Give Gifts That Give Back

Last month, guest blogger Megan Nelson challenged us to evaluate our holiday priorities and look for opportunities to make a difference. This month we asked our membership to share their ideas on how they make a difference during the holiday season. The response was nothing short of impressive and inspirational. When holiday shopping, consider these gifts that give back.

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Hero-Animals-FY16Gift a Goat
“My family has a neat tradition that my mom started several years ago. She would gift us a donation to World Vision. It started with the gift of a goat. This goat was given to a family in a third world country so they could provide food for their family and sell their goats milk for income. Once I entered the business world, my mom gifted me the donation of a micro loan. This micro loan was given to a women for the purpose of starting her own business and the opportunity she needed to rise above her circumstances. Each year, I look forward to this gift and it makes me happy to know that someone else will get a gift as well. This unique gift idea is something that keeps on giving to others and can be customized to fit your loved one’s personality. With over 100 ways to donate, you can give goats and other animals, clean water, education, clothing, medical care, micro loans and more! Visit the World Vision Gift Catalog to find a gift for all of the special people in your life.”
-Submitted by Lakelyn Hogan

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“All Across Africa currently works with more than 3,000 artisans in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, paying them for their creations at local market price. The sustainable income helps them send their children to school, feed their families and even set up savings accounts. Among their holiday collection (which also includes jewelry, baskets and kitchen items) are these eye-catching makeup bags.”
-Submitted by Meredith Duling

 

ONEHOPE
This winery donates a portion of their wine and coffee sales to a number of causes, i.e. helping children with autism, donating products to premature babies, and providing clean water.”
-Submitted by Alexandra Stone

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Stone and Cloth
“Each purchase from Stone and Cloth provides 25 hours of classroom learning through the Knock Foundation. Great for career women, mamas, travelers – they sell cool totes, back-packs, cross-body bags. You can place pre-orders for Christmas right now – some items sold out, but others still available. Recently, they did a great collection at Target, which goes to the same cause!”
-Submitted by Alexandra Stone

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Little Market
“Started by Lauren Conrad, Little Market, empowers women artisans to rise above poverty and support their families. They practice fair trade principles and the proceeds help fund the artisans communities through literacy workshops, business training and health programs. Plus the products are fun and functional and some would make great stocking stuffers. So far I’ve only seen and heard great things.”
-Submitted by Megan Thomsen

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MAC Viva Glam Lipstick
“Mac was just rated as one of the best lipsticks on the market today by consumers. One hundred percent of their Viva Glam Lipsticks proceeds goes to the MAC AIDS fund. Great idea for girlfriends or sisters.”
-Submitted by Megan Thomsen

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Amazon Smile
“I love using AmazonSmile, it has the same products/prices as Amazon, but a portion of every purchase will be donated by the AmazonSmile Foundation to a charity of your choosing that has registered with the program. It’s an easy way to support the Junior League.”
-Submitted by Lindsey Bray

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TAGG – Together A Greater Good
“When you download the TAGG app, you can help schools and other non-profits of choice. Download the free smartphone app, use the app when holiday shopping at local participating businesses, and they’ll make a 5% donation back to your organization of choice!”
-Submitted by Veronica Wortman

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Junior League of Omaha Members Out and About Enjoying Autumn Events

Vivid colored leaves still hang from trees in Omaha. The ones that have made their way to the ground, crunch and crackle under step. It is autumn, or fall, in the heartland and there is one thing on which we can all agree…

Autumn leaves are most beautiful when being raked by someone else.

There was a steady cool breeze in the air this weekend and many Junior League of Omaha members reached for their tall boots and vests officially marking the start of Han Solo Season.

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The cool air inspires many League members to fire up the oven or the slow cooker and whip up something delicious. Tracy Cartwright baked a batch of Mini Pumpkin Poppers.

Tracy Weis made a batch of yummy taco soup and cornbread. (Make something similar with this recipe.) And now that the slow cooker is working overtime, make sure it stays squeaky clean.

Melissa Carlberg and her husband Zach hosted a fall-theme dinner party for friends featuring recipes that gave a nod to the season including: roasted walnuts, apple parsnip soup and baked apple roses.

Other League members ventured out and about this weekend.

Many members attended the Women’s Center for Advancement TGIF event. Angela Cutler was one of three co-chairs for the western-themed event and Veronica Wortman served on the silent auction committee. Many league members put together silent auction items and attended the event that raised money to help women in the Omaha area out of domestic crisis.

Junior League of Omaha members attended the 2015 Women's Center for Advancement's TGIF event include: Angela Kros Cutler, Veronica Wortman, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg, Kate Hansen, Jen Olson Alloway (sustainer), Meghan Hope, Shelly Marsh, Tina Nelson, Chaley Smith Chandler, Mary Jane Tritsch, Lindsey Snyder, Alysia Radica and Liz Akert (not pictured)
Junior League of Omaha members attended the 2015 Women’s Center for Advancement’s TGIF event include: Angela Cutler, Veronica Wortman, Melissa Carlberg, Kate Hansen,  Jen Alloway (sustainer), Lindsey Buchanan, Meghan Hope, Shelly Marsh, Tina Nelson, Chaley Chandler, Mary Jane Tritsch, Lindsey Snyder, Alysia Radica and Liz Akert (not pictured)

League sustainer Catherine McAllister and her friend served as co-chairs for Omaha’s Great Pumpkin event this weekend. The event supports Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska‘s adoption and foster care awareness. Catherine has been involved in supporting the organization for five years.

