I get lots of emails from PR companies wanting me to share the latest and greatest in everything from nappies to family cars and everything little thing inbetween. Sometimes I work with these companies, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I get free stuff or payment, sometimes I don't.
I am always balancing what is worth sharing, what is of interest to me and what you guys might love. I run giveaways and get such a buzz out of letting people know when they have won. When it's a reader I know has been with me forever, it's all the more gratifying because I hold these giveaways mostly as a thank-you for the support and the loyalty that you guys show me by reading my words.
The payment is only ever token and at this rate, I will not be sunning myself in the Maldives courtesy of blog revenue. Nope. Not just yet. But when I can, I charge money for the considerable time it takes me to piece together a post I am proud of. I try so hard not to phone it in so when a company comes a knockin' who I know has a budget, I let them know it costs to work with me.
Because I'm worth it.
But then, I get emails about organisations that, even if they had a budget, I would work for free of charge. Because I believe sharing who they are/what they do has the power to impact positively.
So if you'll allow me, I want to give a shout out to a few causes that I think you should know about - some because they asked me and some just 'cause I wanna.
1. Embrace - the documentary that will create global change
Do you remember this picture? It went viral a few years back. What's depicted is a woman who learned to love her body AFTER she stopped aiming for perfection.
I think she looks completely beautiful and radiant - in the second shot.
This brave and gorgeous creature is Taryn Brumfitt and I had the good fortune of hearing her speak at a blogging event. She was completely inspirational, funny and quirky, and fabulous. She founded the Body Image Movement which teaches women the value and power of loving their body from the inside out. Her mission is to harness and facilitate positive body image activism by leading a global movement that creates a shift in the way women think about themselves and their bodies.
To do this, Taryn began a Kickstarter campaign to help fund her documentary, Embrace. Amazingly, Taryn has not only reached her initial target (the bare minimum needed to make the documentary) but the stretch target as well which means that this incredible documentary WILL be made and made well.
There are still 6 days left to go and every single dollar pledged will ensure this documentary is made and that women (and men) the world over can hear its vital message.
If nothing else, I urge you to visit the page and watch the short at the beginning. It will move you.
2. CARE Australia Tax Calculator
June 30 is fast approaching and with the promise of a tax return around the corner, now may be a great time to think about making a charitable donation.
CARE Australia have set up a tax calculator which works out exactly how much tax you get back on any donation made.
CARE Australia is an Australian charity and international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on empowering women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. Which is, lets face it, really, really cool.
$69 to educate a girl for a year? A total bargain and even more so when you calculate the tax you'll get back.
3. The Nappy Collective
Hands up who has leftover nappies from toddlers who toilet-trained or babies who simply grew out of a smaller size? I always seemed to buy too many in the newborn size. Maybe it was wishful thinking that their butts would stay that tiny forever.
The Nappy Collective was created by a group of Melbourne mums who had spare nappies and wondered how they could donate them in a way that could make a difference to other mums' lives. What began as a small collection quickly exploded into a real movement with the last collective in March 2014 pulling in 26,682 nappies in Melbourne and Sydney. These nappies are then distributed to places like McAuley Care, a safe house for women escaping family violence in Victoria. Nappies, an essential item for babies, are an expense that many mothers find near impossible to cover. The Nappy Collective is helping to ease that strain. It's a bloody beautiful thing.
There are three collections held each year at 20 collection points across MELBOURNE, GEELONG, SYDNEY, NEWCASTLE, BYRON BAY, PERTH and BRISBANE. The next collective begins on July 21 and will run for two weeks. Want to get involved? All the info you need is here.
You may only have 3 nappies. But when everyone donates 3 spare nappies, the power of a collective is unstoppable! I adore these simple ideas which bring about real and profound support for women who desperately need it. In each of us is the power to be the change. That's an incredible feeling.
4. The NEST
Youth Futures in W.A. have a crowdfunding campaign to raise much needed funds for The NEST, a program supporting homeless teenage mothers. The program receives no government funding, and lack of funds meant that of the 196 young mums who contacted Youth Futures for help last year, only 37 could be accommodated by the program. Scary statistics and frightening to think about what may have happened to those mums and their babies. What hardships were they forced to endure?
As well as offering up to 18 months accomodation, The NEST empowers teenage mothers to develop positive parenting and life skills that will enable them to keep custody of their child and break the cycle of poverty. To combat postnatal depression and isolation experienced by many teenage mothers, they are encouraged to join playgroups, mothers groups and to attend child health nurse appointments. These connections are so important.
Programs like The NEST provide essential services to at risk young mums, offering life skills that can help them change the course of their lives and the lives of their children. It may also represent the first real support they have ever been shown. Everyone deserves to feel that they matter and that someone cares about their future.
There are 26 days left of the campaign and still a long way off meeting the funding target. If this service resonates with you, consider making a donation. Better still, if you have any contact with corporates, share the campaign with them. An injection of corporate funds could be the difference between this campaign's success or failure.
5. Kurnai Young Mums
I became aware of this incredible video via St Kilda Mums who are pretty much my favourite charity and who donated clothing packages to these young mums for their little people. If you ever wonder whether we CAN make a difference, watch this video and prepare to believe.
So there you have it. Four reasons to believe that there are good things happening in our world and people who are committed to creating change. We can all make a difference. Perhaps you're not in a position to help at this time. That's fine. But if any of these incredible initiatives resonate with you, spread the word, share with people you think can help or tuck the info away for a later time when you might have something to contribute.
Don't feel pressure to make a donation or harbour guilt if you don't. Just allow yourself to be buoyed by the good. Be inspired. In all of us is the potential to make a difference.