How to Become a Hero c.j. hayden
   How to Become a Hero
   You Are the Champion the World Is Waiting For

   C.J. Hayden, MCC

Home | Resources | About C.J. | Contact

Don't give until it hurts; give until it makes you feel good 

For the past month, I've been deeply involved in four different Katrina relief projects: the directory on the "Hero" site of corporate and celebrity donors who will match your aid donations, the Get Hired Now! project to provide free job club kits to relief agencies serving unemployed Katrina survivors, the Volunteers for Careers project to offer free career coaching and resume writing to Katrina survivors, and the beginnings of a fourth project to aid economic recovery in New Orleans.

What I'm finding remarkable about this turn of events is that before Hurricane Katrina struck, I would have told you I was much too busy to take on any additional projects. And yet, somehow, I found the time for four.

At first, I found myself feeling quite overwhelmed. How could I possibly take on all this and still find time to work, eat, sleep, and squeeze in a little down time? But gradually, I began to adjust. Some things slid down the priority list and didn't get done (laundry, for example). Others got done more quickly and less thoroughly than usual (like reading the mail). I also found myself delegating more. As media chair for Volunteers for Careers, I sent out over 700 press releases, and made about 300 phone calls to media outlets. Only I didn't do it. Instead, because I didn't have anywhere near enough time to do all that, I found myself recruiting a team of five people to send the releases and make the calls. So it got done in two days, instead of taking two weeks and all of my time.

As a result of all this high-speed activity focused on making a difference quickly, I notice that instead of feeling exhausted, I feel energized. This increased volume of work and added responsibility isn't making me suffer; it's making me feel good. I can see that my efforts are contributing something valuable to the lives of others, and that in turn is contributing to my own wellbeing. So what might my experience suggest to you about some of the good works you have been putting off doing?

My thanks to everyone who contributed to hurricane relief through one of the matching donors I have been promoting. It's because of you that most of these offers have been fully funded, doubling the level of contributions available for aid to Katrina survivors. If you have a few more dollars available to give, there are some offers still available where you can have your relief contribution matched by someone with deeper pockets. For example, Barry Manilow is still accepting contributions on his foundation's web site, and promising to do additional fundraising if necessary to continue matching every dollar you give.

Thanks also to everyone who has signed up to volunteer for the Volunteers for Careers project. We have well over 700 career coach volunteers now, and while more are always welcome, our more pressing need is for help with letting people know that this wonderful service exists. If you are a PR or web marketing professional with a couple of hours to spare, please email me if you would like to help.

Labels: ,

Volunteers for Careers need your help 

Career coaches, counselors, resume writers, and PR professionals, your help is needed. More than houses and lives were swept away by Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of jobs -- impacting people’s livelihood and sense of purpose -- were also destroyed in Katrina’s wake. Last week alone, new unemployment claims jumped by 78,000. Thousands of men and women (white-collar and blue-collar alike) are now dealing with the reality of unexpected job loss.

Volunteers For Careers was originated by leaders of Professional Resume Writing & Research Association, National Resume Writers’ Association, and Career Masters Institute following the tragedy of 9/11. Now this volunteer coalition has been re-launched with the support of leaders of additional career organizations across the country, including the Association of Career Professionals International, the Association of Online Career and Resume Professionals, the National Career Development Association, and Parachute Associates.

Here’s what you can do to help:

1. Register with us to offer your expertise to those in need. Go to and click "Become a Volunteer." You can register to help in one or more of these areas: resume writing, job search strategy, and/or career transition. We helped several thousand job seekers in response to 9/11. Let’s see if we can top those numbers this time, so that we can meet our goal of assisting more than 10,000!

2. Share your expertise and network with those coordinating this initiative. After you've registered as a volunteer, please visit where you can contribute to a committee (media, public agency outreach, volunteer liaison, etc.), as well as post ideas, contacts, resources, and other information that will help us to get the word out and build momentum.

3. PR professionals, we need your help in spreading the word about this no-cost offer to people in need. We have media tools prepared and spokespeople ready, but need some pinpoint assistance in identifying and contacting specific media outlets. Please email me if you can help, even if only for an hour or two.

