Monthly Archives: February 2013

Do more – Let’s spread a little love…

Hello again!

Remember last month I said my motto for 2013 would be Give more. Do more. Be more? Well, I started with Give more, telling you what I’m doing this year under this heading and asking for your help to raise awareness of (and funds for, if the cause compelled you) Dost, a small charitable organisation in London (UK).

For the rest of this month, let’s Do more, together.

I have been true to my word, and so far this year I’ve been paying it forward as often I can. I won’t list everything I’ve done here, because that’s not why I’m doing it, but examples range from telling the lady who works in our local corner shop how much my son looks forward to seeing her and misses her when she’s not there, to paying for someone else’s morning coffee and croissant (anonymously, before they buy it. Interestingly, some people are very suspicious of this!)

Tomorrow is Valentines Day. The second most celebrated holiday around the world (only after New Year’s Day), it first became associated with romantic love in the middle ages and evolved into a day for lovers to express their love for each other around the 15th century. Mass produced greeting cards didn’t make an appearance until four centuries later and here in the UK, we now spend a ridiculous amount of money each year telling our loved ones how much they mean to us.  It doesn’t need to cost this much, and it doesn’t need to be Valentine’s day, to tell people that we love them, but there’s nothing stopping us from going all out on today if we feel like it. This year, however, I have a suggestion…

As well as using this opportunity to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us, why don’t we use the rest of month to spread a little love a lot further? I’m going to anyway, and I’d like to invite you to join me.

For the rest of the month, I will make a point of doing something every day for someone else. Whether that’s something for someone I don’t know, such as  offering my seat on the tube to someone else (who isn’t obviously in need – otherwise I’d give it anyway), or something for someone closer to home, like sending an unexpected gift to a family member I don’t see often. Earlier this month, I also signed up to More Love Letters.  Based in the U.S, they send love letters to wherever they are needed, all over the world. If you know someone who could do with a parcel of love to uplift them, or simply love letter writing yourself and want to get involved, head over to their website to find out more.

I want to spread some love too!

Great! To join in, simply do one thing for someone else before the end of this month. It doesn’t have to be big but it should be something you don’t usually do anyway. Telling your kids you love them doesn’t count if you tell them every day but if you rarely talk emotions with your teenager, for example, telling them you love them and specifically, why, does. Even if their response is ‘like, yeah. Whatever.’ Post a comment below with the details, or tweet with the hashtag #spreadfeblove and let’s see how much love we can put out there this month!

Do more

Do more

Give more – Doing it for Dost

Last month I posted a ‘strapline’ – a kind of guide for how I want to be in 2013: Give more. Do more. Be more. In it, I mentioned that one of my aims this year is to give more – that is, to do more charitable work – whether that’s donating time and/or money, fundraising, or volunteering in some way.

There are so many causes out there worthy of support and it’s impossible to give to all of them so I have decided to focus on just a few this year. As promised, I am now donating a percentage of my earnings to charity. In addition to this, I am also lending my voice to one off campaigns (such as Save the Children’s Enough Food IF… campaign) and Grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization ONE, who fight poverty and preventable disease in Africa simply by raising awareness via various social media platforms (interested? Find out more and sign up now!).

Can you help me ‘pay it forward’ for a small charitable organisation in the UK?

In addition to the above better known organisations, I’ve also recently started working with Dost, a small charitable organisation in the UK, which has been going for over ten years but recently has been in danger of being shut down due to lack of funding. Recent grants from the City Bridge Trust and the Tudor Trust have helped to ensure that Dost stays open but it’s not enough to meet the high level of need for their services. I’m helping a little by offering my services for free but I want to do more…

So, dear readers, I’ve decided to ask for your help. I’ve seen the power of social media before. There are several success stories but my recent favourite has to be when Matt Madeiro asked his blog and twitter followers to help him to raise enough funds to buy a school bus for the children of Kopila Valley (in fact, Matt is one of those who has inspired me to start giving more). I’m asking for just a little help, a little closer to home.*

Tell me more about Dost
Dost was set up in 2000, to respond to the needs of children who have arrived in the UK alone seeking protection from violence, abuse and persecution in their home countries. ‘Dost’ means ‘friend’ in several languages and at the heart of the work the team does are the relationships they build with the children and young people they work with. This approach recognises the need for consistent, long-term practical and emotional support provided by a trusted adult as a means of bringing about positive change. Find out more about the work Dost does.

Why should I help?
Dost is a very small organisation with only one member of the team working full time. With more and more children and young people needing their help, they are limited as to the services they can offer and long term projects they are able to deliver over and above the core work they do with the young people. At present, Dost have been fundraising to stay open but their priority for 2013 is to secure core costs to enable them to provide ongoing support for more children and young people.

