Do you ever feel like you’re constantly buying for yourself and not giving back enough? The companies on this list could be the solution to your problem! Every one of these companies gives back, either in America or abroad. For every purchase made they donate their products and services to people in need all around the world. Check out these awesome companies and see how you can help! Continue reading
Nykhor Paul grew up as a refugee in Ethiopia before moving to the United States in 1998. As a supermodel and acting voice for the International Rescue Committee, Paul normally finds herself in front of the camera. But on a recent trip back to Ethiopia, where she was reunited with her parents for the first time in 16 years while visiting a refugee camp in the Gambella region of Ethiopia for South Sudanese refugees, she spent a significant amount of time behind the lens.
We caught up with Nykhor Paul at a New York Fashion Week pop up event hosted by the International Rescue Committee, where Paul’s touching photos were on exhibition, to discuss her experience in Ethopia, her partnership with IRC and what inspires her to give back.
“I always knew that I wanted to help people,” Paul explained. “It started when I was little. I sing, so when my father would go pray for people, I would go along and sing to them.”
Even at university, she studied biology as a way for her to help others. “Then I thought, I don’t need to study this, I just need to pick up and do it! So when Hurricane Katrina hit, that was my first experience going down and helping others. All you need is that passion and going after it”
Paul teamed up with the IRC in 2014 after joining them on a trip to Africa. “Everything I’m hoping for, for my country, is everything they’re doing, so I thought, ‘Let me go to Africa and see how this works, this 81 years of helping people,’” Paul said. “And it was amazing. So when I came back, I said ‘Listen, I would love to be on board and collaborate with you and see what we can do to bring more help.’”
And to be back at the same refugee camp she left 16 years ago, seeing her family again, the feelings Paul had were unlike anything she’s ever felt before. “It was the most emotional trip of my life. I have never cried so much. I came here when I was ten, so to go back at 25, I’m an adult now. It’s so different.”
But even with time and distance keeping her and her family apart, Paul said they really connected again in the two weeks they spent together. “They’re so supportive of me working for the refugees of South Sudan and what the IRC is doing.”
“It’s helping the refugees help themselves. That’s what it’s all about.” Paul explained exactly what the IRC is doing to help the South Sudanese. “You don’t go into a situation to keep that person neutral. That’s not helping. But with the IRC, they encourage the refugees. They help them get jobs and get on their feet. We have to be the example and I respect that so much.”
When asked what it was like to be behind the lens, Paul said, “I have a love for taking pictures. To be able to photograph real faces and real stories, drew me to the people of South Sudan even more.”
The photos of her old refugee camp lined the walls at the IRCxNYFW pop up event. Even a special photo of the reunion with her and her family. “It was great for me,” Paul explained about her what it was like to be back at the camp. “The one thing I really picked up on is how it’s all the same. The refugees and their constant struggle is no different from when I left in 1998, but the resilience they have and the hope– I wanted to capture that. Every day when I visited the spots, I had to grab the shots. They all tell a story of what they’re going through.”
Paul also told us what she hopes people will take away from her photo exhibition. “I hope people take away what the IRC really does. They put a voice to the people all around the world who are suffering. So this showcase is really everything behind what I want to do with refugees, which is put their stories forth so people can see it, relate to it. We are in a visual, technical world so for the IRC putting this up- we hope to raise more awareness by putting a face to what is going on”
As for managing her charity work and her busy modeling career, Paul says it now feels like one in the same. “It’s not just me anymore. It’s not just Nykhor posing. This pose will now be able to bring a voice to every person in my country, so it makes it easy and it makes it one.”
Paul plans on continuing her collaborative efforts with the IRC and hopes to one day travel back to Africa. “I would love to be able to capture the 64 tribes of South Sudan, the more indigenous side of it, even with all the corruption and the war, to just be able to put a voice to it. To find beauty in all that trauma. That’s what I call my career– the beauty and the peace.”
Visit the International Rescue Committee Official Site to find out more about the organization and IRC Voice Nykhor Paul.
The International Rescue Committee made it’s second appearance at New York Fashion Week this February at the Empire Hotel. The IRC’s first showcase at NYFW came last year and with a great turn out, a strong return was inevitable. And strong it was with a collaboration between supermodel and voice of the IRC, Nykhor Paul, Celebrity Chef Marco Canora and partnerships with Whole Foods and Threads for Thought. All parties involved shared a passion for sustainability, charity, health and a love of culture.
We caught up with IRC representatives Sandy Borgman, Director of Entertainment Relations for the IRC, and Melissa Meredith, Director of Strategic Events for the IRC, to tell us a little bit more about the event and what the IRC is doing everyday.
For those who are not familiar with the IRC, it stands for the International Rescue Committee and was started by Albert Einstein 81 years ago by helping academics and artists flee Nazi occupied Europe. “And since then,” Borgman added, “we’ve taken that banner and we help with relief and develop our work in 40 countries; refugees who are forced to flee their homes in cases of conflict or disaster [we can] help them gain back their futures. We also help resettle refugees here in the U.S.”
“This is our IRCxNYFW pop up event. It’s our second one and we always try to combine a little of our celebrity IRC voices along with our supported celebrity chefs. This year we have Celebrity Chef Marco Canora and we have his very hot bone broth that’s featured here. We also have Nykhor Paul, who is an IRC voice, who is from South Sudan. [She] fled with her parents to a camp in Ethiopia that the IRC runs and was resettled in the U.S. at the age of 10 and was just reunited with her family after 16 years.”
The IRCxNYFW pop up booth really shows that NYFW isn’t just about designer fashion lines and runway models. Borgman explains that there’s more to it than that.
“It is fashion week and I think a lot of people think something about the fashion world. What we think about the fashion world is that there are a lot of very sensitive, compelling, globally interested people involved in all aspects of fashion week and of the fashion world- we found that last year when we did our first pop up, that everyone from models to stylists to designers to celebrities all came in, they all learned a little bit about it and when we let them know we were going to be doing this again, we’ve already gotten a stellar response from it.”
The event space was filled with the breathtaking photos of Nykhor Paul’s recent trip to Africa, where not only did she photograph emotional stories of the South Sudanese refugees, but she reunited with her own family after 16 years. “It’s helping the refugees help themselves, that’s what its all about.” Paul said about her experience working with the IRC to bring relief to the South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.
Celebrity Chef Marco Canora was also present serving up his celebrated “bone broth” which has become a popular health craze in New York City. “I launched this on November 3rd. It’s really new but the response has been extraordinary.” Chef Canora explained. “It all has a halo of health around it; the whole idea is convincing people that healthy and delicious can live side by side and I feel like this simple cup of broth exemplifies that point.”
Chef Canora’s bone broth is served at Brodo, a window outside of his restaurant Hearth in the East Village. New Yorkers are loving the health benefits of adding just a cup of bone broth a day to their diets.
“If you’re going to get any nutrient density or any nutritional benefit out of it, you have to start with healthy, happy animals. We’re using 100% grassfed beef bones and organic chicken bones. Everything is humanely raised. We really care about that,” Chef Canora explained. “It contains tons of collagen and gelatin, which really speaks to our vanity- hair, nails, skin, wrinkles, it really helps all of those things. It also has a lot of amino acids which helps the gut lining; there has been so much talk about gut health and how it’s tied in to regular health, inflammation, your ability to digest, etc. The gut is also where a lot of serotonin is created, your feel good hormone.”
When asked what made Chef Canora decide to partner with the IRC for this pop up event, he said, “I wanted to be here and partake and have some fun. I love what the IRC does. It’s just an amazing organization that’s doing great, great work. It’s important to me personally and to Brodo the brand that we do more than just take and that there’s some giving involved.”
The IRC is currently providing relief efforts in South Sudan, Nigeria, Ukraine and Syria to name a few. They also play a big part in the Ebola relief efforts of West Africa where they partnered with the GE foundation to create a special Ebola suit that will better protect physicians.
If getting involved in giving back is something that you feel passionate about, Borgman explains how you can start. “Learning, I think, is half the battle. So definitely by going on rescue.org and learning. We have offices in 22 cities around the U.S. so there are always volunteer opportunities” she said. “And support the IRC’s work,” added Meredith
Visit the International Rescue Committee Official Site to find out more about the organization and how you can get involved.
