I am writing this post in September, 2016. Which means our beloved country is barreling at mock speed through an incredibly contentious (ok fine, fucking terrifying) election season and we, as a people, are on the verge of electing to the highest office in the land a man who is categorically the least qualified to hold that office in history. And that should be the worst thing we’re facing….until we wait a beat and look at the next headline – or ugh, the next few headlines – pronouncing more unarmed black men shot dead by police officers in the US. With video capturing the horrific events. And with no confidence that these men will see justice served. And then wait – there’s more – because last weekend 2 bombs went off in the NYC area and 5 people were killed shopping at a Macy’s on a Friday night near Seattle. And that dude is still on the run.
Everything is awful, basically, and all I really want to do is climb into bed, eat Nutella by the spoonful for dinner, and watch whatever marathon Bravo is running about real housewives sleeping with top chefs while Andy Cohen “mazels” them all the live long day. Because, enough already.
HOWEVER before I succumb to the calories and reality-star-cavorting, I need to remember my place in this (sometimes very shitty) world: I am a Broke Girl who Gives. And in that vein I offer to you, my fellow Broke Girls, a handful of organizations which – despite all odds – are guaranteed to put a smile on your face (and mine) and make you not feel not COMPLETELY sure that our human race is definitely doomed:
@YMCAChicago’s Urban Warriors Program: An amazing organization bringing together military veterans to help mentor at-risk youth in the Chicago area. As explained on the#UrbanWarriors page of the@YMCAChicago site: "These two groups share common life experiences–surviving in hostile environments and striving to cope...Of the 41 youth who participated in a recent cohort pre-assessment, 22 answered "yes" to a question "had they ever been in a place where a war was going on around them" and 36 responded "yes" to a question that asked whether they had "seen or heard about the violent death of a loved one. In many youth, these experiences cause reactions that parallel many of the post-traumatic stress symptoms that veterans experience." As gun violence in America dominates the news, and as our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans roll home with scars both seen and unseen, its amazing to find an organization which unites and supports those impacted on both ends of these current day national challenges.
Magic Wheelchair: Not every kid has the chance to run from house to house on Halloween - but every kid should - and that's the idea behind Magic Wheelchair, a nonprofit organization on a mission to provide wheelchair-bound kids Halloween costumes that transform their wheelchairs into "magic". Founded by parents who have three children born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which requires the use of wheelchairs for the entirety of their lives, this organization strives to "put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair". Last year#MagicWheelchair turned 8 wheelchairs into creations such as dragons, swans, jet planes, boats, and thrones in time for these kids to get out for trick-or-treating....The all-volunteer design and construction teams truly worked some magic for these kids, and they aim to do more so in 2016.
The Princess Project: A volunteer-run organization dedicated to promoting self confidence in young women from all economic backgrounds by providing prom dresses to girls who couldn't otherwise afford them. I love this. While my own prom days are long (long) gone, my 30's have ensured I have enough bridesmaids dresses and wedding formal wear to sink a ship - enter #theprincessproject. Based in CA, they take dress donations in person, or you can mail in your dress to Wedding Way (info on their site). Already purged your closet of all that taffeta? You can make a monetary donations as well to support#theprincessproject's work in helping more girls shake it on the dance floor without a care in the world - at least for one night- like all kids should be able to.
…..better now, right? Told you, Broke Girl. Now seal the deal by giving a few bucks to one of these orgs and then, by all means flop right down on that couch to watch Skinnygirls in their 50’s get drunk and scream about boys…..this is a safe space and a judgment free zone here. (Unless you’re supporting Trump. In which case I am judging the hell outta you now and forever).