All Dressed Up With Somewhere To Go

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Trust us, you won’t wear that again! Donate it to a good cause. Photo: 27 Dresses

I’m not as bad of a dress hoarder as Katherine Heigl in “27 Dresses,” but for awhile I did have several bridesmaid and formal gowns filling the dark recesses of my closet. Those dresses and I told ourselves it was just a matter of time before we went out, together again, to that next big party.

But we both knew it wasn’t really going to happen. Then there finally came the day when we (mutually) decided it was best to move on, and our last hurrah took place at The Salvation Army Thrift Store donation center. It was good closure to know that they would make some deserving young women very happy for just the right occasion.

In truth, most women probably have a handful of formal dresses collecting dust in their closets. The Ashland Salvation Army Kroc Center in Ohio is hosting an event that could provide that needed push to purge.

As a part of “The Princess Closet,” the Kroc is collecting gently used prom, homecoming, and bridesmaid gowns to make sure every young woman can be outfitted for prom night. Through generous public donations the event will help girls who cannot afford a new prom dress find something equally beautiful. Plus, the girls will get expert advice on hair styles and makeup.

Is there a better fate for your old dresses? I can’t think of any.

If you don’t live in the Ashland, OH area, just take your dresses to a nearby Salvation Army donation center. Plenty of young women will be searching our stores for that perfect prom dress. Yours may be just the one they’re looking for.

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Life in the Fast Lane: NASCAR Driver Makes Kids’ Dreams Come True

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We thought it was generous of NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd to put a huge Salvation Army logo on the hood of his race car, but Shepherd didn’t stop there.

[Dijonae (left) and Kevante' (right) got the full NASCAR experience as VIP guests of driver Morgan Shepherd.]
Dijonae (left) and Kevante’ (right) got the full NASCAR experience as VIP guests of driver Morgan Shepherd.

He made sure siblings Kevante’ (10) and Dijonae (12) got VIP treatment this weekend when he invited them to watch the race as his special guests and get the full experience of the track.

Kevante’ and Dijonae are involved in several Salvation Army youth programs and local to Daytona. When they learned about the opportunity to meet Shepherd, they jumped at the chance. These kids have always been NASCAR enthusiasts, but this is the first race they’ve ever attended.

[Kevante's ready to take Shepherd's #89 Salvation Army car for a spin.]
Kevante’s ready to take Shepherd’s #89 Salvation Army car for a spin.

“He’s wanted to be a NASCAR driver since he first learned about stock car racing”, said his Kevante’s grandmother Renese.

Maybe he hasn’t quite grown into that driver’s seat yet, but he looks like he belongs behind the wheel!

“I’ve seen every race, I know all the drivers and their stats, and I can’t wait to go under the tunnel to experience it all,” Kevante said.

["The Salvation Army car" gets a check up under the hood alongside several others in the NASCAR garages.]
“The Salvation Army car” gets a check up under the hood alongside several other cars in the NASCAR garages.

And experience it they did! Besides getting behind the wheel of Morgan’s #89 Salvation Army car, the kids toured pit row and even met other NASCAR Champions and drivers.

[The kids, pictured with Morgan Shepherd (center) and local Salvation Army officers, tour the track before the race.]
The kids, pictured with Morgan Shepherd (center) and local Salvation Army officers, tour the track before the race.

Wow. There is no better way for fans to experience NASCAR! Thanks, Morgan, for giving these kids an experience they’ll remember the rest of their lives.

Shepherd loved providing this opportunity for Kevante’ and Dijonae. Though he may not have a major sponsor, making it difficult for him to compete, Shepherd knows millions of Americans are suffering from the slow economy. That’s why he and his team are doing the best they can to promote The Salvation Army and what we do to assist those in need.

[Decked out in their new NASCAR gear courtesy of Morgan Shepherd, Dijonae and Kevante' look like NASCAR pros!]
Decked out in their new NASCAR gear courtesy of Morgan Shepherd, Dijonae and Kevante’ look like NASCAR pros!

We think what Shepherd is doing is so great that we plan to partner with him in more races! We’ll keep you in the loop, and you keep an eye out for our Red Shield zooming around more tracks soon.

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Video: How Young People Can Make a Difference

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nancy Lublin, CEO and “Chief Old Person” of DoSomething.org, has a hunch that age gives young people an advantage over their older counterparts in accomplishing social good.

Watch the video above to learn how Donald Trump and Milk Duds led to her epiphany.

It’s an interesting thought, considering that when it comes to ‘accomplishing stuff,’ juvenescence is generally viewed as something to be overcome based on the hindrances associated with it – the perceived lack of life experience, few funds, etc.

But not according to Nancy. Regarding being young, her mantra is embrace it and use it while you can. She knows from experience, and so does The Salvation Army.

