Thursday, July 31, 2008

Boston Bike Sharing

Boston is considering its very own European-style bike sharing program. For those who are not familiar with idea of Bike-Sharing, it all the rage in Paris with a program called VĂ©lib’s. It's seems to be almost like a Zip-Car option for bicycles.

Wow! What an interesting idea, paying per use bicycles. It's not the expensive, so everyone can afford them and with the rising costs of gas, I can see how it would be popular in Boston. To encourage people to return bikes quickly, rental rates rise the longer the bikes are out.

In Paris, for instance, renting a bike will be free for the first 30 minutes, $1.30 for the next 30 minutes. A two-hour bike rental will set you about $9.10, a two hour drive on the highway with an average four-door sedan would cost you around $20.00 with today's gas prices. That's DOUBLE the price, so you will be saving lots of mula and of course have the added benefit of getting yourself in shape!

I do realize that buying a bike would be probably cheaper overall then renting one over a period of time, but for those who don't own one nor have the necessary funds up front to buy a bicycle it's a great idea.

Related Posts: Biking to Work in Boston - My first time; Bikes Not Bombs Biking in place gets the homeless far

Photo Courtesy of:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Boys and Girls Club Up Close

In an effort to better get to know our non-profit peers, I interviewed Kristin Ede last week about her experience working at one of the bigger non-profits in the area. She as a great perspective on the current state of the non-profit sector in Boston, and is one of the few people I've met who doesn't have a professed love of ice cream!

Where do you work?
I work as the Communications Coordinator for Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston in the main office. We serve nearly 14,000 youth ages 6-18 through nine Clubs in Boston and Chelsea, Camp Harbor View and the Youth Service Providers Network.

What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida, with a minor in Business Administration. I have also dabbled in graphic design classes at the Massachusetts College of Art and Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
I previously worked at a historical site in Florida. While I enjoyed working in the culture and tourism industry, it was hard for me to work so many hours for something set in the past, a story I could never have an impact on. After diving into my job with Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, I began to understand what was missing from my last job. Using communications to support BGCB gives me the opportunity to make an impact today, and to give at-risk youth opportunities to reach their potential. It doesn’t get much more rewarding than that.

What is the hardest thing about your job?
Inevitably each week, we receive phone calls asking if we are Big Brothers Big Sisters. Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston has been around for more than 100 years, and 57% of our alumni say the Club saved their lives. Yet people can’t distinguish our name and brand from another non-profit. When you work in communications – that’s frustrating!

What excites you most when you think about work?
I’ve recently become fascinated by the emerging field of online marketing. For non-profits in particular, this new tool is so incredibly exciting and important. Not only is it an inexpensive way to communicate with a broader audience, but it is fascinating to see how information disseminates by word of mouth. That’s why I’m so excited to be a part of the On Your Feet Project Blog. Blogging, social media, e-marketing – give me a book or an article on any of those and I’m intrigued.

Do you have any mentors - if so, who?
I think you can never have too many mentors in your 20s, so I view everyone in my family, friends and colleagues as mentors. I try to always find the good qualities in people, and then examine how I could emulate those qualities within myself. I’ve learned how to communicate better from my boss, be compassionate from my Mom, be savvy from my brother and always stay positive from my best friend.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to start working in the non-profit sector?
My one piece of advice is to bring your many hats. You have to wear a lot of hats in a non-profit. Because of tighter budgets you will work with a smaller staff, take on more roles and must be open to becoming an expert in a lot of things.

Today at work I hung a picture, updated the web site, created a project work plan, designed a brochure, edited some photos, gave feedback on an ad campaign and wrote an interview on myself. I brought my hats!

What changes do you anticipate in the Boston area non-profit sector?
I think with the economy slowing, non-profits will be forced to prove their effectiveness and become more efficient to compete for coveted donations. There are so many non-profits in Boston: I could volunteer every week of the year in Boston and still not help all of them. But in hard economic times there just isn’t enough philanthropy to go around. I think the smaller non-profits will have to really focus their missions, or merge efforts with other non-profits to stay afloat.

And finally, what's your favorite ice cream flavor?
I’m not a huge ice cream eater, but when I have a craving I always go for cookies ‘n cream.

Kristin Ede (on the far left) with other BGCB employees

Related Posts: Creating an Online Community for your Non-Profit; Intern at OYFP; Sudan Reach Foundation and Laura; Doubts about Volunteering? Read about Fred; Volunteer Profile: Elizabeth and NEDA
Photo courtesy of Kristin Ede.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Saving Face vs. Smoking

I have written before about how important it is to consider other people's cultural views while traveling or working. These little actions you do are truly critical when creating a relationship with someone else who comes from a different culture than you. It also allows you the opportunity to "save face", or in other words maintain a good self-image while in the presence of others.

I recently read an article by Andrew Jacobs that talked about the popularity of smoking amongst the Chinese people. In fact, Mr. Jacobs, sites that on average "One in four Chinese people smoke, doctors light up in hospital hallways and health ministers puff away during meetings."

