Donny's Blog

Donny Osmond
  • Updates from The MAD People of 2012

    In March 2012, the Donny and Marie Cruise marked the third year for Donny’s Make A Difference Program. The program highlights ten individuals each year who are striving to make a difference in his/her community — throughout the world. Since inception, the program has encouraged more than just those who have participated directly with the program, even others (not directly involved involved in MAD) have started independent organizations to Make A Difference.

    During 2012, will periodically post updates from the 2012 MAD Participants. These updates are written by the participants to share their stories, and encourage everyone to Make A Difference. The following are some recent updates sent by the 2012 MAD Participants.

    Laurie Reed

    “A Childs Chance to Play” was created to help promote increased activity in children!  Studies show that over the past 10 years there has been a severe decline in physical activity among children, with 40% of young children having significant health risks due to inactivity! Due to budget constraints in schools, physical education and recess activities have been greatly reduced, impacting this issue.

    My program is raising funds to promote increased physical activity in children, addressing the need for recess equipment (balls, jump ropes, hula-hoops, etc), organized recess activities, “Pay to Play” funding,  as well as free after school and summer activities. For more information, visit us at  or on Facebook at “A Childs Chance to Play” has been busy kicking off fundraising efforts since returning home for the first ever Donny and Marie cruise!

    • In March, I started out with getting a paper recycling program started by having a recycle dumpster placed at a local business. We had the local chamber of commerce advertise to the business partners asking them to deposit their used paper and cardboard to our dumpster, with the explanation of the M.A.D. program and that all proceeds are going to “A Childs Chance to Play”.
    • Also in March  – Note cards and note pads were made available for sale on the website to raise funds.
    • I am currently collecting recipes from family, friends and family and creating a cookbook that will be available in June for purchase on my website. Again, all proceeds will go to “A Childs Chance to Play”. You may contribute a recipe and have your name published in the cookbook along with your recipe. Send your recipes to by May 25, 2012. Cookbooks can be purchased on the website
    Gayle Jacobs 

    I have solicited a few friends and my sister. I have collected $2520 from 7 people and your $300 puts me at $2820. That will feed 35 students of the 200 or so still needing a sponsor.

    I am going to send out another email to more friends and I will be approaching local restaurants I frequent. I am looking to get proceeds from a day at an IHOP; Sunrise Cafe and Weiss Deli hopefully. I am hoping to partner with other busineses like a hotel, radio station and auto dealership. I am also endeavoring to put on a charity benefit if the stars align. My short term goal is to raise $10,000. I have higher hopes for the long haul!

    The money will go to Manch Elementary School in Las Vegas where 100% of the students are on the federal free or reduced cost meal plan. That means many of these kids go hungry on weekends. I hope to have even better news next time. If you want to donate, contact me at

    Kelly Wood

    I first became aware of puppy mills and the inhumane conditions that these dogs live in after watching a TV documentary on the subject several years ago.  Like so many others, I believed that I was “saving” a puppy from the cramped cage at the pet store.  What I have since discovered, and hope to share with others, is that any time we purchase a dog rather than adopt from a local shelter, we are supporting an industry with no morals or conscience, who force their breeding dogs to live in filthy conditions, facing inhumane and unspeakably cruelty every moment of their lives.

    There are many different paths one can take in the fight against puppy mills, and my first task was to decide how and where to focus my efforts to achieve the greatest impact.  After many discussions with my family, DITW’s mission statement was conceived and revolves around two basic principles; educating the public on the horrors of puppy mills, and sponsoring the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of puppy mill survivors in their “forever homes”.

    The following list is an outline of steps that we have taken to date to help us reach our goals.

    -Our website, was one of the first projects on our list of things to do. It went live at the beginning of April.

    -Our facebook page, has generated a large amount of interest/support in a surprisingly short period of time.  Insight statistics from the first seven days the page was created, noted a global reach of just under 100,000 people.

    -We have designed and printed 2000 brochures/flyers with puppy mill statistics, information, and different ways that people can make a difference, and are placing them in pet stores, veterinary offices, grooming salons, and public bulletin boards.

    -We have asked our community for donations of pet related items that will be donated to our local shelter or sold in DITW’s online store.  We continue to receive donations on a daily basis.

