Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 273

Chandni is still out of town so this evening so Jiten, Kalpesh, and I went to SafeHouse. Jiten and Kalpesh got there a little earlier than me as I was stuck in traffic.

As I arrived to SafeHouse, most of the crowd was making their way inside. We stayed behind and started by helping putting away the chairs. Then we started chatting away one of the regulars. Our conversation started out by us talking to him about his current job. Then we talked about flying kites, and most importantly, Football. We discussed our favorite teams and the teams that we love to hate.

We ended the evening by watching a group of guys play a friendly game of basketball. They guys were really enjoying themselves and we were having a great time watching them and cheering them on. I have to say, some of those guys really have some skills on the court. :)

Tonight is going to be a very chilly night in Atlanta. So before we left, we handed out a few sweaters that we had brought along. They are really going to go a long way this weekend, since we are expecting a cold weekend. Hopefully everyone will be able to find a way to stay warm.

I am so glad that we could fill in for Chandni tonight at SafeHouse. We had a great time and look forward to going back soon.

~ Hema

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 272

Today I went to Books for Africa. There was a very small group of volunteers there today and we were all busy doing our part with little conversation about college and looking for a job. I packed science books today. Got through an entire pallet of books in the two hours I was there. It was a hot and tiring day today, but I was glad to be able to do my part and in those two hours I packed almost a 1000 books!

Chandni is away at a retreat and has also been able to give while there. Here is what she's been up to:

"So I'm at a mindfulness retreat for a few days and it has been an amazing experience so far. While here we each are assigned a way of giving back to our community here at the monastery by helping with different tasks. We can help with meals, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the grounds, washing dishes, taking out the trash, or setting up chairs for different events. My groups assignment is to take out the trash after each meal. So even though I'm not able to give in the ways I've done all year, this small giving task is my way of giving back while here at the retreat. There's always an opportunity. We just have to be willing to do it :)".

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 271

Since Chandni is out of town for the rest of the week, we all are pulling together to help out on whichever days we can. Today was covered by Giselle. She went to American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, a place which offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free, temporary place to stay. Here's how it went:

Okay so today was my first volunteering day there. I met Kayla and Eli. We helped check out two of the cancer patients. One of the ladies was going home 6 hrs away past Macon. The other gentleman was there for six weeks and finishes his treatment tomorrow. He graduates tomorrow and plans to move to Atlanta. He expressed how much the Hope Lodge had become his home through his treatments. He said he would miss it and would be back for the reunion in April.

I put up a weekly calendar of dinners and lunches that were being donated this week by Georgia power. They really have a need for people sponsoring dinners and donations there.

They were also having a Hope Lodge fundraiser where they were selling items kind of like a yard sale and raising money for the old wing to be remodeled. They have raised a little over $1,500.00 and still have to reach $3,000. Last year they raised $2,500 and hope to reach that.

The lodge is like a family. Barbara and Kimberly, the staff on site, knew everyone. They said next week Joe is graduating and, "to have your tears ready." She said everyone had given up on him but himself and now he is graduating which means he is done with his treatments. I hope to be there next week and be able to take pictures of this occasion.

Again, none of this would have come about without my grand father. When I came to Dona about doing my Hope Lodge Fundraiser, I felt so selfish. Only because my grandfather had cancer and stayed at the Hope Lodge. I wanted to give back. I look back now and think if this wouldn't have happened then I wouldn't be helping the future guests at the Hope Lodge. You have to start some where.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 270

Another night of virtual volunteering. This time I used - I love the random challenges that cover a wide variety of interests!

My first challenge was coming up with interesting news letter topics for Doostane Farsi Zabane Man, which translates from Persian (Farsi) to “My Persian-Speaking Friends”. The organization aims to increase friendship and cultural understanding between Iranians and Americans through a pen pal program between young citizens of Iran and the United States.

The next challenge was coming up with Arts and Crafts ideas for boys ages 7-10. This one was for Global Give, whose mission is to select financially struggling communities in the U.S. and abroad during the holiday season and make sure that each and every child in the community receives a gift.

