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Feb 12th
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Local Nonprofit Participates in National Contest

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Rising International makes it to the top 16 in a Huffington Post-sponsored fundraising challenge

Rising International, a Santa Cruz-based nonprofit focused on helping women around the globe, is taking part in The Raise for Women Challenge. Created in collaboration by The Huffington Post, Skoll Foundation, and Half the Sky Movement, the event runs from April 24 to June 6, and encourages the public to participate by "investing in women who change the world."

So far, Rising International has raised enough money in The Raise for Women Challenge to earn them a spot in the top 16 charities. The charity that raises the most money will receive a $40,000 donation, while second place receives $20,000 and third place receives $15,000.

"This is a friendly competition, where we are all raising money for a great cause," says President Carmel Judd. "This is all about women and girls winning, because they need our help."

Judd (pictured) founded the organization in 2002 after reading about how Afghan women were imprisoned in their homes for five years during the time that the Taliban was in control.

"I have freedom as a woman in this country, so the idea that it was modern day and we had women imprisoned in their homes spoke to me," says Judd. "I wanted to get involved."

Judd connected with Nadia Hashimi, a student at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, to create the Afghan Dolls Project in 2003. Afghan widows would make dolls, and Rising International would market and sell them, and donate the profits back to the women.

Since then, Rising International has expanded to create more craft sales and marketing projects to help women in 20 countries.

On Tuesday, May 28, Rising International will hold a community event at Laili, an Afghan restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, where 20 percent of the day’s proceeds will be donated to Rising International. The event will also feature several dolls from the Afghan Doll Project.

"Anything we can do to bring community awareness helps bring much-needed attention to women and girl’s global issues," says Judd.

For more information, visit risinginternational.org.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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