30 December 2010

Just Say NO To Plastic Bags

Our world consumes 500 BILLION plastic bags per year, that is about 1 million per minute. This number is absurb. That's over 60 million barrels of oil just to make plastic shopping bags. There is an estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic in each square mile of ocean. Approximately 1% of plastic bags ever gets recycled or reused.

Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food. I'm not even going to say the number of human children who die from plastic bags a year, but I will say that it is even more than car crashes deaths.

Approximately 500 nautical miles off the California coast sits a growing "plastic island," a gargantuan patch of floating plastic trash held together by currents stretching across the northern Pacific almost as far as Japan. This "plastic island" is made up of about 7 billion pounds of plastic garbage, and measures about twice the size of Texas. This is what is in our ocean.

These numbers are ridiculous but there is a solution to this. One of my "green goals" for 2011 is to not use any plastic bags from the grocery store, which means I am buying some sturdy reusable bags to take with me every time I go to the store. By doing this I will be saving over a thousand plastic bags from ending up in the ocean. Here are my alternative ideas to using plastic bags.

1. Buy reusable bags. This is simple but makes a huge difference for the world. I plan on buying some extra sturdy ones that can hold a lot of weight because when I go to the store I tend to buy a lot of items at once.
Here's a picture of the bags I am buying to fulfill my "green goal"
You can buy nice totes like these from ReUseIt.com
These EarthTote Shopping Bags have a life-time guarantee, 
which is great because I plan on using them the rest of my life.

2. Use paper bags instead of plastic. Paper bags are actually recyclable. Plus you can always do fun crafts with your paper bags. This website has TONS of awesome crafts you can do for every holiday or party with your paper bags. If you MUST use plastic bags at the grocery PLEASE return them to the store itself. That is the ONLY way the bag will get reused. Throwing a plastic bag in the recycling container at home or work will only get your bag to the dump or worse, the ocean.

3. Another way to use less plastic is to use reusable containers for leftovers and for sack lunches.
These Fit & Fresh containers are insulated so they keep your food fresher, longer.
These Wrap N Mat ReUsable Sandwich wraps are easy to clean, and BPA, phthalate and lead free.
They are perfect for work or school lunches. Check out this video to learn more about them.

4. Stop using water bottles. Use reusable bottles like these ones. You save tons of money and save the landfills from having so many piles of empty plastic water bottles.

Here is short movie about the life of a plastic bag. Enjoy.

Pledge here to say NO to plastic bag usage. I hope you all have a plastic bag free 2011.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

29 December 2010

Plenty International - Teaching True Sustainability

Plenty International began its humanitarian work in 1974. They began providing clinics and orphanages, wind powered electric lighting systems, and sustainable food growing programs for developing countries. Plenty International continues to work with Native American primary health care, midwifery, microeconomics, food and ecotourism cooperatives and alternative building programs. They have an Ecovillage Training Center in Tennessee which is a place to learn about total sustainability. At the center they teach: Shiitake Mushroom Growing Basics, Solar Installation, Alternative Energy Systems, Bamboo Cultivation and Construction, Ecovillage Design and Permaculture Practicum and Natural Building Basics.
Here is a picture of the EcoVillage Training Center.
Plenty's mission is: "To assist in the protection, stewardship, and sharing of the world's resources to promote the well being of the communities and environment we share."
They assist communities in applying appropriate and/or alternative technologies to encourage village self-sufficiency; such as alternative power like wind turbines or solar panelling.
Plenty is committed to sharing knowledge and abundance to benefit all people of the world.
Plenty is teaching communities sustainable farming.
Plenty also focuses on school lunch programs. Child learn better when they are not hungry. Plenty is doing a Garden-based Agriculture for Toledo's (Belize) Environment program to ensure healthy food for children of Toledo. This chool gardening project includes several components that make a productive and sustainable program.
These include:
  • Extension work/ technical assistance;
  • Tools, seeds, and other supplies;
  • Training of village volunteers to assist with the gardens;
  • Classroom training; educational support to teachers in integrating the gardens into their curriculum;
  • Encouragement to start home gardens; and nutrition and food preparation education. 
To learn more about the GATE program click here.
To donate and/or volunteer with Plenty International click here.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

28 December 2010

How To Have A Greener New Year 2011

There are many ways you can have a greener 2011. I personally have made a few new year's goals that involve myself doing things in a green way.
Here are a few ideas that I have that are simple enough for everyone to do:

1. Use less electricity. This one is pretty easy. Turn off the TV every once in a while and read a book instead. Hang dry some of your clothes. Switch to LED lights in your home, you will save on your energy bill and your bulbs will last a lot longer. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. You will get some exercise (which we all need more of) and maybe shed a few inches off your holiday tummy.

