Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lighting the Night for my village

September 28, 2012

Last night I participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk in beautiful Wash Park in Denver, Colorado.  Light the Night is a short, casual stroll that takes place every fall in cities across the United States and Canada and funds lifesaving research and support for people battling cancer.  Friends, families and co-workers form fundraising teams and millions of consumers help by donating at retail outlets.  At the walks, survivors carry white balloons.  Supporters carry red.  Those remembering lost ones carry gold.  All of the balloons are illuminated with a small flashlight, creating a powerful vision of community and "bringing light to the dark world of cancer."

I walked last night to support my friend Ben and his family.  Ben finished chemotherapy and radiation treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma two years ago. I have never seen Ben without a smile.  Never had a conversation with him that didn't leave me laughing.  Ben and his wife generously welcomed and supported me and my family when we moved to Colorado a little over a year ago.  They are kind, fun friends.  I walked for Ben and his wife, and for their two young children, who were not much older than my own (4 and 7) when their father contracted this frightening disease.

There are a lot of walks (and runs and bike rides and swims and ...) out there these days for a variety of causes.  Because they are so commonplace, you'd think they might lose their power.  Quite the opposite.  These opportunities to get physically active remain poignant opportunities for activism.  They raise money, boost community awareness, and enable us to experience those rare moments in our crazy, busy lives where we can connect and show each other how very much we care.


p.s. I also walked for the sweet little girl in my daughter's dance class who I learned this past Tuesday is finishing a round of chemotherapy for leukemia.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Eyes

e-impact, week of September 16-22 ...  

This afternoon I sent a pair of children's eyeglasses to NEW EYES.  New Eyes improves the vision of poor children and adults by purchasing new eyeglasses in the United States and recycling donated glasses for distribution in developing nations worldwide.  Since its founding in 1932, New Eyes has improved the eyesight of more than 7,500,000 people in the U.S. and around the world.   Each new pair of glasses provided by New Eyes "can help a child succeed in school, an adult secure a job, or a senior citizen read medicine labels and live more independently."    

I discovered New Eyes a few years ago when I was looking for something constructive to do with a pair of tiny pale pink wire frames belonging to my daughter, Adina.  Adina, now four and a half, got those pink eyeglasses, her first pair, when she was fifteen months old.  Adina was born with nystagmus, an involuntary eye movement disorder that results in reduced vision.  Adina's eyes constantly rotate back and forth, like a pendulum, and while the glasses do not cure her nystagmus, they do ensure that her vision is corrected to the maximum level possible.

There are many more pairs of glasses in Adina's future.  And each time she gets a new pair, I plan to send the old ones to New Eyes.  I am grateful to New Eyes for giving me and Adina a way to contribute to the improving the lives and visions of others.  And, rather big bonus I know, every time I put a pair of Adina's glasses in the mail, I get to think of Jake Gyllenhaal ...



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Welcome to e-impact!

Welcome to e-impact!

What is e-impact?

e-impact is a way to make a difference in the world in one hour or less, without giving money.  Because there are so many opportunities to do this online, e-impact can be thought of as another way of saying "e-activism" or electronic or online do-gooding or advocacy.  e-impact is about effecting social change in a very brief amount of time, often without having to leave one's living room, office or Starbucks.

Who's behind e-impact?

"e" is also me.  Evelyn.  I'm President of Becker Impact, a boutique communications strategy firm for nonprofits based in Denver, Colorado.  I spend my days developing compelling messages and telling effective stories so nonprofit organizations can move public opinion and action, inspire donations and votes, and effect change.  I'm a mother to two fabulous children - ages 4 and 7 - and an active member of my community.  When I'm not working or volunteering, you can find me with my family hiking, biking or skiing in & around the Rocky Mountains.  Or blogging.  This is my new blog.  

How exactly will e-impact work? 

e-impact is a 355 day project.  It launches tomorrow, September 17, 2012, the first day of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and ends on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, 2013 (September 5, 2013).  Every week for one (lunar) year, I am going to find something that I can do in an hour or less, online or in my community, to make a difference on an issue I care about.  Yes, this is trying to make the world a better place according to my particular world view.  

Why e-impact?

The 2012 presidential race recently pushed me to share a deeply personal story online and to issue a call to action to my friends and family.  Though I have written countless messages and stories for nonprofit organizations whose causes I believe in, I'd never shared or asked for anything so intimate.  I was deeply moved by the positive response to my story.  I thought about the power of words and about individual power.  I am honored that my story inspired others; their encouragement inspired e-impact.

Can I get involved?

I would love that!  As I write about my e-impact activities, I will include the links necessary for you to join in the fun.  I'd also really appreciate your suggestions for ways I can get e-active.  Please note, however, that I will be trying to make an impact in areas of personal importance.  This is also a self-issued writing challenge.  I hope that even if you do not share my interests or social or political concerns, you might enjoy reading along about my adventures.  Perhaps you will also see this blog as a place to add your comments on social change and share your own stories in trying to positively impact the world.

Warm wishes to you & yours for a happy & healthy new year.