    -Other fundraisers that are underway, or in the planning stages include collection of old cell phones, selling silicone Puppy Mill Awareness bracelets, used ink cartridge collection, collecting items/donations for a community yard sale to be held in the fall.

    Our current goal is to donate $3,000 to our local shelter’s Guardian Angel fund, which helps in the medical expenses of dogs that would otherwise be euthanized, as well as sponsor the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption costs of at least two puppy mill survivor dogs – approximately $2,000.

    Linda Burton

    My name is Linda Burton and my project is MAD About Bullying.

    Bullying has become a major issue in our society and it affects thousands of children and adults on a daily basis.

    I would like to MAKE A DIFFERENCE by working with very young children to talk about feelings, friendships, kindness and how to express themselves when something is not right. Children learn from adults and each other. We hear so often from many adults about how they were bullied as a child and the hurt still lives with them.

    We need to accept all people in the world and show kindness, compassion, empathy and respect. Children should not have to be fearful or afraid to go to school or out on the playground. We all need to do something about this very important issue in North America.

    My goal is to talk to as many young children as I possibly can to try to help prevent them from being a bully and if they do get bullied, how to deal with it. Early intervention is a vital part to how they will behave in school, high school and adults in society.

    Bullying is not an acceptable behaviour and I want to MAKE A DIFFERENCE! International Stand Up to Bullying Day was celebrated on March 30, 2012. Posters were posted in 3 Child Care/Kindergarten Schools a week prior. The Teachers, children and parents were asked to wear pink on this day to support International Stand Up to Bullying Day.

    Why pink? Pink is now the color of bully awareness. This campaign started by Travis Price and David Shepherd, two senior students in high school who took a stand against a freshman student who got bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. This great act of leadership has spread to thousands of schools across North America and the day is recognized several times a year.

    During our classes, we spoke about feelings, kindness and how we should all be treating each other every day.

    Annette Sherman

    Make A Difference for Seniors!

    According to the Virginia Department of Social Services 2011 Annual Report, there were 17,936 Adult Protective Service (APS) reports alleging abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation in Virginia last year—a 4.6% increase from the previous year. They have documented a 38% increase in financial exploitation reports since 2009. My project is to help spread the word about this issue and to provide needed help to some of our local seniors. Other states have shown increases as well.

    I attend Westover Episcopal Church in Charles City County, VA. This small but historic church is located in a small county east of Richmond, that has a large number of people who live below the poverty line. The church members embraced the idea of helping the home-based care elderly citizens in our community and have become an integral part of my project.

    According to Alisa Foley, Social Work Supervisor, in any given month the county has 20-25 adults, many of whom are below the poverty line, who are provided with home-based care services. Services range from companion, chore, meals on wheels, and so forth. Our first project was “Soups for Seniors” where we collected 321 cans of soup and 51 boxes of crackers during the month of April to provide to the Charles City County Dept. of Social Services who will in turn provide to the home-based care seniors.

    Our next project is “Storm Survival Kits for Seniors” where we will collect items to help seniors survive in case of hurricanes, tornadoes, or other severe weather events. This was an issue during the last few years when the county was hit by severe weather. Being a rural area, it sometimes took weeks for electrical power to be restored. Please consider making a donation in honor of or in memory of a loved one.

    As the year progresses we plan to perform other services such as minor home repairs, adopting the home-based care seniors for the holidays and other projects we determine with the help of the social workers to be necessary.

    My hope is that as word spreads about this project other localities and other states will also work to help their seniors.

    Jennie Lefferts

    I am so thrilled to be a part of your MAD program and just as excited to get PRISM off the ground. It’s still a work in progress and we are getting the word out! Since the cruise, we have set up several fund raisers and are planning a summer program for young adults with special needs. The program will focus on providing transportation, visiting potential job sites including on the job training, cooking classes, fitness training, other fun outings and more! It’s been a challenge but well worth it.

    PRISM had caught the interest of The Miracle League of Alpharetta Georgia and they had proposed to fiscally sponsor us which would have been a huge step in propelling us to the next level. Unfortunately, we have since had some setbacks with their organization and so we once again find ourselves relying on our own resources and creativity. Hopefully a blessing in disguise!

