Food & Wine Unite To Support Pulse & Orlando LGBT

A group of popular Orlando chefs and hospitality leaders decided to Just DO Something…Anything! by joining together for a barbecue to benefit The LGBT Center of Central Florida (www.thecenterorlando.org). Over 500 people came out to enjoy great food, live music, and a butterfly release and remembrance ceremony in the courtyard. There was no ticket price to attend the event, which ran from 4-8pm at East End Market (eastendmkt.com).

The benefit, Food and Wine Unite Orlando (foodandwineuniteorlando.myevent.com), was organized by chefs Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant and Jamie McFadden of Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine & Events. After the Pulse Nightclub attack, chefs Kevin and Jamie wanted to give back to the “The Center,” which has helped so many victims’ families and survivors.

100% of the proceeds were donated to The LGBT Center of Central Florida for assistance in rebuilding resources.

Participating Orlando-area restaurants included; Smiling Bison, Hawkers, Swine & Sons, The Rusty Spoon, Chef Tim Keating and Wild Ocean Market, Se7en Bites, The Courtesy Bar, and all of the merchants at East End Market.

Wines were provided by Craft & Estate: a member of The Winebow Group, Tim’s Wine Market, Stacole Fine Wines, Winesellers, LTD., Augustan Wine Imports, and Breakthru Beverage Group.  Sponsors for the event included K Restaurant, Cuisiniers Catering, East End Market, The Boathouse at Disney Springs, Quantum Leap Winery, Breakthru Beverage Group, Overeasy Events, Platinum Parking, Orlando Wedding & Party Rentals, and Linens By the Sea.

 

The Faine House; A Project of Hope for Central Florida Youth

 

This year in Central Florida, an estimated 400 teenagers in foster care will turn 18, while the state ends its assistance. Without help and guidance many of these kids will face a lifetime of dependency; welfare, jail, and homelessness.

The Faine House, in conjunction with Children’s Home Society of Florida, exists to combat these problems.

Our story above explains why they do what they do, how they do it, and how everyone benefits.

To get involved or learn more about The Faine House click here: https://www.thefainehouse.org

War Veteran Walks 1000 Miles & Ends With A Royal Finish

In 2012, U.S. Marine Kirstie Ennis was injured in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.  This past Sunday, Ennis completed a 1,000-mile walk across the U.K. to raise awareness for disabled military members,

Prince Harry hugs Afghanistan veteran Kirstie Ennis, 24, as he welcomes six ex-servicemen and women who have travelled the length and breadth of Britain over 72 days since starting the arduous journey in Moray, Scotland, in August, as part of Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) Walk of Britain, as they reach the finishing line at Buckingham Palace in central London.

Prince Harry hugs Afghanistan veteran Kirstie Ennis, 24, as he welcomes six ex-servicemen and women who have travelled the length and breadth of Britain over 72 days since starting the arduous journey in Moray, Scotland, in August, as part of Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) Walk of Britain, as they reach the finishing line at Buckingham Palace in central London.

Ennis, along with four former British soldiers and another U.S. Marine, walked 1000 miles in 72 days  to raise money and awareness for Walking With the Wounded, which helps injured military members regain independence.  Ending at Buckingham Palace, an emotional Prince Harry awaited.  Ennis distributed 24 military dog tags to people she met during her journey, giving her final token to the prince.

Since her crash, Ennis, 24,  has undergone 38 surgeries, and is scheduled to have her left leg amputated.  Prince Harry officially announced the event, called the Walk of Britain, in March, and joined Ennis and her group at two points along their 72-day journey,

(left to right) Kirsty Ennis, Andrew Bement, Matt Fisher, Prince Harry, Alec Robotham, Scott Ransley and Stewart Hill, as he welcomes the ex-service personnel who have travelled the length and breadth of Britain over 72 days since starting in Moray, Scotland, in August, as part of Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) Walk of Britain, as they reach the finishing line at Buckingham Palace in central London.

(left to right) Kirsty Ennis, Andrew Bement, Matt Fisher, Prince Harry, Alec Robotham, Scott Ransley and Stewart Hill.


Prince Harry hugs Afghanistan veteran Kirstie Ennis, 24, as he welcomes six ex-servicemen and women who have travelled the length and breadth of Britain over 72 days since starting the arduous journey in Moray, Scotland, in August, as part of Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) Walk of Britain, as they reach the finishing line at Buckingham Palace in central London.

Prince Harry with Afghanistan veteran Kirstie Ennis, 24, and her final dog tag.

Stories of Emerging Visions – Thanks to Lighthouse Central Florida!