2. Use less gasoline. Get a bike and ride your bike to work or school. Take public transportation. Most cities have decent public transportation. Read here about why public transportation is good for kids.

3. Use less plastic. Every grocery store sells those reusable bags. Buy them and use them. Far too many plastic bags get out into the ocean, killing off wildlife. Using reusable bags is the only way to end this cycle. Stop buying water bottles. Instead buy a reusable water bottles. They come in all types of colors and designs, and some even come with a built in filter. I recently saw some really cute ones at Old Navy. Using your tap water or filtered water from your fridge is an easy way to stop wasting plastic. FYI, plastic bottles DO NOT get recycled when you take them to the recycling place or throw them in a recycle bin. The plastic they use for them is NOT recyclable. Maybe these images will get my point across.
 This is a RIVER. Plastic bottles go here. They are not recycled.
Or how about here. There are mountains and mountains of 
plastic bottles all around the world 
that will never be reused or recycled.

5. Be smart, buy organic whenever possible. Grocery stores are carrying more and more organic products by the day. When you see them, buy them. People always complain about organic being more expensive but if we buy more organic the prices will begin to drop lower and lower because their will be more of a demand for organic products. There are many health, environmental, and ethical reasons that we all should switch to organic. I hope to be eating 100% organic within the next few months, and I hope everyone reading this is at least eating organic whenever possible. Buying local is also very important. Support your local farmer's market whenever you can.

6. Go vegetarian or vegan. Okay, I know that most people aren't going to go veg to be green, but even going veg a few days out of the month really makes a significant impact, not only on your health but on the environment as well. Especially if you are eating organic vegetables on those meat-less days. A majority of genetically modified corn grown in this country is made for animal feed. This corn is grown with extremely pollutant pesticides, pesticides that would kill any of us if we inhaled even a teaspoon of it. Buy going veg, even partially, you are making it so less of these pesticides have to be used and less of this nasty corn needs to be grown.

7. Work from home. With no commute and no boss to nag you, you can't go wrong. There are countless online jobs and home-based businesses. Search for ones that fit your lifestyle and go from there. 

8. Start a garden in your yard. Or even one of those cute little herb gardens in your kitchen. Nothing is greener than a garden, and you can't get any more local than your own backyard.

9. Recycled aluminum cans. Unlike plastic bottles, aluminum actually does get recycled. So does glass and most cardboard boxes. Recycle as much as possible to make 2011 a much greener year for all of us.

Those are just a few ideas I have about ways to be more green in 2011. I hope you at least try out some of these ideas.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

27 December 2010

Save-A-Life - A No Kill Animal Shelter

Save-A-Life is a no kill animal shelter located in north of Los Angeles on a 10 acre ranch. The cats and dogs that come to Save-A-Life have plenty of room to play and have fun. Animals at Save-A-Life animal rescue are never put to sleep. They enjoy their life at the rescue until they are adopted. Since Save-A-Life has so much land they are able to help over a hundred animals.
They are sisters so they want to be adopted together.
There are several cats and dogs of all types to choose from.

I have discovered several other no kill shelters that are on large properties of land. To find a No Kill Animal shelter near you please visit these two websites: No Kill Shelters Around The World, No Kill Shelters In The United States.
Before you think about giving your pet you can no longer take care of please read this pdf file from bestfriends.org. Wonderpuppy.net also is a great resource to help anyone resolved conflicts they are having with their pets so that they do not have to give them straight to an animal shelter, which will most likely put them to "sleep".
Please support Save-A-Life by donating here. 100% of the proceeds goes to taking care of the animals on the ranch.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

26 December 2010

The 12th Charity Of Christmas - Care - Let Her Live, Let Her Learn, Let Her Earn

Care is one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations and has helped millions of people since it's establishment in 1945. Their mission is:
"To serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experience, to promote innovative solutions and advocate for global responsibility. Facilitate lasting change by:
  • Strengthening capacity for self-help
  • Providing economic opportunity
  • Delivering relief in emergencies
  • Influencing policy decisions at all levels
  • Addressing discrimination in all its forms
Guided by the aspirations of local communities, CARE pursues its mission with both excellence and compassion because the people who are served deserve nothing less."

