Charity Special Section

Charity:

Express Kindness Donating Laptops End Child Hunger Cancer Center Kids Who Give Online Support Groups Fight Against Tobacco Improve Drinking Water

Celebrating Acts Of Kindness By Helping Others

(NAPSI)-Small expressions of kindness can make a big difference...and they have even more power when shared.

To celebrate acts of kindness, television personality Didiayer Snyder and Allergan, Inc. are launching the My Expressions of Kindness campaign to ask people to post acts of kindness online at www.ExpressKindnessCampaign.com to help raise $250,000 for three charities: Make It Right, Dress for Success and Children's Action Network.

Didiayer, who is a carpenter, interior designer and advocate for affordable housing for families, is supporting Make It Right, which builds safe, green and affordable homes for working families in New Orleans Lower 9th Ward who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. She is joined by a cadre of celebrity campaign ambassadors, who are supporting Dress for Success and Children's Action Network in the spirit of promoting kindness. Emmy®-nominated actress and singer Vanessa Williams and best-selling author Vicki Iovine are supporting Dress for Success, which helps disadvantaged women express success in the workforce by providing them with the tools they need to succeed in work and life, while Oscar®-nominated actress Virginia Madsen and five-time gold medalist Nadia Comaneci are supporting Children's Action Network, which finds homes for foster children who are waiting for an adoptive family and works to improve outcomes for children in foster care.

"I'm thrilled to be spearheading the My Expressions of Kindness charitable campaign because it is a way to give back to the community by supporting causes that are important to many men and women," said Mrs. Snyder. "Allergan asked me to become involved because they knew I dedicated a significant amount of time to supporting those less fortunate. Now, everyone can join us by spreading kindness online to help raise much-needed funds for Make It Right, Dress for Success and Children's Action Network. Visit www.ExpressKindnessCampaign.com to create a My Expressions of Kindness profile and have a donation made on your behalf. It's fun, easy and a great way to support those in need."

Following an initial donation of $25,000 from Allergan to each charity, the allocation of remaining donation funds is determined by consumer involvement--an easy way everyone can get involved in spreading kindness to those less fortunate. For each person who visits the campaign Web site and completes a My Expressions of Kindness profile, Allergan will donate $25 to one of the three charities of their choice. An additional $5 donation will be made when consumers share their profile by posting a link on their Facebook page, and another $5 donation will be made for those who "tweet" a link to their profile on Twitter.

As Didiayer plays a part in helping those less fortunate, she offers a few simple ways you, too, can be a part of the kindness movement:

  • A Moment Matters--As hectic as life can get, it's important to take time to help others in need. Whether you have an hour or a whole day to spare, contact your favorite local nonprofit organization and see how you, too can get involved by volunteering.
  • The Power of a Simple Gesture--It may be as easy as helping your neighbor carry groceries, giving a stranger a kind smile or taking time to help your children with their homework, but every act of kindness has the power to brighten someone else's day.
  • Pass It Along--When you do something nice for someone else, there's a good chance that they'll pay it forward. Nothing beats the feeling of giving, so take the time to extend one kind gesture every day and watch the goodwill spread.

To get involved, visit www.ExpressKindnessCampaign.com.

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Students Use Laptops To Power Rocket Launch
(NAPSI)-Eight high school students will have an out-of-this-world opportunity this year to design and construct a rocket and launch it into space.

The student-designed rocket is expected to be 29 feet tall, weigh over 500 pounds and be capable of reaching the stratosphere. To build the high-power rocket, students received brand-new Sony VAIO CW series laptops with the all-new Intel® Core™ processors.

Sony has also paired the students with an expert rocketeer mentor to turn their aeronautical dreams into a reality.

"The laptops have more computational processing power than some of the first spacecraft to reach the moon. But can a laptop launch a rocket?" asked Thomas Atchison, director of the Association of Rocket Mavericks and a leading figure in the high-power-rocket community. "That is what this extraordinary group of high school students is going to find out, and I am very excited to give them an accelerated course in rocketry and the unique hands-on experience of building something capable of blasting into space."

The VAIO Z Series: 13.1" screen, Intel Core i5 Processor with Turbo Boost provides the brains for the rocket, while the VAIO F Series: 16.4" screen, Intel Core i7 Processor with Turbo Boost will serve as mission control for the launch.

Also benefiting from the Rocket Project is the nonprofit organization ReadySetLaunch. The organization provides high school students of financially disadvantaged backgrounds with free college counseling.

