This local tragedy stirs deep emotion

I’ve been having great difficulty dealing with the horror that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. My kids are often in Sandy Hook for sports and other activities, and I have spent many weekends on the sidelines of the soccer fields directly behind the school.

Holiday AngelNewtown is almost identical to my town of Weston, Connecticut, so it is very hard for me to let go of the horror by rationalizing to myself that it is far away or such a different type of community than my own. This trauma is deeper for all of us because the reality is that this could have happened anywhere and to any of us. That is what is most profoundly frightening about this event.

I have a 7 year old who is always curious, and he came home from school on Friday asking a lot of questions. After asking all the main questions, he paused and asked, “How did the kids know what to do when their teacher died?” He was obviously putting himself directly into that situation. I am very sad he has to think about these things at such an early age. As he was going to bed that night he asked, “Does God make these bad people?” I had to explain that everyday, we all wake up and have to make many decisions that can make us “good” or “bad” for that moment.

Every night now when I put him to bed, I first get a chill of realization that he could have been in that 1st grade classroom, and then I give a grateful hug that he is still here to tuck in.

It is almost impossible to comprehend the depth of tragedy and anguish that will always be a part of the Newtown community. Life is so precious—and at the same time, it can be unfair and unpredictable.

While our hearts are broken for the victims and all of those affected by this senseless tragedy,  the healing process must begin. There are many nonprofits that are currently supporting the town with: cleaning up the old school, setting up the new school, providing health services to residents in the community, supporting the firefighters, supplying aid for the memorial services, and offering ongoing activities to help the kids heal. To find out more and how to help Newtown, here’s an article that gives several ways you can be supportive.

A few charities providing the community with services that you can donate to:

kindnessMy personal belief is that we all must put a little bit of goodness back into the world and do what we can to overcome the horror by being kind to those around us. In addition to helping Newtown directly, random acts of kindness should be part of our daily routine to spread goodness. More than something we do in response to Ann Curry’s tweet…something we make part of our everyday life.

—Kendall Webb, Executive Director

Summer of Fun, Sun, & Giving Back!

School is almost out, kids can’t wait to enjoy their summer vacation, and it’s time for parents to figure out how to keep them entertained! It is great to encourage our children to be outdoors and active all year ‘round, but during the summer months especially when the sun is shining and the days are long. There are many organizations to choose from that help us find ways to do just that and offer a variety of interactive classes, camps, and full summer programs.

As a kid I went to camps through my local YMCA, an organization that strives to strengthen local communities. The Y works side-by-side with neighbors to give everyone the opportunity regardless of age, income or background, to learn, grow and thrive. I remember singing Y-camp songs on the bus up to the lake for swimming and hiking in our local national park. There were also barbeques with plenty of hot dogs – very exciting for a 10 year old!  Most YMCA locations still offer both summer and year-round programs for campers of all ages including a variety of activities from games, sports and art, to science experiments and cooking. This year I enrolled my 3 year old in swimming lessons. She looks forward to seeing her teacher every day and jumping in the pool with her green floaties.

JustGive’s Founder and Executive Director, Kendall Webb, participates in the Fresh Air Fund programs each summer with her family:

“For the past 2 summers, we have had the opportunity to host an amazing girl named Kayla, now 10, through the Fresh Air Fund. Fresh Air’s programs give New York City children a chance to live outside their low-income communities and experience many special new activities, sports and opportunities they might not otherwise enjoy. The program lets children get to know themselves through personal challenges of culture, food, and communication—and gain personal confidence, providing life-long growth for both the child and host family. Kayla has brought the gift of open-mindedness, patience and humor to me. I have given the experience of bike riding, swimming, blueberry picking and walking on grass barefoot to her. Kayla came to us a visitor but is now an integral part of our family. We are so excited to have her spend time with us again this summer for the third year. I hope more families will consider hosting through the Fresh Air Fund….there is a lot to learn as a host family. We opened up our home, but Kayla has opened up our hearts.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are several other great organizations with summer programs to check out for yourself. Many offer life-changing opportunities to children throughout the year:

  • Girls Inc is a nonprofit organization that inspires and empowers all girls to be strong, smart, and bold and to reach their full potential while asserting their rights.  Girl Power!
  • Soccer Without Borders runs community-led, year-round youth development programs in under-served areas. Soccer provides these youth with an avenue for positive interaction, personal growth, and a brighter future.
  • Drawbridge is an expressive arts program for homeless and formerly homeless youth that provides a supportive community and a place to foster creativity.
  • Camp Good Days is dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families who have been touched by cancer through summer camping experiences.

Support these innovative youth organizations by starting a recurring monthly donation today!

What are your best tips and summer activities? Take a few minutes to jot a note on Facebook—share what works for you while making life just a little easier for someone else. You can help them enjoy the summer even more!

JustGive
Marketing Team

Celebrating Ten Years of Giving

 

Our Founding Team

Our founding team in 2000—Lynda Greenberg, Orla McKiernan, Claire Bowen, Kristin Kennedy, Kay Kirman, Doug Abrams, Kendall Webb, Kirsten Johnson, Jen Chapin

 

My son’s first birthday is less than a month away. Turning one is a momentous occasion that he will enjoy, but won’t likely remember. It’s our community of family and friends that will keep the memories with them. We’ll have a small party, but aren’t expecting or asking for gifts. Our photos and shared experience will make it special. This month, JustGive is reaching a milestone that we’re just starting to celebrate: We turn ten years old!

Our Story: Becoming The Destination for Online Charitable Giving®

Back in the days before giving online was a “normal” thing to do, our founder Kendall Webb started JustGive to help create a new way for people to give. According to Kendall, our first office initially sported a Spartan setup of “three walls of tables” and “garbage cans as chairs.” Ten years later, JustGive is a leading innovator, developing new ways for people to give in their everyday lives.

JustGive started and survived due to the generosity of many supporters, including  Lexicon, a company whose staff conceived our name pro bono. In fact, in our first year, we received more than one million dollars in donated services! In the early years and tough times, the generosity of board members and donors kept JustGive going.

Novelist Doug Abrams says, “JustGive has made my giving so much easier, faster and more joyful. I can give to all the causes I care about (like Ocean Alliance), find new ones, and keep track of everything in one place. It’s made me a more generous person.” He appreciates that JustGive not only accepts donations but also “encourages innovative giving like using American Express points and charity registries for weddings.”

But more than any donation, JustGive exists today  because of the will of Kendall, the staff, and this one big, sticky idea: to constantly seek and develop new channels of giving through creative, innovative online solutions.

Over the years we’ve grown, (Visit here to learn more about our story) and our community of nonprofit and corporate friends has grown with us. From a landmark rewards programs with American Express, to pioneering charitable wedding services, we are proud to have sent more than $130 million dollars to tens of thousands of charities in the past decade. We remain firmly dedicated to helping donors give when, how, and as often as they want to more than 1.8 million charities working throughout the world.

We do this work for one reason: To increase charitable giving. We believe in the power of nonprofits that our users support.

Terrie M. uses JustGive exclusively because she can donate anonymously and eliminate solicitations. But to her, the biggest benefit is that charity gift card recipients can choose the organization to receive money. “That makes it truly a personal gift,” she explains. “My favorite charity is Prison Pet Partnership Program, which has women in prison train shelter dogs for service,” Terri comments. “With JustGive, it’s safe going online and donating to them.”

You are our community. We want to celebrate with you! And we would love, more than anything, is for more people to know about online giving. Will you help us spread the word? Take a minute to share with your friends, your family—your community— one of the ways they can give to the causes they care about through JustGive.

Visit us on Facebook and let the world know how we helped you give!

Or Tweet (@JustGiveOrg) #JustGiveis10 with your favorite way to give

We’ll share our ten favorite posts/tweets/responses!