charity

Summer 2017 Charity Walks

Have you ever been driving around running errands, minding your own business, and wanted to stop by your favorite donut shop, when suddenly you come across a big orange construction sign saying, ROAD CLOSED, and you feel like your whole day is ruined. Then, to make matters worse, you find out the reason the road is closed is because there are hundreds (or thousands) of people participating in a Walk/Run event that benefits a super amazing charity, so you drive home and feel doubly bad 1) because you didn’t participate in such a great event and 2) because even though it’s clearly an important event that will benefit many, you’re still pretty upset your route was blocked and you didn’t get a donut.

I’ll admit it, I have.

HOWEVER, I’ve also been amongst the crowds, running and/or walking for a great charity that I care about, and I can honestly say it is way more satisfying than any donut. (Which is saying something, because, you know, #donutsarelife)

With the arrival of summer right around the corner, we’re in for a season of beautiful mornings, perfect for both donuts and charity walks—and if you are living life to fullest: both—and since one of the hardest parts about signing up for a walk/run is knowing which ones are available to sign up for, I figured I’d do the work for you.

WARNING: this does take away the “I had no idea this was happening!” excuse you might have planned to use to not sign up. Sorry about that.

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Relay for Life

Who you’re walking for: American Cancer Society

Distance: varies

Find more information here

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Light the Night

Who you’re walking for: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Distance: About 3 miles

Find more information here

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Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Who you’re walking for: Alzheimer’s Association

Distance: 2-3 miles

Find more information here

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AIDs Walk

Who you’re walking for: multiple AID’s related charities

Distance: 6.2 miles (a 10k course)

Find more information here

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Strut Your Mutt

Who you’re walking for: Best Friends Animal Society

Distance: varies

Find more information here

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March of Dimes

Who you’re walking for: March of Dimes Foundation

Distance: About 3 miles

Find more information here

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Walk for Wishes

Who you’re walking for: The Make A Wish Foundation

Distance: 3.1 miles (5k course)

Find more information here

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Walk MS

Who you’re walking for: National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Distance: 1-3 miles

Find more information here

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Buddy Walk

Who you’re walking for: National Down Syndrome Society

Distance: varies based on location

Find more information here

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Breast Cancer 3-day

Who you’re walking for: Susan G Komen for the Cure

Distance: 60 miles over 3 days

Find more information here

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I’d recommend any and all of these and any others you can find. There’s truly no greater feeling than helping someone, and being a part of events like these where you can see and feel the direct impact of the difference you are making is unbelievable.

So I challenge you this summer to get out there and be a part of something bigger. Walk, run, sit down and cry, I’ve done all three at a variety of different races and I’m a better person because of it.

Also, be sure to check out this website to find more charity walks near you, and if you know of any other upcoming runs/walks that benefit great charities, please share them below!

31 Good Things That Happened in March

I have good news and good news. I have only good news!

As mentioned in this blog post, at the end of every month I’m going to highlight all the good things that happened, to give ourselves a break from the well known bad.

You can find last month’s here.

Happy March to you!

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1) Chrissy Teigen opened up about her postpartum Depression

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“I [just] didn’t think it could happen to me. I have a great life. I have all the help I could need: John, my mother (who lives with us), a nanny. But postpartum does not discriminate. I couldn’t control it.”

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2) International Women’s Day

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3) The cast of Hamilton donated their night’s salaries to an amazing women’s charity.

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4) This girl sent a crying classmate flowers

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5) This dog filled in as a zoo mommy

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6) This cat was overtaken by the piano

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7) Delish released a recipe for Pizza Grilled Cheese

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8) This little boy found out he was getting a new heart

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9) This runner made a great statement about body confidence. (via mileposts Instagram)

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“…Both of these race photos were taken on the same day at the same race. In one I looked happy and strong and in the other I was left questioning if there was a part of my body that didn’t have cellulite. This race at some points sucked for me – I got sick – threw up before crossing the finish line and had possibly my slowest 13.1 time ever – but post race the sucky feelings faded and I remember the day being fun – drinking wine with friends after, joking how wine cures all. If you had asked me after if I had a good time I would have said YES!! I still felt that way in the days following the race UNTIL I saw the photo on the left and then insecurity set in and I thought about how that day was not fun. But that’s silly, because it was fun…A race photo is ONE SINGLE moment in time and I let one of them steal joy from me. Most times we don’t look great while we run, but that’s not why we run anyways, we run to FEEL like I look in the photo on the right – HAPPY. Don’t let a photo steal joy – you are worth so much more than one split second – moment in time.”

