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)