Solo Lady:Helping Others
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Helping Others!

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others. -- Audrey Hepburn

The key is to reach out and to act, in whatever way you can: donating, volunteering, changing, conserving or supporting in even the smallest way. We offer suggestions, some easy, some not. As a solo woman there's no better feeling than helping, and interacting with others, for a good cause. And there's no better time than now!

Scroll down to read all, or click on ... Animal Rescue Site ... Heifer International ... Greek Animal Crisis ... The Walter Reed Military Health Scandal ... Aiding the Iraqi People ... 5 Selfish Reasons to Give ...Consider This Before You Volunteer ... Sites to Find Volunteer Opportunities ... .Planning a Volunteer Vacation ... Responsible Tour Companies ... Breast Cancer Protection Act ... Help Women Overcome Poverty ... The 3 Trillion Dollar Virtual Shopping Spree: a Shocker ... Green Travel, Green Hotel Roundup ... Darfur: Genocide Crisis Remains! ... 10 Tips for Donating Wisely ... 7 Tips for Giving -- Online ... Drink Tap Water ... Protect Our Planet ... Problems in Haiti ... Helping Links ... Helping Ideas ... 10 Creative Kindnesses ... 5 Steps to Affect City Hall, Big Business, the Country, the World ... 5 Recycling Tips ... Warning About E-Mail Petitions ... Political Complaint? Here are the White House Phone Numbers

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Click on Animal Rescue Site

The AnimalRescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their web site daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals. It
takes less than a minute (How about 20 seconds) to go to their site and click on the purple box 'fund food for animals' for free. This doesn't cost you a thing.

Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising. Here's the web site! Pass it
along to people you know. http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/

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What the World Needs Now: A Holiday from Hunger

Choose a gift from Heifer International for the green-minded client, the hard-
to-shop-for relative, the teacher, the person who says, please, no more
stuff! Instead, honor them with the gift of a farm animal that will help a family
become self-reliant.

Heifer International, www.heifer.org, a
world hunger organization, focuses all of its energy on doing one thing and
doing it well: Helping impoverished families who are among the 2 billion people
living on less than $2 a day gain better livelihoods through small earth-friendly
farming projects. Since 1944, Heifer has helped over 49 million people become
self-reliant.

Rather than supplying food aid for a temporary solution, Heifer puts into
practice the ancient wisdom "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day,
teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

Heifer's solution is to give livestock to people in rural areas and train them to
use those animals to greatly increase their small farm's production so they
can feed themselves and have a surplus to sell for better incomes.  In urban
areas of the U.S. it teaches urban gardening to improve incomes and nutrition
for impoverished people.

Where Heifer is at work, people, animals and land work together in a holistic
cycle. Livestock produces manure for organic compost, which greatly
increases crop production and therefore food and byproducts that provide
better nutrition and income. Add bees and trees and worms and other
techniques for increasing crop yields and you have a powerful engine for
ending poverty one family, one community at a time.

Tremendous challenges of economic forces are sending food and fuel prices
soaring, and climate change is contributing to devastating drought in some of
the poorest countries around the globe. While initial emergency aid is
essential, thousands are left to rebuild their lives and they need help. Heifer
International provides practical solutions to help whole communities become
self-reliant for food and income. Heifer's approach is based on values,
commitment, and self-empowerment.

By supporting the work of this leading nonprofit this holiday season, donors
are assured that their gifts – however small or grand – are put to the best
use for solutions that strengthen the foundation of communities.

And signature to Heifer, every gift multiplies through Heifer's "Passing on the
Gift" promise: every family that receives training and livestock gives
knowledge and animal offspring to another family in need. This act in itself is
transforming within communities – it is a powerful thing to give. This is
Heifer's sustainable approach to ending hunger and poverty – one family, one
animal at a time. It's not temporary relief. It's not a handout. It's securing a
future with generations of people who have hope, health and dignity.

So this holiday, encourage your readers to give. Gifts with meaning. Gifts that
help end hunger and poverty. Gifts to Heifer International. Gifts that multiply
for generations to come.

For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call 800-696-1918 to receive a
free gift catalog.

Happy Holidays all year round from Heifer International!

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Adventure Trip to Aid in Greek Animal Welfare Crisis

inside/out (www.theinsideandout.com), developers of "Humanitourism" trips that combine humanitarian project work with guided adventure travel, announces an assistance adventure trip to Greece in October 2008 to aid in the inhumane conditions that exist for dogs in Greece.

inside/out’s trip participants will assist a very small minority of animal welfare advocates in Greece who are desperately trying to grapple with the abandonment, neglect, starvation, poisoning, overpopulation, abuse and mistreatment of dogs.  Greece has an alarming animal welfare crisis of epic proportions, which is largely unknown to the rest of the world.

The primary aid activities will be to provide hands-on assistance in the much needed improvement of shelter facilities in Patras, located on the gulf of the Peloponnese, and education, care and feeding programs in Ioannina, located in the mountains of the central mainland, the Zagoria region.  Following the humanitarian work in Ioannina, travelers embark on an eco-adventure tour of the lesser-known but extraordinarily beautiful mountainous region, including trekking, rafting, sea kayaking, culture and history.

Humanitourism is a unique concept developed by inside/out to promote longer-term relationships between communities and travelers.  Participants on inside/out's trips dispatch to destinations around the world to work on humanitarian projects that have been largely overlooked or underserved.  Following this rewarding volunteer work, the travelers are treated to a guided multi-sport adventure local to the area served.  The goal is to create a more intimate experience with the local culture and land so that travelers return home with more than just photos and memories, rather with a real connection to the people and places they have visited.

The travel experience includes stays with local hosts or in small culturally significant accommodations and enables travelers to experience local food and culture through both the project and the adventure.  Small group sizes, from 6-12 people, are designed to provide opportunities for each traveler to personally interact with the local population, hosts and each other.

"Our goal is to make an impact on the well being of people and places in a way that empowers and improves the lives of those receiving assistance as well as those providing it," offers Katsulos. “This trip to Greece is for the love of animals, adding a whole new realm of education and activism to our services.”

For those who may not be able to participate in a trip but still want to help, there are many opportunities, including donating funds or services to the organization, donating funds or supplies for a specific project, or, in some cases, writing letters of support or protest.  For a more complete list of how to help, visit the website, www.theinsideandout.com.

inside/out provides "humanitourism" trips that enable travelers to explore a culture more intimately, creating a lasting connection while making a difference in the world.  It is the only known organization in the world of its kind. 

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Speak Out Now About Walter Reed/Military Health Care

If you want to help, here are some places to start: (1) Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (www.saluteheroes.org), (2) the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (www.fallenheroesfund.org), (3) the Fisher Houses (www.fisherhouse.org) and (4) the Walter Reed Society (www.walterreedsociety.org). And Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund (www.thankmntroops.org).

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Helping the Iraqi People

Five years have passed since the beginning of the war in Iraq and the plight of the Iraqi people continues to worsen. 

Right now, your Senators are putting forward a list of what they are willing to fund in Iraq.  We need your help to ensure they do the right thing and fully fund much needed humanitarian aid programs for Iraqi women, men and children harmed by the conflict.

Two important programs falling short of funding again this year are the Iraq Community Action Program (ICAP) and the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund (the Marla Fund). These efforts on behalf of the American people ensure Iraqis injured and suffering the loss of loved ones receive the help they need. Communities work together to rebuild; widows receive small business loans and business training; children and orphans of the war receive education; and, bombed homes and buildings are repaired.

TAKE ACTION NOW!  Tell your Senator to fully fund ICAP and the Marla Fund. Add your voice to the growing chorus and help ensure that the people of Iraq get the aid they need and deserve. [click here to take this action]

Last year, we asked Congress to increase funding for these two important programs. Together our voices ensured an additional $45 million.  Without this money the work on the ground to help the Iraqi people would have ceased.  We need your help again this year to ensure these vital American efforts to ease suffering in Iraq continue.

