Monday, October 3, 2011

Important Message From LifeLines

Well, technology is our friend...until it isn't.  I've received numerous emails explaining that either comments cannot be made or that my site isn't allowing subscribers.  Many apologies for this.

Over the past few months I've been doing a fair amount of research, hoping I could fix the difficulties, and I've come to the conclusion that blogspot is just troublesome by nature.

So, now I am researching changing LifeLines over to another hosting site.  In the interim, I won't be posting so I appreciate your patience and I hope to have LifeLines up and running again before too long.

See you soon!

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Emerson

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, September 9, 2011

How Do We Build An Online Community?

I’ve been thinking about what it takes to build an online community.  What I know so far is this:  it takes a lot of time and effort!  On the surface, it sounds easy.  However, it is far more than getting a certain number of likes on a Facebook page, or a few comments on a blog.

When my mother died, my community stepped forward and provided food, love, support and companionship.  When we realized our fifth lovely and sweet grand daughter was also a Down Syndrome baby, my community was there again expressing their love, support and participating in our excitement and joy. 

On the giving side of community, I have provided meals, sat in silence with someone who had lost a loved one, wrote an encouraging note, ran errands for someone who was ill.

I realize that the time to build community is before we need it and it requires the giving of self.  The degree to which we give is so often directly related to the degree of receiving.   Giving of self is not always easy.  We might feel vulnerable, or we might think that our giving isn’t good enough or important enough.  The fact is, we all have value; we all matter; we all have experiences that can be of benefit to others.

My desire to create an online community of people encouraging and supporting each other is deep seated.  I truly feel called to do this.  So I am reaching out to ask you what do you think it takes to build community?  What are your thoughts about the best way to create an online community?

I appreciate any and all comments.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What Is Success?

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." 
W. Churchill.

What is your definition of success?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Mexican Community

Here is a wonderful couple, Rick and Barbara Welland, who are building an ecologically and socially sustainable community near San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.

If you'd like to learn more, they can be reached at or

I love their vision and enthusiasm.  Enjoy reading about them here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Caring For Our Aging Parents

Adult children taking care of aging parents is a road that many of us have already traveled. Some have been on the road for a while, others are just beginning to step into the role of caregiver, and some are realizing that it’s a road they will travel in the future.  Wherever we find ourselves on this time-trodden road, I hope the following LifeLines will be an encouragement.

Here is Linda’s story:

One of my most precious memories is reading to my mom at her bedside during the final year of her life. As her Alzheimer's disease progressed, she lost the abilities to read and, ultimately, to talk. One of the constant joys throughout her life was reading, so when I visited her in the evenings after dinner I would read aloud to her. In fact, I'd read children's books to her -- books I loved as a child or favorite ones I read to my son when he was little -- taking time to share both the words and illustrations with Mom. I have to say, I'm not sure she understood what the words meant, but her eyes would look carefully over the images and the text, sometimes she'd sweep her hand gently across the pages, and often smile at me with a twinkle in her eye. I truly believe this simple but meaningful activity we shared added happiness to her life at that moment, even if she didn't remember our reading time together minutes after we were done. During those special moments, we were deeply engaged in a shared activity that created positive emotions for both of us.

Although my father died in 2005 and my mom in 2009, I am still affected from time to time by this common care giving challenge. It's very hard to stop "should-ing" all over myself. I look back and wish I had made different care giving decisions in certain situations, thinking it may have made things better for my parents in their later years. "What if this? What if that?" It's easy to give ourselves guilt -- caregivers are
experts at doing that! What we're not very good at is remembering that we made the best decisions we could at the time, based on the knowledge we had then. That's the mantra I repeat to myself when the feelings of doubt, guilt and regret arise. A colleague recently remarked, "Anyone who is a family caregiver is an 'everyday hero'," and I have
to agree 100%! If you are actively, hands-on caring for your parents or spouse, your loving commitment should be honored and celebrated. Caregivers need to stop berating themselves with the "should have's" and believe in the choices they make.

Since we lived 3,000 miles apart, initially I was a long-distance sounding board and support to my dad after my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He was her primary caregiver for approximately three years until they moved to my town, when I then took on the role of primary caregiver for both of them. Watching your once independent, active, healthy and strong parents decline is extremely difficult, but I was honored to be by their side and assist them in every way I could. It was a way of giving back (at least in part) for the sacrifices my parents must have made while raising me.

