Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Alyson --Living My Five

So, the last two weeks I’ve been on deadline. Having just finished DARK FLAME (book 4 in THE IMMORTALS series), I barely stopped to catch my breath before diving into a short story for the KISSES FROM HELL anthology due, erm, tomorrow!


And it’s not like you need to be a writer to understand what life on deadline is like, anyone who’s ever had an assignment due—be it a paper for school or a project at work—knows how it pretty much consumes you, and in my case, allows for very little time outside.


And yet, when I committed to my Five, I knew a lot of them would have to be done from home since there are times when entire weeks pass and I’ve barely left my desk. But over the last two weeks, the few times I did make it past the front door, I tried to make it count.


So on the random acts of kindness and charity front I picked up random pieces of litter, held doors for the elderly, people with arms full of bags, people pushing strollers, or just because. I tipped someone for their service who was clearly not expecting it, and when I got news of some money coming in, I gave money to the first hungry/homeless person I saw on the street.


As for my vow to donate something every time I buy something, well, I bought some new clothes for fall and ended up giving away close to triple the amount (as evidenced in the photo below) to the Goodwill, which just happens to be North America’s leading nonprofit provider of education, training, and career services for people with disadvantages, such as welfare dependency, homelessness, and lack of education or work experience, as well as those with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.


Did you know that in 2008, local Goodwills collectively provided employment and training services to more than 1.525 million individuals?


I love knowing that my bag of donated clothing will help play a part in that!



So, that’s it from me, how about YOU? Are you Living Your Five??


PS- Did you see Kay’s water saving tip below? I am so getting one of those faucets!



Monday, September 28, 2009

Kay - Living My Five

It's been one of those two-week periods where I feel like I've been running around and not getting anything done that I'm supposed to. With a deadline for my next book looming, I've been wondering how in the world I'm going to make progress on my Five. The answer, as far as I can tell, is to simply keep my Five in mind as I go about the business of getting through the next 5 weeks. Very often, the opportunities present themselves if I stay mindful of my Five.

Here's where I netted out for the last two weeks.

2. Pay it forward in ways that are meaningful to me

One of the ways I pay it forward is by hosting the national Great Scavenger Hunt reading program for school and public libraries. As I was looking at my Spring 2010 schedule, I decided that I wanted to pay it forward by offering to speak at one of my state library association's district conferences to introduce librarians to the program. With my book releasing a month before the conferences and a lot of book-related travel to contend with, I wasn't sure if I could swing it.

But that's always the case, isn't it? If it's important, you make it work. So I volunteered. We'll see what happens, but I feel good about doing that extra little bit of outreach to help librarians discover a year-round free program that inspires kids to read (and has prizes for kids and libraries alike!). That's meaningful to me.

5. Live a greener life

It occurred to me this week that I sometimes leave the water running while I'm washing at the sink because it's so messy to turn the water off while my hands are all soapy. And even if you turn it off, you still waste water when you turn it back on and try to get it the right temperature. Surely someone has thought of an eco-friendly solution for this, right? So I did a little digging and here's what I discovered:

Touch20 technology from Delta

You know those public bathroom faucets that you just have to bump with your arm to turn on? Now, Delta makes a version for home use as well. There's a little handle on the side where you can turn it on and set the temperature. After that, a simple bump of the forearm will turn it on and off... leaving it the same water pressure and temperature every time. Now that's green technology designed with real people in mind. The faucet is now on my holiday wish list.

So that's my Five progress for this week. How did you do on your Five? Let us hear how you're making a difference!

Are you ready to Live Your Five?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... National Learn & Serve Challenge

I came across a short School Library Journal blurb for a program this week and knew it was perfect for Living Your Five. The National Learn & Serve Challenge, which is designed to raise awareness and build support for service learning, is scheduled for October 5-11, 2009. Join them for a week of special events and community outreach activities designed to raise awareness and build support for service-learning.

The program's goals for 2010 are:

-- Engage 5 million college students in service

-- Ensure 50 percent of America's K-12 schools incorporate service-learning into their curricula

Lofty goals? Definitely. But achievable? I think so, especially if you get involved and help spread the word! Even their motto--"Be a solution"--is perfectly in line with Living Your Five.

Thanks to School Library Journal for putting this great program on my radar!

