Cheryl Lynn Obal
Birthdays are an excellent opportunity to transform a holiday that happens once a year to all of us, into a giving opportunity. Well-meaning friends and family always want to give us gifts on our birthdays, but do we really NEED these gifts?? We live in abundance, while people in other parts of the world struggle to survive. On YOUR next birthday, why not tell your friends and family, "Don't give me a gift. Give a donation instead!" Pick your favorite charity to be the recipient of the donations, and get the best birthday present ever: the enormous satisfaction that comes with GIVING INSTEAD OF RECEIVING!!
-In 2014, 75 of my wonderful friends in Vicenza, Italy, attended the party which included live entertainment in the form of a Yoga demonstration, dance performance, live music, and vegan food. Donations raised totaled 475 Euros / 610 USD) was raised and 100% was donated to Justice for North Korea for the purpose of rescuing North Korean refugees hiding out in China.
-In 2013, thanks to my generous friends in Seoul, Korea 225,000 Korean won (around 210 USD) was donated to Justice for North Korea. In fact, donations to JFNK from Charity-Benefit Dance Classes and Birthday Party totaled 1500 USD in 2013.
-At my birthday party in 2012 in Bangalore, India, my generous friends donated 15,000 rupees which was given given to Building Blocks India www.buildingblocksindia.org. Special guests at the party were the 4/5 year-old kiddos from one of Building Blocks' schools, who danced for us at the party, plus my dance students from the Lewis Foundation of Classical Ballet, who also performed.
-In 2011, thanks to the generous donations of my friends, students and colleagues in Vicenza, Italy, 475 Euros was donated to the Restavek Foundation - orphans in Haiti www.restavekfreedom.org
-In 2010, thanks to my generous friends, colleagues ans students in Vicenza, Italy, 1080 Euros was donated to SICHREM in Bangalore, India, where I had been a volunteer in 2009. www.SICHREM.org
-In 2008, 407 Euros from my generous friends, students and colleagues in Vicenza, Italy was given to Grameen Foundation, for the support of microcredit lending systems for the poor www.grameen-info.org.
-In 2007, 380 dollars was donated to UNICEF Seoul, Korea www.unicef.org. In fact, donations to UNICEF from Charity Benefit Dance Classes and Birthday Party totaled 1000 USD.
-The 2006 Charity-Benefit Birthday Party was held on a cruise ship in Alaska, where I was working at the time, and afterwards 300 dollars from my generous co-workers was donated to the Save Darfur Coalition www.savedarfur.org.
-In 2005, the very FIRST Charity-Benefit Birthday Party was held in Vicenza, Italy, and 100 Euros donated from my Italian friends was given to the BMNY Models for a Better World Foundation.