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Keep Those Helping Hands Active in the New Year

During November and December there are a wealth of volunteer
opportunities for those looking to give back. From food, toy and clothing
drives to serving meals at soup kitchens, the options seem endless. Sterlingers rolled up their sleeves twice holiday season. Just before Thanksgiving a group of
us helped distribute food with Second Harvest Food Bank’s Family Harvest
program, which provides low-income families with groceries every month. And in
December we assembled nearly 100 health promotion kits for Glide Health
from supplies collected throughout the year. Not bad for a group our size.

Family Harvest In rolls 2010. Vacations are over and
everyone is back to work or school. Our schedules are packed with meetings,
kids, laundry, life and any free time we have is spent working on New Year’s
resolutions. The season of giving is over, right? Not so fast.

The compassion and generosity that drives us to give back
during the holidays doesn’t have to end when we toss out the tree and pack up
the decorations. There are tons of opportunities to help you get involved and even
achieve a personal goal or two.

Is getting organized a priority this year? Clean out
your closets and donate your gently used clothing (especially warm coats) to shelters like Raphael
. Perhaps getting in shape tops your list of resolutions. Team In Training
is holding information meeting this month on upcoming events that support the
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Ithinkican_logo Or maybe your goal isn’t to climb a mountain or run a
marathon. You can still turn your New Year’s resolutions into a fundraising
goal for At The Crossroads. This fantastic organization reaches out to San Francisco’s homeless youth
and young adults at their point of need, and work with them to build healthy
fulfilling lives. ATC’s I Think I Can Campaign, which starts this month, works
like a walk-a-thon, but you don’t have to walk. You can pick any goal for
yourself: quit smoking, write poetry, play an open mic performance, learn a new
language, lose weight, you get the point. With a few clicks you can create a
website, get your friends and family to sponsor you and start working towards
your goal. It’s the ultimate motivator to stick to those New Year’s resolutions
that are so easily forgotten come February.

Learn more about ATC’s I Think I Can Campaign online or better
yet, attend their free launch party on Wednesday, January 21st,
6-9pm at Orson restaurant in San Francisco’s SOMA district. 

Even though the holidays are in the past the season of giving
isn’t, so keep those helping hands helping any way you can.

For more ways to get involved check out Sterling's Volunteer Guide.


Happy TweetsGiving!


What is Thanksgiving all about? Is it about stuffing yourself until you’re sure you’re going to explode, but instead you just go take a nap? Or maybe Thanksgiving is about the football – rooting and cheering for your favorite team until your voice is hoarse or playing your own game out on the front yard. Is it the yams? And the pumpkin pie, pecan pie, turkey, cranberry jelly, rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing… well, you get the idea. All these things make up Thanksgiving traditions, but are they really what the day is about? It’s important to remember the best part of Thanksgiving is spending time with loved ones and expressing thanks for the various ways your life has been blessed.


For the last two years, the non-profit, Epic Change, has taken the spirit of Thanksgiving and translated it into TweetsGiving, a global celebration to change the world through the power of gratitude. For 48 hours, people all over the world are encouraged to express their thanks publicly through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and various blogs. In addition to spreading messages of gratitude, people are invited to make contributions, both big and small, to Epic Change. During the inaugural TweetsGiving last year, Epic Change raised nearly $11,000 in 48 hours and built a classroom in Tanzania with the money. This year, TweetsGiving has already raised over $16,000 in just over 24 hours. The money raised this year will help to build other classrooms, a cafeteria, a library and a dormitory/orphanage for the same school in Tanzania.


As a former elementary teacher, I will always have a soft spot for children and schools. I believe education – in a safe, nurturing environment – should be available to everyone. Maybe that is why I am so drawn TweetsGiving, Epic Change and the Shepards Junior School in Tanzania. All I had to do was look at the photos and videos of the adorable students, to get the inspiration do anything I could to help. Fifth graders at the school are even on Twitter, dubbed the TwitterKids, and supporters are invited to tweet with the kids.

The best part is simple blog posts like this one will help Epic Change in their endeavors. So lend your support by spreading your gratitude to your network and let them know about TweetsGiving: tag tweets, status updates, pictures, videos and even songs with the hashtag #tweetsgiving. In addition to messages of gratitude, you can make a donation. Contributions big and small are welcome and needed! There is less than 24 hours left of TweetsGiving, so unleash your gratitude now!

Happy TweetsGiving and have a lovely Thanksgiving tomorrow. Enjoy your turkey, pie, football and loved ones!