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11 Picture Books to Teach Children About Giving to Others

Generosity is one of those simple-but-big concepts that manifests itself in many ways — explaining to children that it goes way beyond gifting big material presents can be a challenge, particularly during the holiday season. Children’s books are fantastic resources when talking to kids about the importance of giving. To facilitate conversations with your little ones about being generous, pick up one of these children’s books, which showcase different ways to give the best of ourselves — every day and every way we can.

  • It’s Mine!

    It’s Mine!

    by Leo Lionni

     

    Lionni is the master of picture books with simple, inspiring messages that never feel preachy. And a lesson on sharing is the first one kids need on their way to generosity. In this one, three selfish frogs spend their days arguing with the same refrain: “It’s mine!” Then a bad storm (and a big brown toad) teach them that sharing is indeed more rewarding than trying to lay claim to everything for ourselves.

     

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  • The Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need

    The Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need

    by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain

     

    This charming family of bears is an excellent go-to for teaching kids a life lesson or two. In this book, the Berenstain Bears realize they have too much stuff and decide to donate their unneeded items to those in need. The Bear family feels doubly good donating not just their hand-me-downs, but also their time and energy to help others in the community.

     

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  • Strega Nona’s Harvest

    Strega Nona’s Harvest

    by Tomie dePaola

     

    Strega Nona tries to show Big Anthony the importance of order in gardening, but he has other ideas. He plants his own garden that quickly grows out of control, producing more vegetables than he could possibly eat. Anthony secretly leaves piles of veggies at his grandmother’s doorstep each night and she, in turn, decides to share the bountiful harvest by hosting a feast for the villagers. This book is a great lesson in sharing one’s blessings with others.

     

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  • The Spiffiest Giant in Town

    The Spiffiest Giant in Town

    by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler

     

    Sure, new clothes can be great, especially if you’re a giant who can’t often find a look you like. But in this tale, George the formerly scruffy gets all suited up and becomes the most smartly attired giant. It’s on a walk through town, encountering creatures in need, that he realizes each of his new purchases could really help others. If you’re trying to teach children the reason to donate toys or clothing they no longer need, this is a good place to start. (Note: This book is also sold under the title The Smartest Giant in Town.)

     

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  • What Is Given from the Heart

    What Is Given from the Heart

    by Patricia C. McKissak, illustrated by April Harrison

     

    This final book by the late McKissack is a sweet and poignant story about a poor boy who doesn’t realize how much he has to give. James Otis and his mama have fallen on hard times, but that doesn’t stop Mama from turning her cherished tablecloth into an apron for a family that has lost everything in a fire. What does James Otis have that’s worth giving? It just needs to come from the heart.

     

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  • Harold Loves His Wooly Hat

    Harold Loves His Wooly Hat

    by Vern Kousky

     

    When a crow snatches Harold’s prized woolly hat off his head, he offers worms, berries, and shiny objects in a desperate attempt to win it back. Harold then climbs the crow’s tree intent on taking back his hat and instead discovers others who need it more.

     

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  • The Invisible Boy

    The Invisible Boy

    by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton

     

    Kids are perhaps not caught up on the writing of Simone Weil, but she was spot-on when she said that attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. It’s all too easy for kids to overlook a shy classmate, like the book’s main character Justin. There’s a sweet but not cloying message at hand when Brian extends a hand of friendship and helps Justin shine during a class project.

     

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  • The Gift Inside the Box

    The Gift Inside the Box

    by Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant, illustrated by Diana Schoenbrun

     

    Adam Grant is the author of a bestselling grown-up read on generosity, Give and Take, and now he and his wife, Allison, bring that message to young readers with the clever story of a gift box looking for the perfect recipient. So far, the gift box has only come across greedy would-be recipients, but what the box really needs is a generous person who sees an opportunity to give rather than take.

     

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  • Pass It On

    Pass It On

    by Sophy Henn

     

    In this delightfully upbeat picture book, author-illustrator Sophy Henn shows children that passing along a smile or sharing a moment of joy is often the best gift of all. Perfect for read-aloud sessions, the story will have kids excitedly reciting the refrain of “pass it on!” at every turn of the page — and in real life, too.

     

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  • You Won’t Like This Present as Much as I Do!

    You Won’t Like This Present as Much as I Do!

    by Lauren Child

     

    Who among us hasn’t picked out a gift and then (momentarily, of course!) coveted that gift for ourselves? This scenario can be a toughie for children, including Lola. After much debate, Lola finally found the perfect present for Lotta, but now she wants to keep it! Eventually, Lola discovers the joy of giving — and that when you give a gift to a generous friend, odds are, your friend will share.

