Archives for January 2013

GO RED FOR WOMEN 2013

Go Red For Women is an answer to The American Heart Association’s call asking America to go out and paint the town red to show support for women and heart disease.

One of the greatest myths about heart disease is that it is an illness that only affects older men.  As a response and call to dispel that myth, The American Heart Association created Go Red For Women. In their words, it’s “a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.”

Go Red For Women raises awareness, encourages women to band together in their efforts to fight heart disease, empowers them by providing educational tools, and encourages them to reduce their personal risk by leading a more aware and healthy lifestyle.

Here are 3 quick facts you may not know about women and heart disease:

  • Heart Disease is the number 1 killer of women
  • Heart Disease is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined
  • Heart Disease is the cause of death of 1 in 3 women, about one death every minute

Learn More: Heart Disease Statistics at a Glance  and Common Myths About Heart Disease. Watch the Official GoRed4Women You Tube Video: “The Real Women of 2012”.

Contributing to Women’s Heart Health is only a heartbeat away! You can SHOP and/or DONATE online today.    

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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10 Organizations Fighting Human Trafficking & How You Can Get Involved

When evil presides in a society and we as the individuals who make up that society choose to look away and do nothing, we become part of the problem.  

As with any of life’s insurmountable issues, we cannot possibly solve them as individuals. But by choosing to say “yes” and to get involved, our collective efforts take on power. Every set of hands and every set of feet strengthen a cause. Every heart (life) set on rescue, restoration, and the promotion of healing and hope for those who have been devalued and oppressed, has great value. 

Today, January 11th, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and this month has been flagged for us to remember, seek out, and serve those hidden in darkness.

“This month, we rededicate ourselves to stopping one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time. Around the world, millions of men, women, and children are bought, sold, beaten, and abused, locked in compelled service and hidden in darkness.” –President Barack Obama Read the full Presidential Proclamation on National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2013 

I’ve listed 10 organizations below that are committed to fight Human Slavery and Sex Trafficking.  Take time to read the personal stories of survivors and inspirational rescues on their websites, but don’t stop with the stories. Choose to become part of the bigger story by getting involved.

Remember, it’s not just about fighting against “the bad guys,” but being for those who desperately need rescue. It’s literally about setting captives free, rescuing women and children from lives of torment, abuse, and shame.  It’s about helping people out of slavery and into their freedom.  It’s about giving a woman or child her dreams, destiny… her life back. Choose just one thing you will do to personally combat human trafficking this year.

International Justice Mission – A human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. Get Involved

Polaris Project – An organization committed to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery, and to strengthening the anti-trafficking movement through a comprehensive approach. Get Involved

Not For Sale Campaign – Creates tools that engage business, government and grassroots in order to incubate and grow social enterprises to benefit enslaved and vulnerable communities. Get Involved

GEMS Girls – Girls Educational & Mentoring Services serves girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. Get Involved

Somaly Mam Foundation – Mission is to give victims and survivors a voice in their lives, liberate victims, end slavery, and empower survivors as they create and sustain lives of dignity. Get Involved

ECPAT – Mission is to End Child Prostitution And Trafficking of children for sexual purposes. (U.S.) Get Involved or (Int’l) Get Involved

A21 Campaign – is comprised of individuals, organizations, and government officials committed to one goal: to abolish slavery in the 21st century. Get Involved

Love146 – Committed to he abolition of child trafficking and exploitation. Nothing less. Get Involved

Hagar International – Dedicated to recovery of extreme human rights abuses, particularly human trafficking, gender-based violence, and sexual exploitation. Get Involved

Innocents at Risk – Dedicated to protecting children from all forms of abuse, and work to end child exploitation and child trafficking everywhere. Get Involved

If I can encourage you in any way, it is to say, don’t imagine your small efforts as not enough to make an impact. Imagine your small efforts linked with millions of others who are combining their small efforts with yours, and because of that collaboration, changing the course of countless lives across this planet together.  Think about it this way, because you choose not to look away, someone will find their freedom.

Let us know how you are making a difference in the fight against Human Trafficking… Abolition!