It was a bit of a culture shock for me considering I was brought up with the thought process that smoking was harmful and can kill you. That kind of reaction is exactly why the Chinese Government is putting a ban on cigarettes in railway stations, and other public places. They are doing this so that all the visitors coming to the country for the upcoming Olympic Games will be able to enjoy the games “smoke free”.

However, because it is so prevalent in the Chinese society the government is having a hard time curbing it's peoples current smoking patterns. Mr. Jacobs sites that a manager of a popular restaurant in Beijing has stated that he won't ask his customers to not smoke because, "My customers would rather starve than not smoke".

So what do you do if you are going to be going to China in a couple of weeks. Do you refuse a cigarette if someone offers you one? Can't, because you would loose face and loose any availability to create a relationship. Do you do something that you may be personally against? Not necessarily, you can always take the cigarette and throw it out later.

It will be a culture shock certainly for foreign travelers who are used to smoke free public places and it will be interesting to see what becomes of it during the Olympics. After all little actions can have a BIG impact when two different cultures come into play.

Friday, July 25, 2008

All were Uncorked! last night...

It’s hard to believe people could say no to a ticket advertising wine, food, music, and art for a measly $20. It’s a steal! But when you add torrential downpour, an event planner begins to worry that people may decide lounging on their couch sounds more appealing then fighting a battle against the weather—you just can’t outsmart good ol’ mother nature.

Nevertheless, I felt relief as courageous souls came up the ramp of Gallery XIV, umbrella in hand, cold and wet, yet surprisingly eager to participate in On Your Feet Project's 2nd Annual wine-tasting event, Uncorked!

Erin O’Shea rocked the wine tasting. I mean, it’s hard not to be loved when you are offering samples of beautiful Italian wines, but Erin added so much flavor to the already delicious wines we were tasting. She was a treat, and entertained us all with her wit and charm--not to mention the wine she endlessly poured for us.

William Kerr, the director of Gallery XIV, must be thanked. The exhibit on display at his gallery, “a politic,” created an ideal setting for the event, with pieces like “Abraham Obama”—a fusion of the portrait of Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama—raising eyebrows and making it easy to start conversations with strangers …always a plus!

Nicole Zuraitis’s soothing, flavorful jazz set the tone for evening, creating a wonderful atmosphere to drink, eat, and mingle. Her recently released CD, Spread the Word, was on sale for the event—a beautiful compilation of her jazz vocalist pieces.

But most importantly, must I say it, was the food--the glue that holds people together—and makes them feel like they have something to do when they feel nervous and don’t know a soul to talk to! Brie, grapes, and other assorted cheeses and crackers proved to be a hit. Sponsors like Johnnie's Market and Japonais Bakery and Cafe in Brookline contributed food for the evening. Also of note were the fabulous Italian Cookies baked by Katelyn Nadeau's mother. They were had by all, and in vast quantities. Patrons left full and satisfied.

With all of the great art, food, music and wine, Uncorked! was simply divine. We were able to raise approximately $1300 for the Italian Home for Children, and bring people together for a memorable evening. I'm looking forward to next year's wine tasting event—hopefully the weather will be more forgiving.

If you missed the event, check out the Uncorked! photos and stay tuned for an archived version of the gallery's live video feed from the evening. You never know who you'll catch doing what on there...

Myself (Lauren Head) and Krystle Petrie enjoying ourselves

Related Posts: Wine Tasting this Thursday; Cheaper wine can taste better; Sports Wine; Cocktails for a Cause; Help the Burmese by Eating

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I came Uncorked, and I liked it

Come Uncorked with On Your Feet Project, the Italian Home for Children, and Gallery XIV tonight, July 24 from 6 PM to 9:30 PM. We've blogged pretty extensively about this, and posted on Facebook, and Yelp, and we were in the Globe and the Metro... so you should all be intimately familiar with what's going down.

But. If not, here it goes:

1. Event is at Gallery XIV, which has a cool Abraham Obama exhibit going on.

2. Italian wine tasting is from 6 to 7 PM. Afterwards we'll have more wine, but it will be different than the wine we were tasting.

3. Everything will be streamed online real time (this is 2008, people), so if you're laid up with a very broken wrist like my boyfriend, you can still watch.

4. Music will be on tap from the lovely jazz vocalist Nicole Zuraitis.

5. OYFPers are fun. No, really. We are.

Make sure to get your tickets online ahead of time by 4 PM to save $5. Chances are we'll have some at the door for you if you don't want to commit yet... and you don't have to feel bad about spending the extra $5 since it all goes to the kids of the Italian Home.

Email boston at oyfp dot org with any questions.


Related Posts: Wine Tasting this Thursday; Cheaper wine can taste better; Sports Wine; Cocktails for a Cause; Help the Burmese by Eating

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Staycation" in Boston

The economic downturn and increasing gas prices has people re-thinking their vacation plans. Some friends of mine have cancelled European trips because of the unfavorable currency exchange. Others haven't even planned vacations because of the high price of airline tickets and the threat of sky high heating bills this winter.

