Donny's Blog

Donny Osmond
  • MAD: Heading into the Fall

    Although the seasons are changing, The MAD organizations continue to make a difference wherever they are in the world. We continue to be amazed at the generosity each of these individual organizations are making to their communities, whether local, or international.

    The updates below come directly from the organizers of the various organizations.

    To these ten MAD people, and other’s who have shared their stories, “Thank you for making a difference!”

    LINDA BURTON -– MAD ABOUT BULLYING

    School is back and for many of us September is the beginning of the New Year. It is the beginning of the year for children going back to school. This is a great time in their lives where they get to start new friendships with other kids. Unfortunately, it is also a new year of being bullied.

    I started the month of September by handing out pink bullying awareness bracelets. These bracelets are engraved with a website address where a person can anonymously report a bullying situation, whether it is for themselves or to report someone else being bullied. These bracelets have been given out to children, teenagers, parents and teachers.

    I also started working with siblings who have been bullying each other. We often think of bullying as someone at school, on the bus or someone they know in their neighborhood. Bullying also happens at home and many times it can happen between siblings or parents bullying their children. I have been able to help siblings to talk about their feelings, empathy and how we should all be treating each other. I am very happy with the results and will continue to help mentor children.

    I started this project thinking I would work with very young children and I would work on early intervention. I have now expanded this project and have realized that bullying is happening everyday and preschoolers, kindergarten children, school age, teenagers and adults are bullying or are being bullied. We are all familiar with the recent bullying done by middle school children to Karen Klein, the bus monitor from upstate New York. Unfortunately it was one of the saddest stories we have all ever heard. This went viral and was seen all across the world. The good news from this is that Karen Klein received a check for over $700,000 and a new project called 7 Million Acts of Love was formed.

    Currently, I have offered my time to another big Canadian organization that deals with bullying in the schools. I have offered to help out at events, talk to children in the schools and volunteer my time working one on one with children who need help.

    My goal for the rest of 2012 and beyond is to reach out to more children by talking to them, mentoring, reading and getting involved in more organizations that deal with bullying. Unfortunately, bullying will never go away but we can all make a difference by helping to stop it.

    LET’S ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE ABOUT BULLYING!

    LAURIE REED — A CHILD’S CHANCE TO PLAY

    Now that summer is over and school is back in session, “A Child’s Chance to Play” has had the opportunity to make an initial delivery of basketballs, kick balls, footballs, Frisbees, bats and baseballs, jump ropes and hula hoops! Since each teacher in the local school is responsible to provide their own recess equipment, this has made a huge contribution to the children being more active during recess periods simply because it gives them more options to stay active during recess! I have also put together a letter that is currently being distributed to the teachers and athletic directors asking them if they have any additional or special needs that I can address in the next round of deliveries.

    “Walk for Fitness” cards are to be distributed in October to each classroom. The children will be able to walk laps around the playground areas and get their card punched for each lap completed (again keeping them active!). The classroom and the individual student with the most laps each month will win a prize!

    I recently donated raffle tickets to the Volleyball and Soccer programs for their fundraising initiatives. The soccer team is also selling a set of cookbooks printed for them to earn a portion of the sale ($5.00 per cookbook sold) and the remainder going to my program. If you have a group interested in doing the same, please contact me at childschancetoplay@gmail.com.

    My goals over the next 4 months include (but not limited to) the following are:

    • Placement of additional playground equipment (Tetherball stations, Outdoor Volleyball nets, etc).
    • Upcoming meeting with the boys and girls athletic directors to discuss a contribution to the winter and spring sports programs to reduce the cost for the “Pay to Play” for students, and hope to increase the number of children playing sports in the next session. In particular, there is one grade level with no girls playing sports due to the inability of the parents to pay. I am working with the parents to help cover the cost to get these girls involved in basketball which is the next session!
    • Fall/Winter after school activity sessions (depending on open gym time available) – thinking of maybe some dance camps!
    • Planning a fall/winter fundraiser dinner event with raffles/silent auction to raise funds
    • Looking at partnering with any other school events scheduled to get my fundraiser included to help increase sales
    Cookbook fundraising efforts continue!! To date I have sold about 225 cookbooks and still have another 275 to sell to reach my goal of selling 500! I have been busy signing up for fall events and craft shows as the cookbooks will make great holiday gifts. Letters to parents are also going out in student folders in the next few weeks asking them to consider purchasing a cookbook and supporting my efforts.