The last one was for Children's Specialized Hospital - the largest pediatric healthcare rehabilitation system in the United States. It is the preeminent provider of rehabilitation for children with special needs. The hospital serves children affected by brain injury, spinal cord dysfunction and injury, premature birth, autism, developmental delays, and life-changing illnesses. They were looking for meaningful ways to thank their volunteers.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 269

Traveling and feeling so sick, so today's virtual volunteering was a quick visit to

I did all the click to donate tabs.
I took today's daily challenge to help protect grey seals in Canada.

I got to hang out by the river for a little while today and so today's petitions were environmentally themed:
  • I signed a petition to reduce ocean trash (even our rivers are horribly polluted! I say styrofoam cups and trash in the river here);
  • to save the rainforests;
  • to look at the environmental impact of deep sea drilling;
  • to reduce air pollution from fracking;
  • and lastly to help protect gorillas in the Congo
Giving is just that easy! Hope you have a chance to give back today :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 268

There were some last minute changes in today's plans, so I ended up at SafeHouse this evening (yay!!).

The evening started off a little slow, and I took advantage of that to talk to some of the quieter people. One gentleman I spoke to lives under a bridge - we have a ritual anytime I pass this bridge and he is there, I honk twice and he waves. Today we talked about Kool-Aid - his favorite flavors, why he thinks it is the best drink, and how he makes it. He also shared that he has never been outside Atlanta, he says he is a true Southerner! He does not like the idea of traveling on planes and trains and we had a long conversation about all the things that can go wrong when you are traveling.

I also got to catch up with one of the ladies who told me about her kids a few weeks back...she is going back home this evening and will be with her kids! She was so excited! She has things she needs to work on and I'm hoping she can make positive changes not just for her sake but for her kids too.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 267

Hema, Jiten, and I went down to Global Soap this morning to volunteer. There was a big group of volunteers from a church there too. As soon as we got there we got to work - we peeled soap the entire time.

It was a fun experience, we chatted and caught up on each others' lives as we cleaned soap. It's definitely more lively when Derreck is there, but we still had a good time.

97 days to go...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 266

After sitting in traffic (out in the middle of nowhere) forever I made it to SafeHouse!

It was a busy night! The lot was filled with GSU students and volunteers. It was great seeing that many people there having conversations with the individuals there. One of the guys had a new hairstyle so I hung out with him for a minute and he told me about the new look. Once inside, I said hello to lots of people and then sat down with some of the guys.

A younger gentleman talked about his 2year old son and how he wanted to me closer to him and to be a part of his life. We talked about how he could do that. Another gentleman also shared with him the importance of his kids and putting them before anyone else. The younger gentleman listened to the advice and talked about his plans for going back home to his son.

The rest of the night I talked to some of my favorites about all kinds of stuff, we joked around, laughed a lot and celebrated a birthday - it was definitely a fun night :)

98 days to go...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 265

Jiten filled in for me today and helped out at school with the Rubble House project - a joint effort between SPSU and Conscience International. The latter has spent the past year building new homes from the rubble created by the January 2010 earthquake that left so many Haitians homeless. The group needs scientific data to support its belief that, not only are these houses easy and inexpensive to build, but they also provide greatly improved safety over traditional concrete block-built homes, in the event of another earthquake. Here's how it went today:

"Due to the weather we were unable to continue testing on the rubble house. So instead, today we sat and did all the mind boggling calculations that needed to be done on the previous data. It was interesting to see that the walls acted independent of each other when a load was pushed against one side during testing the day before. The calculations were no fun at all, but needed to be done. Although we can't make any sense of what we calculate till all the tests have been done. We will be doing more testing tomorrow morning, as long as the weather cooperates!"