However. It is still summer, and summer still is all about vacation. What's a fun-loving guy or gal to do? Try a Staycation.

"Staycation," you say. "What's that? Sounds like something an infomercial would be selling."

Rest assured, no one's trying to sell you anything. A staycation is when you take time off from work, but stay near home for the fun. Staycations can have all the fun and novelty of a typical vacation, but without the added costs (and greenhouse gases) of a typical vacation.

If I were going to take a four day staycation in the Boston area, my itinerary would be as follows:

Thursday, July 24 - Water and Wine
Enjoy breakfast at home. Pack a picnic lunch with goodies from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, including a large thermos of ice water. Pick up the ZipCar or rental car if you don't have one of your own, and take off for a day at Houghton's Pond in Milton, MA. The pond is part of the Blue Hills reservation, and offers swimming, hiking, and biking just 25 minutes from Boston. Cost? Free! Aside from the supplies and gas, of course.

Return home by 4 PM. Shower and dress for dinner, and take the train into town for our Uncorked! Italian wine tasting benefiting the Italian Home, starting at 6 PM. It's $20 if you get your ticket ahead of time. After the wine tasting and appetizers, head over to Emilio's for an affordable South end meal. Now, go home and sleep.

Friday, July 25 - Berry Delicious
Ok, this is another activity requiring a car. But you can carpool with your staycation buddies, right? Alternatively you could take the commuter rail and your bike for today's trip.

If you're feeling luxurious, try breakfast out at one of these fine establishments. Grab an empty cooler, hop in the car, and journey out to Doe Orchards in Harvard, MA, just down Rte 2. It's berry picking time (Tuesday through Saturday, 9 AM to 1 PM). You can pick blueberries and raspberries yourself, and buy a few delicious peaches.

Stick the fruit in your cooler for later, and drive down the road to Concord, MA, the picture of New England charm. Wander about the gorgeous common and shops, check out the North Bridge (famous for "the shot heard 'round the world") and lunch the French way at the La Provence Cafe.

Head home. Stop by your favorite grocery for some wine, cheese, and bread. Pack up your picnic basket along with a blanket and the berries, 'cause you're off to a little culture! 'Tis the season for free Shakespeare, this year playing "As You Like It" on the Boston Common through August 3. Make sure to get there early to snag a good seat.

Saturday, July 26 - Easy Street
You could head up to the beach, but you know it's going to be crowded. Try staying in town (it is a staycation after all). Take a morning jog, walk, or rollerblade around the Chesnut Hill Reservoir. Read a book and relax in the shade for a bit. On your way home, pick up supplies for a simple cookout dinner, including a pre-made pie crust for the rest of those berries you picked. Invite over a few friends, and enjoy!

Sunday, July 27 - Up at Bat
Sleep in. You've earned it. Enjoy a leisurely brunch - leftover homemade pie, anyone? Head downtown for the South End Open Market, and then over to the city center for the Boston Underfoot Walking Tour! Alternatively, volunteer at the Kidney Bean walk in Cambridge for the morning.

Afterwards, book it to Kenmore Square 'cause tonight's the big Sox-Yankees game. My personal favorite is the Audobon Circle bar where you can grab a bite to eat before heading over to one of the more traditional game day pubs for a brew or two.

See, you can have fun without leaving home! What would your staycation look like?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sock Monkeys for Charity

Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a fan of sock monkeys. "Fan" may be understating it, I think. I've made 19 sock monkeys, 3 sock dogs, and 1 sock flamingo - most of them have been gifts. Friends and family have been requesting these special goofy souls since I started making them. Making them is fairly simple, though time consuming.

However, if you have the sewing knack or even just the desire and access to a sewing machine, now's your chance to make a monkey to help others. There are two opportunities:

Fresh Art in New York, NY
This organization provides "expanded artistic, personal development, and entrepreneurial opportunities" to New York area adults with special needs. They're kind of like the Special Olympics, only they should be called the Special Artists. To raise funds to support their initiatives, Fresh Art sells sock monkeys online made by interested individuals and some of the artists they help.

Similar to knitting circles, they have "sock monkey circles" (well, they don't call them that, but I do) every Monday evening in NY. If you would like to make one to be sold but don't live in "The City," you can simply follow these instructions and mail it to Fresh Art at 548 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY10012

Softies for Mirabel in Australia
This local craft shop owner in Melbourne, Australia has organized an online "softies" auction, all proceeds of which will go to the Mirabel Foundation. The foundation works to help kids who have been negatively impacted by their caretakers' substance abuse issues, a worthy cause for sure. The deadline for sending homemade "softies" (or stuffed animals as we know them) for the auction has passed, but the group is still collecting animals to be given to kids at Christmas.

If you have a sock animal or some other creature you'd like to donate, mail it to Meet Me at Mikes, 63 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 3065, Victoria, Australia.

