The Unfairness of the World

Wow, I just heard of another really wonderful person who was diagnosed with cancer this year. She is (from what I know) a person who lives a healthy lifestyle, does no harm to others, and is just a caring soul.
Absolutely ridiculous.

I am tired of bad things happening to good people.
Why aren't the bad people of the world being effected???  I have a small list of a handful of REALLY crappy people in the world who have no right being healthy while the good people of the world have to go through some horrible illnesses. Life is unfair.

Goodbye to A Good Time

The young mens a cappela group that Andrew has been singing in since January just had their last performance (unless they are selected to sing the anthem for the NBA game later this year). They are a high school group and half of them have graduated and it's time to move on...sad.
A bittersweet day for sure - the kids sang great, Andrew sang his best for sure. It was a paid gig at a church 25 miles away, where they received a LOT of great feedback from the (mostly elderly) concert-goers. The crowd loved them. They made a fair amount of money in donations even!

Andrew singing with his amazingly beautiful voice.

Will the smartest and most handsome boy please raise his hand?

 After the final performance, we all got together and had a potluck and the boys sang for family and friends one last time. I'll miss this group. Even the one who messed up the lyrics to one of my favorite Billy Joel songs. I will even miss him.

The background boys snap their fingers to the tempo - on this last song, they snapped at mach speeds, but the soloist kept up and it made for a really entertaining version of Runaround Sue.
Love the singing faces they all make.

hahahaha...singing faces!!! Seriously - FUNNY stuff.
A goodbye group hug. It's been quite a year with this group!

New Car, Jamba Monday, Oregon State Fair, Cancer Free- Updates All Over My World

I have had much to say. Lots of random things, none of which I can remember at present. Some of them were really good and I was excited to share...They've switched up my meds (heart, not mental) this week, let's hope my memory stops failing so much, eh?

Since we last spoke, I have gotten a new loan car!! It's a fully loaded 2008 Honda CRV, straight off the showroom floor, via one previous owner and three years of light use. I can't express how much I love it. It's the best car I've ever had and I can't wait to drive it more. We're taking a quick trip to Canada next month-can't wait to sit in my new car for 7 hours!!

My Monday started out with me spilling 2 oz of a Jamba light jamba juice, berry fulfilling, hold the blueberries (they make my tongue itchy), into my laptop bag. All over the bills to be mailed, my important notebook I use for project management, and some random things that hang out in the bottom of my bag. I then set the jamba down on the ground to see the damage as I waited for the elevator. The elevator buzzed, I grabbed the bag and the jamba with my one good hand and lunged for the door as it was about to close...and the jamba cup flew out of my hand, splashed down my front, back into the bag, and then the rest of my breakfast, about 12 oz of bright pink smoothie juice, flew all over into the elevator...and then the doors closed, leaving me covered in juice and my jamba breakfast taking a trip up to another floor. Awesome. Happy Monday, Ya'll.

Last weekend I went to the Oregon State Fair with a special someone. I didn't get to bloggin about it, but the fair is as it has always been, and exactly how you would expect: expensive, smelly, and a bit dirty. We had a blast.
She was so certain she was tall enough for this ride.

Scared...we made her go on this ride..hahahaha. Kids are funny.


TIRED girl at the end of our afternoon!

One of my avid readers, an auntie we lovingly called Corky back in the day, had a little bout with skin cancer recently. They say they got it all and she is free and clear. Let's all send well-wishes to Corky, shall we? Feel better Corky!!!

Bienestar Backpack Project v2 - 2011 - aka How To Make a Difference in the World

One year ago, I somehow convinced friends, family, workmates-along with my company and then eventually a local Best Buy store, to donate school supplies and backpacks for a crazy idea I had to help 99 deserving kids start out school with a shiny new bag full of necessary school supplies.And it somehow happened. I'm not sure how.

This year, I somehow came up with enough bags and supplies for 130 children. And had five bags and about four boxes of extra school supplies leftover! Not sure how it happened this year either...I had a few heroes at the home stretch, and I'm not sure what I would have done without them!

It wasn't just me, of course. I owe some HUGE thanks to the amazing support of all my friends, but I had some big donors in my coworkers, Christy and Nancy, as well as a wonderful volunteer friend and one lovely blogger.

This year, I was able to get more corporate sponsors-
That's five large groups helping -woohoo!! I'm hoping to have their support again next year and maybe go bigger! New shirt for each child? New shoes? iPads (ha)??

This project is for a group of deserving children at Bienestar. The children I'm helping are all registered members of the Bienestar homework club. The homework club is essential for some of the kids whose parents are monolingual in Spanish and some of whom are at a 7th grade education level. It provides a safe and friendly environment to learn and excel in their schoolwork, and help lead them towards a better future. These kids have to commit to bringing in signed progress reports, allowing the club leader to track all their progress in school all year. They have to commit to having good attendance and good behavior. They are committing to care about their education and be an active learner. Such an amazing program and they have proven success records with their youth.

I learned of the homework club last year and during a discussion it came out that some of these kids start school without supplies, including paper, pencils, but also without a backpack. It broke my heart to think about having to send my child to school without a backpack on the first day. Kids are kids, and whether you are poor or rich - you have similar feelings - and going to school unprepared does not get your school year started out on the right foot. Last year, I vowed to help - and supplied for Bienestar's four homework clubs.

This year, with all my amazing and generous support - I was able to supply the four homework clubs from last year, but also the new homework club starting up this year. 130 kids across five locations are all starting off school with a smile -because of one persons desire to make a difference.

I don't say this to brag. I'm pretty humble really - but I was in awe this year that my living room was so full of supplies and knowing that I was behind this collection. It really only takes one person. One person to kick off the project, to spread the word, to start collecting, to offer others an easy way to donate. One person CAN make a difference.

Now imagine if we all did something. If every ONE of us just had an idea on how to help...and then actually followed through. Do something. Dream big. You never know how big it might go....all ideas start out as an idea in one person's mind - who knows what you are capable of - you have to just try.

I am so honored to coordinate this project for Bienestar and their kids. I am so humbled by the giving nature of those around me. I am in awe of the power of humanity. And I am in love with the knowledge of what just one person can do to make a difference.

Thank you everyone who helped. You have made a difference. You are special people.

I've never been so happy to see my living room such a mess!

Wonderful friends helping sort and count supplies during the week before the project.
I host the stuffing of the backpacks as a volunteer project through Hands on Greater Portland. I had a perfect group of volunteers meet up on a Saturday morning, who came out to help get all the supplies sorted into the 130 backpacks. Best Buy doesn't just provide product, they also send manpower to help! They are rockstars.
The kids at the complex we have the project at love to help unload. I think they are mostly just amazed at how much I can fit in my car.
The group shot!

The adults sort the supplies in an assembly line fashion on tables.
The Executive Director of Bienestar, Karen Shawcross, helping sort supplies.

We have the kids sort the bags by grade for us. (note: these are not "the kids")

We tag the bags by grade.

And then the stuffing begins.....

I almost stole this baby.

More bag stuffing....

And more....
And still more.......
90 minutes later: WE DID IT!!!   130 bags - stuffed and ready to go!!!
The final piece...loading the bags away to be distributed to the homework clubs.

Such a great project.

If you're looking for advice on how to start a project like this, email me. I'd love to brainstorm ideas!!


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