Archive for the ‘Giving back’ Category

Have You Thanked Your Customers Lately?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

With the onslaught of social media and the digital age many people, myself included, lament the loss of humanization – that personal touch, face-to-face contact, handwritten notes and handshakes or hugs. In the interest of doing things faster and getting more accomplished in a shorter time, we tend to overlook the most important part of relationships, the things that make us stand out, seem more “real,” helpful and caring.

Humans need to feel appreciated, and if you are appreciated in your business you will be successful. Those who are appreciated are those who go beyond the norm – making sure their clients are satisfied, being available, moving around schedules to accommodate, and most importantly, listening and saying “thank you.”

We need to show people we appreciate them, whether it is our dry cleaner, the driver who let’s you in front of them, your client or anyone else. Saying “thank you” goes a long way.

One of the best books I read on the topic was The Thank You Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary talks about how we can use technology and social media, and still thank our customers and colleagues with a personal touch. If you have not read it and you are in any kind of business, I highly recommend it. He truly understands that business requires a human element, and he shows how you can use technology to your advantage and the advantage of your clients.

So next time someone needs something from you, take a moment to help them, and do it with a smile on your face no matter how busy you are. Most importantly, thank them when you are finished. Thank them for choosing to call you, for asking for your help, for working with you. Remember, there are others out there they could have chosen, but they contacted you. If you are thankful, not only will it pay off in the long run, but it will make you feel amazing.

Lastly, please teach this important lesson to your children. They need to understand the power of gratitude (sadly, many do not). Thank you for reading my blog!

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.”

“You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.”
Sarah Ban Breathnach

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So Much to be Thankful For

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is not about presents, or stressing about how you are going to pay for them. It is not about getting to the store before it is really morning time, fighting for a space in a parking lot, or pushing past people to get the best deal first. It is about being with the ones you love, and being thankful for just that.

Food is always a part of family get togethers, and one of the reasons I love Thanksgiving is because of the food. Everyone in my family makes their special part of the meal. My mother makes the stuffing, and she is famous for her stuffing. I make the vegetables and sometimes desserts. It is a night filled with food, fun and laughter.

Although many of us think about it often, Thanksgiving makes each of us think of what we have to be thankful for. I have so much to be thankful for, and you likely have similar things to smile about…so this year make sure you show your appreciation for everything that makes your life bountiful.

Family. There is nothing more important than family. Growing up I think we have some sense of this, but not until we have families of our own do we truly realize the importance of family. Every parent knows that children grow so quickly – I think I have passed along to my own children how important family is. They look forward to this holiday too.

Friends. Friends help get us through the tough times and the good ones. They are our rocks. As we grow older we learn who truly matters and who does not. The friends you have surrounding you today say so much about you. Often you don’t have to thank your friends, because they understand the value of the relationship….but do it regardless.

Health. We all need to be thankful for our health, because without it where would we be? We need to realize that there are some things we cannot control, but we can control the decisions we make when it comes to our health. We can eat healthy the majority of the time, get plenty of exercise and rest, eliminate stress, take breaks from work. If you love yourself you will take care of yourself…if you haven’t been, Thanksgiving is a great time to make that pledge (please note that I am by no means implying that you shouldn’t enjoy your holiday dinner…I intend to do so).

Home. I am so thankful for my home. It is not very large and we often complain that we need more space, but it is ours. We have made so many memories there, raised our family. So many people do not have homes, and we have to keep in mind that we are so lucky that we do.

This time of year is the best time to donate to homeless programs in your area, and to other charities that provide shelter, food and clothing to the needy. I get the whole famly involved packing up items we do not use, as well as shopping for and donating food to local food banks. I know that although I cannot provide a home for many people who are struggling, I can at least make them feel a little bit closer to home.

Most importantly, Thanksgiving is a time for reflection – for not only thinking of that for which we are thankful, but for sharing our thanks with others. Don’t forget to tell those you love and care about just how much they mean to you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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How to Help Kids: “Be the Change”

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

I had the privilege yesterday to participate in a life-altering program that was not only the most humbling experience, but one which I truly believe every child should be able to experience. Challenge Day is a program that travels to high schools and middle schools around the country, with the goal of teaching our children about respect, love, kindness and equality. It is a program about renewal, about opening one’s eyes and realizing that every individual counts. If I could offer one piece of advice to the world’s children, it would be to participate in this activity at least once.

Challenge Day has been highlighted on MTV, via a show called If You Really Knew Me. You can go to their site to watch an episode (have tissues). I have blogged about it before, but having participated in Challenge Day personally, I will try to do it justice with my words.

100 children and about 30 adults participated in the event. The children included those who are bullies, have been bullied, those facing some tough issues, those who seem to be on top of the world – basically every type of child. Adults ranged from school administrators and teachers, to parents and other district employees. The day started off with a loud welcome and some fun games. People loosened up and began to feel comfortable sharing with each other.

Toward the middle of the day we were broken up into small “family” groups – 4-5 kids with 1-2 adults per group. In this group many feelings were shared, starting with the words “if you really knew me…” Barriers were broken down, and there was a lot of crying and sharing. Some children brought up some very tough issues they face daily, like sick or alcoholic parents, divorce, thoughts of worthlessness or contemplation of suicide. My heart ached for every person who told a story, but knowing they were able to talk about it and get it out made me feel better. It was a very emotional day.