If my sewing area weren't otherwise occupied right now, I might craft one of these monkeys today.. but there's always next week. Crafting for a cause never goes out of style!

Related Posts: Quilting for a Cause; Wine Tasting July 24; Helping a little old lady; Mullets for Charity; Hearts and Crafts
In the photo above, I'm on the left, my previous rooommate Christina is on the right, and her 'goodbye monkey' wearing a tutu is in the middle. They both now live in Iowa... or Missouri. Or somewhere in the Midwest.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Philanthropizza… update…

Philanthropizza, held at California Pizza Kitchen, on July 16 was a great success!

Last week, a bunch of OYFP executive board members, new OYFP members, community partners and regular Bostonians all gathered to eat, drink and be merry at this benefit event for Christopher’s Haven.

Vivian of Newton and Chia Chi of Cambridge both decided to come out to CPK to show their support after reading the event blog post. They came across our blog after searching for a combination of the words: Boston, Volunteering and Charities. Vivian and Chia Chi are both relatively active in Boston’s volunteer community. They have participated in things like the Life Is Good Festival, the Walk for Hunger, and they both have served food to the homeless at the Kingston House.

Vivian and Chia Chi, if you’re reading this, I hope to see you again. Maybe at our next event this Thursday, July 24th at Gallery XIV called Uncorked! Check out the event listing on Boston.Com!

Thank you to everyone who came out to CPK on July 16th. None of this would be possible without your support. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to learn more about our projects, our programs or our events.

Wine Tasting this Thursday, July 24

Today's post is from two new OYFPers, Katelyn and Lauren, and we're all excited about what they have planned for us this Thursday, July 24.

On Your Feet Project is hosting its 2nd Annual wine tasting extravaganza, Uncorked!, on Thursday, July 24th in the South End at Gallery XIV. Director William Kerr has generously donated his beautiful gallery for the benefit, located at 37 Thayer Avenue in the South End.

Gallery XIV’s current exhibit, “a politic,” features 40 American artists expressing notions of politics, which is particularily appropriate considering the upcoming elections. The gallery provides the perfect space for a night of wine tasting and jazz music sure to please all.

The event features Erin O’Shea, sommelier at Eastern Standard Kitchen and Drinks in Kenmore Square. Erin plans to showcase some special Italian wines, so all patrons should come ready to drink and learn about these fun finds. The wine tasting shall begin right at 6:00, so be sure to get there on time to experience these extraordinary selections.

After the wine tasting, jazz vocalist Nicole Zuraitis will take the stage to perform some selections from her new CD, “Spread the Word,” a compilation of her original works, newly released July 15th. And of course, there shall be more wine, food, and cookies—sure to please all as the fun continues through the rest of the night until 9:30 PM.

And in case you needed another reason to attend a wine tasting besides just the wine, music, and art, all proceeds from the event will support the Italian Home for Children in Jamaica Plain. The Italian Home provides resources and tools to help emotionally and financially at-risk children and families get back on their feet after being in times of crisis. This worthy organization shall be receiving all of the proceeds raised from OYFP’s 2nd Annual Uncorked! Benefit, so even if you can't attend consider making a donation.

Tickets are just $20 online, and $25 at the door (a steal!). Buy them quickly before they sell out! Don’t miss out on this fantastic line-up of art, music, and wine.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!!!

Lauren Head and Katelyn Nadeau, Event Organizers

Uncorked! Event Details

Date: Thursday, July 24
Wine Tasting: 6 to 7 PM
Art and Music, Wine, and Food: 7 to 9:30 pm
Location: Gallery XIV at 37 Thayer St
Closest T Stop: Broadway on the Redline
Tickets: $20 ahead of time, $25 at the door

A vineyard in Italy, from where our wines have traveled to grace your palettes

Related Posts: Cheaper wine can taste better; Sports Wine; Cocktails for a Cause; Help the Burmese by Eating
Photo of woman sipping wine is from OYFP's 2007 wine tasting. Photo of grape field courtesy of Giampalo Macorig.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beantown support for the Kidney Bean

The kidney is a vital organ in your system, but few people understand its role within the body. Healthy kidneys remove wastes and fluid and help regulate the body’s water and other chemicals in the blood, according to In other words, after a night out on the town, your kidney ensures your body is functional the next day.

So what is Chronic Kidney Disease(CKD) and why should I care? CKD is when one suffers from gradual and usually permanent loss of kidney function over time. It is dangerous to loose your kidney function because water, waste, and toxic substances will build up that normally are removed from the body by the kidneys.

CKD effects over an estimated 26 million adults in the United States, but most are unaware of it, undercutting efforts to prevent irreversible kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant.

The lack of awareness has also created a huge cost to the health care system. In 2005 485,000 Americans received ongoing dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant, at a cost of $32 billion!

