October has accidentally (and happily) turned into a volunteerism-filled month for me.  A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article for USAFL about Breast Cancer to kick the giving-back theme off, but please read below to see the other ways in which I’m getting involved and how you can, too! J 

1.    I recently connected with the organization Semper Fidelis Health and Wellness (SFH&W) http://www.semperfidelishealthandwellness.org/ through long-time friend from UVA and fellow Marine Corps vet, Kate Hendricks.  She is a board member for the non-profit group and put me in touch with the founder, Elijah Sacra. 
a.    SFH&W has enabled many severely disabled veterans the opportunity to receive alternative health and wellness care besides the military and “jarhead” type regimens that are typically offered.  Check out their Facebook page to read more about the program http://www.facebook.com/events/#!/SemperFidelisHealthandWellness
b.    SFH&W has already grown drastically since its inception and accomplished great things, but still needs donations, volunteers, and support.   Many thanks to the handful of you who already have donated to my page, but if you haven’t yet, please do so here:  http://semperfidelishealthandwellness.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=485826&supid=342741503
c.       If you are a health care provider or fitness instructor and want to offer your services in any capacity please reach out to Elijah, Kate, or me.  For instance, Pete’s brother-in-law, Dr Timothy Erickson, is a chiropractor in the Chicagoland area and wants to participate http://www.drtimerickson.com/ and Kate is a yoga instructor http://precision-wellness.com/ often offering classes at no cost other than donations to SFH&W. 
2.       For my first specific fundraising effort, I will participate in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walks in Columbus OH next weekend, 23 October 2011. Although, I have a fundraising link for this race, please donate to my SFH&W page instead.  I am individually giving to the AFSP, so I’ve got that part covered. J  I felt this was a particularly relevant walk in which to participate since so many veterans struggle with suicide due to military service related depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
3.       Childhood bestie from Northern Virginia, the lovely Victoria George Jensen, is a key member of the non-profit group Give N Go http://thegivengoproject.org/ .  She and I talked yesterday about ideas for things to do here in Ohio.  Hopefully sooner rather than later, I will be hosting a soccer clinic in the Columbus area for children without homes which will double as a local gear-distribution event.  If you are interested in helping me with the clinic (soccer skills not required), just spending time with the kids at the event, or donating gear, let me know!  I am starting to collect already – old cleats, running shoes, shin guards, socks, shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.  As much as we appreciate adult-sized items, please keep in mind these donations are going to children.  Therefore, if you’ve got kids of your own, nieces, or nephews please grab some of their old stuff, too! J
4.       Throughout the month, I will continue my contributions to breast cancer awareness.  If you haven’t read my article yet, please see http://sempersarahp.blogspot.com/2011/09/semper-survivor.html .  I still have pink earrings from design line Breaux Company available for sale and will donate 50% of those sales to http://www.komenaustin.org/make-a-donation/ .  Additionally, 10% of the proceeds from anything else I sell from Breaux Company in the month of October will be given to the charity.  Get your Christmas shopping done early! 😉  I’ve got incredible men’s and women’s sweaters, gloves, scarves, and hats, as well as legwarmers and dresses for the ladies.  Reach me at sarahp@breauxcompany.com if you’re interested. 
In summary – give to disabled vets, give to suicide prevention, give to children without homes, or give to breast cancer research – either way, please, do give 🙂