The Grateful Garment Project Continuing to Expand, Looking for Special Hosts

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Lisa Blanchard. Photo by The Grateful Garment Project.

I caught up with Lisa Blanchard of The Grateful Garment Project last week. She’s the San Jose woman who created an all-volunteer organization from a college project to provide clothing and other items to victims of sexual assault at Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) facilities around the state.

Thanks to Blanchard and her volunteers, victims who previously left SART centers in nothing more than paper hospital gowns may now leave fully clothed, with perhaps a shred of dignity. The group also provides toiletries and other items, as well as funds to create more comforting surroundings.

I first wrote about Blanchard and the project in July 2012. On Thursday she’s being featured on a Bay Area Proud segment by the local NBC News affiliate.

The group is doing well, she tells me, and is currently recruiting people to host parties for friends to educate them about the need for the services, as well as collect donations of clothing and money.

“We’re always on the lookout for people who want to have a party,” she said. “We need some help.” [Read more…]

You Can Make a Difference—And Your Friends Want to Help

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You have the power to make a difference in the world. And your friends are just waiting for you to ask for their help.

That lesson was driven home for me a few years ago when I accepted a challenge thrown down at a conference. The challenge was to multiply some money to help others within three weeks. I was intimidated at first, but in the end I discovered meeting the challenge was a lot easier than I thought, and I was amazed by how eager my friends wanted to partner with me.

A Daunting Challenge?

The challenge came at a Donald Miller Storyline Conference in Portland, OR., as part of a point about “living a better story”. Audience members were given the opportunity to take envelopes that contained either $5, $10, or $20 bills. The catch was that we had to commit to doing something that would help another person or organization, ideally in a way that multiplied the money.

My envelope had $20 in it. The challenge felt daunting. How would I multiply the money? In such a short period of time, up against an already busy schedule? What if I failed?

As I left the auditorium clutching my envelope, it crossed my mind I could turn around and give it back. Yet beneath the doubt was a sense of excitement. What if I succeeded? What good things could come from a $20 bill? [Read more…]