Just DO Something…Anything! met three amazing individuals who’s lives were transformed through Lighthouse Central Florida.

This video, which played at Lighthouse’s 2015 Emerging Vision Luncheon, highlights those three success stories…illustrating how donors continue to empower and impact the lives of those living with vision loss in Central Florida.

Suntrust Bank donated $10,000, while nearly 200 attended the event.   Thanks to everyone who helped celebrate the important solutions being fulfilled for Central Florida’s blind and visually impaired infants, children, teens and adults.

To find out more about Lighthouse Central Florida, or how you can get involved, check them out on line: Lighthouse Central Florida 

Hundreds Take Action To Make A Difference For Thousands!

Lending a hand! Volunteers help sort thousands of donated school supplies.

Families picking out school supplies.

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Last week Just DO Something…Anything!, along with Century 21, helped sponsor it’s first Take Action! event at Barnett Park in Orlando, Florida. Nearly 400 residents showed up along with dozens of volunteers, who helped distribute over 3,000 back-to-school supplies: pens, backpacks, clothes, pencils, paper, and other items.

But the event wasn’t just about helping families get materials they need to start the school year. Take Action! was about doing just that … taking action against social injustice.

Local mom finds just the right size.

Finding just the right size.

JDSA, along with some of their Central Florida nonprofit partners: Harbor HouseA Gift For Teaching, and Florida Abolitionist, spent the day talking with residents about the importance of what they do and how they do it!

Also on hand was the Orlando Rowing Club, Orlando Dragon Boat Club, and Dueling Dragons boat team. Dragon’s “Cops and Kids” program is a unique partnership teaming Orlando police officers with at-risk teens, who compete in boat races across the country.  Their story was recently featured on The Today Show.

Orlando Rowing Club President, Johnny Hood and Chairperson, Chris Luciano brought a “skull boat” and an “Erg,” or indoor rowing machine for residents to try out.

Making a difference with hand prints & finger paint.

Making a difference with hand prints & finger paint.

Before the kids picked up their items they were asked to “make their mark” with paint!  “Taking Action!” by writing out – next to their imprint – exactly, what they’re going to do to help make the world a better place.

Clean the World, an Orlando nonprofit, cleaned off the paint with donated soap.  Clean the World and the Global Soap project have distributed over 25 million bars of soap to 99 countries!

We gave away about 75% of all the donated items.  What’s left is going to Haiti for those in need … thanks to Divine Way Ministries.” says Take Action! event coordinator, Anastacha Constant.  Not only did Divine Way help with donated items, they also took care of all the food and drinks.

Affordable Document Service lent their support to those in need.  LA Fitness talked with residents about the importance of exercise and nutrition.  And Orange County Fire/Rescue brought a firetruck.  Where kids (and a few adults) climbed inside and learned about fire safety and injury prevention.

Ideas for next year’s Take Action! Event are already underway…

Orange County Firefighters showing students the inside of a fire truck.

Kids get an inside look!

Orlando Fire Department show off their truck.

Fire truck on display.

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Taking action! with pens, markers, and paint!

Taking Action! with pens, markers, and paint!

13 Families Come Together To Just DO Something About Lawnmower Safety

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Thirteen lawn mower accident families and survivors – from over ten states – gathered together in Central Florida to film a PSA about lawnmower safety.

13 kids.  11 of them amputees.

Just a small sampling of the nearly 600 that lose limbs to lawn mower accidents each year

give2Jodi and Brett Bainter organized the PSA after years of counseling other families after their son was injured in a lawn mower accident in 2004.   16 surgeries and four years later, their son, Jake lost his leg.

During the time of our accident, I was told it was a freak accident. But they continue every year,” Brett said.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the last five years alone, nearly 17,000 children younger than 19 suffered mower-related injuries.

In 2012, Jodi published Make it Morning hoping to inspire others.   Slowly, the Bainter’s became a refuge for other lawn mower accident families.

It’s very, very hard for dads and even for me,” Brett said. “Our accident happened a long time ago, and it’s still hard. But it’s not about us. It’s about the families that came to Orlando for this, and we honestly think it’s a sense of healing for them.

The Bainter family will share their story on “Answered Prayers,” a series airing 10 p.m. Sunday’s on TLC.  Roma Downey, the “Touched by an Angel” star hosts the series and is the Executive Producer.

When we got the call [from the show] last fall, it stopped us in our tracks,” Jodi said. “We were not sure we’re interested in talking about our family.” But she added, “We had seen what prayer can do. We personally experienced it.

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I felt the Bainters’ story was profoundly moving, and I believe the courage and faith of this young family will be an inspiration to others.” Downey said.

