Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves Breast Cancer Charities October 30, 2013

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This month, it’s likely that you have been bombarded with events, products and requests for donations from several organizations, especially the biggest ones, Susan G. Komen and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. But before this month is over, I’d like to put the spotlight on a few smaller organizations that are making a difference and deserve your support. DailyWorth recently put together a great round-up of 8 breast cancer charities that you may not know. Here are a few of them:

  • Living Beyond Breast Cancer: Founded by radiation oncologist Marisa C. Weiss, M.D., this organization provides education and support to breast cancer fighters and survivors. LBBC’s outreach includes patients’ family members, friends and health care providers.
  • My Hope Chest: Alisa Savoretti, a breast cancer survivor, knows firsthand how daunting the cost of breast reconstruction can be. In order address the needs of uninsured or underprivileged women who cannot afford the surgery, Savoretti started this organization to help pay for their procedures.
  • Young Survival Coalition: This organization caters to those who are diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, with the awareness of their unique challenges of higher mortality rates, fertility issues and early menopause. This one hit home for me since I have two young women in my life who were diagnosed this year (and they both kicked cancer’s butt!).
  • Casting for Recovery: Using nature retreats (that include fly fishing) as a healing tool, CFR brings cancer patients to the outdoors for exercise and support from fellow fighters through group discussions and spiritual connection.

Hats off to these small organizations that are finding specialized ways to support fighters and survivors. To read about some more organizations on DailyWorth’s list, click here for the full article, “8 Great Little-Known Breast Cancer Charities.”

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LizzLoves Girl Rising October 15, 2013

Girl Rising t-shirt

I used to have a t-shirt collection. I had ones about music, Latino culture, and ones with random cool graphics or witty sayings. But, eventually, I realized that my drawers (and my budget) wouldn’t support the plethora of t-shirts that I had accumulated. So now, I try to resist buying too many shirts that I know I can only wear casually.

Today, though, I knew I had to make an exception. Girl Rising posted a picture on Facebook of actress Freida Pinto rocking this awesome t-shirt (pictured above). The message immediately spoke to me, so with a few quick clicks, I bought one on their online store. As a bonus for buying this stylish tee, part of the proceeds go to Girl Rising’s 10×10 Fund for Girls’ Education.

If Girl Rising is new to you, this organization believes that if you educate a girl, you can change the world. It defines itself as a:

“…grassroots global action campaign for girls’ education, powered by girls, women, boys and men around the world who stand for equality…Girl Rising partners with established nonprofit organizations that drive donations to programs that help girls get in school and stay in school.”

One of the most buzzed-about ways that they spread their message is through their film by the same name, “Girl Rising,” which makes their movement even more personal by telling the stories of nine girls from across the globe.  Check out the trailer here.

Unfortunately, I missed out on a chance to see this film in NYC last week. But, if anyone is interested, perhaps we can join forces and organize a screening of the film in the near future! In the meantime, I’m going to be proud and happy to spread the message of Girl Rising by wearing my t-shirt as often as possible!

girlrising

 

LizzLoves Sarah Kay’s TED Talk July 19, 2013

Sarah Kay TED 2011

Sarah Kay at TED 2011

TGIF! It’s blazing hot here in New Jersey, so I’m cooling off with an inspirational TED Talk that features spoken word poet Sarah Kay performing her poem “If I Should Have a Daughter.” I’m going to let the video speak for itself, but going in you should know how awesome Sarah is: not only is she a talented wordsmith who has been speaking her mind through poetry since she was 14, but she is also the founder of Project V.O.I.C.E (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression), an organization that uses spoken word to educate, inspire and entertain.

 

I think that moms with daughters will especially enjoy this talk. Sarah shares a poem about inspiring young girls to face the world with courage, love and wonder, all while knowing their mothers are behind them the whole way. She also talks about her beginnings with poetry and how she’s passing it on to young, budding—and sometimes skeptical—writers.

 

If you’re having a slow summer Friday at work, I recommend you watch the whole video. If you only have a stolen moment, then just watch her perform one of her poems for the first 3:37 minutes of the video.

 

To learn more about Sarah and where you can see her perform next, check out her website here.

 

LizzLoves Kangu April 4, 2013

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Think about the last time you made a donation to a charity. What motivated you to reach for your credit card? For me, I have to feel like I’m part of something, of effecting change, in very personal way. One of my new favorite charities for that type of buy-in is Kangu.

This nonprofit uses a combination of old school (i.e. Save the Children) and new school (crowdfunding) tools to support women in developing countries to have pregnancies, births and newborn babies that are safe and healthy. According to Kangu’s site, “It has been shown that 80% of maternal mortality can be avoided if a woman is given access to the basic healthcare services our partners offer.”