Thank you for adding your voice to this call for humanity in war.

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You can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness! -- Anne Frank

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Five Surprisingly Selfish Reasons to Give!

We solo women need to make the most of all our endeavors, including giving.

Meet Celebrities.Want to meet Robin Williams, Bruce Springsteen or Bill Clinton? Chances to shake hands with these and other notable people were recently auctioned off at two different charity Web sites. Be forewarned, these experiences don't come cheap.

Do Interesting Things. Charity Folks recently auctioned off a chance to shadow the elite Special Operations Division of the NYPD, watch the NBC Nightly News from the control room, or attend the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and a party with the super models. People with more modest budgets can get in on the fun as well. Aquariums and zoos offer special behind-the-scenes tours for donors, as do some museums.

Get Cool Stuff. Local charities often hold auctions for autographed merchandise from local professional athletes as a way to raise money. Sports not your thing? eBay's Giving Works auctions off a huge variety of items. Recent offerings include a Civil War bayonet and a hooded sweatshirt for a dog. Charitybuzz was recently offering teddy bears designed by celebs, such as 'My Name Is Earl' star Jaime Pressly.

Meet Interesting People. Charities are finding that people donate because of encouragement from friends and family. Sites such as Network for Good, which AOL helped found, bring together donors, volunteers and charities. Even smaller groups are looking to get people more involved through special events.

Feel Real Good. Believe it or not, donating to charity helps stimulate the regions of the brain associated with pleasure, according to a study published in the magazine Science by scientists and economists at the University of Oregon. Plus, it's the right thing to do.
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Consider These Ten Things Before You Volunteer

  • Research the causes or issues important to you.
    Look for a group that works with issues about which you feel strongly. You might already be giving money to one of these organizations, and that might be a good place to begin your volunteer experience. If you can't find such an organization, here's a challenging and intriguing thought: why not start one yourself? You can rally your neighbors to clean up that vacant lot on the corner, patrol the neighborhood, paint an elderly neighbor's house, take turns keeping an eye on the ailing person down the street, or form a group to advocate for a remedy to that dangerous intersection in your neighborhood. There is no end to the creative avenues for volunteering, just as there is no end to the need for volunteers.

  • Consider the skills you have to offer.
    If you enjoy outdoor work, have a knack for teaching, or just enjoy interacting with people, you may want to look for volunteer work that would incorporate these aspects of your personality. Many positions require a volunteer who has previous familiarity with certain equipment, such as computers, or who possesses certain skills, such as ability in athletics or communications. For one of these positions you might decide to do something comparable to what you do on the job during your workday, or something that you already enjoy as a hobby. This sort of position allows you to jump right into the work without having to take training to prepare for the assignment.

  • Would you like to learn something new?
    Perhaps you would like to learn a new skill or gain exposure to a new situation. Consider seeking a volunteer opportunity where you'll learn something new. For example, volunteering to work on the newsletter for the local animal shelter will improve your writing and editing abilities - skills that may help you in your career. Or, volunteering can simply offer a change from your daily routine. For example, if your full-time job is in an office, you may decide to take on a more active volunteer assignment, such as leading tours at an art museum or building a playground. Many nonprofits seek out people who are willing to learn. Realize beforehand, however, that such work might require a time commitment for training before the actual volunteer assignment begins.

  • Combine your goals.
    Look for volunteer opportunities that will also help you achieve your other goals for your life. For example, if you want to lose a few extra pounds, pick an active volunteer opportunity, such as cleaning a park or working with kids. Or, if you've been meaning to take a cooking class, try volunteering at a food bank that teaches cooking skills.

  • Don't over-commit your schedule.
    Make sure the volunteer hours you want to give fit into your hectic life, so that you don't frustrate your family, exhaust yourself, shortchange the organization you're trying to help or neglect your job. Do you want a long-term assignment or something temporary? If you are unsure about your availability, or want to see how the work suits you before making an extensive commitment, see whether the organization will start you out on a limited number of hours until you get the feel of things. Better to start out slowly than to commit yourself to a schedule you can't or don't want to fulfill.

  • Nonprofits may have questions, too.
    While most nonprofits are eager to find volunteer help, they have to be careful when accepting the services you offer. If you contact an organization with an offer to volunteer your time, you may be asked to come in for an interview, fill out a volunteer application, or describe your qualifications and your background just as you would at an interview for a paying job. It is in the organization's interest and more beneficial to the people it serves to make certain you have the skills needed, that you are truly committed to doing the work, and that your interests match those of the nonprofit. Furthermore, in volunteer work involving children or other at-risk populations, there are legal ramifications for the organization to consider.

  • Consider volunteering as a family.
    Think about looking for a volunteer opportunity suitable for parents and children to do together.. When a family volunteers to work together at a nonprofit organization, the experience can bring them closer together, teach young children the value of giving their time and effort, introduce everyone in the family to skills and experiences never before encountered, and give the entire family a shared experience as a wonderful family memory.

  • Virtual volunteering?
    Yes, there is such a thing! If you have computer access and the necessary skills, some organizations now offer the opportunity to do volunteer work over the computer. This might take the form of giving free legal advice, typing a college term paper for a person with a disability, or simply keeping in contact with a shut-in who has e-mail. This sort of volunteering might be well suited to you if you have limited time, no transportation, or a physical disability that precludes you from getting about freely. Virtual volunteering can also be a way for you to give time if you simply enjoy computers and want to employ your computer skills in your volunteer work.

  • I never thought of that!
    Many community groups are looking for volunteers, and some may not have occurred to you. Most of us know that hospitals, libraries, and churches use volunteers for a great deal of their work, but here are some volunteer opportunities that may not have crossed your mind:

    • Day care centers, Neighborhood Watch, Public Schools and Colleges
    • Halfway houses, Community Theaters, Drug Rehabilitation Centers, Fraternal Organizations and Civic Clubs
    • Retirement Centers and Homes for the Elderly, Meals on Wheels, Church or Community-Sponsored Soup Kitchens or Food Pantries
    • Museums, Art Galleries, and Monuments
    • Community Choirs, Bands and Orchestras
    • Prisons, Neighborhood Parks, Youth Organizations, Sports Teams, and after-school programs Shelters for Battered Women and Children
    • Historical Restorations, Battlefields and National Parks
  • Give voice to your heart through your giving and volunteering!
    Bring your heart and your sense of humor to your volunteer service, along with your enthusiastic spirit, which in itself is a priceless gift. What you'll get back will be immeasurable

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Sites to Find Volunteer Opportunities --Your Perfect Matches

Just type in your zipcode or city or state, for a list of charities. Or use the sites' advanced search options to zero in on a particular interest or cause. Volunteering is a great way for single women to meet others who give!

www.idealist.org

www.volunteermatch

www.handsonnetwork.org

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Tips/Suggestions for Planning a Volunteer Vacation  

Consider joining a grassroots project team in one of the host communities now located all over the world.  How rich a vacation! However hard you may work, the rewards are incalculable.  The good you do ripples out, and new friends could last forever.  

Help: Boost community spirit
Help: Encourage self-reliance
Help: Provide essential services

Remove: yourself from mainstream tourism
Plunge:   deep into the heart of a community

Learn:  about farming, child care, teaching, archaeology, and on…
Play:     a vital role in cultural appreciation
Play:     a role in world peace
Pay:     token fees

How?
1.  Greenforce offers 10-week intensive wildlife programs aimed at protecting biodiversity.  Base camps.  Monkeys in trees.  Animal mapping and often in pristine environments.  Ecuador, Nepal, Tanzania, Bahamas, Borneo and Fiji.  Call 800-710-6065 or www.greenforce.org

2.  Global Citizens sends teams to partner with local grassroots organizations in a world-wide network of one-to-three-week immersions at U.S. and foreign sites.  Work on libraries, help with business skills, build a clinic, plant trees…  No special skills required, just a desire to help others.  Call 800-644-9292 or www.globalcitizens.org

3. Volunteer for Peace, a huge program of international service for two and three-week programs in over 100 countries.  Founded 1920, VFP aims to provide essential community services all over the planet -- actively and personally.  Call 802-259-2759 or click on www.vfp.org.

