Helping Out One Bike at a Time

A little bit of giving really can go a long way. Bikes 4 Orphans, a nonprofit run by brothers, has given more than 250 bikes to orphans around the world. They started out while in high school at St. Francis High School, trying to raise enough money to purchase and deliver new bikes to orphans in six countries including Kenya and Armenia.

Recently, a supporter recommended to brothers Shawnt and Sebouh Bazikian that they help America’s foster youth, who often don’t have transportation. As Shawnt explained, “We thought that this was kind of a similar situation with the orphans in the other countries [that we’ve previously helped] and there is a real problem here. The more research we did, the more we wanted to help out these foster students.”

17 students at the CSU Northridge’s Resilient Scholar’s program were identified as needing transportation and they were given new bikes, helmets and locks.




American Airlines Raises Money for ALS Research

After so much bad publicity for various airlines, it’s not to have something good to say. American Airlines recently raised $800,000 for Answer ALS through their second annual American Airlines Charity Gold Tournament which took place in Dallas, Texas on May 24-25.

As their chairman and CEO Doug Parker said,

“We are proud to partner with Answer ALS on behalf of all American team members, including Peter Warlick, vice president – Finance, who was recently diagnosed with ALS. Peter is a champion for all American team members fighting this disease. And we believe there is a real opportunity to bring attention to orphan diseases, like ALS, that require additional awareness and fundraising support in order to bring them to an end. It means a great deal to the American family to host this event in our hometown.”

More than 200 people came together to play golf and to raise money to help with research for ALS. These included former NFL Safety for the New Orleans Saints, Steve Gleason. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. As Gleason, who took his first commercial flight in four years to attend the event said, “We know if we are going to find solutions to ALS, a disease with no known cure, or viable treatment, we have to be bigger than the disease. But, I hear everything is bigger in Texas, so, this is right in your wheelhouse. I believe it is a pivotal time for ALS.”

In 2016, American Airlines announced that they would have a multi-year financial commitment of $1 million to the Answer ALS project through the ALS Foundation. The golf tournament funds are in addition to that commitment.

There are six clinical sites for the Answer ALS project. They include: Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Washington University, Ohio State University, Emory University and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Walking Across Scotland to Raise Money

Most people get on a plane and visit a country for a week, maybe two. They travel on buses, in cars and with taxis. But not the Roberson family. They, instead, are visiting Scotland and plan to trek 170 miles across the country to pay tribute to cancer victims. Scotland is the homeland of the family ancestor, Clan Robertson, and they set their sites on this location for this reason.

Now, Adam (40), will be going on the trek with his dad Dan (63) and his brother Donavon (43) and cousin Devon (32). They have been planning the charity trek for three years and they hope to be able to complete the journey in 10 days. Devon’s father died of the same disease nine years ago.

Now, the Robersons (the family dropped the “t” in their name centuries ago after a family fight) are raising money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. They hope to raise £5,000 to find a cure for the disease. They are starting from the Isle of Mull and ending in Pitlochry.

Join in the Zumba for a Good Cause

It’s such a great idea when people combine charitable giving with doing something healthy for themselves. That’s what the Zumbathon Charity Event in Saratoga Springs, New York will soon be doing as they open their doors to a Zumbathon to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. The event will take place on April 9th at the Saratoga Springs High School gymnasium.

There will be at least ten local Zumba instructors dancing with people to raise money. The local Zumbathon was started last year by Zumba instructor Mayumi Kato of the Saratoga Regional YMCA.

The event last spring was a hit. As Kato explained, “We were very excited to see so many participants at our very first event,” which raised $2000.

She continued, “It could not have been done without participants, instructors who donated their talent and time on the stage, many local businesses that donated their products as raffle prizes, and Kivort Steel Team to accommodate us at a great venue, the Saratoga High School Gym.”

When discussing this year’s event, Kato said, “We think that our community looks forward this type of event where we all can smile, dance, sweat together for a great cause, especially during the winter.”

Discussing the event, Nicole DeCelle, market executive director of both Albany and Central New York for the American Diabetes Association, said

 “We are honored that Mayumi and the Kivort Steel Cycling team are bringing back their Zumbathon in 2017. It was a tremendous success last year, as well as a great deal of fun. We are continually amazed and grateful for the support of folks like Mayumi and the creative ways in which they help raise funds and awareness for the Tour de Cure and the fight to stop diabetes. There are more than 2 million New Yorkers living with diabetes and it’s thanks to the funds raised through events like the Zumbathon, teams like Kivort Steel and riders like Mayumi that the ADA is able to continue our work in improving the lives of those impacted by diabetes and to ultimately find a cure.”

Smiles Forever Is Making a Huge Impact

If you haven’t heard about Smiles Forever, it’s certainly a place worth knowing about. They have provided free dental services for over 15 years in Bolivia. They also offer oral health education. Over 30,000 poor children have received quality, free preventative and restorative dental care and 37 disadvantaged women have completed the Smiles Forever two year vocational dental hygiene program.

As explained on their website, “Smiles Forever believes the only way to break the cycle of poverty in developing nations such as Bolivia is to educate young women and girls. The culture may relegate females to second-class status, yet there is no denying that the woman is the primary socializing force of the family. An educated woman practices family planning. An educated woman knows that equal opportunity should be afforded to both male and female children. An educated woman understands and values the importance of prevention when it comes to both medical and dental care. She is less likely to accept domestic violence as a situation she must tolerate. She has self esteem, which allows her to make appropriate decisions within her household, community and country.”

Learn more about Smiles Forever and see how you might get involved, or replicate this program in other places.

Great School Fundraiser Idea for Valentine’s Day

Now this is a lovely idea for Valentine’s Day and one that more schools might want to implement. Alma’s Stepping Stone school in Arkansas, which was organized in 1972 to help almost 300 children with developmental delays and disabilities, has a fundraiser every Valentine’s Day. All money that is raised goes back to buying supplies for the school classrooms.

The way that it works is that there is a gift shop filled with Valentine’s Day items include premade gift bags, stuffed animals, candy, balloons and more. Items range in price from $6 to $20.

As Mariann McCause, the service coordinator, said, “It’s a great way to not only raise funds but also to be out in the community. It gives people the opportunity to come in and see what we do and how we help the children.”

As a nice addition, the organizers will even deliver gifts to other schools in the area.

The fundraiser will run through Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14. Stepping Stone is located off Highway 64 East, and their doors are open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser and we just get anything we need like supplies for the classroom,” said McCause.

Organizers will also deliver your gifts for you to any school or residence in the River Valley. The deliveries will be made to Fort Smith, Van Buren, Alma, Mountainburg, Dyer, Kibler and Mulberry.

Portillo’s Offering Valentine’s Special to Help Others

Portillo’s is stepping up to the plate with their charitable work. They have just launched their donation program Portillo’s For Good. With this non-profit, organizations can partner with them to assist in fundraising and support of charitable causes. As its first initiative, Portillo’s For Good is teaming up with the American Red Cross on the program Cake for a Cause. Portillo’s is offering a heart-shaped chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day. They will be available from February 10-14 and a portion of the proceeds (up to $25,000) will be donated to the relief organization.

They will also take pre-orders by calling 866-YUM-BEEF or ordering online at

As the CEO Keith Kinsey said,

“Portillo’s has always valued the importance of belonging to the local community and finding ways to support charitable endeavors. As a Marine, our founder Dick Portillo has supported charitable giving to support our service men and women. It was a natural fit to partner with the American Red Cross in launching our Cake for a Cause and Portillo’s for Good programs.”

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