     

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  • The Thank You Letter

    The Thank You Letter

    by Jane Cabrera

     

    After Grace receives a bounty of birthday gifts from friends and family, she sits down to write each of them a note of thanks. Soon, Grace discovers that expressing gratitude feels pretty wonderful, so she starts to write thank you letters to everyone in her community. Grace’s gratitude snowballs into a thankful town in this sweet picture book about giving and receiving.

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5 Tips to Save Money

Everyone plans to save money before they get their paychecks, but as soon as that money hits their bank account saving money seems so much harder.  It’s easy to feel like whatever you want, becomes a need; impacting your monthly budgeting in negative ways. A single visit to the store means that you have an opportunity to end up buying things you don’t need. This heavy-spending lifestyle could become a never-ending cycle, and many people struggle to get out of it. Unfortunately, there is no quick answer or short cut. However, a bit of planning and willpower can help you to pursue your goals of saving.

You may have tried saving money before, but failed to stick to your saving plans. It happens. Through this article, you can create a realistic savings plan you can stick to and implement today. Here are some tips that you can use:

Save Money

Track Your Expenses:

Before you get started on your saving plan, you need to track your expenses. Everybody has a set number of expenses that they incur every month. Additionally, other expenses occur on a situational basis. You need to keep a record of both expenses by entering them into your budget sheet or application. By recording your utility bills, groceries, fuel expenses and other bills you will be aware of exactly where your money is going. Continue to do this for an entire month to better understand where your money is going, and then you can decide the areas from which you can cut your expenses. Use the link below to download a free expense tracking worksheet to get you started.

Click to Download Your Free: Expense Tracking Worksheet

Carry a List:

Always take a list along with you whenever you shop for groceries. When you carry a list, you won’t be tempted to pick up random stuff that you may not need at that moment. You will also know if you are going off your grocery list, or forgetting anything.  Bonus Tip: Don’t shop when you are hungery! You will be more likely to buy foods you wouldn’t normally purchase.

Do Comparative Price Checks:

Most importantly, you should always do a comparative price check when you go shopping. If you are unaware of the average prices charged for items, then you may end up paying high prices. It will take up some of your time, but it’s worth it in the long run when you’re saving money. Also, keep an eye out for discount offers and seasonal sales – this can be a great money-saving opportunity.

Stop Relying on Your Credit Card

It’s way too easy to swipe a card even if you don’t have the cash. To avoid overspending on a card, try to stop relying on your credit cards.  Whenever you go out for some shopping, carry only the cash that you will need. That way you will be automatically driven to stay on your budget and ignore the impulse to make unnecessary purchases.

Use a Separate Bank Account for Savings:

The amount you save every month should be kept in a separate bank account. Keeping the savings in a separate account will make it that much harder to accidentally spend it.

 

Summary

The tips in this article can help you save money on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It won’t be as easy as it may sound, and there will be some unforeseen circumstances, but adopting good saving habits can help you find your way out whenever you come across those circumstances. Since it is a conscious activity, you must also measure the progress of your savings to help you see how it’s growing. The more you keep an eye on it, the more you will be able in control of it.

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101 dog facts to delight and fascinate animal lovers

They say dogs are humans’ best buds, but how much do we really know about our furry four-legged friends? From the one breed that doesn’t bark to the real (adorable) reason pups love to curl up in a ball shape, here are 101 fun dog facts that will only make you love pooches even more.

  1. Puppies love games such as hide and seek! Hide and call their name so they can try to find you.

  2. Dogs can learn more than 1,000 words.

  3. Big, happy “helicopter” tail wagging is one sign of a really nice dog.

  4. Upright, stiff, rapid tail movement is not wagging or “friendly” but indicates a dog who’s rather excited and focused.

  5. Puppies grow to half their body weight in the first four to five months!

  6. Puppies then take a year or more to gain the other half of their body weight.

  7. Puppies can sleep 18 to 20 hours a day during that rapid body growth phase.

  8. Dogs sometimes appear to smile — much like humans — with open mouth grinning. This may indicate a relaxed, submissive state.

  9. Tired puppies get cranky just like little kids. If you have a fussy puppy, try nap time.

  10. The fastest breed, the Greyhound, can run up to 44 miles per hour.

  11. Perky-eared dogs hear sounds better than floppy-eared dogs.

  12. There are about 400 million dogs in the world.

  13. The Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed, according to the American Kennel Club.

  14. Dogs have dreams.

  15. The average dog lives 10 to 14 years.

  16. In general, smaller breeds live longer than larger breeds.

  17. The world’s oldest breed, the Saluki, originated in Egypt around 329 B.C.

  18. According to a study shared by Cornell University, dogs were domesticated between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago.