Founders Casey Santiago and Tricia Morente (both Columbia Business School MBAs and grads of the Masters program for International Affairs at Columbia), designed this program to allow donors to have a tangible and more intimate connection with the women they are supporting. The way it works is:

  1. You search Kangu’s collection of mothers from across the globe who need help to find the “mama” you want to fund.
  2. Once you choose her, you begin to make monthly contributions to fund her safe pregnancy by giving her quality healthcare.
  3. Your contribution ensures the chance for a safe birth for her baby

I love that Kangu’s team is not only making efforts to solve this issue, but also that they discovered an innovative way to engage their donors/supporters in a uniquely personal way. I look forward to finding a “mama” to connect with so that she can experience the joy and security of having a healthy pregnancy and future child.

 

LizzLoves Cook For Your Life November 26, 2012

cookforyourlife.orgAs I feasted on my 3rd installment of Thanksgiving leftovers tonight, I was thankful for the mix of flavors, from the tangy sweetness of cranberry sauce to the salty, peppery meat stuffing. This year, however, I had to be extra grateful for something simple: the ability to taste.

Lately, taste and the ability to enjoy food has been on my mind a lot. As a bit of a foodie, I can’t imagine what it would be like to suddenly lose my sense of taste or to not be excited about a delicious meal. Unfortunately, that’s what my very best friend in the world, who is fighting breast cancer, has been going through. As if chemotherapy didn’t already suck, one of the crappy side effects can be a loss or change in your ability to taste. Imagine having a strong craving and then when you get that supposedly yummy item…it tastes weird, awful, or worse, like nothing?

Well, Ann Ogden, founder of the nonprofit, Cook For Your Life, knows a lot about how that feels. As a cook, Ann loves food, but as a two-time cancer survivor, she also knows what it’s like to have chemo give your taste buds a one-two punch. As she told DailyWorth, “After recovering from treatment, I started to crave hot, spicy foods to knock the taste of chemo out of my mouth: Indian, Korean, Mexican.”

So, Ann found healthy and delicious ways to work with her struggling taste buds during chemo. But that wasn’t enough. She realized that there must be people everywhere who shared a need for this culinary comfort, and she wanted to pass it on. Ann left behind a career in the fashion industry to launch her site, Cook For Your Life, which teaches healthy cooking to people touched by cancer. The recipe search gives options for people who are going through chemotherapy and radiation, and even gives some food remedies for combatting symptoms like nausea and fatigue.

I hope that I can visit my friend again soon so we can cook up something from the Cook For Your Life collection together. Thank you, Ann Ogden, for spreading your knowledge, love and compassion for your fellow fighters and survivors!

 

LizzLoves USAID’s “Why Invest In Women” Infographic June 13, 2012

Why Invest in Women?With so many people in need across the globe, and you consider pitching in to effect change, you might often ask yourself,

  • Who needs the most help?
  • Where can I focus my efforts?
  • What community can benefit most from my contribution?

Well, there are many answers to that question, but USAID offers one answer by using an infographic to show you what kind of impact can be made when you invest in women. The infographic, called “Why Invest In Women?,” includes facts about infant mortality, education, HIV, agriculture and leadership in politics.

Click here for the full infographic, “Why Invest In Women?”

 

LizzLoves Soccer Without Borders in Nicaragua December 31, 2011

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Ladies, did you play sports as a kid? For me, there was no question about whether or not I COULD play sports, it was just a matter of which ones! I played soccer, softball and basketball from the time I was 4 years old. I also did ballet, tap and gymnastics. And my parents were equally supportive of both. Of course, it helped that in the community and society in which I was raised, little girls and women didn’t have to face obstacles to explore the world of competitive athletics. However, not everyone is that lucky.

 

Soccer Without Borders is an international nonprofit that works to empower youth with soccer as a catalyst. While they have outreach and camps in several countries, one of their efforts called to me in a special way: a girls team in Granada, Nicaragua. Through participation in the SWB program there, these Nicaraguan girls not only build self-esteem and develop a stay-in-school mentality, but they can also gain “points” they can exchange for school supplies, clothes and toiletries.

 

I was so inspired by these chicas, that I included them in my holiday giving by donating to their project through Global Giving. To watch a video of the girls and learn more, click here.

 

Before the new year hits…are you supporting girl power organizations with a donation this year?

 

For another inspiring Latin American soccer story, you should also check out “Dreamtown,” an unforgettable documentary (produced/directed by my talented friend Betty Bastidas) about 3 young Afro-Ecuadoran men who struggle to follow their dreams of finding success as soccer players.