Care tackles poverty through teaching agriculture techniques and providing resources for income; through education; through health and nutrition; through economic development; and clean water, sanitation, and environmental health projects. Care's 60 years of experience means they have a very in depth knowledge of the roots of poverty.

Care's "Wake Up To Justice" campaign with the Full Circle Exchange supports Fair Trade, meaning that farmer's and women are empowered by being paid fair wages, working in cooperative workplaces, and through growing cocoa and coffee beans with environmental sustainability. I personally believe that fair trade ethics is the best way to eradicate poverty around the world. Families who make products that are sold the fair trade way are able to pay for their children to attend school, children don't have to work because the parents make enough money to provide for the family, people are most empowered when they get good wages for the detailed work that they do, and getting treated fairly in a work environment allows the workers to feel self-respect and raises self-confidence.
Click here to learn how you can help women 
beat poverty and live a life of freedom.

To learn more about Care International watch NBC's Today Show on December 29th, 2010.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

23 December 2010

The 11th Charity Of Christmas - Free The Children - Children Helping Children

Today as I sat down to write a blog I decided to visit a forum group that I am a part of. I came across Free The Children from a post I was reading in the forum. I watched one video on their website and I became extremely excited about this organization and I want to do everything I can to support and promote them.I am very grateful to be writing about an organization like this. My heart belongs to children's rights and I'm so grateful that people are doing lots of make a big positive difference in the lives of children around the world.

Free The Children was founded in 1995 by a 12 year-old boy named Craig Kielburger. He was inspired to help children after he ran across a newspaper article about a horrible story of child labor. Now, Free The Children is the largest children helping children through education non-profit organization in the world. More than one million youth involved in our innovative education and development programs in 45 countries.15 years later, Craig Kielburger is now a published author of a book called "The World Needs Your Kid", which is about raising children who are compassionate about the world. Free The Children even won the World's Children's Prize For Rights Of The Child.

Free The Children's mission: "The primary goals of the organization are to free children from poverty and exploitation and free young people from the notion that they are powerless to affect positive change in the world. Through domestic empowerment programs and leadership training, Free The Children inspires young people to develop as socially conscious global citizens and become agents of change for their peers around the world."
You know someone is really making a huge impact on the world when 
His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks at your youth-empowerment event.
Here are some wonderful videos I found about Craig Kielburger and Free The Children.

I urge you to support Free The Children by donations or getting involved with these awesome ideas.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

22 December 2010

The 10th Charity Of Christmas - Permaculture - Changing The World One Site At A Time

The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia is all about sustainability. "The answers to the world’s woes – waning energy supplies, depleted and contaminated soils and water, reduced biodiversity, the dismantling of communities, etc. – are all there. We know how to get the job done, we know how to restore natural abundance where before was only desolution." Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural farming systems that are modeled on the relationships found in natural ecologies, with a sustainable land use design. The ecological processes of plants, animals, their nutrient cycles, climatic factors and weather cycles are all part of the picture. The Permaculture Research Institute is teaching communities and villages around the world how to have:
- Waste water treatment done naturally with biological processes
- Diverse plant, tree and animal systems to sustain food production
- Composting (dry)
- Cooling systems (natural)
- A nursery for plants
- Rain water collection with earthwork
- Solar powered models for heating water and providing electricity.
The Permaculture Research Institute has won The Humanitarian Food & Water Award for 2010 for their initiatives in "Greening The Desert"
The Permaculture Research Institute turned desert into a great beautiful green garden.
This picture is from the Jordan Valley.
Here's a video about turning the desert into a luscious plant oasis.

To donate to The Permaculture Research Institute click here.
I love sustainable solutions!!
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

21 December 2010

The 9th Charity Of Christmas - Plan International

Plan International was established in 1937 with the purpose of feeding and housing war stricken children of Spain. Plan has expanded tremendously since then, working now in 48 countries. With over 70 years of humanitarian services, Plan International has been able to help over 1 million children through its sponsor a child programs. These programs help impoverished children to have reading and literacy development; initiatives to end violence against children in school; health services training, especially in rural, under-served areas—often working to sensitize communities to immediate and preventable health hazards; assistance for children living with HIV/AIDS, including peer support and counseling; life-saving campaigns to stop child trafficking; women and infant survival programs, frequently in rural settings; nutrition campaigns, which may include a chicken to lay eggs for a family’s protein source; and enhanced livelihood training programs that especially help women and children rise out of poverty using their own skills.