  19. Thomas Jefferson helped enact a dog tax in Virginia, because he was annoyed that dogs were killing his sheep.

  20. Stroking dogs and gazing into their eyes releases the “feel good” hormone oxytocin for both people and dogs.

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How to treat yo’ self and others, too

group of people

“Treat yo’ self” is a mantra everyone can get behind, and research shows it really can improve your mood. A recent study also found when you treat others, too, everyone gets a psychological boost in terms of mood, functioning and overall outlook. Here are a few ideas to treat yourself and others with a busy schedule.

Treat yourself

  • If you have 30 seconds: Sit in a comfortable place, close your eyes and focus on your breath.
  • If you have two minutes: Watch a funny video on YouTube.
  • If you have five minutes: Try these stretches to ease your stress.
  • If you have 15 minutes: Slow down and savor your next snack, cup of coffee or meal.
  • If you have all day: Go all in! Grab some healthy, filling food; pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read; or tackle the assignment that’s been lingering on your to-do list.

Treating yourself doesn’t have to cost a lot or be luxurious. It’s about doing what makes you feel a little better with the time and resources you have.

Treat your community

  • If you have 30 seconds: Hold the door for someone.
  • If you have two minutes: Text a friend wishing them good luck on an exam, an easy shift at work, a fun night—whatever you think they need to hear.
  • If you have five minutes: Take a walk through Norlin Quad and smile at the people you pass. If you see someone you know, ask how they’re doing.
  • If you have 15 minutes: Do your roommates/family a solid by tidying up the kitchen or living room.
  • If you have all day: Check in with the Volunteer Resource Center for ways you can have an impact locally.
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Mind-Blowing Psychology Facts that Seriously Explain Everything

brain firing off neurons, psychology facts

The human psyche is infinitely complex, which means new research comes out every day that helps illuminate why were are the way we are. And while some psychological studies provide us with fairly banal psychology facts (for example, one University of Rochester study confirmed that—get ready for it—people are happier on the weekend), others are truly enlightening.

Herein, we’ve rounded up the psychology facts that explain human nature—and just might shed some light on a few of the patterns you notice in yourself and others. From why you think food tastes better when someone else makes it to why you always see human faces in inanimate objects, these are the mind-blowing psychology facts that explain everything.

If we have a plan B, our plan A is less likely to work.

Every now and then, it hurts to be prepared. In a series of experiments from the University of Pennsylvania, researchers found that when volunteers thought about a backup plan before starting a task, they did worse than those who hadn’t thought about a plan B. What’s more, when they realized they had options, their motivation for succeeding the first time around dropped. The researchers stress that thinking ahead is a good idea, but you might be more successful if you keep those plans vague.

Fear can feel good—if we’re not really in danger.

Not everyone loves scary movies, but for the people who do, there are a few theories as to why—the main one coming down to hormones. When you’re watching a scary movie or walking through a haunted house, you get all the adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine from a fight-or-flight response, but no matter how scared you feel, your brain recognizes that you’re not really in danger—so you get that natural high without the risk.

“Catching” a yawn could help us bond.

Why do you yawn when someone else does, even if you aren’t tired? There are a few theories about why yawning is contagious, but one of the leading ones is that it shows empathy. People who are less likely to show empathy—such as toddlers who haven’t learned it yet or young people with autism—are also less likely to yawn in reaction to someone else’s.

We care more about a single person than about massive tragedies.

In another University of Pennsylvania study, one group learned about a little girl who was starving to death, another learned about millions dying of hunger, and a third learned about both situations. People donated more than twice as much money when hearing about the little girl than when hearing the statistics—and even the group who’d heard her story in the context of the bigger tragedy donated less. Psychologists think that we’re wired to help the person in front of us, but when the problem feels too big, we figure our little part isn’t doing much.

Beginnings and ends are easier to remember than middles.

When people are asked to recall items from a list, they’re most likely to think of things from the very end, or from the very beginning, found one study published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience. The middle gets muddled, which could also play into why you remember your boss wrapping up her presentation, but not so much about the middle.

It takes five positive things to outweigh a single negative thing.

Our brains have something called a “negativity bias” that makes us remember bad news more than good, which is why you quickly forget that your coworker complimented your presentation but keep dwelling on the fact that a kid at the bus stop insulted your shoes. To feel balanced, we need at least a five to one ration of good to bad in our lives.

Food tastes better when someone else makes it.

