The Child Who Taught Me to Give

It was about five years ago when I arrived at a little girl’s home with a white box with orange and pick ribbons tied festively in a bow to secure the contents inside.  Sarah was the Via E girl of the month.  She was awarded this honor after her mother wrote in and submitted an entry telling of how Sarah had shown compassion and leadership to help others.

I was especially impressed with Sara because she gave of herself in a very personal way.  Sarah spent 8 months growing her hair with the intention of cutting it off and donating it to help girls who had lost their own hair due to sickness.

Sarah had a sweet smile and sported a freshly cut bob hairstyle.  In her presence I actually felt a bit small.  Here was a girl not older than seven years who had given one of the most prized possessions a little girl has…her own hair.  Sarah and her mom’s impression never left me.  I had to do more.

I later found more girls who were giving of their hair.  How wonderful, I thought!  But admiring, praising and even rewarding others who care so deeply for others that they literally give of themselves was not enough.  I wanted to join in and help too.

haircutIt began 18 months ago.  I decided I would grow my hair for another.  Over the period of time, I would take care not to damage my hair because it was not my own anymore…I was growing it for some girl who couldn’t grow her own hair.  As it took on that long hair look, I would periodically take out my tape measure to see how close I was to my goal of ten inches.  As we came into the year end of 2014, I knew I would reach my goal by Valentine’s Day 2015.  My Valentine gift would be to help a girl smile by sending her a piece of my heart by way of my hair to cover her own hair loss.

With all the planning, caring and waiting, I found that it wasn’t enough…what I mean is that I could only help one girl.  That’s when I remembered Sarah and her mom.  Sarah inspired me so maybe I can inspire someone(s) too.  AND then they could inspire more and so on and so on.  There are more of us who can grow hair than girls who can’t.  So all we need to do is care enough to donate and inspire others to do the same.

You can start your journey today.

There is a wonderful organization that gives FREE wigs to girls who have lost their hair due to illness.  They will continue to provide wigs until the girl(s) in need reach 21 years old.  www.ChildrenWithHairLoss.us

I just sent my hair to them today…ten inches!  But they will take as short as eight inches.

It doesn’t require money to love and give of oneself.  The only requirement is a heart full of love and willing to help others in need.

Thank you, Sarah, for teaching me this very special lesson. An thank you to all those who have already taken this journey and continue to inspire others.

The Rainforest—just fifty cents.

saveRFRainforests are often called the lungs of the planet for their role in absorbing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and producing oxygen, upon which all animals depend for survival. Rainforests also stabilize climate, house incredible amounts of plants and wildlife, and produce nourishing rainfall all around the planet.[1]

Tropical forests cover only twelve percent of the land-area of the Earth, yet they are home to between 50 and 90 percent of the world’s species. Because of tropical deforestation, at least one species is disappearing every day. This rate of extinction is now 400 times faster than at any other period in the history of the planet.[2]

The Challenge Facing Rainforests

100 acres of rainforests are cleared every minute.

The majority of rainforest at risk of destruction in Latin America lies in private hands. For example, four of the Latin American hotspots–including the Chocó-Darien of western Ecuador and Colombia and the Atlantic Forest of Brazil–are estimated to be more than 80% private lands. Sadly, there are few restrictions on deforestation on private lands. [3]

Rainforest Trust is a founding member of the Alliance for Zero Extinction which has identified the highest priority sites necessary for preventing the immediate extinction of the world’s rarest species. Through the efforts of scientists and conservationists, The Rainforest Trust is able to identify where biodiversity is concentrated and target financial resources at these areas to achieve the greatest conservation gains. For example, Alliance for Zero Extinction sites covers just 1.4% of the surface of the planet yet contains an amazingly high concentration of terrestrial biodiversity–more than 60%![4]

The war against the rainforest is as old as mankind itself.  Each taking a small piece to profit through civilization.  Each believing that their piece is not large enough to cause harm.  The problem is that small pieces taken today are combined with those of past generations making the total effect no longer insignificant.  Money.  We are losing the Rainforest due to profiteers.  But the good news is that this is an easy fix as money can save the Rainforest.  If each of us donates $1.00 and passes on the challenge to the next person, together we can save the Rainforest by buying it back from the private holders.

