Halloween Safety

Tips for a Safe Halloween Night

Halloween, which originated from ancient traditions and religious rituals some 2,000 years ago, is observed around the world as a celebration of candy and mischief, dress-up and dark adventure – and for some the supernatural. It is most popular in the US, Canada and Ireland where it originated.

Tonight millions of children and adults will go out dressed as their favorite hero, or most dreaded villain, to trick-or-treat. Here’s are some basic safety tips to keep in mind while out having fun.

  • Use reflective or lighted materials and items in your costume to increase visibleness at night.
  • Choose makeup over sight obstructing masks for costumes.
  • Trick-or-treat in groups and keep younger children closely supervised.
  • Use sidewalks and crosswalks and make eye contact with drivers before crossing to insure they see you.
  • Put your devices away. Our biggest distractors become more dangerous on a night like Halloween.
  • Drivers, be alert, driving slowly through residential areas and where trick-or-treaters are present.
  • Turn the headlights on early.
  • Turn the cell phone off on this night while driving.

Keep these points in mind to keep the fun safe. Happy Halloween to all our friends celebrating today.

National School Backpack Awareness Day

Practice Backpack Safety

National School Backpack Awareness Day is observed every year on the third Wednesday of September. The awareness day was launched by The American Occupational Therapy Association in 2001 with the goal of encouraging proper backpack use by students. Improper use of backpacks can result in back pain, injuries, and bad posture as well as circulatory and other health issues. This is a great opportunity – now that school is in full swing in the US – to review proper backpack use with the students in you life. Here are some basic tips.

  • Always us both of the straps on a backpack. Slinging a backpack on just one shoulder can lead to pain, injury and bad posture. If the backpack has waist and chest straps, use those too. The waist and chest straps help to distribute the weight of the pack and keep it stable on the body. Well padded straps help to avoid cutting off circulation to the arms.
  • Ensure that the backpack’s size is appropriate for the child. Straps should be adjusted so the pack fits snugly against the child’s back and the pack should be worn high on the back (one or two inches above the hips).
  • A packed backpack should weigh no more than 10% of the child’s body weight. Heaviest items should be packed closest to the back of the pack (near the child’s back) with lighter items toward the front. Check periodically to ensure only essential items are in the backpack.
  • Backpacks should be picked up and put on by bending and lifting with the knees, not the back. If the child is having trouble lifting and putting on the backpack, it is likely too heavy.

Signs of Improper Use

  • Difficulty putting on and taking off the backpack
  • Pain while wearing the backpack
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms while wearing the backpack
  • Red marks on the shoulders where the backpack straps rest
  • Slouching or bad posture while wearing the backpack

The American Occupational Therapy Association has made a comprehensive checklist available for download. You can find it here.

Interesting Fact:

The modern backpack was invented by Gerry Outdoors in 1938 as a recreational tool for hiking and camping. In 1968 JanSport went into business making lightweight nylon backpacks which made them popular with students around the country. Today JanSport is the largest backpack maker in the world.

International Youth Day

International Youth Day

Today is International Youth Day, a day to consider the many difficulties that children face all around the world. From poverty and hunger to war and displacement, children face a wide range of hardships. Children are often the most vulnerable and unable to help themselves. At The BNI Foundation we have spent twenty years doing all we can to help children have access to education. The Business Voices initiative was designed to get business leaders to take action and help students and educational organizations in their own communities. Today there are Business Voices teams in cities all over the globe.

Established in 1999, International Youth Day grew from a United Nations program to bring awareness to the plight of children in need. It began with the first International Year of Youth in 1985 and the implementation in 1995 of the World Programme of Action for Youth which established broad guidelines to improve the world for children. Some of the primary goals of the United Nation’s program are to build a better world for children by focusing on fifteen priority areas including education, armed conflicts and health;  raise awareness about poverty and hunger;  and to encourage creative thinking to approach these problems.

