A Step Up

First Things First…Yahoo! Women Who Shine – Vote for or Nominate Someone Who Inspires

Yahoo! Women Who Shine – Vote for or Nominate Someone Who Inspires

capability mom vanessa and isis camellia network Sharing finds is something I love to do, be it a great tailor, fantastic lunch place, or a great book, but I especially love to share when something matters more than a cute pair of boots.  A Step Up is a lovely group of women who chose to use their spare (!) time finding non-profits that could use a little love by gathering their friends for an evening of wine, cheese and substantial dessert plates (all donated by local merchants). There is even an off-shoot in Winchester MA – More amazing women doing great work!

The Camellia Network
The Camellia Network

Their latest find (and now mine) is The Camellia Network, a non-profit founded by two long-time friends, Isis Dallis Keigwin (top advertising and brand strategist) and Vanessa Diffenbaugh (author of the bestselling novel The Language of Flowers and foster mother), who saw a need (children aging out of the foster care system left with no support) and the resources and energy (of people who wanted to help these young people) and connected the two in their wonderful network.

The tagline for The Camellia Network is A Support Net(work) for Youth Aging out of Foster Care and the need is great. Once a child in the foster care system turns 18, they are considered emancipated and are no longer supported by the system. The reality and the statistics are frightening; “For youth who age out of the [foster care] system without a permanent family to support them, life is often tough. 25% of these youth become homeless by the time they turn twenty. 25% become incarcerated. 60% have children of their own within four years, and those kids are twice as likely to be placed in foster care themselves – continuing the cycle for a future generation.”

These two women leveraged their personal networks and with the help of early supporters and the advance from Vanessa’s book (which I am reading right now) founded this much needed network. The young people are recommended by approved agencies and the profiles showcase  stories, goals and needs, and helping is an easy click away.

So what can you do to help?
Visit the site and post a job or internship opportunity, offer words of encouragement or even just buy some school supplies for one of the featured young people. Host a Cocktails with a Cause house party and share this great non-profit  network with your own network (contact A Step Up for more information).

Best way to help? Yahoo! Women Who Shine wants to celebrate the women in your social circles who are blazing new trails, changing lives, and doing extraordinary things every day.  Help give these inspiring women the recognition they deserve by nominating them for Women Who Shine.  The woman who receives the most votes by the end of the program will win a $10,000 cash prize!

(see terms and conditions – http://shine.yahoo.com/women-who-shine/rules)

Vote for The Camellia Network here – that $10,000 prize that would help many young people!

Now that you realize that you can help these young people with the click of a mouse – go vote at Yahoo! Women Who Shine!

From The Cameliia Network:


I was compensated for this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms blogging program.The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.


More wonderful women on Yahoo! Women Who Shine – our own Newton North High School Principal Jen Price was nominated, too (by Pragmatic Mom). Vote for her here and the prize money will go towards GELF.

Find out What’s Cookin’ with Boston Medical Center and A Step Up

A Prescription of Wellness from A Step Up and the Boston Medical CenterPlease join A Step Up  to hear what’s “cooking” in The Nutrition Resource  Center (NRC) at the Boston Medical Center.

TUESDAY, January 10 7:30pm

at the home of Amy Briney, 93 Beethoven Avenue, Newton
*a suggested donation of $35 made payable to the Boston Medical Center

The BMC is changing the lives of their patients by providing exceptional care without exception, serving all patients regardless of their social and/or economic circumstances. A Step Upwill be raising funds for the Nutrition Resource Center, an innovative program, that includes an onsite prescription food pantry and demonstration kitchen, that is meeting patients nutritional needs right alongside their medical needs.  Come learn more about a service delivery approach at the NRC that is consistent with the thoughtful wraparound services that are meeting the needs of the diverse patient population the BMC serves.

To RSVP  please reply to this email.  If you are unable to attend the event but would like to donate, please click on the link below:


Amy Briney, Stacey Keenan, Lori Mendik
Carolyn Shaughnessy, Gina Saltonstall

To learn more about the BMC:   https://development.bmc.org

For more information about A Step Up, please check out our
website at http://www.astepupma.org.


A Step in the Right Direction – My Life My Choice and A Step Up

a step up, capability : mom blog, the founders of a step up photo, great mom blog, wonderful non-profit
Amy Briney, Stacey Keenan, Lori Mendik Carolyn Shaughnessy, Gina Saltonstall

Update: This event was very well-attended and the speakers were so powerful. It is truly an organization that is doing tremendous work. They are having their first fundraiser on June 23 – here is some information about it.
Turn on the Light: Coming Together to End the Exploitation of Girls

June 23rd, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.XHALE at the Copley Square Hotel, 47 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts Click here to buy tickets. Find us on Facebook.

