Eagle Mount Gives Pioneer Miracle Adventures

Eagle Mount

In A Nutshell:

Provide therapeutic programs via recreational opportunities for people of all ages with disabilities and children with cancer.

Why They Rock:

  • Programs: offer skiing, swimming, horseback riding, ice-skating, fishing, Saturday Night Out, golf, kayaking, cycling, and horticulture.
  • Cancer Camps: provide young cancer patients, age 5 to 23, to experience the Southwestern Montana outdoors via summer & winter recreation camps.
  • Saturday Night Out: children with disabilities spend one evening a month at Eagle Mount to enjoy board games, dancing and fun activities; and the night provides social respite time for the participant’s family to catch a movie or spend time with other siblings.
  • Western Rendezvous: started in 1996, a benefit geared to community with the following activities: silent and live auctions, dancing, whole hog barbecue, and a children’s carnival which includes inflatables, a climbing wall, and games for children.

50Give Experience:

Eagle Mount believes the human spirit is much stronger than cancer or a disability: no legs – go skiing, cancer – enjoy summer camp, no mobility – ride a horse…50Give has been stoked for months to see beautiful Montana “Big Sky Country”, and to experience the extraordinary business where miracles are delivered daily.

My grateful contact Peter set-up a full day where I met quality people that run Eagle Mount, along with their supporting horse all-star cast. First task was to beautify and clean windows of hard water in the state-of-the-art aquatic center under the veteran direction of Pat (20 years plus)…I was lucky to see Pat in action teaching a class geared for surgery recovery. The center is equipped with a ramp allowing easy access for water-specific wheel chairs and cranes to transition people without mobility in their legs…would love to see these specifications standard at all pools.

Next, Green Thumb/Tea Expert Susan recruited me to help with the Horticulture Program. I aided with the creation of neat fabric voles (a field mouse) slated to be sold at an arts fair which were being stuffed with catnip (I am new to nip and thought we were implanting mary jane)….also learned never to cut paper with fabric scissors (told while scissors were pointed at my eyeballs), and voles are loco field mice – basically tear up the yard under the snow in the winter. Took a stitching pause to shovel compost and deliver the soil to a wheelchair-specific raised garden bed…this place is pure equaility. Susan called for a tea break, and we all sipped a mixture of leaves grown in the garden – very delicious and awesome to relax with an easygoing group of volunteers…they supplied the mary jane joke!

The finale of the magic day ended with down-to-earth Dana Eklund who oversees therapeutic horse riding and keeps the barn in great shape. I helped with ranch chores: folding horse blankets, grooming horses (never stand directly behind a horse – everything else I write is trivial), wing man for ‘Therapeutic Test’ (testing if horse can handle different situations): we played catch, did some weaving through poles, and tried to scare horsie with a Cookie Monster doll…COOKIE PASS! My favorite part was riding around the perimeter of the stables in a Gator for feeding time…watch the horses getting stoked (okay, I was more stoked) for dinner!

I returned home to Homewood Suites provided by my generous father (flew out from D.C.  to help the tour for a few days)…I love how Bozeman makes mainstream stores fit the decor of a ‘ski-inspired’ town – Mickey D’s looks like gourmet dining. We had a fabulous meal at Montana Ale Works, I actually had a conversation with the native buffalo I was eating (calm down pita – I will lay down in his field when I go…we did a handshake which was firm as oak)…also skipped to Billings to experience Bull Mountain Grille…nothing like Rocky Mountain Oysters (Testicle Tuesday – Bull Style)!

Before I left Montana I went for a run in a canyon and at the top of the plateau was a placard for Luther Kelly, famous explorer of the American West…I pondered how hard the struggle was for pioneers creating America, and I then thought how Eagle Mount has become the modern-day ‘Miracle Pioneer’ for children living with cancer and disabilities. This absolutely gorgeous state of Montana exists because of adventure, and the pioneers would be proud of Eagle Mount…they are carrying their spirit.

