How one non-profit is creatively using social media and how you can help

Arusha, Tanzania is stricken with poverty. Single parenting is the norm due to HIV/AIDS and rape. Hundreds of children live on the streets. Problems are everywhere and it is heartbreaking.

Non-profit organization Shining a Light’s “Women to Work” Program in Arusha, Tanzania has created a training center where the women learn a trade and are educated in areas of empowerment such as Health Care, Money Management, Business and Literacy. Their goal is to break the cycle of poverty by empowering women to be self-sustainable, to provide for their families and to empower other families in their community. [Read more…]

Twelve random acts of kindness to kick the giving season off

Below are 12 random acts of kindness that will remind you that the holidays are about the spirit of selfless giving. Small gestures go a long way. I wrote this blog to multiply holiday love! Please share this with others, retweet the blog and share with others who embrace the spirit of giving.

Pass up that primo parking spot at the grocery store or mall for the person behind you.

Help an elderly neighbor to hang their Christmas lights or wreath.

Think of a person in your life that helped you out in a time of need or inspired you. Sit down and write them a letter to know that you appreciate whatever it is, that they did for you.

Next time you are in the drive-thru at Starbucks pay for the cars order behind you.

Bake some extra cookies for your friends and family. Put the cookies in a tin and write a short anonymous note about what makes this person special. Leave the cookies at their door, ring the bell and run. (more fun when done with kids)

Go through your closets and pull out your old coats, hats, boots and blankets and drop them off at a homeless shelter or a church.

Say something nice to someone, who looks like he/she needs to hear a kind word.

There are homeless people everywhere. Make some quality homemade meals. Pack up your meals and deliver with a warm smile.

Every day you see hard working folks, who do not earn as much money as you. Maybe this is the construction guy you pass at the convenience store in the morning or your kid’s bus driver. Give this person two $10 bills and tell them one is for them to do whatever they want. The other $10 bill is for them to give to someone they think needs it.

Next time you are in line at the grocery store or doing your holiday shopping, and you can feel the person in line behind you getting frustrated by waiting, generously offer to let them go in front of you.

This one is great if you have kids. Take a bunch of helium balloons to the pediatric center of a hospital and give each child a balloon and a hug. It is a good idea that you call the nurses desk first to make sure this is okay.

Volunteer an hour or two of your time to read at the library at your kid’s school or serve food at a food shelter.

Random acts of kindness are addictive and like the Grinch will make your heart grow three times the size. The more you can incorporate your spouse and your children into giving the better.

Please share this blog to help spread the holiday spirit this season.

Twitter best practices from five under-the-radar superstars

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Twitter is a challenging juggling act, especially when the number of your followers grows into the tens of thousands.  I’m not quite there yet, but I pay close attention to my Twitter friends who are wildly successful.

Let’s take a closer look at five under-the-radar tweeps who are rocking social.  We may not be able to emulate all of these traits but would be well-served to try.

Inspiring & Positive – Simon T. Bailey

Simon Bailey Twitter

I just read through Simon’s last 100 tweets, and every single tweet was inspiring and positive.

Simon is an author and while most of the tweets to Simon are complimenting him about a public speaking engagement or his book.   Simon gracefully shifts the focus back to the other person and puts the spotlight on them.  Nobody likes a narcissistic, spotlight-hogging person. Follow Simon’s lead and shine the spotlight on your followers.

 

Selfless – Amanda Hite

Amanda Hite Twitter

In my opinion Amanda is one of the coolest chicks on Twitter.

Amanda is selfless and passionately inspires others to be the change. As an advocate for No Kid Hungry, Amanda leverages the power of twitter to benefit share our strength which is a program that inspires, educates and drive social change. Find a cause you believe in and incorporate creating change into your social media message, tweeting for good is just plain sexy!

Fun – Jessica Northey

Jessica Northey Twitter

Jessica specializes in upbeat and fun.

A country girl with a huge heart, Jessica makes Twitter fun and carefree with quirky tweets that make you smile. With most of the twitter univesre revolving around business content it is refreshing to see what funny thing Jessica will tweet next. We all can’t be Jessica, but adding fun, humor and wit to your tweets makes you interesting.

Reliable Content – Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman Twitter

You can always count on Daniel’s tweets to be rich with reliable business and marketing content.

Dan understands the value of being a thought leader and knows how to share relevant and provoking information. If your goal is to position yourself as a thought leader, make sure you are a tough editor of what you share.

Engages & Reciprocates – Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith Twitter

We all have those friends who only show up when it benefits them, you know the rainy day friend . . . they suck!

You can always count on Andrew for a RT or a K+ Andrew occasionally sends out a friendly tweet and in general is one of my favorite twitter friends that I have yet to meet. Be the friend that everyone wants to meet, be generous with your compliments, engage more with your twitter connections and create friendships.

