A Pep Talk From Kid President

Wanna get inspired?  Wanna get motived?  Wanna Just DO Something…Anything?  Check out this video from Soul Pancake’s Kid President.

JDSA Get’s ‘Dirty’ For March of Dimes

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Team Muddy Vision Serves One Up!

Since 1992 thousands of volunteers across the country have been jumping into mud and stepping up to raise money for the March of Dimes Mudd Volleyball Challenge!  The extra ‘d” stands for dirty, by the way.

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Our First Win!

This year, more than 160 teams and 2,500 folks from Orlando to Albuquerque got their hands, hair, ears, shirts and shoes muddy!  Each volunteering their time to help improve the health of babies everywhere by preventing birth defects, infant mortality and premature birth.  Nearly $200,000 is raised each year to fund research programs and raise awareness for educational programs.  All in an effort to save babies!

JDSA's team - Muddy Vision!

And…………………GO!

This is the third year we’ve participated in the event.  The first, however, as JDSA!  Team Muddy Vision, as we called ourselves, not only raised some money for March of Dimes, but we even managed to win a few games.  Two, to be precise.  Which is two more than we’ve won in all three years combined.  We had a little trouble against Mudtown Abbey and This Mudd’s For You!  But we did squeak past Serves You Right! and Splash Mob!

Every day, babies are born fighting for their lives, and every day March of Dimes helps them win!

Check out marchofdimes.com to find out how you can Just DO Something…Anything!

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Just Splashing Something…Anything!

The Speech Everyone’s Talking About

At last week’s Teen Choice Awards, That ’70s Show‘s ex-star, Ashton Kutcher was honored with something called the Ultimate Choice prize…the Teen Choice Awards equivalent of the lifetime achievement award. A badge Kutcher characterized as “the old guy award.”

During his acceptance speech, a humbled Kutcher gave some inspirational words of advice. The speech, although delivered nearly a week ago, has found new life on the internet. Everyone is talking about it. Even a few right-wing blogs have been enamored.

I Am Jamie

In 2012, Harbor House opened their doors to more than 10,000 domestic abuse survivors. Providing, at no cost to them, 24-hour crisis support, safety planning, emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy and child care.

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Their “Purple Door,” a door painted and lined with hundreds of signatures in silver sharpie, serves as a reminder to those of us outside the doors of Harbor House, to help those in need on the inside.

Last year, we created a video for their Purple Door Luncheon and called it, I Am Jamie.

“Jamie,” a victim of domestic violence, benefited from the various services of Harbor House, where staff and volunteers helped save Jamie’s life. But who exactly, is Jamie? Click on the video to find out.

This year you can continue helping Harbor House provide a pathway to safety and Justice. Friday October 11, is the 37th Annual Purple Door Luncheon. By contributing, you’ll be helping break that cycle of domestic abuse, which has impacted families for generations.

Consider partnering with them to save a life today and help them open doors to a better future tomorrow.

For sponsorship information, please contact

Shelley Rodgers, Development Officer | srodgers@harborhousefl.com | 407-886-2244 ext. 231

NCAA Should ‘Bolster And Reinforce’ African-American Players

NCAA Should ‘Bolster And Reinforce’ African-American Players

“And this is a long-term project: We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys? And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement.” — President Obama

Jaimie D. Travis/iStockphoto.com

By Frank Deford – NPR

While sport is certainly not a primary issue in this matter, it is indisputably true that it plays a significant role in the choices and ultimately the adult lives of many African-American boys.

Because so many blacks are so visibly successful in athletics, while African-American males are not commensurately prominent in other areas, there is no question that a disproportionate number of black boys are more entranced by sports –– especially basketball and football –– and, even, are seduced into concentrating their bodies on the field rather than their minds in the classroom. Coaches and teachers are all too familiar with the sad tales of young black kids with only ordinary athletic talent who are convinced they’ll be the next LeBron James –– and give up serious preparation for life in futile pursuit of that fantasy.

The president speaks of “negative reinforcement.” It may be contradictory to consider a gift as a negative, but while the college athletic scholarship obviously is a bounty for a relatively few black athletes, it also serves as a lure for many, many more. What a distortion of support it is when, as a University of Pennsylvania study shows, 64 percent of basketball players and 57 percent of football players in the six powerhouse American college conferences are black, while, in those same schools, fewer than 3 percent of the whole student bodies are African-American.

