March 10, 2011

Give Back

One thing that makes me feel good, and I think it makes anyone who does it feel good, is giving back - whether its your time or money - its all good! For about a year now I have had a charity of the month (almost every month), where I would give a percentage of my Etsy Shop sales to that charity. No matter how much it is, I know its appreciated, and that feels good.

Giving your time feels even better (in my opinion). It's story time:
I have been a volunteer for Cal Fire (formerly California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection) for 17 years - not fighting fires, but teaching fire prevention to children and adults at schools, fairs, campsites, and many other places. Not only do we quiz kiddo's on not playing with matches and who to call if there is an emergency, but we dress also up as Smokey Bear and do Stop Drop and Roll demonstrations. Fun stuff!
This is me and my best friend Jessica with Smokey at a rodeo! Anyway, all this has been a great experience for me. But the best experience was back in the early 2000's (I am not sure the exact year) on Christmas Eve. I get a call from the volunteer coordinator telling me about a house that caught on fire and it happened to belong to a family with young children. We went to the house as they were putting out the fire and met the family, luckily everyone got out safely. We felt so horrible for them knowing it was Christmas eve and they were homeless. We knew we had to do something - so we immediately decided to organize a food/gift/clothing drive for them at a local fire station and we got more donations than we could handle! It was so amazing how everyone came together for this family. It was Christmas Eve! Last minute, literally! Yet, it was amazing to see how many kind hearts were out there. Seeing the families faces when we showed them what we had for them was the best part. They felt blessed, as they should have.

I still do my Smokey Bear routines and a little bit of Stop, Drop and Roll to help teach children the importance of fire safety. I also am a huge animal activist and that is usually where I donate percentages of my sales to. This month I am donating to the Fresno Bully Rescue. I am originally from Fresno and happened to stumble upon their facebook page when a couple of my friends "liked" it. I immediately knew they were going to be my March charity. I love what they are doing for this breed with a bad rap. As you may know, many people label them as vicious or scary. But I happen to know two who are the sweetest doggies ever. Pit bulls are just like any other dog breed, they are born with love and want to be your best friend, too. Here is a link about the myths of the bully breed.

Thanks to everyone who helps support this charity with me while shopping at Lean Dog. Or you can just donate money directly to the cause on your own here. If you live in Fresno, or nearby, you can also donate your time volunteering by walking the dogs, training, cleaning kennels, cleaning up around the grounds or helping promote an event.

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