    New in mid-October, available for purchase on the website will be Holiday/Christmas cards, Holiday note pads as well as other specialty note pads and personalized cards.

    By supporting my fundraising efforts, you too can help MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the life of a child today!!! Please visit our website today and order your copy of “A Child’s Chance to Play M.A.D Cookbook” or any of the other items at http://childschancetoplay.org. You may also order through PayPal using the account name childschancetoplay@gmail.com, or you can e-mail your order directly by contacting me at childschancetoplay@gmail.com. Don’t forget to pick up a few extra copies for birthday gifts, or some early holiday shopping. Also available on the website are personalized note cards, holiday cards and notepads! If you prefer to simply make a donation to “A Child’s Chance to Play”, you will find a “Donations” tab on the website (or you can donate through PayPal also).

    “A Child’s Chance to Play” has also joined Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” program to extend its outreach in getting more children active. For more information on the “Let’s Move” program, visit http://www.letsmove.gov/.

    For more information about “A Childs Chance to Play” M.A.D. program, please visit us at http://childschancetoplay.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AChildsChanceToPlay.

    JENNIE LEFFERTS — PRISM

    Well here we are in fall and what an exciting and productive year it’s been for us! Still in the growing stages of development, we are so grateful for the ongoing support of PRISM and all those it’s served. I’ve put together a brief update of our accomplishments and also of our future vision and goals for the upcoming year.

    PRISM’s mission is to work with young adults who have special needs helping them gain the skills needed to transition from high school into adulthood. PRISM stands for and primarily focuses on Purpose, Relationships, Independence, Service and Mentorship.

    Communication with the families recently served as well as survey results indicate the greatest need for support and skill development in the areas of:

    • Vocation/Job skills,
    • Life skills, and
    • Continued learning in reading, writing, and math.
    PRISM has been created in direct response to the growing number of young adults with special needs who continue to need support as they progress through high school and reach age 22. The program is positioned to be accessible to young adults who would otherwise be forced to stay home, alone, isolated and without purpose. When serving this population the wide range of special needs should be taken into account including, but not limited to, communication issues, mobility, social skills, motivation, medical, etc.

    PRISM’s target population is at mid to high level of functioning, whatever their special needs or abilities, and are evaluated individually.

    This population is eager for structure and wants expectations built into their daily routines. Many are nearing the end of high school or have recently graduated and are finding it difficult to make the transition from the daily structure of going to school every day to life at home. In addition these young adults may have siblings/friends who have gone to college and/or on to employment. They see this and are trying to determine their next step. The goal is for them and their families to view PRISM as their “college” positioning them for their next step toward continued growth and ultimately able to find future employment. This population craves purpose and meaning in their daily life. This is the cornerstone of PRISM’s mission.

    PRISM’s leadership team was able to utilize several of the job sites worked during the school year and expand them throughout the summer. The job site is a hands on way to work on both hard and soft skills that employers require. A job coach can facilitate as well as model for the employees of the store/place of employment how to naturally interact with a participant from the program. These employees may not have experience interacting with the special needs community. The program curriculum has a strong emphasis on understanding one’s rights, knowing how to self advocate, and identifying potential abuse in the workplace. This is part of the in-house skill development and is of utmost importance as participants begin to work independently and are placed in the workforce and included in the community.

    PRISM ran an 8 week summer program from June through July 2012. The program operated weekly Monday through Friday. A peer facilitator was hired and parent volunteers were utilized as job coaches.

    Future staff and/or consultants will include lead intructors, peer facilitators, job coaches, speech therapist, occupational therapist, behavior specialist and community volunteers.

    Current Status and Future Plans

    The full time adult service program was launched on August 21st, 2012. The program runs on a weekly basis from 9am to 3pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The program is in the development stage, and therefore was started small. The program is highly structured, consisting of in-house skill development in the morning and job site participation in the afternoon. As the program continues to be developed and expands, additional recruiting of participants and staff will occur.

    Additional after school, evening and weekend programming are currently under development. This includes computer skills training, peer participation, classes focusing on vocation and life skill development and recreation opportunities. Not only will this help families who are looking for more support, but it will increase PRISM’s exposure in the community as well.

    Our goal is to recruit more participants for the full time adult service program, hire a second job coach and develop additional job sites. Job coaches and subsequent job sites will be needed for every additional 4-5 participants.

