school-in-need. Get started with this list of holiday recipes.

In addition to teaching children how to give during the holidays, it is equally as important but possibly even more challenging, to show teenagers the true spirit of the holidays. World Vision Teen Engagement Expert, Michele Tvedt has several tips for parents including:

–    Start with conversation. Watch the nightly news together, and take time to discuss stories that touch on people struggling with poverty, unemployment or other tragedies. Let your teen lead the discussion and listen for them to express interest or passion in a particular social issue.

–    Begin to give teens a voice in family giving. Let your teen know you would like to give a charitable gift as a family to mark the holiday season, but that you’d love to let them be the final decision maker.

–    Take advantage of volunteering requirements that your teen may have to fulfill at school. Offer to help your teen find an organization that fits their interest. Keep in mind that teenagers are eager for authentic, powerful experiences. They will respond best to opportunities that allow them to experience poverty firsthand.

“The holiday season can be a stressful time of year. There are gifts to purchase and wrap, cookies to bake, and family and friends to visit, but when we pause to help our neighbors in need, we all experience the holidays in a more meaningful way,” said Traci Coker, charitable giving expert and national director of World Vision’s Gift Catalog.

For each item in World Vision’s Gift Catalog, the giver makes the purchase in the name of a friend, family member or business associate. World Vision then sends special cards to those individuals, describing the gifts and their impact. Last year alone, World Vision’s Gift Catalog raised $32 million and provided assistance to more than 800,000 people worldwide. The Gift Catalog launched in 1996, and while a goat ($75) is still World Vision’s number one seller, there are many affordable items for $35 or less.

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For more information on World Vision’s gift catalog you can check out my post (and be sure to enter the giveaway, too!)

(Disclosure: Post from WorldVision. I was not compensated for sharing this.)

World Vision Gift Catalog {Thai Bracelet Giveaway}

One of my favorite Christmas songs is Give This Christmas Away by Matthew West and Amy Grant. The song talks about giving Christmas away- “it’s feeding the hungry”, “telling the Orphan they aren’t alone anymore”, and giving “someone hope beyond their wildest dreams”.

One organization that does this on a daily basis is World Vision. I’m so excited to share that they have created a gift catalog to help make it easier for people to “give this Christmas away”. The catalog offers over 250 gifts, the most affordable ones starting at just $16. You can give self-sustainable gifts to those in other countries and also to people right here where we live. Some of the gifts you can purchase include clean water, goats, food, and school supplies. You can visit “The True Spirit of Christmas Tour” Facebook page and follow the World Vision staff as they travel across the world this December to see the impact that goats, sheep and other gifts have on families and children..

Another option is to purchase a “two for one” gift from the catalog. The beauty of these items is the two-for-one benefit they provide:  1) a meaningful and affordable gift for a loved one; 2) proceeds that make a difference in the lives of children and families living in poverty in the U.S. and around the world. With a financial contribution, the gift giver selects one of 36 items that can be given to someone on a holiday gift list and at the same time help a person in need.

One of the gifts in the “two for one” gift catalog is a beautiful hand crafted Thai bracelet. With a donation of $40 you receive a beautiful bracelet to give to someone and you have helped prevent sexual exploitation.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a black hand-crafted Thai Bracelet

HOW TO ENTER:

(Do any or all of the following, leave a comment for each you do)

1) Tell me what gift you would give from the World Vision gift catalog

2) Follow @WorldVision on Twitter

3) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

4) Share this giveaway on a social network

5) Tweet: “Win a hand crafted Thai bracelet from @aliciamarie112 at www.makingtimeformommy.com ”

6) Subscribe to this blog via email or RSS (look in upper right corner)

7) Blog about this giveaway

8) Enter another one of my giveaways and let me know which one you entered

Giveaway ends December 20, 2011 at 11:59pm Central time. US Only.

(Disclosure: I received a bracelet from the gift catalog but all thoughts are my own.)