Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday #50- Thank A Teacher!

Make Today Matter...
  • There are 3.8 million teachers--2.6 million teach K-12.
  • 42% of K-12 teachers are over 50 years old.
  • Almost 50% of teachers leave the profession by their 5th year.
  • $7 billion a year is the cost of teacher turnover.
  • A $15 billion per year investment or a 30% raise for all teachers is necessary to make teacher compensation competitive with other professions requiring similar levels of education.
  • In 37 states, teacher salaries do not keep pace with inflation.
  • The single most important factor in determining student performance is the quality of his or her teachers.
Take action today!
It takes more than an apple...
  1. Identify a teacher you want to thank--your child's teacher, a friend or neighbor who teaches, a teacher at a local school, or a teacher of your own.
  2. Show this teacher your appreciation by:
- Writing a thank-you note.
- Bringing a gift like homemade cookies, handpicked flowers, a book on a topic that interests them, or a gift card for something you know they will like.
- Organizing a class Appreciation Jar. Give every student a piece of paper and have them list all the reasons why their teacher is special to them. Stuff the papers in the jar and let the teacher open one per day.
- Volunteering in the classroom and helping with special projects or field trips.

You matter!
Children are the future of our world, and teachers spend more waking hours with them that parents do. 
Showing appreciation to teachers lets them know they are valued and respected--you don't have to be a student or even a parent of a student to show your appreciation.
Remember, teachers help shape everyone's world...including yours!

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday #49- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Make Today Matter...
  • The US leads the industrialized world in waste generation, producing 245 million tons annually or 4.5 lbs per person per day.
  • 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour.
  • 400 billion photocopies are made every year or roughly 750,000 per minute.
  • Producing recycled white paper creates 74% less air pollutants, 35% less water pollutants, and 75% less process energy than producing paper from virgin fibers.
  • Recycling an aluminum can saves 96% of the energy used to make a can from ore and produces 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution.
  • 32% of waste is recovered and recycled or composted, 14% is burned, and 54% is disposed of in landfills.
  • 9,000 curbside recycling programs exist.
Take action today!
  1. Reduce what you use by purchasing larger sizes.
  2. Reuse rather than throwing away.
  3. Contact your local waste management company and find out if they sort trash and recycle. If not, create different containers in your home and at work for glass, plastic, and paper.
  4. Deliver your separated recyclables to a local recycling center once a month.
  5. Buy recycled products and packaging.
You matter!
Reducing, reusing, and recycling are key to protecting our resources and preserving our environment for future generations. 
Garbage means wasted water, wasted energy, pollution, transportation costs, and overflowing landfills. Reducing is the most powerful technique for eliminating waste because we don't generate waste in the first place. If reducing is out of the question, then at least reuse or recycle. You have three options. 
Which one are you going to choose today?

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday #48- Respect The Disabled

Make Today Matter...
  • 54 million or more people ages 5 and older have a non-institutionalizing disability.
  • 25 million disabled are of an employable age.
  • 78% want to be employed, but only 33% have a job.
  • Disabilities are more often caused by accidents, illnesses, or late-emerging effects of genetics than by congenital disorders.
  • Not all severe disabilities can be detected by the human eye.
  • Over 15% of the cars parked in a handicapped parking space are parked illegally.
Take action today!
  1. Show respect to the disabled today.
  2. Don't park in a handicapped parking space or use handicapped plates or placards illegally. Designated parking for the handicapped is a necessity.
  3. Don't use handicapped bathroom stalls unless you're handicapped. A handicapped person's need to use the restroom may be just as urgent as yours, and it often takes them longer to prepare to use the facilities.
  4. When you see a handicapped license plate, slow down and show consideration rather than tailgating or honking.
  5. Open a door, roll a wheelchair up or down an incline, carry shopping bags, or offer an arm in challenging weather conditions or on uneven walkways.
You matter!
The majority of people with disabilities want to be totally integrated into all aspects of society.
With more awareness, respect, and helpfulness, you can make someone's life a little bit easier. People don't plan on getting disabilities, but it happens every day. 
One day, that disabled person may even be you.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday #47- Meditate or Pray

Make Today Matter...

  • Meditation and prayer shift brain activity from the stress-prone right frontal cortex to the calmer left frontal cortex.
  • Slowing the breathing rate to 6 breaths per minute synchronizes breathing with cardiovascular rhythms resulting in enhanced cardiac health.
  • Physiological benefits of prayer and meditation include anti-aging, deep rest, decreased blood pressure, higher skin resistance, and easier breathing.
  • Psychological benefits include increased brain-wave coherence, greater creativity, decreased anxiety and depression, improved learning and memory, and increased happiness and emotional stability.
  • The longer an individual practices meditation, the greater the likelihood that there will be a shift toward personal and spiritual growth.
Take action today!
  1. Find a quiet place to be still.
  2. Take deep breaths to help you relax.
  3. Meditate or pray.
  4. With a clearer mind, journal your thoughts and insights.
  5. Make meditation or prayer a part of your daily life.
You matter!
Looking younger, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, decreased anxiety and depression, improved memory, increased happiness, more peace...
What's not to like about meditation?

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday #46- Donate Clothes!

Make Today Matter...
  • 20 billion pounds of clothes and textiles are thrown away every year--an average of 68 pounds per person.
  • 1.5 billion pairs of unworn or barely worn shoes are lying in closets.
  • Over 35 million people live in poverty and have limited money to purchase new clothes.
  • On average, 3 million men, women, and children are homeless at some point each year.
  • 50% of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence, usually with only the clothes on their backs.
Take action today!
  1. Contact a local shelter or organization that receives clothing donations and ask about any specific clothing needs.
  2. Look through your closet for clothing, coats, shoes, suits, blankets, pillows, purses, briefcases, umbrellas, and scarves that are in good condition and that you haven't used in a year or more.
  3. Organize a clothing drive at work, school, your place of workship, or in your neighborhood.
  4. Wash or dry-clean items. Don't donate items that are stained or torn.
  5. Fold and pack clothing in boxes, attach appropriate labels, then deliver them. 
  6. Consider giving directly to a homeless person.
Clothing donations to qualified charitable organizations are tax deductable.
You matter!

Donating clothes is one of the easiest ways to affect someone's life in a very tangible and significant way. You can help someone stay warm, wear shoes without holes, dress properly for a job interview, or don a new outfit for school.
Do you really need all those clothes filling up your closet? Millions of other do!

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday #45- Get Involved with Foster Kids!