Here is one of the awesome success stories from their website:
“My name is Govinda. My village is Holiya of Banke District. I am waiting for the results of my second year of intermediate level. I hope I will pass.

When I completed grade 5, I came to stay here at the Nepal Association of Blind hostel, supported by Plan’s Banke Program Unit. Before I came here, I had to crawl on my knees to go to school. That really hurt. One day I told a Plan staff member about my troubles — that traveling to school and back was difficult and took several hours and I feared I would never be an educated person.

Plan soon provided me with a tricycle which helped me get to and from school and to other places. The regular study at the hostel and the care of its staff helped me pass the certificate exam to graduate. I had never thought I would be able to do so.

Computer classes helped give Govinda the skills and motivation to do greater things in life. My neighbors had frequently said that studying up to grade 5 was enough for a physically challenged boy like me. Their unkind words really bothered me. They didn’t appreciate my past or my problems: because I didn’t get vaccinated for polio, my legs were paralyzed; and my father was dead and my mother had no money for treatment. If I had not received support from Plan, I would not have been able to complete my secondary education.

I might have ended up staying at home doing nothing because our community does not believe that the physically challenged are capable and have opinion. The hostel gave me the opportunity to study hard without being discouraged and to meet helpful adults and professionals. I also got to take computer courses. Now I am working hard to educate myself. I want to do great things in the future to help people like me. Let’s see what time will bring.”

Please sponsor a child or make a donation to this great organization.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

20 December 2010

The 8th Charity Of Christmas - Children International

Children International has been doing humanitarian work for more than 70 years. They provide basic necessities for children in poverty stricken countries. They provide food baskets, nutritional screening, monitoring, nutrition programs, feeding centers, education, clothing, shoes, and more. They focus primarily on health and education.
With your support, we can continue to help poor children grow up healthy and educated. Children International is currently aiding over 335,000 impoverished children and their families around the world.
Here is one success story: Kazi's Education
Valuing an Education
In the slums of Calcutta, India, many parents can’t read and are overworked, simply struggling to survive. Too often they view education as an impediment, rather than an improvement, to their children’s lives. As a result, their children struggle to make passing grades and may even drop out of school altogether.
But attitudes toward education are changing because motivated sponsored children – who benefit from tuition assistance, school uniforms and supplies, tutoring and preparatory classes – are setting positive examples for their families and communities.
Although Kazi Aminur Haque’s father passed away and left his mother to support Kazi and his three siblings, he was able to stay in school with help from sponsorship and become head of his class.
Kazi’s academic performance has been
so strong that the school waived his tuition
Valuing an Education
fees and even gave him schoolbooks for free. Now he plans to continue his education and one day become a doctor and treat all those who are ill but cannot afford to go to the hospital.
“After becoming a doctor, I am determined to return to my village and help others just as the sponsorship program has helped me...” he remarked. “I have learnt from my sponsors that people have to think and act not only for themselves but for others too.”
It’s our hope that all sponsored children will follow Kazi’s example and make the most of sponsorship so they, too, can prove that education is well worth the effort.

Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

19 December 2010

The 7th Charity Of Christmas - The Smile Train

Smile Train is an international charity which was founded in 1999. It's mission is to provide free cleft lip and palate surgery for children in developing countries. Smile Train has raised more the $84 Million with a staff of only 30 people. By the companies 10th year they had assisted 500,000 children in 748 countries with surgery for their cleft lip and palate.
Children who are born with a cleft lip and palate are often given to orphanages. Many of them have issues with eating. They can not breastfeed. Which is more difficult on these families who are already struggling to have food for their families. Girls who are born with this birth defect are not able to get married. Many families with children who have this birth defect are treated poorly by others in the communities. Children with a cleft lip and palate are not able to go to school at all.
Cleft lip is one of the most common and curable birth defects, and organizations like Smile Train are doing their best to cure every case they can find.

Smile Train works hard on building awareness about cleft lip and palates in these countries so that they know that is is only a birth defect that can be changed easily with their free surgery.  