I have written about A Step Up and the wonderful work that they do before, here and here.

This is a group of five women who decided to do something to make a difference. First they research non-profits and choose one in need of a little spotlight. Then they invite a group of women for a house party with the dual purpose of socializing and donating to a good cause. The food and drink are donated by generous local merchants so that all money raised goes to the spotlighted non-profit. This time it will be a morning coffee as they highlight My Life My Choice – hope to see you there!


A Step Up Gathers to support My Life My Choice on Monday, May 23rd at 9:30 am

What is My Life My Choice? A Step Up is excited to showcase My Life My Choice on Monday, May 23rd, 2011.  We will learn about an innovative, effective, nationally recognized organization working to end the commercial sexual exploitation of girls. Through comprehensive outreach, My Life My Choice is reaching more than 200 girls annually in the Greater Boston area and hundreds more in cities across the United States.  The organization works to end sexual exploitation through prevention, training, victim support and mentoring.  My Life My Choice is fighting exploitation by harnessing girls resilience, strength and outrage.

Lisa Goldblatt Grace, the founder and Program Director of My Life My Choice will speak about how My Life My Choice is supporting girls in the Greater Boston as they strive to be safe and free from exploitation.

Learn more about My Life My Choice aA Step Up, Capability : Momt the home of Carolyn Shaughnessy, 89 Old Farm Road, Needham.

*a suggested donation of $35 made payable to My Life My Choice

Help us to create awareness for My Life My Choice while spending a morning with old and new friends.  We look forward to seeing you and as always, please feel free to bring a friend or two!  To RSVP, please email: a.step.up5@gmail.com

For more information about A Step Up, please check out our new website at http://www.astepupma.org.

A Step Up for Strong Women, Strong Girls

There is a group of really dedicated women who have taken it upon themselves to find local charities who need a boost or, if you will, a step up. They focus on small, local non-profits that do not have huge marketing budgets but that are doing good work. It is an informal gathering of women (sorry, guys – you can send a check, though!) and the suggested donation is only $35.  It is a really nice way to connect within your community, socialize a little and make a tangible difference. I encourage you to go (it is fun), get involved and do some good. I wrote about my experience here and they liked it so much they asked to put it on their website. The next fundraiser is October 13 and focuses on Strong Women, Strong Girls which is a great organization that pairs college-age mentors with younger girls.

Our Mission

Strong Women, Strong Girls is an emerging not-for-profit organization that supports the leadership and self-esteem development of women and girls. The mission of Strong Women, Strong Girls is to build upon the lessons learned from strong women throughout history to encourage girls and young women become strong women themselves. By building communities of women committed to supporting positive social change, Strong Women, Strong Girls works to create cycles of mutual empowerment for women and girls.

To do this, Strong Women, Strong Girls has created an innovative after school model that uses the study of contemporary and historic female role models, mentoring relationships with college undergraduate women, and skill building activities to help at-risk girls in grades 3-5 build positive self-esteem and skills for life-long success.

In addition to supporting the development of young girls, Strong Women, Strong Girls also emphasizes the leadership and growth of the college women who volunteer as mentors. Strong Women, Strong Girls seeks to build the skills and leadership capacity of these talented young women to engage them as mentors for girls in their communities now and as life-long advocates for women and girls.

There are chapters at the following institutions of higher education: Boston College,Harvard University,Northeastern University, Simmons College, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University and U0niversity of Pittsburgh.

From A Step Up’s website:

The mission of a step up is to educate members of our community about the innovative, important contributions made by local charities and to raise money for specific initiatives at these organizations. All of the money we raise goes directly to the people who need help – none goes to overhead or fundraising costs.

To achieve this mission a step up invites women we know to attend fun, informal gatherings. We host the events at our homes and we invite a representative from the organization to speak about their work and impact. We ask guests for a $35 donation which will go towards a specific initiative at the organization we are supporting. We have a chance to socialize with old and new friends while learning about a charity and the many ways to get involved in our community. We hope to make positive changes in peoples lives and raise our level of awareness while meeting new and interesting women.

So please join me in strengthening our community and supporting these hard-working volunteers (they charm local merchants into donating the refreshments and I suspect they go out of pocket if no one ponies up) all funds go to the featured non-profit. They donate the space, the food and beverages (yes, there will be wine) and their time and energy. The least you can do is to join in. Contact them at a.step.up5@gmail.com for more information.

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