Tag Archives: Matt Madeiro

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’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!

Happiness is…

I’ve been over at Matt Madeiro’s blog, Make Every Day Count this week, reading about Happiness. Matt shares his definition of happiness, and offers a ‘homework assignment.’ I decided to take on this challenge, and share my thoughts with you. If you’d like to share your thoughts on these questions, you can either do so below, or pop back to Matt’s blog and comment there. If you’d like some inspiration as to what happiness might be, you could even buy Matt’s e-book, Happiness is… It’s available from amazon for less than £1. That’s something to smile about.

Matt – here’s my assignment.

I gave this a lot of thought and had some long discussions with friends and colleagues about the human nature and what makes us happy but the answers, in the end, were quite simple for me…

“What’s my definition of happiness?”

Happiness is acceptance.

I used to think that my happiness depended on a wide range of factors, from the weather, to whether people liked me and a whole host of other things in between. However, as I’ve grown (a bit. I still have a lot more growing to do), I’ve realised that for me, happiness is about accepting who I am, who others are  and the way things are in the present moment. This can mean accepting that I’m having a crap day, for example – instead of complaining about it. I’ve found that it’s only once I have accepted things as they are, that I can do something about changing them. Or not. Sometimes it’s not that things need to change, I just need to change my perception of them.

“Am I there yet? Do I fit that description?”

Yes. No. Sometimes.

This one was harder to answer. Some days I’m there. I equate happiness with being content rather than being in a permanent state of joy, and some days I am content. Some days I am even joyful. I have a lot to be grateful for. However, I’m only human and sometimes I get caught up in ‘stuff.’ It’s hard not to. It helps to stay in the present moment as much as possible, but when things look bad, sometimes looking to the past or future can help. I always keep in mind what has become a bit of a mantra for me: ‘This too shall pass.’ I can look back and say ‘I’ve been in worse situations than this and got through it.’ Or I can look to some unspecified point in the future to when the crapness has passed.

Today, it was sunny. I spoke to a couple of good friends, caught up with my Nan, spent some quality time playing with my son, sat down for a couple of hours to do some writing and when I have finished, I am going to eat a delicious meal. Sometimes it’s just the little things.

Today, I am Happy. Are you?

Emotional overflow

I was over at Matt Madeiro‘s blog, Three New Leaves, yesterday, reading his recent post ‘Confessions of a Crybaby,’ about how he has come to terms with the fact that he is, to use his word, a ‘cybaby.’ I wouldn’t have used this word myself, for its negative connotations don’t seem to fit with the reasons Matt gives for the fact that tears come easily to him.

Although I can’t possibly know what Matt’s experience of the world is like for him, I can empathise, as tears come easily to me, too. As I commented on Matt’s post, I prefer not to call it crying, though, as this suggests sadness is involved. Although it sometimes is, I find the tears come more readily at other, seemingly everyday moments – I recognise the sense of stillness that touched Matt after his first experience of meditation, and art and music can move me in the same way. My sister is a singer/songwriter, and her words and music often cause this emotional overflow. She once showed concern at my tears, so I tried to explain it to her… and that is how I would like to explain it to you, now. It’s like this:

I ‘fill up’ with emotion and sometimes, some of it leaks… The filling up is a lovely feeling, and if it leaks then it’s just because I forget how much joy I can contain.

Matt comes to the conclusion that his tears are simply a celebration of life, which is nothing to be ashamed of, and I agree. Sure, he might be a sensitive soul, compared to some, and while I think sensitivity can be a strength to be admired, I am aware that many do not feel this way. I congratulate Matt on his honesty, bravery even, for sharing this part of him with the world, another sensitive creative not afraid to be who he is.