Questions to Ask:

According to the Travel Industry Association, one-quarter of travelers say they are currently interested in taking a volunteer or service-based vacation. With this increase in interest, it's important to know how to pick the right volunteer opportunity. And as a solo traveler, this is an especially wonderful way to meet like-minded folks while doing good.

Before jumping in to help others, help yourself by asking the following important questions recommended by i-to-i, a meaningful travel provider:

• How long has the volunteer organization been around?
• Is the staff knowledgeable and able to help you select a suitable trip?
• Do they provide pre-departure advice about visas, inoculations and insurance?
• Will you have an orientation once you land at your destination?
• Do they have support people in country for daily questions?
• What emergency measures are in place should anything unforeseen happen?
• Does the fee include food, accommodation and airport pickup?
• Can you speak to past volunteers?
• Can a friend or partner come with you? If so, are there discounts?


Given proper planning, volunteer travel can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Imagine the face of a lion cub looking up at you waiting to be fed at a reserve in South Africa, being at the heart of a small community in India making a difference in the lives of poor children, or preserving ecosystems in the Galapagos Islands that are as fragile as they are spectacular.

Alan Rousham helped children on four i-to-i volunteer trips in Santiniketan, India. “My volunteer experience put me back into the stream of life, and I thoroughly enjoyed contributing what little I could to the people of Santiniketan,” said Rousham. “Volunteering overseas was brilliant and rewarding.”

To learn more about volunteer vacations, visit www.meaningfultravel.com or call 800-985-5882.

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Five Responsible Travel Companies: Fun and Social Consciousness

Many tour companies give responsible tourism lip-service, but only a few really do something about it. The companies that comprise Trusted Adventures Alliance have made responsible tourism practices a way of life. While others may treat it as a fad or trend, Trusted Adventures members see it as their social and environmental duty and obligation.

Here are some examples of grassroots efforts in action. You can google to find more.


READ Global was founded in 1991 by Dr. Antonia Neubauer, President of Myths and Mountains. The company contributes $50 on behalf of each traveler to this grassroots initiative. READ Global builds self-sustaining community centers with village libraries at the heart. Its pilot site, READ Nepal, was the winner of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's 2006 Access to Learning Award. Their first READ library in India will open by the end of 2007. http://www.readglobal.org/


Western River Expeditions has initiated a $1 per guest, per day contribution to the Grand Canyon Fund which awards grants each year to researchers who are working to protect this national treasure. Western also participates in the Collaborative Alternative Motorboat Propulsion Research and Implementation Project, which is working to develop cleaner means of propelling motorized river boats. They have had limited success with electric motors and hope to achieve a hydrogen powered motor in the near future. http://trustedadventures.qm4.net/a/0/2562911/285827/default.aspx


The Travelers Conservation Trust was founded in 1986 by Kurt Kutay, owner of Wildland Adventures, as a non-profit, affiliate organization to foster means by which travelers can support local conservation initiatives and small-scale community development projects. This link between adventure travel, conservation and sustainable development enhances one’s vacation experience by creating more meaningful and authentic cultural encounters through learning, sharing and giving something back. http://www.travelersconservationtrust.org/


The Wayfarers is an active member of The Campaign to Protect Rural England which is dedicated to promoting the beauty, tranquility and diversity of rural England by encouraging the sustainable use of land and other natural resources in town and country. Author and anglophile Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods) is set to become the new president of the organization when Sir Max Hastings steps down. http://trustedadventures.qm4.net/a/0/2562911/285830/default.aspx


ROW Adventures is an active and supporting member of Idaho Rivers United, Idaho's river conservation organization. The company makes an annual contribution as do their guests through a voluntary "pass through" program. ROW founder Peter Grubb is on the organization’s Board of Directors. Peter also recently traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby for Senate Bill 802, Idaho's "Owyhee Initiative", an effort to protect 500,000 acres of Wilderness and add 300 miles of protected rivers to the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. http://www.idahorivers.org/

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Support the Breast Cancer Patient Proctection Act

A bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy.  It's about eliminating the 'drive-through mastectomy' where women are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.

Lifetime Television put this bill on their webpage with a petition drive to show your support. Last year over half the House signed on. Sign the petition by clicking on the web site below. You need not give more than your name and zip
code. http://www.lifetimetv.com/breastcancer/petition/signpetition.php

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Help Women Overcome Poverty

The world-hunger organization Heifer International has launched a $1 million fundraising campaign to support its WiLD (Women in Livestock Development) projects that have proven to be effective in helping women overcome poverty and injustice.

Simultaneously, Heifer is reaching out to engage impoverished women to empower them with ideas, knowledge, skills and resources. The goal is to enable women to come out of isolation, emerge into the public square and create a brighter economic future for their families. Heifer International's
pioneering WiLD projects today will have an impact that will affect women and their families for generations.

Actor Susan Sarandon, a long-time supporter of Heifer International: "To me, gender discrimination is an issue of conscience for those of us who are able to step forward to help those who cannot help themselves. That's why I personally support Heifer International's historic WiLD campaign to help provide opportunities to women around the world."

Throughout the developing world, it is women who are responsible for feeding their families and producing most of the food through backbreaking labor.Yet many of these same women are not permitted to own land or livestock, or even to learn how to read and write. School, a career and independence seem far out of their reach. Overlooked by government programs and often denied education, rural women face a cycle of poverty, hunger and despair. 

Heifer deals directly with women caught in this poverty trap through WiLD, which provides impoverished women with opportunities to increase their livelihoods so their own labor becomes their way out of poverty and hunger.Heifer designates projects as WiLD if at least 70% of the participants are women.

Heifer's WiLD projects provide women with livestock (cows, goats, water buffalo, poultry or other animals, as well as mico-credit loans) and training in strategic planning, reading and math, and sustainable agricultural practices to overcome discrimination and strengthen their position within their communities. Their often dramatic success shows others that women are capable of generating and stewarding family income. Men begin to see the value of including women in decision-making. Before long, a ripple effect of changing attitudes sweeps through communities where women have been denied opportunities. 

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Click Below, and Go on a Shocking Shopping Spree with The Three Trillion (!) Dollars Spent on Iraq

http://3trillion.org

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==F50VolunteerTraveleOver

Find Green Travel, Green Hotels Online

Beyond Vacations takes pride in being the First Green and Charitable Tour Operator. Our objective is to send you on a vacation beyond your expectations. What's more, we would like to do so in an environmentally and socially responsible manner: we offset your vacation's carbon footprint, and donate 20% of our profits to charities.

Beyond Vacations offers a variety of travel packages to satisfy all your travel needs. From Luxury Breaks, Luxury Tours, Cycling Tours, Hiking Tours, Eco-Tours and Expeditions to a multitude of destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Most of our tours are tailor made to satisfy your needs during your much deserved holidays.

Beyond Vacations is happy to provide you with the choice of four charitable causes to which your share of the profits will be donated (Breast Cancer, Heart & Stroke, Alzheimer’s and Children with AIDS in Africa) and we seek to increase our charity list in the future, thus providing you more choice. Alternatively, we would like to give you the option to allocate a portion of your profits to support local causes at your home base or your travel destination.

Please visit our website at www.beyond-vacations.com or you can email your request at www.beyond-vacations.com/request.php  or by telephone in the USA: 1-888-801-6301, France: 04 89 92 90 89, UK: 0808 120 3637, rest of Europe: +334 83 50 11 21 or via SKYPE: beyondvacations .