The part of the day that will forever be with me was an activity called Cross the Line. Everyone stands on one side of a line, and the facilitator ask everyone to cross the line if… It was heart-wrenching: “Cross the line if you have ever contemplated suicide or have a friend or family member who has committed suicide…” “Cross the line if you you have been hit…” Seeing so many children cross the line for being teased or bullied, being ignored by grownups, constantly yelled at, constantly made to feel they had to be better, had rumors spread about them, had family members incarcerated, never got to be a child…the list went on.

Children should not hurt. They should not be the subject of torment and should not have to deal with issues that are so scary. There was a lot of hurt in that room – and this school is in a very “good” area. It goes to show you that it doesn’t matter where you are – it is so hard to grow up, even harder now than it was before society got faster and more technologically savvy.

Challenge Day was life-changing for me. I know, and have known for a long time, that my destiny is to work with young adults in some capacity. My own bullying stories helped one young woman in particular yesterday, who thanked me and told me that she didn’t realize other people went through the same thing she has been through at school.  If you have children, or know someone who does, please speak with them or with your local high school, and try to bring this program to your campus. You will need to raise money to do so, but it will be the most incredible experience for everyone involved. Those who go through the program take what they learn and help to make campuses better and safer places.

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Holiday Toy and Food Drop Off Locations

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

During this crazy time of year I always like to remember that many people are not as fortunate as my family. It gives me the most pleasure to donate food to the needy and toys to children who might otherwise not have any. Here is a list of locations in San Diego county where you can drop off these items. Even if you only have a few dollars to spend it could make a big difference. I tried to make this list as inclusive as possible, but there are likely many drop off centers I missed. If you know of others please post in the comments. Many of these drop off centers only take drop offs through December 19 so act quickly! Have a wonderful holiday season!

Union Tribune Holiday Food Drive

Help raise over 1 million pounds of food for the San Diego food bank!!
Drop off any non-perishable food items at all VONS and STATER BROTHERS markets (they even have pre-packaged bags of food you can pay for, at various prices)
Visit for more information. As of this posting 550,000 pounds of food had already been collected!

YMCA Toy Drop off locations:

YMCA Branch Locations:

East County Toy Drive Through December 19:

Volunteers will accept donated toys at our
angel tree in the Parkway Plaza mall

AJ’s Kids Crane Donations:

7976 Engineer Rd
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 505-9917 or

IKEA San Diego
2149 Fenton Parkway
San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 563-4532

Ultra Star La Costa Cinema
6941 El Camino Real
Carlsbad, CA 92009-4108
(760) 599-8221

Marine Toys for Tots Donations:

Go to online website to make a toy or monetary donation:

The Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina (drop off center)
1441 Quivira Road.

The Belly Up Tavern
143 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach 92075

Coffee Donations for Troops Overseas:

Purchase at any area Starbucks

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What’s Happening in Carlsbad

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

With Fall starting this week there are some new things happening in Carlsbad that may interest you, so check them out and have fun!

Coastal Cleanup Day September 25: This Saturday you can show how much you love Carlsbad, enjoy the beautiful Fall weather and feel great about helping keep our city clean. It is the annual Coastal Cleanup day from 9:00 a.m. until noon at Tamarack Beach, and everyone is welcome. This even it always a big hit and it’s a great way to show your children the importance of community support. Bring your own buckets and work gloves. Last year over 174,000 pounds of trash were removed! Snacks will be provided. For more information visit

Firehouse Open House October 9: Drop on into any of the six city fire stations from 10:00-2:00 say hello!. Get to know your local fire fighters, take a tour of the station, get safety tips, check out the fire engines and equipment and enjoy the fun kids’ activities. It’s a great way for the entire family to thank the men and women who help keep our city safe, and have a great time in the process! For firehouse locations visit

City Parenting Program Starts September 28: The City of Carlsbad is offering a 10 week parenting program–called Parent Project– starting September 28. The program is geared toward parents who have children between 11 and 18 who are difficult to control, strong-willed or have listening issues. This award-winning program will take place on Tuesday nights from 6:00-9:00 p.m. and will be held at the Carlsbad Senior Center (799 Pine Avenue). The cost is $25 for a single parent or $35 per couple; active military parents are free. Contact 760-931-2167 for more information or to register.

There will also be a course offered in Spanish during the same time period at Jefferson Elementary School. Contact Jovita Barria, 760-434-9099, for more information or to sign up.

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Come Out and Help With Community Service Day

Monday, June 14th, 2010

This Friday, June 18 is going to be a wonderful day, and it will be even better with YOUR help! It is the 27th annual Windermere Community Service Day Fair, and there are SO many chances to do a whole lot of good for humankind. So come on over to The Church at Rancho Bernardo from 10:00-4:00 Friday, 11740 Bernardo Plaza Court, and help us to help others!

This year we will be supporting 12 different charities. From feeding the needy and those in Haiti to helping children and supporting Rady Children’s Hospital, to blood donations with the Red Cross, recycling, Community Service Centers, the Helen Woodward Center for animals, and much more.

There are several ways you can get involved. First, come to the fair! You can help bag meals, drop off food donations and electronic recyclables, give blood. Plus, there will be live entertainment and fun for the kids, delicious baked goods and more. Second, clean out your pantry and fill a paper bag with food donations, scour your garage for old electronics you no longer need, gather new or gently used childrens’ pyjamas, purchase crayons and coloring books…then bring your donations to the Fair. If you cannot do so please contact me and I will arrange a pickup prior to the event.

This is what it’s all about, folks: helping others. Get the whole family involved and do something that will make you feel great. To sign up to volunteer, or for more information on the event please visit Make a difference! I hope to see you there.

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