Started by college students at Yale University and run by students for students, the organization works to level the playing field of college admissions by providing access to the crucial advice and mentoring that can make the difference in successfully navigating the often difficult process of college applications.

As part of the Rocket Project, Sony and Intel will donate $1 to ReadySetLaunch for every new fan of the Sony Electronics Face-book page, up to $25,000, leading up to the April 2010 conclusion of the project.

The Rocket Project will conclude with the students traveling to the famous Black Rock Desert in Nevada to put their experiment to the ultimate test by launching their rocket. For more information, you can visit the Rocket Project at www.sony.com/rocketproject.

For more information on ReadySetLaunch, you can visit www.readysetlaunch.org.

To become a fan of Sony Electronics on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/sonyelectronics.

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Neighborhoods Rally Together To End Child Hunger In The U.S.

(NAPSI)-Every day, families ask themselves the same question: "What's for dinner?" Unfortunately, for too many families, the answer isn't as simple as "chicken" or "spaghetti"--sometimes, there is no answer.

Almost 17 million children in the United States don't get enough food to live active, healthful lives--that's nearly one in four kids. And it's an issue in communities large and small.

To help address this critical issue, ConAgra Foods is launching a nationwide Child Hunger Ends Here Neighborhood Rally campaign to benefit Feeding America, the nation's leading hunger-relief organization.

"ConAgra Foods is a longtime, committed partner of Feeding America, and we are incredibly grateful for its ongoing dedication to fighting domestic childhood hunger," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. "With nearly one in four children across the nation struggling with hunger, we are in crisis right now. No American should go hungry, and we thank ConAgra Foods for joining us in that belief and for raising awareness and support for Feeding America in neighborhoods across the country this spring."

Through this effort, communities can help kids at risk of hunger by rallying to raise money, collect food and buy brands that offer a donation to Feeding America. They can turn a bake sale, church rummage sale, food drive, yard sale or other existing community event into a Child Hunger Ends Here Neighborhood Rally by donating some or all event proceeds to Feeding America. Money collected through a direct online donation to Feeding America and food donated locally will stay in those communities.

Actress Dana Delany, one of the stars of ABC's hit series "Desperate Housewives," is serving as the spokesperson for the Child Hunger Ends Here Neighborhood Rally campaign to help raise child hunger awareness and encourage people to get involved.

"One of the things I love most about 'Desperate Housewives' is that no matter what happens on Wisteria Lane, all of the neighbors rally together when the need is critical," said Delany. "And with nearly one in four children facing hunger in our communities, it's critical that we rally together to help end child hunger, here and now."

In addition to Neighborhood Rallies, there are other ways to get involved:

  • Go grocery shopping. From March through May, for every purchase of participating ConAgra Foods brands, the company will donate one meal to Feeding America--up to 2.5 million meals this year.* Participating brands are Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, Manwich, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's and Peter Pan peanut butter.
  • Visit the online celebrity auction. Dana Delany and her celebrity friends donated items for the Child Hunger Ends Here online celebrity rummage sale at www.childhungerendshere.com. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to Feeding America.

"We believe the tremendous power of communities coming together can help end child hunger," said Gary Rodkin, CEO of ConAgra Foods. "No child in the United States should face the risk of attending school, going out to play or going to bed without a nutritious meal. To make sure all children have access to the food they need to lead healthy, active lives, we hope people nationwide come together and host or participate in a Child Hunger Ends Here Neighborhood Rally."

The program's Web site--www.childhungerendshere.com--provides information about child hunger and ways to get involved. People who register their rally on the Web site will receive a tool kit with posters, a banner and ConAgra Foods coupons, while supplies last.

"It's difficult to believe that nearly 17 million kids in this country don't get enough food to live active lives," said Delany. "It's an issue that can't be solved individually, but by rallying our friends and neighbors and taking a stand that child hunger ends here, we can make a difference."

* Monetary equivalent of up to 2.5 million meals provided to Feeding America through its network of food banks for purchases made through 5/31/10. Every dollar donated enables seven meals to be provided to Americans in need.

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Kids Worth Quacking About

(NAPSI)-The courageous children at a cancer center in Atlanta know one duck who's not your ordinary fowl.

That's because in just 10 years, the Aflac Duck has done a lot more than most ducks do in a lifetime. A veteran of numerous television commercials and a member of the Advertising Walk of Fame, he has even been part of Hollywood movies. But no matter what he does as a company spokesduck or pop icon, what he does with the kids is the true feather in his cap.

