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All About Story [ENGLISH VERSION]

Discussion in 'Motivasi & Inspirasi' started by Nawainruk, Dec 18, 2009.

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    Where in the World Is Carmen? by Marieta Irwin

    What can you learn from a teddy bear, a little bit of stuffed fluff that can't talk?One summer ,my oldest daughter and the rest of our family learned a lot.

    We had seen a program on television about a reporter who had hitchhiked across America. My daughter Ashley's first comment was, "I wish I could do that! "Of course, as far as my ten-year-old hitchhiking across America - that wasn't going to happen. But I wanted to encourage that spirit of adventure in her just the same.

    Three years earlier, Ashley had been diagnosed with cancer. Ever since her surgery, she was shy and distrustful of new situations and new people. Although she is cancer-free now, the tests and scary procedures had made her reluctant to take risks or to venture outside her known world. I began trying to think of a way for her to "hitchhike" across the country without leaving home. That's how Carmen was born.

    Carmen is a teddy bear that Ashley had received as a gift while she was in the hospital. We decided that sending Carmen in Ashley's place was a good compromise. So we purchased a notebook to serve as a travel journal and a bag for Carmen to travel in ,and Carmen was ready to begin her trip. Ashley wrote this letter in Carmen's journal:

    My name is Ashley and I am ten years old. One time on TV ,I saw this story about how these kids sent a bear on a trip on a plane. Then I saw another story about how this reporter guy walked across America. Well, we don't live very close to a big airport, and Dad and Mom won't let me walk across America.
    Carmen can't walk ,so will you please help her?

    This is my bear ,Carmen. She is a special bear. I got her when I had to go to the hospital. She wants to go to all fifty states i f she can. But ,she will need your help. (Maybe she can even go to Disneyland. )Mom says we can't go until she won't have to carry my little sister. Please let her ride with you and keep her safe. Tell her about yourself so she won't be lonely. I will miss her. So please take very good care of her. I let her wear my guardian angel pin to help keep her safe.

    Write a little about yourself and then introduce her to someone new. She wants to meet as many new people
    as she can. I f you keep her for more than one day, please try to write in the journal every day. Where are you going? Where did you pick Carmen up? Which roads did you take? Where are you from? How old are you? Do you have kids? Do you have sisters? I do and sometimes I don't like them. (Mom says I can't say "hate", but I can say that I don't like them ,and some times I don't like them a lot! )

    I think by about September she will be ready to come home. In her coin purse is $ 5 .00. Please put her in a nice sturdy box with her journal and bag and send her to Sac City State Bank, Attention :Caretaker of Carmen Bear.

    Someone there will keep her safe for me until I can pick her up. I f you would like to hear from Carmen after she gets home ,please leave your address in her notebook and we will send you a note and let you know when she gets home safely.

    Thank you for taking care of Carmen, and thank you for taking the time to write in her notebook.

    Your new friends,
    Carmen and Ashley

    Our family friend is a highway patrol officer. We asked him if he would be willing to start Carmen on her trip by taking her on his route for a day. That afternoon ,he spotted a driver from out of state that wasn't wearing a safety belt. After pulling her over and letting her off with only a warning, Phil asked the driver to take Carmen on the next part of her journey. Naturally, she agreed. That's how Carmen began her tour of the United States.

    Summer passed with a flurry of activities, family vacations ,visiting grandparents and summer fun. Each day Ashley would ask if any packages had come for her. Each day the answer was, "Not today, Ash. "By the middle of September we thought that the chances of Carmen returning home were slim.

    Then on September 24,Carmen came home in a ten-inchsquare box that had a postmark from Hawaii! The box was packed with mementos of all of the wonderful places and people that Carmen had met. A straw hat from Wisconsin ,to keep the sun out of her eyes. An Indian beaded necklace from Cherokee, Oklahoma. An autograph from Mickey Mouse when she went to Disne~landA. picture of her celebrating the Fourth of July in St. Louis. Another picture of her floating in a swimming pool "catching some raysV while she was in Arizona. Carmen made it to sixteen states ,including Hawaii. Not too bad for five months of travel!

    But Carmen came back with much more than just "things". She came back with friends whom a ten-year-old living in rural Iowa wouldn't have had a chance to meet. Ashley wrote letters to all of the people who helped Carmen along in her travels. She thanked every one of them for their help and friendship to Carmen and her.

    Pretty soon, word traveled around our small community about the traveling bear,and Ashley was asked to give a program about Carmen to a group of over one hundred people. Ashley ended her talk by saying, "Be kind to traveling bears ! And if you need a traveling companion, let me know because Carmen still has thirty-four more states to go! "

    Since Ashley's presentation, Carmen has become a world traveler. Once again ,we are awaiting her return. She was expected home some time ago,and we very much hope to see her again.