Ever wonder why that sandwich from the takeout place down the street tastes better than the ones you make at home, even if you use the same ingredients? One study published in the journal Science found that when you make yourself a meal, you’re around it so long that it feels less exciting by the time you actually dig in—and that, subsequently, decreases your enjoyment.

We’d rather know something bad is coming than not know what to expect.

Researchers who published their work in the journal Nature have found that it’s less stressful to know something negative is about to happen (e.g., there’s no chance we’ll get to a meeting on time) than when we don’t know how things will work out (e.g., we might be on time after all). That’s because the part of our brain that predicts consequences—whether good or bad—is most active when it doesn’t know what to expect. If stepping on the gas will help us beat traffic, we’ll go through that stress instead of just accepting that we’ll have to come up with a decent excuse when (not if) we’re late.

We always try to return a favor.

It’s not just good manners—the “rule of reciprocity” suggests that we’re programmed to want to help someone who’s helped us. It probably developed because, to keep society working smoothly, people need to help each other out. Stores (and some frenemies) like to use this against you, offering freebies in hopes that you’ll spend some cash.

When one rule seems too strict, we want to break more.

Psychologists have studied a phenomenon called reactance: When people perceive certain freedoms being taken away, they not only break that rule, but they break even more than they otherwise would have in an effort to regain their freedom. This could be one of the best psychology facts to explain why a teenager who can’t use his phone in class will chew gum while stealthily sending a text.

Our favorite subject is ourselves.

Don’t blame your self-absorbed brother for talking about himself—it’s just the way his brain is wired. The reward centers of our brains light up more when we’re talking about ourselves than when we’re talking about other people, according to a Harvard study.

There’s a reason we want to squeeze cute things.

“It’s so cute, I just was to smoosh it until it pops!” That’s called cuteness aggression, and people who feel it don’t really want to crush that adorable puppy. Research published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience found that when we’re feeling overwhelmed by positive emotions—like we do when looking at an impossibly cute baby animal—a little bit of aggression helps us balance out that high.

Our brains try to make boring speeches more interesting.

University of Glasgow researchers found that in the same way that we hear voices in our heads when we read aloud, our brains also “talk” over boring speeches. If someone is speaking monotonously, we’ll subconsciously make it more vivid in our heads.

Some people enjoy seeing anger in others.

In one University of Michigan study, people with high testosterone remembered information better when it was paired with an angry face than a neutral one or no face, indicating they found the angry glare rewarding. The researchers said it could mean that certain people enjoy making someone else glare at them—as long the flash of anger doesn’t last long enough to be a threat—which could be why that guy in the office won’t let go of that stupid joke at your expense.

We automatically second-guess ourselves when other people disagree.

In a famous 1950s experiment, college students were asked to point out which of three lines was the same length as a fourth. When they heard others (who were in on the experiment) choose an answer that was clearly wrong, the participants followed their lead and gave that same wrong answer.

We aren’t as good at multitasking as we think we are.

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that even when you think you’re doing two things at once, what you’re actually doing is switching quickly between the two tasks—you’re still focusing on one at a time. No wonder it’s so hard to listen to your partner while scrolling through Instagram.

We’re convinced that the future is bright.

Doesn’t matter if you like where you’re at right now or not—most of us have an “optimism bias” that convinces us the future will be better than the present, according to research in Current Biology. We assume we’ll rise up in our careers, never get divorced, raise little angels of children, and live to a ripe old age. Those might not all be realistic for everyone, but there’s no harm in dreaming.

We (unintentionally) believe what we want to believe.

Humans are victim to something called confirmation bias: the tendency to interpret facts in a way that confirms what we already believe. So no matter how many facts you throw at your uncle trying to sway his political opinions, there’s a good chance he isn’t going to budge. It’s one of the psychology facts you’ll just have to accept that you can’t change.

Our brains want us to be lazy.

Evolutionarily speaking, conserving energy is a good thing—when food was scarce, our ancestors still had to be ready for anything. Unfortunately for anyone watching their weight, that still holds true today. A small study published in Current Biology found that when walking on a treadmill, volunteers would automatically adjust their gait to burn fewer calories.

Being lonely is bad for our health.

Researchers found that the fewer friends a person has, the higher levels of the blood-clotting protein fibrinogen. The effect was so strong that having 15 friends instead of 25 was just as bad as smoking.

You’re programmed to love the music you listened to in high school the most.

The music we like gives us a hit of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals, and that’s even stronger when we’re young because our brains are developing. From around age 12 to 22, everything feels more important, so we tend to emphasize those years the most and hang on to those musical memories.