Mindful Observer

Heather Reid Twitter

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. I’m wise enough to mindfully observe great leaders and emulate their behaviors. I put my personal twist on Twitter and believe in surrounding myself with like-minded connectors, who lead with a purpose.

What Twitter advice can you share that will enhance others success?

How owning your failure & being vulnerable can create change

Sometimes we need to admit our desperation, own our failures and be vulnerable to create change. Last month I published the blog shown below, I had tremendous expectations to raise money for the No Kid Hungry.

I failed miserably!

Over 500 people read my blog but only ONE person ordered bracelets. This bummed me out, why did this not work? I have faith in people’s generosity, especially when it comes to hungry kids. My effort failed because my blog is all fact driven, it does not scream these kids are desperate; these kids need your help.

My plea

I’m desperate to help the 100,000’s of hungry kids in America. I’m begging you to take 5 minutes from your day to help change their lives. Do not let these kids go to bed hungry another night! These kids could be your neighbors, your kid’s friends or maybe your kids. I have 197 bracelets, and each bracelet will change the life of a hungry kid in America.

share our strength
share our strength

Skip your Starbucks today, American kids are hungry . . . you CAN help!

No Kid Hungry is a charitable organization that’s mission is to end childhood hunger in America in 2015. Every dollar that you donate can provide a child with ten meals.

My plea

Donate $5 bucks to help feed hungry kids in America and I will send you a Share our Strength bracelet.

Share our strength bracelet
Share our strength bracelet

Donating is this easy

Contact me at atstoremaven@gmail.com  and I will send you the bracelet.  You will also receive a self-addressed envelope for you to send the $5.00 check.  Indicate in your email if how many bracelets you want to order.

To learn more about Share Our Strength & No Kid Hungry visit here

Hungry kids in America facts

• 16.2 million kids in America struggle with hunger.

• 10.5 million kids eligible for free or reduced-price school breakfast do not get it.

• 15.7 million Children (21.6%) in America live in poverty.

• 20 million kids get a free or reduced-price school lunch on an average school day.

• Six out of 7 eligible kids do not get free summer meals.

Sources: USDA Household Food Security in the US, Research and Action Center, School Breakfast Scorecard, Food Research and Action Center, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report, U.S. Census Bureau,

How to Look Cooler Than Your Friends at Restaurants

You may not know that many popular restaurants have a secret menu that you won’t find on Yelp, Foursquare or Zagat.  In fact people who are “in the know” are so guarded about these secret dishes that they refuse to pin or tweet about them.  But because I like you and I want you to look cool when ordering out, I’m sharing these secrets.  Welcome to my “circle of trust” and Bon Appétit!

Taco BellTaco Bell will make you anything that you can dream up, as long as they have the ingredients. This restaurant does have a secret ingredient, which is “Green Chili Sauce.” I can tell you first hand that it is excellent.

In-N-OutMost people have heard about the secret menu at In-N-Out but do you actually know what “Animal Style” means? Animal style means your burger will consist of a mustard-cooked beef patty, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, extra spread and grilled onions. An Animal Style burger tastes great but I will warn you , it is messy.  Grab napkins.

Subway

B . J. (before Jared) Subway was a regular sandwich chain (restaurant). One of their most popular items was a “Pizza Sub” which consists of nine slices of pepperoni, monstrous amounts of cheese and doused with marinara sauce. You will not find the Pizza Sub on the menu, but most locations will still make it for you.

Jamba JuiceJamba Juice is known for its healthy smoothies, has a “dark side” that caters to your sweet tooth. I can only tell you that my son has had the “Gummy Bear” and the “Fruity Pebbles” and of the two, he prefers the” Fruity Pebbles”. However the sweet offerings do not stop there; the” Push up Pop” and “Strawberry Shortcake” also sound tempting.

McDonaldsEven the golden arches offer an extensive secret menu. The “Poor Man’s Big Mac” (thus named because it only costs $1) is a double cheeseburger with lettuce and Big Mac sauce. Ask for onions and lettuce, which are always free and “voilà”, you have for yourself the “Poor Man’s Big Mac”. The most inventive secret menu item at the restaurant has to be the “Land, Sea and Air Burger,” which includes; one beef patty, one McChicken patty and Filet-O-Fish all sandwiched between a single bun. McDonalds arguably has the best french fries on the planet but they can be better when you ask for the Big Mac secret sauce for the ultimate in french fry dipping.

StarbucksStarbucks secret menu items are tempting concoctions that when ordered will be sure to impress your friends. The “Cake Batter Frap” tastes just like it sounds. If you want to live on the edge, then order a “Green Eye” which includes three shots of espresso with regular drip coffee. Running a little short on cash but still need a caffeine boost? Then order a “Short Drink” which is smaller than a tall and less expensive.

I hope that I achieved my mission . . . “To Make You Look Cooler Than Your Friends at Restaurants”

Please share any secret restaurant menu items that should be added to this list!

Sources Divine Caroline , CNN