Make Today Matter...
  •  Over 500,000 children are in foster care and their average age is 10.
  • Approximately 46% of children are in non-relative foster family homes, 24% are in relative foster homes, 18% are in group homes or institutions, and 7% are in other placement types.
  • 41% of these children are white, 32% are black, and 18% are Hispanic.
  • The average length of stay for all children currently in foster care is 2.4 years.
  • 14% of the children in foster care have been there for more than 5 years.
  • Over 51,000 children are adopted annually through the foster care system.
A house doesn't always mean a home...
Take action today!
  1. Find a foster care facility near you. Contact them and ask how you can help.
  2. Sign up as a volunteer and get your family and friends involved.
  3. Be prepared. Volunteers at a foster care facility can be involved in everything from outside physical activities to arts and crafts.
  4. Become a foster parent or adopt a child.
You matter!
Children in foster care have been abused, abandoned, and/or neglected.
Many will not return to live with their parents or even a relative. While we wish the statistics were different, it is up to us to provide the love and support these children need.
They didn't choose to be placed in foster care, but we can choose to step into the gap and make a difference.
Who taught you how to ride a bike? Swim? Or prepare for a math test?
Whether you remember or not, those people cared...and so can you.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday #44- Use Online Bill Pay!

Make Today Matter...
  • On average,4.8 pieces of mail are delivered every day to over 146 million addresses.
  • One of the fastest growing robbery crimes is identity theft by stealing mail. 
  • With password protection, more than one level of authentication, increased online security, and 100% protection in case of fraud, online bill pay is much safer than putting a check in the mailbox.
  • Internet use and electronic account monitoring is the fastest way to detect fraud and decrease losses from identity theft.
  • Banking information can be accessed via the Internet anytime, anywhere.
  • Paying bills online saves the average consumer $6 in stamps and 4 hours of time each month.
  • 18.5 million trees would be saved annually if consumers viewed and paid bills online.
 Welcome to the 21st Century!
Take action today!
  1. Go to your bank's Web site, click on "Online Banking," and follow the instructions to set up online bill pay.
  2. Print out statements, view transactions, check balances, pay bills, transfer funds, and look for other financial information at your convenience.
  3. Stop receiving bank statements and bills in the mail by signing up for online delivery.
  4. If you're not able to connect online, then set up automatic payments over the phone. You may still receive a statement, but your payments will be automatically deducted from your bank account.
You matter!
Online bill paying is more cost-effective, more environmentally friendly, quicker, safer, and more convenient than the traditional open-the-envelope, write-a-check, lick-a-stamp, and place-in-your-mailbox method.
Do you need any more compelling reasons?

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday #43- Listen, Play, & Appreciate Music!

Make Today Matter...
  • Over 70% of schools are not able to maintain funding for the arts.
  • Schools with music programs compared to schools without have significantly higher education rates, 90.2% compared to 72.9%, and higher attendance rates, 93.3% compared to 84.9%.
  • Students with coursework in music appreciation score roughly 60 points higher in verbal and 40 points higher in math on the SAT than their non-arts peers.
  • Early musical training increases brain development in language, reasoning, math, science, memory, creativity, expression, and spatial intelligence.
  • Choral singers are nearly twice as likely to be involved in charity work--as both volunteers and donors--than the average person.
  • Every human culture uses music to preserve and pass on its ideas and ideals.
  • Music is not limited by age, gender, ethnicity, or time.
Take action today!
  1. Listen to your favorite music and sing, dance, clap, jam on your air guitar, and enjoy it like no one is watching.
  2. Go see or buy tickets for a live music performance.
  3. Sign up for music lessons for yourself or your family.
  4. If you already sing or play an instrument, do it today or offer to teach someone who wants to learn.
  5. Donate unused instruments to a local school, church, or music education center.
  6. Communicate with your school-district administrators or national legislators. Write a letter of appreciation for the hard work they do and request continued funding for the arts.
You matter!
Music is fun, expressive, imaginative, beautiful, energizing, relaxing, interesting, and freeing. Through music, we preserve our cultural heritage, celebrate our faith with praise and worship, remember events and experiences from the past, come together with friends and family, and express our emotions.

Music is the soundtrack of life!

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday #42- Give A Hug!

Make Today Matter...
  • Stimulation by touch is absolutely necessary for physical and emotional well-being.
  • Touch is used to relieve pain, depression, and anxiety; to enhance a child's development and IQ; and to nurture premature babies.
  • Hugging strengthens the immune system, reduces stress, assists sleep, lowers blood pressure, and is an antidote to depression.
  • Hugging bolsters a patient's will to live, dispels loneliness, eases fear, opens doors to buried feelings, builds self-esteem, fosters altruism, and imparts feelings of belonging.
  • Hugging offers a wholesome alternative to promiscuity, alcohol, and drugs.
  • People need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance, and 12 for growth.
Take action today!
  1. Hug the people you care about today. Hug them in the morning, hug them to say hello, hug them because they bring you happiness, hug them to say good-bye, hug them to say "I love you," hug them to show compassion, hug them if they are sad, hug them if they are hurting, hug them because they did something incredible, or hug them just because.
  2. Hug someone you don't know that well...but ask first!
  3. Challenge yourself and your friends to keep track of how many hugs you gave or received today.
  4. Notice how you feel at the end of your day of hugging.
You matter!
If everyone hugged 4 people today--the minimum requirement for "survival"--that would add up to 1.2 billion hugs. 
If everyone gave 12 hugs--the number required for "growth"--the total would be 3.6 billion. So take the time to give 12 hugs today.
That hug might be exactly what those 12 people needed...so why wouldn't you?

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday #41- Choose Canvas Bags!

Make Today Matter...
  • Almost 7 billion paper bags and 400 billion plastic bags are used every year.
  • 90% of all grocery bags are plastic.
  • Only 5.2% of plastic bags and 21% of paper bags are recycled.
  • The average length of time a high-density plastic bag will exist on earth is 1,000 years.
  • Producing and recycling paper bags generates significantly more air and water pollution compared to plastic bags.
  • Paper is 40% of all waste.
  • The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags every 4 trips to the grocery store.
  • San Francisco, the first city in the U.S. to ban the use of plastic grocery bags, eliminates the use of 100 million plastic bags a year.
Take action today! 
  1. Buy several canvas shopping bags or use duffle bags that you already own. Most trips to the store require more than one bag.
  2. Purchase canvas bags made from recycled materials.
  3. Keep your canvas bags in the trunk of your car--trips to the store are often spontaneous.
  4. When purchasing only one or two items and if you don't have a canvas bag with you, just carry the items out of the store without a bag.
  5. If you forget your canvas bag, at least avoid double-bagging.
You matter!
You would accumulate 1,000 fewer bags this year if you simply used a reusable bag when shopping, especially grocery shopping. Paper and plastic bags are an environmental killer--they biodegrade slowly or not at all, deplete energy and natural resources, endanger wildlife, and poison our soil and waterways. 
So, from now on, when a store clerk asks "Paper or plastic?" you can proudly answer, "CANVAS!"

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday #40- Thank A Local Law Enforcement Officer!