The lungs of our existence should not be held in the hands of profiteers.  Let’s pay their price and free these important lands for the benefit of our children and our children’s children.  Together we are wealthier than the richest man.  We can do anything we set our minds to do!

I urge you to collect the pennies at the bottom of your purse, those that slipped in-between the couch cushions, a few from the car ashtray or middle storage compartment.  Maybe some pennies from returning bottles, cans, paper to the recycling station.  Hold a lemonaid and cookie sale or skip your morning trip to Starbucks.  If for no other reason than to believe that you are part of a community of people who dare to make a difference even when 50 cents is all that we can spare.

Please donate to help save our Rainforest and the animals that can’t fight a changing world.   RainforestTrust.org

About the Rainforest Trust

For the past 25 years, The Rainforest Trust has partnered with some of the most highly respected conservation organizations around the world to purchase and protect nearly 8 million acres of threatened rainforests and critical habitat for endangered wildlife through community engagement and local partnerships.

They currently work in Brazil through three partners (listed below).  Each of their project sites protects vital habitat for endangered wildlife.  You can read more on their website, but here are a few key points:

  • REGUA: Rainforest Trust’s partner REGUA seeks to purchase 1,128 acres of Atlantic rainforest in Brazil to protect vital habitat for endangered species like the Woolly Spider Monkey. (Cost: $171/acre)
  • Panthera Brasil: A partner, Panthera Brasil, is working to purchase a critical corridor of 24,640 acres of wildlife habitat in Brazil’s Pantanal for the Jaguar. (Cost: $30/acre)
  • Instituto Uiracu: Working with Instituto Uiracu, Rainforest Trust will expand Serra Bonita nature reserve by 271 acres of Atlantic rainforest, providing habitat for the critically endangered Yellow-breasted Capuchin. (Cost: $200/acre)Additionally, just outside of Brazil, the Rainforest Trust is assisting their partner CEDIA in Peru to protect 5.9 million acres of Amazon rainforest for just 50-cents per acre!  We can save 20 acres of rainforest for just $10.

[1] Read more at http://kids.mongabay.com/elementary/401.html#YFzmDSFiUVOkeArb.99

[2] http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/good_wood/the_imp.htm

[3] See more at: https://www.rainforesttrust.org/about/our-strategy/#sthash.2ss214Mw.dpuf

[4] -See more at: https://www.rainforesttrust.org/about/our-mission/#sthash.5oIftDfg.dpuf

A Real-Girl Alexis to Love

AlexisRealGirlPlease allow me to tell you about a real-girl Alexis who could use our love.  This story was sent to me by one of our Via E family members.  It is a story of a 9 year old girl who had to have a tumor removed from her head.  The operation was successful but it had a side affect of causing a chemically induced obesity. Now this real-girl Alexis has become isolated, schooled at home, no friends, as the doctors search for methods to reverse this side affect. Without help, this condition will end her short life. We may not be able to solve all the world’s problems or save all the children who need help but perhaps we can start with one Alexis who has had her world turn upside down.  If the family will accept it, I will send an Alexis Dollfriend to show our love.  Additionally I’m listing their funding page for those who feel moved to help the family to meet the medical expenses.  At this point we have 3,583 Facebook friends.  If each of us could find one dollar to send, we could end up with a donation of $3,583.00 to help.  What I love so much about the effort of Via E are the friends–family that it has created.  As we grow as a family our love can make a positive impact near to us and far. Here are a few links to learn more about this need:

Article about Alexis: http://www.opposingviews.com/i/health/surgeons-cincinnati-hospital-stop-gastric-bypass-alexis-shapiro-12-due-enlarged-liver

Hope and Love for Alexis Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hope-and-love-for-Alexis/608447129202849

The Donation Page: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/alexisshapiro/mystory

Thank you for helping through caring, donations or prayers for this family.

From my heart to yours,

Ellen