In this month’s blog, we cover a rather difficult topic – that of rape, sexual abuse and incest. Until we started working on this piece featuring Christina Ricci, the national spokesperson for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) – the country’s leading anti-sexual assault organization, I wasn’t truly aware of the staggering numbers associated with these heinous crimes, their ongoing psychological effects and where public policy issues currently stand with respect to reporting, prosecuting and DNA testing. I was also sadly ignorant of the wide range of personal violence that often goes hand-in-hand with sexual assault. While disturbing on many levels, the wealth of information available on the RAINN website is an invaluable tool and I hope you’ll take the time to read through and learn from its hugely important messages.
The timing on this is especially crucial with schools letting out soon for summer and with graduation holidays just around the corner. RAINN is the go-to site for first-time freshman going away to college, anyone planning to move out on their own or those getting that first job away from home. On April 14, 2008, RAINN launched its newest outreach program, a safe, secure, anonymous place for victims to get help online. Using an instant-messaging style format, the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline allows sexual assault victims to communicate directly with trained crisis support volunteers available on www.rainn.org Together with its tele-based National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE), the organization will be able to provide a lifeline to victims trapped in situations where their only safe and secure link to the outside world may be through the Internet.
According to Scott Berkowitz, president & founder of RAINN, somewhere in America, someone is being sexually assaulted at the alarming rate of every two minutes. Almost half of these victims are under 18 and 80% are under 30. The new National Sexual Assault Online Hotline provides the services these young victims need, using the technology they embrace. In addition to providing support to victims of sexual assault, the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline provides information about recovery, medical issues, the criminal justice process, and local resources for family and friends of victims.
We hope you find this month’s feature a worthy one and that you’ll shop online to support RAINN programming now and going forward. We want to especially thank Christina Ricci for her participation in bringing this to our and your attention and before signing off, encourage you to become a RAINNMaker to support the organization’s ongoing initiatives.
We’ll have more on RAINN with our regular features in our May newsletter – coming soon.
For those of you unfamiliar with autism and its varied spectrum of disorders, take this month to learn more, as April is Autism Awareness Month. Additionally, through a UN resolution passed in 2007, April 2 is now officially World Autism Awareness Day. This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world’s attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions. The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention.
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. It is part of a group of disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. A random disorder, autism crosses all racial, ethnic, and social boundaries equally and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.
Across the globe, the autism community is celebrating its members and holding special events to raise awareness and money for research to find answers to the questions of its increasing prevalence in children in all regions of the world. One of the most successful events bringing this community together is the Autism Speaks Walk Now For Autism – Virtual Walk sponsored by Toys R Us.
This month we offer an introduction to this growing global health crisis and its premier advocacy organization, Autism Speaks. In our interview with actor John Schneider, whose roles span from television’s Dukes of Hazzard to Broadway’s musical hit, CHICAGO, Schneider offers insights to his personal experience with autism and talks about his greatest role, as a father with an autistic son.
As a former Development Director for Special Olympics Southern California I have had many opportunities to interact with children and adults affected by varying degrees of autism. I am amazed at the progress that Autism Speaks has made in the short years since its inception and hugely impressed that the organization has been able to galvanize so many of the major autism nonprofits to act with one voice in its efforts to find answers to autism’s cause and to support the research efforts in discovering a breakthrough.
I’m also happy to highlight two of our retailers in conjunction with our focus on autism – please take a couple of minutes to see how they each support Autism Speaks
This April, more than 500 Barnes & Noble stores around the country will host special autism Storytimes. Everyone who has been touched by autism should know about them. A complete listings of all the event times and locations can be found here.
We’ll have more on these retailers and others in our April newsletter – watch for it on the 6th. We’ll also introduce some of our new partners, keep you posted on our financial, tax and insurance services and give you the scoop on how to stop junk mail AND save trees at the same time.
Please make a commitment to become a do-er and keep Do Something in mind when looking for volunteer opportunities for teens, young adults and you this summer. We thank our gracious hostess Emme for her support here and her ongoing dedication to awakening the spirit of giving inherent in each of us.
In case you missed us on The Montel Williams Show – Living Well: Five Ways to Change Your Life which aired on February 27, here’s an additional opportunity to participate in his audience give-away running through March 27. Montel and his panel of experts outlined the top 5 life-improving solutions that will help you improve your health. Terra Wellington, a sleep expert, explained why sleep is so important to our daily health. To ensure a good night’s sleep, Montel tried out a Tempur-Pedic bed right on stage and one lucky audience member won the bed and got to take it home! To help you live well, Montel is giving his viewers and our visitors a chance to win a Temper-Pedic bed too, valued at $3,600!
In addition to the bed you can also win 100% organic cotton luxury sateen sheets and duvets, valued at $404.90, from one of our retail partner organicstyle.com.