“Be or follow a pioneer, the world is hungry for positive change.”

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Farm Rescue Keeps The Farming Family Tree Alive

Farm Rescue

In A Nutshell:

Farm Rescue provides planting and harvesting assistance to farm families that have experienced a major illness, injury, or natural disaster.

Why They Rock:

  • Provide the necessary equipment and manpower to plant or harvest their crop, FREE of charge.
  • Rolling with Farm Rescue: Annual Fundraiser with gifts from sponsors and the community – Harley-Davidson motorcycle, John Deere mover, plasma TV, Apple iPad, professional sports tickets, and much more!
  • Farm Rescue has assisted over 130 families in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana…meet the farmers who have been rescued!

50Give Experience:

North Dakota brought great surprises: top omelet on tour (cheese on top and inside…having a moment), worked side-by-side with the famous Farm Rescue founder (featured on CNN HEREOS), and drove an $800,000 John Deere tractor!

The Farm Rescue operation magic starts at their headquarters in Jamestown under the diligent and warm duo of Pam and Rita…they got me geared-up in my Farmer Uniform: baseball cap, blue cowboy shirt, and lasso (okay no rope but I ate some Pace Picante). Early next morning I drove to RDO Equipment (mega-giving sponsor) to meet my farm crew: hard-working and respectful Bill, founder of Farm Rescue (actually takes off a whole month from his pilot duties to plant), jolly and tech-savvy Bruce who flew all the way from upstate New York, and a lively reporter from Reader’s Digest documenting this brilliant non-profit.

My first task was Caboose Flasher Guy (probably a more technical term), basically I was security trailing the tractor in a big old diesel Chevy: drive the video…comes with classical music. We arrived to the property of Merlin who is the farmer being ‘rescued’ due to an injury: he was helping a woman out of her car stuck in a snowdrift, and he tore the biceps tendon from his shoulder….he underwent major surgery and is out for six months, ZERO farm work allowed.

We all pitched-in to prepare the tractor for flax domination…lower all the planter settings (shallow for flax seeds), fill the tanks with seed (ate a handful – counterbalance all the Subway sodium nitrate I digest), and drove the tractor under the guidance of Cool Hand Bruce…he taught me the ways of GPS to activate auto-pilot (had a latte, surfed the web, took a nap). After some interviews with the local CBS station and Farm Rescue videographer, generous Merlin brought back monsters subs for lunch to recharge our crew for crop two: wheat.

In the afternoon trucks delivered fresh seed, fertilizer, and gas and we repeated the whole process again…watch tractor video of Bill and Bruce doing a fly-by! Sundown was near and my day was coming to an end, although Bruce was planning to plant until MIDNIGHT and Bill was going to take over at 4 AM! I said my goodbyes to the hard working Rescue crew and got picked up in my 50Give Honda Element who had its own adventure today: battery died while driving, jumped twice, and new battery…thanks to Merlin for the jumper cables, the staff at Robbie’s Repair Shop, and my Dad getting the Element back on the road for Montana!

Bismarck hospitality was supplied by Farm Rescue with a complimentary room at Country Suites which included a giant indoor pool slide and a very informative staff that pointed us to a locals favorite: The Little Cottage Cafe…how can you not love a place that serves breakfast all day!

Visible Results: farmer needs chemotherapy in the spring, Farm Rescue provides planting during their treatment, the farm and family are supported. Farm Rescue understands a family could lose their farm completely skipping a harvest…they keep family farming alive which is best understood in their slogan: “Fourth Generation: We are not about to let it stop there.” Extending the life of a farm is the business of Farm Rescue, extending the life of a farm family is their harvest.

Website:

http://farmrescue.org/

Donate:

http://farmrescue.org/get_involved/donate/

Photos:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.214108408619691.57802.139468906083642&l=d5a69251b1

“If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.”

