Archive for the ‘Charity’ Category

As I get requests throughout the year for donations, I now save them and in December I decide to which 10 or so organizations I will donate.  Over the years my list has changed, but currently, the following are the 11 for December, 2010.  It always includes local, national and international organizations.  It’s not easy making a choice as so many are worthy.

Since my son was diagnosed with Schizophrenia about 30 years ago, I donate to:

NAMI (National Alliance of the Mentally Ill) – a wonderful organization recognized for helping to change laws to benefit the mentally ill.  I remember going to their first meeting in Washington, D.C. about 30 years ago.

NAMI-NJ – I started the NJ chapter about 22 years ago and it has evolved into a wonderful resource for parents as well making an impact on NJ legislation.  My son is now one of the speakers of their “In Our Own Voice” program.

NAMI-Middlesex County, NJ – 30 years ago, it was called Concerned Citizens for Chronic Psychiatric Adults (CCCPA) and this was our first experience in being part of a support group of parents that absolutely saved my life.  Its focus became creating housing for the mentally ill, which was so successful that another organization was created to handle the housing.

TRIPLE C HOUSING – is now a growing organization that currently oversees about 12 homes/apartments and counseling for about 60 people in Central NJ.


YIDDISH BOOK CENTER – has been rescuing Yiddish literature since 1980.  Started by Aaron Lansky because he had trouble finding books in Yiddish for his Master’s Degree.  Look at their website to see how they have grown.

JEWISH FEDERATION OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ – Focus on physical and emotional needs of the Jewish population in Central NJ.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORY – Brand new museum in Philadelphia.

ZIMMERLI MUSEUM OF RUTGERS UNIVERSITY – Art and creativity have always been a passion for me so this is my way of helping to support in a small way.

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS and AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL – Two wonderful and much needed global organizations.

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ VOLUNTEER FIRST AID SQUAD – Their work needs to be supported.  They are caring and dependable.

Making donations once a year was an idea that a friend gave me.  It helps me to focus on what I can afford to give and helps me be more organized about it.

Hope all you ElderChicks out there have a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and fun 2011. [Please leave a comment here.]

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The older I get, the less I want “things” as gifts.  Maybe that’s related to fear of downsizing!  It’s not that I don’t enjoy receiving presents, especially when the giver is clearly saying “I really know you” in the gift.  Recently my friend Patsy gave me a set of grips for handling hot pans right out of the oven.  For each hand there are two little rubber “sleeves;” the thumb goes into one and four fingers into the other.  And they look like cows.  This is practical: they really work more easily than regular potholders, they encourage me to bake, and she knows I’ve always had a great fondness for cows.  No special occasion, just something that said she was thinking of me and knows me well.  A great present. That kind of spontaneous giving is always especially appreciated and is in its own special category.

There are other categories of giving, of course.  We all find many ways every day to give in tangible and intangible ways.  And now, as the end of the year approaches, our mailboxes will be filled with requests to give to worthy causes and organizations.  For many of us, the difficult economy and our own shrinking resources combine with constant reminders that this is really our life, not, as they say, “a dress rehearsal.”  Each contribution we make has to count as a reflection of our own values and interests.

For me, one that I care about deeply is an organization I helped to start over 20 years ago.  The Philadelphia Young Playwrights, working with theatre artists and teachers, enables many hundreds of students find their voices through playwriting every year.  Once I saw that adult expectations could not predict which children and teenagers would find their own creative spark and have it burst into flame, I wanted to help. This reaches children assessed as “gifted” as well as those whose academic records point to early dropout or remedial programs.  Playwriting is an even playing ground.   At their website you can find how this exciting program works.  Watching children learn and develop their own strengths gives back to me in a way that makes the future look bright. [Please leave a comment here.]

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