On the day of Jake’s surgery, the family met Bill Hansbury, an amputee on the side of the road, and stopped to talk to him. “If I can do it, you can do it,” Hansbury told Jake.

“We feel like our work’s not done,” Jodi said. “We have families continue to call.  I’d like to stop meeting families that way.  It’s preventable.  Keep kids in the home while operating a mower.  We want to protect kids.  We hope it will make parents think differently.IMG_0857

The group has raised over $10,000 through their giving forward fundraising campaign, https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/zn09/the-lawnmower-safety-psa-fund-limbs-matter to film and produce the PSA

To learn more, contact Jodi and Brett Bainter at 407-492-8512.  Email them at jb1@cfl.rr.com or check out their website –  www.Limbsmatter.com

3 years – $1 million – & 110 Countries Later

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Three years ago this month Just DO Something…Anything! was created.  At the time JDSA was just a few letters … and Social Discussion was just a blog with a catchy phrase: We have the right to remain silent.  We just choose not to …”

For two months our computer screen sat blank … a blinking black cursor in the middle of an empty white page.  The first piece we posted was an Op/Ed political story I wrote after covering the Republican National Convention in Tampa for NBC News. We thought we were starting a revolution.  But really, we were just beginning an evolution.

We weren’t political writers.  We were social storytellers.  And that’s what we set out to do – tell stories through producing video content: writing commercials and shooting PSAs, developing creative strategies and concept planning for social organizations around the world.

But with nearly 12 million nonprofits, it seemed a daunting – if not impossible task.  So we decided to connect – both ourselves and others – to some of the more unique social organizations in existence.  Everyone knows about The Gates Foundation and Amnesty International.  But how many know about Rebecca Pontius and http://dogoodbus.com? A school bus she “decked out” so as to offer once-a-month community rides to volunteers to and from great causes in her Los Angeles community.

Or Shawn Seipler’s nonprofit, https://cleantheworld.org, who, while on a business trip had an idea for soap recycling after learning the barely used bars of hotel soap he left behind ended up in a landfill.  Today, Clean the World has more than 50 full-time employees in Orlando, Las Vegas, and Hong Kong.  And they’ve distributed more than 25 million bars of soap to over 99 countries.

And we met Shannon O’Donnell, who created http://grassrootsvolunteering.org and built a dual database of organizations all over the world … helping empower travelers to connect to the causes and communities in the places they travel.

JDSA’s evolution is ongoing.  Today, we’re a 501C3 nonprofit who’s helped raise over $1 million for several unique and innovative nonprofits.  And we couldn’t have done it without you – the 30,000+ followers in over 110 countries. Thank you for turning JDSA into a verb – for JDSA’ing in the social causes you’re passionate about, and for telling us about the one’s that are making a difference in your life.

Please keep us posted on those unique organizations you come across!  In the meantime, check out a few we’ve found – from a variety of social causes.

The Pollination Project – https://thepollinationproject.org

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A Gift For Teaching – http://agiftforteaching.org

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Curbside Chronicle – http://thecurbsidechronicle.org/about-us/

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Zebra Coalition – http://zebrayouth.org

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The Prospector Theatre – http://www.prospectortheater.org

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Soaring Paws – http://www.soaringpaws.com

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Wildlife SOS / India – http://wildlifesos.org

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To learn more about those organizations, and some of the others we’ve come across, check out our “Your Connections” tab on our web site: http://www.jdsanything.org/#!your-connections/czy8

Nonprofit Crowdfunds Homes For People In Need, Gives Donors Updates On Families They’ve Helped

From: Huffington Post

For donors who want to know exactly how their money’s being spent, there’s a new transparent nonprofit that allows its supporters to rest easy.

New Story, an Atlanta-based group, identifies families in need, shares their struggles via moving video stories and then solicits donations from supporters. But what distinguishes this initiative from other similar-sounding ones is that every dollar goes right to the profiled family and donors are kept abreast of the developments every step of the way.

“For donors, it’s cool to say ‘Hey, I went on and gave $50, and in about two months I’m getting an email with a video of the family I funded in their new home,’” Brett Hagler, one of New Story’s founders, told Fast Company.

new story

In a matter of seven months, New Story raised more than $200,000 and funded 34 new homes in Leveque, Haiti, according to a press release. It partners with reputable local organizations to build the homes, offering the added benefit of employing Haiti’s residents.

The group has set an even more ambitious goal of erecting 100 homes in Haiti over the course of the summer. And then, the plan is to go global.