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Face It TOGETHER Gives Family-Style Recovery

Face It TOGETHER

In A Nutshell:

Organization dedicated to helping individuals and family members on the journey of recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) via three primary approaches: recovery support services, advocacy, and awareness.

Why They Rock:

  • Awareness Program: program to shatter the stigma and shame around substance use disorder, which includes advertising, public education and community events. (watch last video)
  • Telephone Support: Recoverees receive a call each week for a “check in” on their progress, and if a recoveree is struggling, or has relapsed, the volunteer offers support and helps connect them to resources to get them back on the road to recovery.
  • Employment Support: Provide recoverees helpful tools to obtain meaningful employment, including: assistance in writing a resume, computer access, and many more office perks.
  • Housing Assistance: Great partnership with Tall Grass who provides short term housing at a beautiful ranch, and long term residences in houses implanted in the ‘normal’ community – very important to be in a healthy environment.

50Give Experience:

Never have I received a round of applause exiting my car – the entire Face It staff was huddled close together clapping and cheering for 50Give and I instantly felt like family…they are a tight crew and SUPPORT is in their blood along with one goal in mind: recovery.

Local News crews immediately greeted me upon my arrival at Face It TOGETHER and I did back-to-back interviews…tough questions that required a water break (50Gives needs a trainer – already pulled a calf muscle driving 10,000 miles plus). My lively and organized contact Tanya and Face It crew orchestrated a brilliant day which enabled me to live the organization and be the spokesperson for recovery AWARENESS, although I did get dirty building planter boxes to beautify Face It headquarters….watch the CBS news video for my green thumb (Face It rearranged my landscaping – they didn’t understand my abstract planting, nor did I).

Buckled-up to follow warm Face It member Shelly (she has NASCAR in her feet – but I held my own cause I’ve seen Days of Thunder, twice) out to gorgeous TallGrass (communal/recovery housing for thirty days)…the place is a mini-sanctuary with gourmet cooking, a waterfall stream in the garden, and a meditation room. We received the grand tour from GQ John, enjoyed a huge lunch with the kind Face It Executive Director Mary and all the TallGrass housemates…I heart you banana cake dessert!

We then zoomed across town to meet GQ2 Nate for a tour of sober houses which are brilliant: need a job to live there, complimentary food to help with bills, and they are located in nicer neighborhoods – a healthy environment to promote responsibility and to be drama-free of chaos. On one house tour I was lucky to meet a woman who praises the sober house program especially the community aspect, which is now saving her life.

Face It also provided a personalized tour guide for the coolest things to see in Sioux Falls supplied by resourceful Terese. I hugged a giant statue – Mr.Bendo would pulverize Brawny Man, relaxed on the lawn watching the rapids at Sioux Falls, and browsed the coolest variety store on tour called Zanbroz – nothing tops dolls of Buddha and Dracula in harmony. Once again hospitality was supplied by my generous father and we experienced Homewood Suites: hello free breakfast, dinner, and beer…the concierge looked at me strangely when I asked if I could move in. Even the Sioux Falls community pitched in and gave love to 50Give – friendly owner of Mrs.Murphys (Irish Gifts) gave us the family 17% discount, and the generous owner of Vern Eide Honda provided free car repairs!

Almost every Sioux Falls resident I met knows of Kevin Kirby…co-founder of Face It, huge contributor to the community, and was in rehab 7 times. Kevin now sober, is on a mission taking the model of Face IT TOGETHER across the nation by eliminating the stigma of substance abuse highlighting people as the medicine of recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with drug addiction and are afraid of speaking to family, work, or friends – just know there are hundreds of organizations ready to help you: Face Your Demons with a new family in your town – it’s never too late if you are reading this.

