Greetings faithful blog readers,
As my 31st year comes to close, I cannot believe what a life changing and exciting year it was. From finding out we were expecting to giving birth to our beautiful baby girl to helping her grow into a three month old, this year has brought big changes and the most intense love. The year also brought exciting opportunities: my chapbook with PANK was released, I had the opportunity to attend the Tin House Summer Workshop, and I celebrated five years working in a place I love. I spent this year in many exciting places: Taos, NM; Portland, OR; Connecticut and Maine, Austin, TX; Tulsa, OK; and Maui, HI. It was a very special year: one that fills me with gratitude and appreciation beyond what I can express, and now I'm excited to spread some good karma and give back a little.
I started participating in Donate Your Birthday the year I turned 25. The concept is simple: each year, donate your age in dollars to an organization of your choice. I always look forward to this small way to give back.
Often, my charity picks are inspired by books I'm reading. I've thought a lot recently, after reading Evicted, about the needs that we all have, and the need to feel safe and loved tops the list. After the loss of our Pediatrician this month, I read that one of the charities she loved was Centers for Children and Families, so I went to the website and read all about it. This center offers individual, martial, and family counseling to residents of Midland and Odessa at reduced or no cost to the participants. No referral from a doctor or agency is required, so there is not "red tape" in accessing these services. They also offer bilingual therapy, therapy dogs, and free services for military and their families. The credentials of their counselors are so impression. From the website:
"We currently employ 11 Licensed Professional Counselors, ten of whom have Masters Degrees, and one has her Doctorate and is a degreed nurse. We have a counselor available who is bilingual and is a Registered Play Therapist who helps children/teens heal from stressful or traumatic experiences. We also have a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor, two counselors who are certified in Anger Resolution, five who have received Trauma training and one who is a Licensed Chemical Dependence Counselor."
Clearly, this organization is doing important work out in our community, and it feels wonderful to support them.
I also donated to Midland College's SOS (Support Our Students) fund. When unexpected emergencies crop up, they can hinder a student from completing courses they've started and that can create major barriers to completing their educational goals. Examples of emergencies this fund can help with include food, housing, daycare, legal help, transportation help, medical assistance, and utility bills.
Do you donate your birthday? If so, what organizations do you love?