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PHILANTHROPY

Articles

Guardians of the Children: Protecting Our Priceless Resource

Biker heroes serve to shield and protect the powerless victims of child abuse. They’re not just another biker club rumbling down the open road. They are not a Motorcycle club at all. Rough looking on the outside, they’re soft on the inside when it comes to kids, especially victims of child abuse. Meet Guardians of the Children (GOC), a non-profit biker organization formed in 2006 by Founders “LT” Trevino and “Bamm-Bamm” Cano whose members protect abused and neglected children. GOC’s members cover a broad range of professions united in a cause through their love of motorcycles. As bikers, they leverage their alliances to serve victims and their families. More Than Bikers “We’re an organization within the biker community,” says the Vice President of San Antonio Chapter. “It’s a matter of dedication to the lifestyle — we’re a group of volunteers that uses the image of the biker to help us in our mission, but we’re not living out the full lifestyle that the motorcycle clubs do.” GOC benefits communities by informing the public of how widespread the child abuse crisis

Diane Latiker: Chicago South Side’s Founder Of “Kids Off The Block” (KOB)

Chicago South Side’s Ms. Diane opens her heart and home for at-risk youths to realize their potential. A Memorial Like No Other Another stone is placed on a memorial wall in Roseland, a neighborhood in Chicago. Bearing a name and date, the stone is carefully and lovingly displayed among the other 800 stones that have been collecting there since 2007. The wall is a sad testament of young lives cut short by the barrel of a gun. Worse yet, the wall has been rebuilt 15 times since 2007, and is over 400 stones behind! Diane Latiker, a community activist and founder of Kids Off the Block (KOB), set up the memorial wanting to shock “her community and the youth she served,”  KOB is a non-profit started in 2003 in Roseland, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, where walking home from school could mean dodging a gauntlet of bullets. Even Latiker is not immune to her neighborhood’s violence. Her own van was found shot up by gangs. On another occasion, she says she found herself between two guns with

Marian Hamilton and The Ken Hamilton Caregiver Center

A private sanctuary for caregivers eases the everyday stress associated with the care of ailing loved ones. Unsung Heroes Imagine having a break in your day, time so precious you can have a moment all to yourself to escape, relax, and recharge. This momentary freedom is appreciated beyond measure by family members whose lives have been dramatically altered to become the courageous caregivers of loved ones with serious illnesses or injuries. Caregivers give their all to support the physical and well-being needs of loved ones. Caregiving is more than a loving, noble, selfless act —it speaks of endurance when courage and strength seem exhausted. But usually, one dives into their newfound role and then realizes how inadequate they are to take on the responsibility. Their own lives become disrupted even to forgo paid work to accommodate the needs of the loved one. Exhaustion, stress, frustration, anxiety, isolation, and depression often creep into a caregiver’s life. Patience and fortitude become precious commodities to survive caregiving. Where does one turn for help? Roughly one third of family caregivers have difficulty in finding

Lisa Klein and Loved Twice: Starting Life with Compassion

A new mother finds room in her heart to help at-risk newborns. It’s another busy day at a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse filled with volunteers sorting through mountains of baby clothes. Another box filled to the brim is sealed, labeled “Baby Boy,” and placed on a stack of similar boxes ready for delivery. Among the piles of baby garments, Lisa Klein can be found examining each article and lovingly divvies them up by size 0 through 12 months. A Head Start in Life Klein is the founder of this non-profit enterprise, Loved Twice, that collects and distributes donated baby clothes to help underprivileged newborns, giving them a better start in life. They collect gently used baby clothes that would otherwise end up in a landfill and pack them lovingly into a boy’s or girl’s wardrobe-in-a-box. Each box contains 75 items including socks, hats, pants, sleepwear, booties, bibs, books, and other items. Deliveries are made to social workers who hand out the boxes to desperate new mothers and guardians in local hospitals, shelters, and clinics. It all started in 2005

Susan Nastasi: “Horsing Around” is Good for You

Sharing the unconditional love of miniature horses promotes peace, joy, comfort, and healing. Humans and animals have shared a bond since prehistoric times, one helping the other for mutual benefit. Our lives are enriched by an animal’s unconditional love and ability to sooth the wounds of our body and soul. A cuddle, a snuggle, a wagging tail acts like a balm for our emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. Just interacting with animals uplifts our spirit, and the feeling is mutual. What place better for this friendly bond to be experienced than at SOUL Haven Ranch in Winter Garden, Florida. It’s the perfect place to immerse in peace, tranquility, and nature, yet only a half-hour’s drive from mega-parks Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. Guests are welcomed to a charming Victorian-style house with a wrap-around porch complete with rocking chairs. Upscale accommodations await the tired traveler as do friendly dogs, cats, and goats. Relax and unwind in the gazebo, hammocks, and swings beneath the large shady oak trees. There’s even a horse-drawn carriage service available for tours, weddings, birthdays, and

