L&W- What would you say is the main driving force behind Abundant Water?
BF- I think that WHAT is the important word there. For myself it is both the pressing need of the water situation and satisfying the inbuilt ‘need’ to do something good that I can be proud of. So trying to address the needs of the critical water situation, step by step moving towards this concrete goal, is a way of making a contribution to society and fulfilling the personal need to make a difference. Once people realize they have something to contribute and can connect it to contributing to the greater cause then they feel motivated.
BF- Quite a bit. A few examples are the June 2009 Twitter Challenge Top10Causes, which @abundantwater reached third place (http://twitter.com/Top10Causes); in August 2009 Allianz Knowledge, which is a division of Allianz Insurance Group and focuses on Climate Change, Energy, Microfinance, Demographic Change, and Safety and Health, included Abundant Water in a media feature entitled “10 Ways to Address Water Scarcity“ ( http://knowledge.allianz.com/en/media/galleries/water_supply_solutions.html); in September 2009 the Abundant Water Video is posted on The Water Channel
L&W- What is the one message you would like young people to understand about Abundant Water?
To all artists and designers, if you haven’t checked out Illustraion Mundo yet, now is the time! This is an amazing online community for artists to showcase work and share with other artists from all over the world. What we like best about it is how elegantly organized it is, which makes it very easy to navigate and to interact with others on. Let us know what you think, and look for our interview with Nate, the creator of the site, coming up soon!
Ten years ago Brian Mullaney decided to help some children in need of plastic surgery with the resources he had available to him. Suddenly, he had created a new model for helping children with cleft lips and palates around the world, called Smile Train, which has now operated successfully on over 500,000 children. His organization now saves lives on a daily basis by offering free surgeries to children who need it. Last year, Megan Mylan shot a documentary about Smile Train’s incredible work in India, called “Smile Pinki,” which won the Academy Award. I spoke with Alexis Thomas, head of Public Relations for Smile Train, to learn more about this truly moving organization.
Love and Water- Tell us how Smile Train came into existence.
Smile Train- Our president, Brian Mullaney, was riding the subway about ten years ago and saw a child with a huge mole on his face. He was working for an ad agency at the time that represented a number of plastic surgeons. He had the idea that maybe he could have one of the plastic surgeons he knew help this child by removing the mole. He knew a number of them donated their time pro bono, so he began facilitating help to some children that way. He eventually partnered with other organizations that helped children who needed surgeries on cleft lips and palates, and went on a Missionary trip to Vietnam as a result. He met a child there- they called him “soccer boy”- who had a cleft lip. Brian got to be good friends with the boy while he was there, but by the time he was getting ready to leave the little boy still had not received his surgery. The Mission could only perform 150 surgeries out of the 600 children who needed them, and the little boy did not make the list. Brian then decided he wanted to create a new model that was able to train local surgeons to perform this kind of surgery, and that’s how Smile Train came about.
L&W- Can you talk about how the process of Smile Train works?
AT- A lot of countries have doctors who aren’t able to perform surgery on a cleft lip or palate because they have either not been educated as part of their medical program, or the country lacks funding to teach them. So Smile Train identifies surgeons worldwide and funds them to give them the training they need to learn this procedure. We do the same for surgeons who aren’t trained in plastic surgery, because the surgery is such a simple procedure that they can learn in no time how to do it, and then we have a bigger team of surgeons to work with. This way, we have doctors working every day of the year performing surgeries for free to children whose families can’t afford to have their cleft lip or palate fixed.
L&W- Can you explain what a cleft lip or palate is?
AT- It’s a medical problem that occurs in pregnancy between the sixth and twelfth weeks of carrying the child. We’re not entirely sure what causes it, and there is a lot of research going on right now to find out more about it, but we believe it is a combination of genetics and malnutrition, among other things, that causes the top lip and/or palate to not fuse together. It’s so problematic for kids in developing countries because they can’t get the nutrition they need- especially when they have a cleft palate- because they can’t form a suction with their mouths. A lot of people think it’s just a cosmetic problem, but it goes much deeper than that. Also, the cosmetic aspect is a problem as well, because kids are ostracized by others, including family members, and many can’t go to school because they can’t function properly.