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6686660.html?nid=4302&source=title&rid=1270086119

Are you ready to Live Your Five?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tera -- Living My Five

It's that time of the month again, time for me to check in on my Living Your Five progress. And, despite the craziness of page proofs, bank card fraud, and helping out a friend with a crazy deadline and two little one, I think I did pretty well.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

As I mentioned in my last update, my birthday was on September 10. When the topic of gifts came up in conversation with my mom I said, "I don't need more stuff. Just make a donation in my name to either the Red Cross, the Sierra Club, or Heifer International. Your choice." My parents chose Heifer (I think because they know it's the closest to my heart) and made a generous little donation, purchasing a goat on my behalf. Some struggling family is going to be very happy.


The Whooshy Toilet

Every since my apartment complex "fixed" my toiled a couple months back it's been making this whoosh sound 3-4 times a day, suggesting that it probably has some kind of minor leak. For a while I let it go, thinking it wasn't a big deal. But then I thought about my Five and how little things add up. So I called my complex. The plumber came by immediately, declared it a problem flapper, and replaced it. Only shortly after it left the toilet started whooshing 3-4 times an hour! I called back to my complex and the next day the plumber came back and fixed it. For good. Silence is golden ... and green.

Auction For a Cause Update

My eBay auction netted more than $7 for the American Red Cross. That may not seem like a lot, but I have six more things (at least) to auction before my move next month. Here's hoping each one nets another $7 for a total of almost $50. Now that will be significant.

So, there you have it. My Five update. How'd I do? Baby steps are still steps. And, of course, the more important question: How are you doing?

Are you ready to Live Your Five?


Tera

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy Monday, everyone!

This past week has been abnormally busy, but I'm glad I've found small ways to make sure I'm living my Five. I decided at the beginning of the week I'd take five or ten minutes out of my day to think about ways I'd like to pay it forward. Last Monday, one of the magazines I subscribe to arrived in the mail, and when I flipped it open, an advertisement fell out advocating ways to save the environment. Since I knew it was going to be one of those weeks when I was crunched for time and I was going to be at home every day, I thought it was serendipity – I could pay it forward to the environment! I looked over the list, and decided to put a few earth-saving tips into practice. Here's what I did:

  1. Power down. I consider myself an energy-conscious person, but this week I made a special effort to make sure all the lights, computers and video game consoles in our house were turned off each night before bed.

  2. Drought-proof your landscaping. I live in Colorado, and due to soil conditions, we're not allowed to have sprinkler systems within six feet of the house, which means I've gotten quite good at choosing water-efficient flowers and shrubs. However, I'm not always quite as contentious about the water I put on my lawn. This week, with the cooler fall temperatures settling in, I decided to water my lawn once and see what happened. To my surprise and satisfaction, it's doing great! It's just as green as it was last week, and used far less water. I've also been keeping an eye on the weather, and avoiding using the sprinklers within three days after a rainstorm. It feels good to know I'm doing my part to conserve one of our world's most important resources.

  3. Home Grown. This week my husband volunteered at High Plains Environmental Center, and while I wasn't the one out in the fields picking vegetables, I was home watching kids, so I'm going to count it :). I've been incredibly impressed by the mission of HPEC, which is to explore the connections between sustainable living and ecological processes and to understand the interactions between the natural and built environments. This week, volunteers, including my husband, picked over twelve thousand pounds of produce, which the HPEC donated to people in need in our community. I'm making it a goal right now to volunteer to participate in planting the seeds for next year's harvest.

    So that's how I'm living my Five. What about you guys? What have you been doing lately?

    Are you living your Five?


Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... Books that changed our lives

Happy Friday!

One of our Friday FiveSpot features is posing questions to the Founding Fivers about things that have inspired their Five. This week's question is:

What is one book that inspired you to pursue your Five or changed the way you look at your Five? How did it inspire you?

Here's what Alyson and Tera had to say...

Alyson

Dr. Wayne Dyer’s, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, really did change my life in profound ways just by doing what the title suggests

At the time when I read it, I was going through a tremendous amount of grief over losing several loved ones and the fear that my very ill husband may not get better. But I was also tired of feeling that way—of being so sad, scared, and hopeless all the time. So I picked up the book (having first seen it on his PBS special) and when I got to the part where he says, (and I paraphrase here): “One of the most important decisions you’ll make about your life is whether you live in an abundant universe—or one filled with shortages . . . Do you see your life as full of endless opportunities—or one of competition where there’s only room for a few to succeed?” I was struck by the question and quickly realized I’d chosen the latter. So I decided to try out the other way, thinking: what could it hurt?