    By March of 2013 we plan to begin recruiting participants, staff and volunteers for our summer program to start in June 2013, and then beginnng in August 2013, expanding the hours of the adult service program to run 5 days a week.

    The invaluable support of Miracle League not only provided immediate credibility, but ensured PRISM had a location, insurance, additional supplies and administrative support. Knowing that affordability is a key consideration for families, we will continue to participate in grant applications, fund raising, etc.

    Thank you Donny, Donny.commers and friends for all of your continued love and support and for getting us MAD4PRISM!!

    ANNETTE SHERMAN — MAD FOR SENIORS

    The leaves are beginning to turn into their fall showy colors, the nights are a little cooler and we are collecting food at our church pantry to pass to the Charles City Department of Social Services (DSS) for our seniors. The Charles City County Adult Services workers and their counterparts throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia provide a valuable service to our seniors. Local Adult Protective Services (APS) programs investigate reports of suspected adult abuse, neglect or exploitation and can arrange for health, housing, counseling, and legal services to stop the mistreatment and prevent further abuse. Our MAD project has only just touched the surface of seeing to the needs of these vulnerable citizens. Besides collecting food again we are planning on our next phase of the project which is “Santa for Seniors!” We are working through the DSS to identify seniors who without our help would not have anyone remember them at Christmas time. We will find out enough information about our seniors without invading their privacy so we can purchase or make gifts that will be meaningful for them–and needed. Each person who volunteers to be an elf for Santa will receive a box to fill with gifts and treats for their adopted senior. The boxes will be delivered in time for Christmas to the DSS. Our church routinely does this sort of outreach for the needy children in the community but this year we are also going to be “Santa for Seniors!” and include them in the fun. Even though this will take us to the end of our MAD year, our church has decided to continue being MAD for seniors as part of our local outreach efforts and that was my hope when we began this project.

    CATHY NELSON — LIFE UNEXPECTED

    Life Unexpected.info and the Facebook page added information and supported many organizations during the month of September.

    September we all remembered and honored 9/11 victims and survivors. That was one of the most unexpected events America ever experienced and one we hope we never will again. Activity increased by about 300% through increased awareness and advertising. These monthly health issues were featured: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness Month, National Preparedness Month, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, National Woman’s Health Day, Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, and Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Month.

    Information on how to help Hurricane Issac victims was provided. Events such as Stand Up to Cancer and Relay for Life were advertised and supported through monetary donations, as well as the other M.A.D. programs.

    Information was provided for how to “Get it Free” by having samples delivered directly to your door at http://freebies.getitfree.us

    For those who need help with someone with a long-term illness or injury, information was provided by the CaringBridge.org web site. If someone needs health care and cannot afford it, the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics provides a list of clinics. My father-in-law has Huntington’s Disease and I lost an uncle to the disease. Through the “Build Hope for Huntington’s Disease” click for hope campaign, each click provides $10 to support HD research at http://www.buildhopeforhd.com/fb.htm.

    We also advertised the upcoming Free Mammograms at McKinney Avenue Tavern scheduled Oct 1 from 11-8 in Dallas, TX.

    Our goals for the rest of the year include information and support for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness activities and fundraising. October Monthly activities and awareness days include: Bullying Prevention Month, Stop America’s Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Today, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month, Respiratory Awareness Week, and Red Ribbon Week. November and December awareness days and events will also be featured.

    We will continue to try to increase the web site activity by at least 100% each month. For any money we receive, we will in turn provide it to those in need. We hope to add a few fundraising links to other’s charitable events and increase other’s sharing of their life unexpected events with others. We hope to have all the planned pages completed on the main web site for disabilities, accidents, unemployment, ways to save money, and a “Heroes and Angels” page to honor those who have heroically survived an illness or injury and to those who lost their battles.

    KELLY WOOD — DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW

    We have had an exciting several weeks here at Doggie In The Window, as we have rescued our first dog. In honor of Donny’s MAD program, we have named her Maddie. When her elderly owner became ill and was brought to the hospital, no one knew that there was an 8 week old puppy behind the closed door of a bathroom, and Maddie was not found until seven days later; her food and water bowl long empty. We were honored to bring Maddie home with us, and I am thrilled to report that she is now a happy, healthy and thriving little girl. We are working on socializing and housetraining her, and as soon as she is spayed we will be looking for her perfect forever home!