Transforming Education

The theme of International Youth Day in 2019 is “Transforming Education,” which is perfectly aligned with the vision of the BNI Foundation. The United Nations is tying this effort with its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which in part calls for inclusive and equitable quality education for all. Education is essential to achieving sustainable development and can play an important role in eradicating hunger, improving health, increasing gender equality and more.

In observance of International Youth Day and the beginning of classes this month throughout parts of the world, we encourage BNI chapter members and others to participate in activities to benefit students and educational organizations. The Business Voices initiative is an excellent way to organize with your business colleagues and make a real difference in your own community. Visit our website for information and a toolkit that will help you get started and provide ideas for charitable programs. Students and schools all over the world need your help, and that means right in your community as well.

Build-a-Bed

Members of BNI Commonwealth in Louisa, KY teamed up with The Kentucky Credit Union League Ashland Chapter to build beds for those in need for their annual Build-a-Bed project.

The goal is to give beds to school aged children who are forced to sleep on floors, couches, or in beds with multiple other children or family members. This regional Build-a-Bed Project through Morehead State University has provided more than 1,000 beds to children in Eastern Kentucky since it began in 2010. This year the Ashland Build A Bed committee set a goal to build 100 beds, in addition to the 200-bed goal set by MSUCorps AmeriCorps Program.

The Ashland Build-a-Bed Project will serve as a branch of the Build-a-Bed Project through MSUCorps. Ashland Build-a-Bed will build and distribute beds for the FIVCO area that include: Boyd, Carter, Lawrence, Greenup, and Elliot. The Ashland Build-a-Bed is a service project put together by the Kentucky Credit Union League Ashland Chapters which include: Members Choice Credit Union and Ashland Credit Union.

See photos of the envent on our gallery page.

Nelson Mandela, Champion of Education

On July 18 – Nelson Mandela’s birthday – we recognize Nelson Mandela Day. It is a day to reflect on the accomplishments of one of the greatest philanthropists and human rights activists in modern history. Mandela is remembered for his nonviolent anti-apartheid activism (which led to his imprisonment for 27 years) and for becoming the first elected black president of South Africa. In 1993 Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – along with Frederik Willem de Klerk, the last president to serve under the apartheid system – for his work in ending apartheid.

Nelson Mandela was also a great champion of education, believing that it’s power could change the world. His passion for education was a result of his own experiences growing up, and later struggling against, the inequality faced by blacks in South Africa under apartheid. One of his legacies is the founding of the Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development. The institute was set up to help provide quality education for children in impoverished rural areas where infrastructure does not support it. The institute works with communities to refurbish schools and train teachers.

After his time as president – he stepped down in 1999 – Mandela founded the Nelson Mandela Foundation and partnered with UNICEF to create Schools for Africa, a campaign to support education initiatives in 13 African countries. The partnership builds schools, provides supplies to teachers and students, trains teachers, and facilitates access to schools to disadvantaged children. Since it started in 2005, Schools for Africa has helped over 30 million children receive a better education.

Nelson Mandela Day means many things to many people. At the BNI Foundation we honor his commitment and contributions which continue to strengthen the role of education in disadvantaged areas around the world. His work and life are an inspiration to our own mission.

Nelson Mandela on Education in His Own Words

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education. Those who do not believe this have small imaginations.

A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.

No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.

Networking Week

International Networking Week Fundraising at BNI Oregon & SW Washington

The Oregon & SW Washington BNI chapters used International Networking Week as an opportunity to bring members and local business leaders together to raise hundreds for local youth focused non-profits. The first event, a networking mixer in Vancouver, attracted 70 BNI members and local business professionals. All of the proceeds from the event were donated to Bridge the Gap, a nonprofit that provides resources to children in the foster care system.

Next in Portland, a networking mixer brought in over 100 BNI members and local business professionals. This event raised $500 in support of Young Entrepreneurs Business Week. This statewide, Oregon initiative helps to educate youth in business, leadership and teamwork while encouraging them to explore the business world through hands-on experiences.