99 more days to go!! I can't believe how fast this year has gone by, I'm sure the rest of it will fly by too :(

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 264

Today's giving was through Amnesty International. I read through many petitions, here are the one's I wrote letters for today:

  • The first was one was for Jabbar Savalan, a 20 year old student who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on May 4, 2011. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and condemns his conviction on fabricated drug charges. I wrote a letter asking for his immediate and unconditional release from prison.
  • I then wrote a letter for Sanjiv Kumar Karna and four other students, who were last seen on Oct. 8, 2003 in Janakpur, Danusha District. Karna , a 24 year old student, was picnicking with a group of friends when he and 10 others were arrested by security force personnel. The students were reportedly brutally beaten. Six were subsequently released but Sanjiv and four others have not been heard of since. Police investigations into what happened to these five students have not been made public, nor has anyone been held accountable for their disappearance.
  • I made a last minute effort and signed the petition to stop the execution of Troy Davis. The execution is currently on hold!
  • The last one was to urge Sierra Leone's health minister to make maternal health a priority and to take immediate action to ensure that pregnant women and girls have access to all essential emergency obstetric care drugs and health care throughout their pregnancy. In spite of the government’s efforts over the last two years to introduce various initiatives to address challenges pregnant women and girls face in accessing drugs and medical care crucial to ensure safe pregnancy and childbirth, the challenges persist and many women continue to be denied access to care. Sierra Leone has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The absence of emergency obstetric care violates women’s right to health and puts their lives at risk. 
The 100 day countdown starts now!

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Day 263

    Before leaving town for the week I stopped by SafeHouse - I know I'm always here, but it's not just my favorite place to volunteer, it's also my favorite place to just hang out and for a couple of hours leave behind some of the not so fun parts of life.

    I had a lot of different conversations today. It started off with ways to get rid of a cough/cold - mine has decided to get worse and people were sharing ways that I can start to feel better - the two most popular remedies: theraflu and green tea.

    I spoke to someone newish today - we've met before but had yet to have a conversation. He shared how he came to Atlanta and how he ended up on the streets, he talked about being burned out with school and work. In another conversation, education was the topic - specifically grad school and the number of years people spend in school. One lady who was off the streets for a couple of months is now back on the streets and we talked about different housing options. I haven't had a chance to ask her what happened with her previous living arrangements, maybe she'll share that next time we have a conversation alone.

    I had a couple of quick conversations to check in with some people, hopefully I'll get to talk to them longer next time!
    Be back in a few days :)

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Day 262

    There was no service at SafeHouse this evening, so I went on to and donated 2100grains of rice while learning Italian - email is l'email - it's really simple.

    Try it out, have some fun, and give while you do all that!
    Happy giving!

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Day 261

    I sat with a new group of people at SafeHouse this evening. They were fun! I talked to a lady about her kids and being away from them. We talked a little about what brought her to Atlanta. Once others joined our circle though we switched conversations. Hoping to hear more from her next time we get to chat alone.

    Conversations in our circle went from my horrible fantasy football team this week, to bets on the Falcons Eagles game, how our thoughts lead to actions, and aromatherapy and incense.

    By 7pm the group scheduled to serve tonight did not show up so, unfortunately, there was no meal or service. As people left, several of us cleaned up the lot and put away chairs. I hung out for a little with the other volunteers and had some great conversation. Looking forward to being back tomorrow!

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Day 260

    It has been one of the most difficult days for some of the people I care about and for myself. I really didn't think I would make it out to volunteer but I know that this is no longer just my project and I can't drop the ball now. So today's giving was for the friends and family who have been there every step of the way...

    I got to SafeHouse early and there were just a handful of people on the lot. I spent the entire evening sitting in a group with some awesome volunteers and amazing SafeHouse regulars. We talked about so many different things and really just enjoyed the pleasant weather and great company. Conversations included chocolate and cookies, recycling, the personality of inanimate objects, mental illness, business ideas, and the usual joking around.

    I ended the night with quick conversations with some familiar faces and then cleaning up the lot and the street with my cleaning partner. He and I talked about music and brainwashing as we cleaned up. He has some interesting views on certain types of music.

