Ch… ch… changes!

Over the past year or so, all of us at The B* Project have experienced many eye-opening events that have made us stop and think about the fundamental purpose of this group and how the programs that we have setup support that vision. As a team, we are reorganizing some parts of The B* Project, as well as bringing on more staff members to help us keep the programs and events active and our communications updated.

Please bare with us as we revamp the website and Good Deed programs just a teeny bit over the next few months. In the meantime, please begin to talk with your community members about collecting school supplies and umbrellas as those fall and winter drives will continue as usual.

Thank you for your continued support and your patience during this transition.

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Happy Earth Day!

We hope you and your families were able to get outdoors today whether you helped clean up an area, planted trees, or just enjoyed the fresh air.

Hands on a globe

We love you, Mother Earth! And everyone here at The B* Project promises to continue doing our best to preserve, protect, and respect you.

 

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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

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The Princess Project

Every girl has dreamt of being a princess. At young ages, little girls dressed up in tiaras and sparkly gowns emulating famous Disney princesses such as Belle, Aurora, and Cinderella.  In high school, Junior Proms and Senior Balls give these matured girls the opportunity to be a princess for a day… if only they can afford that sparkly gown.

As spring approaches, The B* Project wanted to help play Fairy Godmother to young ladies around the Bay Area by collecting cocktail and party dresses from friends, family, and the community and donating them to The Princess Project.

The Princess Project is a non-profit company that promotes self-confidence and individual beauty by providing free prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who cannot otherwise afford them.

Every year, The Princess Project receives thousands of beautiful new or nearly new dresses and accessories in EXCELLENT condition from individual donors and corporate partners.

Volunteers accept and organize these dresses and accessories to run an exciting giveaway boutique events in the early spring for individual high school girls. Each year, more than 1,000 Bay Area girls attend the boutiques to find that new prom dress and those perfect accessories to make their high school prom a reality. And it’s all FREE!

Start your Spring Cleaning early!  Please join us in collecting new and nearly new dresses as donations. Rummage through your closets and donate that gorgeous dress you just do not fit into anymore, or that dress you always meant to wear, but never did.  Ask your neighbors to do the same and so on.   Collect as many dresses as you can or just drop off one.  The lonely dress in your closet just might just be the perfect dress for a Bay Area teen’s night to remember.

Deadline is March 10th!

To arrange a drop-off, please contact us at: donations@thebstarproject.org 

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Helping Others Helps With Depression

MONDAY, Jan. 2 (HealthDay News) — Doing something nice for someone else often leaves people feeling good about themselves and positive about their place in the world.

But does that mean practicing random acts of kindness has scientifically proven therapeutic value in treating mood disorders like depression? Yes, according to a growing body of research that has found that “positive activity interventions” — like helping someone with groceries, writing a thank you note or even counting your blessings — can serve as an effective, low-cost treatment for depression.

“They seem really trivial. They seem like, what’s the big deal, you feel good for 10 minutes,” said Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, who co-authored a recent paper on the topic. “But for a depressed person, they aren’t trivial at all. Depressed individuals need to increase positive emotions in their life, even a minute here and there.”

After a rigorous review of research on the therapeutic benefits of positive emotion, Lyubomirsky said, she and her colleagues found widespread support for the notion that people with a tendency toward depression can help themselves by helping others or otherwise introducing positivity into their day-to-day lives.

Such a simple, low-cost path to well-being could have big-time implications, given that more than 100 million people worldwide suffer with depression, according to Lyubomirsky’s study. That includes more than 16 million U.S. adults, of whom about 70 percent of reported cases either do not receive enough treatment or do not get treated at all.

Positive activity interventions come in a variety of forms, including:
Being kind to others
Expressing gratitude
Thinking optimistically
Meditating on the good things in life

“The major aspect is the positive emotion,” Lyubomirsky said. “The most significant feature of depression is the absence of positive emotion — just a feeling of nothing, of emptiness.” Not only can being positive improve your mood, it can develop into a self-sustaining “upward spiral,” she said. “You might be more approachable to others, or be more creative and imaginative,” Lyubomirsky said. “It snowballs, and you are more likely to experience even more positive emotion.” For example, your boss might be more likely to compliment you if you are happy in your work, or your husband or wife might be friendlier after an act of kindness.

Dr. Michelle Riba, former president of the American Psychiatric Association, a psychiatry professor and associate director of the Depression Center at the University of Michigan, agreed that positivity can have a dramatic effect on people’s psychological well-being. “There’s a lot of good research that shows these kinds of actions can have a positive impact on life,” Riba said. “In general, people who help others stop focusing on their own pains and problems and worries and feel good about themselves.” And perhaps the best thing about it is that people can pursue these positive actions on their own. “They are simple,” Lyubomirsky said. “They don’t involve going to a doctor. They aren’t a substitute, but they are a great alternative or addition to therapy or medication.”