So instead of seeing myself as a “victim of loss, abandonment, and grief” I looked upon those hard times as my greatest opportunity for growth and change. Instead of viewing myself as a hapless pawn in the big game of life, I looked upon the world as an endless highway, with plenty of lanes for me to merge in, find my place, and enjoy the ride. And dang if it didn’t work! It wasn’t long before my life really did start to change in ways so truly measurable and amazing, I wouldn’t go back to that old way of thinking for anything. If I’m going to have a self-fulfilling prophecy it may as well be a positive one!

Tera

The summer after my sophomore year of high school I participated in a special summer program called Missouri Scholars Academy. In this three week program, we attend classes on a college campus and got to choose and "major" class and a "minor" class. For my minor, I chose the class in time travel.

We did a lot of wonderful things in that class, but the thing I remember the most was reading the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury. In this story, a hunter from the future goes back to prehistoric times for the thrill of killing a T-Rex. The hunter panics and runs off the elevated path he is not supposed to leave. When the hunting party returns to the future, they find changes to the language, the buildings, and even the recent election. Upon examining his boots, the hunter discovers a butterfly crushed to the bottom.

This story is the origin of the chaos theory term the Butterfly Effect, the idea that one teeny-tiny change (like a single butterfly smashed by a boot) can have a major effect on the course of the future. I think this idea colors the way I view everything in life, including my Five. Even the smallest choice can have the greatest effect. One bottle in the recycle bin instead of the landfill might seem insignificant, but that bottle might get recycled into a reuseable grocery bag, that saves the production of countless plastic bags, that saves gallons of petroleum, that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, that prevents a future worldwide oil crisis. Seems like a pretty important bottle now, doesn't it?

The Butterfly Effect seems like a perfect parallel to the whole idea behind Living Your Five. We're talking about taking small steps in the direction of the five causes we care most about. Who knows what kind of magnified return we might see on our efforts in the future? One small step might change the world.


Thanks, A and T! Now it's your turn, dear readers. :-) What books have you read that have shaped the way you view your Five?


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alyson -- Living My Five


So a few weeks back, before I’d publicly committed to my Five (though privately I’ve been trying to live them for awhile now), I received an e-mail from a reader, Samantha Del Vecchio, asking if I’d be willing to donate signed copies of THE IMMORTALS books for the Ballantyne Country Club Rally for the Cure Auction—an annual event, founded by her mother back in 2004.

Having lost a few loved ones to various types of cancer, it’s definitely a cause I support, and in the spirit of Committing to Random Acts of Charity I immediately sent her signed copies of EVERMORE and BLUE MOON in hopes they would help in some small way.


And though I was obviously touched by her e-mail, what I didn’t realize is that Samantha wasn’t acting under her mother’s guidance, wasn’t asked to drum up donations on her own, she was simply inspired after years of watching her mother’s tireless efforts to help others, and decided to find her own way to pitch in and help-- a real Living Your Five kinda moment, and I’m so proud of her!


Or as her mother, quoted in an article in The Carolina Weekly put it:


One of the event’s bonus results is the lesson it teaches the community’s children, Del Vecchio said. “I think one of the successes is that our children see us saying, ‘Yes, we can do this.’ They see us making things happen. And hopefully they’ll be that way one day as well.”


Del Vecchio realized her daughter Samantha, 12, was learning valuable lessons after she discovered that the student sent an e-mail to popular young-adult-fiction author ­Alyson Noel, asking her to donate signed copies of books from the best-selling “Immortals” series to Rally’s auction. Noel replied within hours, expressing her support for the cause and committing to a donation.


“There are points during the year that dinner isn’t made when my husband is home from work, or I have to pick up the kids from school and then run five Rally errands, but after (discovering Samantha’s e-mail) I thought to myself, ‘OK, this is balancing now. She gets it,’” Del Vecchio said.”


To read the full article, click HERE


Also, in the spirit of Random Acts of Charity I also made a donation to Beyond Shelter, a Los Angeles based charity that helps combat poverty and homelessness among families with children. Blake Snyder, screenwriting guru, author of SAVE THE CAT (one of the best books on writing, ever!), and overall awesome person, was a big supporter. And when he passed away last month, a memorial fund was set up in his name and it felt like a great way to honor a friend and help people in need at the same time.


Also, in my efforts to Commit to Living Greener, my husband and I recently went paperless for all of our bill paying. Did you know that receiving and paying bills online can make a huge environmental impact—and if every American household made the switch, it could reduce solid waste in U.S. landfills by more than 800,000 tons a year and help curb the release of greenhouse gases by 2.1 million tons, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. This could also save an estimated 18.5 million trees a year. Not to mention it’s a lot less mail to open!