Website:

http://www.wefaceittogether.org/

Donate:

http://www.wefaceittogether.org/join-our-movement-donate

Media:

http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?id=115632 (CBS article)
http://www.keloland.com/videoarchive/index.cfm?VideoFile=052311faceit (CBS video)

http://www.kdlt.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9531&Itemid=57 (NBC article)

Photos:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.213634342000431.57666.139468906083642&l=dcf9ce43d5

“When everything seems like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top”

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Film Streams Gives Theater World Series

Film Streams

In A Nutshell:

An organization dedicated to enhancing the cultural environment of the Omaha area through the presentation and discussion of film as an art form. In 2007 they opened the Ruth Sokolof Theater, a two-screen cinema located in downtown Omaha playing primarily American independents, documentaries, the classics, and foreign films.

Why They Rock:

  • Arts in Education: teach high school students how to interpret films in a cultural context, empathize with characters in ways that are beneficial to their own personal development, and analyze film as an art form.
  • Student Night: special screenings with a post-show discussion by Film Streams which are open to everyone and FREE for full-time students, as well as teachers who bring five or more students with them.
  • Daytime Screenings for Visiting Classes: allow high school teachers to integrate film into their curriculum by bringing classes to the Ruth Sokolof Theater, and screenings are followed with discussions led by Film Streams.

50Give Experience:

The main show in downtown Omaha is the College World Series that plays for two weeks out of the year at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha…two blocks away from the stadium resides a cultural gem – Film Streams hits homeruns that entertain and educate with an open-minded approach playing 7 days a week all year!

My volunteer shift was in primetime during three movies orchestrated by my on-point contact Hallie. First task was to hand-out/sell Membership to movie-goers before the show and I got rid of my entire stack: my technique – you will become a member or I will stalk with a flashlight during the film (security)! Next, I hit the streets to distribute upcoming movie postcards to local businesses like Urban Outfitters…I was the creepy guy near the dressing room saying nice tank and you need to visit Film Streams.
Intermission: Enjoy Film Streams Volunteer Alex in the All-Star Popcorn Dance and Smooth Positive Present Shout-Out Rap!
My last task required laminating membership cards and stuffing envelopes…I thought I had office skills although Hallie is the ninja of the perfect folding technique – her secret is…office ninjas never tell silly.

Omaha grass-fed hospitality started from the warm couple of Barry (Montgomery County brother – respect) and Whitney who provided the biggest big bed on tour…I slept horizontally! I also had Maryland hospitality flown in – my father joined the 50Give fiesta and provided a hotel and an all-natural steak from Spencer’s (Barry is legendary there and we received VIP status). I was also able to recharge with a complimentary yoga class at lotus House of Yoga…the staff and atmosphere is pure positivity.

Independent and foreign films along with documentaries allow you to be transported to another world and feel life elsewhere…three films that I thankful for:
~War Dance (let the website play for a bit – the music will move you)
~Chernobyl Heart (warning: can be graphic and mentally hard to watch – recommend this blog post for the full scoop).
~Amélie (my top film of all time)
All these films embody the main themes of the 50Give tour: anti-war and good health for children, protection of the environment, and loving with giving. I hope more people seek out independent theatres like Film Streams or bring home the same genre of movies via new technology…these films provide people to be outside their minds and to live with their souls – positive change starts there.

Website:

http://filmstreams.org

Donate:

http://filmstreams.org/filmstreams_support.asp

Photos:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.213039195393279.57456.139468906083642&l=b17ff7eeaf

“So, my little Amélie, you don’t have bones of glass. You can take life’s knocks. If you let this chance pass, eventually, your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton. So, go get him, for Pete’s sake!” – Raymond Dufayel aka Glass Man from Amélie

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Figge Art Museum Feeds With Art

Figge Art Museum

In A Nutshell:

The Figge Art Museum is the premier art exhibition and education facility in Davenport, Iowa. The stunning modern building includes expansive galleries and intimate rooms housing some of the Midwest’s finest art collections, and they provide studio-style classrooms for spontaneous art and workshops.