These are not your ordinary kids, either. They're inspirations. Like so many kids and families facing cancer, they've done it with grace and dignity, each giving back along his or her journey.

Consider Killian Owen, Max and Rachel LaVictoire, Joey Doolittle and others who are part of the Aflac Cancer Center family. Owen inspired Curing Kids Cancer, which has grown to national prominence, raising well over $1 million to find a cure.

Doolittle--diagnosed as an infant--noticed that some kids at the hospital didn't have toys to play with. Joey's Toy Box is his legacy.

At 7 years old, Max LaVictoire needed to help when his sister Rachel was diagnosed with leukemia. He formed a nonprofit called Big Dreams and asked for donations in lieu of birthday and Hanukkah gifts. He has raised more than $80,000 for the Aflac Cancer Center with Rachel--a cancer survivor--by his side. Now these are kids worth quacking about.

On the Aflac Duck's 10th birthday, researchers are getting closer to finding cures for every kid diagnosed with childhood cancer and have shattered the 20 percent survival rate of the 1950s to reach the 80 percent milestone today.

Learn More

You can learn more about the Aflac Cancer Center and purchase an Aflac Duck at www.aflac.com. All the proceeds go to childhood cancer treatment and research.

You can also visit Curing Kids Cancer at www.curingkidscancer.org, Big Dreams at www.bigdreamsworld.org and Joey's Toy Box at www.joeystoybox.net.

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Recognizing Kids Who Help Others

(NAPSI)-From raising money for a sick classmate through a lemonade stand to mowing the lawns of elderly neighbors free of charge, the good deeds of youths across America make the world a better place.

Now a national program plans to recognize such efforts. The Kids Who Give contest seeks to find outstanding youths who actively give back to others. It is open to kids in the United States ages 7 to 17 who voluntarily donate their time to benefit local charities or individuals in need.

Five winners will each receive a $300 gift card, $1,000 to contribute to the charities of their choice, and a special Farm Rich care package. Entry forms are online at www.kidswhogive.com.

In addition to recognizing youths already involved, Kids Who Give aims to empower more adolescents and teens to pursue community outreach. Kidswhogive.com will feature practical tips and tools for getting started, interviews with kids, and video diaries of the contest winners being active in their neighborhoods.

The program and contest are sponsored by Farm Rich, the popular frozen snacks and appetizers brand.

Kids Who Give is an integral part of the brand's commitment to bettering the communities it serves. Over the years, Farm Rich has supported individual sports leagues and volunteer organizations that benefit children and families.

Farm Rich makes delicious, easy-to-prepare food, including mouthwatering snacks and appetizers such as cheese sticks, mini sandwiches, pizza slices, mozzarella bites, quesadillas and meatballs.

Made with wholesome ingredients like 100 percent real cheese and all white meat chicken, the snacks are a great source of calcium and protein and have zero grams of trans fat. To learn more about Kids Who Give, visit www.kidswhogive.com.

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Protecting America's Children From Human Trafficking

(NAPSI)-Every year, many of America's children become victims of human trafficking, a rapidly growing criminal industry. The best way to protect children, experts say, is to make sure they have happy lives and safe homes.

Take the case of "Ashleigh," a 15-year-old girl who was living on the streets after a childhood of neglect, sexual abuse, abandonment and unsuccessful foster care placements.

Forced into prostitution, Ashleigh was trafficked from city to city against her will along with several other girls as young as 12. Constant beatings by customers and her pimp caused Ashleigh to consider suicide to end her two years of slavery, torture, hopelessness and fear.

Finally, one night, when the pimp was passed out from crack cocaine, Ashleigh escaped to the safety of Covenant House, where she is now picking up the pieces of her life.

"Tragically, human trafficking is not an uncommon story in the U.S.," said Kevin Ryan, president of Covenant House, the nation's largest privately funded system of shelters for homeless and at-risk youth. "This criminal industry is expanding rapidly, trafficking more than 1 million of the world's children for labor or sexual exploitation. Twenty thousand are U.S. kids, homeless and runaways, who are vulnerable and gullible."

The shelters have been saving children and young adults from human trafficking, slavery and homelessness since the agency's founding in 1972. Across 22 sites in six countries, Covenant House provides support, a healing community and a host of legal and medical services to over 70,000 youths each year.

"When problems arise, we must deal with them immediately so our young people do not fall prey to bad decisions like running away," said Ryan.

