Tag Archives: nonprofit

Heartfelt Thanks

Thank you.

Because of you – my friends (online and offline), my family and my readers – I was honored with the title of “Best Celebrity Bartender” for Evening in the Stacks: Sparkle and Spurs.

photo (26)

But the real winner is the Howard County Library System, which is as it should be.

Because of your generosity – and the generosity of those who gave to the other incredible (and formidable) Celebrity Bartenders – we doubled the amount raised by this aspect of Evening in the Stacks.  Last night we raised over $2,200 to help support  A+ Partners in Education (which includes the STEM Program, Battle of the Books, Spelling Bee and Rube Goldberg Challenge) and Project Literacy, a wonderful and successful adult literacy education program.

My hat is off  to fellow Celebrity Bartenders Tom Coale, Victoria Goodman, Dick Story, Kristi Simon, and Paul Skalny. They made this fun, and I mean a LOT of fun! Shooting the promotional video was hilarious, even at silly o’clock in the morning in the snow. They didn’t even laugh at me when I almost fell down the stairs. They showed up last night dressed to the nines – vests, badges, cowboy hats,


boots and bolo ties – and they worked HARD. I am not kidding when I say that they were all about raising money to support the library, and it showed.

Thanks to the library staff – especially Christie – who made it remarkably easy to participate. So much work goes into this event – I can’t even begin to imagine – and she answered every call and email with extraordinary patience and good humor.

The decorations last night dazzled, but I was way too spazzy to do anything like take photos. Decorations abounded on both floors of the Miller Branch, and the Antler Bar (where we served drinks for 45 minutes) was everything I’d hoped and more (“Omg, an ANTLER BAR!”).

The folks who assisted us behind the bar were rock stars. All we had to do was serve wine and sodas and water – they kept us in glasses and opened the wine bottles for us. People who know me well realize that this was A Very Good Thing. The thought of me trying to open a bottle of red wine in a hurry is pretty chilling, right? Can you imagine? “It was a festive event until one of the Celebrity Bartenders slipped while opening a bottle of wine. We’re still not sure exactly how the bottle broke, but she needed 127 stitches and we never were able to get the blood stains out of the carpet.”


There was a margarita bar, too, and libations were provided by The Wine Bin and the Ale House of Columbia. The music, by Dave Chappell and the Lone Stardusters, set the scene perfectly.

I bought my hat and badge at Carol’s Western Wear, and the staff could NOT have been kinder or more helpful. Mr. Bob even taught me the proper way to put on my cowboy hat (front to back) and how to sit it down when you take it off (hint: brim side up).  He also told some great jokes and sounded exactly like the character Hershel Green from The Walking Dead.

As promised, there was a horse (“But not a REAL horse!”) in the lobby. I managed to snap a photo of it on the way out.

I really don’t know if I’ll return next year as a Celebrity Bartender – if I’ll even get invited to return, because I think part of the fun is changing it up, you know? What I’d really like is to be a Celebrity Librarian (or maybe an Honorary Librarian). I have no idea what that would entail, but it sounds like something right up my alley. Surely they could find SOMETHING I could do that wouldn’t mess things up too badly

Thanks again, everyone. Your support truly did make a real difference to two exceptional programs of my favorite library system, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.


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Musicians on Call – the Healing Power of Music

Music.  It brings people together like nothing else.  It evokes a wide range of emotions.  It makes us love, laugh, cry, dance, smile, sing, think, feel, and reminisce.

It also heals.

Musicians On Call is 12for12k’s October charity.

Musicians on Call

Musicians on Call

Formed in 1999, Musicians on Call brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities.  Musicians On Call uses music to promote and complement the healing process for patients, families and caregivers.

Musicians On Call was originally founded by Michael Solomon and Vivek Tiwary in the course of their volunteer work with The Kristen Ann Carr Fund at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

To date, the organization has brought music to over 160,000 patients, their families and caregivers.  They have programs in New York, Philadelphia, Nashville, and Miami.  In addition to their bedside performance program, they’ve also created 320 CD Pharmacies in facilities across the country (and internationally).  And their Project Playback program gives patients the opportunity to have their original music recorded and produced.

On October 16th, 2009, Musicians on Call proudly announced that their program has expanded to V.A. medical centers nationwide, with bedside performance programs in Philadelphia and Nashville and CD Libraries in over 40 medical center in 30 states.

You can listen to music performed by select Musicians on Call volunteers via the MOC Jukebox.  Do yourself a favor and give it a listen – you’ll discover an incredible array of musical styles performed by extraordinarily talented and compassionate individuals.

So please take a moment and think:  what does music mean to you? What is your favorite song?  When has music played a big part in your life?  What would it mean to you, if you were in the hospital, to have access to a CD Library, or to have a musician visit you to play music at your bedside?  Can you close your eyes and imagine what a difference it would make?

Consider:  just $10 brings one song to the bedside of a patient in a healthcare facility, so every donation helps, no matter how small.  Please donate now to support Musicians on Call in their mission to being the healing power of music to those in need.  You can also visit the 12for12k Musician’s on Call post to learn more or to view our progress.

If you can’t afford to donate financially, perhaps you have new or gently used classical or children’s cds to donate to the CD Library program.

I’d love to hear from you if you have a moment:  what does music mean to you?  What music do you associate with different memories or feelings?  Do you have a personal story about the healing power of music that you’d like to share?  Did you find a favorite song on the MOC Jukebox?  (I did!)

Thanks for reading!


Filed under 12for12k, fundraising, non-profits

12for12k July Charity – Eye Care for Kids

As you realize, I’m part of a growing Twitter movement called 12for12k.  If you’d like to learn more about it, I’ll wait a moment while you scroll down to read a little more about our efforts under the leadership of the inspiring Danny Brown.

July’s charity is Eye Care for Kidsecfkjuly

Our goal, as always, is to raise $12,000 during the month of July to support this incredible organization, as well as to raise awareness regarding the challenges faced by children who struggle with undiagnosed vision issues.

There are over 9,000 documented (and estimated up to 18,000 including undocumented) annual cases of children who need eye care in Utah, children whose families aren’t able to afford it.

Let me put it in perspective for you.

Have you ever seen a tree?

One of the founders of Eye Care for Kids, Joseph Carbone, tells the following story:

A few years ago an individual came into our office.  He was in his mid-twenties.  He had never been screened or examined before.  He was Native American.  He came right from the reservation.

We performed a screening, saw that there was a need to do a comprehensive examination.  We performed the exam, and the results of the exam showed that he was quite myopic and astigmatic.

We fabricated some glasses for him, and he came back to pick the glasses up.  He put them on and looked out the window.

He began to cry.

He had never seen a tree before in focus, with individual branches and leaves.

Could you imagine a 25 year old man not having the opportunity to see?

I could just imagine if he was in school during his formative years, he couldn’t see the book he was reading, nor the teacher in the front of the classroom.  I can’ t imagine how that affected his life.

From that story, from that true scenario, came the idea of Eye Care for Kids & Families.

Visit their site, learn more about the ways in which this organization has helped countless children overcome the obstacle of impaired vision to become better learners and better students.  Then visit the 12for12k website or the Eye Care for Kids website, click on the 12for12k widget and donate what you can to support this incredible effort.

We’re not asking for a lot – $12 can make a huge difference, if we can get enough people to give.  Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about an important issue that can have an incredible impact on children struggling to learn, for donating what you can to address this issue, and for spreading the word.

*Photo from Eye Care for Kids website.


Filed under 12for12k