Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#Giving Tuesday

If you're like me, your Facebook and Twitter feeds have been overwhelmingly populated today with the hashtag #GivingTuesday, and I must say this warms my heart. As someone who has worked for, volunteered for, and served on boards for non-profits in the Midlands, I was excited to see this initiative. So what is #GivingTuesday? Here is a little bit of info from the Giving Tuesday website: 
“We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year help create #GivingTuesday™, the giving season’s opening day. On Tuesday November 27, 2012 charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. It’s a simple idea. Find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters. Join a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity. And together we’ll create ways to give more, give better and give smarter.”

In honor of the day, I have given back to two of my favorite charities – the SC Campaign and United Way of the Midlands. I have also encouraged everyone in our organization to get involved and will encourage you to do the same. Give to your favorite charity, collect canned goods for a local food pantry, volunteer for a non-profit that needs help; but then don’t keep quiet about it. Let others know you are participating in #GivingTuesday and encourage them to do the same! Wouldn’t it be awesome if we all got as excited about #GivingTuesday as we do about #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday?

by Cayci Banks, Director of Communications, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I am Thankful for...an Awful Lot!

She is taking "fall" too literally.
It is that time of year to share what we are thankful for...I am thankful for Diet Coke, which helps me through my mornings and afternoons.  I am thankful for pet shampoo, which makes my dog smell MUCH better than before.  I am thankful for colorful Sharpies that make taking notes in long meetings more fun!  I am thankful for Diet Coke, oh wait, I said that already.  I am thankful for family and friends (more so for the non-cray-cray kind).  I am thankful for the food I eat, the house I live in, the life I have.  I could go on and on, but this year, I want to focus on one thing in particular…

I spend a lot of time at work, like most of you, I am sure.  I spend more of my 24 hours around 20 people than I do asleep, according to the American Time Use Survey (38 hours at work vs. 35 hours of sleep).  We work together to pull off trainings and projects year round, we eat together in the break room, we share stories and pictures of our families, and we share successes and disappointments on a daily basis.  
So this year, while I am thankful for my family and friends outside of the SC Campaign, and DIET COKE, I am truly thankful for the people I work with shoulder to shoulder, day in and day out.  They are truly my “home away from home” and I couldn’t ask for a better “work family”.

Thank you to you all for what you do throughout the year to help teens in our state! 
And Happy Thanksgiving from the SC Campaign!  

by Taylor Wilson, Communication Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's a Family Affair

Last month I took my 3 year-old on one of those rare road trips without my husband.  My aunt invited us along for the trip and without really thinking through all of the details, I said yes.  I was so happy to spend time with my family, especially with my husband working out of town that day.  It seemed like so much fun!  Then I got in the car and realized that I was spending hours with two very talkative and opinionated children…my 3 year-old and one 14 year-old.  The 14 year-old listened to music, taunted the toddler with games, and tried really hard to participate in adult conversations before being told to go to sleep by his mother.  My 3 year-old refused to share his snacks but demanded that his cousin be fair and share his.  The toddler also insisted that his cousin stop interrupting the adults, at one point telling his big cousin to “stop talking to your mother that way!” 

Mid-trip, I was laughing myself silly but got really nervous at thought of taking these two out of the car and exposing them to the world outside…would others find their banter funny or annoying?  My aunt looked at us with love but I am sure she might have also been rethinking her decision to invite us!  As we approached our destination, my aunt looked at my 3 year-old and asked if he was going to talk the entire time.  Of course, that was a no-brainer because he literally did talk, sing, and commentate the entire trip, even insisting that my aunt, the driver, “speed up” and “hurry up” through the green lights (oh yes, my child has a bit of road rage)!