It is even estimated that by 2020 nearly 785,000 people will be receiving treatment for kidney failure, costing an estimated $53.6 billion! To put in perspective, this is more than DOUBLE the cost of the BIG Dig which is estimated to cost $22 Billion dollars by 2038 when it is finally paid off!

If you think you might be one of the unaware Americans you can take a quiz that helps sort through typical symptoms that lead to CKD. You may be one of the lucky who does not have it but someone you know may have it so come out and support DaVitaKat's "20 Walks in 20 Weeks" in support of raising awareness and raising money for an important cause!

Volunteer Information for Boston
Date: July 27th
Place: Cambridge Common- Garden St at Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge.
Time: Volunteers report at 7 a.m., Walk starts at 10 a.m.

For more information:, p) 866-342-1603, e-mail,

To Volunteer
1. Go to
2. Click “Volunteer” on the left menu bar
3. Follow the instructions given.

Related Posts: Well I would walk 500 miles, Tickle Me Pink, Boston

Photo Courtesy of

Thursday, July 17, 2008

takin' off her pants...

So if you've been wondering why it's been relatively quiet on the Miss Sassy-Pants front, it's because she's been pretty busy getting ready to exchange those pants for a dress. Yup, Miss is becoming Mrs. in just a few weeks. Yikes.

I did, however, want to take a moment to throw a quick shout out to Bridal Garden in New York. Why am I talking about a bridal boutique in a blog for non-profits and volunteerism? Whoa, Nelly, slow down there. It's a-comin' (Can you tell I'm heading back to the great Republic of Texas for the nups?).

I don't remember where or when I first read about this organization, but I'm glad to have learned about it. Bridal Garden is New York City's ONLY non-profit bridal boutique.

How does that work? Well, various stores and designers have donated their sample dresses to Bridal Garden, which then sells them at ridiculously discounted rates (some up to 75%!!) to benefit New York city kids. They also have headpieces and veils for sale as well. Don't be fooled by what appears to be a dingy, small space. In their one-room venue, they carry hundreds of designer and couture dresses from over 60 designers, and the inventory changes daily.

Want to check them out? Bridal Garden is by appointment ONLY so make sure you call before you head over. And just in case you forgot, they're located in New York City, so if you don't have a car, check out the boltbus or other cheap options to get over there while saving gas and the environment (you know how OYFP is loves behavin' green).

Only one question remains: Did Miss Sassy-Pants find her gown here?

You betcha. For less than $500 and in about 45 minutes! I'd upload a picture of the actual gown, but it's presently in Texas gettin' altered (and I also have no idea how to do that anyway!). But I'll take one when I get down there and send it to Casey, who is beautiful and fabulous with all that website internet stuff.

So, come August, when I walk down that aisle, I know I'll feel like a *million* bucks. No, not because of the gown or the fake lashes, but because I'll know that my purchase won't make some rich designer even wealthier. It will help students at the Brooklyn Charter School in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of New York City receive the best education they can get. Now, that's sassy.

Hopefully this will be Hannah and her honey on their
wedding day - feelin' like a million bucks!

Related Posts: Bringing Sexy Back~; Spring Cleaning, part deux; Clean out your closet for a good cause
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Dery photography.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Olympics 2008: Inspiration. No, really.

It's easy to feel removed from the Olympics. After all, they're happening on the other side of the world in Beijing, China. We've discussed the politics surrounding the Olympics, and current events in China like the recent earthquake, but it still doesn't make it [China] real to me.

I honestly don't know that I'll ever really "get" China or even be able to picture it unless I go there, but after my recent trip to the Olympics training center in Colorado Springs, I can picture the Olympics.

Ok, maybe that's even a stretch - but after seeing the introductory video profiling Olympians going to the 2008 Olympics, I feel the Olympics. I want to watch these young athletes compete with their peers across the world. They're working so hard, they're so dedicated, they've given up so much, and what they produce can perhaps be considered art. Watching someone who is excellent at their job is a joy.

It helps that our tour guide was my cousin Kevin Barnett, who was a two time Olympian on the US volleyball team. He is passionate about the competition, the athletes, and the spirit of the event. In fact, he's a commentator for NBC for the Games, specifically the games of volleyball.

The Olympics begin on August 8, 2008 (08/08/08). Watch on your television, or get it on demand on your computer. According to Kevin, you can watch more than one event at once! Ah, the wonders of the world wide interweb.

This is your chance to see people from all over the world, to feel that spirit of togetherness, and to see art in action. Inspire yourself.

My brother Noah showing his excitement about Kevin Barnett's impending tour of the Colorado Springs training center

Related Posts: Olympics in China - Has anything really changed?; An Olympic Debate; Earthquake in China; Chinese Earthquake: How to Help

Photos courtesy of my trip to Colorado this past weekend. Congrats go out to my cousin Keith and his new wife Jessica!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Don't Throw Out Your Old TV

By now you may have heard that Congress is mandating that all televesion stations to broadcast in digital format only, as of February 17, 2009. This means if you have an older TV that recevies broadcasts in analog format you no longer will be able to watch your favoirte shows. TV stations are doing the switch because it will offer more programming choices for viewers with an improved picture and sound quality.

