The Power You Have to Give BIG!

December 20, 2010

power-of-halfIf you’re looking for an inspiring book to read this December, I’d love to share with you a book written by a young girl and her dad.  It’s called The Power of Half:  One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back by Kevin and Hannah Salwen.

The Salwen family’s journey into giving began after their 14 year old daughter Hannah saw a homeless man on one side of the street and a man driving a Mercedes on the other.  She thought, “Dad, if that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal.”.    None of the Salwen’s could’ve predicted what happened next.   Thru a series of events and activities they decided to sell their home and move into a home half the size.  They then took the money from the house sale and looked for a cause to make a difference with.

Throughout this entire book, Hannah and her dad share simple ways each of us can get outside of ourselves and look for more ways to give.  So often, teens think, can one person really make a difference?  Yes, you can!  Here are a few of the simple activities Hannah shared.

-Think about a person from your community who inspires you.  Think about your strengths in the same light.  We all have gifts to share, so how can you start sharing yours?

-What Can You Give Away?  Very simply, think about your time, your treasures, and your talents.  What are you willing to give.  You might turn this into a game and have each family member write what they see about you.  Then, you can choose one card and act on it.

-You must believe you can make a difference.  Hannah talked about Rosa Parks and how she had no idea the reach of her impact in 1955, “I didn’t have any idea just what my actions would bring about” Rosa Parks.

-Experience the life of others.  Have you ever thought about what it might like to be hungry?  Or, to live on food stamps?  Or, to walk to get all of your water?  You might try experiencing life the way others do by participating in the 30 hour famine, or the poverty-food stamp challenge, or turn your water off and use your neighbors water that is at least 3 blocks away.  

-Ask yourself how you can inspire others to join you in your efforts.  A young woman by the name of Kristin Walter started the Feel Good Grilled Cheese comapny that is now on 21 campuses to help address hunger.  Marin Wright Edelman says,  “We must not in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee” .

This book will inspire you to find little and big ways you can give to those around you.  We’d love to hear what you’re up to or how you’ve been inspired by the Power of Half!


Seven-Year-Old Makes Effort to Help with Gulf Disaster

July 29, 2010

imag0552Girls With Dreams wanted to let you know about a seven-year-old from St. Louis who is doing his part to help the Gulf. His efforts have inspired us and we hope it will inspire you!

This past spring, Dylan was upset about the oil disaster in the Gulf. He was telling a friend at school about it and his teacher asked them what they were talking about. As a result, his class investigated the disaster and collected hair to help soak up the oil. In May, Dylan created to continue to support the Gulf and the oceans.

Since he started the site, he discovered Whatever It Takes (WITKids), an organization that supports kids with ideas to help the world and was named as the Kid of the Month for July. Dylan will be visiting the Gulf and WITKids is sending him a flip camera and plan to post his interviews from the Gulf on their site. WitKids is an amazing organization that has helped so many kids make a difference in the world.

Dylan’s trip to New Orleans and the Gulf will help him to report from a kid’s perspective and share how we can all help more. You can track Dylan’s blog at and watch his video from the Gulf at in late August. So far, he’s hoping to talk with the Audubon Aquarium, business owners, kids, and maybe even the mayor of New Orleans.

Support Dylan and his project! Here are a few ways to help:

Buy a Wristband! Dylan is selling One Starts Many wristbands to help pay for his trip. So far Dylan has sold 68 bands and only has to sell 182 more to reach his goal! Just email Dylan at with how many wristbands you would like o order and and One Starts Many will send you an invoice via PayPal. Wristbands are only $3.00 each or 4 for $10.00, plus $1.00 for shipping and handling.

Spread the Word! Tell friends about Dylan’s mission, visit and make a comment, follow Dylan’s efforts on Twitter, or join the One Starts Many fan page on facebook.

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

May 22, 2010

mollybdaycake1I was working at T.J.Maxx the other day, and I was stressed out of my mind. A little kid came up to me and opened his hand to reveal a handful of “keters” (the tabs on hangers that label the size of the garment.) He had been picking these tabs up off of the floor for the past hour while their parents were shopping. My heart sunk because this 5-year-old was trying to make the world better and easier for someone else.

I love the feeling I get when someone thanks me for making their day. I love knowing I can make a difference in someone’s life, even it’s the slightest impact. I know you would change the world if you could.

Here are a few ways to make someone’s day:

Pick a person at random in your phone to text or send an instant message to someone you haven’t talked to in a long time. Tell them they’re an incredible person and you wish you would talk more.

When you’re at a friend’s house, secretly write a note and leave in for them to see often.

Go for a walk with a neighbor or a friend.

Make a mix CD for a close friend or someone who loves music. You could just tell someone a certain song made you think of them.

Write “You are beautiful” on sticky notes and leave them on mirrors in bathrooms and dressing rooms, just like blogger Secret Agent L.

Call your parents to tell them you love them.

Go to a school sporting event, and make a sign for a player who doesn’t get acknowledged as often other players.

Invite someone who’s sitting alone to eat lunch with you.

