We thought it would be a nice idea to list the charities and organizations that inspire us. We all believe in the notion of giving back and supporting a greater cause. Below, you’ll find a link to each charity and a description, along with why they’re important to us!

Charities that GM supports:

GEMS: Girls Educational & Mentoring Services:
Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) is the only organization in New York State specifically designed to serve girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. GEMS was founded in 1998 by Rachel Lloyd, a young woman who had been commercially sexually exploited as a teenager. GEMS has helped hundreds of young women and girls, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS provides young women with empathetic, consistent support and viable opportunities for positive change.

Girls are not for sale.


The Maryland SPCA
:

The Maryland SPCA improves the lives of pets and people in the community. All SPCAs operate separately and independently and are not affiliated with the Maryland SPCA. We receive no government operating funds. We depend upon local donations to make a difference in the lives of animals. There is no national SPCA.

I worked for this organization as a volunteer for about 6 years when I lived in Baltimore. I have never worked for a better group of people, or a better organization. They make it a point NOT to euthanize healthy animals, and the animals that enter the SPCA have no time limit. As long as they are healthy and have a good temperament (or one that can be helped), the animals stay there until they are adopted.


The National MS Society
:
The National MS Society is a collective of passionate individuals who want to do something about MS now—to move together toward a world free of multiple sclerosis. MS stops people from moving. We exist to make sure it doesn’t. The Society helps each person address the challenges of living with MS through our 50-state network of chapters. The Society helps people affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, and providing programs and services that help people with MS and their families move their lives forward.

Because I have MS and so did my mother, I’ve been involved with them for a little over 6 years as well. I was often a volunteer when I lived back in the states, and did a few of the 50k walks with my sister, who still does them with friends and our family.

***

Charities that Michelle S. supports:

Borromeo Housing, Inc.:
The mission of Borromeo Housing, Inc. is to empower young single mothers to create a self-sustaining future through education, counseling and support, while they reside in our safe home.   BHI administers a three-year education, housing, and life skills development program for homeless young mothers, ages 16 to 22, and their babies.  BHI believes that all young mothers facing homelessness can achieve an education and attain professional employment while being responsible parents to their children.  Simply stated: they provide options to young women who would otherwise be left to fend for themselves.

I love the mission of this organization. Not only do they provide amazing services to young mothers who might have nothing to give their children, they do it in a way that teaches them how to do for themselves. The goal is not to have these moms go on welfare or benefit from other governmental social programs, but to live full lives, providing for their children and in turn, teaching their children how to provide for themselves in the future. It’s a win-win for me.

***

Charities that Kamay supports:

AG Family Services Agency
AG Family Services Agency is a combination of 4 placement centers or homes. Hillcrest Children’s Home which is a orphanage for children of all ages up to 18. Highlands Maternity Home this is a safe haven for young woman to live and be cared for during their pregnancy and a place for them to have their infants that is free from persecution & harm. Murry Transitional Home is a half way house of sorts that helps children turning of adult age moving from Hillcrest the ability to get housing so that they can still attend college.  AGFSA Adoptions is part of the agency that places infants born through Highlands into a loving home. AGFSA  provide physical, spiritual and mental safety for children, youth, birth-mothers & their infants. Their Mission is “Rescuing from harms way, Restoring broken hearts and spirits, Rekindling hope for a bright future.”  AGFSA is a voice for life… a godly, meaningful life, a solution for America’s fatherless children, the orphaned, neglected, abused/exploited, & abandoned.

I have been involved with AGFSA all my life. My Birth Mother was 14 when she came to Highlands to have me, I was placed in Hillcrest for 5.5 months and then later adopted through AGFSA Adoption services. In 2002 I started the proceedings of trying to find my Birth-Mother and AGFSA was there to help me and her on our journey of reuniting. In 2008 I was asked to be a guest speaker at the fall festival, at which point we traveled to Arkansas & I spoke openly about my adoption and finding my birth parents as well as some of the physical hardships I had overcome in my own life. This year, I’m so excited, my story was printed in their affiliate magazine and it will be shared with people all over the world. Children are so near and dear to my heart, I always wish I could take them all home with me.

Locks of Love:
Locks of love is a non-profit organization that provides hair pieces for financially disadvantaged children in the US whom suffer from long-term hair loss due to a medical conditions. There mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children who suffer from hair loss by utilizing donated pony-tails to provide the highest quality of hair prosthetics.

I have personally donated over 30″ of my hair on 3 different occasions to this organization & plan to make a donation hopefully by the end of summer. My long-term goal is to continue to make a donation every year. I have several friends who suffer from diseases that cause hair loss and this is very close to my heart. I’m also proud to say my baby sister donated 30″ by the age of 10.

Mississippi Regional Blood Center:
This non-profit organization is the exclusive blood product & service supplier to over 8o hospitals in the Illinois, Iowa, Missouri & Wisconsin area.  They handle over 250,000 units of blood a year all donated from 16 fixed sites and over 4000 mobile blood drives each year. There mission is to provide world-class blood products & services to a community in need & their vision is basically to save lives.

My husband & I started donating blood soon after Sammy was born. We had a blood drive at out church and participated. After that we started going to the facility on our own and donating. My husband has donated over 3.5 gallons of blood & I’ve only donated about 1/2 gallon.  I’m getting there.  I’m happy to know that I’m eligible to give & I’m happy to help the community in which we live as the blood we donate stays in the immediate area.

***

Charities that Steph supports:

The National MS Society

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic and disabling disease of the central nervous system, usually diagnosed in people between 20-50. Symptoms range from tingling and numbness to paralysis and blindness. We want to do something for the people who have been diagnosed; and to prevent more people from learning what it means to live with this disease. The symptoms of MS are unpredictable and devastating, for everyone – the only certainty is that it will affect yet another person every hour of every day.

Like GM above, I also support this charity 100%. As stated in my bio, I began supporting it the first year GM & I decided to participate in the MD Chapters Chesapeake Challenge Walk in 2007. The year after, we walked with the DC Chapter doing their Capital Challenge Walk. The amazing experiences we shared with each other and fellow walkers over the 2 day walk is something that will stay with us forever. We met great people who are so strong about this cause, and never give up hope that 1 day there will be a cure. We agreed that we would do the walk every year we could with the support of friends and family. In the last 4 years, my boyfriend, step-sister, very good friend, and other new friends have joined me in the 2 day walk. Last year, a friend I walked with told me of a friend she knows who was just diagnosed; now I walk for him as well. Our stepsister also ran a marathon and a half in Disney through the I Run To Stop MS program. I was so happy to share the experience with people close to me and introduce them to the great people I have met over the years.

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