Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's been too long!

Hi everyone,

I can't believe it's been nearly ten days since my last post! Things have been very busy this week beginning with a quick stop in NYC on Monday for Pamela Ptak's (of Ptak Couture) fashion show, meetings and more meetings for school on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Back to School night on Thursday. Friday, we had my mother-in-law and her boyfriend over for dinner (which was just lovely--what a nice time!) and Saturday was complete with my friend Sarah's bridal shower, a quick stop at the Celtic Classic, and a viewing of the Penn State game at Mark and Sarah's house. Today Jimmy watched the Eagles while I rested and did some schoolwork.

Life isn't slowing down over this next month, either! This Friday, I am helping Susie launch her Pampered Chef business with a Pampered Chef fundraising show to benefit Operation Smile at my home at 5 PM. I know I've been harassing a lot of you to join us Friday night, but even if you can't, you can still buy your favorite products and support Operation Smile by just visiting the Pampered Chef link and entering my name as the host when you checkout.

For the following weekend, we have Penn State v. Eastern Illinois tickets; the weekend after that, my five-year reunion at Lehigh University. I am very excited for this event because the Class of 2004 is dedicating the new garden area at the University Center as our class gift, and many of us will get a chance to see our engraved bricks that indicate our contribution to the garden. We have one free weekend after that followed by Halloween, then Mark and Sarah's wedding on November 7th! Before we know it, we'll be into the holidays and welcoming 2010! Yikes!

Through it all, my new mantra: How will you give something beautiful to the world? As silly as this sounds, I saw this sentiment on a notepad for sale at Starbucks (of course I bought it) and am now reflecting and attempting to act on it daily. My very sincere hope: That you will, too!

Dream big,

Visit my OneSmile page to donate to Operation Smile now!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flyers, Letters, & Forms

Sounds so bureaucratic, eh?

Actually, it's not that bad. I just want everyone to know I've completed a sponsorship/donation request letter and sponsorship/donation procurement form in case anyone knows of any generous businesses willing to sponsor a hole or donate a raffle prize. Additionally, I also have two flyers that people can post in random places where they know prospective golfers may frequent.

If you think you can help in any way, please e-mail me at so I can send you these materials! :)

Dream big,

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Hi everyone!

I haven't posted in a while and that is because I am working feverishly (literally--the temp is 100.6 right now) to lay more groundwork for the tournament. I've also gotten back into the full swing of things with school, which makes juggling the schedule a little tougher.

Nonetheless, I am making progress and felt I'd keep everyone updated by posting my "done" list, as well what I've yet to-do.

  1. Submitted proposal to Dick's Sporting Goods for raffle grand prize of a Diablo Driver, as well as six gift cards for special contest winners--awaiting response
  2. Submitted proposal to Golf Galaxy for raffle prize of three lessons, as well as six gift cards for special contest winners (see how I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket!)--awaiting response
  3. Submitted inquiry to Aardvark Sports Shop, Schuylkill Valley Sports, and Sports Authority regarding proposal process for donations/sponsorships--awaiting response
  4. Secured raffle prizes from GolfTEC, Sunsations Tanning Salon & Boutique, SaraLiz Photography, Kuhnsville Car Wash, Body Elite Personal Training, and Center Valley Club
  5. Submitted volunteer event agreement to Operation Smile headquarters, allowing permission to use logo on promotional materials--approved!

  1. Make up in-kind donation receipts for donors
  2. Create flyers and post in Golf Galaxy, GolfTEC, Dick's, Center Valley Club, Aardvark, Sports Authority, Schuykill Valley, Sunsations, Kuhnsville Car Wash, & Body Elite.
  3. Make up a sponsorship request letter and submit to Emeril's Chophouse & Shula's Steakhouse.
  4. Create a registration form.
  5. Obtain promotional materials for sponsor bags, once donations are secured
  6. Gather Operation Smile info for sponsor bags, including before/after patient stories, fact sheet, and interest form for prospective volunteers for an Operation Smile Lehigh Valley chapter.
So as you can see, things are moving forward pretty steadily. I've also been blessed with some wonderful volunteers who will help me with registration and collection for pot of gold, mulligans, and raffles the day of the tournament. Nonetheless, if you don't necessarily want to golf but still would enjoy a nice day out, feel free to contact me--I will find something for you to do! :)

Click here to visit my OneSmile page and donate now!