    Even though I go there as a volunteer, today they gave me more than I gave them. Thank you for the laughter, it gives me what I need to keep going.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Day 259

    Sidewalk Graffiti on the lot
    Finally back at SafeHouse!! It's been a bit of a stressful day and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to focus on the conversations today. But once I got there, all the stress from the day kinda took a back seat.

    I walked on to a lot filled with cars and people, it was a little overwhelming. But I saw the familiar faces and just started at the gate with greeting people. I made my way further in and had a great catch up conversation with one gentleman. We talked about giving, meditation, my upcoming retreat, and our comfort with silence. He's a favorite to talk to and I'm glad I got to talk to him for a while.

    I then went on to one of my promised conversations from yesterday. This gentleman shared his troubles with me and then told me how he fixed them or planned to fix them. We talked about life and laughing and why the latter is so important.

    Once service started I sat with a group of people and just listened. They were sharing gossip about the different relationships people are in, they shared stories of different people walking by, and just hung out. It was a little cold today so I took some sweaters with me and handed out a few to anyone who needed one.

    Before I left for the evening I had a conversation with one gentleman who was a little down and shared with me that he was disappointed with himself and how sometimes he didn't think he was making progress in getting off the streets. He shared that he is currently in grad school - I was very impressed and told him how proud I am of him. We talked about setting goals and taking the little steps to get to those goals, and that sometimes we take a wrong step, but you don't give up, you just take a step back and try again.

    Before I really left for the evening, I saw the gentleman who I always clean up with. So we walked around and cleaned the lot and street together, while also catching up on each others lives. He is doing well, just as positive as always, and still smiling - he's a joy to spend time with!

    Looking forward to tomorrow :)

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Day 258

    SafeHouse was closed this evening. I haven't been able to go all week and I really wanted to stop by to see some of the familiar faces, so I ended up going anyways. Before I got there I stopped to get water and 30 burgers. Initially the idea was to walk around the city to hand out the burgers. But a lot of people didn't know there was no service and ended up walking by SafeHouse. So I was able to hang out close by and just hand out food.

    One of the guys shared childhood stories. There were conversations about the weather and people getting prepared for the cold. I got to catch up with some of the guys and have conversations promised for tomorrow :)

    Hoping for my normal amount of energy tomorrow cos there are going to be lots of conversations!

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Day 257

    Between work, evening meetings, and feeling a little under the weather, I used for my official giving.

    I say official because Dona and I gave back in a different way today. We are working with Project Live Love to help with their Quarterly Live Love event - October 8th. We volunteered at their event in July and this time stepped up to lead a project. There's much work to do and we are really excited to be a part of it. If you'd like to join in the fun this time be sure to visit their site and register (there are a limited number of spots left).

    On care2 I went through the click to donate section. I also signed petitions:
    • to help end hunger for Hunger Action Month
    • to keep our drinking water safe
    • to end child trafficking in the US
    • and to help end animal cruelty
    The last thing I did today was help a fellow Giver with a special blog he is working on. Over the 9/11 weekend two families, of middle eastern descent, in his community were victims of vandalism. He has asked people to share comments with those families to make sure they know that they are a part of this community and that most people do not condemn them for the horrible 9/11 crimes. Check out his blog and please leave a comment for the victims: 

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Day 256

    It has been a wonderful evening of giving. I started with visiting the Tapestry Hospice and taking a tour of the facility. Hopefully this will be a future volunteer site, but first I have to get through all the paperwork and training :)

    I then went to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. It's been a while since the last time I volunteered there but the staff recognized me and asked if I would take up my usual spot at the scales. They made my day by remembering me so of course I said yes! I got to meet some veteran volunteers so the evening went by really quickly and we had a lot of fun.