As hard and heartbreaking as it was at times, I wouldn't change the special times we had together for anything! There are incredible joys you can reap from your care giving journey.

My friend, Linda Abbit, is a freelance writer and marketing consultant for the eldercare industry and other businesses that want to improve their online presence. You can read more and/or contact Linda at

This is my story:

 “One mother can take care of seven children, but seven children can’t take care of one mother”.  This was my Mom’s response when I and two of my sisters began the conversation with her that it might be time to consider getting more help for her than we were able to offer. 

Making the decision to admit my Mom into a skilled nursing facility was very difficult.  At this point she had been living with my husband and me for a few years.  Mom was semi-ambulatory, she could walk a few steps with her walker as long as one of us was following close behind, she needed assistance bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom, could not change her colostomy bag (this would be an entire post by itself), she could, however, feed herself and she still, for the most part, had not lost her sense of humor.

What precipitated the decision to move her to a nursing facility was that she kept falling and she would lie in contorted positions until one of us came home.  Medicaid paid for an eight-hour-a-day caregiver, so some one was with her while we were at work.  It was the time between when the caregiver went home and we arrived home from work that became tricky.  At the time, my husband and I had jobs where we often worked more than the usual eight hours.  Invariably, it was during this in-between time that Mom would need to go to the bathroom, somehow manage to get herself stuck between the toilet and the tub and she would have left her pager on her nightstand (this was before cell phones).  And there she would stay, contorted and twisted until one of us came home.  She kept hitting her head on the tile floor and she began to suffer a series of mild strokes.  As she became less ambulatory, we realized she could not be left alone. 

Taking care of her was an absolute joy and an absolute challenge!  Along with a sarcastic sense of humor, my Mom was extremely stubborn (I, of course, am nothing like her).  Were there times when I was completely frustrated and wanted nothing more than to walk out the door?  Yes.  Were there times when I was exhausted from work and did not want to come home to babysit and take care of my mother?  Yes.  Did I not want my mother to take care of me?  Absolutely.  Did I not then feel guilty?  Oh my, big yes to that one.

And yet, I would not have traded a moment of it.  The special, frustrating, pull-my-hair-out, just me and her time was magical.  I guess it’s not too unlike when you give birth:  however painful it might be, once look at your newborn you know it was worth it.

Before she descended into dementia, we were able to heal past hurts.  Admittedly, the healing was not as complete as I would have liked, but it was more than would have happened if I had not stepped up to take care of her.  I am so grateful for the time we had together.

 My Mom died 12 years ago and I miss her every  single day.

I invite you to share your experience of either caring for your parents or your feelings about the anticipation.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Building Community Through Dance

Last month, my husband and I took a road trip to visit my sister in Montana.  Luckily for us, the Arlee Pow Wow was in full swing.  If you've never attended a pow wow, I heartily recommended it.  The beauty and uniqueness of the costumes are a joy to see;  the deep drumming and Indian singing are deeply moving; and the sense of community is heartwarming.

I asked a few of the dancers why they dance and what dancing meant to them.  None of them wanted to be directly quoted or to have their picture associated with their quotes - I did, however, receive permission to share some of their thoughts.

Interestingly, they all voiced similar reasons:  " I dance for our tribe", "I dance because I am proud of my heritage", I dance to stay close to my relatives who have passed on".  Once again, I was reminded that community can be created in a variety of ways.  In part, the Arlee Pow Wow is about creating community through dance.

Below are some of the photos we took, be sure to double click the photo for a larger version.  For more photos and for a more detailed account of our trip, click here.

Prior to the start of the pow wow, we saw many scenes like this:  people helping each other get ready for the dance.
The costumes are incredibly colorful and many of them have shells and bells so the rhythmic dancing creates a hypnotic sound.
The women's costumes are equally beautiful.
Children of all ages participate - notice the baby in the mother's arms.  I was told that young babies are brought to pow wows almost from the time they are born so that the sound of the drumming can be imprinted as early as possible.
These little girls were having so much fun.
All ages are represented in the dancing.
Since my sister and I are part Native American Indian - Navajo - we joined in the All Tribes Dance and we were delighted to be a part of this community for an afternoon.