Finally we reached my other cousin’s house and that’s where my decision to be spontaneous in travel faced its toughest test!  I totally forgot how neat, organized, and strict my cousin is, as a retired member of the US Navy.  Here I go taking my child into their new home!  Also, the two road trip buddies have a run-in with the neatest 6 year-old on the planet (my cousin’s sweet baby girl)!  With the three of them, it literally took ALL of the adults to keep peace and to ensure that my cousin’s home was left in livable condition.  I had a great time but the visit is still a blur because I spent so much time trying to keep track of my toddler.  (I still have flashbacks of my cousin following the toddler around picking up crumbs and trying to keep all of the children safe and happy.)

I then started to feel very inadequate because we have a very large family with more than 20 grandchildren and most of us grew up together traveling around the country spending extended time with each other.  That meant that, especially during the summers, our parents might have multiple children, not just visiting, but staying with them for weeks at the time…and they made it seem so easy!

With the memories of growing up, I have come to realize that our parents were just as overwhelmed as we are but they had each other.  They trusted their parents, siblings, in-laws, and friends to be important influences on us and to this day we have strong bonds with everyone who helped to shape our lives.  It is now our generation’s time to work together to build that same foundation for our children.  As overwhelming as the trip was, it was worth every minute to ensure that my child knows his extended family and is able to benefit from the support, discipline, and example that my family and in-laws can provide.  That is the only way to help our children avoid and get through the pitfalls of life.  It truly is a family affair!

by Kimberly Wicker, Outreach Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Standing in the Waiting Line...

While this year's race for the White House was the most divisive yet, I have never felt as united as I did waiting in line on this past Tuesday morning. Even though I arrived 15 minutes before the polls opened, nearly 100 of my neighbors had already beaten me there. The sight of this line may have discouraged some, but I leaped out of the car and half raced to join my neighbors.

Being a part of the Millennial generation, we're accustomed to digital conversation-the primary mode of conversation being text. If you're not my Facebook friend, I will probably forget your birthday. If I couldn't tweet my frustrations, I don't know how I'd release them! Being able to spend the morning elbow-to-elbow with all of my closest neighbors is a unique opportunity and not one that I was willing to miss!

As my sister and any of my longtime friends will tell you, I could talk a hole into a wall. I like to think I'm getting a little better at listening as I'm aging, but that Tuesday, my chattiness wasn't such a bad characteristic to have.

Once the assigned lines were identified, my husband and I had to split up (seeing how fast my line moved, not changing my last name really paid off!). I ended up standing behind a neighbor who recognized me as “the girl who lives in the house with all of those big dogs.” While I've passed this woman more than once walking our dogs, I did not know anything about her. As the time passed and we continued to wait for our turn to use one of the three voting machines, we shared our stories. By the time our turn had come to vote, we had discovered that we shared a lot more than a neighborhood.

After my ballot was cast, I looped back around to join my husband who had also made a new neighborhood friend. It shouldn't be any surprise that my husband found the one guy in line wearing a South Carolina jacket, who never misses a USC home game and works for a local veterinarian on the weekends. I think we both found our kindred spirit that morning!

I admire the women before me who fought so that my voice could be heard in this election. Not only am I grateful for the opportunity to vote, I am grateful for the opportunity to gather with my neighbors and renew our sense of community. While we may not all see eye-to-eye when it comes to politics, we must remember that we all just want the same thing: we want the best for our families and our community. 

by Jordan Slice, Research Associate, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One Word

It’s November which provides a perfect opportunity to share our thanks.  At the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, we are thankful for the countless youth serving professionals who work diligently on the local level to prevent teen pregnancy.  We are thankful that teen birth rates are the lowest they have ever been in South Carolina, and we are thankful for a very talented staff and supportive Board of Directors.
We know what we are thankful for and why we are excited about continuing our work in this field.  But what we would love to know is what our fans, supporters, and colleagues think about us.  How would you describe the SC Campaign in ONE WORD?  Share your ONE WORD on our Facebook page , Twitter page, or by commenting on this blog.  We really want to know what you think about our work in South Carolina.
We will share the results with you after the Thanksgiving Holiday so be sure to submit your ONE WORD before November 22. 

Thanks for your participation!