Easy Ways to Give Back

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – There are people all over the world who are struggling and in need of help. One could be right next door. While it’s not always possible to help out financially, or donate a large amount of time to a cause, there are easy ways to perform simple acts of kindness every day. Not only does the person performing the good deed feel great, but these small gestures add up to make a big difference.
Contribute to the community with these simple deeds:
* Gather gently used books. Contact schools, libraries and other institutions, such as hospitals and senior centers, to see if books are needed. Involve a book club or other community organization to increase the donation.
* Call area schools and ask about volunteering. Many schools are looking for mentors and tutors. Depending on each school’s policy, sometimes volunteers need to attend a short training session before starting. For parents, lending time to chaperone a field trip is both fun and rewarding.
* Consider donating blood through an American Red Cross blood drive. The need for blood is constant as approximately every two seconds a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Just one donation can save up to three lives. After each donation, Red Cross donors are treated to Keebler cookies, beverages and other snacks as a way to say “Thank you” for their act of kindness. To learn more about the “Be a Good Cookie. Get a Good Cookie.” campaign and for blood donation eligibility, visit www.redcrossblood.org.
* Head to the local park for a clean-up. Get friends to chip in to help the community as well. Separate trash from recyclable items and dispose of each appropriately. See efforts materialize in a clean green space.
* Organize a clothing drive with co-workers or friends. Schedule home pick-ups for a specific day, and donate gently used clothing to local charitable organizations. You’ll be helping others, and you’ll have more room in your closets.
* Collect those canned fruits and vegetables, and take them to the local food bank. Check with them to see if they have a “wish list” of items that they need. Some of those things, shelf-stable or non-perishable, may already be sitting around your house. It’s also great way organize your pantry.
There are so many ways to give back. Simple acts of kindness are often the most valuable to those in need, and they are the easiest to perform. Whether saving a life, feeding a family or mentoring a student, every kind gesture brings a smile to more than one face.

Four Tips to Help You Look Ready for the Red Carpet

Not everyone gets to walk the red carpet, but life as a non-A-lister still provides plenty of moments in which one wants to shine. Of course, celebrities have personal stylists, trainers, dietitians and image consultants, so it’s impossible for the untrained person to look that good. Right?

Valerie Waters, trainer to the stars, would disagree. “Getting in shape is no different for super stars or super moms; it is all about making your mind up to eat right, snack smart and get active—regardless of whether you are preparing for a movie premiere, your 20-year class reunion or a milestone birthday,” says Waters. “Feeling your best for life’s special occasions is a matter of consistently making wise choices.”

Get Red Carpet Ready in 2011

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Not everyone gets to walk the red carpet, but life as a non-A-lister still provides plenty of moments in which one wants to shine. Of course, celebrities have personal stylists, trainers, dietitians and image consultants, so it’s impossible for the untrained person to look that good. Right?
Valerie Waters, trainer to the stars, would disagree. “Getting in shape is no different for super stars or super moms; it is all about making your mind up to eat right, snack smart and get active — regardless of whether you are preparing for a movie premiere, your 20-year class reunion or a milestone birthday,” says Waters. “Feeling your best for life’s special occasions is a matter of consistently making wise choices.”
Waters has teamed up with California Raisins to offer fitness and health advice. She offers the following tips for making wise choices in 2011:
1. Make a commitment. Every health and fitness journey starts with making daily changes — not just when you can fit them in your schedule. The first step toward achieving your health and fitness goals is simply making the decision to set them.
2. Eat breakfast every day. Beginning your day with a nutritious meal jump starts your metabolism and sets you up for eating right the whole day. For healthy breakfasts that don’t take much time, try plain instant oatmeal with one scoop of chocolate protein powder and a tablespoon of raisins or a piece of whole-grain toast with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter and banana slices.
3. Snack smart. No workout in the world can compensate for consistent unhealthy eating choices. Plan ahead and make nutritious lunch and snacks that include plenty of veggies, whole grains and fruits. Raisins are a great on-the-go snack; just a quarter cup of California Raisins equals a full serving of fruit, plus they are fat- and cholesterol-free.
4. Consistency is key. A short workout is better than no workout, so even if you only have 10 minutes to spare, move your coffee table to the side and make some space to do an at-home workout. And when our time is limited, avoid working out only your problem areas, like your stomach. Instead of doing crunches, which burn very few calories, work out as many muscle groups as you can in the time you have available.
For more tips, information and fitness videos, visit the website www.loveyourraisins.com.

For the Red Cross, Quick Alerts Prove Key

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – When disaster strikes, the American Red Cross acts, responding to over 70,000 disasters – fires, hurricanes, chemical spills, explosions, earthquakes, mud slides, tornadoes, transportation accidents – each year.

The Red Cross fulfills people’s needs during such emergencies. The agency provides food, shelter and mental and physical health care for disaster victims. It runs blood drives, feeds volunteers, helps victims pay for basic needs and reunites separated families.

In a disaster, timing becomes vital. The Red Cross must coordinate volunteers and services for disaster relief across America quickly and efficiently.

Like many businesses, schools, banks and government agencies, the Red Cross decided to use the Immediate Response Information Service (IRIS) created by TechRadium, Inc.

When the Red Cross calls or e-mails an alert to IRIS, the system sends messages to the Red Cross’s contacts in 30 seconds. Volunteers, organizers and emergency response teams receive the Red Cross’ messages through their phones, pagers, PDAs, computers and fax machines. IRIS will continue dialing phone numbers until people receive their emergency alert.

IRIS users do not need to buy or install special software. The service translates messages into 10 languages – English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese, German, Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian.

IRIS also proves reliable. The system uses many servers across the U.S. If one server should happen to go down, IRIS will still work.

IRIS aids the American Red Cross, but it can be suitable to any organization of any size. IRIS can quickly distribute nonemergency information, ranging from weather alerts to office closings. It can tell managers about a quickly scheduled meeting or a utility company about a major outage.

Natural and man-made disasters can devastate communities and slow responses to emergencies can cost lives. Americans should feel safe knowing that the Red Cross uses the most advanced alert system to coordinate its relief efforts.

To learn more about IRIS and to view a demonstration, visit www.useiris.com.