Make Today Matter...
  • Over 675,000 sworn officers and nearly 295,000 civilian officers protect and serve citizens.
  • Over 14 million arrests occur annually for all offenses except traffic violations.
  • Each year:
- Over 50,000 officers are assaulted while performing their duties.
- Over 100 are killed--their average age is 37.
- Over 23 million people are victimized by violent and property crimes
  • There has been a 58% decline in violent crimes and a 52% decline in property crimes over the last 12 years.
Would you risk your life for a total stranger?
Take action today!
  1. Walk up and thank a law enforcement officer for keeping you and your community safe.
  2. Pull your car to your right and out of the way when you hear a siren or see a police car approaching with its lights on.
  3. Organize your friends, co-workers, neighborhood, or child's classroom to create and deliver a thank-you card to your local law enforcement agency, police station, or town sheriff.
  4. Ask your local police department which organizations support them...and donate.
  5. Support or start a Neighborhood Watch program in your community.
  6. Always report crime.
You matter!
Law enforcement officers make an incredible difference in your community. Every day they put their lives on the line to protect you, your neighbors, and your loved ones. Show appreciation, thank them for their valuable service, and tell them the impact they have on the lives of the people in your community.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday #39- Have Fun w/ an Elderly Person

Make Today Matter...
  • The fastest growing age group is 85 years and older.
  • Every 7.5 seconds a baby boomer turns 60.
  • 1 out of every 5 people, or 72 million, will be 65 years or older by 2030.
  • Nearly 23% of people aged 75 and older live in nursing homes.
  • Due to the increase in divorce rates, a decrease in the number of children, and more family members living farther away from one another, family support for the elderly is less available.
Take action today!
We'll all be there one day...
  1. Offer the elderly you see today simple gestures of courtesy and respect--smile and say "hello," let them have the right of way while driving, or give up your seat in a crowded area.
  2. Contact a local independent living, assisted living, or continued care facility and ask if they need volunteers.
  3. Ask the facility if children or pets are allowed.
  4. Organize your family or a group of friends to go with you.
  5. Be prepared. Volunteering at a senior or elderly care home can involve many types of activities--playing games or cards, reading, doing art and craft projects, singing songs, teaching a class, or just being friendly.
  6. Ask the seniors questions about their life. 
  7. Have FUN!
You matter!
Our senior-citizen population is changing--and this group will grow by another 18 million people in the next 25 years. Today, seniors are living longer, are more full of life, have more expendable income, and have achieved higher levels of education. 

So, if you spend time with them, you might just find that a friendly game of gin rummy or bingo will teach you a thing or two...about life.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday #38- Donate Blood

Make Today Matter...
  • Every 2 seconds someone needs blood.
  • 38,000 pints of blood are used every day.
  • Demand for blood is rising faster than the rate of donations. In fact, donations are declining.
  • 1 pint of blood can save up to 3 lives--maybe even the life of someone you know.
  • 60% of the population is eligible to donate, but less than 5% do on a yearly basis.
  • The #1 reason donors say they give is because they "want to help others."
  • Anyone who is in good health, is at least 17 years old, and weigh at least 110lbs may donate blood once every 56 days.
Take action today!
  1. Find a blood donor location near you and schedule an appointment today.
  2. Donate blood. The blood donation process take approximately 30 minutes.
  3. When you donate, you'll receive a donor card stating your blood type. Keep the card in your wallet.
  4. Put yourself on a regular donating schedule of once every 56 days. If you have type O-negative blood, the universal donor type, your blood is especially needed because it can be used in emergencies.
You matter!
Human blood is precious and can't be manufactured outside of the body. If you gave blood 4 times a year for the next 10 years, you would save 120 lives. Think of how many lives you could save if you gave blood for the rest of your life! 
Saving just one life should be convincing enough. There is no substitute for human blood.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday #37- Mentor A Child!

Make Today Matter...
  • 3 million children are currently enrolled in a mentoring program. 
  • Mentors help children develop self-confidence, relationship skills, and a positive attitude toward school.
  • Nearly 70% of inner-city 4th graders are unable to read at a basic level.
  • 1 out of 3 public high school students won't graduate.
  • Nearly 3 million youth ages 12-15 are at risk of suicide annually, and over 35% will actually attempt suicide--approximately 2,700 attempts per day.
  • 15 million youth are in need of mentoring. If they don't get it, they are more likely to not reach adulthood successfully. These youth are:
-73% more likely to begin using alcohol.
-63% more likely to skip a class.
-54% more likely to begin using illegal drugs.
-48% more likely to skip school.

Take action today!
  1. Find a mentoring program near you and apply to become a mentor.
  2. Most mentoring programs will pair you with a child based on your skill set and the child's needs. 
  3. If you have your own children or know children who could use a mentor, be a self-starter and create your own mentoring program.
  4. Once a week, spend an hour or two with your mentee doing everyday activities like homework, playing sports, and having simpler conversation.
  5. Set goals with your mentee and share in the excitement of their achievement and growth.
You matter!
Children are just as capable of doing great things as any other person, but many times they are not equipped with the right foundation, knowledge, encouragement, and tools to make the right choices. The decisions they make can change the entire course of their futures. 

You may not know what to say or do, but you will quickly realize that what matters most is that you care.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday #36- Be Neighborly

Make Today Matter...
  • The average dual-career couple works away from their home a combined 18.2 hours a day.
  • Urban sprawl is creating longer commutes--approximately 25 minutes per day.
  • People spend less than 15 minutes per day doing outside chores and gardening compared to over 3 hours watching TV or movies and surfing on the Internet.
  • The average person or family has friends over for dinner about 45% less often than they did in the 1970's.
  • In 1926, the first electric automated garage door opener was invented by C.G. Johnson, beginning the drive-in-and-shut-the-door method of entering your home.
  • The increased number of fenced backyards, coupled with the disappearance of front porches and verandas, has privatized residences more than ever.
Remember, you have to be a good neighbor to have a good neighbor.
Take action today!
  1. Meet a neighbor you've never met before. Simply knock on the door and introduce yourself. Take over something you've baked or grown in your garden, or invite them to your house for a beverage or a snack.
  2. Make yourself more available to your neighbors.
  3. Mow your front lawn, wash your car, go for a walk, or play outside. Or, if you see neighbors doing the same, go out and visit.
  4. Plan a neighborhood yard sale or block party.
  5. Write a quarterly neighborhood newsletter.
You matter! 
Does your mailman know your neighbors better than you do?

It's not enough to just drive by and wave to neighbors from your car window. To get to know your neighbors, you need to have personal interaction with them. But these days, people spend more time indoors watching TV and surfing the Internet than they do outside playing catch, taking walks, and talking to their neighbors.
Change that patterns...be counterculture.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday #35- Go Exercise!

Make Today Matter...
  • More than 50% of adults do not get enough physical activity and 24% are not physically active at all.
  • 1 death occurs every 36 seconds from heart disease and strokes.
  • Over 18% of children and 66% of adults are overweight, with 32,9% being obese.
  • Over 100 million adults have above normal or high cholesterol levels.
  • Roughly 20 million people have depressive disorders.
  • 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure.
Take action today!
  1. Set a goal for yourself. Think about what types of benefits you want to achieve. Weight loss? Increased muscle mass? Improved general health?
  2. Figure out what type of exercise you like most and best suits your desired goal.
  3. Create a plan. Start with 3 days a week, 30 minutes a day. Try to build up to 4 or 5 days a week, 45 minutes per day.
  4. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercising.
  5. Don't buy into excuses like "I don't have enough time" and "I can't afford a gym membership."
  6. Incorporate exercise into your workday by taking the stairs, walking during your lunch break, and stretching while at your desk.
  7. Always consult your physician or exercise specialist for safety and guidance.
You matter!
Do you really want to have heart disease, high blood pressure, a stroke, lung disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, depression, arthritis, or unwanted pounds?