4. Forward this email to your career or PR colleagues who might not have received it.

5. If you have contacts at any organizations that are helping Katrina victims and think they might be willing to add Volunteers For Careers to their resource list, please send them a quick email asking for their assistance and directing them to

Volunteers can register to serve only one client or as many clients as you like. (After registering, you can also request additional job-seekers at a later date if you find that your schedule will accommodate more Katrina clients.) Once a client match has been made by the Volunteers for Careers system, you will receive an email providing contact information so that you can get in touch with your client. In most cases, services will be provided long-distance.

Because of the extensive scope of need, this is CAREER TRIAGE! You are not expected to provide long-term, in-depth services. Our goal is to help people get back to work as fast as possible!

Thank you for giving of your time and talents to make a difference in the lives of individuals who have experienced job loss as a result of Hurricane Katrina. We look forward to hearing the success stories of how our efforts made a difference and impacted the lives of our fellow citizens!

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead

Labels: ,

Imagine all the people living life in peace 

On today's fourth anniversary of the Sept 11th tragedy, the first song I heard on the radio was John Lennon's Imagine. Singing along alone in my car, I heard the lyrics as if for the first time instead of the thousandth. It felt as if I were singing a hymn in remembrance of the lives taken by both the Sept 11th attack and by Hurricane Katrina. "Imagine all the people living life in peace...Imagine all the people sharing all the world."

As the World Trade Center attacks exposed to us the deep conflicts that still exist between nations, Hurricane Katrina has revealed some of the profound social divisions within our own nation.

Remembering my personal commitment during these difficult days to positive action and hope, as opposed to criticism and despair, I sang out Lennon's last verse -- no longer as a memorial hymn, but an anthem for would-be heroes everywhere. "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us, and the world will live as one." Just imagine.

Technorati tags:


An invitation to heroism 

In author Debbie Ford's latest newsletter, she shares these thoughts about aiding victims of Hurricane Katrina: "Many people give so much to so many, already. Perhaps you're one of them. It may not be appropriate for you to do more than you already have done in this situation. But if you too feel that ache, keep looking. Maybe there is more to give - and in ways that may surprise you... today I will search until I find a time and place to donate my skills so that I can join forces with the heroes who are giving of themselves so selflessly in this hour of need. There is a hero alive in each one of us. Heroes focus on what can be done rather than what wasn't done. Heroes take themselves out of their comfort zone in order to make someone else comfortable. Heroes open up their homes and their hearts to those in need... Today one small choice, one action, can make you someone else's hero."

There's no requirement that you do more. We all have our own lives, concerns, and challenges, which may already be great. But Debbie's words are an invitation to look one more time and see what else and where else you may be able to contribute. You may have already given money (and if not, please see my list of organizations which are matching donations made for flood aid). But if you have a little time, check with VolunteerMatch, the "volunteers" section of your local Craigslist, your favorite local charity, your professional association, or your church to see where just a few hours could make a difference.

Technorati tags: , ,

Labels: , ,

What one person can do 

First, thanks to everyone who has sent me updates to my list of organizations who are matching donations made by individuals to Hurricane Katrina flood aid. The list is growing daily, and your efforts are helping to encourage more people to donate cash and making sure each of these generous corporate offers is fully used. Keep 'em coming.

Many heroes are emerging in the relief effort, and I've been finding inspiration in stories about people who are finding a place they can make a difference, and just doing it.

On CNN last night, I watched an interview with three Duke University students who couldn't stand to watch so many people suffering, so they drove to New Orleans and evacuated seven survivors in their car.

In Southern California, Sidney Ray organized a group of people in just six days to fill twelve semi trailers with donations for Katrina victims. Her idea is now being duplicated in Washington DC, West Palm Beach, FL, and Chicago.

A six-year-old boy looked after a group of six other children aged five months to three years who had all been stranded in downtown New Orleans after they were separated from their parents during evacuation.

Four youngsters in Norwalk, CT raised $11,000 for relief with a bake sale where they sold chocolate chip cookies for as much as $250.