“Researchers have uncovered evidence that suggests our brains bind us to the music we heard as teenagers more tightly than anything we’ll hear as adults—a connection that doesn’t weaken as we age,” writes Mark Joseph Stern for Slate.

Memories are more like pieced-together pictures than accurate snapshots.

Even people with the best memories in the world can have “false memories.” The brain generally remembers the gist of what happens, then fills in the rest—sometimes inaccurately—which explains why you insist your wife was with you at a party six years ago, even though she’s adamant she wasn’t.

There’s a reason that certain color combinations are hard on your eyes.

When you see bright blue and red right next to each other, your brain thinks the red is closer than the blue, making you go practically cross-eyed. Same goes for other combinations, like red and green.

Putting information in bite-sized pieces helps us remember.

Your short-term memory can only hold on to so much information at a time (unless you try one of the simple ways to improve your memory), which is why you use “chunking” to remember long numbers. For instance, if you try to memorize this number: 90655372, you probably naturally thought something like 906-553-72.

You remember things better if you’ve been tested on them.

Sorry, kids! One of the most useful psychology facts is that testing really does work. One study published in the journal Psychological Science found that people are more likely to store information in their long-term memory if they’ve been tested on the information (the more, the better) than if they just study and don’t need to remember it right away.

Too much choice can become paralyzing.

The whole “paradox of choice” theory has been criticized by researchers who say it hasn’t been shown in studies, but there is some evidence that our brains prefer a few options to a ton. When singles at speed-dating events met more people and those people had more diversity in factors like age and occupation, the participants chose fewer potential dates.

When you feel like you’re low on something (like money), you obsess over it.

Psychologists have found that the brain is sensitive to scarcity—the feeling that you’re missing something you need. When farmers have a good cash flow, for instance, they tend to be better planners than when they’re tight for money, one study found. When you’re feeling cash-strapped, you might need more reminders to pay bills or do chores because your mind is too busy to remember.

We keep believing things, even when we know they’re wrong.

Researchers in one Science study fed volunteers false information, then a week later revealed that the facts weren’t actually true. Even though the volunteers knew the truth (now), fMRI scans showed that they still believed the misinformation about half the time. It’s one of the psychology facts to know that could make you smarter.

We look for human faces, even in inanimate objects.

Most of us haven’t seen Jesus in a piece of toast, but we’ve all noticed cartoonish faces seemingly staring back at us from inanimate objects. That’s called pareidolia, and scientists think it comes from the fact that recognizing faces is so important to social life that our brains would rather find one where there isn’t one than miss a real-life face.

We will always, always, always find a problem.

Ever wonder why when one problem resolves, another one takes its place? It’s not that the world is against you—but your brain might be, in a sense. Researchers asked volunteers to pick out threatening-looking people from computer-generated faces. “As we showed people fewer and fewer threatening faces over time, we found that they expanded their definition of ‘threatening’ to include a wider range of faces,” writes researcher David Levari, PhD. “In other words, when they ran out of threatening faces to find, they started calling faces threatening that they used to call harmless.”

We’d rather skew the facts than change our beliefs about people.

Humans hate “cognitive dissonance“: when a fact counters something we believe. That’s why when, we hear that a loved one did something wrong or garbage, we undermine how bad it really was, or we tell ourselves that science exaggerates when a study tells us we really need to move more.

People rise to our high expectations (and don’t rise if we have low ones).

You may have heard of the Pygmalion effect before—basically, we do well when other people think we will, and we don’t do well when people expect us to fail. The idea came from a famous 1960s study in which researchers told teachers that certain students (chosen at random) had high potential based on IQ tests. Those students did indeed go on to be high achievers, thanks to their teachers’ expectations in them.

Social media is psychologically designed to be addictive.

Told yourself you’d just quickly check your Facebook notifications, and 15 minutes later you’re still scrolling? You’re not alone. Part of that has to do with infinite scroll: When you can stay on the site without actually interacting and clicking, your brain doesn’t get that “stop” cue.

We can convince ourselves a boring task was fun if we weren’t rewarded.

Here’s another great example of cognitive dissonance: Volunteers in one Psychology of Learning and Motivation study did a boring task, then were paid either $1 or $20 to convince someone that it was actually pretty interesting. The ones who were paid $20 knew why they’d lied (they got a decent reward) and still thought it was boring, but the ones who’d only gotten a buck actually convinced themselves it really was fun, because their brains didn’t have a good reason to think they’d been lying.

Power makes people care less about others.