People who have a TV who receives Analog broadcast only, have two choices: Upgrade to a new TV or buy a digital-to-analog converter boxes. These converter boxes will sell from $40 to $70 each for which the goverment is offering coupons to lessen the cost for TV owners.

For more information on the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program, visit, or call 1-888-388-2009 (voice) or 1-877-530-2634 (TTY).

If your choice is to upgrade to a new TV what do you do with the old one? Unfortunately most people's choice is to leave them for the garbage to live the rest of it's life in a landfill. There are always better alternatives.

My favorite place to figure out what to do with stuff I no longer want/need is You simply type in what you have such as TV and where you live and it gives you options of where to recyle anything. Sometimes you may have to drive a tiny distance to recycle unwanted items but its worth it so it doesn't end up on landfill!

Photo Courtesy of:

Related Posts: Turn Off Your TV Week; Spring Cleaning, part deux, How you doin?; Clean out your closet for a good cause; Philanthropizza July 16

Friday, July 11, 2008

These are the people in my neighborhood

We here at OYFP are always trying to provide opportunities to get involved and meet other people within your community. I have met many wonderful people and it is in part why I love being a part of OYFP, meeting new people who like me, care for their community.

So how do you meet the people of your community inbetween our fabulous events? My suggestion get a dog!

You may have read some of my dog adventures already and may think that this is another post to point out how awesome my dog is (you're probably right). However I never expected by adopting a dog, how well connected I would become with the people in my neighborhood.

Because I walk Chai everyday it provides countless opportunities to meet new neighbors, especially if they have dogs. I have lived in the 'Ville for over three years and could only name my next door neighbors until I adopted her.
Now as I walk Chai I see many others I know and we chat about what's going on with our lifes, etc. It's nice to see familiar faces when you walk around.

If you do not have the time to own a dog right now or it isn't your thing then you can always meet your neighbors at OYFP events!

Photo Courtesy of moi!

Related Posts: Don't Forget About Your Pet , Unexpected Volunteering, How to be Happier

A New Experience

When I was younger, I would volunteer with my family. When I grew older, I wanted to continue to volunteer, but it wasn’t always easy to find an activity that was both fun and made me feel as though I had made a real impact. This changed when I became involved with Habitat for Humanity through my church.

I began in 8th grade, mostly going because my friends were going. We headed down in South Carolina for a nine day trip in the summer and I became hooked. Helping people and physically seeing the progress we were making on a daily basis was incredible. I had never felt so appreciated in my life.

I continued on to make two more trips to South Carolina, another to Michigan, and many within Virginia and West Virginia. It is easy to get involved as Habitat reaches people all over the U.S. and worldwide.

If you’re in college, check to see if there is an active Habitat club within your school. The best part is, you do not have to travel far to make a difference. No experience is needed! Habitat has an active chapter within Boston and several projects around the Boston area.

Check out to get more information on what Habitat does, or to find some upcoming projects in this area.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Feed your sweet tooth - guiltlessly!

I love chocolate. So do most people I know. I mean, look at my friend Kate:

Chocolate brownie batter is delicious!

If you don't have the time or the inclination to make your own chocolate treats, do not fret. Here's your chance to indulge your love of cacao and help those less fortunate than yourself. Try the DoGoodie Brownie!

The brownies are baked in Yonkers, NY at the Greyston Bakery, which was founded in 1982 by a Zen Buddhist meditation group. The company offers its workers onsite training and fair local wages. Profits are donated to the Greyston Foundation, which works on several community development initiatives including low income housing, childcare, technology education, and health services.

In the words of the bakery, "We don't hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people."

You can buy the brownies or the Greyston cookbook online, or in the Boston area at the Harvest Co-op in Central Square, Foodie's Urban Market in the South End, or the Good Health Store in Quincy. Additional locations are listed on the DoGoodie website.

What better way to indulge your sweet tooth? After all, it's for the good of others.

Related Posts: Philanthropizza; From Restaurants to the Hungry; Help the Burmese by Eating
Photos courtesy of

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

DWBDG: a case study

Although they're not exactly the company that co-opted the motto "do no evil", Microsoft is channeling it's products toward good causes. From yogurt to magazines, cleaning detergents and Facebook apps, many for-profit companies have begun marketing their products under the DWBDG (do-well-by-doing-good) philosophy.

Microsoft's foray into this venue isn't exactly breaking news (the project began in 2007,) the i'm Initiative promises to donate a portion of advertising profits generated from the MSN Live Messenger and Live Hotmail products to various causes. Users do need to opt into the program in order to participate, and can then select a benefiting nonprofit partner.

Now what's really interesting is the way that Microsoft has begun promoting the i'm Initiative. Under the guidance of their PR/media/ad agency, McCann, a young, hip, urban blogger named "Parker Whittle" has started the i'm Talkathon, tracking the Initiative's progress and offering up success stories and conversation starters.

