Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Raising Caring Citizens

I'm so lazy! I was talking with a friend about the Roots and Shoots group that she runs – all these kids and families are learning about important issues, and raising money to do some good in the world. And planting trees. And doing beach clean-ups. And collecting food and clothes for the needy. And I realized that – sheesh, I'm such a slacker! Seriously – I want to raise good citizens who care about the world, who feel a sense of responsibility to volunteer in their community. But if it impedes on my weekend? Fagettaboutit.

I have REALLY good intentions. But I work full time, and I come home and I just want to be with my family. And do laundry. Not really, but it needs to be done. Is that so wrong?

So I was so happy to find Members Unite. It's a really easy way to make a significant impact on the world, and the kids and I can choose projects together... on the couch, while I drink a glass of wine.


For $5 a month, the kids and I can rate projects based on what we would like to support. We just signed up, sat on the couch and looked through the nine proposed projects for this projects. We gave high ranking to helping premature babies (because who can resist a picture of a baby?) but gave the highest ranking (5 stars!) to help The Nature Conservancy plant 5,000 trees in Brazil! Each week, the projects with the most votes will advance, and the winning project each month gets $5,000. Five grand can go a long way – a lot farther than my $5 on it's own.

Here's why you should want to support The Nature Conservancy through Members Unite:

Today only 7 percent of the Atlantic forest in Brazil remains, much of which is in isolated fragments.

Animal and plant life of every imaginable kind live under the lush, green canopy of Brazil's Atlantic Forest. High in the treetops, golden lion tamarins forage for food while woolly spider monkeys gather fruit and nuts. Blue-winged macaws, red-tailed parrots and countless other birds call out while elusive jaguars prowl the forest floor.

This Brazilian rainforest is home to 23 species of primates and 1,180 species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish. Harboring 1,000 species of birds, almost 200 of which are not found anywhere else on Earth, it is considered the most important place for bird conservation in the Western Hemisphere by the American Bird Conservancy. For millions of local people, the rainforest is critical for their livelihoods and provides clean water and hydro energy. For the rest of us, the Atlantic Forest helps regulate the atmosphere and stabilize global climate.
So why don't you join us? There is a $25 annual membership to cover administrative costs, then you can decide how much you want to give each month, starting at just $5 a month.  If you join, please let me know in the comments and share which project(s) you voted for!

We're starting here. The kids are excited about tracking the projects to see which ones make it to next week. And maybe, one of these days, I'll actually get us out to plant some trees for real!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eric's New Glasses

When Eric started asking me for glasses for Christmas, I thought he just wanted them because I was wearing my glasses more than contacts. He’s a stylish kid, often complimenting my outfits, or suggesting alternate accessories. So it was easy to pass off the glasses request as merely for fashion.
But then he asked for them a few more times over the course of the month, and kept bringing it up. Brian and I would try to quiz him to see if he could see things clearly, but we are certainly not trained in that area, and it’s hard to get a 4 year old to give detailed descriptions! I finally made an eye appointment for him and sure enough, he needs glasses!  I’m so glad we listened to him, because they said by catching it early, we may even be able to correct his (slight) farsightedness.
He had a lot of fun trying on all the different styles, but finally settled on these. Disney makes these kids glasses, and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they do. They’re lightweight and durable, and super 
 handsome to boot. Leave it to Disney to infiltrate our lives yet again! These glasses are green, his favorite color, and the pattern reminds him of a race car. “Cars” and “Cars 2″ being his favorite movies, he was sold.
Here’s my little guy with his new glasses: