Monday, November 28, 2016

good deeds to end the year

Good Deeds To End The Year
2016 was a rough year for a lot of people.* Do you want to do something good to end the year, and maybe make it a little bit better? Here are a few suggestions for things you can do now (and throughout 2017 too). There are options for everyone, some are free and some require a donation of time, goods, or money.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list, so please feel free to add more good deeds and donation ideas in the comments. Also, though it is written with a US audience in mind, many of these suggestions are applicable in other areas with local information and organizations substituted in.

 Book Related Good Deeds:
1. Check out books by your favorite authors and illustrators from the library (circulation helps libraries decide which books to buy). If you don't see a book you're looking for, ask the library if they can purchase it or get it for you through an interlibrary loan. You can do this for new releases and older books too.

2. Review books from your favorite authors and illustrators on your blog, a book review site, or a bookstore site. Reviews help readers find new books and help authors and illustrators sell books. You can do this for new books, but please don't forget older books too. Your old favorites could be a new favorite for another reader.

3. Buy books from your favorite authors and illustrators
(especially children's books because they're awesome - okay, I might be a bit biased, but children's books are awesome)! Buy from local independent bookstores if you can. Click here - http://www.indiebound.org - to find your local stores. If you don't have children, you could give books to a child of a friend or family member (or read them yourself- kids books are for everyone and they're awesome, really, they are). Don't know a kid to give a book to? Possible places to donate books are your local library, school, hospital/ children's hospital, or holiday toy/book drives. It's great to do this for new books and older books too.

4. Check out, review, and buy books from authors and illustrators who are new to you. Please consider boosting the books of diverse authors and illustrators, and women too. It's great to do this for new releases, but don't forget books released in other years.

5. Donate to book related organizations. Here are a few possibilities:

- Your local library (many libraries accept books and/or monetary donations) 
- First Book - www.firstbook.org
 (Now thru Dec. 31, for every $3 donated to First Book, Random House will donate 2 books.)
- Reading is Fundamental - www.rif.org 
- We Need Diverse Books - website: www.diversebooks.org / Twitter: @diversebooks 

People Related Good Deeds:
1. Do something small for someone you don't know, like hold open a door, give them your seat on the bus/train, or compliment their winter hat. (There are so many fun winter hats - hat that look like animals, hats with stripes, or polka dots, or hats with giant puffballs on top!)

2. Stand up and support others if you see/hear a hateful attack. If it’s not safe, call the police and/or an ambulance, and/or film what’s happening to document it.

3. If you, or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help. The National Suicide Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255 Their website is www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You can also find them on Twitter @800273TALK.

4. Volunteer to read to patients at the local hospital/children's hospital or nursing home. Or offer to play games/cards, or entertain them if you're a musician. Or volunteer to help serve meals to the homeless, or deliver meals to the elderly and others who need it.

5. Do something bigger if you're able to, like pay for a bus/train ride for someone who doesn't have enough for the fare, or pay for a coffee or groceries. We all need a little help sometimes.

6. Donate books and clothing to local or national organizations that accept them.

7. Consider giving food and/or money to your local food bank or other local organizations that help out your community.

8. There are national and international organizations that could use your monetary help too. Here are a few:

- No DAPL - There are multiple donation sites to help this organization, who is fighting for the protection of water for all of us (this Twitter thread has a list). Or donate to the main camp here.
- Disabled American Veterans
- American Heart Association
- American Cancer Society

Animal Related Good Deeds:
1. Offer to volunteer at your local animal shelter to walk dogs, or read to cats, or anything they need help with.

2. Donate pet food, toys, and/or money to local animal shelters or organizations that can use the help.

3. Here are some national and international organizations you can donate to that will use the money to help animals.

- Humane Society of the United States
- Sierra Club (helps animals and our planet)

Current Event Good Deeds:
1. Call your Senators and Representatives in Congress. There are many issues facing our country. Let your Senators and Representatives know what you think about issues and how they can help you (they were elected to help the people of their districts and the people of this country). Call often. If you can't call, you can write them instead, or better yet, do both.

Not sure who to call? 

- Find your House Representative here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
- Find your Senators here: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Not sure how to call? Comic creator Lucy Knisley made up some calling cards to show how she does it. You can make your own for whatever issue you're calling about. Click here to see Lucy Knisley's calling cards.


Have social anxiety? Cartoonist Cordelia McGee-Tubb made a comic showing you how. Read it here.

2. Call and/or write your local government officials to let them know what you think and how they can help you. They want to hear from you. They were elected to help the people in your area. Call often, or write, or both. (Note: calling is said to be the most effective.)

Note: Talking to local and national government officials who represent you can seem overwhelming, especially if you haven't done it before. Start small. What is one thing you care about, or that affects your family, or friends, or community? Work to help with that one thing. Call or write about that this week. Next week tackle another issue that matters to you. It's hard, but it gets easier the more you do it. Pretty soon you'll be able to pick up the phone and call for all the issues you feel passionate about. They work for you; let your voice be heard. These calling cards and/or this comic about calling when you have social anxiety (both also listed above) might help if you don't know where to start.

3. Vary your news sources. It's hard to know the truth and be informed if you are only watching one news channel or getting your news from social media.

Note: This applies to everyone, no matter your religious or political affiliations. If you are only reading and seeing news that agrees with your point of view, you're not getting the full story.

4. Add international news to your viewing/reading routine. It's interesting to see how they cover our news, and it's good to be aware of events that are happening around the world. Things that happen in other countries can affect what happens here too.

5. Subscribe to publications to help support journalism and a free press. Here are a few publications that have been doing good work this year and could use your subscriptions and/or support:

- Your local paper
- Teen Vogue (Seriously, they’ve been doing great work covering news and politics this year – check out their twitter feed @TeenVogue, and never, ever, underestimate teen girls.)

6. Consider running for office or helping someone you believe in run for office. Change is possible when citizens get involved.

7. Vote in every election you're eligible to vote in, whether it's a local election for school board, mayor, or sheriff, or a state election, or a national election. Your vote and your voice matter.

Thanks For Doing Good Deeds!
These are just a few ways you can help out to end 2016 on a good note, and most of these are things you can do to help out all year round. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, so please feel free to add suggestions of ways to help in the comments.  

Please consider sharing this post with people you know who are looking for good deeds to do, or just put a link up on social media for anyone who is interested. 
 
Thanks for helping to make our country and the world a better place!

* Just a few of the many reasons 2016 was a rough year: mass shootings, Brexit, Aleppo, terrorist attacks, politics and the US election, the refugee crisis, and celebrity deaths (including – Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Phife Dawg, Lemmy Kilmister, Patty Duke, Gene Wilder, Natalie Cole, Dan Haggerty, Glenn Frey, Abe Vigoda, Florence Henderson, Ron Glass, Harper Lee, and Anna Dewdney – and that’s not even a full list, and we’re not done with the year yet).

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