Here is one story from the Smile Train website:
Gabriel’s parents, Andrea and Adriano, were devastated when they saw their newborn son was born with a cleft lip. Adriano knew he could work from dawn to dusk every day for the rest of his life and never have enough money to pay for surgery.
  Nevertheless, with the hope that the doctors would take pity on Gabriel, Andrea and Adriano made their way to a cleft clinic. They prayed every step of the way. Luck was on little Gabriel’s side that day. The clinic had just formed a partnership with The Smile Train that would empower the hospital to give cleft surgery to hundreds of poor children in Brazil for free. Gabriel would be one of the first lucky children.
  For Gabriel and his family, it was like winning the lottery with a prize they will see and cherish every day for the rest of their lives. 

There are over 500,000 stories that are like this around the world because of The Smile Train. Watch these videos to learn more.

Smile Train made an award winning documentary called Smile Pinki which followed the life of 2 children who needed and were provided with cleft lip surgery.

Please donate to this amazing non-profit organization.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

18 December 2010

The 6th Charity Of Christmas - Zach Bonner's Little Red Wagon Foundation

Zach Bonner is only 13 years old but has already done amazing things to help others here in the US and around the globe. He started the Little Red Wagon Foundation when he was only 6 years to help neighboring people who had been suffering from hurricane damage. Zach Bonner's entire life is dedicated to helping others and he is true inspiration to myself and thousands of others. Zach began doing walks for homeless children awareness, where he walked from Tampa, Florida to Washington DC. That was an amazing feat in itself. But then he decided to do more and become the youngest person to walk across the United States. He walked from Tampa, Florida all the way to Los Angeles, California in September of 2010 to raise awareness for homeless children in our country. He raised LOTS of money while on his walk across the country and I was lucky enough to have joined him in his last few miles of the walk.

Zach is just an ordinary boy doing extraordinary things. He has done more to help others than most people will do in their lifetime. And even won a Presidential Service Award which is given by the President to anyone who has done more than 4000 hours of community service.
Please help Zach by donating money or food here at his website.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

17 December 2010

The 5th Charity Of Christmas - World Bicycle Relief - The Power Of Bicycles

Bicycles are extremely important to people in poverty. Many people in poverty have to walk for hours a day to get clean water. With a bike they can cut that time in half and carry more water back to their homes. A bicycle enables many things, like jobs, safety, and empowerment. The World Bicycle Relief  has put the bikes in the hands of over 60,000 individuals worldwide since it was founded in 2005.

Watch this video to learn more.

I think that video says it all. $134 is all it takes to provide one bicycle to a person in need. As a result of our Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program, girls are graduating at the tops of their classes and attendance rates has risen from a discouraging 60% to a stunning 97%. It's incredible what a bicycle can do!

Right now, until December 31st, 2010 when you donate to World Bicycle Relief your proceeds are matched. Meaning if you donate a $134 for one bicycle two bicycles are given. To donate a bicycle or money to World Bicycle Relief click here.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

16 December 2010

The 4th Charity Of Christmas - Our Lady's Inn - Helping Pregnant Moms

With a mission to provide "pregnant women and their children shelter and hope for a new life through humble acts of love" you know they are following their passion; helping women, children and babies. Our Lady's Inn is a true labor of love. They have been providing emergency shelter to pregnant women in crisis and helping them to choose life for their unborn children since 1982. Our Lady's Inn is a safe refuge where single pregnant women can learn how to care for herself and her unborn baby. At Our Lady's Inn the pregnant women take classes for childbirth, parenting skills, organization and budgeting money. Our Lady's Inn is helping young pregnant women have a true alternative to abortion by teaching them how they can care for themselves and their unborn baby. 

I believe their needs to be more women's shelters that are like this so that women can go through pregnancy with dignity and be able to live on their own and start their new family on the right foot. Women at Our Lady's Inn spend most a lot of time in classed aimed at improving their financial, educational, employment, health, mental health, parenting, interpersonal, communication skills, spiritual, housing and other personal and family situations. Stress management and exercise are also taught while at the shelter.

A Thank You from a Former Our Lady's Inn Resident:
"For me, Our Lady's Inn was home for several months. My beautiful little girl was born healthy; she weighed almost eight pounds! If it weren't for Our Lady's Inn, this precious little girl would probably not be alive or she would have been born very sick and addicted...

I am a recovering heroin addict and Our Lady's Inn gave me a stable environment where I was able to stay clean and take car eof myself during my pregnancy. I learned to eat right and take my prenatal vitamins and to stay focused on the health of my baby, rather than getting high. When my family learned that I was pregnant, they kicked me out of the house, but told me I could move back in with them if I would abort my pregnancy. They even offered to go with me and pay for an abortion. I had no place to go, so I stayed in a house where drugs were being used and sold out of, until one day I was told about Our Lady's Inn. So, I called Our Lady's Inn and they helped me get into drug treatment. When I completed the drug recovery program, there was a room waiting for me at Our Lady's Inn.