How do you like to create community?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Emerson Speaks

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, July 18, 2011

Your Were Born For A TIme Such As This

The following is taken from James O'Dea's website.  In the event you are not familiar with him, he is the former President and on the Extended Faculty of the Noetic Sciences and the former Director of Amnesty International.

I was most disappointed to have missed him when he was in Boise earlier this year. Currently he is known for his social healing and peacemaking.  You can read the entire article here.

Here is a portion of his article: 

You were born for such a time as this.

I ask you to look at your world. In fact, I beseech you not to live in denial. Be courageous and face this moment in time consciously and with all the discernment and clarity within your power. With intellect, with heart, with spiritual intelligence, decipher the hour, the moment in evolutionary time that calls you to be a witness. Indeed you are called. Whether you are young or old. Otherwise you wouldn't be here now in this defining epoch of Earth's story and of the human story, itself.

You were born for such a time as this.

I know that you must feel challenged, because we are all challenged. The air we breathe is challenged, the oceans are challenged, the great forests, the birds, the fish, the frogs, the butterflies, and thousands of species of Earth's great masterpiece of life are challenged in every way. The scale of humanity's challenges can seem overwhelming. As I ask you not to live in denial, I also ask you not to become disillusioned, to throw your hands up in despair or to become numbed. For we know that this is the time for an awakened consciousness, for alertness, for a heightened focus and clarity about the nature of our challenges.

An awakened consciousness is fundamentally different than one which is distracted, anxiety-ridden, or preoccupied with blame. An awakened consciousness is radically open to transformation at all levels, from you the individual to the collective. We know that transformation is also more than mental formulas and good ideas. It touches something very deep, something so essential that it affects both heart and mind. Of course there is no single type of transformation, no singular modality where one recipe works for all, nor is it linear-sequential. Transformation... has its own mystery. It can bring a subtle shift which reveals an entirely new perspective, or it can bring a jolt or flash of insight which has the power to reorganize our lives, or it can provide the impetus for a great leap of faith. More than anything, transformation requires courage, the courage to face the truth that your own being has great depth.

In honoring uniqueness and diversity...we have begun to glimpse as never before a world that works for all.  It takes courage to heal. It takes courage to speak on behalf of the whole, to be a voice, a full expression for the Earth and for its diverse species, for all human life, for a consciousness that knows that peace is our inheritance and that our responsibility is to reveal our interdependence. It takes courage for science and spirituality to dialogue and illuminate new possibilities for humankind. It takes courage to reach towards the manifestation of a vision that transforms enemies into allies and disillusionment into hope.

But you were born for such a time as this.

I particularly liked this article because he is encouraging us to step up and be engaged with our planet and in a similar vein, I am too.  I truly believe that it is only by working together that we will ultimately succeed.  My vision of creating a global community of people sharing their stories and offering encouragement and support to each other seems like a natural progression to James O'Dea's ideas.

As always, I look forward to your comments.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Diabetes - The Silent Killer