    We packed 5712lbs of food, which would serve 3808 meals. It's a little difficult getting signed up for the food bank because it is always full! Hopefully I'll get to come back sooner :)

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Day 255

    Unfortunately there was no service at SafeHouse this evening so I volunteered online at

    The first challenge I came across was an easy one. Unscrew America, an organization dedicated to helping to get the word out about energy efficient lighting, asked volunteers to spread the word about their latest review of 19 earth-friendly lights. So check out their fun website: Unscrew America

    Next I did a challenge for GreenTreks Network, a non-profit with a mission to inspire people to take action towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Their challenge...writing about what inspires you to help the environment. I shared my experience at Global Soap - not only are they trying to improve global health but also reduce systemic waste in the hospitality industry.

    The last challenge I did was for CONCERN, a nonprofit child welfare agency, that provides foster care, life skills training and delinquency services to over 14,000 children and teens. They wanted help identifying ways to show gratitude to their supporters.

    If you have an expertise area and want to use it to make a difference check out
    Happy giving!

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Day 254

    We knew we had to be up early, with enough reserved energy to interact with war veterans at the VA Hospital this morning. So although we'd headed out to the city last night, we had an early night.

    Hands on Atlanta provided Chandni and I with the opportunity to spend time with the veterans at VA Hospital this morning, and we were excited!

    We'd started off with a special church service, with a few patients, themed around forgiveness.
    Considering that it was the tenth anniversary of 9/11, one of the patented led us in a moment to honor those who died that day, sacrificed their life for us that day, and served our country ten years ago on this day.

    Soon after we moved to the renovated floor that held story boards for several of the patients there.

    It was wonderful to hear from and see the stories of some of the greatest Heroes you will never come to know, unless you're here.

    While some of the patients were able to share their stories with us, many weren't. We did, however, sense the gratitude as we thanked them for all that they've done.

    It's not a typical day of volunteering for us, but it's an experience we enjoyed.
    We even had Chris Draft (linebacker for the St. Louis Rams) join us with NFL memorabilia, stories, and gratitude for each veterans service!

    We're looking forward to going back to the VA and aiding them in other projects soon!

    "It was great talking with some of the Veterans as they shared stories with us, one even sang songs and yodeled for us!! We met their oldest veteran - 100years old, and some of the younger injured veterans from the Iraq war. We saw families coming in to visit and staff who treated the Veterans with love and respect. It was a heart warming experience..."
    ~ Chandni

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Day 253

    After a late night out in the city I went out to volunteer at Devereux this morning. Devereux is a leading nonprofit behavioral health organization that supports many of the most underserved and vulnerable members of our communities. They focus on research-based prevention initiatives that help children and adolescents develop resilience and strong emotional and social health. They help empower children and adults with intellectual, emotional, developmental, and behavioral challenges to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives.

    As one of the staff members there said, in order to help the children focus on their treatment we need to give them a safe and supportive environment. So today's projects involved some landscaping and cleaning out a huge storage building.

    I helped clean the storage building. It had not been sorted through in years so when we got there it was a mess! We spent most of the morning emptying it and figuring out what could be saved, recycled, or thrown out. Once that was done we cleaned it. Then we sorted through the things that were saved and put them back in an organized manner.

    It was hard work, a good work out, and for a good cause! Thank you Devereux for letting us volunteer with you this morning!

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Day 252

    It was a busy evening at SafeHouse today. It started with my buddy's birthday and getting things in without him seeing them. I then walked around and had several conversations. I started by talking to one of the guys who just came back to SafeHouse. We talked about the differences in community resources between different states and the differences in metropolitan areas.

    I then talked to one of the guys about his plans for the future, which also involve him moving out of state in the next couple of months. There have been a lot of these conversations lately. I then got into another conversation about the difficulties with getting your ID, and then this one moved on to a conversation about tattoos, graphics, cars, and custom cars.

    Once service started we had a small party outside for my buddy with his family. He looked adorable! He loved his presents and was soon running around with a balloon tied to his arm, spraying people with his water gun.

    I ended the night having a conversation with a gentleman about religion, spirituality and philosophy. This was the first time we met and I am really looking forward to more conversations with him.