Researchers are still assessing the best ways to pursue and implement positive thought and action to help treat depression, Lyubomirsky and Riba said.
For now, those who want to improve their mood through positivity need to figure out what works best for them through trial and error. This may include thinking long and hard about the best ways they can help others and reminding themselves of the good things in their own lives. “You have to do work,” Lyubomirsky said. “It takes effort to continually remind yourself to do acts of kindness for others, although I think it gets easier over time.”

It’s also important, she said, to vary your activities, lest you fall into a rut. “You want to do them in optimal ways,” Lyubomirsky said. “You want to vary what you do. You don’t want to do the same thing every day. You want to do them at a rate that’s optimal to you.”

More information: The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on depression.

Souce: By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter | HealthDay – Mon, Jan 2, 2012 11:48 PM EST

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January is National Blood Donor Month

Give Blood and Help Patients in Need

Since 1970, Blood Donor Month has been observed to educate everyone about the importance of being a blood donor and the impact blood donations can have on patients who need blood.

“We want to thank everyone who gives blood and ask them to schedule a time to donate now,” said Shaun Gilmore, president of Biomedical Services for the Red Cross. “We’d also like to encourage people who have never donated before to consider giving for the first time and join those across the country who change lives by donating blood.”

January is a time of year when blood supplies often dip drastically as winter weather blankets the country, keeping people from giving blood. At the same time, patient need for blood does not diminish.

Every two seconds, someone in this country needs blood. 44,000 blood donations are needed every day to help accident and burn victims, cancer patients, those having surgery, new mothers, premature babies and many others.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.  Individuals should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when coming to donate.

For more information on giving blood, or to make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the coming days, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org

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Salesforce.com founder, Marc Benioff, and his philanthropist wife, Lynne Benioff.

Thanks to a Chronicle story and a bighearted donor, families of San Francisco schoolchildren now living on the street will have a home for the holidays.

As many as 200 families spending their nights in city shelters, sleeping in cars or on the streets will be moved into public or subsidized housing, with many of them in their new homes by Christmas, said Mayor Ed Lee. The $3 million for the program will come from city money and a $1.5 million contribution from Marc and Lynne Benioff of Salesforce.com, a fast-growing San Francisco tech company.

Lynne Benioff said as soon as she read the Dec. 4 Chronicle story about the plight of the growing number of homeless children in the city’s public schools, she knew something had to be done.

“Marc and I saw this as an emergency, affecting children’s health, so we reached out to the mayor’s office,” Lynne Benioff said. “We thought we could probably help the city do something about this.”

Lee and city staffers knew all about the problem and had been working on ways to deal with it. The problem, as always, was finding the needed money.

“We got a huge bump with Lynne Benioff calling and saying she wanted to help,” the mayor said. “We immediately knew that we wanted to get as many families as possible in homes before Christmas.”

Lynne Benioff cheerfully admitted that she and her husband, the founder and CEO of Salesforce, challenged the city to move the people into housing for the holidays.

“What was the mayor’s election slogan, ‘Ed Lee Gets Things Done’?” she asked. “We thought we’d test that.”

Within 24 hours, the city and the Benioffs had reached an agreement to jump-start the program to help the schoolkids.

The city and the school district have different definitions of who qualifies as homeless, which means their numbers don’t always mesh. While school officials report that nearly 2,200 of their students are homeless, nearly 1,000 of them are living in single-room-occupancy hotels or other situations that don’t meet the city’s criteria, said Malcolm Yeung, an aide to the mayor for housing matters.

The city has 79 families in long-term city shelters and an additional 253 on the waiting list for those rooms. Because children in public schools will have priority under the new program, moving 200 of those families into regular housing will help a significant percentage of the city’s homeless schoolchildren.

About 30 or 40 families will be able to immediately move into vacant public housing units, said Yeung, while an additional 160 or 165 will receive assistance finding subsidized private rental units.

The Benioffs will donate their $1.5 million to their choice of community-based organizations, which will help families find housing and provide up to 18 months of rent assistance. The organizations also will provide assistance to the families, working to help them get in a position to move into non-subsidized housing, Yeung said.

For Lee, the program is an example of how the city can work in partnership with private companies to deal with San Francisco’s problems.

“Quite frankly, we want others to help, we want other companies to join in,” the mayor said. “The Benioffs are part of the leadership of the new companies that are going to be our philanthropic leaders in the 21st century.

This isn’t the first time the Benioffs have stepped up for children’s health. Last year, the company committed $100 million toward a new children’s hospital at UCSF’s new site at Mission Bay, where Salesforce will be building its corporate headquarters.

A City Hall hearing this morning, called by Supervisor John Avalos, will look at the dramatic rise of family homelessness in the city. Members of the Coalition on Homelessness and other housing advocates have called on the city to make a concerted effort to help families now in shelters and on the streets as the winter cold sets in.

E-mail John Wildermuth at jwildermuth@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page C – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/11/BA671MAS03.DTL#ixzz1gLJg1ySV

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