You’ve probably heard about the famous Stanford prison experiment. (Refresher: College students were randomly assigned to be either a prisoner or guard in a fake prison, and the “guards” started harassing the “prisoners.” It got so bad that the two-week experiment was canceled after six days.). That’s pretty extreme, but later studies have found that when people feel like they’re in a power position, they become worse at judging a person’s feelings based on their facial expressions, indicating a loss of empathy.

To our ancestors, sugar and fat were good things.

Why, oh why, does cake have to taste better than vegetables? Well, because that’s how we were primed for millions of years. For our ancestors, getting a quick hit of energy from sugar and then storing it as fat, or eating plenty of fat to keep our bodies and brains fueled meant more energy in the long run. But now that sugary, fatty foods are easy (a little too easy) to eat and overeat, our bodies are still primed to store that fat—even though we don’t need it.

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Jackie Chan Charity Work, Events and Causes

Jackie Chan

Action star Jackie Chan’s high-speed activity doesn’t stop when the cameras do. An enthusiastic supporter of hundreds of charities including UNICEFOperation Smile and his own Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation, Chan offers the Look To The Stars writers an incredible challenge just trying to keep on top of his good works!

Chan spends countless hours helping others, and has been known to drop everything to find out how he can be of service after disasters strike. He raises millions of dollars to help those in need. In the first 8 months of 2010, he raised $36 million to help people across the globe, from Haiti to Singapore:

  • Donated 5 million RMB (US $732,000) to help Haiti earthquake victims.
  • Worked with WildAid to support preservation of endangered tigers.
  • Donation of school supplies to “Charming Schools” in China
  • Raised US $5.2 million in donations for the Singapore Thong Chai Medical Institution
  • Helped raise US 29 million for drought relief in China.
  • Visited Qinghai, China to bring food, water, and supplies to victims of the April 14, 6.9 magnitude earthquake
  • Participated in the “Artistes 414 Fundraising Campaign” concert to raise money for victims of the April 14th earthquake in China
  • Charity mission to Tongren in the Guizhou province of China to bring much-needed water and supplies to the drought stricken area.

2009 saw Chan using much of his spare time to visit the remotest parts of China on his Dragon’s Heart Charity Missions.

The Dragon’s Heart Foundation strives to meet the needs of poverty-stricken children and the elderly in the hardest-to-reach areas of the immense country. Chan has made several trips to villages in these remote locations, bringing warm clothing, wheelchairs and school supplies, and helping to build schools.

In February of 2008, the Rush Hour star was on hand to donate 450 down coats to The Salvation Army for victims of the China snowstorms, and since 2004, Jackie’s charity has built 20 Dragon’s Heart Schools, providing education to some of China’s poorest citizens.

“Before, I didn’t like charity. I just wanted to be famous and to earn more money,” says Chan. “My friends taught me and now I like to do charity. Even when I am sleeping, I think how I can help other people. Every human being has to learn how to do charity.”

Jackie founded the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation in 1988 to help young people in a variety of worthy causes, including medical services, aid to victims of natural disaster or illness, scholarships and youth activities.

Jackie is currently a UNICEF and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador.

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How to Decide If a Job Is a Good Fit

Tips for Making Sure a Job Is a Match

Two people with over-sized puzzle pieces putting them together to determine if they are a good fit.
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When you are searching for a job, it’s important to consider more than just the job itself. The job, of course, is important, but it’s a good idea to review more than just the paycheck and job responsibilities. It doesn’t matter how good a job it is if you’re not going to be happy doing it.

Your goal should be to secure a position which fits nicely with who you are as a person and with your lifestyle. When the job is as close to a perfect match as it can be, it will mesh with both your personal and professional aspirations.

How can you tell whether the job is a good enough match to apply for and, even more importantly, how do you know if you should accept an offer for a job? Although there are never any ironclad guarantees, following a thoughtful process can increase your chances of making a sound decision.

Different Factors to Consider

An important first step is to develop a list of what you are looking for in a job. Everyone’s profile for the desired job will differ, but here are some factors to consider as you compile your list:

Job Content

Your satisfaction with a job will be determined in large part by how stimulating the daily tasks are for you. Even the highest paying or most prestigious job can get old quickly if you don’t enjoy the work. Ask yourself if the tasks involved with the job will engage the skills you enjoy utilizing so you will be energized by the work and more likely to succeed in the position. Make a list of your most important skills and circle the ones which you have most enjoyed applying to past jobs, volunteer work, activities, and academic projects. As you read the job description and discuss the position through the interview process, gauge how well the job matches up with the list of skills you prefer using.