    Day 251

    It was a night of surprises at SafeHouse. I started off just hanging out on the lot talking to a gentleman about his health, lawyers, deportation, and what his future plans were. As we were having our conversation my 2 year old buddy walks by!

    Of course this means the rest of the night was devoted to him! I hadn't seen him in a couple of months and he has grown so much! I was really surprised by how tall he has grown! We hung out all evening, doing random things: hanging out in the kitchen, blowing bubbles, running around, and cheering on people who were in a race.

    I also said hello to many familiar faces and had short conversations wherever I could. Looking forward to tomorrow and spending the evening there :)

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Day 250

    Another SafeHouse evening. And another cold day...hope you guys are able to donate warm clothes and blankets :)

    Today's theme for conversations was people leaving and making changes in their lives for the better.

    One gentleman talked to me about two opportunities he has and how he is having a hard time picking between them. His first option is a six month job contract out of state with people and a company he has no idea about; his other option is a work program in state but that he isn't completely guaranteed yet. We discussed the pros and cons of each, and throughout the conversation he talked a little about his life and the past year and what led to where he is now. He is a very private person and I was surprised at how much he was sharing with me but happy that he felt comfortable enough to share his story with me.

    Another gentleman spoke about moving out of state because it was easier to get his VA benefits elsewhere. He told me that Atlanta's VA has a long waiting list for housing and help for veterans and that someone else told him that it was easier (less wait time) to get these things in another state. So he talked to me about possibly moving in the next couple of months so he can get housing, a job, and healthcare through the VA.

    I hope they are both able to move forward and make positive changes in their lives!

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Day 249

    I made it to SafeHouse this evening. Handed out socks till I ran out, and stocked up the deodorant. Had a long conversation with one gentleman, he said I had to make up for the times when I am traveling and socializing with other people...we talked about life, what we've each been up to, Indian weddings, business, and what it takes to be a leader. We always have fascinating conversations!

    The rain and cold definitely thinned out today's crowd, so once the meal was served, we put up chairs and cleaned the lot.

    Today was a big reminder of winter coming up and there were several people who didn't have something warm to wear. So if anyone has blankets or winter clothes that they would like to donate, consider taking it down to SafeHouse, or pass them on to Dona or I and we would be glad to turn them in for you!

    On another note, Dona's good deed for the day - giving her lunch to someone who is homeless and hadn't had a meal in days.

    It's easy to give back, just find an opportunity!

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Day 248

    Jiten and I started our Labor Day holiday off with meal deliveries for Open Hand. We had a couple of stops at different apartment buildings, and had all but one meal delivered successfully!

    We got a lot of "thank you's" from the residents and a few minutes of exchanging pleasantries with everyone - sometimes that's the only interaction they have for the day, so we both make sure to always spend the time doing that.

    Once we were done, we headed back. We made our deliveries in less than 2hours, thanks to my impeccable direction-giving!

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Day 247

    So we ALL love puppies, right? I've had one, and given it away as soon as it started to grow...

    I got an email alert from Care2, about Pet stores receiving their puppies from "puppy mills"! Ack... That's just Terrible!

    Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations where profit is put ahead of the well-being of the dogs. Puppy mills typically raise dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, and churn out as many puppies as possible to supply the pet store and online puppy industry.

    For today's Daily Action, learn more about pet stores and puppy mills, and then pledge not to buy anything from pet stores that sell puppies - not pet food, kitty litter, or squeaky toys -- nothing!

    So I logged on and pledged not to buy puppies from Pet stores that associated with these Puppy Mills.

    And to add to my list of saving chimps, seals, etc... Today I saved Puppies!
    How cute, and warm, and cuddly am I!

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    Day 246

    It has been another busy day! Between wedding events, DragonCon, NFL draft and everything else I wasn't sure I'd make it out today. Fortunately I was able to sneak out for a little bit to spend the evening at SafeHouse.