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Done in a Day project organized volunteers to assist with the Omaha Symphony Spooktacular. League members helped decorate the lobby of the Holland Performing Arts Center, set up trick-or-treat stations, run pre-concert activities including instrument petting zoo, costume contest, and a Halloween-themed craft. Thank you to Kristen Bladt, Kelly Brooks, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg, Beverly Gorman, Kimberly Johnston, Racheal McMahon, Meghan Bothe, Caroline Drumm, Erin Fairchild, Megan Gerwick, Katie Lange Allebone, Terri Sharpe, Leigh Shea, Sarah Smith, and Ashlee Young for participating.

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Other League members were in the Halloween spirit. Megan Riebe and friends went to the Ranch of Terror at the Bellevue Berry Farm.

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Heather Vanourney ran the Bones 5K this weekend. The Omaha Running Club sponsored the run through the moonlit trails of Standing Bear Lake. Runners’ hearts raced in fear of all things that go bump in the night, according to the event page.

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Katie Triplett and Veronica Wortman spent an afternoon decorating Halloween and fall cookies to share with friends and colleagues.

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Before heading out to Trick-or-Treat with the kiddos, the Omaha Fire Department suggests several safety tips, such as adding a strip of reflective tape to trick-or-treat bags or clothing and costumes for greater visibility.

Going to a costume party? Revisit recent pop culture phenomenon for inspiration in creating a costume. Kelly Giese and her husband Matt, created this Double Rainbow costume.
(It was soo beautiful.)

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The party doesn’t stop when we put Halloween 2015 in the books. Tickets to the 3rd annual Barn Bash are available now through the Junior League of Omaha website. The event features a chili cook-off, BINGO, cash bar, pumpkin pie martinis, bonfire and s’mores. Members, significant others and friends welcome at the event.

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Shine On: 2015 Omaha Color Run a Little Bit Brighter

A dedicated volunteer group made up of Junior League Omaha members and community volunteers were up before dawn to staff the 2015 Omaha Color Run. One group in particular had signed up to volunteer months prior to the event, at the very first suggestion that there would be a glitter station at the end of the race. “The only three words I heard of the announcement were “glitter” and “Color Run,” so I picked up my phone and text the chair of the event. locking in my participation,” says Veronica Wortman, League member and station captain. “I think I sent the text before the chair was even done making the announcement.”

Color Run Post

The Color Run is a traveling fun 5K run with a community purpose. In each city, a designated nonprofit organization receives recognition and financial contribution for supporting the volunteer staffing of the event. Known as the happiest 5K on the planet, the Color Run plasters runners with colored corn starch mixture as they run. The event ends with a short rave-like party where the gathered crowd is blasted with more color. The Color Run announced a new theme this year on their website. “The Shine Tour is designed to uplift and inspire runners to stand out from the crowd, sweat sparkles, and continue to live their lives in a happy and healthy way.”

Within a week all of the “Shine Station” volunteer slots were filled. Over the course of the five hour volunteer shift, 16 women tossed 500 pounds of shimmery silver cornstarch compound over runners as they crossed the finish line. Covered in shine, and resembling the Wizard of Oz Tin Man, the women recall memories created that day.

“I had a great time with the fellow Shine Station ladies.  I loved meeting some fairly new League members and catching up with some women I haven’t seen in a while.  I personally loved being covered in shine!  It reminded me of junior high when we’d slather ourselves with drugstore shimmer powder and jam to *NSync.” says Katie Triplett, League member and Shine Station volunteer.

“I would recommend bringing a SARS mask, hat and sunglasses. You’ll look ridiculous, but definitely worth it because really, it is about spending time with friends and making a difference to other in the community,” says Alysia Radicia, League member and Shine Station volunteer.  She also laughed when admitting that by the end of the event she had so much shine in her hair that she had a good idea of how she would look when she aged. “I know that I can pull off the silver-grey hair look, which is a life goal of mine.”

League member and Shine Station volunteer, Claire Stevens recalls, “We had an awesome crew and this was a wonderful way to fulfill a fundraising shift requirement for the League with a fun group of girls.” Following the Color Run rules of tossing color at runner’s torsos rather than faces, Claire realized quickly she had limited aim and ended up getting more silver shine on herself. “That’s okay, I have always wanted to look like a twilight vampire- dream fulfilled.”

Color Run Shine Station volunteers, before and after.
2015 Omaha Color Run Shine Station volunteers, before and after.

The Shine Station was staffed by Junior League of Omaha members and community volunteers. League members: Claire Stevens, Meghan Hope, Veronica Wortman, Jennifer Anderson, Katie Triplett, Teresa Riesberg, Sarah Hanify, Kristen Robert Buell, Kayla Petersen, Lauren Taylor Anderson, Ashley Wampler-Gloystein and Kati Jurgens Davis. Community Volunteers: Amy Morris, Caitlin Morris

The 2015 Omaha Color Run was an overall success. Check out the quick facts about the race in the below infographic.

Omaha, Neb. 2015 Color Run, Shine Tour infographic
Omaha, Neb. 2015 Color Run, Shine Tour infographic