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.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Buddy Walk

Today I got to take part in the Buddy Walk.  It was hosted by the Middle Georgia Down Syndrome Society (MGDSS), which is my November charity in A Year of Centuries.  So, this is a sneak preview of good things to come next month!

MGDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society.  Affiliates all over the country hold Buddy Walks during October to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  The Buddy Walk is MGDSS’s biggest fundraiser of the year.  Proceeds go to a variety of needs:
  • Parent packets, which are distributed through doctors’ offices when a child is diagnosed with Down syndrome
  • The MGDSS support group
  • Social events for MGDSS families, like the 3/21 event, held on that date because of the 3rd (extra) chromosome 21 that causes Down syndrome
  • The National Down Syndrome Society
  • Wesley Glen Ministries, which supports developmentally disabled adults in Middle Georgia
  • The Monroe County Special Needs Club, which serves high school students

The MGDSS Buddy Walk was held outside at a large church in Macon.  There were all kinds of fun things for the children to do, including several bouncy houses; jumpy swings with harnesses that let the kids go high, turn somersaults, etc.; a couple of fire trucks to explore; games; and face painting.  It was quite an impressive event.  What impressed me the most, however, was the people who were there.  It wasn’t just the large number, who came from all over Middle Georgia.  I saw firsthand how people of all types – with and without Down syndrome; white, black, Asian, and Hispanic; and various economic levels – came together for a common purpose, which was to celebrate the value of people with Down syndrome.

There was a particularly notable event before the Buddy Walk itself: the dance contest!  It truly was a delight to watch all of the participants groove to the music.  Some of them had pretty smooth dance moves!

Even a dog joined in!

The female winner of the dance contest!

In recent weeks as I’ve commuted to and from work, I’ve been passing a church with a message on its sign that has really stuck with me: “In him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28.  When I first saw it, I immediately thought about how God’s graciousness gives me the life and strength to ride my bicycle, especially since my crash.  I looked up this verse in the Bible and saw a footnote that Paul was quoting the Greek philosopher Epimenides.  I was curious about Epimenides, and so I did a little research on him.  The quote comes from Epimenides’s poem Cretica, in which Minos is addressing Zeus.   How amazing it is that Paul took a quote familiar to the people of Athens – a quote showing reverence for a Greek god – and turned it around to help explain our relationship to the one God.  Something sacred from the profane.  Since I’ve discovered this verse, I’ve been contemplating it and its connection to A Year of Centuries.  Today I got to see its truth in action as the dancers – all children of God – joyfully lived, moved, and had their being.

At last it was time for the Buddy Walk!  The walk was a big lap around the church parking lot, which was nice and safe for the children.  Two of my cycling friends have children with Down syndrome, and so I walked in honor of Jack and Eli.  Here’s a picture of Jack and me:

Here’s some more of Jack’s Crew:

Even though there were a number of teams, we really all walked together.

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