Monday, September 26, 2011

Borrowed Post: Glitter Gives Back

I don't often use the share on your own blog feature of google reader but what better way to make sure everyone sees this post from Najla at More Than a Mirage. I wanted to re-post this for two reasons. 1. Dance camp attendee or not, you might want to give 2. If you love this but would rather donate close to home then consider starting your own charitable organization like the Aria Dance Foundation and share the joy and giving nature of the bellydancers in your life with your community.

Original Post from More than a Mirage - Glitter Gives Back:
Although we are in the heat of the Texas summer, I know that I’m already dreaming of cooler weather and cabaret dance camp this fall. For those of you who don’t attend regularly, this is (in my opinion) a must-attend event for belly dancers. Not only do you have the opportunity to study with amazing and talented instructors, but you also have the chance to bond and share time with other dancers in a beautiful, serene environment. The Texas hill country has always been the perfect setting for our women’s-only retreat and this year I’m pleased to announce that Bahaia and I are teaming up to organize our first community service project for camp, called “Glitter Gives Back”

We will be making and delivering care packages for women and kids who are victims of domestic abuse and battery and are living in a shelter. We have the luxury each year at camp to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and wonderful companionship and love of all the women who attend, and I want to take this same love and support and share it with women who are in need. So, I chose Hill Country Cares, a non-profit association that has been around since 1986 and serves five counties in Central Texas to be the recipients of our service project.

They provide prevention, intervention, and recovery services for women in need, not only for women who live close to our camp, but often for women who travel much further and are sent there to escape their abuser. Our goal is to create 50 care packages containing basic hygiene products for women and 15 care packages for children. These packages will not necessarily be used for women who are currently living at the shelter, but will be handed out to incoming women and kids over the next few months. Originally my plan was for 50 packages (one for each camper), but after talking with the volunteer coordinator about their needs I’m upping the ante a bit and adding some bags for kids.

Blank bags, all ready to decorate. And for you with the wild imaginations, it's a green toothbrush holder ladies!

Our care packages will be delivered in canvas tote bags that can be used to store their supplies. The fun part is that we will decorate all these bags the first night of camp, along with our ritual t-shirt decorating. I already warned the shelter that there may be a plethora of glitter and sparkles in our bags and they were tickled by the idea of having something fun to share with these women and kids.

We will also have cards to sign (and add personal comments if you wish), and we’ll be taking photos share. My hope is that we can bring a smile to someone’s face and let them know that despite their immediate crisis, we are sending them strength and love. I struggle to imagine how someone would feel to flee their home because of violence, and end up at a shelter without their own toothbrush. So, the goal is to make sure women will have some basic products including shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, razors, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and body lotion to call their own.

Basic supplies for the womens' bag

For the kids, the shelter asked for kid-friendly products like toothpaste in fun flavors, bubble bath, and kids’ shampoo. A basic bag for women will cost around $25, and for kids $15, but with some smart shopping, and creativity I hope we can do more than just a basic bag for everyone, I’m hoping we can add some extra treats! To see a list of the basic items we’ll be providing, as well as suggestions on additional items to include check out this file.

Basic supplies for kiddos...any ideas on other things we can add?

If you’re a camper, would-be-camper, or just love the idea, here’s what we need you to do! We’ll be putting up a link to a PayPal account very shortly where you can donate, or ask friends, family and co-workers to assist. You can:
  • Sponsor the cost of an entire package for either a woman or child.
  • Collect financial donations to help off-set costs. (maybe get creative and do some fundraising)
  • Collect product donations (for example, ask your dentist for extra toothbrushes), although this may only work for those of us living close by. We wouldn't want you flying in with a case of deodorant…that could cause all sorts of problems during the pat down!
  • Consider throwing an extra tube of toothpaste, bottle of shampoo, or deodorant into your shopping cart over the new few months.
  • Check your house for unopened, products that could be added in addition to the basic needs. (Keep in mind we’ll have limited space in our bags). For these little additions, sample sizes will work, we just want to make sure the basic needs are not trial or travel sized.
  • Consider bringing a small keepsake or memento that you can add to a bag. Think about what would make you smile if you found it among your bag of goodies.
  • Brainstorm on ideas for kid’s bags, take up donations from other families in the area, or if you have kids involve them in the process of collecting supplies. (I’m not a Mom so my ideas are limited.)
We’ll be posting more information as we go, and sending out updates on what we have and what we still need. I have to say that this project really excites me. I have been blessed in my life because I have never suffered abuse, violence or rape. However, I do know many women who have had to deal with these circumstances, and it breaks my heart to know that this happens to women on a frequent basis. I think that as belly dancers, we understand the strength of our community and our dance and I look forward to sharing that with other women who need that love and support. I have faith that we can all make this project a success and that our Glitter Gives Back program becomes a well-loved tradition at camp and beyond!

1 comment:

Najla said...

Thanks for the share darling, I appreciate it!