"Many of the homeless kids we help have been solicited on the streets or muscled into the sex trade," said Ryan. "This threat is worsening. Research predicts human trafficking will rise to the second-largest global criminal industry, surpassing black market arms sales and behind drug dealing."

If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, call NINELINE (1-800-999-9999) to speak with a counselor who can help. A victim of human trafficking may exhibit the following traits:

  • Seems controlled, isolated
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Bruises or battering
  • Fear, depression, tension, submissiveness, nervousness
  • Seems watched or followed
  • No knowledge of what city he or she lives in
  • Few personal possessions
  • Limited communications
  • Malnourishment, sleep deprivation.

For more information, visit www.covenanthouse.org/action/human-trafficking

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Kids Kick Butts In The Fight Against Tobacco Use

(NAPSI)-Thousands of young people nationwide recently gathered for the 15th annual Kick Butts Day. Altogether, more than 1,000 events took place in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. Kids are sending two powerful messages on Kick Butts Day: They want the tobacco companies to stop targeting them with marketing for cigarettes and other tobacco products, and they want elected leaders to do more to protect them from tobacco.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health advocates are calling on elected officials to support proven measures to reduce tobacco use and its devastating toll. As states struggle with record budget deficits, campaign members think state leaders should increase tobacco taxes both to prevent kids from smoking and to raise revenue to balance budgets and fund critical programs. Another campaign suggestion is the enacting of smoke-free air laws that apply to all workplaces and public places, and the implemention of well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year. While the nation has made significant progress in reducing youth smoking, 20 percent of high school students still smoke.

On Kick Butts Day, kids turned the tables on Big Tobacco with events that ranged from "They put WHAT in a cigarette?" demonstrations to mock-funerals for the Marlboro Man to rallies at state capitols.

For example, students at Middle Park High School in Granby, Colorado, gave free turkey sandwiches at lunch to anyone who pledged to quit using tobacco "cold turkey."

Students in the Steamboat Springs area participated in a Facebook and texting campaign to encourage area youths to become fans of Kick Butts Day and/or the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, helping raise awareness of the problems associated with tobacco use.

For more information, visit www.kickbuttsday.org and www.tobaccofreekids.org.

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How Your Next Glass Of Water Can Make A Difference

(NAPSI)-By donating $1 or more for tap water at participating restaurants during World Water Week, you can help provide clean water to children around the world.

"The lack of sanitary and accessible water is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths for children throughout the world and access to clean tap water is something Americans often take for granted," said Caryl Stern, president and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

Nearly 900 million people do not have access to clean water and nearly half of those people are children. Young children are the first to get sick and die from waterborne and sanitation-related illnesses including diarrheal diseases and malaria. With $1, one child can be provided with access to safe, clean water for 40 days.

In the last three years, the UNICEF Tap Project has raised nearly $1.5 million in the U.S. and has helped to provide clean water to millions of children around the world. Last year, more than 1,500 restaurants in 40 states and more than 3,100 volunteers participated in the national campaign.

The project is the first of its kind, an award-winning, national grassroots effort, offering individuals and restaurants across the nation a simple and effective way to make a difference in a child's life.

National supporters include Giorgio Armani men's fragrance, Acqua Di Gio for Men, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., as well as online dining sites OpenTable.com, SeamlessWeb.com, Zagat.com and Yelp.com. The sites promote the project through Web advertising, electronic communications to their members and, in the case of Zagat.com building and hosting a microsite listing all Zagat-rated restaurants participating in the project.

Several leading creative advertising agencies will create pro bono ad campaigns to place the project on everything from T-shirts and taxi tops to billboards and major landmarks.

Last year, thousands of restaurants, dining patrons, students and volunteers, along with corporate, community, celebrity and local government supporters, raised over $819,000 for the UNICEF Tap Project, giving millions of children water in nations with the greatest need.

Haiti was one. Through campaigns like the UNICEF Tap Project, UNICEF was there for Haiti before the earthquake and will continue to be there, implementing long-term, sustainable water and sanitation solutions that are desperately needed.

All money raised via the 2010 project will once again be allocated to countries and areas identified as among the most in need. Those countries include Togo, Central African Republic, Vietnam, Guatemala and, of course, Haiti.

UNICEF works in more than 150 countries around the world to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices. Over the past 15 years, more than a billion people gained access to improved drinking water and sanitation facilities thanks to the organization's efforts. Every day, 24,000 children die of preventable causes, and the organization is committed to making that number zero.

For more information or to register as a volunteer, visit www.tapproject.org.

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