One such recipient includes Maria-Rose, a widow and mother of four who was displaced after the 2010 earthquake, according to New Story. For four years she resided in a tent and still took in children with nowhere to go.

In March, the grateful mom moved into her new home and said she now looks forward to starting a business and growing a garden in her backyard.

New Story is able to give 100 percent of its crowdfunding donations because it uses its more substantial private contributions to cover its administrative costs, according to Fast Company.

The group got support early on from Y Combinator, a group that invests $120,000 twice a year in a number of startups. The groups move to Silicon Valley for three months to get training and help in pitching investors.

New Story hit the scene at a time when the need is still great in Haiti, but donors are wary of nonprofits working in the impoverished country.

As of January, more than 85,000 people were still homeless as a result of the earthquake, according to Amnesty International.

But a groundbreaking investigative report recently revealed that even charities as well known as the American Red Cross can’t necessarily be trusted to deliver on their promises.

According to the ProPublica report, the Red Cross raised nearly half a billion dollars after the earthquake. Since then, it’s only erected a total of six homes.

The three founders, two of whom come from tech backgrounds, plan to sidestep such corruption by running their group the same way they would run a startup.

“This is an alternative to many charities in this space that are slow to innovate and where donors don’t know where their money is going, and what it is (or isn’t) accomplishing,” the founders said in a press release.

Local Nonprofit Brings At-Risk Kids & Police Officers Closer Together

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A few weeks ago Dueling Dragons, a Central Florida nonprofit designed to build positive relationships between law enforcement and at-risk kids through the sport of Dragon Boating, held their Annual FundRaiser.

The program, created by Andrea Eliscu has been “making waves with cops and kids” since 2011.  So far this year, Dragons has raised $52,000. Inching closer to their overall goal of $72,000.

Recently, Newschannel 13’s Ed Heiland spoke with Andrea about her organization. “Police officers and inner-city kids are usually not a team,” Eliscu told him. “And we put them together in a boat and say, ‘Let’s work together and see what happens.’ Nobody wants to see another Ferguson, another Trayvon Martin, another Madison Wisconsin. So, if you can change and create a relationship — if you can change some of that profiling.”

Steve Gunter owner of the Historic Dubsdread’s Tap Room, hosted the event as a donor himself.  Teen paddlers and their paddling cop-teammates mixed with the nearly 100 guests who enjoyed a silent auction: which included a weekend at the Hyatt in Clearwater, Sapphire and Gold earrings designed by Lauren Sigman Jewelry, and a painting of love by nationally acclaimed artist Donna Dowless.  Raffle items included a round of golf, a putter, and a golf bag.  Packages such as, Ride-With-A-Cop & Spend-½-Day-With-SWAT-Team-Training were offered.  As were purses, gift baskets and women’s jewelry.
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If you’re looking to Just DO Something…Anything! to help improve relations with teens and law enforcement, discover this Orlando Police Officers and Local Teens organization.  Dueling Dragons builds trust and helps these two groups grow together in a positive setting through a common experience. Officers and teens become mentors and friends throughout each ten-month season…while generational changes emerge as lasting bonds are made in the community.
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To find out more about Dueling Dragons and how you can help, click here: duelingdragonsorlando.com/donate.html

Grassroots Nonprofit Bridges Gaps In Caring For Burn Survivors

The Moonlight Fund, founded in 1998 with the purpose of providing services to burn victims and their families, was started by fellow burn survivors, Henry Coffeen lll and Celia Belt.

Their organization was established during the first Gulf war, where they quickly realized the need to expand their efforts to include all those military injuries that were caused by blasts.  Many, of which, resulted in amputations.

matayka retreat..

For the past 18 years, Moonlight Fund has helped nearly 500 people each year in Texas alone.  They’ve received calls from across the U.S. from both civilian and military survivors in need of help: providing emotional, financial and in-kind assistance from the onset of the injury, through rehabilitation and into their new lives.

Moonlight Fund also offers healing retreats.  Held in the peaceful surroundings of the Texas Hill Country, these retreats provide a safe place for survivors to enjoy their family and speak openly about their struggles.   With specially designed activities, attendees are afforded opportunities to make new friends dealing with many of the same issues.

In 2012 Moonlight Fund was chosen as the top non-profit in the country by the Fisher House / Newman’s Own Foundation. Specifically because of their retreat program and their ability to offer numerous services and programs with low overhead, and at no cost to those they serve.

The Moonlight Fund has received many awards over the past 18 years, but it’s their care of others they’re most proud of.

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To learn more about Moonlight Fund, or to get involved please visit their site – http://www.moonlightfund.org

 

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