Indeed, the way it works is that most black athletes are shamelessly exploited by our colleges. The general model is that football and basketball are the so-called revenue sports that pay the bills for whole athletic departments. The players –– so many of them African-American and often impoverished –– do not, of course, share in the revenue they have earned. Instead, the money made by the football and basketball teams funds the scholarships of athletes and the salaries of coaches in other sports. And, of course, most of those beneficiaries are white.

The NCAA is now seriously threatened by lawsuits that would jeopardize its enforced amateurism. The other day, its chief counsel, one Donald Remy, whined that the plaintiffs “now want to make this about professionalizing a few current student-athletes to the detriment of all others. Their scheme … threatens college sports as we know it.”

You bet: threatens the dear old NCAA scheme where it is mostly the black athletes who pay the freight for others. The model is broken and unfair and rife with prejudice, but college presidents continue to shamelessly endorse it.

How do we “bolster and reinforce African-American boys”? Well, if our educational system would only care a little more about encouraging good black students instead of using good black athletes, it would be a start.

A Life With “Out” Limits: Growing Up Hindu and Homosexual

by Arati M. Jambotkar

Sometimes I have dreams about my future wedding day.  I hold hands with my Indian husband – an engineer maybe, or a doctor – as we circle the ceremonial fire in traditional Indian garb, flanked by gold jewelry and extravagant ornaments.  We are filled with the certainty that we will be bound together in harmony for life, and everything is perfect – just the way it’s supposed to be…
There’s only one problem: I’m not straight.  But it took me a long time to realize that it’s not a problem.
I grew up in a small town forty miles west of New Orleans, the younger of two daughters of immigrants.  My parents are the most self-sacrificing people I know.  My dad was raised in a tiny village in India with no electricity or running water, oftentimes studying by candlelight during his childhood and eating nothing but a boiled egg a day.  In contrast, I was raised in America with things that far surpassed mere necessities.  Although I felt grateful for these luxuries, along with that gratitude came an equally strong sense of guilt over being spoiled.  The combination of that gratitude and guilt sparked a self-imposed pressure to succeed and to live up to the ideals of the culture.
Being born into a family of devout Hindus, I frequently visited the local temple as a child.  I recall sitting on the hard linoleum floor amongst a throng of worshippers, surrounded by statues – idols adorned with silk and flowers and grains of rice.  I was obedient and quiet as chants were muttered in tongues I did not understand, to which I could not connect to  emotionally.  I found myself detached from my religion, from spirituality altogether.  Such was the case for many years.
I started noticing girls shortly after my sixteenth birthday.  During the summer before my junior year, I attended a club conference in Texas with a group of young women from several Louisiana parishes.  On the bus ride there, I chatted with a girl who –I kid you not – was the spitting image of Alicia Silverstone.  Sigh.  I recall sitting alone with “Miss Silverstone” at a table in Planet Hollywood in downtown Dallas two days later as she complained for three and a half hours about her boyfriend’s indiscretions.  As she spoke, all I could think about was how magnificent she was, how pleasant her voice sounded, her warm and endearing personality, the insanity of the boyfriend, and how odd it felt to be overcome with extreme nervousness.  It was the kind of anxiety that is blissful, surreal, and simultaneously shocks the core.  Basically, these were butterflies that only a crush can bring.  I never saw her again, but I’ll never forget her.
From that point until the age of eighteen, I experienced the most agonizing torment I’ve ever gone through in my life: the questioning period.  I was plagued by incessant thoughts about the true nature of my sanity – second-guessing whether my emotions were part of the reality I had always known, or whether they were part of some alternate universe where delusions were actually reality.  I chastised and berated myself constantly.  It was my own version of self-imposed electroshock therapy.  My feelings towards my inclinations and urges went beyond guilt to a dark place of shame about who I was and what I feared I would become: a second-class family member, an ostracized Hindu, a spiritual failure.  This daily self-lashing lasted two years.
When I turned eighteen, I decided to come out to my parents.  And I chose the morning of December 25 to do it.  I didn’t select it for shock value.  Christmas, although a Christian holiday, was always celebrated in our household as our favorite day of the year – a time when the familial bond that we always valued became something that was renewed and strengthened time and time again.  I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my mother, post-wrapping paper cleanup, post-dishwasher loading, and pre-trying to figure out how these words were going to somehow magically form themselves into sentences that I could verbalize.  But sometimes, anxiety prompts a person to act on impulse before the mind can object and before the body can resist.  I blurted out the three words, not even stuttering on “l.” All I remember after was the unsurprised look on my mother’s face as she said, “It’s just a phase.”  And suddenly, I felt like a kid who had woken up on Christmas morning with all the anticipation and hope in the world, only to find that the one thing she had wished for that year wasn’t under the tree.  I was that kid, and I was crushed.
From that moment on, I experienced an emotional distancing from my family that filled me with some of the greatest emptiness I have ever known.  It was like trekking through a tundra, surrounded by nomads, but blindfolded and feeling like no one else was there.  I tried to wash away that emptiness with a series of failed relationships, including the horribly violent one about which I wrote a few weeks ago.  I didn’t want to face rejection, abandonment, and judgment by the people whom I had always considered to be closest to me, by this spiritual being.
Out of desperation, I went to a temple in Houston one weekend, about fifteen years after I had last been inside of a religious establishment.  People oftentimes describe spiritual experiences as monumental, dramatic events that are blissful, surreal, and simultaneously shock the core.  Mine was ordinary, I suppose.  But in crossing that threshold, I felt a transformation, one from a lifetime of feeling displacement to just one moment of feeling balance, peace, and belonging.  That’s when I realized that this puzzle of life is only complete when the last piece of it stops struggling.  When I accept that the puzzle maker truly wants me to stop fighting the puzzle itself and just “be,” only then can I accept myself as the piece that fits.
Today I am grateful that I am that piece, that I have the capacity to enact change in this world based on who I am, based on just “being” – on just being me.  And since I’ve come to that place of self-acceptance, of self-nurturing, I have been blessed with the ability to embrace that puzzle instead of shunning it, to feel compassion for the other pieces and to love myself regardless of whether they are in acceptance of me, or even of themselves.  My family doesn’t exactly welcome my homosexuality today, but they don’t reject it either.  They love me for just being, and I love them in the same way.  I thank that spiritual someone, that threshold in Houston, for giving me the power to truly know that.
So these days, I still sometimes have dreams about my future wedding day.  I hold hands with my wife – whoever she may be – as we circle the ceremonial fire in traditional Indian garb, flanked by gold jewelry and extravagant ornaments.  We are filled with the certainty that we will be bound together in harmony for life, but everything isn’t perfect.  Instead, it’s just the way it’s supposed to be.