Oh, and in my Commitment to Give Something Away Every Time I Buy Something New I bought a purse last week, and so I’m getting rid of a purse—and you know what, I seriously doubt that I’ll miss it!


So, that’s it from me—but what about YOU?

Any good living green tips?

Are you Living Your Five?




Monday, September 14, 2009

Kay - Living My Five

Last week was a big office overhaul week at Casa Cassidy. Huge. As in, I found a box with items marked "To Be Filed" that was several years old. Apparently it had been in need of filing last time we moved and had accidentally been packed by the movers. I got to use my lovely new shredder for most of the contents. (I have a wee crush on my new shredder - shreds 12 sheets at a time and doesn't jam - LOVE it!)

It was also a week of gratitude and paying it forward for me as a result of said office overhaul. It's nice how when your Five are just a normal part of your life, you recognize the small things you can do along the way to make an impact. My successes this week aren't monumental (as is often the case) but they made me feel good knowing I was making a small contribution to my Five.

1. Commit to a life of gratitude

As part of my office clearing project last week, I came across an old cell phone that I'd been meaning to dispose of but needed to research how to do so safely (in keeping with the Living a Greener Life part of my Five).

But when I unearthed it again last week, I decided to use it as an opportunity to show my gratitude instead. I mailed it to the Cell Phones for Soldiers project which recycles the cell phones and, with the money it generates, provides calling cards for soldiers overseas. Not earth-shattering by any measure, but will it make a difference to one soldier and his or her loved ones? I hope so.

2. Pay it forward in ways that are meaningful to me

My office project spilled over into other areas of my life as well. I've been trying to cull the things from our closets that no longer fit or aren't appropriate for us anymore and, as FlyLady says, "let them bless someone else". I put together a huge bag of clothing and donated it to our local Goodwill store.

I typically do this several times a year, but for some reason I've had the things for this bag sitting there waiting to be donated since early 2009. And the Goodwill store is just around the corner from us. Doesn't it seem like I could've bundled it up and dropped it off a long time ago?

Yeah, that's what I was thinking too.

So instead of letting it sit there any longer, I got it sent off so it can find homes with people who can use it. And I vow to get back to doing quarterly donations so there's a nice flow-through of items in our home. I may not make it to Alyson's level of donating something everytime I bring something new in, but donating quarterly like I used to should be an easy habit to fall back into. With a little timely reminder, of course. :-)


So that's how I'm living my Five. Now it's your turn, Honorary Fivers... how did you do on your Five? There's no such thing as progress too big or too small to cheer about!

Are you ready to Live Your Five?


Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... a must-see music video!

Our Friday FiveSpot features are a fun hodge-podge of inspiration to round out your week. The first Friday of each month is our Honorary Fivers feature. Congratulations to our very first group of Honorary Fivers!

Thao
Ella
Brodie
Teri
Heather
Rosangela
Lara

We're delighted to have you on board! Thanks for joining us and committing to living your Five right along with us. We can't wait to hear about your progress!

The rest of our Fridays are a mix of inside peeks at what inspires the Fivers on a personal level, hosting fabulous guest Fivers, and sharing real-life, change-your-world stories and videos from around the world.

In honor of 9/11, I'm sharing one of my all-time favorite change-your-world videos. This video inspires me to make an impact with my Five in a big way every time I see it. It's a brilliant reminder of the extraordinary difference each of us can make. And that's 100% Living Your Five.

(If the embedded video doesn't work, you can check it out here as well.)

If Everyone Cared by Nickelback



Are you ready to change your world?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tera -- Living My Five

How exciting is this? My first Living Your Five status report!

It's funny how, since taking the time to figure out the causes that are most important to me, they seem to be at the front of my thoughts a lot. I thought it would be hard to keep my Five in mind as I went about daily life, but it really hasn't. Maybe just the act of thinking about them, writing them down, and committing to them has solidified them in my world. That's the power of Living Your Five, I suppose.

Okay, time to see how I did...

Making a Greener Move

When my apartment lease is up next month, I'll be packing up my things and moving on to places unknown. (Okay, partly known, since my first stop is a visit to my parents in Oklahoma City, but after that....) The thought of packing all my things away immediately brought to mind my need for moving boxes. Which are made from cardboard and which, quite often, just get trashed after the move. (I've moved a lot so I know this is true.)

So, in an effort to make my move a greener one, I've added one round of recycle into the equation. I order my moving boxes from UsedCardboardBoxes.com!