Salary

Even what sounds like the best job can fall short if you are unhappy with your level of compensation. Be aware of the level of income and benefits which you need, want and deserve. Research salary averages for your field and location so you know the going rate. Finding out that you are underpaid compared to your peers after you start work can be demoralizing.

The Boss

Think about the ideal manager for you and carefully evaluate the person with whom you would be working in a target position. Consider factors such as whether you prefer a hands-on boss or one who will leave you to work very independently. Ask prospective colleagues to describe the management style of your possible supervisor and look for both verbal and non-verbal cues about how the individual’s personality would blend with yours. Think carefully about accepting if you don’t like the person who would be your manager.

Opportunity for Advancement

If you are interested in moving up within your field, then you will want to determine how and when you could be promoted at your target employer and what those positions might be like. Investigate the average salary increases for promotions.

Location

For many individuals, where the job is located can be of great importance. Proximity to the arts, culture, recreational activities, mountains, the ocean, family, friends, and good schools can all be factors. The length and nature of one’s commute can influence how palatable a job will be as well.

The Mission of the Organization

Make sure that you can embrace the goals of the prospective employer or at the very least are not alienated by the products and services supplied or the way business is conducted. For example, a person whose primary values center on advancing the public goodwill probably not be happy working for a company that produces tobacco products regardless of how well the job and salary fit them otherwise.

Culture of the Organization

For many workers, an important component of how they feel about their job is how well the culture of the employer blends with their values and lifestyle. How formal or informal is the dress code? Does the organization value innovation? Do decisions flow from top management down, or is the process more democratic? Is work/life balance encouraged or are employees expected to work 60 hours per week? Is the organization concerned about environmental issues? Do they encourage employees to perform community service?

Job Security

Factors such as whether an employer is in a growing or declining industry, whether their market share is increasing or decreasing, and the quality of their executive leadership can impact the chances that you might be laid off in the near future.

Prestige

If you are concerned about how others view you, the status of an employer and a particular job might influence your decision. For example, how would feel about working as a manager for Walmart versus for Macy’s?

Analyze the Job and the Employer

Once you have selected your criteria you will have two options for determining how well a job fits your specifications based on your decision-making style. If you are an intuitive type, you might simply review what you know about the position and reflect on how well you feel it meets your needs. Your gut is almost always right, so listen to it if it’s saying take the job – or don’t take the job.

If you are more analytically or quantitatively oriented, you can assign a weight to each factor in your criteria on a scale of 10 based on how important that element is to you. Then rate on a scale of 10 how much of each factor the job you are considering offers you.

For example, if job content has importance of 10 to you and a particular job offers a level of 8 in job content, then you would assign a total of 80 points for that factor. If the salary wasn’t as important – 8 out of 10 for example, but the compensation for the job is at a level of 6, then you would have 48 points for salary.

You can then add up the score for each of your factors and derive a total score. If you think that score is close enough to the maximum possible score, and the job feels right to you, then it is probably a good fit.

In either case, you will want to identify deal breakers or factors which would make any position inappropriate. For example, the commute might be too far, the salary is too low, the boss isn’t someone you would want to work for, or the hours wouldn’t fit in with your family responsibilities.

Here are 10 reasons why it may make good sense to turn down a job offer.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No (Thank You)

I once turned down a job after repeated offers of more money, because the money wasn’t enough to overcome what I saw as negatives when evaluating the job. I didn’t want to work in the location where the job was or in the work environment that was established by the company. My gut told me “no,” and it was worth listening to. I got an offer for a better job shortly after I declined the one which wasn’t a good fit.

If you have any hesitation about saying yes, or if the positives don’t outweigh the negatives, think twice before applying. Definitely think twice before accepting a job offer. It’s much harder to leave a job that isn’t working out than it is to turn it down.

When to Say No

You don’t have to wait until you’re offered a job to turn it down. If you have reconsidered after you have applied, it’s acceptable to withdraw from consideration for the job. You can do that at any point in the hiring process. In fact, even though you may have been a top candidate, the employer will be glad you withdrew before they invested more time and energy in your candidacy. Hiring managers are also looking for the best candidate fit.

If you already have an offer that you’ve decided not to accept, learn how to politely decline it.

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Biggest Concerts of All Time

biggest concerts

1. Copacabana New Year’s Eve Concert 1994/1995

biggest concert of all time

Attended by ~ 3.54 million people

Location: Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: December 31, 1994 – January 1, 1995
Artist: Rod Stewart

 

The beach in Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana district is likely the most famous beach in the world. Various songs and stories were written about the 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long beach and its promenade. Copacabana beach also proved itself to be an excellent concert location. British rock singer Rod Stewart proved that better than anyone else on New Year’s Eve 1994/1995. His free New Year’s Eve concert attracted a bit more than 3.5 million people that year, making it the biggest concert of all time.