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10) A pregnant woman gave this man a “Decent Dude” trophy for being the first man–throughout two pregnancies–to offer her his seat on the subway.

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11) Beauty and the Beast was released in theaters!

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12) Internet personality Jerome Jarre started a petition online to get help to Somalia…

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13)…and it worked!

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14) And with the help of people around the world, Somalia is receiving the help it needs!

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15) These boys tried to fool their teacher

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16) These police officers helped a woman get out of her driveway

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17) This service dog did his job

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18) This woman stopped to help

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19) This boy melted hearts with his cheesy prom-posal

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20) And this guy pulled off an adorable Up-themed prom-posal

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21) This mom knew just what to say to her daughter

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22) This IHOP waiter took the time to hand feed one of his customers

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(image via Keshia Dotson Facebook)

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23) This chicken was reunited with its favorite human

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24) National Puppy Day

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25) An 8 year old girl realized she could do whatever she wants

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26) This little girl got a doll worthy of a superhero

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27) This little guy got to hug his hero

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28) Lego & Nasa announced they will team up to release a collection to celebrate the women of Nasa

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29) This mermaid spent her night babysitting…another mermaid

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30) This flower company gave out 10,000 flowers for International Day of Happiness

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31) This little girl made a new friend out of a broken water heater.

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what April brings!

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How to Change the World with T-Shirts

I love t-shirts.

LOVE.

Like if there was a way to calculate how much affection there is in your heart for tangible things, I think t-shirts would have 85% of mine and sweet potato fries and ice cream would have an even share of the other 15.

I especially love t-shirts if they serve a philanthropic purpose. It’s like the double rainbow of shopping. Not only do you get a t-shirt, but you also give a donation to a good cause, and provide a voice for that platform to grow. That being said, as much as I’d like to buy allllllll the t-shirts, I try to make a point to only buy those I really like and that represent a cause I truly stand behind. That way, when people spot my t-shirt from across the street and risk their lives running through traffic to come ask me about it, I know what’s what and who’s who. Plus, in my desire to know the facts in order to share the facts, I’m inspired to actually learn the facts. And the more I learn about the facts, the more I want to change the facts. And the more I want to change the facts, the more I end up actually getting involved in the cause, which is really what the world needs more of: PARTICIPATION!

All that being said however, it can never be overstated how much the small steps count. And by small steps, I mean t-shirts. Yes, let’s go back to the t-shirts. Because t-shirts f*cking ROCK. And t-shirts can change the world.

So right now, as I sit completely unladylike in my kitchen chair, I’d like to share with you some of the t-shirts I own. The little shout-outs I wear across my chest for companies that I love, and I hope will continue to do big things for this world. In my mind, I’m like a walking boob and back megaphone for their cause, and in some ways, I feel like that’s exactly what they need, but can’t ask for in so many words. So consider this your official invitation to be a BoBaMeg (Boob and Back Megaphone)—which I just made up (clearly) but am kind of proud of it because it sounds like a philanthropic character that got cut from the Star Wars series.

*Note: I tried to take pictures of my own shirts, but it was arguably the saddest attempt at product photography I’ve ever seen, so these photos are not mine. I know this will probably be shocking, especially this first one, but I did not in fact have Josh Groban pose in his own company’s shirt for my blog. I’m sure he would though, you know, since we are actually GREAT friends. (Hey Josh!)