When doing your shopping you can donate to The Montel Williams MS Foundation as a charity choice to thank him for giving us the opportunity to make this happen.
I can’t believe it’s the first of February already – so much is happening here at nonprofitshoppingmall.com that I can’t even begin to cover all the new ground we’ve broken since the holidays in this short blog space. First of all, we actually have two blogs goin’ within this site – this one and another, dedicated to retail promotions, on our shop the mall page. There, you’ll find Valentine’s Day ideas from ICE.com and Organic Style and an overview of our new eco-lifestyle retailers featured in our shop green category.
Before I introduce Billy Bush for our February people who care feature, I have to say, if and when you have an opportunity to visit the Los Angeles area, you must visit one of Chef David Myer’ restaurants – the food is amazing and we thank him for sharing his time with us and with Surfrider Foundation.
Amazing in a wholly different arena is the work being done by Lollipop Theater Network, the nonprofit organization chosen by Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush and highlighted as our default beneficiary for the month of February. For those of you who either openly or secretly follow entertainment news and personalities, Billy Bush is pretty much a household name. In addition to his on-air duties at Access Hollywood, Bush also serves as a contributor for NBC’s top-rated morning news program, Today, and is a member of the Board of Directors for Lollipop Theater Network — a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the magic of movies to children confined to hospitals nationwide due to chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Whether you’re a 5th grader, a college student or just love films, you’ll know that there’s nothing like counting down the days until the season’s big blockbuster movie hits the theaters. If you’re a child confined to a hospital bed due to chronic or life-threatening illnesses, you can imagine that the thrill of seeing that first-run movie is unlikely to be on the agenda. Through Lollipop, these kids don’t have to wait for DVD releases, because they literally roll out the red carpet, distribute movie tickets and memorabilia, and screens movies only available in theaters. To ensure that no child ever misses a movie, Lollipop provides multiple screenings in group and bedside settings. In this month’s People Who Care feature, Billy Bush tells us how his commitment to Lollipop was sealed with his appearance on Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, when he missed the answer to the question, ‘What was Civil War general “Stonewall” Jackson’s real first name?
There’s no doubt about it – the holidays are upon us and we’re well on our way to counting down to the New Year that lies just ahead. In keeping with the spirit of the season we’d like to welcome Sergeant Harvey Walden to our December People Who Care section. Most of you will know him best as the fitness instructor on VH1’s wildly popular CELEBRITY FIT CLUB. With DVD’s and workout merchandise available to help work off those inevitable extra holiday pounds, he’s also recently released a new book ‘HARVEY WALDEN’S NO EXCUSES FITNESS WORKOUT’ in which he shares his boot-camp routines for a healthier and more active lifestyle year-round. What you may not know about Sergeant Walden is that, since 1989, he’s been a strong supporter of the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation — and that’s why we’re honoring his favorite charity by making it our default beneficiary throughout the month.
After serving for more than 20 years in the US Marine Corps, Harvey retired from active duty in June 2007. During his career he was actively involved with and become a big supporter of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Since it’s inception in 1947, the Toys for Tots program has grown steadily year over year becoming one of the most successful and widely known toy drives in the nation. It finally received its Foundation status in 1991 and was approved as an official activity of the US Marine Corps and an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve by the Secretary of Defense in 1995. Since that time, this charitable endeavor has made the US Marines the unchallenged leaders in looking after children of all ages at Christmas. While poverty and homelessness continue to be serious challenges both domestically and abroad, Toys For Tots grandly embraces the spirit of giving for millions of needy children. In 2006 alone, more than 19.2 million toys were collected and distributed to 7.6 million children in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. While drop-off locations are readily available in hundreds of communities from coast to coast, recent exposure by the press concerning toys produced with lead paint and other toxic materials has made the public wary of which toys to give and has put a damper on the number of toys currently being collected. With that in mind, please know that cash donations are also greatly appreciated in order to ensure the program’s continued success.
At nonprofitshoppingmall.com, we wholly support the efforts of Toys For Tots and proudly feature their long-time partner, Toys R Us on our Retail Top-40 Page. Because Toys For Tots is our default beneficiary through the month of December, we encourage anyone shopping for toys of any sort to start here. Any and all purchases made through our online mall will help raise the additional funds needed by the Marine Corps to continue their tradition of giving.
And while POINTS OF LIGHT & HANDS ON NETWORK are no longer our featured nonprofit beneficiary, it certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t need volunteer help now and throughout the months to come. If you missed last month’s PEOPLE WHO CARE feature with Nicole Forrester and Robert Newman from television’s GUIDING LIGHT, please take a look at their archived interview. We hope that we’re correct in believing that the holidays tend to bring out the spirit of generosity in most of us and that sharing time with those less fortunate is a great gift indeed.We’ve got lots more to share in the coming days – watch for our blog highlighting International Volunteer Day on December 5, our updated and expansive guide to Green Shopping and meet some of our new nonprofit partners.
