Week 51: Mane Stream – Helping Children with Disabilities through Equine Therapy

logoThose who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves” reads a quote in the volunteer kit. I was reading up ahead of my scheduled day at Mane Stream, an adaptive horsemanship and equine therapy center in Oldwick, NJ. I would quickly learn that Mane Stream was much more than a therapeutic program. It is a community of joy and healing. The special staff, therapists and volunteers who work at Mane Stream light up the lives of their patients and their families.

 

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Week 50: Fundraising for Make-A-Wish

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In the movie The Never Ending Story, Bastian learns the power of imagination….

 

Empress Moonchild:  One grain of sand. It is all that remains of my vast empire.

Bastian: Fantasia has totally disappeared?

Empress Moonchild: Yes.

Bastian: Then everything has been in vain.

Empress Moonchild: No, it hasn’t. Fantasia can arise in you. In your dreams and wishes Bastian.

Bastian: How?

Empress Moonchild: Open your hand.

She puts the grain of sand  into his hand and he looks at it…

 

 

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Empress Moonchild: What are you going to wish for?

Bastian: I don’t know.

Empress Moonchild: Then there will be no Fantasia any more.

Bastian:  How many wishes do I get?

Empress Moonchild: As many as you want. And the more wishes you make, the more magnificent Fantasia will become.

Bastian:  Really?

Empress Moonchild: Try it.

Bastian: Then my first wish is…

Moonchild follows his gaze and smiles…

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Week 49: Living Water International – Building a Clean Water Well in El Salvador with My Co-Workers

Everyone at well

 

The first question is usually, “How hot was it?” And I’m never quite sure how to explain it in a way that makes sense. Think about sitting in a sauna fully clothed and in work boots. Then think about playing soccer and football, digging trenches and sifting gravel in that sauna. For 8 hours. That’s pretty much the physical experience. But that does not convey how happy you are. That the heat only really registers occasionally, when you’ve hit the wall of exhaustion. Otherwise, you are feeling fulfilled in a way you just don’t feel in your everyday life.

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Week 47: Helping our Children Build a Better Tomorrow

kids earth heart

 

One day in the not too distant future the world will belong to our children. They will make decisions on the environment, policies on poverty and social services, and be responsible for making decisions about resources, war, and peace.  They will be the problem-solvers (and problem-creators) responsible for the well-being of future generations.

 

How can we support our children and young adults so they become their best selves in a global society? How can we fuel within them a sense of service and civic engagement? How can we expand their minds to include causes bigger than themselves?

 

Most importantly, how can we help them develop the resolve and confidence they will need so they believe without a shadow of doubt they can make a difference, effect change, and improve the world?

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Week 46: NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking: Fighting for the Victims

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The speaker stood up at the front of the auditorium….

Several times a year our group goes into local cities and towns and asks,Who are your missing children?We get their names and photos, then make posters of these children.”

 

(She holds up one of the posters with the faces of at least 15 children on it)

 

We then stop at motels and hotels” she continued, “and ask the staff, ‘Have you seen any of these faces?’”

 

EVERY TIME we’ve done this we’ve had at least one rescue. Sometimes several. The children are usually going by different names, but we always find someone who recognizes at least one and it allows us to start to work towards finding them and rescuing them.”

 

These children… they are typically between the ages of 12 and 16. These cities and towns? …. They are in New Jersey….

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Week 43: Joan’s Joy: Turning Tragedy into Action: Keeping the Children of Tomorrow Safe

Joan brownie outfit

 

April 19, 1973…. It’s Maundy Thursday. Seven-year old Joan Angela D’Alessandro is playing in her front yard after school when she sees her neighbor, Joseph McGowan, drive by on his way up to his home three houses away.

 

Eager to deliver her last boxes of Girl Scout cookies, Joan runs into the house and tells her mom she’s going to walk over to Mr. McGowan’s house to give him the 2 boxes of Thin Mint cookies he ordered.

 

Joan never came home.

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Week 42: Quantum Physics and Hunger: Combating Poverty through Family-to-Family

quantum entanglement

 

Quantum physics contains a theory of entanglement, where two particles originating from a single source – for example, two electrons created from the energy of a collision – are created with a special kind of never-ending connection (communication) between them. Whatever happens to one of the particles instantaneously affects and changes the other (and vice versa).

 

What is amazing about this connection beyond its timelessness (instantly and forever) is that it is nonlocal, meaning no matter how far apart the particles travel from each other, even if they travel across the universe from each other, the connection never fades. They always mirror each other. They are forever intertwined… separate particles connected as one across space and time.

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Week 41: Kindness.org: The Surprising Effects of Building Intent Around Kindness

coffee

 

Because this is New Jersey, and aggressive, caffeine-fueled commuting is standard, I pass 7 Dunkin’ Donuts and 3 Starbucks on my 40 minute, 11 mile drive to work.

 

Not only do all these coffee shops ensure I can always find a boost of energy, they provided the perfect venues for me to work on this week’s charity – Kindness.org.

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Week 40: Free Yezidi Foundation: Hope for Survivors of Genocide

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For thousands of years the Yezidis have lived in the Sinjar area of northern Iraq. This is their spiritual heartland, and although Yezidi communities are found in several countries around the globe, their connection to this ancient land is magical. For generations and generations they have lived in Sinjar as herdsmen and farmers, growing crops of figs, wheat and almonds… a peaceful people with a rich and distinct spiritual tradition that can be traced back over 6,700 years, predating Islam and Christianity….

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