Heifer’s “Cows to Classrooms” Program is Expanding!

This post is made possible by support from Heifer International. All opinions are my own (but I’m not sure what Joey from Friends thinks). 

It has been quite a few years since I had to open one of these:

School Milk….. but I’m pretty sure nothing has happened in the decades between elementary school and now to make it easier to get to that milk!

This guy has a similar problem:

The gentleman in the video above was hardly alone. Remember how Joey on Friends struggled with traditional milk cartons?

When The Problem Is Bigger than Difficulty Getting Into the Container

For children in Tanzania, having access to milk itself is the challenge, no matter what the container.

A Heifer International program in Tanzania  that began in 2008 helps dairy farmers increase milk production. They are now broadening that focus through the school milk feeding program, which has a goal of creating viable and diverse markets for the farmers. Government agencies and school districts are part of the initiative to encourage a generation of milk-drinkers and increase the well-being and nutrition of eager students.

(And good news – the milk comes in packets rather than those blasted cartons!).

School Milk

Photo Credit: Heifer International

More about the School Milk Feeding Program

The School Milk Feeding Program officially began in July 2017. Besides the fact that it gives children in Tanzania access to milk and the ability to learn better, I love the way the program integrates communities by bringing the “cow to the classroom.”

During my trips to Central America, and as a fan/supporter of Linda Freeman, who has worked with communities in Cambodia to develop goat banks, I have gained a deeper appreciation of the link between animals and community self-support. This chicken in Guatemala, for example, is a key element of the family’s survival strategy.

School Milk

Here’s more about the “cows to classrooms” concept, which brings Heifer’s community efforts full circle.

School Milk

Where the Milk Goes Now (and Where It Will Go in the Future)

The July launch of the program put 200 ml packets of milk, providing 25% of the daily share of calcium, in the hands of 1742 pupils in the Njombe region; they’ll keep getting milk Monday through Friday for the rest of the school year.

Heifer wants to expand the program so that 9,000 pupils ages 9 and under in the Njombe, Iringa, Mbeya, and Songwe regions get a packet of free fresh milk every day Monday – Friday during the school year.

Besides the obvious health/learning benefits for the children involved, the cow to classroom program also creates a reliable market for producers and increases the farmers’ incomes.

What Will The Expansion Take?

I am excited to partner with Heifer to let you know how we can help this project reach its goal of providing milk every school day to 9000 children in Tanzania!

Donations of any size are appreciated. Even $2.00 would cover a week! It would be the perfect way to observe World School Milk Day on September 27.

School Milk

Photo Credit: Heifer International

If you would like to donate, please click here.

If you can’t donate right now, please consider sharing this post; the more people who are aware, the better (just click here to send a tweet now!). Women Online will donate $1 for each Facebook share or Twitter Retweet (up to $2000 total) to Heifer’s School Milk Feeding Program!

To learn more and/or spread the word, here are links to Heifer International’s website and social media accounts: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

I promise giving (or sharing socially) will be easier than opening a #$#(!* elementary school milk carton!

School Milk

Photo Credit: Heifer International

 

Coffee Grounds, Goats, and Soap (A #LiveUnlimited Post)

What does “living unlimited” mean to you?

When the Muscular Dystrophy Association began its 2016 summer campaign, #LiveUnlimited, I shared this picture on social media (which generated $1 from a generous sponsor).

What Does it Mean to #LiveUnlimited?

loved the ziplining experience at North Georgia Canopy Tours. There was a moment during one of the longer zips that felt spiritual. I was suspended high above a gorge, zipping along rapidly, all thoughts of mundane worries as well as life’s bigger problems stripped away as I flew.

Living Unlimited Is Conceived in Smaller Moments

I have become acquainted with Linda Freeman through my work at Weaving Influence. Every week, I help share her blog posts on social media. With every post (as well as our phone conversations and emails), I see her take something common as a starting point and nurture it into something BIG. Here are three examples:

Goats

Linda is incorporating goats into her work with the Kratie Province in Cambodia in several ways. She and her team are working to start a Goat Bank. Selected province families will receive goats to use for milk, and as the goats reproduce, they will donate a kid back to the bank to perpetuate the availability of goats for their fellow province residents. It’s not just the goat bank, though. There is the possibility of a biogas digester using goat and human waste, as well as lots of goat milk to be made into organic body products.

Leftover Coffee Grounds 

Did you know you can incorporate leftover coffee grounds into facial scrubs? I didn’t either until Linda and her KidPower Organics line started including them in their Vanilla Latte Coffee Scrub. (Linda has also shown the Kratie Province residents how to utilize used coffee grounds to help plants grow.)