Our donations will help accelerate research into these diseases, improve treatments and hopefully lead to a cure.

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RezHub.com, an online travel agency who launched the Green Travel Hub website, breaks ground again with the integration of a revolutionary green travel search. Travelers now have a quick and easy way to learn about environmentally friendly lodging options, without having to spend extra time researching and reserving their trips at multiple websites.

Hotels who have earned a RezHub.com Green Score now appear in all search results highlighted in green along with their Green Score rating, and information about the steps they are taking for the planet. Green Scored hotels are also highlighted in map view results as a green arrow to make travel planning exceptionally simple (standard hotels appear as a blue arrow). As a part of their mission to bring green travel to everyone and for every trip, RezHub donates 20% of the proceeds from every trip booked at their Green Travel Hub to a customer chosen, environmental non-profit group. They make that donation whether the travel booked is standard travel or travel that is actually labeled green.

In the US alone, RezHub offers bookings with over 35,000 hotels and nearly 1,000 of those have earned a RezHub Green Score. Bookings with eco friendly hotels are also available in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Germany and the UK. The list of Green Scored hotels continues to grow daily and continues to spread worldwide.

How do hotels earn a RezHub Green Score? RezHub came up with a list of Green Amenities, or steps that a hotel can take to help protect the planet. They give each Green Amenity a points value of 1, 2, or 3 (an amenity with 3 points takes a lot more effort for a hotel to achieve than an amenity with 1 point). Next, they add up the points for each hotel and give them a Green Score. Each hotel is awarded one Green Branch for each score level they achieve. Hotels need to show that they are participating in or incorporating at least one of the Green Amenities to get started in the program. Some examples of green amenities are: Participation in an Energy Conservation Program, Donating to Non-Profits, Serving Organic Food, Using Compact Fluorescent Lighting, and the list goes on.

Info: http://www.rezhub.com/GreenTravel/GreenTravelRatingsHotel/tabid/387/Default.aspx.

. "We want people to know that they don't have to go to extremes to have a green vacation," says Marketing Executive for the site, Melissa Evans. "Brands that we all know and love are taking some big steps for the planet, and we're helping our customers see that every trip can be green." RezHub promises the guaranteed lowest rates on the majority of their hotels, and they back it with a 110% guarantee. To find these guaranteed low rates, simply look for the "Hot" icon in the search results.

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Many solo travelers over the age of 50 are interested in giving back while having an authentic travel experience and I-to-I Meaningful Travel is making such holidays possible around the world.  They’ve even developed a range of  Premier Packs so more mature volunteers can enjoy some of life’s little luxuries too. These include more privacy, air conditioning, en suite bathrooms, cable television and more. 

Premier Pack projects include working at world famous museums in China, teaching English in rural Ecuador, doing community work with AIDS orphans in Mombasa, Kenya or archaeology work in Lima, Peru.  Since 1994, I-to-I has been the award-winning leader in volunteer adventures and TEFL (teaching English as a Foreign Language) training. Each year, I-to-I sends approximately 5,000 volunteers to 500 projects in 23 countries and trains 15,000 people to teach English overseas. I-to-I volunteers contributed approximately one million house of service in 2006.

Call 902-865-6992, www.meaningfultravel.com

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Right Now! Immediate International Need: Darfur Crisis

Get the word out about Darfur!  Demand UN peacekeepers and a no-fly zone now! At this moment in Sudan, Africa, a genocide is taking place in the region called Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including women and children, have already been raped, maimed or slaughtered simply because of who they are! The grim situation is similar to the one in Rwanda a few years ago. To find out more, and to offer help, check out savedarfur.org.and genocideintervention.net

At a minimum, you can write your congresspeople, wear a green bracelet or place a lawn sign to help others become aware of this racially motivated disaster. Darfur is now a region of widows and despairing people, left to vegetate in dusty camps, with nothing left but hope that help from the outside world will finally come. Get on board with George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, and especially, New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, who have been calling attention to this genocide in lieu of politicians. Act now, please!

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A Heartbreaking Personal Message About the Darfur Spillover into Chad

by Mia Farrow

When I first came here in November 2006, I met Abdullah Idris Zaid, who was lying in the tiny Goz Beida hospital. It was a terrible month in eastern Chad. The Janjaweed, Darfur's government-backed Arab militias, joined with Chadian Arab tribes on a rampage of destruction; 60 villages were burned and scores of people were killed, raped, and mutilated. Mr. Zaid's eyes were gouged out by Janjaweed knives.

This month I found him in the Gouroukoum camp for displaced people. He is 27-years-old, a husband and a father. His four-year old daughter Boushra led him to the mat outside his hut and gently placed a cup of water in his hands. He told me that this is the third place they have sought refuge, and still he does not feel safe.

"They will come again," said Mr. Zaid. "They said, 'we do not want you black people here.' The Janjaweed come from Sudan. If the United Nations does not send troops into Sudan and stop them, then they will return."

Eastern Chad has been plunged into chaos and lawlessness. In border towns, pick-up trucks outfitted with machine guns and loaded with armed, uniformed men careen through the dusty streets. No one knows who they are: the army, Chadian rebels, bandits? It makes little difference to the victims of the escalating violence. For about $5 dollars (U.S.), anyone can get a uniform in the marketplace. As I passed through the town of Abeche, a U.N. refugee agency guard was murdered and two staffers severely wounded. About 100 humanitarian vehicles have been highjacked in the last year; aid workers have been robbed, beaten, abducted and killed.

Eight months ago, 40,000 Chadians had been displaced by Janjaweed attacks. Today the number is 175,000 and rising. People have fled from their burning villages and the fields that sustained them to squalid camps across Eastern Chad. "Mortality rates of children under five are double what is accepted as the threshold for an emergency," says Johanne Sekkenes, a Doctors Without Borders program director. "The situation here is massively deteriorating. The needs are huge. Assistance has been too little, and it comes too late."

There have been years of debate as to how the tide of violence engulfing the region can be stemmed. Until recently, the excuse for inaction was the steadfast resistance of the Sudanese government to U.N. peacekeeping presence. Sudan's recent consent to a limited force under African Union command comes in the wake of countless broken promises and falls far short of what is needed. Nonetheless, it leaves the onus squarely on other countries that have the power to contribute troops, but lack the political will to do so.

And so the cacophony of voices continues, deliberating as to whether and how a force should be dispatched, and who should contribute the resources and troops. No one seems to be listening to the most important voice of all -- that of the people of Darfur and Eastern Chad, ringing loud and clear from refugee camps across the region.

Oumda al Fatih, is the leader of 20,000 Darfurians at Goz Amir refugee camp. Between the camp and the Darfur border there is nothing but the ashes of destroyed villages. "Twice, Janjaweed from Sudan came here and attacked us," he told me. The refugees had fled these attackers before, but now they were far from home. With no idea where to find water in the unfamiliar desert, they did not even try to run. "We sat on the ground and we held our children and waited for two days. And we were thinking, 'No hopes for us. No hopes for us.'

"We are the ones being killed, tortured and raped. We are the ones who have lost everything. We are refugees with no freedom, no rights, not enough food, no fields; we are living in terror. We accept the U.N. troops. We are asking for help."

This is the voice of the people of Darfur and Eastern Chad. It calls urgently for an international force with the resources and mandate necessary to protect defenseless civilians and the aid workers who are struggling to sustain them. These desperate pleas are what we should be hearing and responding to -- urgently.

This piece first appeared in The Wall Street Journal.


Ms. Farrow, a UNICEF ambassador, has just returned from her sixth trip to Darfur and its borders with Chad and the Central African Republic.

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Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. -- Henry James

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Ten Tips For Giving Wisely

  1. Budget for giving.
    Plan your philanthropic activities right into your budget just as you would other financial obligations.