Dream big,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Charging forth...

How fitting to post on Patriot Day, the day set aside to remember the lives lost amidst the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the compassionate souls who elicited what was left of their strength to help those in need, and the brave serviceman who continue to fight for our freedom today.

While I am deeply saddened by the lives changed forever as a result of the events of this day eight years ago, I can't help but look to the present day and embrace how we've grown together as a nation and recalled the importance of helping one another through humanitarian efforts around the world. With that in mind, we charge forth...and so despite my melancholy, I couldn't have asked for a better day to meet with Lauri Catena, National Chapters Director of Operation Smile.

Lauri is just a sparkling woman who has inspired me further (and I didn't think it was possible) in my efforts to support Operation Smile. In short, I just e-mailed my principal about starting a student club at the school where I teach, then made my first contact for a motorcycle benefit ride. I completed four proposals for prize donations for the golf tournament today, and learned what it will take to accompany a student team member on a mission trip--my ultimate goal. Finally, we discussed the prospect of a benefit trunk show for a fashion designer with which Lauri is acquainted (details might be announced VERY soon regarding this!) and brainstormed for a Pennsylvania Ambassador Board and Lehigh Valley chapter of Operation Smile.

The take-home message is this--among the abundant blessings I count daily, today I especially treasure the doors which have opened before me through just a small sincere effort. The resulting challenge--to poise myself for the great journeys which lay ahead.

Dream big,

Visit my OneSmile page to donate now!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

World Journey of Smiles

Hi folks! I found a great video on the Operation Smile website about what I believe is their largest mission trip to date, the World Journey of Smiles. It is just under nine minutes long and will give you a small glimpse into what the organization is all about.

If you're feeling inspired to get involved, please visit my OneSmile page and sign my guestbook or make a donation. You can also contact me at if you want more information on how you can assist in my efforts, including the capstone Charity Golf Tournament, to be held April 17, 2010 at Center Valley Club.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Raffle Prize Announcement AND Operation Smile LEHIGH VALLEY news!

Hey folks!

Today has been VERY exciting, as I received my first prize donation from the Allentown location of GolfTEC. As a part of the raffle contest at the Operation Smile Golf Tournament, GolfTEC has donated a gift certificate for a swing evaluation session, a $165 value. I'm thinking raffle tickets will probably go for one for $3 and two for $5. Given that I obtain other prizes similar in value, this is really quite a deal when you think about it!

Additionally, I completed a donation proposal to Golf Galaxy for gift certificates which would be used as special contest prizes, and I am awaiting the verdict there. I'd like to use these certificates to offer men's and women's prizes for longest drive, straightest drive, and closest to the pin.

Finally, the SUPER folks at have posted my event and gave me the great idea to offer registered foursomes the opportunity to tee off closer to the pin at a long par 5 for a mere $20 per group. What a great way to automatically improve your group's score AND benefit a great cause!

NOW--drumroll please--the MOST exciting news of the day is definitely that the wonderful Lauri, National Chapters Director for Operation Smile, caught wind of my efforts with the charity golf tournament and we've set a date to discuss establishing a Lehigh Valley chapter of the organization AND to discuss the possibility of joining the Ambassador Board for Operation Smile! HOW COOL IS THAT?! I am really quite thrilled at this opportunity and couldn't feel more blessed at the doors which have opened through a very simple, sincere effort to honor a friend (see 8/21 posts).

I would, nonetheless, be remiss if I did not honor the aforementioned original goal to raise $500 through my OneSmile page, ...for the Love of Liam. Therefore, I am making a call to anyone who reads this to please consider even just a $5 donation to help me reach this goal, which would provide two cleft lip/palate surgeries AND the specially designed bottles necessary to help newborns and infants feed more effectively pre-surgery. Your donation can be made anonymously, is of course tax-deductible, and would, from the bottom of my heart, mean a great deal to me. Even more importantly, your support would mean the world to the children it benefits, so please consider changing a life today...

Dream big,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SAVE THE DATE! Operation Smile Golf Tourney Date & Location Announced!

