Celebrate My Birthday By Helping Beth Kanter Celebrate Hers!

Visual Insight guru Eileen Clegg sent me this lovely card (at left) along with a sweet sentiment about “trips around the sun” prompting a recall of a kindergarten tradition I want to share, where kids literally walk around a circular table as the teacher reads one sentence milestones capsulizing the child’s first five or six trips around the sun. (parents write them, and kids feel SO special sharing their lives with classmates; see sample after the jump, along w/the cool Jimmy Buffett video)

So yes, today IS my birthday, and I’m celebrating it by meeting Beth Kanter’s birthday challenge to drum up funds before HER birthday on Jan. 11. BETH turns 52, and will match it with $520 if she gets her $10/pp amount, so I decided to invert the 52 to 25 (tight times here at Shaping Youth) and pay it forward to my own alliances in the hopes of bringing some fresh faces to HER cause and learn more about Facebook from Beth to boot! (She’s already made $1206! And I didn’t even know there was a ‘Birthday cause app’ on FB’ I just used the normal ‘Sharing Foundation’ cause, oops!)

I chose social media to highlight my bday this year when I’m usually dodging same, because it’s given me a chance to think about the power of media used to brighten people’s lives

Whether it’s the Caring Bridge.org for illness and recovery, Peets eCups for ‘a cuppa cocoa’ to warm a heart, a bday coupon for retail freebies/discounts, an MP3 song sent via Skype, e-cards for whimsy, or virtual actions translating to real life causes like ChangingthePresent.org or Beth’s Sharing Foundation for Cambodian kids! As I said on my Facebook outreach for Beth Kanter via ‘status bar’ and cause links…

“I DO realize I need to create my OWN cause/cash for Shaping Youth, and that’s a resolution for 2009 but for now…let’s see how this works for Beth!” She’s the queen of social media and I’ve learned SO much from her open source sharing of best practices for nonprofits that it’s the least I can do to help her out! Join me for ten? It’s my b-day wish.”

So pitch in for her if you can, okay?

Digital media is an amazingly powerful conduit with instantaneous reverb and an incredible force field of camaraderie…B-day example today?

Bill Daul, our NextNow Collaboratory brainiac must’ve sent a ‘shout out’ to core pals in the group, as my very quiet day just shifted to a deluge of well wishers in nanoseconds! Just think of what that flood of goodwill can do to raise the spirits of someone in need, or mobilize a rally with ‘Smart Mob’ impact.

It can be as simple as a ‘hey’ or as sophisticated as a recent SURPRISE that went live on Drew’s “Secret Worldwide Birthday” for Age of Conversation Editor Drew McClellan, planned and executed by our OTHER illustrious Editor, Gavin Heaton…who hosted the entire microsite/URL for Drew behind his back!

Gavin clued in all of the authors and other digerati to surprise him with greetings, Flickr photo uploads, videos, virtual presence and the works, depending on the level of social media sophistication AND he tiered it so it was idiot-proof. (thank you for that, Gavin, I appreciate the lowest common denominator level of participation, I have so much to learn from you all!)

Anyway…just THINK of all of the positive ways we have yet to even scrape the surface in making these connections…From widgets for preventive care (I think Ypulse was cooking up an outreach widget for teen depression or maybe suicide prevention resources if I recall?)

Well, I could also see ‘wellness widgets’ being magic for senior webheads too, like Dorothy at Grammology, or ‘Grampa Ken’ at Social Fix tied to anything from Health 2.0 forums to genealogy/family trees, sage wisdom, inter-generational hand-me-down advice, etc.

Then there’s the massive impact of global understanding, unity and eco-alliances that can multiply like rabbits for peace.

Simi Raheal, my dear friend and roomie from Pakistan in our Women Leaders for the World yahoo group just sent out a poignant 2009 Hope for the New Year reminder, “may we coexist in peace and harmony”… particularly relevant given the recent current affairs and so many of our other GWLN.org sisters in the group from India…

Now, before my pithy pals break into a chorus of Kumbaya, with Pollyanna eyerolls of ‘there she goes again’ Amy’s on one of her ‘hold hands’ sprees…I’ll close and just say this…

If you’re blue about having a birthday, (like this witty 26 year old, K.Crow at ‘Crowcrastination’ who I was thrilled to stumble upon in my Trips Around the Sun tribute to her teacher) then DO consider the vast implications of social media to spread some joy juice…Why? Because:

You’re NOT alone out there, folks. It’s a big planet. And a small world.

We’re all connected.

Now, here’s Mike the Parrothead’s YouTube post of Jimmy Buffett’s Trip Around The Sun, followed by the sample I promised of my daughter’s kindergarten keepsake of her first few Trips Around the Sun, and links to Beth Kanter’s Birthday Challenge so you can get a good feel for her use of social media and her fabulous cause!

K’s Kindergarten Trips Around the Sun: (Quick Tips for Short Trips!)

1.) 0-12 mos: A lot of time on airplanes visiting her grandparents in Hawaii and Rhode Island; brightening their lives with her wide baby blue eyes and we were very thankful she did, as just weeks later, Kallan attended her first funeral, before she was one.

2.) 12-24 months: First international trip to meet up with her teenage Colorado cousins and Hawaii grandparents to play in the surf in Sayulita Mexico; tacos for Thanksgiving dinner.

3.) 24-36 months: Several “firsts”, including first pony ride, ferris wheel, swim lesson, kite, fish, and her first godsister, (Lara) was born. She also had her first ‘teddy bear tea’ where she loved practicing manners so much she even used to say ‘bless you’ to our dogs when they sneezed!