We have many youth activists involved in our organization who are making big changes in their communities. Just look at examples from:

– Ryan, a 14 yr. old from Florida whose gleaning efforts have helped provide more than 1,600 nutritious meals for homeless men, women and children. http://blog.salvationarmyusa.org/?p=4992

– Stephen, an 11 yr. old who has held Christmas parties to collect toys for needy families since he was a preschooler. http://blog.salvationarmyusa.org/?paged=4

– Several young musical artists (Honor Society, Ashlyne Huff, and Emily Osment among them) who are raising awareness and getting involved in community service through Salvation Army programs. http://blog.salvationarmyusa.org/?p=4473 http://blog.salvationarmyusa.org/?s=here+comes+trouble+tour&x=0&y=0

– Connor, a 9 yr. old who was so moved by the need resulting from Haiti’s earthquake, he used a coffee can to start his own donations drive and garnered national attention for it. http://blog.salvationarmyusa.org/?p=320

Just to be clear, we don’t promote stalking Donald Trump or other questionable strategies to test Nancy’s theory.

We do, however, encourage you to not use age as an excuse to prevent you from doing something great, especially when it comes to serving others. You’re never too young, too old, or too middle-aged to help do the most good.

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Our Holiday Hero

Thursday, December 9, 2010

USA Today is running a ‘Holiday Heroes’ series from now thru Christmas about people who go to great lengths to serve others. It’s a great read that will make your heart swell during the season of giving.

Grab today’s front page, or visit their website at www.usatoday.com. The hero they’re featuring this week is Stephen Smith, and get this – he’s only 11 years old!

But for the past 7 years (yes, his philanthropic spirit was inspired at the age of 4) he and his family go all out to donate Christmas presents to The Salvation Army for children in need.

We won’t ruin the story for you, but it’s amazing to read how a preschooler’s sincere concern for others has snowballed into a wonderful annual community tradition of giving back.

It just goes to show that absolutely anyone can make a positive difference if their heart’s in it. To Stephen and the Smith family, thanks for helping The Salvation Army do the most good!

Check out the Holiday Heroes article here. It’s a truly amazing story!

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Standing Up to Cyber Bullies

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It used to be that bullies could only flex their muscle during school hours, and the ring of the school bell released would-be victims to the safety of their homes, removed from conflict.

But today, technology contributes to cyber bullies having the 24/7 ability to expose hateful, personal or humiliating attacks before a virtual public platform, making the threat nearly impossible to get away from.

Tragically, as mourned by recent news headlines, several bright and talented young victims of cyber bullying have felt that the only true escape was to take their own lives.

What resources are available to help protect kids and young adults from the dangers of cyber bullying?

Earlier this year The Salvation Army partnered with Enough is Enough (EIE), the nationally leading organization in making the internet safer for children and families, to launch the Internet Safety 101 Program. It offers educational materials and online tools at www.internetsafety101.org to help adults and kids guard themselves from online dangers.

EIE President Donna Rice Hughes stated in an op-ed that 42% of kids have been bullied while online. That’s 42% too many.

Join with The Salvation Army in saying, “Enough is enough!” Visit www.internetsafety101.org or EIE’s website www.enough.org today.

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NFL Announces Salvation Army as First to Own and Operate Youth Education Town

Friday, October 8, 2010

BIG NEWS!!!

Dallas Cowboys greats Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman announced that The Salvation Army will be the owner and operator of the newly announced Super Bowl XLV Youth Education Town (YET) in Arlington, TX.

The $2 million project will target homeless and at-risk youth in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, specifically those from neighborhoods that suffer from higher crime, drug, and gang activity levels.

The Salvation Army is honored to be a part of this initiative and have the opportunity to expand service to the community.

What exactly will the center have to offer? Everything from a fitness area and athletic fields to computer labs, music instruction, film and video production and more. Adult continuing education and drug prevention programs will also be offered, along with an expansion of The Salvation Army’s emergency financial assistance program, food pantry, and after-school programs. Learn more about NFL YETs here.

Officials say they even hope to finish it before the 2012 Super Bowl! Get more details at Dallas Morning News.

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News by the Numbers

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Friday! Since it’s the end of the week, we’re keeping it simple with an easy-to-read list of news by the numbers. These curt quantities represent a mix…

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With 5 Years to Go, Can We Meet the UN Millennium Development Goals?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Today is the final day of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) summit in New York where world leaders have gathered to track the progress of their objectives and stir up a renewed sense of urgency and commitment to assist developing nations as only five years remain before their 2015 deadline.

The Salvation Army has signed on to a letter with several Christian organizations that urges the US, the EU, and the African Union to show a “clear and strong commitment” to the MDGs . For 145 years The Salvation Army has worked to meet human needs by addressing poverty, hunger, education and other issues, but it will take a clear vision and strong partnership from multiple global entities including governments, NGO’s, the private sector, and the public to make a dramatic worldwide impact as outlined in the MDGs.