  2. Be an informed giver.
    Don't be afraid to ask questions when you're asked to give, including the specific name of the solicitor and his or her relationship to the organization, how much of your gift will be used for overhead, the specific project the money will go toward, and other important information. Give only when you feel comfortable that your dollars will be going to support an organization you know and believe in. Network for Good provides information on more than 1 million charitable organizations from the GuideStar database, so you can make an informed decision on the organization you decide to help.

  3. Keep the right records.
    For gifts of less than $250, a canceled check or credit card statement is sufficient for IRS requirements. For larger gifts, you'll want to get a properly worded receipt from the charitable organization as a confirmation of your tax—deductible contribution. When you donate through Network for Good, you will receive an e-mail confirmation of your gift. This e-mail meets IRS requirements.

  4. Be aware of how much is really tax deductible.
    If you receive a premium in exchange for your gift (such as a book or a dinner), the amount of your tax deduction is reduced by the fair market value of the premium. You can turn down the incentive item if you wish to claim a deduction for the full amount of your gift. Ask the receiving organization for more details.

  5. Ask about matching gifts.
    Many employers match gifts made by their employees or make grants to organizations recommended by employees. Be sure to ask your company how it can help your gift go even further.

  6. Remember, your gift can be confidential.
    If you prefer to have your gift remain confidential, you should let the organization know. You can expect the charitable organization to honor your request.

  7. Consider alternative forms of giving.
    Don't overlook the benefits to you and your cause received from bequests, charitable gift annuities, gifts in kind, endowments and many other creative forms of giving. Ask your tax advisor or attorney to help you make the best plan for you and your family.

  8. Volunteer!
    In addition to financial support, consider giving your time and skills. Not only will you help the organization, but you'll also make contacts, hone your skills, and learn more about the charitable cause to which you're committing your time and money.

  9. Don't forget you have the right to say no.
    Give generously when you can, but if you're unsure or feel uncomfortable—or if an organization simply falls outside your plan for giving—don't be afraid to say no. Or, ask for more information and take more time to think before making your decision.

  10. Be a proactive giver!
    You don't have to wait to be asked. Plan a giving strategy in advance. Contact the charitable organizations of your choice to discuss how your gifts can be most effectively used and help make a difference in your community.

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Seven Tips for Donating -- Online!

Here are some tips for safe and effective charitable giving online from networkforgood.org, the place to donate to and volunteer for charities.

  1. Find your match: The Internet has made it possible to research, access and donate to more charities than ever, so take advantage of the choices and find causes closest to your heart. At Network for Good, you can search our GuideStar database of more than one million charities by topic, name and zip code.

  2. Know where your money is going: Make sure the organization you want to support is in good standing by looking at an organization’s financials and ratings on our site and understand how your gift will be used.

  3. Stretch your dollar: Check to see if your employer has a matching gift program. It can make your holiday donations go further.

  4. Give your time: One of the most rewarding things you can do is donate your time and skills to a beloved cause and feel the satisfaction of making a difference first hand. Through Network for Good, you can access more than 34,000 opportunities at VolunteerMatch.

  5. Think out of the (gift) box: If you’re out of gift ideas, consider making donations to charity in honor of the people on your holiday list. It’s a great way to express the holiday spirit and show you – and they – care for those less fortunate. We’ll send an eCard to people notifying them of your gift in their name.

  6. Check for security and privacy: You should always confirm that the charity you are accessing online uses appropriate security measures. By using Network for Good, you can be assured your donation will be made safely and your personal information will not be shared with others without your permission.

  7. Hang onto your receipts: When you donate through Network for Good, you get an emailed confirmation of your gift that meets IRS requirements, plus an account that keeps a record of your donations.

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Tips for Feeling Better/Saving Money & Being Green

by Gretchen Rubin

1. Walk a mile instead of driving. Walking means you're not adding gas fumes and rubber particles to the air, and at the same time, studies show, even a 10-minute walk lifts your mood and gives you a burst of energy.

2. Skip the bottled water. Fact is, there is no evidence that you need to drink eight glasses of water a day--this is a myth, folks! And you CERTAINLY don't need a fresh plastic bottle each time you want some water!

3. Pause before you buy anything. Do you really need that gadget or gizmo? One study suggests that the average household could cut back on 40 percent of housework by cutting back on clutter, which almost certainly would boost your happiness considerably. And by not buying, you save resources that would be spend in production, transportation, and disposal.

4. Buy a gas-efficient car. Because of the hedonic treadmill, you quickly adapt to changed circumstances. Although you may fall in love with a gas-hog in the showroom, once you've had the car for a while, you'll take it for granted--but stopping for gas is annoying every time.

5. Carpool. Unfortunately, a bad commute is something to which people never adjust; it's a pain every single day. Studies show that we enjoy activities more when we do them with other people, so carpooling is better for your happiness as well as for the environment.

6. Pick up other people's litter. Do good, feel good is a happiness truism that really is true. Act like a considerate citizen of the world, and you'll boost your self-esteem.

7. Work in your garden. Research suggests that working with soil may boost mood by strengthening your immune system and flooding your brain with serotonin.

PLUS: some of our ideas:

8.Get an Energy Audit. You can do it yourself (use the online calculator at hes.lbl.gov) or to hire a pro, (find one at resnet.us; click on "find a certified auditor" under "Consumer Information.".

9 Use an environenmentally responsible bank Many are adopting programs to address global warming. and deforestation. Electonic banking frees you from paper clutter. And skip the receipts.

10. Buy green energy from your power company. From renewable sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, that leave a smaller footprint. You'll have better air to breathe and guilt-free usage.

11. Join in socially responsible investing. You can invest well and support companies that do well by the planet.

12. Get an energy-efficient mortgage. EEMs are part of a government program that encourages energy efficiency. You get a mortgage at a good rate, and in return make improvements to the home to increase efficiency and reduce pollution. The loans are insured by the government. The average EEM home emits two to four tons gewer greenhouse gases each year.You save cash and make your home easier to sell,

13. Green Your Communication. Many phone and Internet providers donate a portion of profits to green causes.( EcoISP.com, EarthTones.com, BetterWorld Telecom.com, to name a few). Rates are competitive.

If you'd like to read more about happiness, check out Gretchen's daily blog, The Happiness Project, and join the Happiness Project group on Facebook to swap ideas.

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Drink Tap Water and Help the Planet

This was an editorial in The New York Times.

On the streets of New York or Denver or San Mateo this summer, it seems the telltale cap of a water bottle is sticking out of every other satchel. Americans are increasingly thirsty for what is billed as the healthiest, and often most expensive, water on the grocery shelf. But this country has some of the best public water supplies in the world. Instead of consuming four billion gallons of water a year in individual-sized bottles, we need to start thinking about what all those bottles are doing to the planet’s health.

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I think freedom is quite illusory. When I stop thinking about myself all the time and put other people before me on a regular basis, that's real freedom. -- Madonna

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Here are the hard, dry facts: Yes, drinking water is a good thing, far better than buying soft drinks, or liquid candy, as nutritionists like to call it. And almost all municipal water in America is so good that nobody needs to import a single bottle from Italy or France or the Fiji Islands. Meanwhile, if you choose to get your recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, you could spend up to $1,400 annually. The same amount of tap water would cost about 49 cents.

Next, there’s the environment. Water bottles, like other containers, are made from natural gas and petroleum. The Earth Policy Institute in Washington has estimated that it takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the water bottles Americans use each year. That could fuel 100,000 cars a year instead. And, only about 23 percent of those bottles are recycled, in part because water bottles are often not included in local redemption plans that accept beer and soda cans. Add in the substantial amount of fuel used in transporting water, which is extremely heavy, and the impact on the environment is anything but refreshing.

Tap water may now be the equal of bottled water, but that could change. The more the wealthy opt out of drinking tap water, the less political support there will be for investing in maintaining America’s public water supply. That would be a serious loss. Access to cheap, clean water is basic to the nation’s health.

