Making A Difference® for Healthier Children Everywhere During National Immunization Month

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Vaccinations continue to be a ‘hot’ topic in politics and even popular culture. Debate over the risks, side effects, and the number of compulsory vaccines given to children has put this public health issues on the forefront of the minds of parents and politicians alike.

August is National Immunization Month, and as children return to school, it is important to remember that immunization campaigns have helped eliminate some of the deadliest epidemics, as children born in the US do not have to worry about polio, Hepatitis, and rotavirus. And since the 1970s, investments in public health programs helped to eliminate smallpox from the globe.
Unfortunately, we seem to forget just how important immunization is for a healthy community, until we realize that worldwide many childhood diseases can be prevented.

Polio, which decimated a generation of American children in the middle of the 20th Century, is still a crippling disease in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. While this is a preventable ailment, health structures in developing countries often are not able to provide the necessary sources to all. This makes it even more difficult to produce a successful, healthy and prosperous next generation.

Luckily, there are several national and international organizations dedicated to giving each person the ability to achieve the healthiest life possible. Since its founding in 1905 by Chicago’s Paul P. Harris, Rotary International has been committed to eliminating diseases and raising awareness for immunization campaigns across the country.

In addition, The UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Program is working to save children around the world from deadly but preventable diseases. By supporting these types of programs, you will be making A Difference® and working towards a healthier future for all!


Making A Difference® During National Water Quality Month!

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August is National Water Quality Month! While we enjoy the wonderful weather by rivers, lakes and oceans, it is important to consider how we can be Making A Difference® in the quality of our water.

There are many ways that you can make an impact on water quality. Some tactics start right at home! Water quality can be protected by limiting water use. Consider taking shorter showers and not over-watering your lawn. Conserving water limits the amount of water that we divert from our ecosystems. We should strive to achieve a healthy balance of water use!

Moreover, pollution is a huge problem with achieving a high level of water quality. You have plenty of ways to reduce your personal water pollution impact. Be cognizant of the items that you pour into the sink. Protect ground water by disposing of motor fluids and oil properly. Hence, we can reduce the amount of contamination to the aquatic ecosystem!

Unfortunately, poor drinking water quality can have negative health impacts, particularly in developing countries.  That is why organizations like www.charitywater.org and www.water.org are working tirelessly to make clean water a daily reality for all!

It is our responsibility to keep our water clean and fresh, both for our health and the health of the ecosystems around us. Celebrate National Water Quality Month by keeping our water quality high.

Happy National Water Quality Month!


Making A Difference® While Giving Back To Musicians

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In the age of the internet, it’s almost impossible to protect anything.   Music, art and literature often can be easily duplicated without cost (and of course, without profit to the artist).    In some cases, it may even seem better just to make art free.   But if you do that, what’s left – relying on charity?  As it turns out, that idea may not be as risky as some seem to think.

Amanda Palmer is the first “big” artist to try this.  After an ‘unsuccessful’ release of her first CD, Palmer began her grand campaign online.  Instead of charging people for her music, she asked people to pay what she thought her money was worth.  It sounds crazy, but considering online piracy, and the massive amounts of money that record companies take from artists, she taught is was worth considering.

The music industry is all about connecting with the audience, and for Amanda, that means crowdsourcing (staying in homes instead of hotels, and inviting musicians to play with her when she needs a band) in order to build greater contact with her fans.

And how does she fund this?  She relies completely on charity.  Yes, although a musician is not someone we might normally consider for a charitable donation, the simple act of paying for the experience you received sure seems like giving back.   In Amanda’s case, nobody is making you pay, so by simply giving to fund the experience is an act of charity within itself.

But such acts are not confined to just musicians. Look at Aaron’s Last Wish.  It started when Aaron Collins, dies three weeks before his 30th birthday.  He believed that generosity and kindness were the ways that a person’s life left a mark on the world.  Moved by his generous spirit, his brother tips waiters and waitresses across the country $500 in an attempt to spread this kindness.  These tips, a single act of charity, have had a remarkable impact on the people they were given to.  One waitress was a twenty-one year old student, working three jobs to make ends meet.  Another was struggling to pay rent after a car accident kept her out of work for a week, yet a single tip (albeit a big one), had the power to change that.  It’s so hard to remember that something as simple as giving to a service you are grateful for, can be Making A Difference®!

Making A Difference® While Enjoying Recreation and Parks Month!

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July is Recreation and Park Month! July, with its tradition of beautiful weather that drives people to outside, has been recognized as Recreation and Park month since 1985.