If not, start incorporating regular physical activity into your day. By doing so, you'll increase your overall health, well-being, and quality of life. Physical activity does not need to be painful in order to be beneficial, so make it happen!

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday #34- Pick Up Litter!

Make Today Matter... 

  • 180 million tons of trash is generated every year. 
  • Common litter includes cigarette butts, plastic bags, paper, candy wrappers, fast-food packaging, bottle caps, 6-pack can holders, glass bottles, and plastic straws.
  • Men and women are equally likely to litter.
  • People under age 15 are least likely to litter; people under the age of 25 are most likely to litter when in a group; and people over the age of 25 are most likely to litter when alone.
  • In one single day nearly 7 million pounds of litter were removed from beaches, lakes, and streams. 
  • Animals from nearly 300 species die from ingesting or getting entangled in marine debris annually. 
  • People litter because they:
- Don't think of the item as litter.
- View litter removal as someone else's responsibility.
- Lack knowledge about the environmental effects of their littering.

Take action today!
  1. Spend 1 hour today picking up litter. Or decide that every time you see a piece of litter today, you'll pick it up and throw it away.
  2. If you see someone litter, politely ask them to pick it up. Or pick it up yourself and maybe the person who dropped it will see you and get the hint.
  3. Organize a team of neighbors, friends, co-workers, or family members to pick up litter in a specific neighborhood for an hour. Bring rubber gloves and garbage bags and make it more fun by turning the cleanup effort into a game/contest.
  4. Enjoy making a difference, getting exercise, getting to know people better, and having cleaner surroundings.
You matter!
It's not community service, it's serving your community.

If every person picked up just 1 piece of litter today, there would be over 300 million fewer pieces of litter. If every person picked up 10 pieces of litter, there would be 3 billion fewer pieces damaging our environment. If you and your friends spend just 1 hour today picking up litter in your own neighborhood, you will not only pick up thousands of pieces of trash, you will also make a tremendous impact on your community.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday #33- Read a Book!

Make Today Matter...

  • Only 1 in 6 people read 12 or more books a year.
  • Fewer than half of today's adults are literary readers, meaning they read novels, mysteries, contemporary and classic fiction, short stories, plays, or poetry.
  • Leisure reading has declined 7% over the last 10 years for both genders and all ethnicities, education levels, and ages.
  • 55% of women read for leisure compared to 37% of men.
  • 43% of all literary readers perform volunteer and charity work compared to 17% of non-literary readers. The more books people read, the more active and involved they are in their communities.
  • Book buying constitutes less than 6% of total recreational spending, while spending on music, videos, computers, and software constitutes roughly 25%.

Take action today!
  1. Read a book you've never read before. If you don't have one on your shelf, go to the library or local bookstore, or order one online.
  2. Join a book club or start one with your friends or co-workers.
  3. Give books to people as gifts!
You matter!
Learn, Grow, Escape...

Reading is like exercise--mental and physical benefits flourish with regular practice. Reading improves language skills, vocabulary, and spelling skills; it introduces new ideas, perspectives, and information; it staves off the effects of aging by keeping your mind active; it provides a vehicle for mental escape and creativity; and it relaxes, entertains, and inspires your soul.

Take time out and read today...but this doesn't count :)

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday #32- Don't Drive Over the Speed Limit

Make Today Matter...

  • The #1 killer of people ages 4 to 37 is car accidents.
  • Over 43,000 people die in car accidents each year, and 2.7 million are injured.
  • 1 in 5 drivers under the age of 30 is stopped for speeding every year.
  • 75% of drivers admit to driving over the speed limit, and 50% determine their speed based on the chance of being stopped by police.
  • 6.1 million motor vehicle crashes are reported to police each year.
  • 30% of all traffic fatalities have speed as a factor, second only to alcohol (39%) as a cause of fatal crashes.
  • With every 10-MPH increase in speeds above 50 MPH, the impact of the force of the crash is doubled.
  • The annual cost of speed-related crashes is $40.4 billion.
What's the big rush?

Take action today!
  1. Obey speed limit signs. Doing so shows respect for the law, your life, and the lives of others.
  2. Slow down to give yourself time to avoid hitting debris, animals, and potholes. Potholes cause millions of dollars in damage to cars each year.
  3. Stay at least one car length behind the vehicle in front of you for every 10 MPH you're driving.
  4. Leave early. Allow enough time to get where you're going.
  5. Use caution and take appropriate safety measures when driving in extreme weather conditions.
You matter!
You can't get a speeding ticket if you don't speed.

It costs you nothing to slow down, and you'll even save money on gas and brakes. You also set a good example for other motorists and for anyone who is in the car with you.

The accident you prevent of the life you save just may be your own!

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday #31- Treat the Homeless with Dignity

Make Today Matter...

  • 2.3 to 3.5 million people are homeless at some point each year.
  • 750,000 people sleep on the streets every night.
  • 30% of the homeless are families with children, and 71% are single-parent families--the fastest growing group of all homeless.
  • 44% of the homeless population has part- or full-time employment.
  • Less than 30% of those eligible for low-income housing actually receive it because of a nationwide lack of affordable housing and assisted-housing programs.
  • Contrary to public perception, only 22% of the single adult homeless suffer from some form of severe and ongoing mental illness.
  • 94% of the nation's homeless do not want to be homeless.
Take action today!
  1. Don't judge people based on their outward appearances or life circumstances.
  2. Better understand who the homeless are by talking to them on the street or by volunteering to serve food at a mission, shelter, or soup kitchen. You'll be surprised by what you learn.
  3. Look a homeless person in the eye, show consideration, be polite, and smile. Simply say "hello" or "God bless you." They are human, just like you.
  4. Instead of money, offer bottled water, ready-to-eat food, or toiletries.
  5. If a homeless person asks for help and you are not able to, rather than treating them with indifference or ignoring them, simply state "I'm sorry, I am not able to help today."
You matter!
People don't want to be homeless.

Yet millions of people may only be one missed paycheck, one health crisis, or one unpaid bill away from becoming homeless. How many paychecks can you miss and still afford to pay the rent or mortgage? Treat the homeless with dignity and respect; they are not that different from you.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday #30- Create A Back-To-School Backpack!

Make Today Matter...

  • 28 millions children from low-income families enter school each fall.
  • Children need school supplies to do their schoolwork and homework.
  • Required school supplies cost between $20 and $100, depending on the grade level. This expense can be a financial burden for low-income families, especially those with more than one child.
  • Having new and proper school supplies increases a child's confidence, self-esteem, and excitement about school.
  • Children who feel good about themselves and their abilities are much more likely to do well in school--and in life.
It's more than just pencils and paper.