Alicia Keys and Keep a Child Alive

Superstar takes positive action to combat the physical, social, and economic impacts of HIV. Star Power Alicia Keys, a world-renowned songstress and piano player, uses her global fame to make the world a better place. For years, her soulful voice and lyrics about hope, love, and freedom have inspired fans worldwide. As a classically trained pianist with 15 Grammys, she understands the power of music. She was signed to Columbia Records when she was 15 and has recorded megahits like No One, Empire State of Mind, If I Ain’t Got You, and Girl on Fire. Aside from music, Keys has acted in films such as The Secret Life of Bees and The Nanny Diaries. Even though Alicia Keys’ powerful voice, undeniable piano skills, and star power are her claim to fame, that’s not the only way she wants to leave her mark on the world. Few people know that she is a human rights activist and a spokesperson for afflicted women and children around the world. Musical Mission One of Keys’ most pivotal moments was when she traveled to South Africa

John Kay: Now That I Know, I Care

Hard-edged rock star reveals softer side as a compassionate environmental, wildlife, and human rights advocate. A Time of Renegades and Rebels My, how time flies —believe it or not, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic film, Easy Rider, starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson.  Facing a budget crunch, Dennis Hopper, who also directed the film, decided to use the music of Bob Dylan, The Band, Steppenwolf, and Jimi Hendrix on the soundtrack rather than hiring their own musicians to create a score. Easy Rider became one of the most influential films of the sixties, and the music most associated with it launched to stardom one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most legendary bands. I recently had the privilege of speaking with John Kay, lead singer of Steppenwolf, and one of the voices of our generation.  Preparing for our conversation, I did my homework learning that John was born in East Prussia, now part of Russia, and along with his daring and caring mother, fled their homeland and made their way to West Germany when he was 5-years old, and

Operation Smile: The Second Generation of Hope

Continuing the journey set by their parents, the Magee siblings are working to expand compassion worldwide. All the siblings of the Magee family have not only carried on their parents’ legacy of compassion which you can read about in our article Operation Smile, but each has risen to excellence in their own respective careers and causes. Growing up, they accompanied their parents, William and Kathy Magee, on medical missions in foreign lands and pitched in to help where they could. The training they received while on these missions and the example set by their parents, shaped their own future goals in life. Since their youth, they’ve recognized the impact and joy of selfless dedication in restoring health and dignity to the people who need it most. They can see it in the smiles of those they have helped. What have the Magee siblings been up to? Here is a snapshot of each of their contributions to the betterment of mankind … William Magee, III, MD, DDS – Leading Plastic and Craniofacial Surgeon The oldest sibling, William “Billy” Magee, III, first

LESLIE’S WEEK: Nonprofit Gifts Vacations Away from Cancer

LESLIE’S WEEK is about Memories. Memories are 4ever! Stage 4 Breast Cancer women spend the majority of their Stage 4 lives in cancer therapies, clinical trials, and hospitals. Their families are in Financial Toxicity from the demands of cancer treatments. “Normalcy” is no longer recognizable in their lives. Receiving a diagnosis of Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer changes everything – holiday plans with family, career path, attending kid’s and grandkid’s events, retirement with your spouse. Plans you were looking forward to taking on suddenly have a new perspective. Shock aside, your life has careened into a journey you never thought you would take. Visits to hospitals and oncologists, enduring cancer treatments and procedures such as chemo and radiation, seeking support and strength, feeling ill and tired —all become the new norm. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S. This year, an estimated 41,760 women will die from breast cancer in the U.S. On average, every 2 minutes a

Haben Girma: A Champion of Disability Inclusion as Part of Diversity

From refugee to Harvard grad: She champions inclusion and dignity for people with disabilities.  We Are All Able The word “disability” usually comes with a negative connotation. It seems to deny the fact that there are people of all shapes, sizes, and skills that require judgement-free social services. Today, sadly, it seems that the differences that make our world colorful, unique, and progressive can also be a cause for isolation for many people. But Haben Girma, a deaf-blind Harvard scholar, is living proof that we are all able to complete grand missions no matter our abilities if we have the courage in our hearts and the support of our communities.  Girma is a public speaker and disability rights advocate with international fame. She aims to have inclusive practices for people with disabilities in every aspect of our daily lives. And she believes that technology can level the playing field.  She’s a lawyer, activist, and author who has been named a White House Champion of Change by President Barack Obama, spoken at national conferences, and gave a lecture on accessible design