Clean Water and Two Hands

According to the CDC, handwashing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea and almost 1 out of 5 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia. Linda provides more details about why it works in  this post. With her KidPower Handwashing Project, she explains how ambassadors will be appointed and trained from within the community. They will receive small stipends via the sales of Kid Power Organics as well as private donations to Cambodian Care.

Goats, coffee grounds, water. So simple, yet with such profound potential. These are three of Linda’s team’s projects, but the list is lengthy. There are

  • KidPower2015 with its bicycle generators and impact on families affected by incarceration through Children of Inmates
  • The NeighborhoodHELP program with its medical outreach in underserved communities which brings the household-based framework to life
  • The Future Ready program in Miami Dade County which uses an evidence-based campaign to help junior high and high school students understand the consequences associated with at-risk behaviors that lead to HIV/AIDS, STDs, and teen pregnancy.

How Can YOU Live Unlimited?

I hope Linda’s story has demonstrated how living unlimited isn’t always about something as daring as ziplining. Sometimes it is as daring as overcoming your own doubts and those of others to turn something common, like a scoop of coffee grounds, a cup of goat milk, or soap and water into a life saving gift of unlimited proportions!

Any time you reach beyond your limits — whether they have been set by someone around you or yourself — you are achieving a #LiveUnlimited moment. #LiveUnlimited moments come in all sizes, big and small. Yet, what unites them is that we all face limits, and we all have the power to break free of our limits. ~ MDA’s #LiveUnlimited Campaign

I am sending Linda this #LiveUnlimited bracelet to celebrate the ways she demonstrates the #LiveUnlimited principle. She may choose to keep it for herself or pass it along to someone else who needs encouragement, maybe to one of the many girls she has encouraged along the way.

Supporting Muscular Dystrophy

How can you incorporate the #LiveUnlimited idea into your life? If Linda can do it with coffee grounds, I’m guessing you can do it with something right at your fingertips or with some seed of an idea that has been aching to take root and thrive!

Supporting Muscular Dystrophy

Children in Kratie Province Cambodia

The #LiveUnlimited Bracelet and Campaign

If you would like your own  #LiveUnlimited Bracelet, you can purchase it by clicking here. $6 from the sale of each bracelet goes directly to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

If you would like to participate in the MDA #LiveUnlimited campaign, you can:

  • Created a custom graphic (like my ziplining picture above). For every #LiveUnlimited custom graphic shared, $1 will be donated to MDA. Click here to create yours!
  • Keep up with MDA and the campaign on Twitter at @MDAnews, @EndorphnWarrior, and the hashtag #LiveUnlimited
  • Visit MDA on Facebook by clicking here
  • Follow MDA and the campaign by visiting this Instagram account and using the hashtag #LiveUnlimited
  • Purchase a #LiveUnlimited tshirt by clicking here ($7 from each sale goes to MDA)

I was given a #LiveUnlimited bracelet for myself and one to give away to someone who inspires me. All opinions are my own, especially about the coffee grounds, because coffee rocks. 

thoughtful-thursdays4

Ten Thoughts on 100,000 Tweets

As I compose this post, I am 26 tweets away from my 100,000th tweet.

Ten Thoughts on 100,000 Tweets

Although Twitter says I have had an account since September 2008, apparently I didn’t tweet until April 2009. And boy howdy was it a profound one. The program “First Tweet” says my first tweet was this:

Ten Thoughts on 100,000 Tweets

In the six years and eight months since April 2009, I have amassed almost 100,000 more tweets. Hopefully, on balance, some of them were more profound than “going to bed!” (although I am a BIG FAN of sleep, don’t get me wrong).

To do some rough math …

If each of 100,000 tweets were a full 140 characters, that would be 14 MILLION characters (if my words averaged six characters each that would be 2,333,333 words!).

I just timed myself composing a tweet, and it took 27 seconds. For ease of math, let’s say each one takes 25 seconds, that’s 694 HOURS (an average month has 730 hours).

All those characters and seconds add up!

In preparation for hitting 100,000, I am trying to manipulate things so that I can have control over that 100,000th tweet. It isn’t as easy as it sounds! I’ve stopped sharing from Triberr for a few days. I have deactivated my Revive Old Posts plugin. I’ve realized that tweeting has become a reflex for me and for the first time in years have found myself thinking, “do you really want to spend a tweet on that?” (perhaps it is not a bad thing to think before tweeting, honestly……). Keeping this post family friendly, I’ll just say it feels a little bit like foreplay, because I am having a lot of fun but want the big moment to be really special.

