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

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The hero's holiday shopping guide 

The holiday shopping season is upon us, so it's time once again for what has become an annual feature in this blog – suggestions for how your gift-buying dollars can help to make the world a better place. By making your purchases from fair trade organizations, nonprofit collectives, social enterprises, and other worthy causes, you can give a gift to the people on your list and the global community at the same time. Here are some ideas:

The Culture Shop - Buy jewelry, accessories, textiles, and home decor created by indigenous craftspeople around the world. Everything in their catalog has been purchased according to Fair Trade Federation standards

Global Girlfriend - Organic cotton clothing, recycled plastic accessories, and natural bath products are available online from this Fair Trade boutique. Their goods are made by women's non-profit programs, women's cooperatives worldwide and products that benefit women's human rights.

Greyston Bakery - Order brownies and blondies for shipping nationwide from this social enterprise in Yonkers, NY that gives jobs and job training to the chronically unemployed. Greyston is the sole supplier of brownies to Ben & Jerry's, and profits from the bakery support community development initiatives, including low-income housing, childcare, health services, and technology education.

Humane Society - For the pet or pet-lover on your list, shop at the Humane Domain, where you can buy dog sweaters in team colors, kitty hammocks, dog or cat pajamas, and lots more. Proceeds benefit the Humane Society's animal welfare programs.

Rosie's Place - Purchase jewelry and accessories made from unique and vintage buttons, made by the Women's Craft Cooperative. Rosie's place serves poor and homeless women in Boston, providing emergency and long-term assistance with housing, food, health care, and education.

Shop New Orleans - You can help with Gulf Coast recovery by purchasing gifts from the artists, craftspeople, and nonprofits struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina. The Carnival of Hurricane Relief has assembled this collection, which includes designs from the New Orleans Craft Mafia, Christmas note cards from Southern Creations, and prints of paintings salvaged from the destroyed Biloxi Maritime Museum.

Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates - Buy organic Fair Trade chocolate bars, caramels, truffles, cocoa mix, and more at wholesale prices. Orders from individuals are welcome on Sweet Earth's website.

Trails to Bridges - Beautiful handbags, baskets, pottery, scarves, jewelry, and more are available from this faith-based venture that supports disadvantaged artisans worldwide with Fair Trade practices.

Global Giving Gift Certificates - Allow the people on your gift list to donate to the cause of their choice by giving them a donation gift certificate. With Global Giving, you can buy a certificate in any amount of $10 or more, and the recipient can choose what project or organization your gift will be donated to by browsing a project catalog indexed by theme and global region.

For even more suggestions, check out last year's guide for where to buy gift baskets, baby clothes, bath salts, soup mixes, and much more. Make a difference with your dollars this holiday season.

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To make a difference, be bold 

In the Skoll Foundation’s Social Edge newsletter this week, I discovered the book Be Bold by Cheryl L. Dorsey and Lara Galinsky. “The urge to live a life of meaning,” the authors say, “is one of our most elemental desires as human beings. We want to make a difference in the world; we need to leave our footprint in the sands of time to mark our existence. By honoring the beliefs and values we hold dear, we allow ourselves to live lives that matter.”

In less than 100 pages, Dorsey and Galinsky share powerful concepts like having the “gall to think big” and choosing to be “bold as a career choice.” They remind us: “Never forget that doing nothing is as much a choice as doing something. Choosing to get engaged in a cause that you deeply care about or launching a career in the nonprofit sector are not only courageous acts of service, but also the most powerful weapon against the horrors and injustices of the world that require indifference, inaction, and silence to thrive.”

You can download at no charge the preface and introduction to the book, as well as a Be Bold personal journal, from the Be Bold website if you join their free virtual community of readers and social change advocates. Be Bold carries a valuable and timely message to would-be heroes everywhere.

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Heroes brought women the right to vote 

Alice Paul and Lucy Burns should fit anyone's definition of a hero. In 1913, they formed the Congressional Union for Women Suffrage and three years later, the National Woman's Party, to bring women the right to vote. They first received national attention for their efforts when they organized a parade of 8,000 women suffragists -- the largest parade ever seen at that time -- on the eve of President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration. In 1917, they staged the first-ever political protest to picket the White House. They pioneered the use of nonviolent civil disobedience in the U.S.

During their twelve-year struggle for women's suffrage, Paul and Burns were imprisoned, beaten, cruelly mistreated, and tortured by prison guards. Their arrests were for no worse crimes than picketing and "obstructing sidewalks." They were feared and despised by many men of their time, and were opposed by not only conservative women but also by other suffragettes who preferred less militant tactics. Prison officials attempted to have Paul declared insane, claiming she suffered from a "mania of persecution." But despite every attempt to stop them, Paul and Burns kept up the fight. In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally passed, and U.S. women voted for the first time in that November's presidential election.

Today on the 86th anniversary of that historic vote, whether you are a man or a woman, please join me in honoring the victory of these two heroes by casting your own precious vote for the candidates and issues of your choice.

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