Take action today!
  1. Select a family in your neighborhood or workplace who is in financial need and has school-aged children. Or call a local elementary school, soup kitchen, or church to find a family.
  2. Get your friends, co-workers, and family members involved so you can buy in bulk. It's more cost-effective, and more kids can benefit.
  3. Select a backpack and school supplies that are fun and gender specific.
  4. Go to the Web site of the child's school to see if a list of supplies for each grade level is posted.
  5. If nothing is listed on the school's Web site, here are some items you could include:
- 1 school backpack
- 6 #2 pencils
- 6 medium ballpoint pens
- 1 package of colored pencils
- 1 package of markers
- 1 barrel pencil sharpener
- 1 pencil box or bag
- 2-pocket paper folders
- 2 wide-ruled spiral notebooks
- 1 package of notebook paper
- 1 12" ruler
- Calculator

You matter!
Both a child's performance in school and self-esteem can impact their entire life, as well as the community in which they grow up. Help make going back to school a positive experience by purchasing and stocking a backpack for a child.

Not only are you eliminating a challenge for a low-income family, you are enabling a young student to start the school year on a more level playing field.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday #29- Write a Note of Gratitude!

Make Today Matter...

  • Every week, the average person receives:
- 682 e-mails
- 12 text messages
- 10.8 pieces of junk mail
- 1.5 personal letters
  • Feeling appreciated is one of the strongest human desires.
  • There is warmth in a handwritten note--it instantly makes the message more personal, creates a more intimate feeling, and makes the recipient feel more valued.
  • With e-mail and instant messaging, a handwritten note is getting rarer and therefore more special.
  • A handwritten note costs less than a dollar to write and mail, and the relational value is priceless.
  • The recipient can keep and reread it forever.
Take action today!
  1. Select the person--a family member, friend, co-worker, or someone you haven't spoken to in a long time--whom you want to thank for what he or she brings to your life.
  2. Choose a postcard, letter, or greeting card.
  3. Take a few minutes to write a warm, sincere message that clearly communicates your love and appreciation for that person.
  4. Decide if you want to add any special touches like unique paper, scents, photographs, drawings on the envelope, or a specialty stamp.
  5. Send it!
You matter!
How many e-mails or text messages have you sent in the past week? How many handwritten notes of appreciation? More to the point, when was the last time you hand-wrote anything to anyone? 

Hand-write a note of gratitude to somebody today...just because. They will appreciate the rarity of it!

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday #28- NO FAST FOOD!

Make Today Matter...

  • $120+ billion is spent every year on fast food, compared to $6 billion in 1970.
  • 30% of children's meals consist of fast food.
  • 24% of high schools offer popular fast-food brands.
  • 1 in 5 children between the ages of 6 and 17 are overweight.
  • There is a 79% likelihood of adult obesity if a person is overweight during adolescence.
  • Large portions, value meals, and supersizing create serving sizes that are double and triple the recommended daily allowance.
  • Billions of dollars are spent each year on fast food advertising specifically targeted at children.
Take action today!
  1. Don't eat fast food today.
  2. Start the habit of switching one fast food meal per week to a healthier alternative.
  3. On days you do eat fast food, ask for the small size.
  4. Never supersize your meal. The price and value may be tempting, but your health pays the greatest price.
  5. Plan your meals at least a few days in advance.
  6. Go to the store and buy fresh or organic food.
  7. Pack a healthy lunch or cook dinner at home today.
You matter!

With each fast-food feast, you significantly increase your carbohydrate and fat intake as well as the calories you eat. So plan your meals, simplify your schedule, cook, and eat dinner as a family. 
Fast food may serve you minutes in your day, but it's taking years off your life...most chains don't advertise THAT on their "value" menu.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday #27- Potect Yourself From Identity Theft

Make Today Matter...

  • 8.4 million adults are victims of identity fraud annually.
  • Over $50 billion is stolen from victims of identity theft every year.
  • $5,720 is the average fraud amount per victim.
  • 25 hours per victim is the average time required to resolve identity theft and its consequences.
  • $6,270 is the average amount lost by people ages 25-34, the group that experiences the highest rate of identity fraud at 5.4%.
  • 63% of identity information is obtained through traditional methods, such as lost or stolen wallets; misappropriation by family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors; and stolen mail or trash.
Take action today!
  1. Use a paper shredder for important documents like credit applications, credit offers, insurance forms, physician statements, and expired charge cards.
  2. Deposit outgoing mail in collection boxes located inside the post office.
  3. Promptly remove mail from your home or business mailbox.
  4. Don't carry your Social Security card with you.
  5. Keep personal information in a safe and secure location at home.
  6. Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know with whom you are dealing.
  7. Create passwords that are random combinations of numbers, symbols, and both upper- and lower-case letters.
  8. Order a free copy of your credit report every 12 months.
  9. Check your online bank statement on a regular basis.
You matter!
When someone steals your name, social security number, and credit, they steal you!

Victims of identity theft may lose job opportunities, be refused loans for housing, cars, and education, and even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit. Taking simple measures to protect yourself can save you time, money, credit damage, frustration, anger, and possibly humiliation. 

You protect your personal belongings, why not protect your identity?

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday #26- Support A Global Cause!

Make Today Matter...

  • In the world:
- Every 3.5 seconds someone dies of hunger.
- Every 11 seconds someone dies of AIDS.
- Every 15 seconds someone dies from a waterborne illness.
  • 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.
  • 1 billion have no access to clean water.
  • 2.6 billion live without basic sanitation.
  • 5 million live in refugee camps.
  • 1.08 billion live on $1 or less per day.
  • 2 million children die each year from diseases that inexpensive vaccines could have prevented.
  • 11 million children die before they reach their 5th birthday. That's as if every child under five living in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany were to die in a single year.
  • Enough food is produced to feed everyone.
  • Every year more than 16 million people--the equivalent of one hundred 747 jets crashing every day of the year--die from:
- Hunger (9,125,000)
- HIV/AIDS (2,900,000)
- Pneumonia (2,000,000)
- Diarrhea (1,600,000)
- Malaria (1,000,000)

Take action today!
  1. Pick a global organization that interests you. The needs are many and obvious.
  2. Get involved today!
You matter!
The numbers are unbelievable, but they reflect a truth we cannot ignore. This is OUR world.

You, your friends, your family, your co-workers ALL matter when it comes to changing the statistics. Each one of you can make a huge difference. Every day we put off helping our world, we lose tens of thousands of people...many of whom died while you were reading this page.
Poverty is the common denominator.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monday #25- Plant a Tree!

