Whenever a friend or family member is diagnosed with an illness or condition, we rally and become vested in finding a cure or building awareness.  Hank did just this, as he organized a golf outing in honor of his father to build awareness and raise money for lung cancer.

It is sometimes easy to take ones health for granted, but with Hank’s father being diagnosed with lung cancer, he felt it necessary to put together a golf tournament that would help raise awareness.  It’s very clear that Hank loves and admires his dad, so this must have been a very difficult adjustment.  No one wants to see anyone sick, especially their parents.  WE think Hank is one awesome son for organizing the golf outing and inviting all of his high powered, celeb friends.

With the moral of this week’s episode being “giving back”, WE want to encourage all of our fans to think about what they can do to help anyone in need, or what they can do to build awareness for a cause.  Think about what is near and dear to your heart, and try to do something that makes a difference.  Sometimes, we all get so caught up in our day-to-day stuff, we forget to extend ourselves the littlest bit to make a difference in someone else’s life.  So give back, get involved, and be optimistic that you can make a difference!

I know I am fired, but I am like Freddy and Jason, I never die! I still go on and I know I will fall into place wherever I shall be next. I am a clueless receptionist, but I got a lot of spunk and heart that guides me to my success.

I just know I have to learn how long it takes to do a press and curl and how long a relaxer takes.

I loved working with everyone at the salon and I miss everyone! I let divas be who they are because that’s how they are! I love everyone unconditionally! That’s a fact! Peace out, and I hope to bump into you in da street, yo!!

Are you still looking for a do-good gift to give? How about Charity Pot hand and body lotion from WE Volunteer partner, LUSH Handmade Cosmetics?

As I mentioned in a post earlier this year, 100% of the retail price of each Charity Pot (minus taxes) goes directly to grassroots organizations around the world that support animal rights, environmental protection and humanitarian concerns.

One of LUSH’s newest charity pot partners is Save the Rain, a nonprofit organization committed to ending the water crisis through rainwater harvesting. They teach people living in water-deprived areas to catch, store, clean and use rain as a sustainable water supply.

As an added plus, LUSH never tests their products on animals, and their pots and bottles are made with 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic. To learn more about LUSH Charity Pots, check out this video.

You can find a LUSH store near you, using the LUSH shop locator.

Did you know that poor Americans donate a greater percentage of their income than rich Americans do? According to the article, America’s poor are its most generous givers by Frank Greve on McClatchydc.com, “the poorest fifth of America’s households contributed an average of 4.3 percent of their incomes to charitable organizations in 2007. The richest fifth gave at less than half that rate, 2.1 percent.”

How do you decide how much to donate? According to Network for Good, “89% of American households give to charity. Gifts average 3.2% of income, or $1,620 annually.” You can see how much 3.2%, or another percentage, of your income would be using Network for Good’s Giving Calculator. While you’re at it, you can also use Charity Navigator’s Giving Calculator to determine the amount of tax savings you get from your donations.

How do you decide how much to donate each year? Is it always the same and part of plan, or is it random and depend upon your income, and interests each year?

With the school year winding down, this week will be my last week volunteering as a, “reading partner” with two
girls at my local elementary school. To celebrate, each volunteer will give his or her reading partner a book. There will also be a little party for all of the volunteers in a couple weeks.

As summer approaches, you may find yourself finishing up a volunteer opportunity. As you do, here are 5 things to keep in mind:

1. Share your feedback and document what you did

Volunteers provide a wonderful outside point of view for nonprofits. Be sure to share your successes and challenges as a volunteer with your supervisor, as well as give them any feedback you have about the organization.

If you have been working on a particular project (e.g. creating a website, planning an event), write down everything you did so that it is easy for another staff member, or volunteer to pick up where you left off.

2. Say good-bye

If you have been working with a person, or a group of people (especially children) make time to say thank you, and good-bye so that everyone has closure.

