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Giving Back

Ways to give back to our world

When I write a book about a polar bear, or girls with disabilities who love to dance, my ideas don’t just spring out of my imagination. I’m responding to wonderful things in the world around me. So I feel it’s important to give back to the world that gives me so much. Polar bears give me joy, and I want to give my support back to them. The five young ballerinas I met in writing Ballerina Dreams bring me much happiness, and I want to find ways to help them, and children like them, find happiness, too. For each of my books, I try to find ways to give back, through informing myself, writing letters or taking other small actions, and giving financial support.

If you enjoy my books, I hope you will consider giving back to the world that makes it all possible. Here are some organizations that I believe make a difference:

To help polar bears and other endangered species

There are many organizations doing research on and advocating for wildlife. Polar bears are endangered primarily by global warming; many groups are working to inform people about how to slow global warming, and every little thing we do to use less electricity and fuel makes a difference. OneWorld.org is one place where kids and adults can find out more.

Also consider Global Kids, Inc., an outreach program based in New York City that educates school children about world issues and gives them the tools to be eloquent advocates for the future of our planet.

To help children

In many societies, the best way to help children have healthier and happier lives is to help their mothers have healthier and happier lives — especially where it is difficult for girls to go to school, and for women to earn and keep their own money. Where women cannot take out traditional loans from banks, organizations like the Women’s World Bank help women start up their own very small businesses. Through their own banks, women can take out micro-loans to purchase a few goats, in order to sell their milk, or a portable stove in order to make and sell tortillas at a market.

Another way to help families and children is through Heifer Project International, Inc., which uses donations to give a cow, goat, or brood of chicks to families in need around the world.

The Seva Foundation works in the US and around the world, building safe water supply systems, providing preventive medical care, and helping communities to be self-sufficient. These services help children and their families have better lives.

To help children with disabilities

Dancing Dreams is the dance program of Joann Ferrara, the physical therapist and dance instructor featured in Ballerina Dreams. Visit her website to learn about her work and how you can help.

Children who have visible or invisible disabilities can gain much hope and encouragement from seeing others like them doing what might seem impossible. The Axis Dance Company, based in California but performing across the country, features several dancers who perform in wheelchairs.

Look for more Giving Back ideas soon!

With heartfelt thanks,

Lauren Thompson