The boxes they sell aren't made from recycled materials, they themselves are recycled. According to the company, "We rescue truckloads of quality used boxes from large companies that might otherwise recycle them or simply throw them away." So, even before I use these boxes (and then recycled them when I'm done) I feel like I'm ahead of the game.

Auction For a Cause

Another big part of my moving preparation is getting rid of all the excess stuff I've accumulated while in Houston (and before). Some of this is books, which I am still investigating how to best pass along. But much of this is just ... stuff. I plan to sell the more valuable and collectible things on eBay. Like the six boxes of Depression Glass I acquired a decade ago (I went through a very Martha Stewart phase, thank you very much).

When I went to put up my first lot for auction, I discovered that eBay gives you the option to donate a percentage to the charity of your choice. How wonderful! For this lot, considering the devastating wildfires that have been plaguing southern California, I chose to donate 25% of the proceeds to the American Red Cross to support their disaster relief efforts.

An Historic Birthday

Tomorrow is my mumble-mumble birthday. (Okay, it's my 33rd.) And as my friends and I were thinking about what to do in celebration, I immediately wondered how I could incorporate my Five into our plans. My first thought was maybe an organic restaurant but this is Houston. Not exactly a mecca of green living (although they are trying) and the choices were extremely limited.

Next I thought, "Historic Preservation." I think one of the best ways to support the saving of our architectural heritage is to patronize businesses that operation out of historic buildings. When I mentioned this to my friend she suggested La Carafe, a wine bar located in the oldest commercial building still in use in Houston. It was built in 1847! (And I thought I was getting ancient.) So, on Friday night, my friends and I will head to La Carafe for a birthday bottle of wine ... with some serious history attached.

So, there you have it. My first Five update. How'd I do? And, of course, the more important question: How'd you do?

Are you ready to Live Your Five?


Tera

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Becca - Living My Five

Hey, everyone!


First off, wow. I am so amazed and excited so many of you are joining us on the Living Your Five journey – thank you! Three cheers to making a difference!


I've been putting a lot of conscious effort into my Five this week, and here's what I have to show for it: Last week, when I posted my Five, I noticed many of you commented on my commitment to reduce personal consumption. It seemed like a goal many of you were willing to work toward, and so I decided for this week's post, I would jump into my Five by sharing one of the many ways that I've decided to make consuming less a part of who I am. To do that, I'm going to take you on a field trip to...my kitchen.


It's fairly clean today, which is good, since I'm taking pictures. On the outside, it looks like a fairly normal kitchen. Cheery red walls, a stand mixer, a few of my kids' drawings on the fridge...


The fridge. That's actually what I'm going to concentrate on today. But first, let me share a few statistics with you.


*Twenty-seven percent of the food produced for human consumption in the U.S. is thrown out as waste, equaling 48 million tons annually.


*Fifty-three percent of disposed food is fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and milk.


*Each year, the nation's supermarkets, restaurants and convenience stores toss out approximately 27 million tons of edible food worth $30 billion.


Those are statistics I can't ignore. Am I guilty of being one of millions of Americans who throw away approximately twenty seven percent of the food I buy? Chances are, yes. So after a little thought, I came up with three fairly basic steps I've been taking to make sure I reduce that percentage. The steps are:


*Plan meals before grocery shopping

*Use leftovers

*Concentrate on eating produce first


The following picture depicts all of the food I cleaned out of my fridge earlier this week, due to spoilage. One month from now, I'm going to clean out my fridge again, and post another picture. I'm confident that the amount of food I throw away will be significantly smaller. My hope is that if I can keep shrinking the amount of food I throw away, eventually I'll be at the point where I'm throwing away almost nothing. Wish me luck! And good luck on your own Five - I'd love to hear how you're doing!



There you have it - my Five. What about you? Are you ready to Live Your Five?


Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday FiveSpot: Our Inaugural Honorary Fivers Day!


Welcome to our first official Honorary Fiver Day!


We'll be hosting this event on the first Friday of every month. Honorary Fiver Day is your chance to become a bonafide Honorary Fiver member of the Living Your Five community.

To become an Honorary Fiver, all you have to do is share your Five in the comments on this special Honorary Fiver post. Let us know the five areas you want to make a difference in!

Once you've shared your Five on this post, you are officially an Honorary Fiver and have our permission to nab this cute logo (designed by our own fab Tera!) to place on your blog or web site. Cool, right?


What does being an Honorary Fiver mean?