However, Parker's not a "he". He's a "they."

At the bottom of this deftly produced blog is an upfront disclaimer:

...As you’ve probably guessed, this blog is fictional, but the causes, and the i’m Initiative most certainly are not. The purpose of this blog is to raise awareness of the i’m Initiative and the worthy causes it helps. If we rubbed you the wrong way in the process that wasn’t our intention, so “sorry, our bad.”...A herd of well-compensated legal professionals in Redmond, Washington, says we also need to tell you something:

The Parker Whittle character depicted herein is fictitious and his activities are described for illustrative purposes only.

Okay, Microsoft, you pulled a fast one on us again. But knowing how the agency world works, I'm willing to bet that this idea originated in the head of a junior account exec and not within the Richmond city limits. The disclaimer itself is also pretty honest and does somewhat neutralize the blow of yet another manufactured blog/blogger.

Come on, it's 2008. I thought we were over this kind of bullsh*t! I thought we'd learned our lessons, moved on, become more innovative than that! Did they really have to undermine a potentially good campaign with a half-assed effort?

The final question remains, and is re-posed by the Disclaimer, Is the i'm Initiative really helping these partners and causes? A quick look around the i'm website reveals little transparency of the program, including the planned share of donated profits and to-date progress.

GOOD Magazine, on the other hand (to reference a for-profit with a similar initiative,) includes an upfront explanation of their motives and the business logic is sound--it makes sense for a paper publication. GOOD also shows the growth of their contributions on their website, making you feel like part of a greater whole and allowing you the gratification of "seeing" your contribution (extra Smart Marketing points for seamless real-to-digital integration.)

Sigh. Microsoft, Sometimes I want to root for you and I don't even know why I try. Maybe your motto should be "do no stupid."

Helping a little old lady

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the quilt my cousin Liz was making for her friend's grandmother who lost everything in the recent Midwestern tornadoes. This quilt is notable for a few reasons:

1. Liz made the quilt for someone she never met - someone who was going through some very hard times.
2. She did not charge any money for the quilt.
3. Liz petitioned her friends and family for help with the project, asking them to make some squares. This, in my mind, makes the quilt even more special. The squares were made all over the country - in Massachusetts, Virginia, Colorado, Oregon, Wisconsin, and more.

All of us participated in Liz's project because she asked. Sometimes, asking is all it takes in order to get some help. However, many of us don't hear the requests for help - perhaps we're not listening, or perhaps no one is asking us.

Don't wait for someone to ask for your help. Step up to the plate - make a quilt, cut your hair into a mullet, run a race, donate a few bucks, or eat some pizza on July 16.
See what beautiful things we can all accomplish together?

Liz sitting on her hard work. I'm sure Adam's grandmother is going to love this!

Related Posts: Quilting for a Cause; Flooded Midwesterners still need your help; Mullets; A gift to remember; Philanthropizza on July 16

Monday, July 7, 2008

Handgun bans and Dogs

OYFP takes a break from its regular programming to bring you the following:

On the more serious side, guns' prevalence in our society is a little scary, to me at least. Guns aren't a joke. Well, ok, they're a joke when they're not real and a dog is involved, but other than that, they're not so funny.

The Supreme Court recently shot down (pun intended) regional handgun bans such as the one in Washington DC, a move that was applauded by the more conservative politicos, and wept over by the more liberal. It is widely expected that this will increase the number of guns (both registered and unregistered) on the street. Depending on which side you're on, people believe this will either decrease or increase crime.

What do you think?

Related Posts: A Biased Opinion; Dialogue, Anyone? Obama on Race; What is this credit crisis you speak of?; Super Tuesday Preview; Finding your voice politically

Video courtesy of Peter P.

Fruit in the City

As a perpetual renter in the city, I've never really had a garden of my own. There's something appealing about growing your own food, but I think there's more to it than that. As Lindley Karstens from says, "Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity."

Sure, some really dedicated city residents will get a lot in a community garden to grow their own food, herbs, and flowers, but most of us don't have the time, money, or knowledge to coax life from a plot of land. That's where EarthWorks comes in.

EarthWorks is a non-profit that works with community groups to plant and maintain urban orchards in Boston. They concentrate on communities with limited resources where they can have the biggest potential impact. EarthWorks tries to connect the neighborhood residents with nature - something that seems quite far off in the middle of the city.

The orchards are more than just trees - they produce fruit! In fact, EarthWorks is currently harvesting sour cherries from trees across the city. The cherries are going to be used by JP Licks to make a cherry ice cream, profits from which will be used to support the EarthWorks program.

If harvesting fruit is something you'd like to be involved in, this is your chance! Email Ben at Earthworks ( to help pick on July 7, or to find out about other picking opportunities.

I give orchards a thumbs up. In fact, I can hardly wait for OYFP's apple picking and wine tasting event in September!