Twenty-year-old Jabbar Gibson commandeered a New Orleans school bus and drove 60 or so survivors to Houston, picking up stranded people along the way.

Let these stories inspire you, too, to find something that one person can do, and make it happen.

Technorati tags: , ,

Labels: , ,

Heroes in the wake of Katrina 

The magnitude of the human disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina begs for the emergence of heroes. The anguish of over a million people displaced from their homes and grieving is calling to us to step into our own heroism and do what we can. There are many conversations taking place in the media and in our homes and workplaces about what went wrong with the relief effort and who is responsible. While I, too, am both sad and angry about this, where I am choosing to focus my energy now is to how we can help those who are still suffering.

For every story of personal tragedy and government incompetence, there is a story of inspiration like this one. Across the country and around the world, individuals are finding ways to take positive action. As I wrote recently on the topic of optimism in bad times, this is the direction I would invite all would-be heroes to look in the coming days and weeks.

As my own contribution to relief efforts, I will continue to update my list of organizations matching donations made to Katrina flood aid, so people who wish to contribute funds to this massive effort can double their gift. If you have a relief project you would like to publicize or a inspirational story about those who are helping, please post a comment.

Technorati tags: , ,

Labels: , ,

Double your aid to hurricane victims 

Watching the news over the last few days about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I have been shocked, saddened, frustrated and angry about the slowness of relief efforts to reach thousands of people who are in danger and suffering. Everyone I talk to seems to feel the same. One of the best remedies I know for this type of righteous anger is taking action. By doing what you personally can to change the situation, you can channel your frustration in a productive direction.

** UPDATED SEPT. 29 **

The primary need right now is for cash donations. The devastated area of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama is approximately the size of Great Britain. Over half a million one million people are currently refugees displaced citizens. They have lost not only their homes, possessions, and jobs, but friends and family members. The communities they lived in no longer exist. It's not just the buildings that are gone, but roads, water lines, sewer systems, electricity, and phone service. Rebuilding this infrastructure will take billions of dollars and many, many months. And meanwhile, all these people will need housing, food, clothing, and resettlement assistance.

Many sources have been urging us to donate what we can to flood aid for the Gulf Coast, and reminding us that many employers are willing to match our contributions. If you work for an organization that will be matching donations, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to double your contribution. But what about those of us who are self-employed or work for companies without matching gift programs? How can we get our donations matched by a corporate donor?

Please spread the word to your self-employed friends and others that many corporations are extending their donation matching programs for Katrina relief to customers and members as well as their employees. Be sure to watch your email and media ads for offers like this from companies that you do business with. Here are a few many matching programs I've been able to discover. If you know of more groups that are matching donations, please post a comment here with the details.

*UPDATED* McDonald's will match donations made to to the Ronald McDonald House Charities canisters in their restaurants and to McDonald’s Family Charity up to $2 million and dedicate all funds to relief efforts. This offer ends Oct. 2.

*UPDATED* Best Buy will match donations to the Red Cross made in-store or online via their site up to a total of $2 million. This offer ends Sept. 30. has met their matching goal.

*UPDATED* Lowe's stores will match in-store customer donations to the Red Cross up to a total of $2 million. have met their matching goal, although they will continue to accept donations through Sept. 30.

*UPDATED* Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will make a 50% match of all member donations to Lutheran Disaster Response, ELCA Domestic Disaster Response, LCMS World Relief/Human Care and WELS Committee on Relief up to $2 million.

*UPDATED* McCormick Tribune Foundation will make a 50% match of donations made through them to a group of local aid agencies up to $2 million. has met its matching goal, although they are still accepting donations.

*UPDATED* Macy's , Federated, and May Department Stores will match customer donations made at their stores or over the phone up to a total of $1.5 million for customer and employee donations combined. Donations will be split between the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. have met their matching goal, although they are still accepting donations.

*UPDATED* Whole Foods Market will match in-store donations to the Red Cross up to $1 million. has reached their matching goal.