Let someone out of the parking lot before you or stop to let someone merge into your lane.

Thank a teacher by telling them how much their class means to you.

Bake a surprise treat for someone’s birthday.


April 21, 2010

I was filling out scholarships one time and found one at a website called They give away not only scholarships but places to volunteer in your area.

Go to

Put in your zip code.

It will give you places that are looking for volunteers whether you want to help animals, kids, the environment, or something else!

It always feels good to help someone else out, so do your part and DO SOMETHING!

Want to Help Other Girls?

February 18, 2010

How long has your last prom dress been sitting in your closet?  Have you ever thought about donating the dresses you don’t use anymore?  You can help girls who can’t afford a new dress!

All you need to do is to click here to find out where you can donate a dress!

Most of the time we only wear a dress once or twice anyways, so why not give it to someone who could really use it?

February Charity of the Month: Don’t Forget About Haiti

February 1, 2010

So much has been done for the people of Haiti who suffered from a terrible earthquake in January, but we can’t forget them!  People from all over the globe have reached out and it’s important we don’t forget about Haiti.

This nation is truly resilient but much more help is needed.  I am very worried about the children of Haiti.  Imagine being a 6, 7, or 8 year old and having both of your parents killed and now, not really having a home or anyone to turn to.  It’s so hard for us to imagine, but I hope we can continue to reach out to the children and people of Haiti. 

Here are some very simple things you can do right now to help!

  • Purchase the Hope for Haiti now Music at Itunes.  It is an awesome collection of music from some of your favorite artists like Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Justin Timberlake and more!!! 
  • Sponsor a fundraiser at your school or religious organization.  Any donation amount can help!
  • Check out updates on what other teens are doing to help at FREE THE CHILDREN, an organization started by Craig Kielburger.
  • Watch for updates and donate at the Hope for Haiti Now Website.
  • Tell us what you’re doing and spread the word to others! 

3 Ways You Can Help Haiti Earthquake Survivors

January 14, 2010

This Tuesday a major earthquake occurred near the capital of Haiti.  It’s hard to even imagine the complete destruction this earthquake left on an already impoverished country.  Haiti needs our help.  Just because Haiti is hundreds or even thousands of miles away from where you live, don’t think you can’t make a difference.  Can you imagine what it would be like to not know where your closest loved ones are?  Or, to not have clean drinking water, food, or even a shelter over your head? 

Many agencies are stepping in to help and hopefully they will do so in a way that is uplifting and empowering to the Haitan people.   Here are 3 simple ways you can help kids, teens, and families in Haiti.

  • Organize a drive at your school or with your religious organization, or troop to collect supplies and/or money for Haiti.
  • Donate directly to one of the organizations reaching out.  This website has a good list of different organizations and how they are helping.  Even if you only have a few dollars to give, that’s great too!  You can donate via your cellphone by sending a text message “HAITI” to “90999” .  A donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your mobile phone bill.
  • Encourage your friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else you know to reach out and help Haiti too.  If we all come together to help, we can make a huge difference!

December Charity of the Month: Let’s Say Thanks!

December 17, 2009

At Girls With Dreams, we believe in Giving Big and Dreaming Big!  This month we’d like to thank our troops for all of their hard work and dedication.  There is a simple way you can give thanks and reach out to them, for FREE!

Go to the Website Let’s Say Thanks and you can send a FREE card to the troops!  It will take you just a minute or two, and in return you will reach one of our brave men or women who are serving our country, many who won’t be with their family and friends this holiday.

Please, send your friends a link to our December Charity of the Month.   It’s simply:

If you want more ideas for how you can give big this season, check out our teens advice on Girls With Dreams TV about giving big or look at some of our other Charity’s of the Month like the Pajama Program and Greg Mortenson’s Projects, like Pennies For Peace.

Teens Give Back This Holiday Season

December 1, 2009

Wendy Sheppard talks about ways teens are giving back this holiday season in her column for the Philadelphia Examiner.  “Giving back probably isn’t at the top of any teenagers list this Thanksgiving season, especially considering the holiday season is a really busy time for most families.”  See the full article here.

Give Big! November Charity of the Month is the Pajama Program

November 1, 2009

The Pajama Program provides NEW pajamas to children in need, many who are waiting and hope to be adopted.  The children Pajama Program serve are in orphanages, group homes, and shelters, and are often shuffled to different living facilities.  Many of them have been abused or abandoned and don’t have the simple pleasures of having a mother or father tuck them in at night and read them a story.

Since 2001, the Pajama Program has provided more than 350,000 NEW pajamas and 140,000 books to children in need nationwide.  Girls With Dreams wants to help!  You can donate to our November Charity of the month right here, or you can join us for the World’s Largest Slumber Party and collect NEW pajamas and books in your hometown!

The World’s Largest Slumber Party, Nov 14, 2009, is a live, virtual event starting at 8PM CST and it will unite teen girls and help collect NEW pajamas for the Pajama Program.

If you prefer to donate money instead of collecting pajamas, that’s great too!  You can join Girls With Dreams support the Pajama Program Here.

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