2. 850th Anniversary of Moscow Concert

moscow concert

Attended by ~ 3.5 million people

Location: Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia
Date: September 6, 1997
Artist: Jean-Michel Jarre

 

Not only is Moscow one of the largest cities in the world, it’s also quite old. In 1997, the city celebrated its 850th anniversary. For this occasion, the city organized week long festivities. The absolute highlight then came on September 6, 1997 when French composer and performance artist gave his concert on the huge campus of Moscow State University. Around 3.5 million Moscovites came to see the French artist on stage. He was the only non-Russian artist invited for the city birthday festivities, but ended up being the by far most watched artist during the entire celebration week.


3. Copacabana New Year’s Eve Concert 1993/1994

copacabana new year's eve concert

Attended by ~ 3.0 million people

Location: Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: December 31, 1993 – January 1, 1994
Artist: Jorge Ben Jor

 

Before Rod Stewart broke it one year later in the exact same place for the exact same occasion, it was Brazilian singer Jorge Ben Jor who first broke the 3 million mark for attendance, setting the record for the highest-attended concert at the time. Ben Jor performed his free concert on New Year’s Eve 1993/1994 and 3 million Brazilians (and others) came to see him at Copacabana Beach.

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Marketing Strategy

marketing strategy


  • Marketing Strategy

Supporting you to develop a strong marketing strategy

Annual planning and developing a marketing strategy may or may not be your normal procedure. However, day-to-day issues such as dealing with your customers or clients, running a business etc, can distract from assessing business opportunities and keeping your marketing activity and marketing strategy focused. Working with clients, Win Marketing will conduct a full marketing review to understand where your business is now and your corporate objectives. From this we will develop a strategic marketing plan to help provide the direction your business may need.

What are the benefits of having a marketing strategy?

swot

An effective, implemented marketing strategy helps:

  • Raise market awareness and keep interest
  • Create desire
  • Stimulate enquiries and repeat orders
  • Grow market share
  • Increase turnover and profit
  • Maintain good relationship and establish reputations
  • Retention and recruitment of staff

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy is about formulating your company’s marketing direction. A marketing strategy will ask a number of business questions seeking to provide answers covering:

  • Where is the business now? – Who are your customers and your competitors?
  • Where does the business need to be? – What are your corporate objectives?
  • How can the business get there? – What implementation strategies and tactics should be implemented across all aspects of marketing to help you meet your objectives?
  • What monitoring procedures need to be in place to keep the plan on track? – How will you ensure that the strategy is being implemented correctly?

How can Win Marketing help you to develop your marketing strategy?

By working in partnership with clients we can conduct a comprehensive marketing audit to assess the current situation, an impartial view can often highlight issues that management are unaware of. Having completed a marketing audit, we can then develop our recommendations to help you meet your business objectives. We can develop a marketing plan, outlining the activities, timescales and recommended budgets to help you meet your objectives. You can then implement the marketing plan yourself or work with Win Marketing who can use the team’s specialist skills to help with the implementation.

Win Marketing offers a unique service to help in the strategic marketing direction of our clients. This includes:

  • Monthly support in a marketing director role capacity – supporting you to keep your business on track
  • Impartial marketing audit – helping you to see where your company is now from a market perspective
  • Developing a marketing plan – providing you with a route to follow and meet your business objectives.
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7 Tips For Spending Money Wisely

7 Tips For Spending Money Wisely

For some people, financial struggles are due to not bringing in enough money. For many others, though, the problem comes from not spending money wisely or from spending more money than they make.

According to Time, nearly 73% of Americans die in debt.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 7 ways that you can start better spending the money you earn in order to help you reach your financial goals.

 

Get on Track to Start Investing in 14 Days

Participate in my 14-Day Financially Fit Challenge

 

 

1.  Track Your Finances

Before you can start figuring out how to spend money more wisely, you first need to understand where your money is going. Make a budget and track both your income and your expenses. Once you know where your money is going, you can start looking for opportunities where it could be better spent.

2. Think About the Long-Term Benefits and Drawbacks of Purchases

Far too many purchases are impulse decisions. While this is fine when it’s a $1 chocolate bar at the supermarket, it becomes a problem for larger purchases. Before you buy something, think about how it will affect you in the future.

How long is it going to last? Is it going to put you in debt? Is the value you will get out of it over its lifetime worth the cost?

These are questions you can use to determine if something is really worth buying.