L&W- You were telling me about the Academy Award-Winning documentary made about Smile Train called “Smile Pinki,” directed by Megan Mylan. I’ve watched it and it’s INCREDIBLY moving! How can others see it?
AT- We give the DVD out for free for educational purposes, so if anyone wants it they can contact me and I’ll send them one.
L&W- That’s fantastic. I’m sure you’ve had many, but what is one of the most moving experiences you’ve had so far with Smile Train?
AT- We recently found out that a soldier in Iraq, LT. Chuck Duggan, was patrolling his area right before Christmas and saw a young child with a cleft lip named Abdullah. He contacted a number of organizations to try to get him help and ended up finding Smile Train. Here is the original email he sent us:
Hello. My name is 2LT CHARLES DUGGAN. I am currently deployed to Baghdad Iraq. I am in command of a line unit here, and I deal with the local Populous on a daily basis. I feel very strongly about what it is that my men and I do here. I really want to make this area stable, and I do my part. In my area of operations there is a child that has a cleft palate. I see many small children that are being raised in poverty, however this one in particular has a problem in addition to living in these austere conditions. If I could improve this one child’s situation, I will feel as though I am succeeding at doing what I came here to do. I was wondering if you can help. I have pictures of the living conditions. He is about 3 years old. I know his father, and can go visit him later on this week. Thank you for your time: LT CHUCK DUGGAN.
We put him in touch with one of our partner doctors in Iraq named Dr. Ahmed Nawres, and the child got surgery two days later. Here is what Lt. Duggan wrote after Abduallah’s surgery:
This is why I came to Iraq….
Abdullah’s father called me just yesterday, and said that there were not enough words in any language to express how happy he is feeling right now. He says that Abdullah gets very excited and jumps up and down when he sees an American Convoy drive by. I’m very happy to do such a simple act, on my part. I plan on visiting Abdullah, and his family in the near future in order to check on his progress, and ensure all is well. I have to thank all of you who strive so hard to do this type of work, including Dr. Nawres. This is a success story that I will cherish for my entire life.
-LT. CHUCK DUGGAN.
It’s such a sweet story coming out of Iraq that touched me. It’s one of my favorites so far.
L&W- That’s one of the most touching stories I’ve heard so far. On that note, is there anything else we should know about Smile Train?
AT- I think the beauty of what Smile Train does is that for such a small amount of money we’re able to help so many children lead better lives. On average, each surgery costs around $250.00. So for that amount of money you know exactly what’s happening. It’s a very tangible reward, because it changes children’s lives.
Cindy Papale is a breast cancer survivor, board member of the Kristy Lasch Miracle Foundation and author of the bestselling book, “The Empty Cup Runneth Over.” She has the kind of energy that is intoxicating, which is probably how she has inspired countless women to educate themselves on breast cancer and breast health. Her website is chalk-full of information and inspiration from every angle, and she is just getting started. She has a second book and a movie in the works, all in the name of sharing her own story with others in order to educate and empower everyone about how to overcome breast cancer.
Love and Water- Can you talk about how you decided to write “The Empty Cup Runneth Over?”
Cindy Papale- The Empty Cup Runneth Over was actually written from my heart after I finished lecturing at high schools and colleges. The second year into lecturing one young girl came up to me after a talk and said she loved my talk and that she had taped it for her mother, and she suggested I write a book. It had crossed my mind, but I wasn’t sure how to put it together. After thinking about it I decided a book was necessary for the students I was speaking to in order to further educate them. The books I found on the market were, I felt, either too clinical or didn’t provide enough information, and I was moved by how passionate that young girl was to learn more. So I started to collaborate with physicians I knew almost immediately at the University of Miami Mount Sinai Hospital. I asked them to help me write informative but easy to read chapters for high school and college students. Almost all of them said yes. I wanted to break it down into categories, because there are many different stages of breast cancer, starting with stage 0 and moving into stages 1 through 4. There is also a type that is not staged, called IBC, or Inflammatory Breast Cancer, which is very aggressive. Chemo therapy is the first form of treatment for it, and not many people know about it. So I wanted to cover that as well. In fact, on my website there is a link to a woman’s story of Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
L&W- How did you feel after writing the book? What kind of response have you had?
