wouldn't you love it if . . .

teens had some compassion?

Well, here’s a story about some teens who really did manage to think about how they’d feel in someone else’s shoes.

An average teen who lives in Ravenscroft in the North Carolina Appalachian Mountains, Krissi Fajgenbaum has helped thousands of low-income teens to look and feel their best. She got the inspiration after watching a documentary about the poverty and unemployment in the nearby community of Robbinsville.

“In tenth grade I watched Diane Sawyer’s “20/20” documentary on children of the Appalachians and the poverty in which they live. I was devastated to learn that this kind of poverty exists right here in NC, only five hours away from where I live, and was compelled to start Teens 2 Teens,” says Fajgenbaum.

The organization takes donations of used clothing from teens. The clothes are sorted and cleaned by teens. The shop, called Krissi’s Kloset, is run by teens. “All teenagers have the same wants and needs no matter who they are or where they come from,” says Krissi. “Teens want to feel good about themselves. They want to feel self confident and they want to fit in. By offering teens in need gently used clothing, they can feel good about themselves at school and feel more confident and comfortable when they go on class trips and college visits.” And so, the teens in need are allowed to shop for free. That’s right, the clothes and shoes are FREE.

Krissi is now in college,  a freshman biomedical engineering major at UNC Chapel Hill and a Robertson Scholar – you might think she would be busy pledging a sorority, or trying out for teams or drama, or just studying hard. But, busy as she is, she still makes time to work with Teens 2 Teens, providing those in need with a sustainable way to receive clothing, shoes, and accessories that have been gently used by others. And, in July 2010, Teens 2 Teens partnered with Communities In Schools of North Carolina in an effort to reach and provide clothing to at risk teens in the Appalachians. Our first joint effort  is a shop for free boutique in Bryson City which is centrally located in the Appalachian Mountain Region of NC. This boutique, also called Krissi’s Kloset, will provide clothes and shoes to  needy teens in eight counties in the NC Appalachians.

As pointed out on the website, most high schools have a community service requirement. Also, most colleges look very favorably upon an effort that meets a local need but does not garner lots of attention. They’d rather see someone work to combat a problem that to get credit for the hours. Well, Krissi started out that way, but has not shunned the attention, and the increased donations that brings. She and Teens 2 Teens have been featured in People Magazine and Cary Magazine, on Good Morning America’s AmeriCAN segment, and as ABC 11 Person of the Week on her local station. Still, Krissi has not let her 15 minutes of fame go to her head. She urges others to

Start a chapter of Teens 2 Teens at your school. Small towns all over America have been hit especially hard by the poor economy. Unemployment is high which means many teens are going without basics such as jeans, sweaters,  coats, and shoes. Contact me to learn how to start a partnership with a school in need. I hope you will consider starting a chapter at your school




And according to the Donations page on the Teens 2 Teens website;

All donations are extremely appreciated and will go to needy students who desperately need them.  

 Please remember to include your name and address with your package so we can send you your tax-deduction form.

Please send your donations to:

Krissi’s Kloset

CIS of Swain County

100 Brendle Street

Bryson City, NC 28713

 or you can contact Krissi herself at krissi@teens2teens.net.

I encourage you all to donate, clothes, shoes, accessories, or money.  And to Krissi Fajgenbaum,

Rock on!


preteens knew what to do with themselves?

I can’t vouch for all of them, but here’s a story about one 12-year old who knows exactly what to do with her spare time!

You see, there are some very happy people in Rachel’s Village near Leogane, about 1 hour’s drive from Port-au-Prince, Haiti these days. Why? Because 12-year old Rachel Wheeler, for whom the village is named, raised over $250,000 to build 27 homes. Many of the new home owners are first time homeowners, indeed, first time home dwellers who had to be taught to fit a key into a lock! And Rachel’s not done yet. She says that she plans to build 20 more homes and a school. So, how did this all start?