Why They Rock:

  • Galleries & Exhibitions: The variety is broad: Pollock, John Deere Collection, Frank Lloyd Wright, Picasso, Glass Blown Corn, Chagall…and much more.
  • Education: Provide daily opportunities to sketch, paint and sculpt; and offer classes, workshops, demonstrations, and lectures for all ages.
  • Collections: American, European, Mexico Colonial, and Haitian – offer a distinctive look at regional, national, and international art from the 15th century to the present.

50Give Experience:

Davenport, Iowa was Figging amazing…complimentary stay at a boutique hotel with bowling alley, volunteered with the Mayor, and saw extraordinary art from across the globe. All this awesomeness was drawn up by the Fab Figge crew…I should buy these Figgies some beers – wait, they took care of that too!

Up and early I was greeted by Figge Security and received a full body cavity search (I was wearing my Thomas Crown suit so they were a little edgy)…they do protect the building heavily – they have a Pollock insured at 140 million dollars. My very organized and kind contact Jennifer greeted me after all my organs were put back in place, and handed me off to the intelligent/elegant Melissa and Susan for a very thorough and fun tour of Figge…it was definitely information overload and I loved it – so much that parts of brain fell out of on the floor and it became an exhibit (what – art is in the eye of the beerholder). In all serious, the museum has something for everybody, the atmosphere is welcoming, and I honestly could stare at pieces for hours and meditate. One interactive part of the tour included ‘playing’ the art (artistic sideways video)…enjoy the 50Give music debut – Namaste!

Next, I was put to work with easy-going Lynn cutting shapes for the Youth and Teens Programs, and then I helped joyful Heather to select thoughtful thank you cards created by kids used to show the creative and educational benefits after a Figge tour – nothing is cooler than tigers saying Figge Rocks in quotation bubbles!

Lunch! Figgie supplied an awesome catered spread for the staff…we needed to carbo load for volunteering fiesta: Figge Feeds Haiti. Figge teamed up with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and Kids Against Hunger Your Quad Cities who provide international food relief to starving people – did you know every 6 seconds a child dies of hunger? The event was so well organized…entire lobby was set-up with assembly lines to package food: Rice, Soy, 6 vegetables, 21 vitamins and minerals; this is much better than a Mud Pie which Haitians actually eat: dirt, salt, and vegetable shortening. I also literally got to rub elbows and pack food next to the Mayor – I hear he has a great heart and he delivered a inspirational speech about the basic necessity of life: food. Jennifer also gave me the floor to speak about volunteerism and I was so stoked because 10 minutes before speaking I found out StayClassy nominated 50Give for Volunteer of the Year – please check out the entry and Like the article to help spread the word about the 53 best non-profits in North America (Figge is in my top 5;). My volunteer duties ended at the Adams School helping with a Figge Outreach program – my 4th grade buddy and I drew an SUV equipped with flames and another young girl rewarded me with an awesome USA banner for my travels…U – S – A…F – I – G – G – E!

Figge and Hotel Blackhawk teamed up for a luxurious and friendly time in the Quad Cities (Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island, and Moline). The Blackhawk = Hip Amazing: bowling alley with martini bar, and a bathroom equipped with a TV embedded in the mirror…hi Sportscenter – I’m washing my hair and dancing! Like it wasn’t enough that the Figge crew helped secure the room, they also treated me to Cherry Ales (cherries in beer) at Front Street Brewery. The hotel and drinks we great, although the people of Figge and Davenport made the 50Give experience memorable – there are a warm community…they even got Figgey With It!

Figge provided the perfect volunteer peace party: hundreds of Davenport locals, the Figge staff, and 50Give bagged over 17,000 meals for Haiti hunger relief. Why do we need art if people are starving? You don’t need the arts to survive, it’s way more important than that…beautiful arts silence the noise, inspire positive change, and is the global language of love.