Make Today Matter...
  • 1 acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people every day.
  • Planting trees remains one of the most cost-effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. 1 acre of trees can absorb the same amount of CO2 produced by a car driven 26,000 miles.
  • 3 trees planted strategically around the house can reduce energy use by up to 50%.
  • Trees add beauty, increase property values, and reduce stress.
  • 1 tree planted by every family would reduce 1 billion pounds of CO2 annually from our atmosphere.
 Take action today!
  1. Call your local nursery to get a list of trees that grow best in your area; then determine the type of tree you would like to plant.
  2. Give a tree to someone as a gift.
  3. To plant a tree:
- Identify the proper location.
- Dig a hole at least twice as big as the root ball of the tree.
- Place several inches of good soil mix at the bottom of the hole before inserting the tree.
- Place the tree in the hole. If your tree comes in a plastic pot, burlap, or wire basket, remove it from the container without disturbing the root system.
- Fill in the hole with good soil and pack firmly.
- Anchor your tree using a tree stake. Use wire and a length of old hose to secure tree to the stake--the hose will keep the wire from cutting through the trunk. Remove anchor after 2 years.
- Water thoroughly and fertilize as directed.

You matter!
Trees improve our air quality, save energy, reduce pollutants, provide homes for wildlife, and add brilliant colors to landscapes. Planting 100 million trees can reduce the amount of carbon by an estimated 18 million tons per year and, at the same time, save consumers $4 billion each year on utility bills. 

100 million trees--that's the goal. So get out your shovel!

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday #24- Don't Honk

Make Today Matter...

  • Noise is among the most pervasive pollutants today.
  • 28 million people have impaired hearing caused by noise.
  • Hearing loss is occurring in people at younger and younger ages.
  • Overexposure to noise can cause increased heart rate, respiration, sweating, headaches, stress, blood pressure, and sleep loss.
  • The law states that a driver of a motor vehicle, when reasonably necessary to ensure safe operation, shall give audible warning with the horn. The law prohibits the use of horns for any other reason, except as part of an alarm system.
  • Sound is measured by decibels (dBA). Common sounds include normal conversation (60 dBA), a noisy restaurant (85 dBA), a car horn (110 dBA), and a jackhammer (130 dBA).
  • At 110 dBA, the maximum exposure time is 1 minute and 29 seconds before hearing damage can occur.
Noise-induced hearing loss, though  preventable, is permanent.

Take Action Today!
  1. Only use your horn when it is reasonably necessary to ensure the safe operation of your vehicle.
  2. Don't use your horn to let someone know you are angry, to tell people you are waiting outside to pick them up, to say goodbye, and/or as a way of protesting.
  3. Get your hearing checked regularly.
You Matter!
You can be both the cause and the victim of noise. Noise-induced hearing loss is cumulative over one's lifespan. To avoid noise-induced hearing loss, pay attention to the noises around you, turn down the volume whenever possible, and don't honk your horn unnecessarily. 

Often, by the time you realize you are losing your hearing, it is too late.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday #23- Get Tested

Make Today Matter...

  • The US has the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the industrialized world, with over 65 million people infected.
  • 19 million new cases of STDs are diagnosed every year.
  • 1 in 4 teens contracts an STD each year.
  • 1 in 2 sexually active persons under the sage of 25 will contract an STD.
  • Over $14 billion is spent each year to diagnose and treat STDs, excluding HIV.
  • Nearly 1 million people are estimated to have HIV, and 25% are unaware of their infection.
  • 50% of the population will likely have an STD at some point in their lifetime.
STDs and HIV are preventable.

Take action today!
  1. Call your physician or locate a testing facility near you and make an appointment to get tested for STDs and HIV. Testing is anonymous and can be free of charge.
  2. Get the information you need before getting tested. Counseling and support are available to help assess your risks and understand your results.
  3. If your test results are negative and you are sexually active, use a condom. Abstinence is always the safest policy.
  4. If you test positive, be responsible: get treated and tell your partner. Be honest and give full disclosure.
You matter!
No one is immune.

We need to take responsibility for transmitting infections and diseases to others. Save lives, money, heartache, and emotional burden by getting tested. 

If you could prevent yourself from passing along a life-threatening infection, disease, or inconvenience to someone, wouldn't you?

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday #22- Thank a Firefighter!

Make Today Matter...

  • There are over 1,100,000 firefighters.
  • 73% of firefighters are volunteers, with 66% or more of fire departments staffed 100% by volunteers.
  • More than 100 firefighters die in the line of duty each year.
  • 1.5 million or more fires are reported annually.
  • Fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined, with over 4,000 deaths annually.
  • The US has one of the highest rates of death due to fire in the industrialized world.
Take action today!
  1. When you see firefighters in uniform, walk up and thank them for keeping you and your community safe.
  2. Get our of the way. Pull your car to the right when you hear a siren or see a fire truck with its lights on.
  3. Organize your friends, co-workers, neighborhood, or class to create and deliver thank-you cards to your local fire stations.
  4. Donate to firefighter benefits and causes. If you don't know of any, ask your local fire department which organizations support them.
  5. Minimize your risk of fires--install smoke detectors, keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, don't overload power plugs, clear brush from around your house, and don't flick your cigarette butts!
You matter!
Firefighters fight to good fight...oftentimes for free!

Every day firefighters put their lives on the line to save people and property. Many of these firefighters are volunteers, so let's "pay" them by showing our appreciation, thanking them for the valuable service they provide, and letting them know that we are very aware of the significant positive impact they have on our communities. Firefighters, whether paid or not, make an incredible difference in our lives, so let's make a difference in theirs!

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday #21- Learn CPR!

 Make Today Matter...


  • Cardiac arrest may be caused by drowning, drug overdoses, poisoning, elecrtocution, and many other conditions.
  • 95% of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital.
  • 75% to 80% of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home.
  • 4 to 6 minutes after someone experiences cardiac arrest, brain death starts to occur.
  • CPR helps maintain vital blood flow to the heart and brain and increases the amount of time that an electric shock from a defibrillator can be effective.
CPR can double a victim's chance of survival!

Take action today!
  1. Call your local hospital to find a place near you that teaches CPR or to arrange for a certified CPR instructor to come to your school or workplace.
  2. Sign up for a class with a family member or friend.
  3. Learn CPR. It only takes a few hours!
  4. Post CPR guidelines in a kitchen cupboard, office, car, and anywhere else you frequent. These guidelines may come in handy during emergency situations. Tell people around you that the guidelines are there in case they need to perform CPR.
You matter!
What if you could have saved a life had you known CPR?

What if you needed help and no one around you could help? Take a few hours today to learn this life-saving skill. It can change your life...and someone else's life...forever.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

For information about CPR classes offered through American Red Cross of Northeastern California, please visit www.arcnec.org.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday #20- Don't Flick Cigarette Butts!

Make Today Matter...
  • The average smoker smokes 10,000 cigarettes a year.
  • Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item.
  • Over 100 billion cigarette butts weighing 100 million pounds end up as litter each year.
  • Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic that takes decades to decompose.
  • 25% of all ocean and beach debris is cigarette butts. They have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales, and other marine creatures that mistake them for food.
  • Over 750 civilian deaths, 1,500 critical injuries, and $480 million in direct property damage occur each year due to over 25,000 cigarette-caused fires.
  • Annual cigarette butt litter, end on end, measures more than 2 million miles. That's 337 roundtrips from Los Angeles to New York!
Take action today!
  1. When you see a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or stranger smoking, ask him or her to discard the butt in an appropriate receptacle.
  2. If you see someone flick a cigarette butt on the ground, politely ask them to pick it up, or do it yourself. Maybe they will see you and get the point.
  3. Consider posting the above statistics at designated smoking areas at your workplace or school. 
  4. Purchase pocket ashtrays for those close to you who may smoke.
You matter.
Why is it that people who wouldn't even think about throwing trash into the street don't hesitate to flick a cigarette butt? 
Most people who litter their cigarettes either don't fully understand the consequences of their actions or they have rationalized their behavior. Imagine fewer fires as well as less litter, pollution, and harm to animals simply because people stopped throwing their cigarette butts out their car window or tossing them on the ground.