Everyone knows someone who has an ugly Christmas sweater. If you don’t know someone, chances are you own one yourself. If you’re still shaking your head and thinking, “No, I don’t really know anyone, and I don’t own one” then let me tell you one good reason you should be buying an ugly Christmas sweater this holiday season: you can help supply hoodies to children’s organizations. Continue reading
The Angel Ball is not only the signature fundraising event for Denise Rich’s Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation, it is the highlight of the social season in New York City. Attendees included Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, Jamie Foxx, Sophia Vergara, Kris Jenner, Tina Knowles, Ludacris, Lala Anthony, Halle Baldwin, Paris and Nicky Hilton and many, many more. The Daily Quirk was on the red carpet catching up with these celebrities who were there to support, give back, and help find a cure. We heard from guests like actress Brittany Daniel, The Today Show’s Hoda Kotb, and singer/songwriter Natalie Cole. We also got the first look at the surprise musical guests for the evening. Watch to see exclusive interviews at the Angel Ball red carpet. Continue reading
Once October arrives, there are probably three things you notice: everything is now pumpkin flavored, those pop-up Halloween stores are just about everywhere and the NFL and college football teams go pink for a game or two. That’s because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it’s the most funded cancer, allowing for $602.7 million in spending in 2012. Continue reading
The ALS ice bucket challenge has taken over Facebook newsfeeds, but is it doing anything productive?
The challenge asks participants to either dump a bucket of icy water on their heads or donate $100 to an ALS foundation within 24 hours of being nominated and then nominate a few people to do the same.
According to Elle, it’s “actually a big deal” because the challenge is raising awareness and increasing donations to ALS research.
“As of Friday, August 15, 2014, The ALS Association has received $9.5 million in donations compared to $1.6 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 15). These donations have come from existing donors and 184,812 new donors to The Association,” the ALS Association reported in a release Friday.
Donations are good, but what about the people who stand under a bucket and don’t make a donation? The idea is that they, and those who see the videos in their newsfeeds, will look ALS up and learn more about it. They will see that, yes, the cause does need donations and hope their video and nominations encourages others to give money.
The online magazine Slate alleges that the ice bucket challenge didn’t really start with Pete Frates, who has ALS, but rather as a silly ploy for social media attention. The Slate story also points out that people may be buying bagged ice to complete the challenge, which should make one wonder why that $3 is not being given directly to ALS research.
I have to agree with Slate editor Will Oremus that “it’s hard to shake the feeling that, for most of the people posting ice bucket videos of themselves on Facebook, Vine, and Instagram, the charity part remains a postscript.”
One person claims that the ice bucket challenge is a symptom of a societal problem in which people “opt out” of sacrifice instead of facing up to the challenge of helping those in need.
“It hurts me to see a generation opting out of charitable donation,” James Weir said on an IndieGoGo page he created to raise money for ALS without any ice dumping.
Nevertheless, the challenge has increased donations dramatically. Presumably, the challenge has also raised awareness by increasing traffic to relevant websites. If the end result is good, does that make the means to get there irrelevant or unimportant? As long as the ALS fund is growing, does it matter whether people are using the challenge as a way to get likes on their Facebook videos?
Some might say that the videos are raising awareness, but are people really learning more about ALS? Is reading the first few paragraphs on Wikipedia or ALS Association Website good enough?
I decided to put together a list of ten facts about the disease to raise awareness in a way that I know how — through a article — to help us all learn a little more about ALS.
- ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disease commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease in memory of baseball player Lou Gehrig, who was diagnosed in 1939.
- ALS is a progressive disease that causes neurons to degenerate, which prevents muscle control and eventually causes paralysis and death. Even though it generally limits only voluntary muscles, ALS can cause breathing problems as well.
- The cause of ALS is unknown. The disease is very rarely passed genetically.
- In the United States, about 15 new cases of ALS are reported every day.
- The life expectancy for individuals diagnosed with ALS is short: about 50 percent live three years or more; 20 percent live five years or more; and up to 10 percent live more than ten years. The average is two to five years.