You may have noticed that our homepage has a new look — we welcome Nicole Forester and Robert Newman from Guiding Light as our PEOPLE WHO CARE this November and feature their nonprofit partners, Points Of Light & Hands On Network, as our default nonprofit beneficiaries throughout the month. We wanted to focus on community service at this time of the year because so many people, coast to coast, need the kind of help that these volunteer networks provide. While the approaching holiday season does tend to bring out the spirit of giving in most of us, hunger, homelessness and poverty continue to be serious issues both here and abroad. The cast of Guiding Light has formed a lasting relationship with Points Of Light & Hands On Network – a partnership called Find Your Light, that has taken them across the nation, engaged them in a number of community projects and has made lasting impressions on the cast members in having done so. They began their Find Your Light campaign the week January of 22 – 26, 2007 by taking the entire cast and crew to the Gulf Coast to help rebuild homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina and participate in other volunteer activities throughout the surrounding region. Guiding Light’s crew filmed cast members at work in the Gulf Coast and viewers were given the opportunity to see the results in a special episode that aired on Wednesday, February 14, 2007. Since that time the cast has been actively involved in various projects through Points Of Light & Hands On Network affiliates in Atlanta, New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Miami and Baltimore to name but a few. Take a look at this recent group shot…
While working on Nicole and Robert’s Q & A piece I did a little research on Guiding Light and found some fun facts I thought you might enjoy as well …
Guiding Light is a Guinness World Record holder for being the longest-running show in broadcast history, 70 years!
Always ahead of the curve, it first debuted on radio in 1937, transitioned to television in 1952 and became the first television show to podcast audio only episodes in 2005.
To date, Guiding Light has aired more than 15,000 episodes on the CBS Television Network and nearly 18,000 episodes overall.
And my favorite — Created by Irna Phillips, Guiding Light was – and continues to be – produced by Procter & Gamble Productions, the company who put the word SOAP in ‘soap opera’.
For those of you who are new to the site and wonder who might have been our past PEOPLE WHO CARE, we’ve implemented a new feature in the top navigation bar that’s called PEOPLE WHO CARE where you can find archived information. As this is only our second consecutive installment, it’s a pretty short list — we want to thank Rene Syler again for sharing a part of her life journey with us during October’s feature highlighting Breast Cancer Awareness. Not only is she an awesome ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, she’s a bright, witty writer with a very real approach to mothering in today’s hectic, multi-tasking, fast lane of parenting. As a mother who falls into the aforementioned category, I highly suggest picking up a copy of her book Good Enough Mother. While this might sound like a shameless plug for what we do – I’d like you to think of the following instructions more as a tutorial. First, go to SHOP THE MALL, choose BOOKS, MUSIC + MORE from the left hand directory and go to BOOKS. Hers’ is now carried at Barnes & Noble, click on their icon, find the book, buy it and get ready to laugh a lot and cry just a little. While you’re waiting for the book to arrive, go to www.goodenoughmother.com, read her blog, get caught up in the conversation and Share Your GEMstones with other Good Enough Mothers. When you have children, you’ve got GEMstones – trust me on this one.
There is so much good stuff going on with nonprofitshoppingmall.com these days that it’s been a little tough finding the time to get on with this whole blogging concept. Yet, I’m getting the hang of it and have come to realize that I am pretty much supposed to work around the clock to keep up with the demands of running a site like ours, while at the same time keep you updated with fresh, new and sometimes even newsworthy information. While this isn’t one of those especially newsworthy pieces, it does come to you with a great deal of heart. This site wasn’t created randomly – it was initially intended to raise funds for and honor the champion spirit of Special Olympics athletes the world over – with perhaps a bias for those that I got to know personally during my tenure with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) as its Development Director in Orange County. I’m happy to report that SOSC went live with their custom ’shopping window’ recently and are now on their way to raising even more money to support the more than 12,500 Special Olympics athletes that live, train and compete in Southern California.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization. I didn’t either until I started to work for them. Sure, I’d heard of Special Olympics, who hasn’t – but the misconception still lies in the fact that most people don’t realize that it’s a year-round, free program, offering sports training and competitive opportunities to men, women, boys and girls with varying degrees of intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, develop self esteem and find a place in society that’s accepting and empowering. With over 2.5 million Special Olympics athletes participating in programs in North America and some 165 countries worldwide, the movement has set a formidable goal to grow to 3 million athletes by 2010.
