Doing Good for March Madness

UPDATE: Congrats to JMO on reigning victorious over the March Madness magic.   We donated $500 to the American Red Cross for Japan relief efforts in his honor.

Today is the start of March Madness. In the world of Schipul, it’s my general duty to manage the office pool. As the Twittersphere started warming up for March Madness, I came across this tweet from a former Schipulite:

I pasted it, and sent it to Ed. The subject, Dear Ed, the body, Just sayin’ ;). He liked the idea, but not the reward. Instead, the Schipulites will be putting their brackets on the line for the opportunity to donate $500 to the relief effort in Japan. (and an Apple gift card, natch!)

The Final Four is kinda special for me this year, as my hometown is playing host. I’m excited that my picks this year may do more good than ever before. Good luck to all, wherever and however you play. However, if you do win a big office pool, do consider donating some, if not all, of it back to Japan.

Get up and do something for someone else.

Smile :)Lately my mom has been telling me that I sound like my grandma. I guess I skipped a generation in the whole “turning into your parents” thing, but can I help it that my grandma is the smartest lady I’ve ever known? There are tons of books about how to be happy, how to get along with people, how to go on an epic journey to figure yourself out, and how to let go of your baggage. Even some from very wise people. These long-winded lessons   are all valuable, but I think my grandma’s book would be about two sentences long: “If you feel bad, get up, get dressed, and do something for someone else. Smile.”

I heard this all the time when I was growing up, especially during the most unenthusiastic moments of my teenage years.   My grandma was the youngest of eleven kids and had eight herself, so I doubt she’s ever had the time to feel bad or do much of anything just for herself. Growing up a little more modern, I had and took my share of opportunities to be selfish. I never consciously took her advice to heart, but it’s hard-wired into my brain anyways. It’s no accident that I became passionate about social justice, worked at a crisis hotline, volunteer all over the place, and always let people over into my lane.

That’s the cool thing about this lesson: it applies anywhere you take it. It probably won’t solve all your problems (that’s what all these other lessons are for), but it can change your perspective.   So much so that one day your mom is saying that you sound like your grandma, and that’s a compliment.

I also don’t think it’s an accident that more and more companies are living by mottos like “Don’t be evil” and “Do good.” The philosophy of being happy and successful, for individuals and businesses, pretty much boils down to that. Get up and do something for someone else. Smile.

Photo used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user: katerha.

The YMCA Kicks Off Operation Backpack

Operation Backpack helps collect backpacks filled with school supplies for children in-need.

This week marked the start of the YMCA of Greater Houston‘s school supply drive, “Operation Backpack.”

Having the right tools is a big part of being successful. The YMCA is working to give back to the Houston community and help children in-need ease into the new school year with a new backpack and school supplies. The goal is to reach 40,000 backpacks by Aug. 15.

How Does Operation Backpack Work

  • Operation Backpack works just as you’ve probably imagined. Using a   list of recommended school supplies (available on the YMCA’s website), donors will:
  • Purchase a new backpack for a child in elementary or middle school.
  • Buy school supplies and put them in the backpack.
  • Write a note of encouragement to the child and put in the backpack.
  • Drop off the backpack at any Houston YMCA or participating business, church, or organization drop-off location between now and Aug. 15th.

Donate Online

Another great way to participate in Operation Backpack is to make an online donation.

The online donations will go towards a $50 school supply shopping spree hosted by the YMCA. Donors can give a general gift or make a donation to a YMCA location of choice.

Be A Drop-Off LocationOperatoin Backpack'sgoal is to fill 40,000 backpacks for children in need.

Operation Backpack will run from now through Aug. 15, so there’s still time to sign-up to be a drop-off location. It’s a perfect way help make donating to the program convenient and easy for people in your area. Just fill out the sign-up form on the YMCA’s Operation Backpack site and submit it.

For additional information or to find a YMCA near you, contact the YMCA of Greater Houston at 713-659-5566 or contact:

Elida Chavez

Association Advancement Department


We’re happy to help as well. Feel free to contact us at or 281-497-6567.

Do good on the Web – our hearts are with Haiti

It’s tough pulling our eyes away from the news after hearing of devastating updates on Haiti’s earthquake victims.   We wanted to share some resources our team uses when wanting to stay informed, but still keep our daily lives going and flowing!

Here are a few ways to keep up with the latest news and updates:

Google Alerts
Create a Google Alert with phrases like ‘Haiti earthquake’ or ‘Haiti relief’ and set to send updates as they happen.

Twitter Search
Watch the constant flow of updates on Twitter in one place by searching for #Haiti or #helpHaiti on Twitter search.

Breaking news updates to your phone
If you just want to hear the biggest updates, and have them come to you no less, you can sign up for services like Yahoo! Mobile News, CBS Mobile News or The Washington Post to automatically ping your cell phone with news.

And some links to reputable organizations that will go far in helping assist and eventually rebuild Haiti (beware of scammers!):

Have other links or resources we should know about?   Leave a comment and share!

Photo thanks to Flickr user Digital Grace