Photo Credit: pixi_bebe/Flickr

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Sandy Hook: Community Matters

I began writing this post when thinking about the families who have experienced such great loss in the Sandy Hook shootings. We’ve all read and heard stories surrounding the fateful incident, one that has stirred a gamut of thoughts and emotions in all of us. In the midst of this dark time, I’ve been moved by the significance of community. Not just about being stronger together… but about being better together

History is filled with all sorts of accounts about groups of people who banded together and were strengthened by their numbers, but for all the wrong reasons. I want to bear witness to the people who come together for all the right reasons. Because of their intentions and solidarity, they leave an indelible effect in a community, a place, and a time, because they leave it better for having come together.

Over and over we hear testimonies of people in the midst of crisis who have felt pulled to “be there” for one another, and not just family and friends, but complete strangers. That’s just pure goodness and selflessness in a time when “self” has been so prioritized. How refreshing. One man said he got tired of watching the sadness and sorrow on his television set and decided to go down to where the victims’ families were gathering. In his words, he was compelled to go and just “be present” for strangers in his community. What strikes me about these simple gestures is they’re not about some big strategy about how to rush in and save the day, but simply about “being present” and “being there”.  

It’s about showing up when people need us most; and, it’s about showing up with what is in our hand to give at that moment. Sometimes we miss significant opportunities because we withhold or delay until we think we have “enough” to give. You being present, is enough.

We see an outpouring of compassion during the holidays, strangers being more thoughtful of one another, generosity in giving and also in spirit. It’s the one time of year when collectively, the world is a little kinder and a little gentler.  If only we would take hold of that spirit of generosity and thoughtfulness throughout the year.  One woman said, “After feeling so helpless in the wake of that tragedy, our little family of three decided we needed to do something–anything–to help”. It’s that tugging on our heart strings to treat others as we hope they would treat us if the tables were turned.

“Your strength and compassion (have) been, and will continue to be, an inspiration to me and countless others as we work to honor the memory of your precious children and our beloved staff.” (Note posted by Principal Donna Page on the Sandy Hook School’s website)

Again, it is the simplicity of human kindness that is so often what remains in our memories. Never underestimate the healing power of an encouraging word, holding someone’s hand (even if in silence), and heartfelt prayers. A principal who had experienced violence at his school in the past said, “We remember the love and prayers that were sent to us, and in an effort to pay that kindness forward, we wanted to send to you our love, our hope, and our faith, so that you may heal in your own time from this tragedy.”

When others are too weak, we hold them up. When they are numb, we help them feel. When they are cold, we give them some of our warmth. When they can’t speak, we simply allow them space and time.

Randy Caballero, a young boxer, started an event called Just a Little Something. He said, “When we bring this valley together, we can make anything possible.” So many people stepped up to do something over doing nothing. Sure they felt helpless and impotent to make any real difference. What do you say to a mother who has just lost her baby? What words can possibly comfort at a time like that? The point is, sometimes it’s not about words, or doing just the right thing, it’s about showing up, being there, and not letting those who are suffering suffer alone. From stuffed animals to bracelets, handcrafted items to flowers, balloons and memory books to poems and prayers—every little thing came together to form something very powerful, a community that locked arms (and hearts). The clear and indelible message was, “We are here for each other.”  

When victims’ families receive gifts and love notes with hope-filled words from strangers whose eyes fill with tears and hearts swell with empathy for a grieving mother and father—ones they will never meet–that means something. Fire Chief Stephen MacAdam said, “You see from the events this week, it really is a family, not just in one town, but right across the country”.

Whether it’s a mass shooting in an affluent village in the town of Newtown, Connecticut called Sandy Hook, or at Virginia Tech; natural disasters in now-familiar places like Joplin or New Orleans; or mass devastation and human rights atrocities in war-torn regions in the Middle East, Bosnia, or the Congo, the message doesn’t change. When we are “there” for each other, sharing our courage, faith, love, and resources, our communities are stronger, which means our children are stronger, and we are stronger.

“At the end of the day, the equation is in favor of what is good and what is human and what is giving instead of what takes away.” -Veronique Pozner (Mother of the youngest shooting victim)  Read the Article: “Noah Pozner’s Family Remembers and Mourns”.

The cousin of a Sandy Hook shooting victim wears a bracelet that was given out at his cousin’s funeral. It reads, “Ana Grace. Love Wins.” Yes, it does.

Photo by: ValleyIndy/Flickr

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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