One of the greatest joys that comes from working with Special Olympics athletes and their families is knowing that the motto ‘Special Olympics Changes Lives’ is actually true. I know it’s changed mine and I’ve seen first hand how it changes the athletes, their families, friends and communities. Special Olympics games and tournaments are held in the truest sense of the competitive spirit. Perhaps no world records will ever be broken for speed or distance in Special Olympics but each athlete steps out onto the playing field ‘if not to win, to be brave in the attempt’ and achieve a personal best. As a movement, Special Olympics has the ability to change attitudes around the world about people with intellectual disabilities by sending a focused message emphasizing potential, ability and acceptance.
To truly capture the spirit of Special Olympics, please take a minute to watch the attached video. I think you’ll be glad you did.
So welcome to our first blog – this is all kinda new to me so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not even remotely proficient at this. I’m sure I’ll get better with time and I hope you’ll hang in with me as I make my way, in what for me, is uncharted territory. As I’m sure you’ve seen from the changes on our homepage, we’ve been very fortunate to have Rene Syler support our site by leading the charge to make Breast Cancer Awareness an important focus for us this month. I encourage you to read about her long-standing work with Susan G Komen for the Cure and the circumstances that led her to make a very courageous decision to undergo a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. I also encourage you to pick up a copy of her book Good Enough Mother. If you’re a mother, especially a working or single mother, she answers those nagging questions I know I always had tuggin’ at the back of my head like, do you think they’ll notice that these cupcakes are store bought and that I’ve just added sprinkles to give them that home-made touch or that I’m wearing my pj’s in the car because I just can’t get my son and myself dressed and out the door at the same time. She gives us all permission to do what we need to do in order to make mothering work for us. I loved it – she also goes into more detail about her life decisions, her work and the road she’s traveled and is still traveling today.
René is a Person Who Cares and we thank her again for caring about Susan G. Komen for the Cure and for taking a stand to help find a cure for breast cancer forever.
As part of our Breast Cancer Awareness feature, and as an introduction to what this blog is all about as it relates to our retailers – let me explain my vision for FRONT-LINE RETAIL NEWS. While we want to make sure you’re kept up to date on all of our retail offers and encourage you to look for them under our SALES + PROMOTIONS category on the Mall Pages, we also want to use this space to introduce new, innovative or one-of-a-kind merchandisers. Our first retailer we’re excited to highlight is designer Julia Wynn who’s based in Santa Barbara, California. Whomever it was that said one should stop to smell the roses was certainly on to something. I would never have run into Julia had I not stolen a little time to stroll Santa Barbara’s boardwalk and explore (in the way a shopper explores) the line of booths that stretched the distance between my hotel and the pier. It was during that walk that I ran across Julia Wynn, the ultra charming, ultra chic creator of the simply fabulous BOUVÉ (boo-vay), a beautifully designed, one-size, hat for all seasons. Her fun, fantastic head wraps are the fashion-magic piece every woman dreams of – especially on those rampant, outta nowhere and always-inconvenient bad hair days. With just a slight twist of the wrist, this must-have accessory takes you from ordinary to extraordinary in face-saving seconds!!
Are you wondering yet how this product ties-in to Breast Cancer Awareness month? It’s one of those ironic coincidences I think because the whole concept behind the bouvé was really quite simple; they were designed as versatile and playful fashion accessories. But as creative director Julia Wynn started to sell and market her fun, sporty product, she knew they were also quite special in some other deeply profound way. Her answer came when she discovered that they were wonderfully therapeutic as well. Without really intending to, Julia had created the ideal solution for both stylish and comfortable headwear for all women suffering from hair loss, particularly those who had lost, or were losing, their hair due to chemotherapy. Bouvés fill a huge need for these women, not just to cover their heads, but also to feel beautiful, stylish and nurtured as they work through the process of healing.
We say ‘hats off’ to Julia and her innovative headwear. It’s time to buy-in to some serious ‘hattitude’ and our timing couldn’t be better. With crisp fall weather ahead, ski and snowboard season just around the corner and the holidays nipping at our heels, when you buy a Bouvé or two through this site $2.50 per item will be donated to the nonprofit organization of your choice. During the month of October we encourage you to choose Susan G. Komen for the Cure and help them fulfill a promise to end breast cancer forever.
Other retailers that are giving back to breast cancer initiatives are Bloomingdale’s, Red Envelope, Ritz Camera, Limoge’s Jewelry, A Pea in the Pod and Organic Bouquet. Check out these retailers on our THINK PINK + SHOP FOR THE CURE page. Keep in mind that whatever they give, by shopping with us, you’ll be giving twice. Once through the retailer directly and again when you choose a nonprofit from our site. How cool is that? Pretty cool I’d say.So for my first ever blog I went on a lot longer than I thought I possibly could. We’ll be posting retailer updates throughout the month and keep you abreast on issues near and dear to us along the way as well. As a little sign-off piece, I thought I’d add this cartoon I found on cancervixen.com – true — there’s never a good time for cancer –but with your help, organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure can continue to do good work to help find a cure for breast cancer in your/our lifetime and I’m all for that!