Ten Thoughts As the Big Tweet Approaches

WRITING

Ultimately, Twitter is just another way to write. Hence, as a lover of writing, I love Twitter.

GREAT PEOPLE

I have connected with incredible people on Twitter who I would not have met otherwise. They have entertained me, consoled me, informed me, inspired me. They (especially the running community) have shared my passions and given me a sense of community.

AWFUL PEOPLE

Fortunately, this is a much shorter list than the “Great People” list but there are some bad actors on Twitter. YUCK. Specifically, the guy whose bio says he is in the top 2000 of Twitter accounts. The guy who told me to “EFF OFF YOU C*NT” (this is a sanitized paraphrase). Yes, I do find it humorous, profane guy, that you blocked my main account but haven’t figured out I have a second Twitter account that you have not blocked. All I can say is meanspiritedness is never ever ever in style.

VENTING

There’s no place like Twitter for safely getting something off of your chest. When I say that, I mean things like “holy cow this traffic stinks.” I don’t mean being obnoxious to a business without giving them time to rectify the issue. After all, I wrote this and need to practice what I preach.

THE SWAG!

When you’re a frequent tweeter, you never know what goodies are going to show up on your doorstep. I think my favorite was the fact that I ended up in the Pretzel of the Month club for a year. All of a sudden, a huge variety box of pretzels showed up on my doorstep one day. The same thing happened the next month. And monthly for the following 10 months! Thanks, Snyders!

HELPING CAUSES

I love using social media to promote worthy causes. Twitter has changed the landscape for getting information out, fundraising, and catalyzing action! Favorite causes I have tweeted about include Shot at Life, Unbound, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Linda Freeman’s efforts to help children in Cambodia get The Shoe That Grows, all the Donate a Photo causes, and all the Charity Miles causes.

NO WORRIES ABOUT GETTING NAMES AND FACES WRONG

As a faceblind individual, every in person interaction carries with it the likelihood that I will fail to recognize someone I should recognize or, if I take the risk of using the name I think is correct, of making a social gaffe. Thanks, Twitter, for telling me exactly who I am dealing with and eliminating that whole social awkwardness potential!

TWITTER BRINGS OUT MY EXTROVERT

My extrovert/introvert tendencies are pretty much 50/50 but I know in my heart of hearts I am an introvert. Not on Twitter, though! I love connecting on Twitter. Maybe because I can disengage at any time and go recharge.

TWITTER IS NOT THE BEST FOR FAMILY RELATIONS

I’ve come a long way since social media was younger. Of course my children were younger when I first got involved with social media. Five years ago, I was hurt and floored when my daughter unfriended me on Facebook. Now I am glad we are Facebook friends but that connection doesn’t carry the same emotional weight for me. I sure as heck don’t follow her on Twitter anymore after the one tweet I saw where she was venting about my crappy parenting. (Guess that “it’s good to vent on Twitter” thing goes two ways, no?)

THE BIG GREEN PEN GETS AROUND

Nothing makes me happier than meeting a twitter acquaintance in real life for the first time and having them say, “oh YOU’RE the big green pen!” A handle that was born of my intense and meticulous editing has ended up allowing me to compose some fun life adventures, 140 characters at a time.

Those ten things in mind, I do know that Twitter is just one piece of the human relationship puzzle. Nothing replaces looking someone in the eye, and I do regret time I have lost interacting with my family because I was fixated on a screen, as well as the role my intrigue with social media had in the degree to which I lost interest in my previous job and failed to do the quality work I owed my employer.

In addition, all that tweeting undoubtedly led to the fact that I now get to tweet for a living as part of my responsibilities with Weaving Influence and Lead Change. I still love to tweet, and it is icing on the cake to get compensated for it.

I do have a specific tweet planned for number 100,000, if all my machinations to make it happen work. I will post it here after it tweets!

Ten Thoughts on 100,000 Tweets

UPDATE: I hit the big 100K mark just after midnight on Christmas Day 2015! With heartfelt gratitude to Lou Kellenberger for permission to use his image, here’s the tweet!

Official Tweet 100K

Eight Pairs of Shoes (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

As far back as I can remember, my daughter Tenley has loved shoes. She had a little pair of patent red shoes when she was a baby which were THE BOMB shoe-wise. As she grew and was able to choose her own shoes, it became clear that she was a shoe-lover. We jokingly called her Baby Imelda.