CP- I’m very pleased with the book, and it actually made the top-ten bestseller list with the publishing company. It was a real accomplishment for me. Many people purchased it over the holidays, which is such a wonderful feeling, because it’s a wonderful gift to give to someone. My website gets around 85,000 hits a month, which is a tribute to the message I worked to get across in the book. I’m so moved by the people who contact me and tell me how much they learned by reading it. One woman sent me a picture of herself on the beach reading it, and I posted that on my website. I’m very moved by the connections I’ve made with people.
L&W- What is the most moving experience you’ve had so far with writing the book?
CP- The most moving experience overall has been knowing that I’ve touched people’s lives. People reaching out to me, telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my book and how it has helped them. One woman told me that she got a mammogram after reading the book and was diagnosed with cancer, so she felt the book actually saved her life. That touched me deeply. I sat back and I thought that if I could touch one life, I would have felt accomplished, but now I’ve touched so many.
L&W- How has surviving breast cancer impacted your life today?
CP- I believe everything in life happens for a reason, and we can choose to look at the positive lesson at hand or choose to see the negative. Surviving breast cancer has changed my whole way of life. My twenty year marriage ended, which was extremely devastating to me. I was faced being single again, with breast cancer, wondering if a man would love me again. In fact my last chapter in the book is titled, “Will Someone Still Love Me After Breast Cancer?” I was just finishing my book when my divorce took place. But I’m happy to say that my life has been consumed with so many blessings as a result. My time is filled with writing my books and helping to educate people, and they in turn have helped me get back on my feet and feel like myself again. Having had breast cancer is a gift without the bow- what I mean by that is the not-so-good part of the gift is that I lost my breasts, but the good part is being able to give back to others as an advocate. And getting brand new breasts in whatever size I wanted! But giving back is what is so wonderful for me. It’s still scary, but I’m taking each challenge as it comes.
L&W- What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer?
CP- The advice I’d like to give to diagnosed breast cancer survivors is to be up front and let people know. Being diagnosed with breast cancer is not a death sentence. Losing a breast can be devastating, but one must always move forward and surround yourself with positive, loving people. You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, and there are always certain family members who can put a damper on things, but I disregard what they say, and my family of friends makes that extremely easy for me to do. My biggest support system was my friends and my co-workers. They were amazing, and made me feel everyday like I was going to make it. That was invaluable to me.
L&W- How did you feel when you found out you had breast cancer?
CP- Well, I worked for a breast surgeon for 11 years, and both of my aunts had breast cancer, so I was already well educated on the topic. 90% of women do not have a history of it in their families, so that’s important to know and why women should be getting mammograms on a regular basis. When I heard for the first time that I was positive for breast cancer, my first thought was not whether I was going to die, but how bad do I have it. I had no complications with my surgeries, other than the emotional aspects involved, and I just took it all one day at a time. It’s so important to find a support system that helps you stay grounded, and that’s exactly what I had.
L&W- What kind of breast reconstruction did you choose? Can you talk about the options available?
CP- Sure- I waited five years before having breast reconstruction. I was afraid to go back under anesthesia, and of my body rejecting the implant. I chose saline implants, but you can also get silicone, and they have a new silicone implant that is supposed to be really amazing. I want to clarify that there is a difference between breast reconstruction and implants. Reconstruction involves reconstituting the breast, including the nipple. Implants are inserts that fit under the muscle and give you your shape back. The day I got my mojo back was the day they took the bandages off and I saw the curves back on my body! I started to cry and couldn’t wait to go shopping. My outlook on life changed, and I didn’t look at things the same way. I think it’s important to take your time and really decide what is best for you and your body. And trust yourself and your instincts on the matter.
L&W- Can you talk about the non-profit organization that you are a board member of?
CP- I’m a board member to the Kristy Lasch Miracle Foundation, which helps women under the age of 30 with medical expenses who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Kristy was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 22 and lost her battle at age 26. I read about her foundation in an article and made a point to contact Kristy’s friend, Laura. Through that I was introduced to Kristy’s parents. They told me they had found Kristy’s journal in a box, and I asked them if I could include her journal in my book, and they said yes. As a result of our wonderful meeting and collaboration, I became a board member to the foundation. It has been a privelege and an honor to serve this foundation, and they are growing little by little each year. It’s a wonderful service they provide to young women. Nothing could be more valuable.