How can I help?
There are lots of ways you can help, and you don’t necessarily need to give money. If you would like to donate funds, you can do so: 

Online: Donate securely via Dost’s ‘Just Giving’ site
By Text: Text DOST12 + £Amount to 70070   e.g. DOST12 £5

You could also:

  • Organise a fundraising event or take part in a sponsored activity to raise funds for Dost
  • Help to raise awareness of Dost and the work they do by blogging about it (make sure you post a link to your blog below, or tweet it to @Dostcentre using the hashtag #Dostpost)
  • Follow Dost on twitter
  • Tweet about Dost using the hashtag #Dostctr

What’s in it for me?
Various studies have shown that doing good makes you feel good. From smiling at a stranger (and getting that smile returned!) to giving time and/or money to charity, acting in a positive way has been proven to not only have a positive influence on the world around you, but also on your mood and the way you view the world. So helping Dost will help them to deliver essential support and it will also make you feel good. Need more reasons? Here’s what some of the young people who have worked with Dost are saying:

“Dost is a safety net if all else fails… They are a backbone with their support. Dost is the thing you can fall back on.”
Petras (arrived from Lithuania aged 12)

“They helped me psychologically because I was depressed. They are there to actually listen to you. What I wanted was someone I could just talk to, to listen to me. I didn’t want someone to tell me it was OK and stuff, I just wanted to say everything that was on my mind.”
– Christelle (arrived from Democratic Republic of Congo aged 14)

They try to help you in any way, to live your life positively. You are not depressed because no one is helping you – you have got somewhere to go. If I didn’t come here to Dost I am 100% sure that I would have ended up in jail or I was gonna die.”
– Hamid (arrived from Afghanistan aged 15)

Dost

Dost’s Founder/Director, Yesim Deveci, says, ‘This year we have just about managed to stay open.  Our priority now is to secure our core costs so we can increase our capacity and offer support to many more children and young people. We don’t want to turn away anyone that needs our help.’

Give more

Give more

Thanks for reading this post and (if you do) for supporting Dost in any way you feel comfortable with. If you came here looking for poetry (it’s been a while, I will try to post more poems soon!) and/or short stories, then you might want to wander over here (or here) for now and come back soon for more!

*Home for me is London, UK. Might not be so close to you but if you still want to help that would be great!

100WCGU #76 – It’s not you…

Another 100WCGU entry. This week’s prompt was …beneath the surface…

It’s not you…
‘It’s just… Well, we’re different aren’t we?’ Kayleigh shifted in her seat, as if that would make the conversation any easier.
‘But I thought…? We said..?’ Aiden’s face turned pink.
‘Sorry, I… I just don’t think we’re right for each other.’ Kayleigh looked down.
‘Ok…Well… thanks for telling me in person, anyway. I… I’d better go…’ Beneath the surface, his emotions fought for space. His chest tight, he walked away quickly, fighting the desire to look back one last time. As he turned the corner, the overflow reached his eyes.

Wondering what the 100WCGU is? Click on the image below to find out more and read other entries from this week.
Image

Ginger beer (a small stone)

The ginger beer is too sweet, sticky. Not fiery enough. Not fiery at all. I drink it anyway, then look at the bottle.

The sink is reflected, shiny in the heavy bottomed glass. The sides are dull, sticky. I wash it to bring back its shine, the light shining through it once more.

*What’s a small stone?

Be  more

Be more

A Very Inspiring award

I owe a long overdue ‘Thank You!’ To Summer, of Grow your innerself, who nominated me for this award back in December. I didn’t respond at the time as one of the rules of acceptance is to nominate 15 other bloggers for this award. That’s a quite a lot, and I didn’t want to just list my favourite blogs but to include people who really do inspire me, for various reasons. Because of this, I only managed 10 – I hope that isn’t seen as cheating! The list is below and if I have nominated you I will  also send you a direct email/tweet/message (if i haven’t already) to let you know.

very-inspiring-blogger

The other rule of this award is to tell you seven things about myself… I talk about myself quite a lot already on this blog so I’m not sure anything will surprise you if you are a regular reader but here goes:

  1. I live in London, UK. Typically, I complain about the weather a lot but I am grateful for the seasons.
  2. I wish I could stop time so that I could get more writing done
  3. My last holiday was my honeymoon in 2010 (Malaysia). I miss travelling
  4. I have two middle names but I only ever use one as I don’t like the other
  5. When my sister sings I often cry (in a good way). Look out for her: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethajaomusic
  6. Someone once asked me if I could choose between music and silence. I couldn’t. I still can’t. I think I need both in order to create
  7. My favourite numbers are three and seven. Predictable, right?

And here are the winners (in my eyes!) – in no particular order – are:

http://petrakidd.com/

http://kellieelmore.com/

http://andewallscametumblindown.wordpress.com/

http://poeticparfait.com/

http://subhanzein.wordpress.com/

http://patcegan.wordpress.com/

http://charity-spring.org/

http://icingandcake.wordpress.com/

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/

http://mattmadeiro.com/

To all of you – thank you for the inspiration!

Fighting world hunger together. We can do it IF…