American Red Cross
- American Red Cross: I’ve been a volunteer with the Red Cross since 2005, when I signed up to go help the victims of hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. Read about my deployment to the Gulf Coast.
For eight years, I stayed closer to home and was a Disaster Action Team captain. I was on call (5pm to 8am) for a week at a time, every six weeks. I went out in the middle of the night, with my team, to help the victims of natural disasters such as floods or fires. We made sure they have food, clothing, shoes, health needs, and short-term shelter. Your donations do real good when you send your extra money to the Red Cross. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. You never forget the smell of smoke, the tears, or the hugs of gratitude.
Bring Change 2 Mind
- Bring Change 2 Mind: In recent years, I’ve been writing about a world in which a small percentage of mentally ill individuals have merely been misdiagnosed. Through the course of these projects, I’ve done a great deal of research into mental illness and have had my eyes opened. The Bring Change 2 Mind charity, founded by Glenn Close, has the goal of making people aware of mental illness and eliminating the stigma that comes with it. We have all loved someone who has struggled with mental illness.
- Children International: I sponsored Marlyn (from Colombia) and Bertha (from Zambia) from 2003 to when they outgrew the program. I took enormous delight in watching them grow. They sent me letters and drew me pictures, and I wrote to them as well. I like to think their childhoods were easier because of my assistance.
The girls’ families were very poor. Marlyn lived with her parents and two brothers in a house with a dirt floor and corrugated metal roof. Their water was delivered by truck in a barrel. Their toilet was an open field. The family income was approx. $90/month.
Growing up, Bertha lived with her aunt because her mother was dead and her father was missing. She lived in a house with a concrete floor and walls. She got her water from community faucets, and they used a community latrine. Bertha’s family’s income was approx. $50/month.
In the years that I was in contact with these girls, and other children before them, I’ve never seen any indication that this charity was a scam. Time and again, I was delighted by how they encouraged me to reach out to the girls with letters as well as with my donation. I felt their love coming back to me.
I chose Bertha and Marlyn because they’re both Sagittarians. Their birthdays fall the day before and 3 days before mine, respectively.