    In addition, we have continued with our fundraising efforts to support organizations who rescue puppy mill survivors. Recently, we made up over 25 “care packages” with pet supplies that have been donated to us, and have sent them to different rescue organizations. We continue to utilize facebook and our website to spread the word on the truth about puppy mills and their connection to pet shops and online breeders. Our goal for the next three months is to raise as much money as possible, of which 100% will be donated to the actual hands-on rescue groups.

    Anyone who is interested in helping us in this fight can visit our website and facebook page and find information on different ways you can help. We have a great online store offering a variety of dog/animal supplies. We are stocking the store with more items every day, but you can find things, like leashes, gates, bowls, treats, dog toys, puppy pads and a whole lot more. These items have all been donated and therefore we are able to offer them to you at a fraction of their true cost, and then donate 100% of the sales to deserving organizations.

    Thank you to everyone who has supported us at Doggie In The Window!

    www.madpuppymills.org

    www.facebook.com/madpuppymills

    MICHELLE GILLETTI — BROWN BAGS FILLED WITH LOVE AND HOPE FOR KIDS AND PETS

    Wow! Fall is here, and the kids are now back in school. This is an update on what is happening at Brown Bags filled with Love and Hope for Kids and Pets! Visit our website at (MAD Program) www.MADProgram2012.shutterfly.com which has 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.

    Brown Bags filled with Love and Hope for Kids has now resumed and is distributing their weekly donations of sack lunches to the students in September. Each student is provided with a sack lunch containing a protein, fruit, vegetable, milk product and grain to take home with them for over the weekend for a healthy balanced snack. We look forward to packing 190 of these sack lunches provided to 3 local elementary schools each week, or 570 sack lunches per month. Community members help package these lunches each week and send them home with the children. Remember these lunches put many smiles on their faces each week, and are filled with love and hope for kids. The summer BBQ events in June, July and August have been great fun for both the adults and children. Families were provided with a picnic BBQ as well as a family style Brown Bag that provides approximately four meals for the entire family to take home. A fun time was especially enjoyed by all. Our next new goal is to add more families, and provide additional services for students in the program. There are many new students in our area, and they may need some additional services and assistance. Even if 20 new students are added this year. It will provide extra help for these families. We always look forward to helping in the community.

    Next is our update on Brown Bags filled with Love and Hope for Pets. Completed now, is the annual online auction that started on August 5th-October 1st. This auction ran for eight weeks and made anywhere from $7k-$10k this year, and is the biggest event of the year. We are always collecting useable items from family, friends, community members and local businesses for the auction. Please visit our website at (MAD Program) www.MADProgram2012.shutterfly.com and follow the link provided to the online auction website. Remember you can also donate here at this website (Donate Here) http://www.italiangreyhound.org/pages/500rescue.html a 501c(3) and scroll down. On September 15th we hosted another annual yard sale for the dogs. This year we raised over $1040 in one day selling old treasures. These funds provide feeding, medical care, and the rescue of local dogs. Of course, we have the dogs on site to promote their cause too, with their wagging tails and wet kisses of thank you to everyone. Our next goal is planning for our annual Howl-O-Ween Party event. This is usually a big hit amongst the dogs. They will wear their costume attire, and for one day eat as many treats as they like, with no tricks required. Hopefully, this event will raise another $200 or more in donations by local supporters.

    Please continue to look for updates from Brown Bags filled with Love and Hope for Kids and Pets! Thanking all of those great volunteers,

    GAYLE JACOBS

    Been busy trying to get local businesses to partner with me. Haven’t been too successful. Times are tough. It has been gratifying to know that the entire first grade will have food over the weekends because of my fabulous friends and family. I can’t say enough great things about these guys. WE have raised over $9000 and I hope to find ways to make it another $9000 to add the kindergarten kids onto the program. I still have some local businesses I will ask to partner and then I may just start begging on the street corner!! Ok so maybe not that. It was disappointing to learn that the gentlemen who said he was giving me the helmet to raise money has dropped off the radar. Phone calls have gone unreturned so I feel he no longer will be giving me the ability to raise substantial money with it. Maybe another door will open and a great opportunity will come to light. People Magazine has run several articles on the program so many people are getting involved. As frustrating as this has been at times, it has been one of the most rewarding things I have done.. I appreciate all the fans and friends who gave me the opportunity. As always, if you want to donate, get in touch with me through gaylejacobs9@gmail.com. Till next time!!!

    The statements and opinions contained within this post do not necessarily represent the statements or opinions of Donny Osmond Concerts, Inc.; Donny.com, it’s employees; or other affiliations.

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