Saturday, November 25, 2006
What goes 'round ...
My weekend in London was fantastic. I’ve been thinking how I could ever repay such an unexpected gesture of kindness. The answer came to me today, at least in part, as I finished unpacking. Several items in my suitcase caught my attention and I realized that they were just begging to share what they are about, especially for my readers in the UK and Australia.
The event I attended in London benefited a local UK charity called Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Through Amanda Tapping’s fans’ generosity, enough money was raised to support the training of four new hearing dogs to assist the deaf. The charity brought its dogs to the event and demonstrated how a dog learns to respond and notify its deaf owner of everyday sounds we take for granted. In addition, a young man who lost his hearing by the time he was in his 30s spoke about how a hearing dog changed his life. He was suicidal and depressed and the dog brought back meaning to his life, gave him a reason to get out of bed in the morning. He had never spoken in front of a crowd before and showed a lot of courage in coming to our event. He spoke from the heart. I got to speak to some of the trainers and they actually rescue dogs from shelters and then train them to be lifelong companions to the deaf. It’s a win/win situation. Dogs that may have been put down become useful and needed.
I came across a flyer advertising extra virgin olive oil which is harvested by communities of peace in the Middle East. I’m hoping that these good people, Arabs and Jews alike, are still pursuing their dream of peace. Blessed are the peacemakers.
And then a yellow catalogue that I had picked up in a local bookshop caught my eye. I browsed through and was quite impressed with the scope of charities represented. Good Gifts is a truly unique way to give a gift which can change a person, a community, on a global basis. Rather than buying the usual holiday presents for friends and family, you can donate in their honour and realize that your generosity has had a worldwide impact. They even have a way to work with brides and grooms as a wedding registry. What a beautiful way to share your good fortune and pay it forward.
Finally, one of the most fun places I browsed last weekend was a bookshop and map maker called Stanfords, the premier mapmaker in the UK. The many gifts to be found here were quite interesting and unique. This is not a charity-driven organization by any means but it is a fun place to find something special for that hard-to-buy-for person on your shopping list.
I will have to research similar organizations here in the States or other worthwhile charities which are in need of holiday donations. For now, though, let me share these links with you.
I would never have had my weekend in London without the friendships that formed via the worldwide Web. The Internet can bring people together and release a lot of positive energy into the universe. If just one person who happens to read this comes across something of value, then I will be happy.
‘Tis the season to start counting our blessings and finding ways to be generous.