Some local governments have begun to fight back. Earlier this summer, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom prohibited his city’s departments and agencies from buying bottled water, noting that San Francisco water is “some of the most pristine on the planet.” Salt Lake City has issued a similar decree, and New York City recently began an advertising campaign that touted its water as “clean,” “zero sugar” and even “stain free.”

The real change, though, will come when millions of ordinary consumers realize that they can save money, and save the planet, by turning in their water bottles and turning on the tap.

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More Creative Ways to Save the Planet

Pump Up Properly inflated tires could improve gas mileage up to three percent. The average American who drives 12.thousand miles a year could save about 16 gallons of gas annually.

Lose the Phone Book You're probably using an online directory anyway. So call to stop delivery of your paper phone books. These books take up almost 10 percent of waste at dump sites.

Share For example, if just half of us shared our popcorn at the movies we could save the packaging for more than 2.5 billion quart-size servings.

Car Pool If the average commuter carpooled every day they would save 500 gallons of gas and 550 pounds of poisonous exhaust emissions every year.

Go Compact Replace burned out incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. If everyone in the US replaced just five bulbs, we'd keep one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of our air.

Forget the Receipt. If everyone in the US didn'tt take the ATM receipt, it would save a roll of paper more than two billion feet long, enough to circle the equator 15 times.

Stop Junk Mail Go to www.dmaconsumers.org/cgl/offmailinglist. Each year the average US household receives about 1.5 trees worth of junk mail. (It costs a buck, but well worth it.)

Don't Wash Your Own Car Commercial car washes use up to 100 gallons less water. If everyone who washed their own car used a professional car wash just once, up to 8.7 billion gallons of water could be saved -- soapy, polluted water diverted from rivers, lakes and streams.

Cool Down Use the warm-cold, or cold-cold cycles. If everyone in the US did it, it would save 100,000 barrels of oil a day.

Stay Home Work home at least part-time. Telecommuting saves almost two billion gallons of gasoline.

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The key to living green is small gestures that might become habits "encouraging a new way of accepting responsibility for the well-being of our planet." -- Diane Keaton

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Other Ideas When possible, live moderately; as we have precious supplies of natural resources. Skip the paper/plastic bags at the market. Bring a reusable string bag. Do errands in clumps, so you don't keep driving. Turn off faucets while brushing teeth. Set your thermostat at 72 or above when you use aircon; lower heat when you leave a room. Short of buying a hybrid car, you can unplug electrical appliances when you're not using them. Do fewer washes and dishwashes.

And, recycling is great, but pre-cycling is even better! Stop waste before it begins to avoid junk piling up and entering the waste stream:

- Use cloth handkerchiefs and napkins
- Take reusable shopping bags to the store with you
- Buy in bulk and avoid individually wrapped items when possible
- Stop unwanted junk mail through a free online service like www.ProQuo.com
- Read magazines and newspapers online
- Use a computer to pay bills, send party invitations and stay in touch with
friends
- Buy recyclable packaged items rather than non-recyclable

Our earth is heating at an alarming rate according to almost all of the most noted world scientists. If you've seen the movie, or read An Inconvenient Truth, you'll know why. This is not a political issue, but a moral one. There are simple things we can do to slow it down. Fewer emissions. Less waste. Check out climatecrisis.net for more ideas. Do what you can, and be aware. And for more info, read thegreenbook.com.

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Haiti's Major Problems

Noting the importance of stability on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, the president of the Dominican Republic has urged international attention to the problems of Haiti, its neighbor.

Speaking at Counterpart International's headquarters in Washington DC, President Leonel Fernández, in his second term as president of the nation which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, said he had urged US President George W. Bush to "help Haiti in any way you can."

A stable and secure Haiti, added President Fernández, whose political career included schooling in New York City, "helps the United States better fight illicit drugs, terrorism and threats to national security."

President Fernández, a strong supporter of non-governmental organizations, told leaders of non-profit development organizations gathered at Counterpart headquarters this month that Haiti is a top priority for the Dominican Republic. Stressing the importance of a peaceful and democratic Haiti, the president noted the conflict in Haiti has produced an influx of Haitians and a conflict of people in the Dominican Republic. He added, "we do not want to build a fence" separating his country from Haiti.

Asserting it "may have been a mistake" to disband the military, he said the police cannot handle the security challenges in Haiti. He urged the international community to be more involved because President René Préval "cannot do it alone ... we hope Haiti can turn around economically. There is a need for infrastructure. The World Bank and the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) need to perform on their pledges for Haiti." President Fernández did praise Brazil's President Lula da Silva for committing resources to a more active role in Haiti. "Tensions had to be dealt with in an intelligent way," he added.

In an effort to normalize relations between the island neighbours, President Fernández and President Préval had entered bilateral agreements aimed at harmonizing border control, drug trafficking, and other critical issues.

Commending President Fernández on his commitment to the stabilization of his poorer neighbour, Lelei LeLaulu, president of Counterpart International, recalled asking the newly-re-elected president two years ago to name the three top external priorities for his new administration and being told: "Haiti, Haiti and Haiti."

Haiti remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. Haiti now ranks 153rd of 177 countries in the 2005 United Nations Human Development Index. About 80% of the population lives in abject poverty.

Counterpart International works closely with FUNGLODE, the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development, on Coral Gardens conservation and other programs. FUNGLODE, a leading non-profit development organization, was set up by President Fernández when he was a private citizen.

For further information, visit www.counterpart.org.

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What we make gives a living; what we give, makes a life. -- Arthur Ashe

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Helping, Helpful Links

Help with natural and wartime disasters, and those in need. If you want to contribute to crisis victims at home and around the world, here are several official websites where you can make a difference, no matter how small the donation:

...American Red Cross: www.redcross.org

...Changing the Present: (like a charity mall, with 33 causes): www.changingthepresent.org

...Humane Society of America: www.hsus.org

...Phones for Life (collecting used cellphones, reprogrammed for emergency use): www.phones4life.org

...Markmakers (geared to kids, whio can choose their cause): www.markmakers.org

...The Pajama Program (gathers new pjs): www.pajamaprogram.org

...Salvation Army: www.salvationarmyusa.org

...Unicef: www.unicefusa.org

...WorldVision: www.worldvision.org

To send funds and help in international crises, here is more info about the previous agencies and some others:

AMERICARES
www.americares.org
(800)-486-4357
88 Hamilton Avenue
Stamford, Conn. 06902

AMERICAN JEWISH WORLD SERVICE
www.ajws.org
(800)-889-7146
45 West 36th Street
New York, N.Y. 10018

AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE
www.jdc.org
(212)-687-6200
Myanmar Cyclone Relief
P.O. Box 530
132 East 43rd St.
New York, N.Y., 10017

CARE
www.care.org
1-800-521-CARE (1-800-521-2273)
151 Ellis Street
Atlanta, Ga. 30303

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES
www.crs.org
(877)-435-7277
Southeast Asia Natural Disaster
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Md. 21203-7090

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS/RED CRESCENT
www.ifrc.org
(011) 41-22-730-4222
P.O. Box 372
CH-1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland

INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES
www.iocc.org
(877) 803-4622
P.O. Box 630225
Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225

SAVE THE CHILDREN
www.savethechildren.org
(800)-728-3843
Myanmar Cyclone Response
54 Wilton Road
Westport, Conn. 06880

U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
www.unhcr.org
www.usaforunhcr.org (for U.S. residents)
(202)-296-1115 or (800)-770-1100
USA for UNHCR
1775 K St., NW
Suite 290
Washington, D.C. 20006

U.S. FUND FOR UNICEF
www.unicefcusa.org
1-800-4-UNICEF
125 Maiden Lane
New York, N.Y. 10038

WORLD FOOD PROGRAM
www.wfp.org
(866) 929-1694
Friends of the World Food Program
1819 L Street, NW
Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20036

WORLD VISION
www.worldvision.org
1-888-56-CHILD (1-888-56-24453)
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, Wash. 98063-9716

Warning: Beware of unsolicited emails or calls. Go to the charity sites yourself before you contribute. To research a charity: www.guidestar.org 

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Everyone is guilty of the good [s]he doesn't do.-- Voltaire

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Helpful, Helping Suggestions

If you don't act on these for yourselves, you can often donate in someone's name. Donations make great gifts! And pass these ideas along to other solo women!

