Posts with Category Giving Back

What’s a volunteer worth?

LGBTQ performers

According to the Independent Sector, a membership organization of nonprofits, the value of volunteer time is “the average wage of non-management, non-agricultural workers.” So actually the stat is pretty meaningless and simply an average wage of an American worker.

Not every volunteer or volunteer task is equal.

I worked summers at my parents’ wood truss manufacturing plant swinging a hammer, pushing a broom, and cutting and stacking boards. But I am by no means a carpenter. When I built a bookshelf in shop class in high school, the cuts were rounded and it was a rocking bookshelf, which really isn’t a very desirable quality for a bookshelf. My father, on the other hand, can build anything. If Dad…

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Proud to support Dave Ring for Indiana State Senate

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Sitting in the Downtown Farm Stand, the only 100% organic grocer in my area, I watched the presidential returns come in on election night in 2016. I swore between sips of organic beer, as the election started to fall Donald Trump’s way.

How is this our country?

How is it that I can’t understand the voting decisions of nearly half of Americans?

Someone should really do something about this.

Dave Ring, the owner of the Farm Stand, hosted our small election gathering. Gary Younge, a reporter from The Guardian, was also there. Gary was reporting on Muncie, an area that went for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the primary. He told us this is how Brexit felt. One day you wake up…

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An opportunity to give: The Slum Library

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Douglas is a taxi driver who lives in the Mathare Valley slum where most kids grow up without books in their homes. So he decided to turn his home into a library. At first, he wasn’t sure how he would fill it with books, but they just started showing up courtesy of his neighbors. Now the library has 3,000 books. He covers 50% of the monthly costs himself and the other 50% comes from community members. Members don’t pay anything but each of them brings in newspapers to sell to the recycling center. No matter where you live in the world or what you do, you can make a big impact.

When I first posted about the library on Instagram and Facebook many folks said they…

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My next book adventure… Where Am I Giving?!

 

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Sometimes  when we see the harsh realities of the world, we can feel guilty, ashamed, and powerless to do anything. That’s how I felt standing in a dump in Cambodia, watching adults and children picking through a trash heap.

I wanted to do something to help, but what could I do? I was just one man, researching my first book, traveling on my second mortgage. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I hadn’t done anything and that felt wrong.

This feeling of helplessness is what I’m taking on in my new book adventure…

Where Am I Giving? A Global Adventure Exploring How to Use Your Time, Money, and Energy to Make a Better World will explore this distance between the hopelessness of guilt and the…

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Is the Pope wrong about beggars?

Pope Francis

This week Pope Francis offered what to do when we pass beggars on the street: We should give to them without a thought. We should look them in the eye and maybe shake their hand. To give without engaging is robbing them of their human dignity.

The Catholic News Service reported on the Pope’s comments:

People who don’t give money to the homeless because they think it will be spent on alcohol and not food should ask themselves what guilty pleasures they are secretly spending money on, Pope Francis said.

“There are many excuses” to justify why one doesn’t lend a hand when asked by a person begging on the street, he said in an interview published the day before the beginning of Lent.

But giving something to someone in need “is always right,” and it should be done with respect and compassion because “tossing money and not looking in (their) eyes is not a Christian” way of behaving, he said.

Is he right?

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All Because a Girl Loved to Read

IMG_0392 The Rubini family

Ten-year-old Claire Rubini loved to read. After she suddenly died from a previously unknown heart condition at summer camp in 2000, her parents, Brad and Julie, wanted to spread her love of reading. And boy have they.

Last week I had the chance to see how Claire’s love of reading has led to thousands of kids in the Toledo-area receiving free books and reading awards.

Brad and Julie started a children’s book festival they called Claire’s Day with the purpose “to honor [Claire] in a special tribute to her love of reading, storytelling, music, encouraging others to read and simply having fun with friends.”

The Claire’s Day staff, a team of volunteers…

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Come with me on a tour of the Midwest Writers Workshop’s new location

The Midwest Writers Workshop helped launch my writing career. I went to the conference in the summer of 2007 and by the end of the year the agent I met there had sold my first book (WHERE AM I WEARING?) to a publisher.

You should REGISTER NOW for the conference this summer if you’d like to reach the world with your words. We’re well on our way to another sell-out.

I’ve been a proud member of the nonprofit’s planning committee for the last 6 years or so. We’re growing the number of opportunities we offer writers along with the number of faculty we bring in, including agents, editors, authors, and publishing experts. We outgrew our old location at Ball State’s Alumni Center and this summer…

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Should firefighters stand in the street and ask for money? (Criticizing the Fill the Boot Campaign)

First, before you start hating me, let me say that I’m amazed by the risk firefighters face and the courage with which they face it. Even Grizzly bears and great whites are afraid of fire. That makes firefighters, who jump into a blazing building, braver than grizzlies and great whites!

(Photo: I took this photo of a firefighter in the street “filling the boot” in my hometown.)

A woman who has an office in the same building I have an office would not be with us any longer if not for the action and courage of local firefighters. Firefighters miraculously rescued her and her husband from a horrible home fire in the middle of the…

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Where I’m Giving. How to support the children of Nepal.

(I took this shot outside of Katmandu in 2001)

A second earthquake has hit Nepal. The first on April 25th killed 8,000, injured many more, and directly affected 1.7 million kids. I’ve been to Nepal and have had a heart for the country ever since. Several friends have reached out to me asking where they should give to support Nepal.

This is my answer . . .

I signed up for a recurring donation to Next Generation Nepal. Please join me in giving to an organization working to help support Nepal and not exploit it.

When disasters happen, images like the one to the right…

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I Took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in my Anti-Fart Underwear

Harper is totally going to need therapy!

I’ve never known someone who died from ALS, nor was I fully aware of how scary the disease was until the challenge. So as silly as this challenge seems, it raised my awareness.

Is it a sustainable way to raise funds or even replicable? Probably not. But it’s fun and important, and even my own parents accepted the challenge. OnPoint explored the viral campaign on a show titled “Stunt Philanthropy in the Age of Social Media.” If you’ve criticized or defended the Ice Bucket Challenge, you should listen to this show:

And of course, I hope you’ll join Harper and me in donating to the ALS Association at www.alsa.org….

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