Visit Cindy’s website and learn more about everything she does. And take a look at her Ribbon in the Sky items on Cafe Press. 15% of the profits go to the Kristy Lasch Miracle Foundation.
Visit Cindy’s website here: http://www.theemptycuprunnethover.com/main2/index.php
Follow Cindy on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/#/cindypapale
Follow Cindy on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/CindyPapale
Love and Water- What prompted you to start MHMC?
Tammy Pendleton- This past November I envisioned Many Hearts Many Causes (MHMC) upon reflection of the inspirational work of an extraordinary group of individuals whom I have had the pleasure to support and collaborate with on various fundraising campaigns and charitable efforts over the past years. This remarkable group of individuals have tirelessly crusaded on behalf of countless thousands around the world. Their efforts have changed the lives and touched the hearts of many. I thought’ “What if we were to team up to become one voice, one force, one heart, and together, channel all this energy, passion and love for helping others into a coordinated effort.” With this effort, we could endeavor to reach out to many as a group and continue to raise awareness and funding on an even larger scale. We could aid one cause at a time once a month.
TP- The love and dedication felt in all the hearts of our members. MHMC members have demonstrated their steadfast willingness to reach out to those in need in countless ways, hour after hour day after day, cause after cause, tweet after retweet. Our members’ unending acts of generosity and kindness are blessings to those who are in need around the world and that is the heart, soul and driving force behind MHMC. You need only to read the efforts of the individuals on our 2009 Highlights page http://newenglanderprops.webs.com/2009charityhighlights.htmto get a glimpse into the driving force and dedicated compassion of our members, of whom I am so proud to say you are one.
L&W- That is so wonderful. What gives you the most satisfaction in leading your organization?
TP- Leading this amazing group of individuals who believe as I do that together we can do great things for those in great need. This is accomplished through our monthly contributions, auctions, and campaigns that spread hope and healing through awareness and fundraising. And as a result of our efforts, perhaps a child may live to see another day and than another and another, or a mother/father will be able to give their thirsty child a drink of water and have medicines to see their children grow and be free of endless suffering, or a lonely orphan may be given hope and love, or a child suffering with a terminal illness will, for a while, feel the joys of childhood. By supporting the wonderful efforts of the organizations set in place to reach out to those mentioned above, we know that it will be more than just a hope but a realization that things can and will be better for those in need. Every single one of our members have already achieved reaching out in the ways mentioned above. Through MHMC, we can now combine our efforts and support one another in hopes of reaching an even greater number in the coming years.
L&W- What is the most moving moment you’ve had so far with MHMC?
TP- The most moving moment came in the first hours of the news of the Haiti quake. Every single one of the Many Hearts members snapped into action the very moment word broke about the devastation. There have been countless thousands of round-the-clock efforts by our members spreading news and awareness on this crisis while providing donations to Save The Children and many other organizations who the members have each individually chosen to provide assistance to in various ways. The outpouring of love is something that I shall never forgot.
L&W- You have really been using social media to your advantage. What kind of awareness have you been able to raise through Social Media for MHMC?
TP- First and foremost, the awareness that yes, a few can have an enormous impact on the lives of many! This was demonstrated within the first few weeks of the formation of MHMC. That through Social Media, one heart can touch another to inspire yet another, and set in motion an entire universal movement of caring individuals who want to use their talents to be the driving force behind change. When the online publication, The Daily Tell (http://www.thedailytell.com/), learned of our efforts by reading our Twitter postings, it featured our efforts among the many inspiring stories that “chronicle the philanthropy work of many caring people and organizations striving to make this world a better place, one person at a time.” I realize the powerful role social networking can play in changing the face of fundraising and how we can reach out – whether a huge corporation or a concerned individual citizen of the world. Each one of us are vital in playing a crucial role in making this world a better place. This is our time to stand up and get involved. Social networking has made it possible for us to do just that.
