Tag: SocialGood

A very special community gift for a very special teacher.

Hello All,

Last week I was asked to help start a GoFundMe  page for a person I have never met.  She is a physical education teacher who through a series of life events now has debilitating back pain due to a spinal disc that has partially broken off.  Surgery is needed to alleviate the pain and start the healing, but due to red tape, her insurance company is denying or limiting much of the coverage she will need to pay for the “must have” medical procedures and after care.

I don’t want to make this article about insurance issues in our country, but rather how a community has come together in less than five days to donate a serious “chunk of change” to get Ms. Monica Wood back on her feet again. They have given her not only financial help but the gift of their love and community spirit.

Side note: I know the agony of back pain and my experiences have been nothing compared to what Monica is having to endure.  Read related blog. 

Monica Wood and I have communicated via good old fashioned texts and what I have learned is this is a vivacious woman who is beloved by the students, staff and parents at Grand View Elementary School in Manhattan Beach, California.   She exudes all the traits one needs for a  speedy recovery as she is hopeful and keeping a positive outlook. She also believes in not wasting a moment or wallowing on her situation as  she recently asked a group of friends about how to get connected with area organizations who  knit blankets for families with new babies.  Geez – that is one incredible woman!


Monica’s unique story is best told by the many comments and  photos that have been left on the walls of the GoFundMe campaign.  I am simply inspired by each and every one.  These days we are all so busy and focused on our own lives –  but, the outpouring of love and generosity to help this educator simply is a testimony to the willingness of community members to  stop everything  in order to help.  Not only are they demonstrating their support with their wallets, but also with their hearts and social sharing to others.  Those who are in social media call the act of social sharing: #SocialGood!

From the GoFundMe “Giving BACK to Monica Wood” campaign:

Monica, You are the best! Always positive, encouraging, and energetic. We are so sorry you are having such pain. We wish you a speedy recovery. Love, Kate, JT, Edie and David <B>


Ms. Wood- you were the first person to really see Brendan and to help him have happy time in school. You gave him a safe place and a teacher’s love. I’m so sorry you are going through this. You deserve the best of everything. ~ <B.P/>


We got your back, Monica!!!!!  ~ Kari



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Monica Wood has responded to all the amazing folks in her GoFundMe “sphere” with these words

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Lastly, I conclude this note to all with a video from the GoFundMe page and also my thanks to all for reading this very special story.



Gifts with Heart ❤️

2017 has seen more than its’ share of tragedy.  Mother Nature was angry this year – very, very, very angry. Our world experienced  multiple devastating earthquakes, hurricanes that tore apart whole islands and deadly fires that also ravaged homes and businesses.  Then there was the broken hearts caused by recent acts of violence and rage – Las Vegas, Barcelona, London, throughout Africa and the mid-east and of course, New York City.

Despite the tragedy and profound sense of losses, we can still hope and seek a silver lining this holiday season by giving from the heart to heal hearts.

I have compiled a list of organizations or companies that want to help the greater good by doing good.  Please consider their efforts when you are gifting others’ during the holidays or just “any day”.


One Hope Wines. Annually this company features worthwhile organizations that deserve our love. Whether to help fight against breast cancer or drive attention about Autism, this company always is about the giving through gifts.  Discover their lovely gift bags here that nourish the soul.

This year the grape crops of Northern California were nearly obliterated due to numerous fires of unprecedented magnitude.  One Hope has pledged to help the farmers and wineries and sent a note from their CEO with their vow for assistance.

Read about the ONE HOPE wine GoFund Me campaign


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The statistics are staggering as to how many animals are destroyed annually. That is a polite way to say killed.  That’s right – thousands upon thousands of dogs, cats, bunnies, etc. are euthanized because of bad luck.  They were throw-aways. BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL RESCUE works tirelessly to save animal lives and educate humans.

Adopt a pet either for “real” or  sponsor a pet virtually here.

Sponsoring a pet is the perfect gift to give someone who is allergic or unable to care for a furry family member due to living circumstances.  Last year I adopted a dog and horse to gift someone!



Sponsor a Classroom!

Organizations are abundant to help teachers get the essentials (and occasional perks) funded for their classroom.  Don’t believe that school districts in 2017 are flush with money to help our student’s learn. Many have shoes-string budgets and can hardly cover the basics, like textbooks or science equipment.  I would love to think that we don’t need a bake sale each time our students need uniforms or basic science equipment. But, that is the reality.

Here are some alternate ways to help without having to crack an egg for cookie-dough.

Click on the links below to learn more about each organization.

Donors Choose – Help a specific teacher / classroom request

Adopt a Classroom (including a special section for Hurricane Relief)

Go Fund Me Educational Campaigns



Last but not least,  one of my favorite charities is the SANDY HOOK PROMISE foundation.  They do AMAZING work – year ’round. Their goal – to stop senseless violence, especially from guns,  and increase tolerance and compassion in this world.

Their store has items that would make groovy gifts! Shop here

Watch their powerful array of videos here.





In closing, please the gift of sharing and caring this holiday season.  Imagine the impact your $5, $25 or more donation could have on your community and other communities’ around the world.

Thank you.









Celebrate the AVIVA CENTER this #GivingTuesday


This year I had the pleasure to learn about the AVIVA CENTER – a comprehensive child-family service agency. They help teen girls with safe harbor, educational and training. They also provide foster care and adoption services, including in the LGBT communities.

The AVIVA CENTER will be on my list of charities to show some #SocialGood #SocialMedia love to this #GivingTuesday.

What is the AVIVA CENTER? Their website explains it best and is summarized below:

Each year Aviva Family and Children’s Services serves more than 6,500 clients, including 1,530 children and youth ages birth to 21, most of whom come from homes below the federal poverty level.

Aviva helps remove emotional, social or other barriers which make it possible not only to transform the lives of individuals, but also to help halt the vicious cycle of abuse and neglect.

We do this by providing compassionate support, therapeutic services and guidance to at-risk children and families in four main program areas:



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Tikkun Olam – is a Hebrew phrase  literally meaning to “repair the world”.  Some people interpret these words to mean a call for “social justice”. And then there are others who feel certain that Tikkun Olam is a call to action – within ones’ own heart.

To me Tikkun Olam means that we need to stop and just breathe.  A time to reflect on what is good in this world and try to make better what is going wrong.  Time to help feed the hungry, give aid to a family in need or other small acts of kindness – within our own communities. Tikkun Olam means we give of our time – not just our money.

Tikkun Olam also means that we need to stop and listen.  Others don’t need to agree with our opinions, but we need to be respectful and listen to each other.  Without shouting. Without maliciousness. Without guns. Without war. Without hate.

Tikkun Olam is not a concept exclusive to Jews.  Others feel they can repair the world through acts of charity or #socialgood without placing on the deed(s) a religious connotation. That is fine. I get that.

And note,  I have yet to meet anyone who wants to make the world WORSE.  Don’t we all in our hearts want to improve the world?  Who would put a halt to efforts to improve medical advancements?  Who would end programs to try to end climate changes?Who would choose not to save lives when possible? Those who would be against offering help to improve our human condition are probably the same people who can’t see the value of practicing Tikkun Olam.

So ,while much of the world is rolling in to “holiday season” mode – let’s switch focus from discussions  about the kind of cup Starbucks is using and spend more time figuring out how we can fix a world gone topsy- turvy!



For more information about Tikkun Olam go here

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