4.) 36-48 months: K’s favorite things: skiboat rides, dancing, ponies, ducklings, and making up stories from her picture dictionary. Just when you’d think she was finished , she’d say….”and THEN…” and create a whole new chapter.

5.) 48-60 months: Went to Disneyland in Nov. so it was all decked out for Xmas, and she fell in love with the magic and twinkling lights of “It’s a small world,” by day: favorite ride was Splash Mountain.

6.) AGE 5: 6th trip around the sun: Started kindergarten and made new friends that she hopes she’ll keep forever! (she celebrated at the halfway point so she’d get a chance to go around the table as she has a summer birthday!)

More Links for Beth Kanter’s Birthday Challenge for the Sharing Foundation

Beth will be 52 years young on January 11th, help her help others, as she always does! πŸ™‚ Each of these posts is chock-full of info you can use and learn by…she’s an ongoing inspiration and I’m proud (ok, honored!) to have her as a friend!

Amy Sample Ward, Birthday Cause Wrap Up
Amy Sample Ward, Birthday Cause: Free Geek
Beth Kanter, My Facebook Birthday Cause
Beth Kanter, My 51st Birthday Challenge
Beth Kanter, You’re Not Going To Ask Us To Give You An Outhouse for Your Birthday?
Beth Kanter, Round Up of Social Birthday Greetings. Social Fundraising. Thank You
Beth Kanter, Celebrate My 50th Birthday
Beth Kanter, How Can We Make Charitable Giving A Year-round Habit?
Beth Kanter, Be A Geek Who Gives
Paul Lamb,  The Year of Living Givingly

Visual Credits:

Trip Around the Sun: Eileen Clegg, our glorious Visual Insight.net recorder of Doug Engelbart’s collaborative knowledge vision as viewed here in Wired magazine among our many NextNow Collaboratory inspirations set on raising the planetary IQ! Woohoo! πŸ˜‰

Dove of Peace: Photobucket, Linda B. 07 photostream



  1. Amy,
    Great post about using social media to market your organization via birthdays. This is fantastic! I also read a bit of Beth Kanter’s blog and she is very interesting, smart, and on the ball. Great inspiration for me as I begin my social media campaign for girls and sports media. I will celebrate yours and her birthdays and give a 10-spot.
    Tootles dawling,

  2. yah, I wish I would’ve read Beth’s most recent post on the FB Bday apps, as I sent a FB blast without it, using her own Sharing Foundation version…ah, well…I learn from her everyday.

    Speaking of learning, we should be at the ‘Social Media Jungle’ for CES in Vegas, we’d learn a ton for our partner orgs…but I have far too many ‘monkeys on my back’ right now to head to the desert to play in the jungle. (not to mention the lack of ‘green!’) πŸ˜‰ Any readers already there that want to cover it for us, pls. ping me here in the comment section…

    We want to hear all about the ‘good the bad and the ugly’ so fire away!

    p.s. Lisa: Here’s the link to the agenda, in case you want to check it out: http://cesweb.org/sessions/search trackDetail.asp?ID_track=SMJ_CES09

    And the main site for kids: http://kidsatplaysummit.com

  3. Happy Birthday!!! A bit late, sorry. Stopping by to say hello and see what you are posting on.

  4. Hey Beth, great to hear from you! Will find you on FB and see what you’re posting on lately too…Can’t wait to share some info on a Virtual Nutrition project we’re working on! More soon, Amy

  5. Reporting in here on Beth’s success yesterday (once again!) She’s truly amazing…Further proving that social media + humanitarian interests + caring people can rock the world!

    Get this:

    “Thank you so much for helping us meet the donor match by my birthday on January 11th. In total, we raised $6255 from 161 donors. That money will send 625 Cambodian youngsters to school!

    What a birthday!

    In Roteang Village, where the Sharing Foundation has programs that help over 1,500 children each and every day, there was a birthday bash at the orphanage for the 70 plus children. The Sharing Foundation hosts an annual, for-everybody-at-once Birthday party, with cake, fruit, and soda. This year the girls each received a handmade doll by two women from a nursing home in Massachusetts and the boys got matchbox cards donated by a local Cub Scout Troop, along with handmade birthday cards.
    (Photo here: http://tinyurl.com/a2oxw4)

    We raised enough to cover the cost of school uniforms for 625 Cambodian youngsters. Many children in Cambodia do not go to school because their families lack the $10 for a uniform, required for school attendance. Last year, the Sharing Foundation’s sewing school, a vocational training program, made over 1250 uniform sets and donated them to needy children in Roteang Village, to the Street Children’s Assistance NGO, and to a poor government orphanage. The sewing girls, who are employed by the Sharing Foundation’s vocational training program, earn from the first day of their training, so this is a win-win situation.

    Thank you again for donations and support. If you want to receive email reports on how the money is being spent and the results, please subscribe to the Sharing Foundation’s email newsletter (http://www.sharingfoundation.org).

    I also serve on the board, so if you have any questions about this fantastic nonprofit organization and its work in country, please feel free to contact me.

    Again, my heartfelt thanks.

    Beth Kanter
    Beth’s Blog
    Sharing Foundation Board Member

  6. I deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness, support, and caring you’ve shown to the Sharing Foundation and the children of Cambodia. You made my year!

    Beth Kanter’s last blog post..My First Grade Teacher Friended Me on Facebook

  7. And you, mine, Beth…your awesome work inspires me to ‘keep on keepin’ on! πŸ™‚ Thanks for all you do for kids everywhere! Are you goin’ to She’s Geeky this year? Can’t believe it’s already been a year since we convened! yowza.

    Amy Jussel’s last blog post..Techno-Leaders Converge at She’s Geeky Jan. 30-31, 2009!

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