    I met another wonderful volunteer who plans on being there quite often; for most of the evening we sat in a group and just had random conversations. We were also sitting by the fence and could see many people dressed up for DragonCon - the outfits of course led to many interesting conversations, and we reminisced about some of the characters we had seen growing up.

    I only had one one-on-one conversation with a SafeHouse frequenter. We caught up on life, work, and family. We then talked a little about Indian culture and then moved on to hair styles and NFL draft picks.

    It was nice having a laid back day there...I'll be back during the week :)

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Day 245

    With all the weekend activities finding an opportunity to volunteer is going to be a little tough. So to take care of today's giving Hema and I went on and donated over 15000grains of rice.

    Also, on our way out, we stopped at SafeHouse to drop off a birthday cake for one of the regulars. He loves German Chocolate cake and grape soda, so he got both those things today :)
    Hope he has an awesome birthday!

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Day 244

    Whatever the word is for beyond exhaustion - that's where I am today!

    On my way home I stopped at SafeHouse and spent the evening having conversations. There was a regular church group there today and they were super organized so I stayed outside on the lot and had many conversations. It started with a lady who was just really angry, a couple of us were talking and she joined our conversation but left soon after because everyone kept trying to turn her statements into positive things.

    I caught up with some of the regulars and conversations went from cars, to fishing, to property in Athens. As the evening came to an end, I met a lady with three little kids - a 3year old boy, 2 year old girl (her birthday was today), and a 9month baby girl. She has been on the streets and came to SafeHouse a couple of weeks ago to ask for help. She has been staying at a nearby hotel while they arrange for some permanent housing/programs for her to move to.

    She arrived at SafeHouse at the end of service and needed to get back to the hotel with her kids. After some planning by one of the most wonderful guys there, he asked if I would be able to give the lady a ride to the hotel. I was more than happy to help out. As I drove, we talked...she seems like someone who is ready to get herself and her kids back on track. Once we got to the hotel, and they were in the process of checking in, I played with the kids. They have so much energy, laugh a lot, and loved the extra attention. They are beautiful, innocent children and I hope they get off the streets and that their mum is able to put her life back together.

    Thank you SafeHouse for helping her start to find her way...

    Day 243

    My apologies, everyone, for the delay in posting our blog for tonight!

    Wow, where do I start... Giselle (our friend), approached us less than three weeks ago with a desire to do a 'cocktails for a cause' event for the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge, where her grandparents stayed. For patients suffering from cancer, the Hope Lodge hosts and tends for their needs for FREE!

    After speaking to the administrative staff of the organization, we just KNEW they needed a little spark from the girls of Project 365. So after several conversations, innumerable emails, and nights after nights of planning we decided to have a Fundraiser for the Hope Lodge.

    Tonight our weeks of planning came to fruition! And we couldn't have been more ecstatic with the turn out tonight!

    We had lovely little melange of diversity tonight.
    We had patients and staff from the Hope Lodge, families and friends of patients, colleagues and co-workers, our close friends and family - all out to support our cause tonight.

    Chandni drove all the way out from Milledeville, Giselle took a half day, Raksha from RaRaw Candles cleared her afternoon - and we all came together to put together an amazing event.

    And The Nook? They were outrageously understanding and supportive. I've not seen such heart-felt and community oriented group of individuals within one business in a very long time.

    Our guests bought drinks, candles, and then donated in addition to that! We'll have a total amount for all of you soon after The Nook reviews their sales report for the night.

    I cannot begin to express my gratitude towards everyone that lent us their support for the night. Not only did our friends and family go out of their way to support us, but you all came out with open hearts and open wallets!

    This is where we (and I can speak for Chandni) draw our inspiration from. From you. From all of you who continue to inconvenience themselves, and make an unselfish move towards our mission to give back each and every day.

    A 'THANK YOU' is probably not enough. But we mean it with the utmost respect and sincerity. Thank you... Thank you... THANK YOU!

    RaRaw Candles