A Time-Sensitive Giving Tuesday

Clearly, it’s been a while since I’ve last posted on this blog. This morning, I listened to a lovely Tea & Tattle podcast that rekindled my love not of blogging (which has never wavered), but my love of being a blogger, of taking on that specific writerly identity. Anyways, I’ve been thinking a lot about the various hats I wear. In the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out how to wear them and costume-change in the most effective ways. There is an urgency in the political – which has never felt more personal than it is now, at least in my lifetime – climate. And I feel that urgency especially this Tuesday.


Giving Tuesday began as #givingtuesday five years ago (see above). It was created as an initiative from my home only a block away from home: the 92nd St Y. From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, we take and we take and we take. We naturally need to release, to let go. And that is where this holiday of giving comes in handy.

Here are my suggestions for where to put your money (which as yoga teachers remind me is simply green / plastic energy) over the remaining 4 hours of Giving Tuesday.

InstaAd.jpg

Nasty Women ArtistsStarted by my obscenely talented dear friend Julia, this project answers, through art, the following question from its website:

In the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election, we started Nasty Women Artists in response to the question: what can we do – as artists and as individuals – in the face of hateful rhetoric, short-sighted politics, and dangerous public policy?

 

Image result for naralNARAL Pro-Choice America. My room donated to NARAL Pro-Choice New York in my name for my birthday. I was incredibly touched by this particular donation. Over the past few weeks, Planned Parenthood has received a record number of donations (#amazing). Yet in this effort to protect the basic needs of women and people seeking affordable healthcare, we cannot forget the advocacy work that underlies it all. NARAL does this activism work.

State Bags. I ❤️ StaImage result for state bagste (and my State Bag that I currently have though I may or may not buy another before Giving Tuesday is up). Not only are the bags extremely high-quality and adorable, but for every bag bought, a bag is donated to a child in need. Oh, and that bag that is donated is filled with school supplies for that child. And TODAY, for every bag you buy, State will donate two bags to a child in need because #givingtuesday.

Image result for rethinking schoolsRethinking Schools. Today, I bought a subscription to this incredible magazine that reimagines the ways this country can structure schooling so that it is as inclusive as possible.

Tonight, I will write thank you notes to some truly amazing people in my life who gifted me with donations to organizations on my 25th birthday a few weeks ago. In the spirit of acting with intention, use these organizations and companies to gift this holiday season. It is extremely meaningful this time of year this year to give the gift of giving.

Giving Tuesday

Happy #GivingTuesday!  After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is exactly what the world needs…what we all need…to balance out our intentions.

Here’s a description of what today – a newer holiday – means, from GivingTuesday.org,

Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.

#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.

As a global movement, #GivingTuesday unites countries around the world by sharing our capacity to care for and empower one another.

As a 20-something, I know that it can be so challenging to justify philanthropy. Last year, as an AmeriCorps member, I legitimately did not have $10 to donate. (However, to be honest, that was all OK because I donated basically all my time.) But this year, as a young professional, even gearing up to pay graduate school tuition, I realize that just $10 makes a huge difference. I also have a large list of nonprofits that I absolutely, positively adore, that have made a huge impact on me and others.

Summer on the Hill

SOH_1L_pic2.jpg

I spend my Saturdays teaching for this organization that shares the resources of a very well-off prep school with students who are more local to the Bronx neighborhood that prep school inhabits. These are students who are traditionally disadvantaged, but academically gifted. From their website:

SUMMER ON THE HILL (SOH) has had an outstanding impact on education for 21 years!

A year-round enrichment program for bright, low-income students from the Bronx, Washington Heights, and Harlem, SOH has placed 300 students in college and 58 students in NYC specialized science or audition high schools.

Donate here.

Girls Write Now

gwn_2015_social_header_4_cropped

For four years, I was a mentee with GWN so I know firsthand the tremendous impact this organization has on young lives. Through the support of GWN, I received a scholarship that enabled me to graduate from my elite private alma mater debt-free. But that is so not even close to how awesome GWN is. It allowed me to identify as a writer at the age of 15 and it supported me wholeheartedly and gently through the writing process, which can be a tumultuous one. From the website:

“Writing is a way to understand the world and myself. This is just the beginning.” —Massange Kamara, mentee

Girls Write Now is poised for significant growth with a strategic plan to double the number of girls we serve and to enhance our college prep and alumnae services, extending the support we provide young women writers into college, career, and beyond. There is no better time to invest.

We work on the basis of intense commitment – the girls who participate sign up for a demanding year of daily effort and constant challenge as they learn various genres of writing and a range of life skills. Girls Write Now promises an equally intensive investment, one that is highly effective and economical compared to similar services.

Donate here.

Girls on the Run

1709.jpg

I witnessed the power of GOTR in Portland, OR last year as I coached the most amazing third through fifth graders to set a goal and achieve it. GOTR teaches so many social-emotional skills for students. From the website:

We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

Donate here.

Exhale to Inhale

static1.squarespace.png

This utterly profound organization empowers yoga teachers to empower the disempowered: survivors of domestic violence. Bringing yoga to domestic violence shelters is no small feat. I very strongly encourage you to donate to this amazing organization. From their website:

People ask us, “why yoga?” Our answer, is that the resources people gain through yoga are at the very foundation of our lives – the ability to breathe, to gain physical and emotional strength, and to make healthy life choices, which in turn, helps us to better care for our loved ones. 

For the women we serve, yoga provides them with a tool to heal and to feel strong and safe in their bodies so that they can help to end the cycle of violence in their families and communities. Physically, domestic violence often leaves survivors with long-lasting medical conditions that can be mitigated by yoga such as broken bones, head trauma, and nerve damage. Emotionally, survivors may begin to feel empowered that they are doing something that will help them heal physically and emotionally, to help them view their bodies as a safe place again, to calm their nervous systems, and decrease their levels of anxiety.

Yoga is an empowering tool with far-reaching benefits that carry over off of the mat and into everyday life. The yoga mat is a safe place where people can begin to reconnect with themselves, to practice making choices, express when something doesn’t feel right to them, and figure out what would work better. For many women, the time spent on their mats is the first time, possibly in years, that they have been able to feel safe and breathe evenly.

Donate here.

Living Yoga

ly_logo_200

I was very involved with this organization through working at unfold last year. They do great work by bringing yoga to schools in Portland, OR, and bringing free recovery yoga to studios around the city. They work on researching and directly implementing their research involving yoga + trauma. From their website:

When you give to Living Yoga, you’re giving the gift of hope and healing to another human being.  Every day we see lives transformed in big and small ways because of the yoga classes we are able to offer with your support.

Chances are you have experienced the profound effects of yoga in your own life. You understand the depth of healing and change that is possible through practice.  That is why we ask you to give generously to Living Yoga.  To empower others who are at critical moments in their life-in prison or in treatment for addictions, to experience this same potential.

Donate here.

As part of what it means to grow up on OM, donate. Forgo the lunch out just one day and spend just $10 on one of these organizations. If my seven-year-old sister can do it with her accrued allowance, use 20-somethings can too.

P.S. Even if donating isn’t one of your spiritual practices as a 20-something, chances are that online shopping is. AmazonSmile is a great way to pick out any of these organizations and basically have Amazon donate on behalf of you. Oh, hay, no excuses approach to philanthropy!