A little over two years ago, just after the devastating 7.2 earthquake hit Haiti, Rachel attended a Chamber of Commerce meeting with her mom. She was just 9 at the time, and her mom wasn’t sure that she even understood the presentation. Except to have nightmares from the horrific images in the slide show. And then, Rachel stood up on a chair and said that she was going to help. And she got busy fast . . . Rachel collected funds by organizing bake sales, passing a donation can at homecoming games and selling homemade potholders at her Deerfield Beach, Fla. school, according to the Huffington Post. Not afraid to ask people she knew to donate, Rachel approached her parents’ friends and her church for help and got two large checks from Lighthouse Point Chamber of Commerce.

“Little children will lead us and teach us how to do things,” Robin Mahfood, President and CEO for Food For The Poor, told the news outlet. “It is amazing. She is a tremendous girl.”

And Rachel isa tremendous girl. She wants to build a school for the 250 students who lost theirs in the earthquake. “I want to build a school because they need education to make their lives better so they can learn and teach their own children how to have a better life,” Rachel told Food for the Poor. You might think that she’d take a break, having already passed the  halfway mark in her fundraising efforts for building the school, but she’s determined not to quit too soon. She wants the kids to go to school so that they can improve their lives. “I don’t believe I can snap my fingers and change Haiti overnight,” she told NBC. “I know I have to work at it.” And so, she does. To help Rachel reach her goal, please go to http://support.foodforthepoor.org/site/TR?pg=fund&fr_id=2091&pxfid=4112

 Rock on, Rachel!

people could just help out whenever they have time?

Well, now they (read you and I) can.

A group called The Extraordinaries has started a web site called Sparked.com that matches people and non-profits.  It just takes a few minutes to sign up. And it just takes a few minutes to help. You decide when and what you do. This is micro-volunteering. No applications, no training, no screening or orientation. Just you and a task you can do or not.

You may have heard of the closely related practice of virtual volunteering. The two are similar in that they are both done online or via smart phone. But, as a virtual volunteer, you go through all the regular application and intake processes for your non-profit. You may also require training and orientation. Then, you do your volunteer tasks from home, the office, the library even; wherever there’s a computer. If you’d like to do virtual volunteering, VolunteerMatch.org can get you set up.

Back to microvolunteering: Sparked takes applications from non-profits and then breaks down their tasks into bite-sized pieces. From there, they “cloudsource” it.  Cloudsourcing involves putting a request out to lots of people at once. The potential experts in the group form the “cloud.” The request is what is being “sourced.” So, putting the request out to the people who said they had those skills is “cloudsourcing.”

Say you tell them you design logos. When someone wants a logo designed, they let you know – generally via cell phone. You decide whether you want to spend the time and energy on the non-profit that wants the logo.  Clearly, logo design would take some hours.

Other tasks may require only minutes. You might: advise on how to refine a mission or vision statement, copy-edit a newsletter, teach how to dig a well, design a logo, or vote on your favorite website style.  Almost any job or task that can be done on computer can be done as a volunteer for Sparked.com. 

So, whether you’re into virtual or micro volunteering, I salute you. What a way to make the world a better place: one bite-sized task at a time.

Rock on!

all teenagers could find things to do on their own

I once knew a cute little Jewish kid who loved being around the synagogue and seemed to just eat up lessons on things ethical and moral. He was short, but he loved basketball. And he worked hard toward the day of his bar mitzvah. I knew him as a teacher and tutor and I really enjoyed working with him. He was well mannered and easygoing, a genuinely friendly kid. By the time I moved away from Santa Rosa, Ca., he was no longer a kid, but a young man.

Well, just the other day, his mom sent me a link to show me what he’s been up to since we last met. While I was pleasantly surprised, I didn’t learn anything new about him except the specifics of his activities. The qualities I’d always admired were still there, and they’d grown! Just like Gabe Ferrick himself. And so, without ado, I will present the links to show you, too, why he’s the subject of this “good things” blog today.  http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news%2Fabc7_salutes&id=8329603





I don’t know about you, but I’m going to encourage the youngsters in my life to follow in Gabe’s footsteps for the cause of their choice!  Oh, one more thing. I am so proud of this guy that I’m beside myself. What an honor to have been his teacher!

Peace to you.