Tenley is almost out of her teen years, but I still have a distinct memory of those adorable red shoes. Thinking of them brings back happy memories of her babyhood.

I, on the other hand, can take or leave shoes (although I do appreciate a cool pair of shoes like these on MiamiStyleMom!). In response to Mama Kat’s “list eight things you are thankful for” prompt, I decided to see what I could do in relation to shoes:

(1) My Running Shoes

Shoes for Cambodian Children

My love for my running shoes knows no bounds. Everyone who knows me knows I would rather arrive at a business trip having forgotten my “work” shoes than my running shoes! I am thankful for the miles of therapy they take me on.

(2) My Indoor Cycling Sandals

Shoes for Cambodian Children

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to wear them too many times, these indoor cycling sandals by Nashbar with clips are so great! A) no socks needed B) every time I wear them I think about the first time I ever clipped in to anything: at SoulCycle in NYC and C) I am thankful that they make the experience of indoor cycling so much more efficient!

(3) The Tennis Shoes I Wore in El Salvador

Shoes for Cambodian Children

They’re just Payless tennis shoes, and the laces were so incredibly long that people were always commenting, “do you realize your shoes are untied?” BUT they are the shoes I bought to wear when I went to El Salvador as part of the first Unbound Blogging Trip, so they bring back great memories. I am thankful that I walked the ground of El Salvador in these shoes.

(4) My Favorite Black Shiny/Matte Shoes

Shoes for Cambodian Children

This is my most current pair of black dress shoes. I don’t recall exactly when I bought them, but it was either for an important meeting or a film school project. I love the matte/shiny effect. They’re close to being way too worn now but I am thankful that I have enjoyed them so much.

(5) My Brown Boots

Shoes for Cambodian Children

I bought these shoes last year when I was going to be having a high school reunion on a farm. Although I was going to be wearing jeans, I wanted something a little dressier than tennis shoes. These filled the bill, and I am thankful that they give me another option when I need to be a little bit more dressed “up” than “down.”

(6) My Blue Dress Shoes

Shoes for Cambodian Children

I *love* these shoes. I bought them for my friend Mary Jane’s wedding, which was in the spring of 1999. It was down to two pairs of shoes, and these cost a lot (for me), but they have been SO WORTH IT. I almost ruined them this past spring when I went to visit Senator Bill Nelson’s office here in Tallahassee and dealt with a deluge of rain as I was leaving. They *might* have survived. I am thankful that I treated myself to a pair of shoes that I have enjoyed for 16 years.

(7) My Utilitarian Black Boots

Shoes for Cambodian Children

When I went to the Shot at Life summit in DC in March of this year, the weather was horrible. Snow, ice, you name it. My DC friend Christina told me to get boots. I scurried over to Kohl’s and picked these up. They may not make a huge style statement but they probably literally saved me from twisting an ankle or something on sidewalks which were literally sheets of ice. I am thankful for friends who tell it like it is.

(8) The Shoes I Will Never See or Wear

Shoes for Cambodian Children

This pair of shoes is not on me (my feet aren’t that dainty!). I do not own them. I am never going own them. BUT my friend Linda has a goal of putting these shoes on the feet of 600 children in the Kratie province of Cambodia when she goes there on a mission trip next year. Lacking shoes, these children get ill from infections contracted by walking barefoot and they suffer injuries.

I have submitted a #mygivingstory which, if it wins, would result in Linda and her team getting $5,000 toward their goal of putting shoes on these 600 children (the total cost is $9,000). Read more about The Shoe that Grows here, more about Linda and the children here, and most importantly, please go to this link and simply click like. (The semifinalists will be chosen strictly on the basis of the number of likes.) I am thankful for all likes on this #mygivingstory!

Shoes for Cambodian Children

Why do I feel the way I do about these children and these shoes? I have never been able to get the picture out of my mind of a women who met with Tenley’s and my group when we went to Guatemala in 2011. Representing her village among the Unbound visitors was a bit of a privilege for her, and she arrived barefooted. I am sure she didn’t have shoes of her own. She carried herself with such dignity. I am sure she saw this meeting with us as a way to do something that would ultimately help her children.

These shoes for the children in Cambodia are designed to last five years and/or through five sizes. Through her previous work, Linda has already opened a school, provided medical care, and provided hundreds of children with the opportunity to lead much healthier lives.

With a simple click of a like button, we can be a part of the Light of Future too!

Shoes for Cambodian Children

Children Linda has served in Cambodia.

NOTE: If you would like to simply make a donation, click here.

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