*UPDATED* Financial services firm Edward Jones will match customer donations made to the Red Cross up to a total of $1 million for customer and employee donations combined. is not matching donations as previously reported. The company donated $1 million directly.

Albertson's stores, including Acme, Shaw's, Jewel-Osco, Sav-on Drugs, Osco Drug, Star Market, Super Saver, and Bristol Farms will match customer donations made in stores to the Red Cross up to a total of $1 million for customer and employee donations combined.

Colorado Gay and Lesbian Fund will match donations made by any Colorado resident to the Red Cross via their website up to $1 million.

*UPDATED* The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Warner Bros. Entertainment will match contributions to the Red Cross made via the show's web site up to $500,000. has met its matching goal, although they are still accepting donations.

*NEW* Advanta business credit card customers can have their donations matched to the Red Cross, Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, Alabama Governor's Emergency Relief Fund, Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, or Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund up to a total of $500,000 through Nov 30, 2005.

*UPDATED* Sears and Kmart will match customer donations to the Red Cross made at Sears and Kmart stores up to $500,000. have met their matching goal.

*UPDATED* Dave Biggers, founder of A La Mode, will personally match $250,000 of donations made to the Red Cross at their site. has met his matching goal.

Quixtar will match $250,000 of donations to the Red Cross made at their site.

Big Y Foods in MA and CT will match contributions to the Red Cross made at their stores up to $100,000.

*UPDATED* Barry Manilow will double-match contributions made to the Red Cross through the Manilow Fund both online and by check. Barry will personally match contributions up to $50,000 and the fund will also match up to $50,000, so your donation will be tripled. has already double-matched $100,000 in contributions, and will now single-match additional contributions made to hurricane relief through the Manilow Fund, online or by check, until their funds run out.

Fresh Market stores in the Southeast U.S. will match in-store donations to the Red Cross up to $50,000.

Boost Mobile will match donations to the Red Cross made by their wireless phone customers up to $50,000.

Wawa stores in DE, MD, PA, NJ, and VA will match in-store donations to the Red Cross up to $50,000.

*UPDATED* Sovereign Bank in the Mid-Atlantic and NewEngland regions will match donations to the Red Cross made at its banking offices up to $50,000. $100,000.

Commerce Bank in Philadelphia, New York, and DC will match contributions to the Red Cross up to $50,000 for users of its Penny Arcade coin-counting machines.

Price Chopper stores in NY, PA, VT, CT, MA, and NH will match customer donations to the Red Cross up to $50,000.

BI-LO, Bruno's, Food World and Food Max stores in Alabama, the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee will match customer donations made to the Red Cross at checkout up to $25,000.

Scott's Food & Pharmacy in Fort Wayne, IN will match in-store donations to the Red Cross up to $20,000.

Quilters Comfort America will match donations made by quilters to the Red Cross via any method up to $10,000. has met their matching goal.

*UPDATED* Reseller Ratings will match contributions made to the Red Cross via their web site up to $10,000. has met its matching goal.

Hollywood Super Markets in Detroit will match donations made to the Salvation Army at their stores up to $10,000.

*UPDATED* Strengthen the Good will match all donations made to the Red Cross at their web site up to $3,200 $4,550 $5,000. This total is increasing as individuals contribute their own matching funds here. has met their matching goal.

Hornbacher's stores in Fargo, ND will match customer donations to the Red Cross up to an unspecified limit.

Daybreak Lavender Farm will make a 200% match of donations to the Red Cross by web site customers at checkout. No limit was specified.

Panera Bread in New Hampshire will match donations to the Salvation Army made at their stores. No limit was specified.

Television without Pity will match donations made through their web site for Classroom Care Packages being organized by DonorsChoose. No limit was specified. has ended their matching campaign after raising $30,000.

Try to take advantage of one of these offers to double the amount of your donation. But regardless of how you donate, please give what you can.

My thanks to N.Z. Bear's The Truth Laid Bear for encouraging all bloggers to focus their efforts this weekend on Katrina relief. If you make a contribution as a result of reading this post, please add your contribution to his log of donations made by blog readers.

Technorati tags: , ,


Home | Resources | About C.J. | Contact