Being an Honorary Fiver means you're ready to join us in our quest to change our world... one person and one Five at a time. But posting your Five in the comments area of an official Honorary Fiver Day post is just the beginning. We want you to keep us posted on how you're doing on your Five! Any time one of us posts about our progress, please chime in and share your Five news too. Tell us what great things you're up to. All Fiver progress is worth celebrating, big steps and baby steps alike!

The more action we take, the more excitement we spread, the more momentum we build... the more impact we make as a Fiver community!

And yes, we encourage you to post about your Five progress on your own blogs too if you wish. Blog your Honorary Fiver hearts out, we say! Just remember to post your progress on Living Your Five too so you can inspire the rest of our community. :-)


An important note before we get rolling...

One of the tricky things about creating your Five is distinguishing between something that's beneficial to you vs. something that's immediately beneficial to others. Even we had to stop ourselves on occasion and ask "Who is really benefitting from this?"

Your Five must be things that directly impact others in a positive way, not something that is primarily for your own personal benefit.

In addition to our Fives, Alyson, Tera, Becca and I are all actively pursuing our own kinds of personal development. That's just part of being the best we can be. But that's a personal endeavor, not a Fiver endeavor.

Here's an example of what I mean:

Things like regular meditation and spiritual development are for your own personal growth. They're lovely goals, to be sure. And they may very well improve your ability to carry out your Five. But those goals would not be part of your Five themselves because the person who benefits most is you.

Stick to things that directly and obviously impact others first and foremost, whether those others are people, animals, the Earth, or whatever you happen to care about. Don't worry... if you're like us, there will be way more than just five things in your "Impacting Others" column.

NOTE: You must post your Five here to become an Honorary Fiver, even if you've already shared it in the comments of a non-Honorary Fiver Day post. (Having all of the Fives together on these special Honorary Fiver Day posts is the only way we can keep track of our growing Honorary Fivers membership.)


And now, without further ado, I introduce... YOU!

So there you go, dear readers! If you're ready to step up to the plate--Welcome! We're thrilled to have you aboard!--now is your time to shine. Share your Five in the comments below, nab the Honorary Fiver logo for your blog or web site, and go change your world!

Are you ready to Live Your Five?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Alyson-- LIVING MY FIVE

So last week, after pledging my Five I combed through the comments section and was thrilled to see so many of you jumping on board and listing yours too! And it got me thinking about just how much we all stand to learn from each other on this journey. So, if any of you have any good tips, stories, sites, or charities you want to share, please feel free to sing it out in the comments section—I’d love to hear your suggestions!

And wouldn’t you know it, just a few days after my post I received a lovely e-mail from Officer Mark Kearney, the Crime Prevention Officer for the Waynesboro Police Department in Waynesboro, Virginia, as well as the President of the Book ‘Em Foundation, regarding his annual Book ‘Em Literacy event which takes place on Saturday, October 17, 2009—and his request fit right in with my pledge toward Random Acts of Charity, Random Acts of Kindness, and vow to post about What's Going Right in the World.


Book ‘Em is the first book event ever to be held and hosted by a police department, and their goal is to spread it around the world, highlighting the connection between illiteracy/poor reading skills and crime rates. He’s also started about half a dozen literacy programs that he’s working on to spread to law enforcement agencies around the world, and the proceeds raised from the event are returned to various literacy programs, which help reduce crime and hopefully improve society as a whole. He also started a "BE a Reader, Cops in School Reading Program" where police officers go into elementary school classes to read to children.


In addition, he has another program where a publishing company donates books and he goes to all the English classes for the local 7th graders, 8th graders, 9th graders and 10th graders and gives monthly talks. At each talk, he gives a student a free book, and over the past several years has passed out over 20,000 books.


He also gives talks to prisoners on how they can help themselves through reading and education, as well as donating books to the prison libraries. And, as if that wasn’t enough, he also has other programs targeting “at-risk” teens, and he works with young, elementary school children where he provides them with free books and takes groups of them out on nature walks to help promote their love of nature.


So far he’s spread the Book ‘Em event to New Hampshire and South Carolina and has no plans to stop there.

To say I was touched by his efforts is putting it mildly. And while I unfortunately won’t be able to attend the event this year (but hopefully next!), I’m planning to send him a box full of books, and I’ve got my awesome publisher, St. Martin’s Press, on board to do the same.


So, if any of you would also like to donate, you can send books to:


Waynesboro Police Department
Attn: Officer Mark Kearney
250 S. Wayne Ave, Suite 102, Box 3
Waynesboro, VA 22980


So, that's my Five for the week. What about You? Are you ready to Live Your Five?