A simple, colored pictorial chart lays out the 8 ambitious goals, which are broken down into 21 targets. If only implementing these solutions to the complex global issues of poverty, hunger, and education were as straightforward as the diagram seems to portray!

However, while these goals are aggressive, the UN reports that significant progress has been made. Their report shows that before the global economic crisis, “the depth of poverty had diminished in almost every region,” and while the world’s sluggish markets have slowed this progress we are “still on track to meet the poverty reduction target.”

Other areas need vast improvement, such as achieving universal education and reducing child mortality rates (MDG #4) which are on the decline, but not quickly enough to meet the 2015 target. The Salvation Army World Services Office (SAWSO) signed on to a pledge to participate in reducing malnutrition during children’s first 1,000 days – from the time of pregnancy to the age of 2 years – when they are most susceptible to the harmful effects of malnutrition. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauded the 1,000 days initiative in an address during an MDG summit side event.

Do you have ideas on how to meet the 8 development goals by 2015? Leave a comment on the UN’s Ideas for Development blog, where anyone from experts to the regular Joe can post their two cents.

If you’d rather listen to discussion than spark it, you can tune in below the live webcast of the UN General Assembly’s debate.

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Help a Child, Donate a Coat

Friday, September 17, 2010

You probably haven’t switched out the warm weather clothes in your closets yet to make room for fall and winter attire, but many local Salvation Army’s are trying to stay ahead of the game so that children in need aren’t left in the cold when the temperatures drop.

That’s why several Salvation Army ‘Coats for Kids’ collection drives are starting to pop up in communities across the country, and in the next few weeks some national football teams are teaming up with us for these events!

Check out the lineup:

Green Bay Packers

* Bring your gently used or new coats to the Packers/Bills game on Sunday, Sept. 19 between 8:30am and kick-off. Your donation will help The Salvation Army reach their goal of providing 11,000 coats for needy children in Wisconsin. If you can’t make it to the game, don’t stress – you can donate to Coats for Kids through Nov 7. Find more donation and volunteer info on the local Salvation Army’s website www.sagreenbay.org.

Indianapolis Colts

* Head to Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday, Oct. 10 where The Salvation Army will be doing their big drive event as the Colts take on the Kansas City Chiefs. Last year generous donors helped the Army collect more than 10,000 coats, and we’d love to see even more this year! You can donate up until Saturday, Oct. 30. Visit www.salvationarmyindiana.org for more info and find partner drop off locations here .

Chicago Bears

* For the 22nd year The Chicago Bears are lending The Salvation Army their efforts to help kids in the Windy City. Donate your coats between now and Dec . 4 at local Salvation Army units, or click here for partners’ drop off locations. Visit www.salarmychicago.org/events for more info.

This is not an exhaustive list of Salvation Army ‘Coats for Kids’ drives, so keep an eye out in your community. Otherwise, you can always take gently used or new coats to your nearby Salvation Army Family Thrift Store. Thanks for your support!

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NY Youth Embark on a ‘Journey for Change’

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CNN followed 2009’s Journey for Change ambassadors on their trip to South Africa.

This summer the world got a whole lot bigger for 30 inner-city youth from several New York City Salvation Army Community Centers.

The teens and pre-teens spent 2 weeks in South Africa serving in impoverished shanty towns, working with orphaned children, visiting HIV/AIDS clinics and more – a once in a life-time experience, but also a sobering one as they confronted difficult, real-life global issues.

The opportunity was made possible by Journey for Change, an organization started by Malaak Rock (wife of comedian Chris Rock) aimed at educating and empowering at-risk youth to rise above the negative temptations in their communities and stand out as leaders.

For anyone trading the comfort of home for third world conditions, it would be impossible not to have your priorities and perspectives shaken up. These kids seem to be no exception. Their frequent blog entries during their trip document their personal insights into appreciating the South African people and culture, wrestling with the communities’ struggles, and reevaluating their own lives in the US. Check out their original blogs here.

But two weeks in Africa is only the beginning. Having just arrived back in NY this month, the students are now starting a yearlong role as “Global Ambassadors” to promote local and international advocacy, service and education initiatives.

As these Salvation Army youths settle back into their own neighborhoods, they will still have to face negative influences from extremely high school drop-out rates to drugs and gangs. But everything they have seen, done and learned during their time in Africa and yearlong Ambassador program will serve as a lynch pin to helping them make positive, long term decisions and hopefully inspire others to do so as well.

Learn more about how Journey for Change is raising up student leaders HERE, or visit Malaak’s Angel Rock Project website at www.angelrockproject.com.

As a bonus, we’ve added a short video below of Malaak discussing how Chris Rock’s many childhood experiences Salvation Army Community Center in Brooklyn caused her to realize that The Salvation Army was an organization she wanted to partner with – and send her own kids to!

Learn more about how The Salvation Army is serving the Greater New York area by visiting their local website at www.salvationarmyny.org.

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