The sheer volume of cigarette butt litter isn't just ugly, it's hazardous!

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday #19- Adopt A Pet!

Make Today Matter...

  • There are 4,000 to 6,000 animal shelters.
  • Nearly 8 million dogs and cats are placed in shelters each year.
  • Approximately 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year because not enough people want them.
  • 1 out of 4 dogs in shelters are purebreds. Adoption fees are usually much less than the cost of purchasing dogs from pet stores and breeders.
  • Only 16% of owned dogs and 15% of owned cats were adopted from an animal shelter.
  • Many shelters vaccinate, deworm, and spay or neuter for free.
Take action today!
  1. Go to a shelter near you to see if there is an animal with which you "connect." If not, visit another shelter or return another day.
  2. Speak with an adoption counselor at the shelter about whether your choice of a particular type or breed will be best for you.
  3. Only select a pet if you have a realistic understanding of the time, effort, and money required to provide a healthy, loving environment for your pet.
  4. Enjoy your newfound friend!
You matter!
Animals are unconcerned about age, looks, or physical ability; they accept you just as you are. If you're thinking about getting a pet, seriously consider adopting. 
Not only will you be saving your new pet's life, but you'll also be rewarded with years of companionship, entertainment, unconditional love, and increased opportunities to meet others.

(Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday #18- Show Your Smile!

Make Today Matter...

  • A smile is a universal expression of happiness and recognized as such by all cultures.
  • A smiling person is judged to be more pleasant, attractive, sincere, sociable, and competent.
  • Smiling or even seeing somebody smile releases endorphins that work in the brain to give an overall feeling of well-being.
  • Happy people generally don't get sick as often as people who are unhappy.
  • Adults laugh approximately 15 times per day, while children laugh about 400 times a day.
  • It takes only 17 muscles to smile compared to 43 muscles to frown.
  • Women smile more than men.
Smiling is contagious!

Take action today!
  1. Smile at EVERYONE you see today.
  2. Keep track of how many times you smile and laugh today.
  3. At the end of your day of smiling, notice how you feel and whether people acted differently around you.
  4. If you are having trouble smiling, here are a few suggestions to help:
- Make faces at yourself in the mirror
- Shake your body like it's laughing from inside
- Jump on your bed
- Hug someone you love
- Visit a pet store
    You matter!
    Happiness leads to smiling, and smiling leads to happiness. Happiness is your natural immunity, having a profound, positive effect on your health and well-being. 
    If you are happy, smile. If you aren't happy, smile anyway. It will help you get there!

    (Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Monday #17- Register to Donate Your Organs

    Make Today Matter...

    • Over 97,000 people are in need of one or more organs.
    • 77 people receive organ transplants every day.
    • There is no age limit on who can donate.
    • 300 new transplant candidates are added to the waiting list each month.
    • Most family members are not aware of one another's willingness to be a donor, even if it is indicated on their driver's license.
    Take action today!
    1. Declare on your driver's license your wish to donate tissue and organs.
    2. Carry a donor card in your wallet.
    3. Sign up on your state's donor registry today.
    4. Inform your family, loved ones, and physician of your decision.
    You matter!

    18 people die every day waiting for a transplant.
    Because more people need transplants than there are organs available, register your organs on the donor registry. In addition to indicating your wishes on your driver's license, make your family members aware of your decision. Saving a life by donating a heart, lung, or kidney or allowing someone to see again through your cornea may be the most significant gift you ever give...

    (Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Monday#16- Support Neighborhood Watch

    Make Today Matter...

    • Over 3.4 million burglaries occur annually.
    • 60% or more of residential burglaries occur during daylight hours.
    • Every 14.6 seconds a burglary takes place.
    • Over 60% of all burglaries are by forcible entry by breaking windows, and forcing open doors, windows, or locks.
    • Approximately 32% of all burglaries are by unlawful entry with no force: the robbers enter via an open door or window.
    • The average loss per residential burglary is $1,725.
    • July has the greatest number of burglaries; February has the least.
    • Only 17%, or 1 in 6 people, volunteer in a program that prevents crime.
    Make it more difficult for burglars to do their job...
    Take action today!
    1. Get to know your neighbors.
    2. Organize a community watch program to protect your neighborhood. Obtain training and necessary information from your local law enforcement agency.
    3. Post a Neighborhood Watch sign in a visible window of your home and encourage neighbors to do the same.
    4. Ask neighbors to be observant and report suspicious or unusual activities.
    5. Let your neighbors know when you'll be out of town and leave a contact number where you can be reached.
    6. Make your home safer by installing an alarm system, placing rods in the frames of sliding windows and doors, leaving outdoor lights (CFL's) on at night, setting indoor lamps with timers, and adopting a dog.
    You matter!
    A safe neighborhood is created when the people who live in the community look out for one another and their property. Keeping a watchful eye, noticing and reporting unusual activities, and talking with neighbors to make them aware of neighborhood happenings all help create a crime watch program and a safe community.

    (Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Monday #15- Rideshare

    Make Today Matter...

    Traffic is overrated!

    • Only 10.2% of workers rideshare.
    • 52.5 cents per mile is the average cost to drive a car due to fuel, maintenance, tires, depreciation, and insurance.
    • $2,520 can be save annually by each person in a 2-person, 40-mile roundtrip rideshare.
    • 12,000 gallons of gasoline would be saved each year for every 100 people who paired up into a daily rideshare.
    • 18 lbs of CO2 is produced by burning 1 gallon of gasoline.
    • A 10% nationwide increase in transit ridership would save 135 million gallons of gasoline a year.
    • 34% of roads are in poor or mediocre condition due to heavy usage and lack of proper repair.
    Save your car, the roads, and your tax dollars!
    Take action today!
    1. Find a rideshare partner. Ask a co-worker, student, or friend.
    2. Check with your company or school to see if there is an organized rideshare program.
    3. Follow these guidelines:
    - Meet new rideshare partner(s) before your commute.
    - Discuss preferences like seating arrangements, music, eating, cell phone usage, and smoking.
    - Set up a probationary period to try out the arrangement.
    - Provide information about your rideshare partner(s) to someone else in case of emergency.
    - Create an equitable driving and cost arrangement.
    - Be punctual.

    You matter!
    Do something meaningful with the $2,520 you save!

    Ridesharing reduces gasoline usage, vehicle wear, traffic, stress, pollution, and dependency on foreign oil. With every 100 people who pair up daily and rideshare for a year, we keep 1,848 lbs of hydrocarbons, 1,320 lbs of carbon monoxide, 792 lbs of nitrogen oxides, and 2,376,000 lbs of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
    You might even make a friend or two...