Stop Torture. Join over two million others throughout the world in the Urgent Action Network. Free prisoners of conscience and others threatened with torture or death. amnestyusa.org

Provide Clean Water. The charity has raised almost two million dollars and helped more than 800,000 people in 27 countries. Money goes to building protected wells and other water-related projects in some of the most remote areas of the globe, assisted by The Scientific Exploration Society. justadrop.com

Net the World. Protect people in malaria-infested areas by contrbuting funds for mosquito netting and repellent. malarianomore.org, . nothingbutnets.com

Help the Neediest. For 97 years people have been contributing to The Neediest Cases Fund, administered by The New York Times Company Foundation, which raises millions of dollars to help thousands of individuals and families in distress. The assistance is rendered by seven NYC social service agencies.The Times pays the Fund's expenses, so all contributions go directly to provide services and cash assistance to the poor .nycharities.org/neediest

Supply School Needs. Pencils, books, field trips for public schools in need. Purchase a gift certificate for any amount, and the recipient will select the project to donate to.donorschoose.org

Offer Mercy. Select from more than 20 "Mercy Kits" aid packages ($20-$1k) that support such causes as Hurricane Katrina and African refugees. mercycorps.org

Install a Toilet. Or part of one. Donate at least $10 for a low-flow toilet for Habitat for Humanity homebuilders (or join a team to build!).habitat.org

Plant a Tree. For $6 and up you can plant a tree in your honor, or a recipient's. arborday.org

Donate Organs. People are dying every day for lack of organs needed for transplant. Someday it may be you or a loved one. One person's death can provide organs for up to eight people. If you want to donate organs after your death, be sure to tell your loved ones that you wish to become a donor. Mark it on your driver's license. And  check out shareyourlife.org

Provide a Micro Loan. Almost 100 percent of these tiny loans to third-world countries, have been repaid! Even $25 can help a peanut butter vendor in Africa or a sandal maker in India. The loans have added up to over 10 million dollars, one by one. Oprah and President Clinton support it. kiva.com (see also, SixDegrees.org, and DonorsChoose.org.)

Light the Night. Celebrate and commemorate more than 712 thousand lives touched by leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Walk in twilight holding illuminated balloons --white for survivors, red for supporters. Start your own team. Raise money and join the celebration. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society funds lifesaving research, patient information and support. lighthenight.org

Save a Mother. The U.N. Population Fund has a maternal health program but it’s difficult to expand, because President Bush has cut U.S. funding for the population fund — even for African programs — because of false allegations that it supports abortions in China. Two women have tried to recoup American honor by starting a group to make up the shortfall with private donations.The idea behind this project is to ask 34 million Americans to donate at least $1 and in turn, send a message that Americans support the program. UNFPA helps the most vulnerable women in the world plan their families, give birth safely, and protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. It promotes the rights of women by encouraging equal access to food, education, and healthcare. UNFPA works worldwide to eliminate gender-based violence including female genital cutting and rape used as weapons of war .www.americansforunfpa.org.

Give a Smile. Millions of children in developing countries suffer with cleft lip and palate, condemned to a lifetime of malnutrition, shame and isolation. The Smile Train empowers local surgeons to give these kids a new smile, and a new life. 100% of your donation goes toward programs. Contact www.smiletrain.org

Teach English. Mukhtar Mai, the famed Pakistani anti-rape activist welcomes American volunteers to teach English in the schools she has started. You would have to commit to staying six weeks or more, but would get free housing in her village. You can apply by contacting www.4anaa.org

Also, New Light, is a terrific anti-trafficking organization in Calcutta. Urmi Basu, who runs it, welcomes American volunteers to teach English classes to the children of prostitutes. You would have to stay at least six weeks and budget $15 a day for food and lodging; for more information go to www.uddami.org/newlight.

Race for the Cure. Walk. Get inspired. Get involved. Join more than a million participants worldwide -- and make a difference against breast cancer. Find a Komen Race for the Cure® event near you. www.komen.org/ Also, Paper Bride and Paper Mama will be donating 15% of all purchases made through their Web sites (www.paperbride.com and www.papermama.com) to breast cancer research (Susan G Komen foundation and others).

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Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not. -- Dr. Seuss____________________________________________________________

Support our Soldiers. Whatever you may feel about the political situation, visit www.americasupportsyou.mil a U.S. military web site, to email messages of thanks to our brave troops (click on Show Your Support on their Web site toolbar for the email form). This site offers "America Supports You" dog-tags which you can order, free of charge, for your kids. The US Postal web site provides mailing tips and support suggestions, www.usps.com/supportingourtroops/, and many girl-scout troops seek donations for overseas armed forces care packages.

Load a Bag with Groceries. For a food pantry (www.secondharvest.org www.worldhungeryear.org), a battered-women's shelter (http://batteredwomenshelters.com), or a central drop-off for a local pantry. Consider donating a few hours at a soup kitchen.

Brighten a Nursing Home. (www.nursinghomeinfo.com), or bring cheer and fellowship into a childrens hospital (www.childrenshospitals.net).

Offer Sight. The Lion's Club seeks discarded eyeglasses to match with people who otherwise cannot afford or obtain needed eyeglasses www.lionsclub.org Or, donate your used glasses to a LensCrafters, Pearle Vision store, or Sunglass Hut. The Gift of Sight Foundation provides free eye care and eyewear worldwide, and matches up glasses to the right pair of peepers.

Donate Blood. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) Want to know more about what to expect? View the online info: .www.redcross.org/donate/give/     

Buy a Cow. Or a sheep, or part of a goat, or a flock of chickens, and such. www.heifer.org helps villagers in need. And those who receive help pledge to provide for others (eggs, lambs, rabbits and so forth). The Heifer Fund is a respected charity which offers a fun way to make a difference; great for children who can choose the animal (s) they want to contribute.

Have a Heart. Support the American Heart Association, which helps fund research to find cures for the number one cause of death among all ladies -- solo or not. Enroll in You're the Cure to send a message directly to your lawmakers to ask them to support the HEART for Women Act. www.americanheart.org

Offer Basic Supplies and Books. Contact The Virginia Literacy Foundation, www.networkforgood.org, www.aelweb.vcu.edu, to see how your family can help. In New York, Project Cicero conducts annual book drives for its city schools (www.projectcicero.org), and in Georgia contact www.children.org.

Host a Potluck Meal. And donate the money you save on a restaurant bill to Dining for Women (www.diningforwomen.org), which raises money for charities dedicated to making life easier for impoverished women -- every cent goes to groups like Habitat for Humanity and Women for Women International.

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And..."That best portion of a good ... life; ... little, nameless, unremembered acts Of kindness and of love. -- " William Wordsworth________________________________________________________________

Be Thoughtful. Allow cars into your traffic line. Give up your seat to the disabled and pregnant women. Let others go ahead in an elevator. Open doors for people. Lend a hand to a person who can't lift their luggage. Say "Thank you" often. Write a personal note instead of email, once in a while. Speak to all people with respect. These and other simple kindnesses add up. They help others in simple yet meaningful ways, and help you to feel good about yourself.

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Ten Creative Kindnesses

Think about ways to surprise others. As a single woman, even small gestures make a big difference. Here are some examples to adapt and expand on.

-- When someone is celebrating at a restaurant, call ahead to pay for wine or dessert.

-- Jot down one special thing each day about someone you love. Present them the list of 365 things when you finish the year. (Best for birthdays, end-of-year holidays.)