Do you, or anyone you know have diabetes?  The statistics are astounding:  8.3% of the American population has diabetes - that's 25.8 million people! And many of these are children.  
What is even more astounding is that in most cases, it is due to diet.  Diet apparently is one of the strongest factors in developing diabetes. 
Here, in his own words, is Chuck Malloy's story of how he found out he has diabetes and how he is doing today:
There is good reason why diabetes often is referred to as “the silent killer.”
 In its early form, especially, diabetes is not something that people from the outside can see or touch. For me, I didn’t detect diabetes until years after I had it.
 Then on one cold and windy March day in 2000, it hit me square in the eyeballs – literally. I was playing in the “Irish Open” golf event at Plantation Country Club near Boise when, suddenly, I lost my eyesight. During the last few holes, the fairways were a blur and I couldn’t even see the putting greens.
 What was happening? Was I having a stroke? Heck, I didn’t know. I was feeling fine and I was in good humor as I asked my partners to point me in the direction of the green and tell me the distance. Ironically, I hit some of my best shots in my state of blindness. Our team finished third, and all was well.
 Except for one thing. I was as blind as a cave of bats.
 My wife, Vicki, and I went from the golf course to the emergency room. It was determined that I was not having a stroke, but that I should at least see an eye doctor the next day. The doctor suspected I had diabetes and that diagnosis was confirmed by a physician.
 Slow down here … I was told that I had diabetes … which to some people is like being told they have cancer. There are a lot of emotions that go with a diagnosis like that – anxiety, depression and denial being among those. I was no exception, although this diagnosis was a mere warm-up to complications that were to come.
 A year later, I lost a toe. Two years later, I lost my eyesight, essentially ending my 30-year newspaper career and job as an editorial writer with the Statesman. A year after that, I had five-way bypass surgery after a cardiologist looked me in the eye and told me I was a candidate for dropping dead at any time.
 And I thought getting news about diabetes was a shock …
 Putting everything together, you’d think I would be dead by now – or maybe missing a foot or leg as a result of diabetes. The truth is, I am feeling better than I have in decades. My heart is strong, surgeries have fixed my eyes and the missing toe doesn’t hurt my golf game. Moreover, I am doing work with an organization called “Diabetes Support Network,” so much of my “professional” life is devoted to promoting awareness about the disease.
 Baseball historians will recall that day in 1939 when the great Lou Gehrig declared himself as the luckiest man on the face of this earth. Today, I feel that title should go to me.
 One regret I have is not reacting to the symptoms back in the 1990s. All the signs of “pre-diabetes” were there. I lost about 40 pounds while eating anything and everything I wanted. I didn’t think anything about it. I also didn’t think anything about the gallons of Gatorade I was consuming, or the fact I felt coldness and numbness in my feet.
 The only thing I knew was that weight was melting away and looking good. Looks can be deceiving, and in this case they were. The “silent killer” was working its way through my body, and I had no clue.
 Today, I can speak with some authority about the cruelty that diabetes can inflict. I also can speak with some authority about the importance of not giving up in the face of adversity. When I talk about diabetes, I think about words spoken by Jim Valvano, one of the greatest coaches and motivators in the history of college basketball. What Jimmy V. said abut cancer applies to diabetes and I live by these words.
 Diabetes has taken some things from me, and it might take more away from me in the future. But there are three things that diabetes cannot take, and never will take. It cannot take my heart; it cannot take my mind; and it cannot take my soul. 
After Chuck's health stabilized, he helped found the Diabetes Support Network. This network was established as a community outreach resource to provide people who are struggling with diabetes to become better informed about how to live with this disease and just exactly where they can find resources for the supplies and information they need. This site if full of useful information.  Another very informational site is the American Diabetes Association's national website. 
Since this is an ailment that can be much improved and in many cases completely controlled through diet, many easy and delicious diabetic-friendly recipes can be found here.
Chuck's mission is to help others who have just discovered they have diabetes, have been diagnosed and are not sure what to do next, or were diagnosed some time ago but would like some ongoing support. Chuck can be reached at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A New Pledge

I love this video! Creating community can have many different looks.  In addition to sharing our stories, we can have a community of like minds, shared concepts.  I especially like the concept of honoring and listening to our inner wisdom; those quiet stirrings within us that are often so rich and full of meaning and insight.

What's your favorite part?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Seed Planted

I first met Brandon and Katherine on a clear and brisk Saturday morning as I was walking through Boise's Capital City Public Market. I was intrigued by the name of their organization, so I walked up and introduced myself. As I began to understand their passion, I was even more intrigued, and I quickly knew I wanted to share their work with others.

Basically, Brandon and Katherine are on a mission to feed the world! Yes, the world. And they plan to do this by planting one seed at a time. In their own words, here is their vision:

"A Seed Planted has two Goals:

To help others through our actions and to help the earth through our actions.

The mission of A Seed Planted started when my wife and I wanted to eat healthy but could not afford the organic/natural prices. We started to grow our own produce and wanted to sell the rest for extra income. That was until we realized that if we cannot afford this food how can people less fortunate than us afford it? We are fortunate in our lives, how can we forget the needs of others? Therefore, A Seed Planted was born.

The life Philosophy of A Seed Planted is to give in every aspect and not to take in abundance. Everyone’s philosophies in life are different but if we can focus them on helping others we can change this world.

Acting as a charity means that we help out the community first and foremost. So far we have given to the Boise Rescue Mission, the River of Life, and Life’s Kitchen. We also have given to individual families who are fighting cancer and have very strict diets. We have helped refugees as well as immigrants, churches and strangers. If you or your family needed help we would give to you too."

This is a breakdown Brandon shared with me to show that one dollar can feed 100 people and can eventually feed 5,000 people!