TP- I am deeply moved by your Love and Water community whose spirit echoes so much of what is in my own heart and the hearts of so many around the world today. Your gallant efforts and innovative creativity is a shining example of how to take compassion and caring to an exciting level of proactive philanthropy. Your efforts are very much in tune with and touch a chord with the amazing world of Social Networking. Your T-shirt design contest is going to have an enormous impact both through the generous donations and the immeasurable awareness. I am so very honored to have you as a dedicated member of our MHMC. Your company captures the very spirit of MHMC. Your work will continue to touch the lives of many in a major way, of that I am certain, and will encourage countless others to join your spirit of caring and philanthropy. Your efforts will leave a lasting impact upon many, both young and old, from varied walks of life around the world. I am so very excited and look forward to supporting your efforts in anyway that I can.
L&W- I feel that same about MHMC, and am very happy to let others know about your work as well. On that note, what is the one message you would like young people to understand about MHMC?
TP- The message that together we can make a difference in the lives of many by supporting the efforts of those organizations who are impacting the lives of others throughout the world. Together our individual contributions can grow into a substantially larger amount of much needed funding for the charitable organizations who are first on the scene and often times the only ray of hope for many in need. It is imperative that we not wait until disaster has struck to reach out in numbers, in a show of support. We can and will provide support year round so when the alarm bells of disaster ring out and the heroic efforts of the humanitarian organizations are once again called upon to respond, the much needed resources and financial support will already be in place. We believe THOUSANDS of dollars can be raised YEAR round, and not just in the darkest hours when disaster first strikes. I would like to invite all who are reading this article to join us and together we can touch the life of many and provide a tremendous amount of support to those causes that are near and dear to us all.
Join Many Hearts, Many Causes here: http://newenglanderprops.webs.com/manyheartsmanycauses.htm
Follow MHMC on Twitter: @ManyHManyC
Tune in to Justin TV tonight at 8:15 EST to hear Meaghan Edelstein from Spirit Jump interviewing Alexis Fedor from Love and Water! Lots of information about the upcoming Love and Water website, where the design competitions will begin! We look forward to hearing your comments. Feel free to join the chat room as well!
alyssa milano's corporate tweet challenge, bill clinton's foundation, charity water, concern worldwide, dec haiti earthquake appeal, doctors without borders, haiti, partners in health, plant with purpose
Today’s post is dedicated to ways to help Haiti. Follow the links below, and if you have other links that lead to ways to help, please post them under “comments” and we will get them up as well.
Concern Worldwide: http://www.concernusa.org/Public/News.aspx?Id=790
Partners in Health (via Charity Water): https://donate.pih.org/page/contribute/haiti_earthquake?source=charitywater
Alyssa Milano’s Corporate Tweet Challenge: Huffington Post
DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal: http://www.dec.org.uk/
Doctors Without Borders: https://msf.donorportal.ca/MSFEN/Donation/DonationDetails.aspx?L=en-CA&G=21&F=545&T=GENER
Plant with Purpose: http://www.plantwithpurpose.org/page/19/caribbean.html
Bill Clinton’s Foundation: https://re.clintonfoundation.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=3882&gclid=CPPthbD9q58CFcx25QodWyPT0g
Janice Hoffmann is an artist and a coach who has the ability to ignite the fire within her clients and help them identify, create and accomplish what they want. In fact, she is the main reason Love and Water is evolving into what it is today. Last August we sat down for a talk in Bryant Park, and I told her I was thinking of starting a t-shirt company that gives back to charities. When we left each other, I had my vision for Love and Water. And we did it over a couple of glasses of wine and a few crab cakes! If you want to experience a truly AMAZING artistic talent, who collaborates with each of her clients to help them create incredibly fulfilling life projects, read on. You will LOVE this woman’s work, I promise you that.
Love and Water- Tell us about Success is Sweetest!
Janice Hoffman- It’s a coaching boutique that is now 11 years old located in New York City, although I coach more and more people around the country. So many of my clients have moved out to LA, and I work on the phone with my coach, so I’m completely comfortable coaching over the phone. I work almost primarily with actors because that’s the industry that I came from, and slowly but surely began working with small business owners as well. So it’s primarily small business owners and actors, and almost all women.
L&W- Really? Why do you think that is?
JH- Well, I do work with some men, but the majority of my clients are women. I think women like partnership; they like collaboration. We get a lot out of sitting for an hour and really working through a process. Women are very process-sensitive, I feel, and it serves us well to collaborate.