And, now, here I am, months later, clean, healthy with an absolutely perfect baby girl. Also, during the time I stayed at Our Lady's Inn, God miraculously healed the relationship between me and my family and now my family adores the baby they, at one time, didn't want me to have. Our Lady's Inn saves lives everyday. Its doors are open through the financial support of generous people, like yourselves, who believe in the mission of Our Lady's Inn enough to help. I can't express how grateful I am to hold my beautiful baby in my arms and thank God for His gift of life!"

--Margie*, 2008

Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

15 December 2010

The 3rd Charity Of Christmas - Global Green USA - Reconnecting Humanity With The Environment

Global Green USA has established itself as a national leader in promoting green building practices in the affordable housing community. Their work is primarily focused in the United States with a huge amount of their efforts going towards rebuilding of New Orleans. They decided that the best way to help New Orleans is to not only build new homes and schools but to build it in a green and affordable way so they will save money and have a much smaller carbon footprint. Global Green is teamed up with The Home Depot Foundation with a goal of a green rebirth of New Orleans. 
 Beautiful green homes like these are build through the Holy Cross Project.

Global Green also works to protect our clean water by helping make proposals to governments officials to cut down on chemical dumping in water around our country.

Global Green is proud to work closely with school districts around the country. Since 2005 Global Green has helped green over $15 billion in school construction projects. This means the schools have lower power and water bills, meaning the school districts can use that money for other educational purposes such as purchasing books and computers. Green schools lessen the impact of building construction on the environment. They also have benefits in several key performance areas. Green schools protect the students and teachers health because they are built with proper ventilation, material selection and acoustical quality. This improves the health of students and teacher and you get a much higher attendance rate. These green schools are also made with 25% more sunlight coming in on the students. Sunlight has been shown to heighten student performance and learning.
To donate and support Global Green click here.

Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

14 December 2010

The 2nd Charity Of Christmas - Make A Wish Foundation - Share The Power Of A Wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted wishes for more than 193,000 children around the world. With over 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish Foundation has been enabled to serve children with life-threatening medical conditions. Volunteers serve as wish granters, fundraisers, special events assistants and in numerous other capacities.The Make-A-Wish Foundation was established in 1980 and has since became one of the most well-known charities in the world. On their website you can read lots of their success stories and the lives of the children behind those stories. So many wishes have been granted, and you can help by volunteering or donating money.

Here is one Make-A-Wish story about a little girl who has really touched my heart:
(story from the wish.org website)
On a sunny day in California, one little girl’s countless hours of singing and dancing in her living room paid off in a big way. Flanked by security guards, 7-year-old Kassaundra emerged from a limousine and promenaded proudly through throngs of screaming fans to attend the premiere of her very own music video.
Getting dolled up in glitter and a fancy dress was a far cry from how Kassaundra spent most of her life – in hospitals receiving treatment for a congenital heart condition. When the Make-A-Wish Foundation® asked what her one true wish would be she knew right away: “I want to be famous!”
Prepping for Stardom
Kassaundra’s wish day included a shopping spree, voice lessons, a photo shoot and a recording session in a professional studio. The music video features “Butterfly Don’t Fly Away,” a song Kassaundra co-wrote with Leslie Noel, her vocal coach.
With the video filmed and ready to go, Kassaundra visited a local salon to have her hair and makeup done to perfection. Escorted by eight motorcycle officers, Kassaundra’s limousine delivered her onto the red carpet, where paparazzi and adoring fans waited with cameras flashing.
Kassaundra Sees Herself on the Big Screen
Inside a ballroom, the lights dimmed and Kassaundra watched her video for the first time, which featured her singing in a lush garden. Tears ran down Kassaundra’s face as she watched her music video.
At a press conference after the premiere, Kassaundra remembered all who supported her on the way to stardom: When asked if she had a lucky charm, Kassaundra credited her parents – and also her stuffed bear, CC.

Watch this video to see what happened on her big day:

Watch Kassaundra’s music video.