    (Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Monday #14- Create, Support, Appreciate ART!

    Make Today Matter...

    • 93% of people believe that the arts are vital to a well-rounded education.
    • Regardless, only 29% of schools have been able to maintain time and funding for art programs.
    • Children spend more time at their locker than in art classes.
    • People learn to be more tolerant and open to other people when creating or appreciating art.
    • Art promotes individuality, bolsters self-confidence, and improves overall academic performance. 
    • Art is a reflection of people and cultures since the beginning of time.
    • Students who take 4 years of arts and music in high school average 100 points higher on their SATs than students who took only a half year or less.
    Take action today!
    1. Create an original piece of art today. If you don't know how or where to start, visit your local craft store and ask for help.
    2. Sign up for an art class with a friend.
    3. Visit a local museum, art gallery, or sculpture garden.
    4. Volunteer to support an art activity at a local school or senior citizen program.
    5. Communicate with your school-district administrators, state, or national legislators by either writing a letter of appreciation for current funding or requesting funding for the arts.
    You matter!
    Sit down with friends and family and take some time to be a kid again!

    With minimal supplies, you can create a unique piece of art and give it to someone as a gift. If creating art is not your thing, then support the people who do love it by visiting a museum, donating art supplies, buying art from a local artist, or writing a letter to the people who control school and government budgets. 
    Just as there are many ways you can express art, there are also many ways you can support and appreciate it.

    (Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Monday #13- Donate Books!

    Make Today Matter...

    • 61% of low-income families have no books in their homes.
    • 43% of adults with the lowest level of literacy proficiency live in poverty.
    • Only 4% of adults with strong literacy skills live in poverty.
    • 55% of children have increased interest in reading when given books at an early age.
    • Children with a greater variety of reading material in the home are more creative, imaginative, and proficient in reading. They are also on a better path toward educational growth and development.
    • There is only 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods, compared to 13 books per child in middle-income neighborhoods.
    Take action today!
    1. Go through your bookshelves and pull out books that you will never read again or have owned for more than 2 years and haven't read yet.
    2. Pack the books in a box.
    3. Call your local library, schools, foster homes, or children's organizations to see if they need books.
    4. Deliver the books.
    5. If you don't have any books at home, purchase some to donate or find an organization that accepts financial donations and will purchase books and deliver them where they are needed.
    You matter!

    The majority of children in low-income neighborhoods often lack libraries and bookstores. Having access to books is the key to literacy. By donating your books, especially children's books, you can impact some of the 12 million children who don't have books at home.

    Are you really going to read them again?

    (Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Monday #12- Party With A Purpose!

    Make Today Matter...

    • Every WEEK there are:
      • 79,623births
      • 42,884 weddings
      • 5,812,037 birthdays
    • Birthdays are the #1 reason people celebrate.
    • There are millions of other gift-giving/receiving occasions every year, such as bat and bar mitzvahs, graduations, funerals, retirements, and debutante balls.
    • Every year, nearly 140 million people purchase and/or receive a gift card with an average value of $59.
    • $747 is the average amount spent annually on holiday gifts.
    Take action today!

    1. Select a charity, cause, or purpose you wish to support.
    2. Decide which holiday or occasion for which you would like your friends and family to make a donation instead of giving you a gift.
    3. Provide your friends and family with the proper information to make their giving easier- web site, phone number, or address.
    4. If there is not a specific reason for having a party, make one up. Simply have guests bring a food dish or beverage along with money for your charity of choice or for someone in need.
    You matter!

    Something worth partying for...
    If everyone give up their birthday gifts this year, more than $3 billion dollars can be donated to worthy causes or needy people. Friends and family donating money in your name can be much more rewarding than getting material gifts. Giving is a lot more gratifying than receiving, no matter the occasion.

    (Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Monday #11- Register to Vote!

    Make Today Matter...

    • Voter registration has a dramatic impact on voter turnout.
    • In the 2004 presidential election:
      • 88.5% of registered voters voted--only 63.8% of total voting-eligible population.
      • 88% of registered men voted--only 62.1% of all men.
      • 89% of registered women voted--only 65.4% of all women.
      • 81.2% of registered 18- to 24-year-olds voted--only 46.7% of all 18- to 24-year-olds.
      • 92.1% of registered 65- to 74-year-olds voted--only 73.3% of all 65- to 74-year-olds.
    • Only 24% of Generation DotNet (15- to 25-year-olds) follow government and public affairs "very often," compared with 60% of pre-baby boomer voters, 50% of baby boomers, and 37% of GenXers.
    • The #1 reason people don't vote is because they feel their vote won't matter. Other reasons include too much negative campaigning, the sense that the political parties are too similar, an overall disgust with politics, and a lack of good candidates.
    • 71 million eligible voters did not vote in the 2004 presidential election.
    Take action today!
    1. Register to vote by using the National Mail Voter Registration Form. Obtain this form online at www.rockthevote.com or www.eac.gov.
    2. Register in person at your local DMV, state offices providing public assistance or programs for the disabled, official campaign headquarters, armed forces recruitment offices, public libraries, post offices, public high schools, and universities.
    3. Pay attention to the registration deadlines in your state to ensure that you register in time to vote.
    4. Make sure friends, family, and co-workers are registered.
    5. Get informed on the issues and candidates.
    6. VOTE!
    You matter!
    The numbers don't lie...registered voters vote. 
    Are you registered?

    (Adapted from Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza)

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Girls vs. Boys in Social Media Giving

    SEATTLE, WA (February 22, 2011) — According to a new 30 Hour Famine study, 4 out of 5 teens (80%) use social media, almost half (44%) say they’ve become more aware of the needs of others as a result of their use of social media like Facebook and Twitter, and about 1 in 3 (34%) “friend,” “like,” or “follow” charitable organizations or causes they believe in. 

    The survey, commissioned by the international relief and development group World Vision, also reveals that girls are more likely than boys to say they’ve become more aware of the needs of others as a result of their use of social media (51% of girls vs. 38% of boys). The study was conducted online in January by Harris Interactive among more than 500 youth ages 13 to 17 years old. 

    • Girls more likely than boys to “friend”, “like” or “follow” charities they support and causes they believe in (41% vs. 27%)
    • Girls more likely to support charities symbolically (43% vs. 31%) and vocally (38% vs. 27%)
    “While social media may be decried by some for the time teens today spend on it, the truth is it can help today’s youth learn more about important things in life. More than 2 in 5 teens say they have become more aware of the needs of others because of their use of social media, which helps spread the word among their circle. This is teens using social media for social good,” says Regina Corso, Senior Vice President, Harris Poll Public Relations and Youth Research with Harris Interactive.

    What do YOU think? 

    Is teen involvement in social media positive or harmful? Can social media be used to change our world for the better? 

    Visit our Girls Inc. Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Girls-Incorporated-of-the-Northern-Sacramento-Valley/159259326686 and “like” us today!