Today I decided to book Center Valley Club for the charity golf tournament to benefit Operation Smile. Center Valley Club is an absolutely gorgeous, upscale public course located off of Center Valley Parkway, across from the Promenade Shops. The tournament will be held Saturday, April 17th, 2010. I've tentatively set the entry fee for $90 to include bag attendants, practice balls, discounts in the pro shop, and a buffet of burgers, pulled pork BBQ, mixed veggies, macaroni and fruit salads, coleslaw, and beverages at the turn and at the buffet. My goal is to register 25 foursomes so if you know anyone who enjoys golf, please tell them they'd be supporting a great cause by entering this tournament!

Look forward to more updates regarding prizes, special contests, and other news as it becomes available! In the meantime, please e-mail me at if you are interested in registering.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mobilization Efforts!

I've spent the past week considering my main platform issue and have chosen that raising awareness and funds for Operation Smile would be the most fulfilling for me given how cleft lip and palate touches my life personally (see 8/21 posts).

So far, I've initiated some planning for a charity golf tournament in April 2010, linked Operation Smile to my Facebook profile (subsequently inviting 300 friends to join the cause and establishing an additional $500 pledge in addition to my original OneSmile page's honorary fund), and have spoken with my school's FBLA advisor about pitching Operation Smile to her members as the beneficiary for our staff's annual Casual for a Cause fund. I've also very thankfully been put in touch with Dena Liston, an executive at Operation Smile headquarters, and she is having the donor relations team send me a grassroots organizing kit. I have many other ideas, as well, and am looking to partner with local attractions like The Promenade Shops in order to organize events like benefit shopping.

Finally, I've also purchased the feature film Smile, a story based on a student volunteer's experience on a medical mission, as well as the children's book The Smile That Went Around the World, which shares the message of a simple smile's impact in making someone's day. I hope to use these two items to help raise awareness during the events I'm planning, as well as to provide more information for potential partners in organizing these events. More details on where to purchase these items can be found here.

If anyone has any additional ideas for mobilizing my efforts or wishes to partner with me in organizing an event, please feel free to contact me...I would love to hear from you!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Planned Parenthood & Women's Reproductive Health Care Reform

Today I was sent an appeal via Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates to write a letter to the editor on Women's Reproductive Health Care Reform. In case it does not get published (I sent it to The Morning Call and The Express Times, so keep your eyes peeled), I am reprinting it here.

Subject: Playing the Gender Card in Health Care Reform

To the Editor:

In the debate about health care reform, I am disappointed that while (albeit legitimate) discussion has centered around costs and government-run systems, little has focused on women's reproductive health care, an ambiguous term that arouses thoughts of mandated abortion coverage in right-wing minds.

Therefore, let me make myself clear. Reproductive health care does not just include abortion, and doesn't necessarily mandate abortion. Reproductive health care means preventive care including breast and cervical exams; STD testing and prevention; and access to contraception. While beliefs about contraception vary, ACCESS does not mandate its use--it just means that if one DOES choose to use it or any of the other aforementioned PREVENTIVE health care options, she will not have to pay out-of-pocket.

It is sad that our country allows coverage of Viagra over routine, life-saving women's health care, a statement proven in part by the fact that women pay 68% more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men. It is also sad that in a nation that denounces teen pregnancy, health care reform discussions threaten to eliminate preventive coverages provided by Planned Parenthood, the only option for some teens to prevent pregnancy. I know that when I reached childbearing age and knew I needed preventive care, Planned Parenthood was my only option for obtaining it. I am confident, based on my own experience, that if women's reproductive health care is not addressed further in health care reform, consequences would be devastating for millions of women across the nation.


Mrs. Kate A. Mack
Allentown, PA

To get involved in this or any other issues surrounding women's reproductive health, please consider joining the Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates Action Network.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

EmPoWeReD Birth

Today's post centers around the newly formed organization EmPoWeReD Birth. Please visit their Facebook fan page for more information.

I know I haven't had children yet and so am considered ignorant to the ins and outs of the process, but I do think it's important to make sure women are educated about their options and thereby don't get coerced into unnecessary interventions during a hospital labor and delivery.