L&W- I nkow you are always working on projects yourself. What project are you personally working on right now that is serving your coaching?
JH- I’m really interested right now in “cool hunting.” What that means mainly is searching out people who have very little resources but are making really big things happen. I don’t know if you saw the article in the New York Times about the kids in Detroit who are around 22 years old, and have moved there and are renting out spaces for very little money to start movie theaters and book stores and creperies. That, to me, is true inspiration. Most people move to New York or Chicago and say, “what can this city do for me?” And Detroit is a city that says, “what can you do for us?” And these kids understood that as an opportunity, not something to run away from. They’re starting something from almost nothing, and that is where the gold is. It’s a “cool hunting” find.
L&W- So how do you incorporate that into your coaching?
JH- First, it’s a source of energy. It’s a model that provides another kind of structural resource. I use it as an example of a major “Wow” project, which is a huge part of my coaching process- helping my students develop “Wow” projects to complete. What do I personally do with that story today? Nothing, except talk about it and Tweet about it, and cut out the article and keep it in my folder. But eventually, maybe I go there and I talk to those people and I ask them how to turn around a neighborhood. That’s so interesting to me, because it’s thinking outside the box. It’s a HUGE “Wow” project, and it’s deeply innovative and humane, and will serve to inspire others who are less fortunate to think in new and exciting ways.
L&W- As a coach, you actually help people become trailblazers in their own lives. Can you talk about your way of bringing out the fire in order to help a person accomplish his or her dreams?
JH- My feeling is that we don’t need a lot of mediocrity or business as usual. What I’m helping people do is think outside the box and create what they want out of life. I want to foster innovation, creativity; to deliver the message that resources are plentiful, and are not just composed of money. I like to look at what a resource is, and come up with as many as we can think of together that aren’t the norm. And that gets people excited and stirs a creative fire that enables them to inevitably accomplish things they may never have thought of before. The beauty of the owner of the creperie in Detroit is that she’s making the crepes, and loving it! I love sweat equity. I love the idea of reinventing the structure of business in order to fulfill dreams and inspire others. It’s the same for actors and artists- when artists separate themselves from the group and do something truly meaningful and personally exciting to them, amazing things start to happen. When someone hires me as a coach, that’s what they get, because that’s what I’m doing in my own life. Taking raw materials and turning them into something that is meaningful and amazing to me.
L&W- How did you come up with the name “Success is Sweetest?”
JH- Well, there is a reference to an Emily Dickenson poem, but I don’t remember exactly what moved me to call it that in the beginning. But now, it’s a point of view. I’m really a cheerleader for success, and success means something different to everyone. It can be spiritual, financial, a business endeavor, a personal relationship. It can be anything that someone hasn’t been able to accomplish on their own. So when we can define someone’s definition of success, and then come up with ways to achieve that, it’s just awesome. It’s sweet! Sometimes the smallest successes are the sweetest, and those sometimes can mean more to me than to my client, because I know what they’re going for and I can see what a huge impact this one small step is going to have in the long run. That’s part of what makes my job so incredibly fulfilling.
L&W- What is one thing you want people to understand about your way of coaching?
JH- I definitely am a project coach, and I help each of my clients construct a “Wow” project for themselves that takes them to a new place. I like end results. I like evidence along the way. I want people to have evidence of their results, and I want them to create a project that challenges them outside their comfort zone and makes them and everyone around them go “Wow!”. I want them to be able to say at any given time, “I’m up to something. This is what I’m up to…” If it’s a good project, then they can say that and brag about it. And if they can brag about it then we’re starting to win. We’re edging toward their success. You will definitely need other people to help you along the way, which is part of working on a “Wow” project- learning how to get what you need from others who are willing to help you. That is very empowering in and of itself, because whether you realize it or not it makes you accountable to others in a way you may not have been before, and it makes you look at who you are and what you want in life in a brand new way. That’s what I love helping people to do.
Visit Janice and Success is Sweetest and check out her amazingly inventive coaching packages (including coaching in a box!), her SmArt Workshops, and her annual Success Grant opportunity that gives artists a chance to win a grant that lets them work on their project for a whole year! : http://www.successissweetest.com/coaching.html
Follow Janice on Twitter here: a_sweetlife