Thursday, December 4, 2014

Choosing a Charity for the 2014 SV Toddler Donation -- the Voting is ON!

Hi friends! As those of you who have followed this blog since 2013 know, each year I donate 20% of any affiliate fees made via links on my page to charities that impact children in the Bay Area -- half to a charity chosen by me, and half to a charity chosen by YOU, my readers. Last year, I was honored to donate to The Bill Wilson Center and Cake 4 Kids, both great organizations that make a difference in the lives of Bay Area youth.

In November, I asked readers to again nominate worthy charities that help children in the South Bay (the charity can help other age groups and other locales as well -- South Bay children just need to fall within the group's purview), and I received some wonderful suggestions, covering so many different areas of need.

Now it's time for the voting to begin. Voting will conclude on Sunday, December 21st.

You may already be familiar with some of the charities listed below, and you may even spot your personal favorite on the list. If you do, feel free to vote right away, but if you have some free time or are undecided, please glance at the pages of the various organizations -- there are some pretty unique and wonderful groups on this list, working to make the world better for children and families.

Once you've made your decision, please head to the Facebook page to place your vote! And definitely spread the word about the voting -- while each person can only vote once, you're more than welcome to recruit friends and family members to vote for your favorite cause.

Here are the charities, in alphabetical order:

Able Closet: AbleCloset's mission is to provide children with special needs with the often costly rehabilitative equipment they need to reach their maximum potential. AbleCloset accepts donations of outgrown or unneeded equipment, then maintains a "library" of equipment for families to browse and borrow from.

Silicon Valley Down Syndrome Network: The Silicon Valley Down Syndrome Network (SVDSN) is a community of families whose children were born with Down Syndrome, who work together to provide support to individuals with Down Syndrome and their families. The SVDSN supports families at the time of diagnosis, educates the community, organizes activities for children and adults with Down Syndrome, and provides ongoing support and education.

The Bill Wilson Center: The mission of the Bill Wilson Center is to support and strengthen the community by serving youth and families through counseling, housing, education and advocacy. The Center is located in Santa Clara and provides services to children, youth and families in Santa Clara County.

Canines for Disabled Kids: Canines for Disabled Kids works to support the creation of child-canine service teams to promote independence and social awareness. It was founded because previously-existing service dog organizations were unwilling to provide trained service dogs for children, and since 1998 has served to connect children with service dogs, helped communities to be welcoming of child-canine pairs, and offered scholarships to cover the cost of training.

The Grateful Garment Project: The Grateful Garment Project provides clothes, toiletries, snacks and comfort items to victims of sexual assaults in the Bay Area after a Sexual Assault Response Team examination, with the goal of restoring dignity to victims of sexual violence as soon as possible. Sadly, children are among the demographic served by this charity.

Law Foundation of Silicon Valley: Legal Advocates for Children and Youth (LACY), a program of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, offers free legal representation, advocacy and information to children whose lives will be affected by legal proceedings. LACY representatives listen to the children and work to ensure that their rights are protected and their voices heard in the legal process.

Loved Twice: Loved Twice is an organization that provides baby clothes to needy babies via a network of social workers in hospitals, clinics and shelters. Loved Twice receives and coordinates donations of gently-used clothing from parents, then distributes the items to parents in need.

Mothers' Milk Bank: Since 1974, Mothers' Milk Bank of San Jose has provided infants and children with safe and processed breast milk. The Bank works with breast milk donors to collect, store, process and distribute the milk to hospitals and families.

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD): NORD is a federation of voluntary health organizations dedicated to the identification, treatment and cure of rare disorders through education, advocacy, research and service. NORD is dedicated to supporting people with "orphan" diseases that often lack research funding because of their rarity, and assisting the organizations that serve them.

Project Linus: Project Linus donates new, handmade blankets and afghans to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need in an effort to provide the children with love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort. The blankets are all made by volunteers, with Project Linus providing a meaningful and fun service opportunity that benefits children.

The Ronan Thompson Foundation: The Ronan Thompson Foundation is an organization dedicated to finding a cure for neuroblastoma, the deadliest form of childhood cancer, and is currently fundraising to create a world-class neuroblastoma research and care center dedicated to funding both traditional and non-traditional treatments to reduce the number of children affected by this disease and increase survival rates. The foundation was created after the Thompson family lost their beloved 3 year old son to neuroblastoma.

Second Harvest Food Bank: Since 1974, Second Harvest has been providing nutritious food to people in need in the South Bay area, the majority of which are families with dependent children and senior citizens. In FY 2014, Second Harvest distributed over 1 million pounds of food each week to low income residents of Silicon Valley and the Peninsula.

Unravel Pediatric Cancer: Unravel Pediatric Cancer was created by a local mom last year after she lost her 6 year old daughter, Jennifer, to DIPG, a terminal brain cancer with no treatment and no cure. Unravel Pediatric Cancer is working to spread awareness of the realities of pediatric cancer and the inadequate funding for pediatric cancer research, and to provide support, tools and information to others who want to create change in this area.

Thanks for taking the time to learn about these incredible organizations. Now it's time to vote! Head over to the Silicon Valley Toddler Facebook page to place a vote for your favorite.

And, by all means, please continue to shop via my links for anything Amazon sells! The final tally that will determine the amount of my charitable donations won't take place until December 31st, so anything you buy via the links will increase the total. Thanks!


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