Friday, January 15, 2010

Support the PoP Movement! (Get High on Giving)

Ok, this entry is really, really important to me, because it concerns an organization that has deeply entrenched itself in my heart.

Pencils of Promise is currently in the running to receive $1 million from Chase Community Giving. During round one they were chosen as one of the top 100 charities by voters on Facebook. I thank any of you who took the time to help make that happen.

Now things get even more competitive. From January 15-22, 2010, Facebook voters will have the opportunity to cast one vote a day for Pencils of Promise. The charity with the highest vote total at the end of the week wins $1 million. That is equivalent to more than 50 new PoP schools and 75,000 previously underserved children with access to education. And that is...amazing.

Voting could not be easier. Simply go to and help us click our way to one million. Then go to, register, and tell your friends to do the same. The top five people who get referrals will win airfare to a country where PoP works, to see and help the school building first hand. That is so rockin'. When you register, enter my username (megura100) as your referrer.

What ever you do, just do something.

This is Da. She is eight years old and lives in a rural village in northern Laos. In her village, there was never an opportunity for education, until Pencils of Promise arrived and built a beautiful, sustainable school where she and her friends can go and learn and thrive.

I meant to keep this short and sweet and not too preachy, so I'll just leave you with a quote from a fantastic and interesting book I just finished called Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

At one point during the book, the authors were discussing the research of Professor Haidt, who studies happiness levels and how they change over time (and after life changing events such as accidents resulting in paralysis). Somewhat surprisingly, the researchers found that it is actually quite difficult to change someone's happiness level. Those in accidents returned to roughly their pre-paralysis happiness level after an adjustment period of only about a year and a half. Just as hard as bringing a happiness level down is bringing it up. "Yet Professor Haidt and others advise that there are a few factors that can affect our happiness levels in a sustained way. One is 'a connection to something larger'- a greater cause or a humanitarian purpose. Traditionally, this was what brought people to churches or other religious institutions, but any movement or humanitarian initiative can provide a sense of purpose that boosts one's happiness quotient. We are neurologically constructed so that we gain huge personal dividends from altruism."

So why not get high on giving?

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