My story with this organization goes back to when I had a reflexology appointment with a lovely classmate of mine from high school named Kaitlynn. We spent time catching up on our lives and she told me about her children and how she had two all-natural homebirths. I was astonished, floored, and immediately she became my new hero. Prior to speaking with her, I knew of nothing other than the lithotomy (on the back) position type of birth in a hospital, as well as a bit about waterbirth just because another acquaintance of mine sent photos of her (very new) newborn being held inside the birthing tub. Regardless, I asked Kaitlynn a few questions and she mentioned how she had a midwife, a doula, and a birthing tub and stool. Still wide-eyed at everything but the prospect of a doula (which I've known for a while I wanted to consider using when the time came), I, as usual, felt compelled to learn more.

I spent three solid days learning about, essentially, the lack of access to an in-hospital, midwife-attended birth in the Lehigh Valley. I also learned that there are no birth centers in the area, and that in most cases, you can seek the services of a midwife through a regular OB office and he or she can provide your prenatal care and help you develop your birth plan, BUT, he or she also takes on-calls just like the docs within the practice and so might not be there to deliver your baby. Water birth, as well, is not a readily available option in a hospital unless you see a prenatal provider outside of the Lehigh Valley, of which the one I found inconveniently doesn't take my insurance. Finally, the only midwife in the area who attends homebirths is in such high demand that she isn't accepting first-time moms as new clients.

So why, you may ask, do I even care so much as long as mom-to-be ends up with a healthy baby? After questioning Kaitlynn even further in the days that followed my reflexology appointment, she recommended the documentary The Business of Being Born. I downloaded it on iTunes and watched it, had my husband sit through the most poignant parts, and discussed its contents in depth. I told him about my research and the lack of access to all of these options, and while we have an idea of the type of birth we want when the time comes, we're still not sure how we're going to make that happen.

As a result, I think the advocacy work of EmPoWeReD Birth is vital toward enabling birthing options in the Lehigh Valley. I hope you, too, will consider becoming a fan of their page on Facebook and inquiring about how you may help.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Please visit the FAQ's located at the Operation Smile page in order to learn more about the condition of cleft lip and palate.

A New Journey

Two days back I sent an e-mail to 100 friends and acquaint- ances regarding my new-found interest in Operation Smile, a cause which organizes volunteers who travel around the world on mission trips to repair the smiles of infants and children born with cleft lips and palates. The cause touches me personally, as my dear friend Susie's baby was born with cleft lip and palate, and it is a journey I've chosen to travel along with her as one of her closest friends, ever since she discovered at her 20-week sonogram that little Liam would be born with this condition. Long story/short, I've been on the receiving end of phone calls from Susie while her weeks-old baby was being admitted to the hospital and treated like a pin cushion, witnessed him turn bright red/bordering on blue due to accidental choking while feeding, and learned the ins and outs of caring for an infant with cleft lip and palate...something I never imagined encountering in my life.The e-mail itself announced the honorary fund I'd established in Liam's name to support the efforts of Operation Smile and explained how contributions funded the mission trips that allow volunteers to perform $240, hour-long surgeries that change children's lives forever. In case you still aren't convinced why I've been so moved by this cause, think to yourself if you looked in the mirror and your smile were deformed. For cleft lip and palate children, portions of their lips are missing. If you've had orthodontic work in the past or are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment, think of how painful it is and how you might have been made fun of by classmates in school. For cleft lip and palate children, classmates make fun of them to the point that grade-school aged children refuse to leave their homes. At the very least, take your tongue and touch the roof of your mouth right now. Cleft lip and palate children don't even have a roof of their mouth (as we know it) to touch with their tongues, and no protective barrier between their nasal passages and throat. If any of these concepts affect you in the least, then you have a small understanding of why I feel Operation Smile's work is so important.

Unfortunately, the very first e-mail I received in response to the appeal was an extremely negative criticism toward me from a family member I will not name, regarding family matters I will not detail here. After a bout of tears at the callousness of the message, I regrouped and decided that this would not deter me from my efforts. In fact, merely minutes later, another angelic friend of mine messaged me right away to let me know she was the first to contribute...

I thank her sincerely, from the bottom of my heart--and very truly hope you will join her.

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