Butterfly Don't Fly Away - Kassaundra

Please donate and support the Make-A-Wish Foundation any way that you can.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

13 December 2010

The 1st Charity Of Christmas - Mercy Corps - Providing Positive Change In So Many Ways

Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided more than $1.95 Billion USD in assistance to people in 107 nations. The agency's unified global programs employ 3,700 staff worldwide and reach nearly 16.7 million people worldwide.

Mercy Corps provides seeds for farms, goats for milk, sewing machines for entrepreneurs, health aid, sanitation and clean water supply, to providing bicycles. Mercy Corps is all about taking action and sustainable change, which is why I chosen to spotlight them as my first "The 12 Charities Of Christmas".

I love many things about Mercy Corps. The best thing about them is that as a donation contributor you are able to choose what you want your donation to be used for.
$69 can enable a women to use her creativity to make beautiful garments 
and teach entrepreneurship to make a sustainable income for herself and her family.
She is also able to sew clothing for here family so that they do not have to buy clothing.
$52 can provide a bicycle which is transportation to jobs, 
to get clean water, to be an apprentice, or to get to school.
 Breastfeeding training is extremely important especially where there is no clean water, because if formula is purchased it is mixed with contaminated water causing a baby to get sick. Breastmilk is 100% sterile and supports babies immune systems to help prevent death from common diseases. Breastfeeding saves the family money and promotes a healthier childhood for baby.
Mercy Corps promotes the practice and benefits of breastfeeding -- by fostering neighborhood-level support groups, creating training programs and promoting events that raise awareness about its advantages.

Clean water is important for villages to thrive.
Please support clean water efforts whenever possible!

Help families get out of poverty the sustainable way,
by providing a business that will keep income flowing for years to come.

Here are some ways you can help Mercy Corps' projects with a few minutes of your time:
Play online solitaire or sudoku and raise money for Mercy Corps and other charities.
Display this Mercy Corps Action Badge on your facebook page.
Mercy Corps Action Center: 
Take Action to End Hunger & Poverty
Find the HTML for the badge here.
Vote for Mercy Corps on The 50 Days Of Giving Contest here. You can vote once a day until Christmas and if Mercy Corps wins they will receive $150,000 from Western Union.
Become a fan of the Action Center to End World Hunger on your Facebook and tell your friends about it.

I hope you all support Mercy Corps in any way that you can.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

12 December 2010

The 12 Charities Of Christmas Blog Series

Today I am ending my "Gifts That Give Back" blog series. Tomorrow I am starting a new blog series called "The 12 Charities Of Christmas". I will highlight 12 of my favorite holiday charities and give you resources on how you can help and donate.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

Christmas Gifts for Tween Girls - Gifts That Give Back

Shopping for a tween girl can be mind boggling for some but it seems I might have a knack for it. Here are some stuff that I would want if I was a tween.

This is my last post of my Gifts That Give Back blog series. I hope you all enjoyed my gift ideas and I hope your loved ones will enjoy them too.

Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

Narayanan Krishnan - Hero Of The Year

Narayanan Krishnan was an award-winning chef at a 5-star restaurant, now his entire life is dedicated to feeding the homeless. There are approxiamately 80 million, yes, 80 million homeless people in the country of India, and Narayanan Krishnan wants to help as many of them as possible. He started his own non-proft organization in 2002 and is now serving food, love, and compassion towards the homeless and mental ill destitute. Krishnan  brings hot meals to these people 365 days per year. He wakes up at 4am every morning and cooks and serves food rain or shine. 400 people are fed, 3 times a day all year around. Since 2002 his non-profit organization Akshaya Trust has served more than 1.2 million meals. Krishnan even showers and shaves the homeless, which gives them dignity. Krishnan is now one of CNNs Heroes Of The Year.

“I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food,” Krishnan said. “It really hurt me so much. I was literally shocked for a second. After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime.”

Please visit Narayanan Krishnan's website Akshaya Trust to donate and learn more about this amazing non-profit organization.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama

11 December 2010

Christmas Gifts For Babies - Organic and Fair Trade

Babies, babies, and more babies. We all know people with babies, but many times we have no clue what a baby would want for Christmas, or really what the parent would want us to give their baby. In my family we have many babies this year and I've had to think a lot about what to get these little bundles of joy. Here's what I came up with.

No BPA, parabens, PVC or phtalates and softer than silicone.
Perfect for reaching those gums in the back.
made from sustainable materials and cute for a boy or girl.

are a great gift for any nursery.

Hope the babies in your life enjoy these gifts.
Peace, Love, Wealth
Kimra Diggs
The Progressive Mama