Posts Tagged ‘advocacy’

A Little Help From My Friends?

September 19, 2012 2 comments

I’ve got this cool project idea in a contest to raise awareness for #ALS


But, unlike some of the other entrants, I do not seem to have as large a base of people who I can call on to shoot over and vote for my idea. I’m making an appeal to my online community and colleagues one by one and ask you to read this and then go vote for my idea.

Please take a moment and help me get my National  Yard Sales for ALS – or “Yard SALS”- as I’ve coined it, out of the bottom and into the running, so that I can see this project through and make an impact on awareness for this devastating disease!


Here is my project entry as it appears on the site:


National Yard Sale for ALS

What is your goal?

The goal of this project is to utilize the common practice of holding a “Yard Sale,” which people do as a normal course of community engagement and combining it with the intent to educate the public and raise awareness for ALS.

What is the social impact of your project?

The social impact in using this widely accepted form of exchange –selling your used items for cash – while combining it with the name of the disease will increase understanding, strengthen the ALS community of patients, advocates, and organizations, and dedicate a national day of ALS awareness and education. The more people who become aware of the disease, the more chance we have to find the advocates and connections to defeat it.

What is your plan?

The Plan:

“Yard SALS” (“Sell, Speak, Support for ALS)

Coordinate and collaborate with ALL (or at least, as many as possible) organizations that work for ALS issues to bring their advocates, patients, and families together to hold/host yard sales across the US on the same day of the year, each year.

I think that planning the national day of Yard SALS on the weekend that June 19th occurs, or the first weekend after the 19th when it occurs on a weekday to honor Lou Gehrig’s birthday, would raise the attention, awareness, and interest of others.

We will reach out to organizations like Les Turner ALS Foundation, ALS TDI, ALSA, MDA, ALS Untangled, Treat ALS Now, Patient’s Like Me, Iron Phi, and the many other wonderful places working on patient support, research, awareness and advocacy, etc, and ask that they assist us in spreading the word to their employees, patients, and families about a national day of grassroots advocacy – home by home, yard by yard, person by person, community by community.

We would ask these orgs and participating places to help get the signs (that we would like to provide) that will advertise the sale to those individuals who are hosting a yard sale on the day. Businesses and churches could also be invited to participate.

The orgs can also provide their information/pamphlets to the individual participants to display during their yard sale. This would help them increase awareness of the disease and to also explain their orgs work on ALS issues.

Families can then donate their Yard SALS profits to whichever ALS organization they are participating with.

I’d like to create a site that would allow for participants to “sign up” and share to their social media platforms that they are participating in the sale. We would update it each year and use it to communicate with the organizations as well.

Having this website could also allow others, who do not have a direct connection to ALS, to decide they want to participate and donate the money raised from their Yard SALS. Participating orgs that partner in this project could be listed on the site with a link to their information.

What makes your project innovative?

What makes our project innovative?

1. Using an easily identifiable and understood activity with a dedicated day of awareness and combining it with the intent educating the public at large.

2. Having all the organizations, families, and patients who advocate and work for ALS issues collectively join forces and giving them the tools to advocate from their homes. For many patients who can’t easily get around, this provides a way to advocate from their own home.

3. Providing a twist on a household term that will make people stop and ask “What is that for?”

4. The potential ability for communities to become more involved as the yearly Yard SALS date approaches.

5. Planning an event that local media could be engaged to pick up on as a human interest story and thus broaden the ALS awareness reach.

6. Giving the grassroots front a new way to garner donations.

Can your idea live on?

Can the idea live on? Absolutely. Yard sales happen everywhere, every year. So, why not dedicate yours to ALS? As long as we can provide the signs, get them to the participants, and send out reminders for the date to help get the idea out there each year, it is easily sustainable.

Like this idea? Would you ever donate your yard sale earnings to a good cause? Please take a moment to go to to vote. Thanks!

Simply Put -I really need you to help spread my idea and to vote for National Yard Sales for ALS today.


I am “The 50%”

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I have hesitated to weigh in on the #OWS movement. Mostly because I haven’t been clear on the goals or understood the strategy.

I think it is a great travesty that Universities and government officials feel the need to remove peaceful protestors by force and with pepper-spray.  I fear that our fundamental right to organize and freely speak out against that which we feel unlawful, immoral, or unfair is being met with an attitude more in line with oppressive governments.  It is our duty as citizens to speak up about and work toward equality, justice and better government practices. It seems that the protests have brought to light even more issues than they started with. I question the motives of those who seek to control the collective voice of those who do not accept the rules of conformity and the current establishments.

But, I have another question to pose to you today.

What exactly is occupying a piece of land, whether a park in New York or a lawn on a campus accomplishing?

Instead of “occupying” Wall Street or any other space, wouldn’t it be more effective to actually DO something. For some reason, sitting on my bum, getting smelly and pepper-sprayed doesn’t seem like the way to enact change.  Wouldn’t it be beneficial to use the skills and talents that each person sitting in those occupied spaces might have?  Wouldn’t it be useful to have specific messages and  stories to share and inundate our legislators, financial institutions and public entities with them?

It just seems as if the power of the spoken and written MEANINGFUL word, brought about in clear, concise terms and delivered to the right sources has the power to change the status quo much more so than peacefully sitting anywhere and chanting mumbo jumbo slogans.

The movement has a “slacktivism” quality to it. “We’ll just SIT here and do our part. That should be enough to feel good about ourselves.”

As far as I can gather, the Occupy movement is groups of people who are angry about financial institutions and corporations not paying their fair share while placing an unfair burden on the public that is held to their established practices.  And that our government is facilitating, approving, and allowing this to happen. If I am still unclear on the why of  the movement, feel free to educate me via comments.

I am neither for, nor against the Occupy Movement. I think I am “The 50%” that either just doesn’t get it, might not actually believe in it (if we knew exactly what “it” was), or want to jump into something without defined goals and action. If you’ve been to my blog before, you know I promote the good that people do and the positive changes people work to incorporate, so I’d be all for this kind of thing if it had the chance to make an influential difference for the good of our communities or the country.

Many people have already suggested that the OWS and splinter Occupy protestors have not formulated a clear plan or objective. My question is why not? While you’re sitting there peacefully, I hope you’re discussing what your next plan of action is.  Make the Occupy phase like a big community meeting where you decide what changes need to be the priority and how you can best achieve them, because you can’t just sit there forever.

For my part, I’ll continue to use my tiny, local bank who has never taken a dime from the bailout because they know how to manage their money. And I’ll continue to watch for something from the movement that resonates with me so that I can stand up and actively do to help make positive changes.

And hey, if you got kicked off your occupied turf, now’s the time to learn how to write, actively campaign for change, and really make a difference.  If you spend too much time complaining about losing your butt-seat, you’ve already lost the focus of your cause. Which was?

Simply Put- Exercising your rights can’t be done seated.