Friday, December 15, 2006

Pulitzer.COMment ~ more mentoring and giving

Ho Ho Ha Ha Hoppy Hanukkah!

I am delighted to report that this reporter's spirits are considerably better this week. Oui, c'est vrai. J'ai contente cette semaine. Perhaps it's because I completed my French class? Perhaps. Si vous voulez me parler en Fran├žais, disez! (okay, if you can read French then you may be able to see mes erreurs aussi!)

Thank you for your concern (You know who you are!) about my biking in the big city. I'm fine and have been better this week. The big news is that the past two weeks I've been delving into my other passion--helping girls and woman as a mentor. While Brad Paley (http://www.didi.com/brad/) accurately mentioned that I'd been helping socially challenged people (in the tech field) for quite some time, this is a venue that fills my soul in a different way.

So two organizations I've been looking into are "Youth at Risk" and "iMentor." Youth at Risk is a great organization that helps at-risk youth move from their chaotic lives into one that is healthier where they can be effective citizens. The other one, iMentor, heralds from the early dot-com days, (founded in 1999, the tell-tale name beginning with "i"----, and the orange sofas, chairs, folder and pens)! iMentor is interesting, from a technological point-of-view, as it emphasizes email communication for busy mentors with its closed-intranet for emailing purposes.

If mentoring isn't your thing, you can honor a friend or loved one while delivering life-changing aid to families in need this holiday season with one of the 20 distinct Mercy Kits. (http://www.mercycorps.org/mercykits) There are kits for children and women and you can show your commitment to important global issues while sending something unforgettable and deeply meaningful.

For the "Think Global, Act Local" person. Come join me and some friends this weekend at one of these opportunities. On Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to about 1:00 p.m. a group of dedicated volunteers will be making sandwiches, washing and bagging fruits, and wrapping gifts for the homeless. Food and gifts will be distributed outdoors at the corner of 125th Street and Morningside between 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. [Call John for specific directions: 646 541 5830].

Here are two other ways to help out:
1. TWO-FOR-ONE GIFTS. Look carefully at your Christmas gift list. Ask yourself about each person on your list, "Does he/she absolutely need my gift in order to survive the next 8-10 weeks of cold winter?" If the answer is "no", please buy your gift anyway. Give your family member or friend a wrapped box with a note inside that says, "I bought you a fantastic sweater for Christmas . . . and gave it to a homeless man (woman)". Then, come to our street corner or send your gift to me to give it to someone from you. Add a note on the package if you like, such as "My brother and I hope this keeps you warm". Two Christmas presents for one.

2. DRESS YOURSELF IN A PAPER BAG. Take a clean large paper bag or bags. Buy new underwear. Fill the bag with one day's complete (gently worn) clothing -- from new undies right up to outer sweater or jacket. Tie the bag with red for men, green for women. (Tie multiple bags for one person together). Write an approximate height and weight range (or size) on the outside. Add a Christmas greeting if you like, such as "I hope this outfit will feel as good to you as it did to me". Then, come to our street corner or give your bag to me for someone your size.

DONATIONS OF MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES. If anyone wants to help in other ways, please offer the 1-gallon ziploc bags as a donation option. We need 3000 for sandwiches and fruit. Volunteers should bring Christmas gift wrap, red and green yarns and ribbons, scissors, marking pens, gift tags, handled shopping bags for carrying.