    We are putting together a website and will keep you posted with updates. Our main focus is providing these amazing young people the opportunities they need and deserve to thrive and reach their full potential. Thank you once again for helping to get PRISM on the map and for all of your continued support. On behalf of Marilynn, Kim, myself and our team.

    Barbara and Lesa


    We, Barbara Massengale and Lesa Lafferty, are so excited about what lies ahead for our MAD program! Barbara is a caregiver for the elderly and Lesa is a first grade teacher. We are using our expertise in our career fields to Make A Difference!

    Our goal is to Join The Generations of respected elderly and children. We want to use the talents of both in an academic setting to benefit both. Some of our ideas are reading buddies, history lessons, craft and other lessons, and adopted grandparents for children to learn the wisdom and respect due our elders.

    We want to invite you to like our Facebook page and send us emails. We welcome all people involved in the education field all over the country or those who know of an elderly person who could benefit from this program. Please send your emails to and find us on Facebook.

    What we are working on now:

    • We will be setting up a web page
    • We are contacting businesses that work with the elderly for monetary support and advertising
    • We are looking into education grants to help fund transportation and materials
    This is a volunteer organization and our motto is SHARING TALENTS. Please contact us with your interest and your ideas. Our goal is to be nationwide by 2013!

    Thanks so much!

    Michelle Gilletti

    Thank you to the people who have chosen me to participate in the MAD Program. I look forward to working and serving in the community for the children, as well as helping support the animals that are loved by so many people. This is an update on what is happening at Brown Bags filled with Love and Hope for Kids and Pets. Our website is (MAD Program) that will have updated information about the projects and fundraisers that will be happening to support the causes at Brown Bags filled with Love and Hope for Kids and Pets. Also, our contact email address is

    First is our pets update: Brown Bags filled with Love and Hope for Pets is supporting the feeding, medical care and the rescue of dogs. Here is a website where people can donate to the cause to support the dogs (donate) a 501c (3). A fundraiser event is planned for July 2012, which is a yard sale to raise money for the dogs. We have been collecting useable items from family, friends, community members and local businesses for the yard sale. The goal is to raise $1000 in funds on this day to go for feeding, medical care, and the rescue of dogs. Also, we are also continuing to sell dog and cat toys, treats, bowls, collars, clothing and accessories at a local dog boutique, and a portion of the proceeds generated will be donated to the cause.

    Next is our kids update: Brown Bags filled with Love and Hope for Kids is supporting feeding children at three local elementary schools. These children are given a sack lunch filled with healthy foods such as a protein, fruit, vegetable, milk, and grain to take home on the weekends to eat. It is food they can help themselves to, and doesn’t need preparing. Approximately 140 sack lunches are provided for these three elementary schools each week or 560 sack lunches per month. Several community members help package these lunches each week to send home with the children. The children look forward to receiving their lunch, and many smiles are put on their faces.

    Thank you so much, and be sure to look for our current updates on Brown Bags filled with Love and Hope for Kids and Pets.

    Cathy Nelson

    Life is a web site to help you through life’s unexpected moments. If you need someone to talk to, need information, or want to help others who need it. There will be information about natural disasters, accidents, illnesses, unemployment, disabilities, senior care, etc. If you need information that you don’t see, just ask and we’ll try to add it to the site or put you in contact with someone who can help. There is also a page for fundraising and charitable events, Anyone can add their causes to the page. In addition, a forum is provided to converse with others who may provide support or answer questions.

    Since be chosen for the MAD program, my son has joined me in helping with the web site and gathering information. We purchased and set up a web server. If other MAD participants need web hosting, we’d be happy to provide space.

    We created a Facebook page Life and a twitter account. Almost immediately we were posting about the tornadoes in the Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri areas and how everyone could help. We joined with TV and radio and had an overwhelming response. Forney, TX received so many donations they actually had too much and sent it on to other areas who needed it. Personally, we donated 10 bags of toiletries, cleaning supplies, paper products, gloves, baby items, and non-perishable foods. We also posted information to prepare others for the next week’s round of tornadoes. Included are a couple of photos taken a month after the Lancaster, TX tornado.

    Life Unexpected will be an ongoing project and information will continue to be added.

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