Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Count Me In!

I love math!  Have you ever really thought about what math is?  I find it’s easier to start with science, which is discovering the physical world around us.  Math is simply the language we use to describe that physical world.  That’s why math and science are so often linked together.  Math gives us the tools to understand and communicate the beauty of the biggest supernova to the smallest quark and everything in between.

OK, so maybe MATHCOUNTS doesn’t get that philosophical, but it does lay a strong foundation for young people to explore and get excited about math.  Many MATHCOUNTS mathletes go on to careers in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and math.  We all can agree that the United States needs citizens with skills strong in these areas so that we’ll have a vibrant and sustainable economy.  A recent study conducted by Education Next, an education policy journal, found that by boosting students’ math and science skills, the U.S. would add approximately two-thirds of a percentage point to the GDP each year.  MATHCOUNTS focuses on middle school students because research has shown that this is a critical age when students are forming their attitudes toward math.  Math can take some work to understand, but doesn’t anything worthwhile involve some effort?  Math doesn’t have to be dry or boring, however.  In fact, math is fun!  I’ll be posting some fun math stuff throughout February.

I don’t have any pictures of myself specifically from MATHCOUNTS, but I love the pictures below from my Lakeside High School math team.  Most of our math tournaments were county competitions among the DeKalb County public schools, but we also participated in several invitational tournaments each year.  Given the particularly stiff competition at invitationals, my school did well if it placed in the top 10 at one of those.  During my senior year, our varsity math team had a particularly good showing at the Woodward Academy invitational; we won the third place trophy!  A boy named Scott was also on our team that day, but he rode with someone else (probably the junior varsity team), which is why he didn't get in these pictures.  It's kind of cool to see just us girls together anyway.  Girl power!

 Karen, me, and Nevada with the 3rd place team trophy from the Woodward Academy invitational

Celebrating by offering our trophy up to the math goddess Mathena

 I drove us to the tournament in my mother’s car.  The bumper sticker reads, “Women are natural leaders.  You’re following one now!”

You know how athletes get their lockers decorated for a big game?  Well, Nevada decided that those of us in academic competition needed some recognition, too.  The Monday morning after the weekend Woodward competition, she decorated all of the math team members’ lockers.  I've kept this sign that she made for me in my scrapbook all these years (missing a few letters now, but I still love it).

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