Website:

http://figgeart.org/Home.aspx

Donate:

http://figgeart.org/Join-Support.aspx

Media:

http://qconline.com/archives/qco/display.php?id=544633&query=figge

Photos:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.212597368770795.57294.139468906083642&l=65d0f96260

“Art, alongside religion and science, has always been the helper and liberator on the journey of mankind. Through form it frees the many contradictions of life and sometimes allows us to peek behind the dark curtain that veils the invisible chambers in which we will eventually be united.” Max Beckmann

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Sisters’ Camelot Gives Organic Double Domination

Sisters’ Camelot

In A Nutshell:

Sisters’ Camelot is a collective working to create sustainability in the Twin Cities via the distribution of free fresh organic produce and whole foods to low-income individuals, support and upkeep local urban gardens, and provide free organic meals on a mobile kitchen bus weekly.

Why They Rock:

  • Food Share: Distribute free fresh organic produce unannounced at “random drops” on a large colorful gutted-out school bus in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Mobile Kitchen: renovated school bus equipped with a state-of-the-art stainless-steel kitchen which cooks meals for low-income neighborhoods (also “random drops”), and now will start providing hands-on education for creating organic meals.
  • Urban Gardening: Provides compost for local community gardens, and educates the neighborhoods on how to garden. The Food Share and Mobile Kitchen programs utilize herbs from the gardens in the warm months.
  • In 2010, they distributed more than $1.7 million worth of fresh organic produce to people in low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

50Give Experience:

The Twin Cities provided double domination: warm Minnesota hospitability from a couple with two kids and two dogs; and two buses that are providing organic food for those desperately needing the most basic need on earth…the love was TOO much!

I met the Camelot chill-cat David early morning at the 5th Avenue Sisters’ Camelot urban garden and he gave me a very thorough educational tour: mandala style garden (trippy circle patterns – prevent runoff like traditional line crops), seed balls (the name itself is awesome – soil, clay, and seed packed in a ball…great/easy activity for kids to learn gardening), and rabbit advice (make enough food for them so they don’t eat your whole garden;). After gardening 101, we composted together using a layering technique: organic produce (pull the stickers), then wood chips, and den straw…it’s a great recipe for rich soil – no more and den!

David and I headed over to Camelot headquarters where I received another awesome tour and was able to get live footage of the Mobile Kitchen…real restaurant stove kicking inside el autobús! After the tour, I was asked to participate in their weekly collective meeting where anybody can voice their opinions and the staff make final decisions. I recommended using an operation for CallingPost (online/phone messaging system) to help the volunteers find the ‘secret’ Food Share and Mobile Kitchen buses, so the food goes to low-income families…sometimes hungry hippies will become organic stalkers – dude you got mangos? After the collective, I helped with a variety of tasks that revolved around recycling…food + recycling + love = Sisters’ Camelot.

During my time in Minnesota I stayed near the gorgeous town of Wayzata (surrounded by lakes) which was formerly a vacation destination, and the ‘resort’ spirit carried over in the hospitably I received from my gracious hosts Michele and Mark: private bedroom and bath, full ‘keys’ to the kitchen, and unlimited playtime with their doggies! I really felt at home here…nothing like late-night kitchen conversations talking life with great people.

Revolutionary Refreshing = Sisters’ Camelot is a moving food pantry/healthy kitchen distributing/cooking ORGANIC food for low-income people. The Camelot crew is doing more than being the Saint in St.Paul, they are sending a message to everybody of how important what you fuel your body with…they are planting a ‘seed of demand’ of what comes off the supermarket shelves. Change demand in your town – buy local and organic…recycle it on.

Website:

http://sisterscamelot.org/

Donate:

http://sisterscamelot.org/donate/

Photos:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.211997705497428.57082.139468906083642&l=b621c904a7

Camelot Crew Dance Time!

http://www.youtube.com/user/PositivePresent?feature=mhee#p/u/7/K32GblQcDJw

Hamster Goes Organic!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8z8CWdRaQpw

“High-tech tomatoes. Mysterious milk. Supersquash. Are we supposed to eat this stuff? Or is it going to eat us?” ~ Annita Manning

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