New School Year! Time For New Conversation About Abuse & Bullying!

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The new school year always brings a sense of excitement for children.  It’s that time of year when days are filled with school supply lists, thoughts of new teachers and bus pick-up times.  They can’t wait to see their friends, meet new ones and see what the new year will hold.  This is also a time when many parents start to make plans for all the things they know will come…things that aren’t quite as exciting as homework and studying.  Before your child resettles into their routine, sit with them and talk about the new year, about expectations and how they can succeed.

I had that talk with my child this past week, as she enters her last year of middle school and takes a high school class for the first time.  Amidst the discussion of GPA, college admission requirements and end-of-year exams, we also talked about another subject I feel is equally important – dating abuse.  We talked about the early warning signs of dating abuse from boys that might like her, and how she needs to watch for those signs in her friends relationships too.

At Harbor House we know how important it is for children to not only recognize the warning signs of abuse and bullying, but also how to intervene.  The Little Leaders and Leaders of Courage programs work to end bullying and abuse not just by helping youth recognize it, but also by giving them the tools to stop it.  Studies now show that bullies grow up to be abusers.  Our children must be empowered to act so we can stem the tide of dating abuse and domestic violence.

Please have this talk with your child.  They will, without a doubt, be put in a situation where they’ll see another child being bullied.  It may be someone in their class, at lunch or on the playground.   How will your child respond?  Will they watch, laugh (even in discomfort) or worse yet…participate.  They need the tools and the permission from you to be a hero and stand up to bullying.