“It was great to come together to network with local businesses and give back to the community at the same time! BNI Oregon & SW Washington is proud to support Bridge The Gap and Young Entrepreneurs Week,” said Mary Burleson, BNI Oregon & SW Washington’s Regional Communications Coordinator & Chapter Launch Coordinator. Congratulations to everyone involved for a successful couple of events.

National Teacher Appreciation Week

Gifts Ideas for Your Children’s Teachers

The history of National Teacher Appreciation Week starts in 1944 when a Wisconsin teacher named Ryan Krug lobbied political and educational leaders to designate a national day to honor teachers. March 7,1980 was designated the first National Teacher Day by the US Congress. However, they did not make it an annual event and instead set aside just that one day to honor teachers. The National Education Association (NEA) continued to observe National Teacher Day on the first Tuesday of March.

In 1984, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) designated the first full week in March each year as National Teacher Appreciation Week. The National PTA sponsors events on the national, state and local levels to recognize and celebrate all of the hard work teachers do.

Teachers play an important role in the lives and development of our children, often inspiring a love of learning and readying them for success. This is the time to think about ways to show our appreciation, and that is often expressed in the form of a gift. This year give some thought to what your children’s teachers would actually like and present them with a gift that communicates your appreciation. Here are a few ideas to help you think outside the box and go beyond the usual pencil holder or “World’s Best…” coffee mug.

A Letter of Gratitude

Take the time to write a letter about how much your child has learned and grown under their care. Use examples of the ways that your child has become more excited about learning, happier, more confident, etc. Hand write it for a bonus personal touch.

Classroom Supplies

It is no secret that teachers must often reach into their own pockets to make sure their students have the supplies they need to learn. Help ease some of the burden by gifting supplies for the classroom. It is probably a good idea to find out what the teacher needs most ahead of time. Your child may be able to help.

Coffee

Unlike the typical corporate office, not every school makes coffee available for their employees. Coffee shop gift cards are great. Also consider quality coffee beans or pods.

Contact Your Former Teacher

This one is not necessarily about your children’s teachers but is definitely in the spirit of appreciation that National Teacher Appreciation Week encourages. Most teachers would love to catch up with an old student and learn about how they may have influenced a life. You can encourage your kids to do the same. If a visit is impractical, write a note or an email.

These are just some general ideas. Use them as a starting point to come up with the perfect thank you gift for your kids’ teachers. Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week.

Inspiring Films

Inspiring Films For National Volunteer Week

With National Volunteer Week (https://www.pointsoflight.org/nvw/) running from April 7-13, we thought it would be a good time to suggest some inspiring films about giving and charity. The late film critic, Roger Ebert, called movies empathy generating machines for their ability to help viewers connect with others. The films listed here all deal with kindness and the act of giving. They range from an obvious, not to be missed classic, to a couple of less familiar titles.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) has spent years putting his dreams on hold to help others in his town of Bedford Falls. Due to a mistake and the machinations of the film’s antagonist, George finds himself in a desperate situation and contemplating suicide. That is until the angle Clarence appears to show home what the lives’ of his friends and family would have looked like without his generosity. There is a reason this one is a Christmas classic.

Pay It Forward (2000)

Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) is a young boy who becomes inspired by his civics teacher’s assignment to think of something to change the world and put it into action. He comes up with the idea to “pay it forward.” Instead of repaying a good deed, he will do three good deeds for three new people. His project goes on the change his life as well as those of the people close to him.

Millions (2004)

Seven year old Damian is obsessed with Catholic saints and their good deeds, even believing that his deceased mother may have been one herself. When a duffel bag filled with millions of British Pounds crashes into his backyard cardboard fort it puts in motion a story about the power of caring for others. The film occasionally steers into magical realism but is sincere and has an important message.

The Blind Side (2009)

The true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy who take in homeless teenager Michael Oher. Michael was fatherless and his mother was a drug addict. The Touhy’s made sure that Michael had every opportunity they could provide him to succeed. Michael Oher ultimately played NCAA Division I football on a scholarship and became a first round NFL draft pick.

Batkid Begins (2015)

In November, 2013 the Make a Wish Foundation was ready to grant 5 year old cancer patient, Mike Scott’s, dream. He wanted to be Batman for a day. After a few calls were made to get things rolling, the project continued to grow as more and more people got involved;  from the San Francisco mayor, police and Giants baseball team to a Hollywood effects studio, President Barack Obama and more. Ultimately, the event became a city-wide roleplaying narrative game the had Batkid running around the city, with an adult Batman sidekick, fighting crime.

Each of these inspiring films reminds us of the power of giving of ourselves to benefit the lives of others. Queue one this weekend and get inspired to do some good during National Volunteer Week, and beyond.

Givers Gain Grants

Givers Gain® Grants Awarded to Five Deserving Organizations

This year’s winter round of Givers Gain® Grants have been awarded. Every year the BNI Foundation awards at least ten $1,000 grants to schools and educational organizations for projects that will benefit students. To qualify the school or organization must be associated with one of our Business Voices teams. Here are this year’s winners.

Swift Youth Foundation in Scottsdale, AZ

The Swift Youth Foundation was founded in 1980 to provide a camping experience to children who would otherwise be unable to afford it. The organization works to empower teens to make a positive difference in their own lives and communities by developing leadership skills and instilling a commitment to social action.

Horizon House in Philadelphia, PA

Started in 1952 as a support group for former mental health patients, Horizon House is committed to helping individuals live a fulfilling life in their communities. There PEACE program helps young people deal with early psychosis. 

Just for Girls in West Bradenton, FL

Just for Girls makes a positive impact on young women through prevention education, academic support, character development, and personal enrichment. They provide before and after school programs as well as education programs for K-8th grade that help girls map a new path to success, find their personal inspiration, and increase their grades. 

Investing in Kids, St. Augustine

INK works to provide scholarships, innovative programs and classroom resources to the students of the Saint Johns County public school system.

Carlson School 

Building Blocks School

Congratulations to all of the recipients. We look forward to learning more about the programs the Givers Gain® Grants will fund.

BNI Global Convention 2018

BNI Global Convention 2018 – Bangkok Thailand

A Word From BNI Foundation Vice Chair, David Kauffman

We had a GREAT convention and I would like to thank all of those who supported the foundation at this historic event!

 A number of our supporters flew in early and visited the Friends of Thai Daughters, a charity that the BNI Foundation supports. They were able to visit with many of the girls and help distribute needed supplies to a few of the local villages. We were also honored that 3 of the girls were able to attend our Gala event. Through the generosity of the 1200 attendees we raised over $36,000 USD for the BNI Foundation that we immediately donated to Friends of Thai Daughters to make sure the girls have continued support.

I would also like to thank the following authors for donating a portion of every book sold at our booth. Norm Dominguez, The Magic of Positivity, YP Lai and Paulo Corsi, Networking Quotient. We sold hundreds of copies of each.

The Foundation gave out several awards to countries and directors with outstanding Business Voices teams. The BNI Foundation Award of Excellence was given to team BNI Canada and BNI Japan. While the Ivan Misner Excellence in Giving Award went to Monica Passini and Dario Castagna from team Italy. Team Italy held a Business Voices awards banquet this year to celebrate their 18 teams and had over 500 members in attendance. Their teams accomplished over 80 projects this year including insulating schools to keep the environment quiet and conducive to learning. They held a number of medical screenings at local schools and taught over 1000 children about dental hygiene.

From the main stage in conjunction with our round tables and breakout sessions we were able to raise global awareness about the BNI Foundation and Business Voices (our boots on the ground program). Members and directors learned how the BNI Foundation belongs to them and how they could get involved and truly make a difference in a child’s life! See photos from the BNI Global Convention in our gallery.

We are working hard to grow the foundation and hope to be in at least 6 new countries before the next Global Convention in Warsaw next year. The Business Voices teams around the world keep growing, even in countries that do not yet have foundations. We need to get your stories. If you are apart of a team please send us your stories at bnifoundation.org/monthly-business-voices-form/. If you would like more information on the BNI Foundation or Business Voices Teams, please contact us at bnifoundation.org/contact-us/.

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