Maladjusted?

Posts Tagged ‘charity

Skydive

leave a comment »

My sister is crazy and mad, and is throwing herself out of a plane in the name of char-i-dee (Little Haven’s Hospice to be exact)

As I am no-where near brave enough to join her, I’ve agreed to help her spread the word instead:

Click on the button below to read more:

Written by Lores

August 24, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Good Deeds Cleanse the Soul…(But not the Liver)

leave a comment »

I woke up this morning in a foul mood.  As per usual, I totally over did it this weekend – drinking way too much booze on Saturday night, which meant yesterday was a total write off – I was good for nothing apart from lying prone on the settee willing my hangover to go away.

I have been fighting the urge to write a lengthy blog post denouncing my compulsive and boozy behaviour and claiming ‘that I will never drink again’.  Mainly because this blog is littered with too many posts like that – it is boring even to me!  I’m not even sure why I feel this need to publically declare my intention to be a new healthier person and denounce my previous excesses anyway. 

So anyway, I’m a little ‘Grumpole of the Bailey’ this morning.  Partly because of the waste of a day yesterday, partly because my hangovers seem to last two days nowadays (a sign I am getting old I think).

But I was cheered to see that St Helena Hospice – the wonderful North Essex charity – are now on Twitter and also have a jazzy new website.

I stumbled on this charity when I lived in Colchester – they offer amazing, free, support for people suffering with terminal illness in North Essex. 

While I lived in Colchester I bought a lot of (fabulous quality) furniture and books from the Hospice Shop to support their work, and also donated unwanted belongings as well.

So – because doing a good deed makes me a happy girl – the deed for today to lift my spirits was to donate £10 to this charity. 

It’s a small gesture that may help to cleanse my soul, but one that doesn’t have an effect on my liver sadly. 

Of course I’ll never drink again anyway. 

At least, not until the next time.

St Helena Hospice are also on facebook >>>

Happy Computers

leave a comment »

happy faceToday I have the opportunity to attend a much needed training day at Happy Computers.   A few years ago I managed to self-teach myself basic HTML code, but was unable to progress further on my own.  So not knowing my CMS from my CSS, when the chance for some customised training in Dreamweaver and CSS came up I leapt at the chance.

Now, I don’t usually review a  commercial organisation – at least not in a positive way!  I just don’t agree with free marketing or gratuitous back slapping for the sake of it if I’m honest…

…but Happy Computers was quite a different experience.

I went in the door at 10am this morning never having used Dreamweaver, and having only heard rumour that such things as Cascading Style Sheets existed.

And I left this evening having built a basic (yet functional) website from scratch.  It even looks quite pretty.  Not only can I use Dreamweaver, but I know also know what a <div> is and how to use it.  Oh yes.

The trainer I had ‘Pat’ was very friendly, and knowledgable – and he explained things in such a way that even a technie wannabe like me could understand. 

During the breaks, soft drinks and yummy biscuits were provided, and lunch was a healthy mix of salads, sandwiches and lovely little cakes.  They even gave us ice cream in the afternoon.  Yes, you read correctly – ice cream.

All in all I left the training today…well…feeling very happy!  I thoroughly recommend the organisation – however,  there is a cost involved – but they do give discounts to charitable / not for profit organisations (which is why our organisation got involved – in fact I think we managed to get funding for our couple of places…)

But if you don’t have the cash free, another organisation for freeonline training and tutorials  in all things computer related check out W3 Schools.  This is an amazing resource.

You can also read more about Happy Computers here  >>>

Be the Change…

with 6 comments

I actually blogged about this on my organisation’s blog, but I was so inspired I thought I would share it here as well (a slightly abridged version!)

This week I had the privelidge of meeting the inspirational ‘generosity entrepreneur’ Nipun Mehta– one of the founders of the not for profit organisation CharityFocus

CharityFocus was started in 1999, in the Silicon Valley, by four friends, who offered to help a homeless shelter by building them a website.  The organisation grew organically after that, now thousands of volunteers giving their time and skills to develop web solutions, websites, and web portals which touch tens of thousands of lives on a daily basis.  CharityFocus is an experiment in the joy of giving, no money changes hands – the organisation operates as a true gift economy, something that Nipun advocates

“Let’s serve without any strings attached, just for the sake of giving,”

Nipun Mehta, on starting CharityFocus

 On his  blog Nipun explains what the gift economy is:

“A gift economy is an economic system in which goods and services are given freely, rather than traded. In a market economy, one can hoard one’s goods without losing wealth; indeed, wealth is increased by hoarding— although we generally call it ‘saving’. In contrast, in a gift economy, wealth is decreased by hoarding, for it is the circulation of the gifts within the community that leads to increase— increase in connections, increase in relationship strength”

So a gift economy is one where no money changes hands, and you act without the expection of anything in return.  Wonderful principles, but how does it work in practice?  Well, Nipun couldn’t explain apart from it just does.  Somehow he is able to pay his bills, but as he says himself; “I am not rich in the material sense of the word, but I am rich in my life”.  People clearly understand the principals of CharityFocus.