To celebrate the month consider going to one of the many events put on by Chicago’s own Park District. Check out the family friendly play at the Theater on the Lake or enjoy some Latin Jazz at Midway Plaisance Park.  There are a ton of great events happening all month.  But don’t contain your enthusiasm for the parks to just July, the parks have great things going on all year round!  Check out the Chicago Park District Calendar for the very best the city has to offer.

As we enjoy the weather and events of Recreation and Parks Month it’s important to realize how the parks are Making A Difference ® in our lives and in the lives of their other patrons. It is also important to realize that by supporting the parks we are not only Making A Difference® for the park and all of its employees and staff, but for all of the countless people that enjoy the use of our parks, both in Chicago and around the country.

To learn more about donating to the Chicago Park District Foundation click here.  

To learn more about donating to the National Recreation and Park Association click here.  

Though these are great venues to show your support, don’t let these suggestions limit you; there are many ways and places to help out. If Recreation and Parks have touched your life, or the life of a loved one, consider celebrating this Recreation and Parks Month by finding a way to help parks in the manner best for you.

Happy Recreation and Parks Month!

Making A Difference® – Philanthropy in Chicago, and Beyond!

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Very few things rival summer in Chicago; between the weekend festivals and beautiful beaches, there is something new and exciting to experience each day in the Windy City!

Even though Chicago in known for its rich arts scene and thriving business sector,  just a quick ride around “The Loop” makes one thing very apparent – Chicago is a philanthropic city!

Yes, whether it is people volunteering in youth enrichment programs throughout downtown or participating in events like the Chicago Sun Times 2013 Home Team Charity Run on July 14, Chicagoans are enjoying this summer by giving back!

Summer is a great time to find a new cause close to your heart and give your time or resources to Making A Difference® in your community.  No matter where you live in this country, or even if you are just visiting a new city this summer, check out sites like http://www.volunteermatch.org/ to find opportunities around you to give back.  Who knows, you may even meet great new people in your neighborhood when you volunteer your time!

We all love spending time at the beach, relaxing, or catching up with family over the long summer holiday.  But giving back, in Chicago and beyond, is a great way to be Making A Difference® and building a brighter future for those around you. 

Making a Difference® on Fourth of July

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Fourth of July is always a highlight of the summer.  Whether you enjoy a picnic outside with your family or catch a ball game with your favorite team, it is a time to reflect on the many gifts and opportunities we have been given in this great country.

In a day in age where all news stations seem to broadcast the very worst tragedies, it may seem difficult to find stories about the very best of the human spirit.  But, Independence Day is a great time to remember and build on the principles and the drive that founded this country 237 years ago.  The idea of giving back and helping your neighbor during times of great need is something that has been passed down through the generations in America.  The fight for freedom in 1776 gave us a shining example of why we must care for all of our citizens in order to provide “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for all in this country.

Each day, American nonprofits are finding ways to ensure all people truly have the opportunities described in the Declaration of Independence.  Whether organizations or individuals are providing food or healthcare assistance, helping to secure a better educational system or assisting the elderly, Americans across the country are Making A Difference in their communities.

There is no greater way to honor the history of The United States, or the brave men and women who defend it today, than by giving back!  This Fourth of July, reflect on the many freedoms and gifts you and your family have been given.  But, think about ways you can contribute to building an even better America for those around you and for future generations.  Consider donating to a charity close to your heart, or volunteer some time with an organization in your community.  No matter how you decide to celebrate this Independence Day, remember that you can be Making A Difference® by living out the words and legacy of our Founding Fathers.

Make a Difference® by Sharing Your Story

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What is your story?  We all have a story that could make a difference in somebody else’s life.  Whether it is helping a person through a difficult time or encouraging a friend or family member to remain persistent and not give up, our personal experiences are often times the most effective way for us to communicate and lend a helping hand.  March of Dimes started a campaign for moms and families who are dealing with high risk pregnancies or newborns with health issues by asking people to share their story. It is an online community where people can turn to for hope, support and encouragement.  Gilda’s Club was founded in 1989 by Gildna Radner’s friends so that no one has to face cancer alone.  It is a place where people can go to and share their stories helping not only themselves, but others also affected by cancer. The list of organizations started to create a place where people can share their stories is endless. 

On July 11, 2013, I am going to be the first sibling of a diabetic to share my story at an American Diabetes Association summer camp.  At the age of 10, my older sister was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes.  I was just six years old.  I never thought my story as a sibling mattered or could Make a Difference® but maybe if I am lucky, one of the kids at the camp may realize just how important taking care of their health is and that they are not alone.  Even if you are the only one in the family with diabetes, the entire family is in it together. 

How can you share your story more often?  When thinking about giving back and Making a Difference®, it could be as easy as just sharing a simple story.

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