Here are a few tips from our Little Leaders program:

  • If you see someone being bullied or abused ALWAYS speak to an adult/teacher/administrator right away.  Never intervene if you don’t feel safe in doing so.
  • Bullying and abuse is painful emotionally and the victim may need the help of an adult to be safe.
  • If you do feel comfortable intervening, respectfully approach the bully and communicate how you feel.  That bullying is NOT okay.  Always tell an adult what happened.
  • It’s also important to report bullying on any social networking sites (it is anonymous!).  Talk to your child about how to do this.  Visit  http://www.internetsafety101.org/SNSsafety.htm for safety tips and tools.
  • You can always report abuse anonymously by calling 1-800-423-TIPS, visiting  http://www.speakouthotline.org or by texting “Speakout” to CRIMES (274637).

So, talk to your child before they go back to school.  Tell them what to look for and how to intervene.  At the end of the day, when the bell rings, your child will walk away as a Little Leader as well.

– Carol Wick

Carol is the CEO of Harbor House of Central Florida (http://www.harborhousefl.com), the county’s only certified Domestic Violence agency. She has extensive experience working, not only in the field of women’s issues, but in trauma and child abuse.  JDSA works closely with Carol and Harbor House as strategic planning partners for a variety of fundraising events, producing PSA’s, commercials and writing web-based content.

Central Florida Homeless Students Get The School Supplies They Need!

Did you know more than half the students in Central Florida cannot afford lunch, let alone school supplies? And in many cases, devoted teachers spend between $500-$1000 of their own money to buy supplies for students in their classrooms?

Well, A Gift for Teaching has come up with a beautiful and simple concept to address this issue:

Local businesses take unwanted supplies or surplus merchandise, that would otherwise get thrown away, and donate it for distribution through their Free Stores for teachers.

More than 11,000 teachers from Central Florida’s 330 public schools can then “shop” for free. This ensures more than 175,000 students in the Central Florida community have the basic school supplies they need to learn.

This week, Just DO Something…Anything Inc. along with El Sentinel, Central Florida News 13, Siemens and Greenspoon Marder Foundation, joined A Gift For Teaching on a massive backpack stuffing event.

1,300 homeless students are enrolled in Fifth Third Bank’s Summer of Dreams program http://www.thesummerofdreams.com http://www.facebook.com/thesummerofdreams. Now in its third year, Summer of Dreams provides homeless children in Central Florida with food, academic enrichment, mentoring, school supplies, and financial counseling for parents.

Approximately 50 AGFT volunteers and Summer of Dreams students worked in assembly-line style to stuff 800 backpacks with basic school supplies such as, notebooks, pencils, glue and crayons.  These backpacks will be delivered to all Summer of Dreams camp locations for distribution to local homeless students. But as Marisa Worley, Director of Development for AGFT said:

Put a pencil in the hands of a child and it becomes the key to unlocking what’s inside.  These pencils can do more than just help a child write or draw.  Supplies like these enable children to dream, create and experience success in school and in life.

To learn more about A Gift For Teaching please visit their website: http://www.agiftforteaching.org

About Just DO Something…Anything! Inc.

Just Do Something…Anything! Inc. is a non-profit movement of social justice storytellers!  We write articles, raise awareness, and produce video content for the Orlando Sentinel, Harbor House, A Gift for Teaching, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and many other social advocacy groups!

We tackle social causes and provide services to victims of: Human trafficking, domestic violence, human rights, animal rights, women’s rights and many more…

OUR MISSION – A nonprofit movement engaged in the mobilization of individuals for social change through action!

OUR VISION – JDSA envisions a world where everyone is afforded dignity, respect, and meaningful social inclusion.

Please join the more than 21,000 others – in 89 countries worldwide – who have already  joined us in our mission to change the world!

FaceBookhttp://www.facebook.com/justdosomethinganything?fref=ts

Twitter – @sawworldwide

Bloghttp://www.socialdiscussioninc.wordpress.com

Skype ID – JDSAnything

Pinterest – JDSAnything

Website – Currently Under Construction…

http://www.justdosomethinganything.com

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

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