- There are three types of ALS:
- sporadic: the most common in the US; accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all cases
- familial: rare; occurs when ALS is in a family’s genes; believed to account for five to 10 percent of cases
- Guamanian: describes cases found in Guam and the Trust territories in the Pacific in the 1950s; there was an unusually high number of cases there at that time
- While muscle weakness and paralysis are defining characteristics of ALS, early symptoms vary and can include dropping things, tripping, unusual arm and leg fatigue, slurred speech, muscle cramps and uncontrollable laughing or crying. Hands and feet are often the first problem areas.
- Riluzole is the only drug that has been shown to prolong the lives of ALS patients by slowing the disease’s progress, and it was approved by the FDA in 1995. Other drugs are being tested through clinical trials.
- There is no way to definitively test for ALS, so diagnosis depends on ruling out other causes of a patient’s symptoms. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “To be diagnosed with ALS, people must have signs and symptoms of both upper and lower motor neuron damage that cannot be attributed to other causes.”
- According to its website, “The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS,” and the organization has given more than $67 million to research for ALS cures and treatments.
All information has come from the ALS Association except where otherwise noted with links.
Spring cleaning is right around the corner as soon as we all thaw out from winter’s lingering cold. Better than just throwing your no longer loved possessions to the side, consider donating them somewhere. Often times when I think of recycling I think of cans, electronics or maybe everyday clothes that do not fit anymore. Below are five organizations that would be happy to take things you may have never thought of giving away. Continue reading
I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” –Billy Joel
Music is a powerful force. It can be more beneficial than words or touch; it can make you feel alive and indestructible. Everyone has that song that evokes strong feelings, that “heals” them. Could you imagine a world without music? Neither could I. Continue reading
Imagine this: you’re a successful celebrity at the tippy top of the A-list demanding millions of dollars per movie, raking in millions when your album goes triple platinum on the charts, barely able to hear your own thoughts over the raucous screams of fans from the bleachers as you make your way onto the field ready to score the winning touchdown. What would you do with all of that money and admiration? Perhaps you would sit comfortably in your spacious, million-dollar mansion that you had custom built and now share with your loved one. Maybe you would travel all around the world, or blow a lot of money on a Lamborghini. Maybe you could use the money to fill your home with all of the latest technological tools designed to make your life just that much easier. Or maybe you would spend every night throwing lavish parties with your fellow A-listers just because you can. Well what about giving some of your money away? What about helping make the world a better place than you found it? Well, if you were anything like these celebs, you would do just that. I have compiled a list of the most charitable celebrities who have made the choice to go far beyond the standard monetary donations to start their own charities for causes closest to their hearts. Continue reading
As we mourn the loss of Paul Walker, we take some comfort in the legacy he’ll leave behind. Walker touched the lives of many through his humanitarian aid foundation, Reach Out Worldwide, the many other charitable endeavors he passionately supported, and through the joy his talent has brought and will continue to bring to many via his film career. Walker taught us many valuable lessons about how to live life to the fullest and what our good will can accomplish, and here are four to remember him by. Continue reading
Cosmetics can be a fun outlet of expression, a way to unwind and a part of your daily routine. But what if, with a stroke of a mascara brush or the indulgence of your brand new lipstick, you could make a difference? The following are cosmetic brands that do just that! The brands below are dedicated to making an impact on the world through donations and partnerships with different charitable organizations. Read on to find out more about cosmetic brands that give back. Continue reading
Another day, another opportunity to make a difference in the world! Don’t worry, making a difference doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pack your bags and dedicate your life to a particular service project! Small adjustments to your everyday routine can be a big help to a charity. Check out a few ways you can make difference with your daily activities! Continue reading
There’s something inherently beautiful about a random act of kindness, and Supernatural actor Misha Collins has taken that beauty a step further by co-founding the non-profit organization Random Acts.
Now the actual founding of Random Acts is kind of old news. Collins began the whole process with a simple tweet to his minions (A.K.A. Twitter followers) in late 2009, asking for ideas to reach the intended goal of obtaining U.S. government stimulus money to fund non-profit projects. Cue funding changes, idea swaps and a bit of help from co-founder Lisa Walker, and Random Acts was well on its way to changing the world. Continue reading