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Come to Paradise Perks on Sat. May 19th!!!!


Not in the habit of blatant advertising or shameless promotion of activities in which my family is involved – but hey, there’s a first time for everything!  With that in mind, I am thrilled to start this wild abandonment of my own rules by promoting this awesome event this weekend.  On Sat., May 19th, Paradise Perks in Irvine will be hosting a fundraising event for the OCHSA Relay for Life Team.  The Relay For Life Team has organized an evening of musical performances by OCHSA students.  A $5 donation at the door, gets you 4 hours of great performances from 6:00 – 10:00 pm.  In addition to great coffee drinks and snacks, Paradise Perks has a light cafe menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches.

OCHSA Visual Arts Students are also donating works that will be sold that night with proceeds being donated to the team.

In short, this is a great family night, date venue, friends’ night out – whatever you want to make it.  And of course, it is for a great cause!  So win win win all the way around.


Always Looking for the Joy!

About six months ago, I wrote a post about loving to provide kids with the opportunity to make a difference through their own efforts.  The post featured my daughter’s participation in Relay for Life.  And it was at the Costa Mesa’s 2011 Relay for Life that we saw Jessica Joy Rees for the first time.  Jessica (Jessie) had recently been diagnosed with brain cancer.  She was the same age as the girls I had with me.

Several months after that, my Facebook friend and one of the Costa Mesa Relay’s organizers, Robin, posted a link to Jessie’s own page where she was quickly gaining fans to help spread her message of NEGU – Never Ever Give Up.  As an advocate of kids making a difference, I fanned her page and was rewarded on a daily basis with updates about her condition, support she received from her friends and her family.  And about how with two brain tumors and chemo, this kid was out to make a difference in the 50,000+ lives of the pediatric cancer patients in this country.  She and her parents had started the NEGU Foundation (Never Ever Give Up) in an effort to raise money for Jessie’s Joy Jars.  These Joy Jars come with a NEGU t-shirt and can be filled with all sorts of goodies – things to do at the hospital.  Things that let these kids know that someone cares.

Jessie’s amazing vision and her dedication inspired numerous people locally and worldwide.  Fans to her page span the globe.  Eva Longoria spent an afternoon with Jessie, filling Joy Jars.  Local news featured her story and linked to her page.  John Tesh signed on to do a benefit concert for NEGU at the St. Regis(later this month).  Momentum was building.  And Jessie and her dad challanged her Facebook fans to help build her fan base from the 20,000+ she has to 50,000+ this year – one person for every pediatric cancer patient.

Yesterday Jessie’s parents posted the very sad news that Jessie had lost her battle with cancer.  The outpouring on her page has been incredible.  And her fans honored her by reaching out and asking people to fan her page in hopes of helping her reach the goal she made.  The result?  By the time I went to bed last night, the goal had been met – over 30,000 people fanned her page in the last 24 hours.

And now the real work – turning those fans into workers, completing Jessie’s real task.  Putting 50,000 Joy Jars in 50,000 little hands.  Check out the site (it has been inundated in the last day, it might be hard getting on – bookmark it and come back!) and see how you can help.  Become a fan.  Buy a Joy Jar.  Become a corporate sponsor.  If you are a store, hold a Joy Jar day and work with the organization to fill jars at your store one day.   If you work with a group that wants community hours, have them contact NEGU to fill joy jars!  If you are a manufacturer and have closeout product, donate to the Joy Jars.  So many great ways to become involved and share the Joy.  Thank you, Jessie, for the world of difference you have made!  NEGU!

I Love Helping Kids Make a Difference thru their own Efforts!


I don’t know about you, but since January 1, this year seems to be going by at a crazy rate.  I am sure part of it is that there are more commitments for both of my kids.  Enough that I have put the brakes on big time.  I mull things over.  I back-burner stuff.   I am slow to commit.  I don’t trust that my calendar is complete – that there isn’t stuff floating around that I forgot to write down.  Important stuff that someone in my family is going to miss.  And still time goes by at a crazy rate.

That is how come my youngest signed up for Relay for Life with 9 days to go this year.  Last year, as co-leader of her Girl Scout troop, I was our Troop’s team captain.  I was hooked to our team page for months, sending out daily emails, reporting our progress and upping our goal as we raised each dollar amount.  This year the email came asking us to have a team.  The dilemma – our girls are all going to Science Camp for 3 days with their class, arriving back home less than 24 hours before the Relay starts.  I back-burnered.  I mulled over.  And suddenly we are here – 9 days out!

9  crazy busy days and the day of Relay itself  holds work related dinner parties, birthday parties, and the promise of much-needed sleep, making it super easy to decide that we held off too long and cannot make the commitment…..

I drafted this when I registered my youngest for Relay for Life 10 days ago.  Yesterday, we took to the track.  She brought a friend who participated last year and together they rounded each corner, visited each booth, learned about risk factors for cancer, participated in a scavenger hunt, spoke to other walkers, handed out kazoos for our kazoo lap, and really had a blast.  They also listened to stories from survivors and relatives of those who didn’t survive.  They cheered the beginning of the event – the Survivors’ Walk.  They remembered their own friends and family members who they have lost to cancer (and at age 11 each has more people to count than should be).  And their presence raised money both for cancer research as well as the support of those living with cancer through donations made to the American Cancer Society.

Both girls were tired from camp.  They were sad that we didn’t have the 15 other girls from our Girl Scout troop along with all of the friends and family that support each one of them.  I was tired – had come extremely close to oversleeping for the event.  I would have had a thousand other things I could have done with my day.

However, being there we remembered how powerful the event is.  We were resolved in our promise to be back next year with more team members, more donations, and more fun things to do with this incredible group of people who donate so much of their time to making a difference.  Relay for Life is such an incredibly rewarding way to get your kids involved in giving back to their community – get out there and find a team!  It is an experience that will feed your family’s soul!  Can’t wait for next year’s 24 hour walk.