"Let me break it down for you. . .if 105 people gave us a $.01 we would have $1.05. . .
$1.05 can buy 105 seeds.
105 seeds produce 105 plants
100 plants feed 100 people
100 people are fed from $1.02

5 of those seeds are used to grow 5 plants
5 plants are grown out to be seeded
5 seeded plants produce 5,010 seeds
5,010 seeds produce 5010 plants
5000 plants feed 5000 people
5000 people are fed with $1.05."

What Brandon and Katherine believe is that from a few seeds, plants can self-perpetuate through seeding and thus a large amount of people can be fed. This engaging couple has devoted their life to turning otherwise wasted land into beautiful vegetable gardens. They plan to start locally, then spread to neighboring cities, then statewide, then neighboring states, nationwide and finally, go global.

If you live in Boise, volunteers are needed to help in the gardens. They are also looking for more land, and if you are so moved, a donation would be appreciated (all their contact information is listed below). And since they are a  legal charity, donations are tax deductible.

Some of the recent bounty.

Volunteering under a beautiful rainbow.

Brandon and Katherine would love to hear from you.  Here's their contact information:

Brandon & Kathrine Stankewsky
(208) 703-1050

I want to also share this for anyone who is moved to start their own community garden.   The Mission of the American Community Gardening Association is a movement to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada.  It's a pretty cool site that not only offers a "how to get started" but also offers much support.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day To All The Dad's Out There

"Any man can be a father, it takes a special man to be a Dad.
Author Unknown

Words we may have heard before, yet oh so true!

One of my favorite memories of my Dad is listening to him play the guitar and sing to me when I was sick. Anytime I had to stay in bed due to illness, he would find the time to sit by my side a sing a couple Mexican songs. Even today, over 50 years later, I am comforted by this memory each time I am in bed with a cold or flu.

What is one of your favorite Dad memories?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Power of Vulnerability

In this wonderful video, Brene Brown shares what she has learned about the power of vulnerability. It's worth the full 20 minutes.

After looking at the video, I'd be interested to hear what vulnerability means to you. Thoughts?

Monday, May 30, 2011


Today we celebrate and honor all our veterans. Whether they are currently serving, have already served, or have given their life in service, we honor them and give thanks for our freedom.

While we most often associate freedom with politics, I also want to acknowledge the freedom of choice we have everyday; the freedom to live our life in love, in integrity, in authenticity. What a wonderful way to honor the sacrifice our veterans have made for us.

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Do you have a family member or friend who has served?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Becoming an Animal Shelter Volunteer

I needed something in my life but did not know what it was. Fortunately, something came along and has filled my time and changed my life. I have spent so many years working hard, trying to maintain my lifestyle, and raising a child. My child was 16 and did not need me as much. He was always hanging out with his friends leaving me wondering what to do with myself. It was time for me to get a life.

My son had to do community service early last year and we considered his options. Working for the Orange County Rescue was complicated. In addition to a 3 hour training session, you had to wait for an email for your specific volunteer inquiry and if you were selected, wait for the date and time you were scheduled for. There were also beach clean ups and soup kitchens. He did some service for our church and then he decided to complete his hours at the local animal shelter. After a two hour training session we were able to set our own hours and go as often as we wanted. He did not have the courage to go it alone so I went with him. When his hours were completed, he said he had better things to do with his time (like hanging out with friends). Not me. I love going there. It has been a year and a half and it feels like the best part of each week.

What do I do there? Walk dogs, bathe dogs, feed dogs, give them toys, give them treats, clean their kennels, do laundry, do the dishes and spend time with the dogs. Interacting with these sweet dogs is incredibly fulfilling. There are dogs that recognize me and I pick them first for their walk. I miss them when they go to their forever homes. I love reading the adoption board each week to see who went home. It almost always moves me to tears when a long time friend has gone home.

I see so many kinds of dogs. The disabled ones almost always go home quickly. Deaf, three legs or blind, people fall in love quickly with the special needs dogs. One sweet pit bull had breast cancer. We all spent time with her the day she was adopted. A volunteer took her home along with another pit bill friend. Another volunteer took home a chubby, sad 12 year old Chihuahua who was relinquished by her owner. The abandoned dog cried constantly and this volunteer spent time with her every day and finally took her home.

