Cecilia Rosales Ph.D.

Giving with purpose and gusto

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As a child, the most memorable lesson in giving I learned from my mother. Every day after lunchtime, she would make tacos out of leftovers and wrap them tightly in napkins and aluminum foil. Then, she would ask one of us kids to answer the door and hand the tacos to the homeless people whom she had befriended and invariably made their rounds by our house hoping to get something to eat.

Our house was a taco kitchen of sorts. During the cold winter months, if we had enough, she offered los pobres a bowl of soup and invited them to eat it on our porch. She sent them on their way with a new or gently used sweater, or a pair of new socks; she bought lots of socks for the poor as she thought– and still thinks – you can catch pneumonia if your feet get cold. While her efforts didn’t change the world, they did change a lot of people’s lives and needless to say, provided me learning and humbling experience.

In that spirit, we devote this month’s issue to socially responsible giving. Because really, how many of those on your holiday shopping list need an imported silk tie? And how many stores are you willing to visit as you hunt for that ever-elusive bueno, bonito y barato deal?

Instead, we suggest stimulating the local economy, forgoing the huge carbon footprint and buying locally produced goods; even better are the gifts that matter and that keep giving.

As of press time, analysts estimate holiday shoppers spent $10.69 billion on Black Friday alone. Because we know everyone is out looking for a bargain, we have compiled some game-changing options for you to do good and look good in the eyes of your friends and loved ones by donating to a local charity on their behalf. There are more than 20,000 nonprofits in our state – see pages 20-22 for some options.

If you need something special for the office holiday gift exchange, a set of greeting cards beautifully illustrated by cancer patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital retails for only $10.00 and benefit the hospital’s research program as well as the young patients and their families.

Another great gift option is a copy of the book One Raspberry by Holocaust survivor and Valley resident Gerda Weissmann Klein, who next month will receive the presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama. The book sales benefit Ryan House, a local nonprofit (see p. 14).

But perhaps one of the best gifts we can give is to give of ourselves. As Rosa Cays shares in the feature story “Allies for the Children,” there are many kids in our state who could benefit from Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). CASAs are ordinary people like you and me who can speak before the court and look after the best interests of a neglected or abused child like Cassandra, who despite enduring harrowing abuse, has found the strength to carry on and is grateful for the support she received from Vicki Musen, her advocate.

The young men of ASU’s Omega Delta Phi are stepping up to the plate to raise awareness and resources and recruit more volunteers for the Maricopa CASA program. We hope Cassandra’s story and the work of Omega Delta Phi will inspire you to act and to give.

Paz, salud y amor.

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