As someone who is a big believer in paying it forward and helping others, I have always done my best to donate my time, talents and money to charity and those in need. I have also been on the receiving end of such charity while battling a devastating chronic illness that has cost me physically, emotionally and financially. After being on both the giving and receiving end, I now believe even more that charity makes the world go around.
Before my illness hit me hard, I was much more active in helping my community. One of my proudest moments was being able to donate enough to our local police department for the purchase of a brand new McGruff the Crime Dog costume that is now used to teach safety to children in our community. My husband and I also involve our children in charity so that they are raised with a spirit of giving. Here I am with three of our six kids participating in the Random Acts of Zu charity drive:
I recently learned of an excellent program for giving back to our local communities called the State Farm Neighborhood Assist initiative. Communities across the United States and Canada answered the call from State Farm® to help create a positive impact in their community and submitted 4,000 causes as part of this year’s State Farm Neighborhood Assist. Now the top 200 causes have been selected by the State Farm Youth Advisory Board® and they need your “assist” to help vote them into the top 40. From April 28 through May 16, anyone who has the free State Farm Neighborhood Assist Facebook application can vote daily for their favorite cause, or causes, and help bring $25,000 to the top 40 vote-getters.
|Extreme Recess in Wisconsin- Providing Adaptive Sports & Activities for Children With Disabilties-|
Previous Grant Recipient in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Program
This is such an easy way to help a cause in your community without having to even leave your home or spend a dime! I chose to vote for "A Place 4 Us," an organization in my homestate of Maryland that helps children who have suffered from abuse, neglect and/or trauma. Here's how this important charity plans to use the $25,000 should they place in the top 40:
"The $25, 000 will address the need because it will provide A Place 4 Us program leaders and volunteers with the opportunity to not only acquire the basic supplies (sports and art supplies/equipment, educational supplies, stuffed animals, books and additional supplies) that the program needs, but it will also allow for the acquiring of 1-3 skill professionals to work in the program. In addition, the money received will assist One Love 4 Kids, Inc in securing a location to house this essential program. Children who have experienced abuse and trauma need empathy, consistency, but most important a place to feel safe. And One Love 4 Kids, Inc. A Place 4 us program wants to create this safe place for children for many years so that they may continue on their healing journey. Therefore, it is vital for the program to secure funding which will also assist in securing a location that the program can be housed in for a long, long time.
"A Place 4 Us will have a lasting impact on the children, families and community being served. Reason being, although the focus of A Place 4 Us is on providing direct support to children who have experienced, trauma, abuse and neglect, it is common knowledge that children are best understood in the context of their families, schools and communities. As a result, A Place 4 Us program leaders will work diligently and tirelessly to provide resources for parents and caregivers so they can better support their children. In addition, A Place 4 Us program leaders will work with local schools, other agencies serving children and families and county government agencies to ensure that programs are in place to prevent future child abuse. Thus, A Place 4 Us will be a fixture in the lives of children being served and in the community for many years to come."Check out this heart-warming video of a previous grant recipient from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program- Extreme Recess by Dreams for Kids:
How wonderful would it feel to know that YOU helped make such a difference in your community, just by placing a vote? It's free, quick and easy, and the rewards will have a profound impact on your community.
Take a look at what organizations are in the top 200 and place your vote here. Did you know that the difference between the charities that placed 40th and 41st last year were just 62 votes? Your vote definitely counts and could make all the difference! You can even vote from your mobile phone. As shown in the infographic below, 35% of votes from last year's initiative came from a mobile device (click to enlarge photo):
You have until May 16 to vote for your favorite cause/causes and you can vote up to ten times each day, so head over to the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Facebook app and help keep communities strong by voting now!