 

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Find Your Light Foundation: A company started by Josh Groban that is focused on providing art education for children. I’m actually not sure if they are still selling t-shirts, but it is an amazing organization, and being an art student myself, I completely support and understand the benefits of having access to art education, I don’t know where I’d be without it! Prison maybe. Just kidding, Mom. [fylf.org]

 

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The Elephant Pants: An online store that dedicates a portion of its proceeds to the African Wildlife Foundation. Elephants are my favorite animal, so if you sell a product featuring or benefitting them, the chances of me purchasing it start at around 75%. (And they obvi sell more than just pants.) [theelephantpants.com]

 

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Sgt. Pepper’s Friends: An adoption agency for homeless animals started by Rachel Brathen a.k.a Instagram’s YogaGirl and her husband. I dare you not to adopt one of these adorable animals. [sgtpeppersfriends.com]

 

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Stand Up to Cancer: An initiative aimed at raising money for cancer research. Also, if you’re looking for something to JAM to while wearing your t-shirt, look up “Just Stand Up” on iTunes. It’s a kickass lady jam that was created to raise money for the cause a few years back. I’ve listened to it approximately 200 times, most of which I both danced and cried at the same time. [standup2cancer.org]

 

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FEED: An organization that raises funds to combat hunger. I found this company when it partnered with Target for a bit and they make great products that raise money for an amazing cause. [feedprojects.com]

 

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Children’s Hunger Fund: A Christian organization that packages, compiles, and delivers Food Paks (which can feed a family of 4 for about a week) to impoverished neighborhoods. Great t-shirts and also a great place to volunteer, gasp, in person! It is one of the most enjoyable, rewarding things I’ve ever done. [childrenshungerfund.org]

 

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TOMS: Based on a simple One for One concept where when you buy one pair of shoes you also donate one to a child in need, TOMS now provides a variety of products (including t-shirts!) that give people access to water, sight, and safe child birth. [toms.com]

 

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charity:water: Raises money both by donations directly to the company and through campaigns run by individuals to fund projects that give people access to clean water. I hosted a campaign for my 25th birthday and it was so exciting! They sent me email updates informing me where and when my funds were being allocated and exactly how many people I was able to provide water to. Can you say H2O-mazing! (Sorry, not sorry.) [charitywater.org]

So if you’re looking for a way to change the world but don’t know how, why not start with t-shirts? Buy t-shirts from your favorite charity. Wear t-shirts to promote your favorite charity. Inquire about t-shirts that advertise a charity you’re not familiar with. Take the little steps and roll with them, because the big ones have to start somewhere.

Connection

Quarter of a Century Campaign

Last year on my birthday, I wrote a blog about turning 24. This one will be about turning 25. DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING DID YOU?! And you thought Gone Girl blew your mind.

I had a number of plans for my 25th birthday, most of which I still plan on completing, however I was anxiously searching for something else I could do that would really commemorate the day uniquely. And after some research, I think I found the perfect solution.

An organization called charity:water provides clean water to developing countries, and gives you the opportunity to raise money for the cause by starting campaigns to commemorate special occasions. For example, one campaign I saw featured was a newlywed couple that asked for donations rather than wedding gifts, and another showed a 5 year old girl named London asking for donations rather than dolls for her birthday. It was truly inspiring to read through the campaigns and hear of all the giving hearts the world has to offer. It was a nice reminder of all the good that people can do, even though the media is determined to showcase the bad.

Upon reading their stories, I really felt drawn to starting a campaign of my own. Can you imagine being 5 years old and having such love for people you don’t even know? I want to leave that kind of mark on the world. And just think, I’ve had access to clean water for all 25 years of my life, while some people have never experienced that luxury once. What a tragedy that is.

So, I’ve started a campaign that I’m calling “Kim’s Quarter of a Century Campaign” and I’m hoping to raise as much money as I can, to help as many people as I can.

You can find the donation page here, the campaign is open until September 30th.

Anything, and I mean absolutely anything can help.

I know it’s hard to imagine how pocket change can make a big difference in the world, but I’m a firm believer in chain reactions that stem from genuine generosity. It feels good to be helped, it makes you feel loved, it makes you want to love.

So for this birthday I want to love, and I’d be so thankful if you did the same. After all, you never know how far a little love can go.