Something else that is fundamental to the ‘success’ of CharityFocus is trust. “If you trust people they will respond positively” Nipun says – not a frivolous statement when you consider that CharityFocus is now a worldwide organisation with 221,235 volunteers.   Nipun uses the term “patterns of positive deviance” to describe the radical impact of trusting people.

The idea of no money changing hands, trusting your volunteers and decentralized governance within an organisation goes against everything that business schools and the open market teaches us about “how to do business”

Yet, CharityFocus is an organisation that has gone from strength to strength – from 4 volunteers in 1999 the CharityFocus network now has 221,235 members all working on wide range of inspiring programmes.  There are too many programmes to do them all justice here on this blog but you can read about all of them here.  However, I did just want to mention a few of my favourites; 

  • Karma Kitchen Opened in Berkley (USA) in 2007, and staffed entirely by volunteers, the Karma Kitchen is a place where there are no prices on the menu and where the check always reads $0.00 with only this footnote: “Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. We hope you will pay-it-forward however you wish.”
  • Smile Cards  Kindness is contagious!  These cards encourage anonymous acts of kindness – do a selfless act for someone, and leave behind a card telling them to pay it forward.
  • The Daily Good A newsletter with a little bit of good news – direct to your inbox – everyday

CharityFocus grew organically from the motivation of its volunteers, and despite its unexpected success, has never wavered from its three major organizing principles;

  • To be volunteer run
  • To serve without asking for anything
  • To focus on small acts – It kept us simple and human, raw and authentic

 In his blog post How to Survive in a Gift Economy Nipun says;

“In today’s world, anyone can stand up for an idea, be-the-change, share stories of the process, attract like-hearted people and create a collective voice to start a movement 

And these “be the change” ideas are spread via online connections and portals such as HelpOthers.org.  Nipun uses the rather lovely phrase “Ghandi 2.0” to explain this.

At the end of our meeting, Nipun gave us each a little gift – a peace chain made by a friend of his, Joe Murphy, an artist intent on spreading the message of peace throughout the world.  Each peace chain has a unique design on one side and an inscription of the word “peace” in one of 75 languages on the other side.  Joe has not only made 431,204 wonderful peace chains in the last 18 years, he has given each and every one of them away – and in the spirit of the gift economy, Joe has been able to carve out living expenses from donations received from others.  Read more about Joe’s story here 

What an inspiration!  Everyone has the power of their own actions.  You can find out more about the work of Charity Focus here

“Be the change you want to see in the world”

Ghandi

Written by Lores

June 26, 2009 at 11:39 am

From the Horses Mouth…

leave a comment »

This last week I have been busier than a bag full of very busy bees on speed. 

Trying to organise an international event for the community organisation I work for with literally no money is quite a tricky task it seems.  But in-between fundraising, seeking volunteers, updating websites, seeking pro-bono help and sitting in the shadow of the teetering pile of admin that threatens to fall and entomb me, I have signed up to be an online mentor at The Horses Mouth

The Horses Mouth is:

“…the social network for informal mentoring, where everyone can give and gain. You can search for a mentor, be a mentor, or simply browse the inspirational profiles and stories on the site. It’s safe and it’s free”

I have decided to mentor as I really do believe that everyone has something to offer, but sometimes they need a helping hand along the way.

Was it Ghandi who said something along the lines of “we should live like we may die tomorrow, but we should learn like we may live forever”

Well, I’m not as wise as Ghandi obviously, but if I can help someone I will! 

In an ideal world I would like to mentor someone face to face, but at the moment its finding the actual physical time…

Written by Lores

June 17, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Links for the end of April 2009

leave a comment »

It’s the first day of May, and so I thought I would share here a collection of the interesting, exciting, useful, or just plain odd links to ‘stuff’ that I have found over the past month

The Amusing… 

The Amazing / Inspiring…

  • Kiva – microfinance charity, which makes an active difference to those living in poverty
  • Random Acts of Kindness – A resource for people committed to spreading kindness – makes you feel good just reading the site
  • Worldometer – real time world statistics.  Mind blowing

The Useful…

  • bit.ly – shorten your long urls and track how many people click
  • eatsleepdraw – Share your artwork with the world!
  • London Farmers Markets – find your local farmer’s market / organic produce (London only!)
  • Netvibes – get all your RSS feeds in one place
  • RandomActs – communications consultant
  • Twtpoll – create your own Twitter Polls
  • Wordle – make beautiful word clouds

The Odd…

  • MeanKitty – the place for not so nice cats on the internet (I’m quite scared of cats…so maybe should have been filed under ‘The Scary…”)

Volunteering…

with 3 comments

In half an hour I am off to an open evening with a mental health charity to enquire about volunteering as a counsellor. 

I just thought I’d share this lesser known fact here.

To be honest, I feel like going home and putting my feet up after a draining day at work.  But I wont.

Written by Lores

March 24, 2009 at 5:25 pm