3. Stay in touch

Be sure to keep the contact information of your supervisor, and anyone else you worked with. You never know when you might need to ask them for a reference for a job, or a future volunteer position.

4. Reflect

Take a little time to write in your journal, or take a walk and think about your volunteer experience. What did you enjoy? What didn’t you enjoy? What kind of volunteer position would you like to explore next?

5. Celebrate!

Whether you get yourself a cupcake, or have a party with other volunteers, give yourself a little pat on the back for giving the gift of your time and skills to make a difference.

Check out this fun video where Cynthia Nixon, who plays Miranda Hobbes on Sex and the City, imagines what kind of volunteer work Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte would do:

How do you think they would volunteer?

I think Carrie would volunteer with an organization that works with young writers, like Girls Write Now, Samantha would volunteer to produce an event for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, Charlotte would volunteer with the ASPCA, and Miranda would volunteer with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.

In reality, Cynthia Nixon volunteers with the Alliance
for Quality Education
. Below is a PSA she made for WE Volunteer,
One Day Can Make a Difference:

Both videos, and others, can be viewed on the WE Volunteer videos page.

In October I posted about Cami Walker’s book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.  29 Gifts is the inspiring story of a woman with multiple sclerosis whose life was transformed by giving away 29 things in 29 days.

To celebrate the holiday season, WE Volunteer has a gift for you — a chance to win a copy of 29 Gifts. One copy will be given away each Friday during the month of December.

Here’s how you can enter for a chance to win a copy of 29 Gifts:

1. Follow WE Volunteer on Twitter at @WE_Volunteer.
2. Send @WE_Volunteer a “tweet” about how you plan on giving back during the holidays.
3. Make sure to include the hashtag #29Gifts in your tweet.
4. Check @WE_Volunteer on Fridays to see if you won.
5. You can read more about the giveaway at, www.wetv.com/29-gifts-book-giveaway.html
I am on Day 12 of my 29 Day Giving Challenge, and have completed it four times before. Each time has been a moving experience. I hope that in addition to entering the contest, you’ll also try out the 29 Day Giving Challenge for yourself.

You can read stories about people’s experiences with the 29 Day Giving Challenge, and share your own, at www.29gifts.org, a website for the 29 Gifts community.

Full disclosure: Cami is a friend, and she mentions a blog post that I wrote on my personal blog, Have Fun Do Good, about the 29 Giving Challenge in her book. I received a review copy of 29 Gifts.

One month after she was married, Cami Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  She struggled with extreme pain, an inability to walk, loss of sight in one eye, an overwhelming stack of medical bills, and depression.  When an African medicine woman, Mbali Creazzo, gave her a “prescription,” to give away 29 things in 29 days, Cami ignored it at first, but once she started, she couldn’t stop, and the result transformed her life.

Half way through the 29 days, Cami was able to walk again, clients were calling her for work, her relationships improved, and she felt more optimistic about her life.  She asked some friends to join her in the 29 Day Giving Challenge and put up a website at www.29gifts.org for everyone to share their stories. Now, the site has over 5,000 members.

Cami has captured her story in the inspiring new memoir, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.  It’s a moving book that captures the power of giving, and will inspire you to try the Challenge.  You can watch Cami talk about her experience in the YouTube video below, and on The TODAY Show Monday, October 26th.

I’ve done the 29 Day Giving Challenge four times and each time has been
a profound experience.  I particularly enjoyed taking the Challenge
during the 29 days before Thanksgiving, and am thinking about doing it
again this year, which would mean starting on Thursday, October 29th.
You can give away any kind of gift: a smile, an object, a batch of
cookies, advice, your time, a prayer. It all counts.  Mbali suggests
that one of your daily gives be something that you feel like you can’t
live without.

Will you join me?

Full disclosure: Cami is a friend, and she mentions a blog post that I wrote on my personal blog, Have Fun Do Good, about the 29 Giving Challenge in the book.  I received a review copy of 29 Gifts.