-- Bring homemade cookies to your local fire or police station, or to schools or places where people have been helpful. (Take along your kids!)

-- List shops and services for new neighbors.

-- Send a thank-you note to a favorite teacher. (The school office or the Internet will help find that teacher.)

-- Invite other singles to holiday festivities.

-- Carry a bag to pick up litter while walking.

-- While commuting, offer your newspaper to another, rather than tossing it.

-- On a rainy day, carry an extra, inexpensive, small umbrella to offer someone stranded.

-- Drop old magazines and books at a local women's shelter.

Add 10 more creative kindnesses that you can think of, and adapt into your life.

Here's an example...

In Perkins Coie’s Chicago office, members of the law firm’s “happiness committee” left candied apples on everyone’s desks. The previous month, the happiness committee surprised lawyers, paralegals and assistants in the Washington office with milkshakes from a local Potbelly Sandwich Works, a favorite lunch spot.

“That’s the whole beauty of it all — it’s random acts of kindness,” said Lori Anger, client relations manager of Perkins Coie, which is based in Seattle. “We have pretty strict hours, so it’s a nice way to surprise people.”

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Five Steps to Affect City Hall, Big Business, the Nation, the World!

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You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. - Lee Iacocca

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You don't have to be Bill Gates or have access to a president to make a difference. As a solo woman you can affect a community issue, battle a major company, impact the country, change the world in even a tiny way. Just act, and start with these basic steps which apply to changes big and small:

1- Formulate a plan

for City Hall: Develop a realistic solution.

for Big Business: See if other groups are already working on your issue, and how other corporations have responded. (see corpwatch.org)

for the Nation: Ask experts.

for the World: Donate money if it seems to daunting. (Check with guidestar.org to check out fiscal practices.)

2- Create partnerships

CH: Don't rule out people whose motives might differ from yours.

BB: Think beyond consumer watchdog groups.

N: Groups you can work with probably already exist; check them out.

W: Contact a non-profit with a presence in the place the problem exists.

3- Talk

CH: Determine who needs to be convinced, and go as high as you can.

BB: Prepare an argument.

N: For every letter, politicians figure 25-50 people feel the same way.

W: See if your congresspeople are on the Budget or Foreign Relations Committees: gpoaccess.gov

4- Build awareness

CH: Contact reporters in local media -- tv, papers.

BB: Compose a statement of your views.

N: Be useful to journalists on the scene, with photo ops and sound bites.

W: Explain your personal connection to the issue, be brief (less than 200 words) and compelling.

5- Act

CH: Handouts, demonstrations, info booths -- get seen and heard.

BB: Hit where it hurts: the brand image.

N: Take it to the Supreme Court. We all can.(check out supremecourtus.gov for instructions).

W: Protest, but aim to be diplomatic.

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Five Recycling Tips

1. Old cell phones and batteries. I work with the non-profit Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), which has collection boxes all over the United States in stores like Best Buy, Lowe's and Radio Shack collecting old cell phones. This is really the best place to donate your phones. Lots of people think they can donate their old phones to be reprogrammed to call 9-1-1 to help domestic violence victims. Maybe 10 years ago---when cell phones were astronomically expensive---it was a good idea. But, today, it's really not the case, with cell phone companies giving away phones. The greenest and best choice is to recycle them. RBRC collected, sorts and recycles them into new metal products. And if you have old rechargeable batteries that no longer charge up (they're found in cordless products like power tools, a Blackberry, a cordless phone), you can toss them into the recycling box for free, too. www.rbrc.org.

2. Eyeglasses. Maybe you had Lasik surgery. Or you just have lots of old eyeglasses you can't part with. Well, you can give someone else less fortunate the gift of sight by donating your old eyeglasses. Bring them to any Lenscrafters store and they'll clean, fix, and retrofit them to give eyeglasses to people in need all over the world. www.lenscrafters.com

3. A burnt-out compact fluorescent bulb. We all know CFL bulbs are good for the environment since they use a fraction of the energy than an incandescent bulb and last up to eight times longer. But they do eventually burn out. And because there is tiny amount of mercury in the CFL bulb, it's not a good idea to toss them away in the trash. Just save them up and bring them to Ikea. You'll usually find a recycling box near the Customer Return section. Just drop 'em off and go. www.ikea.com

4. Brita water filters. Weird, I know. But I know lots of people who save these water cleaning filters. And it's a good thing they do: these filters actually work, removing mercury, chlorine, lead and other nasty chemicals out of your water. So after cleaning your tap water for two months, these little carbon filers become tiny, toxic bombs. Throwing them away in the trash just re-contaminates the ground with all those chemicals. So save them up and visit earth911.org to find a local household hazardous waste drop-off site. Maybe it a twice-a-year habit to bring all your HHW items like paint and smelly cleaning products to be safely disposed of.

5. Junk Mail Revenge. Even with all the "do not mail" lists out there, junk mail still finds a way into mailboxes and lots of it gets stashed into the junk drawer for review later. And then most people just throw it away. I like to get revenge of the postal spammers. In most junk mail, you'll find a postage paid business reply envelope. This is provided for people who actually sign up for whatever product their hawking. Instead of signing up, stuff that envelope back with all the paper--the original envelope, letter, paperwork---they sent you. Seal it up and mail it. Not only will they get the junk mail back, but they'll have to cover the return postage cost for it. If enough people did this, I truly believe junk mail would stop.

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Warning About E-Mail Petitions


Just a word to the wise! E-mail petitions are not acceptable to Congress or any other municipality. To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed signature and full address.

Almost all e-mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all this type of e-mail is, is to get names and "cookie" tracking info for telemarketers and spammers to validate active e-mail accounts for their own purposes.

When you see an e-mail that says "forward this on to ten of your friends," sign this petition, or you'll get bad luck, or whatever, it has either an e-mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and e-mails of those folks you forward to, or the host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of "active" e-mails to use in spam e-mails, or sell to others that do.

If you forward this notice to others, you'll be providing a good service to your friends, and you will be rewarded by not getting 30,000 spam e-mails in the future.

Check it out: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/petition/internet.htm

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Have a Political Complaint? Here are White House Phone Numbers!

The offices are taken from the White House site, and the numbers are formatted like so: 1-202-555-1212 / 1-202-555-1212, where the first number is via internet search, and the second, italic number is from the Directory.

Be polite and concise.

The offices included in the Executive Office of the President:

Council of Economic Advisers: (202) 456-1414 / (202) 395-5084
Council on Environmental Quality: (202) 395-5750 / (202) 456-6224
Office of Administration: (202)456-7921 / (202) 456-2861
Office of Management and Budget: (202) 395-4840 / (202) 395-4840
Office of National Drug Control Policy: (202) 395-6738
Office of Science & Technology Policy: (202) 456-6021 / (202) 456-7116
President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board: (202) 456-2352
United States Trade Representative: (202) 395-7360 / (202) 395-3230

The offices included in the White House Office:

Domestic Policy Council: (202) 456-1111 / (202) 456-5594
Homeland Security Council: (202) 456-1700
National Economic Council: (202) 456-1414 / (202) 456-2800
Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives: (202) 456-6708 / (202) 456-6708
Office of the First Lady: (202) 456-7074 / (202) 456-7064
Office of National AIDS Policy : (202) 456-7320 / (202) 456-7320
Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: (202) 456-1066
USA Freedom Corps: 1-877-872-2677 / 1-877-USA-CORPS
White House Fellows Office: (202) 395-4522 / (202) 395-4522
Zeroth. White House Military Office: / (202) 757-2151

And the Vice Presidential Entity, whatever branch he ends up in:

Dick Cheney: (202) 456-9000 / (202) 456-1414
Lynne Cheney: (202) 456-7489

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Solo Traveler: Tales and Tips for Great Trips, 1st Edition (Special-Interest Titles)

 

 




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