There is the other great part of this volunteer gig, my new friends. They are people like me who love dogs as much as me. We talk about our favorites and who has gone home and chat while we walk our 4 legged friends.

There are also opportunities to foster puppies. My son really liked this part. I went to foster class and took home a couple of shepherd mix pups for a few weeks. They are healthier in a home environment and they do not adopt out until 8 weeks old. My dogs were not so happy. It was very hard for me to let them go at the end but they were both adopted immediately and I got to visit with one of them before Christmas. His owner is amazing, the perfect place for him.

I am so glad I found this amazing place. The only time I get upset is when I see innocent dogs relinquished by their owners for no good reason or found as strays. Where did your owners go, why didn’t they find you? I have fallen in love with pit bulls and Chihuahuas. There are lots of other dogs as well, but there are lots of these. I have been there long enough to be able to walk more difficult dogs. I usually walk these because the younger volunteers can only walk the easy dogs and the more difficult ones don’t get out as much. And they are sometimes there for a long time, so you get to know them.

The shelter I volunteer for only puts down dogs that are really aggressive or really ill. They bring in dogs from other shelters that are on their last day because they have room. Why aren’t all shelters like this? We have more volunteers and more donations and are partially city funded. But other cities should be ashamed of themselves for not caring enough. It makes me very angry. I would never bring a stray dog to the county shelter, it would probably die.

I am looking forward to seeing my friends in just a few days – the volunteers and the dogs. I wonder who has gone home. I kind of hope Gina has gone home but I will really miss her.


How do you enjoy spending your free time?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Different Kind of Bus Ride

So you have a few free hours, you’d like to volunteer but you don’t know how. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you’re in luck.

When you board the Do Good Bus, you won’t always know where you’re going, all you’ll know is that for the next few hours you and your fellow bus mates will be volunteering at a local charity. Rebecca Pontius, along with two of her friends, Hannah Halliwell and Stephen Snedden, who first met while volunteering at Friends of El Faro, combine a fun, easily accessible way for people to volunteer. Training can be either en route or sometimes for more in-depth volunteering, the organization may do some additional training. Either way, by the time you step off the bus, you are ready to volunteer and do something good – and it’s all been arranged for you.

Although surprise is fun, the following is an idea of what you can expect for each trip. The following categories can be used as an overall guide to what might be in expected. Note that the emphasis is on might since the trips regularly change.

This trip category is used for trips centered around helping people and will usually include large amounts of personal interaction with people you may have just met.

Like, GOOD PEOPLE, this trip is centered around interaction with people, but the small kind...the child. It is not necessary to have had prior experience working with children, but a genuine interest and sometimes a California Live Scan will be required.

This category is for trips focused on our environment.

Animals, everyone.

These trips might be more on the physical side of volunteerism such as cleaning, building, or maybe lending a gloved hand.

Like most of our trips this category hints at physical participation volunteering, but not necessarily getting dirty while doing so.

Here are some of their most recent projects:

Burrito Project –LA

This is brilliant in its simplicity. Get few people together, roll up some burritos, hop on a bike (ok, so it’s not always a bus, in this case it was the Do Good Bikes) and distribute said burritos to homeless people.

Burritos are easily assembled.

This project started in Los Angeles with 2 riders and 90 burritos. Currently there are 20 riders who distribute between 300 and 400 burritos weekly!

Unofficial chapters are forming all over the country, if you are interested in starting a Burrito Project in your area, contact the Do Good Bus and find out how easy it is to get started.

Hug it Forward

Hug It Forward is a San Diego-based non-profit that blends intangible change with tangible change globally with one goal: uniting people as one. They do this by building schools out of wasted trash bottles called "bottle schools". For each hug registered online, 25 cents goes toward building these schools. And you get a free hug out of it!

What an excellent use of wasted plastic bottles. This video shows how "bottle schools" are made.

100% of donations made to Hug It Forward are spent on the ground in the communities where bottle schools are built – no money is taken for overhead or salaries.

The Do Good Bus gave hugs at the Silver Lake Farmer's market and they’re still tracking how much money they helped raise!

So if you live in the Los Angeles area and you find your self with a few free hours, The Do Good Bus hosts a public ride every other month in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Activities range from working with kids to building new homes to creating guerrilla gardens. Every ride includes breakfast, dinner or lunch and lasts between 4 and 6 hours depending on location.