Related Posts: Wine in Boston; Fruit Ripens When?; Jamming, the local way; Community Supported Agriculture Rocks

Photos courtesy of me, myself, and I.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fireworks Photos on Bostonist

The photos in our July 4th activities post were included in's fireworks photos extravaganza! What an honor.

To see the photos in all their glory, check out the Bostonist fireworks photo gallery. Ours are in the first row third from the left, and the second row fourth from the left.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 4th in Boston

Fireworks are canceled across many a town due to budget cuts, lack of corporate sponsors, and a shortage of fireworks due to that explosion at the Chinese fireworks company a few months ago. However, chances are you can still catch an explosion or two to celebrate our nation's independence.

Here are some of our picks:

Celebrate early in Lynn: This oft overlooked city is celebrating with fireworks tonight, Thursday, July 3rd at 9 PM. Free to the public!

Newton goes to town: The citizens of this fine town must love July 4th because they have an entire day's worth of activities topped off by fireworks at 9 PM at the Russell J. Halloran Field and Sports Complex, Newtonville, MA.

Good food, potential view:
Try the Cambridge Sonata's six course menu and beverage sampling event. Fireworks may be visible - it all depends on Mother Nature. Tickets for this scrumptious event at $140.

Beer on a Boat: Boston Young Professionals' Association has organized a sailing adventure for July 4th. Tickets are $50, but you can save $15 if you're a member.

The Classic: Stake out your spot early, 'cause the Esplanade gets crowded. There's nothing quite like the Boston Pops and fireworks.

The Classy: Nothing but the best for you? Try the Top of the Hub for dinner and the works (the fire kind, of course).

Visit the islands, mon: Take a look at the Bostonist's Harbor Islands ideas.

Find your own spot:
Use to scope out your own fireworks fun.

Do It Yourself: Purchasing and setting off fireworks is illegal in MA. You can buy fireworks in NH, but can't set them off there without a permit. However... if you do decide to go the DIY route, make sure you're safe, folks! Uncle Sam wants you to have all 10 fingers and limbs intact at the end of the weekend.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

These fireworks photos may or may not be of New Year's fireworks at a party
I attended and possibly helped host.

Related Posts: Philanthropizza; Chinese Volunteer Opportunities

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Philanthropizza: Eat. Enjoy. Donate.

On Wednesday, July 16, 2008 OYFP is holding a fundraising event at California Pizza Kitchen, located at 137 Stuart Street, Boston.

All you need to do is download this flyer and present it to your server when ordering. There is no additional cost to you. The way it works is that 20% of your bill will be donated to OYFP! Donation amount excludes proceeds form tax & gratuity.

Come out to CPK on July 16th and help On Your Feet Project increase its community awareness, improve our community, and stimulates social change.

Related Posts: Boston Non-Profit Networking; Be a Rock Star; Non-Profit Auctions and Raffles; We Rocked; Words for Sale

Photo from

It's not easy being Green

Well here is just about the craziest idea I offer to our readers. Are you willing to pay more for you energy bill if you know the energy you are receiving is GREEN and supports GREEN Energy?

NSTAR is offering its customers a chance to enroll in renewable energy. Power will be generated from a wind farm located in at Maple Ridge Wind Farm in upstate New York, before traveling into the New England power grid.

Furthermore, once the Kibby Wind Power Project, currently under development in Maine, is finished, more renewable energy will be available to NSTAR customers.

The unfortunate part is that this renewable energy is going to cost you more money (estimated at a few dollars) than your current energy bill.

According to NSTAR, by paying for green energy, it will support the development of new or ongoing development of renewable energy resources in the region. This of course has the added benefit of helping us get off our obsession with gas and oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It may not be the easiest option for you to spend even more money on energy bills, but it will be worth it, trust me! I plan on enrolling once I move into my new place in August, so stay tuned and I will tell you how much more it's going to be!

Related Posts: A Creeping Problem Springtime, Gasoline, and a Solution
Maple Ridge Wind Farm Photo Courtesy of:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

If you don't have time to volunteer...

Just as the rest of the world is becoming immersed within the golden age of the internet, charities and many nonprofits are doing so as well. In fact, most don’t have a choice. Non-profits are organized similarly to the majority of for-profit businesses and therefore, they must adapt to the new age to survive.

So, how does this affect you? Well, just as everything is becoming easier, most charities now allow you to donate directly online. While most people just assume this to be true, and probably expect it, many people still do not think of this right away.

Take advantage of this simple transaction, as donating to a charity has become as easy as ever. Take a few minutes to search the internet for a cause you feel passionate about, or a specific charity or nonprofit which you have always believed in but done nothing about.
Whether it’s a one time payment, or a monthly donation, there are many alternatives offered that can fit your needs. If you don't have time to volunteer right now, donate instead.

Who knew you could make a real difference without ever leaving your house!

Related Posts: Pick Our New Partner, If I Had a Million Dollars, Sudan-Reach UPDATE – Violence Erupts in Once Peaceful Capital City, Khartoum

Photo Courtesy of