    I never would have dreamed that a little bit of stuffed fluff could have taught so many things: patience to see what things can happen if we are just willing to wait, the ability to imagine what wonderful things might happen, courage to take the chance and allow those things to happen,and faith to believe in people and in the goodness in their hearts.

    My favorite part of the story? After reading the journal, looking at the pictures and tracing the roads that Carmen had traveled, I opened the zippered coin purse that Ashley had sent with Carmen. Inside, folded in half, was the fivedollar bill that Carmen had left with five months ago.


    My mother always told me, "Seize the moment of excited curiosity. "In other words ,go for it.
    Michael Thomas
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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    Trash Bags Are for Trash by Makenzie Snyder

    I walked through the den on my way to get ready for bed and looked once again at the amazing mountain of duffel bags. Each bag had a stuffed animal ,a luggage tag and a note from me inside of it. The pile of bags went from floor to ceiling, more than five thousand bags ,enough for each and every foster-care kid in three states. My dream was coming truebig time.

    After I went to bed,right before I went to sleep,I closed my eyes and thought back to when it all started ... when I got the idea for my dream...

    I had been in second grade when I went with my two brothers and my parents to Paris, France. My brothers, Brock and Cory,and I had entered an essay contest about what we were going to do to change the world to make it a better place to live. We won and were chosen as three of ten kids who would represent the United States at the Children's World Summit. Nine hundred kids from around the world were chosen to meet with each other and talk about world issues. We exchanged ideas on solving the problems in our world today and had lots of fun during the days we were together.

    While I was there, I met two foster-care kids. They were two boys, and after getting to know them, I learned a lot about what foster-care kids go through. They told me that when kids go into the foster-care system ,they don't just lose their parents and their home ,sometimes they are also separated from their brothers and sisters. Not every foster-care home wants to care for an entire family of kids. Foster-care kids also lose most of their toys and clothes. They told me that when the kids are picked up from their home by a social worker,they are given only a trash bag to put their few belongings into. This trash bag is what foster-care kids carry with them when they are moved from home to home.

    I felt really sad when I heard this. I couldn't even imagine what life would be like without my family and home-much less what it would be like to have to live out of a trash bag. Trash bags are for trash,not for kids to carry their belongings in.

    After I came home from France, I saw an after-school movie that was about a girl living in foster care. It was just like what the boys had described to me at the Children's World Summit ,and it made me cry. Right then I decided that I wanted to help foster-care kids. These kids needed my help, because they were not being respected like they should be.

    My whole family is into volunteering. Brock and Cory had started a project after they saw a show on television about some kids who died in a fire. The kids had died because the fire department didn't have this special camera that can see through smoke to find people in a burning house. My brothers began Project Rescue Vision in 1996 to raise needed money for our town's fire department. Of course,I helped too. I was only four years old,and I was the "President of the Art Department. " My job was to hand-color all of the information envelopes that were given out. I helped them until I was seven. Then I began my own project for foster-care kids.

    I started by asking my mom to stop at garage sales when I saw suitcases or duffel bags for sale. I would tell the person who was having the garage sale what I wanted to do with the bags ,and most of the time they gave me the bags for free. I tried to put myself into the mind of a foster-care kid ,and I decided that the kids should have a stuffed animal in the bag,too. I figured that if I was in that situation I would want a cuddly friend to hug when I was sad and felt lonely for my parents. People often gave those to me for free ,too.

    In October 1998, I helped organize a luggage drive during our local "Make a Difference Day". Some congresspeople and senators showed up to give their support ,and I came up with this idea for everyone to get their hand painted and then put their handprint on a big banner to show that they had made a difference that day. I got all these kids to help paint people's hands. It was really funny to watch these important people have their hands painted.

    The senators and congresspeople went back to Washington and told other people about my project ,and then a company named Freddie Mac set up a grant for me and donated fifteen thousand dollars. I am the youngest person they have ever granted money to. Because of this grant ,I had a story about my project and me on the cover of the Washington Post. Then the most amazing thing happened. President and Mrs. Clinton read about me and wanted to meet me. I was really excited! They were so nice, and I gave the president one of my bags with a Beanie Baby in it to give to any foster kid that he may meet. A few days later, he sent some bags to me from his own collection to give to foster-care kids ,so I did.

    My project really started growing because of all the media attention. Radio stations called me for interviews about what I was doing and some TV shows had me on. More people then heard about me from the TV and radio interviews and from word-of-mouth ,and they called me to offer help.

    Every week I called my friends and family to see if they wanted to come and put together bags. I always had help from many people. My class even helped ,too. My teacher announced to my class what I was doing ,and everybody started bringing stuffed animals and duffel bags to school. One of my friends brought in ten big bags full of stuffed animals!

    On each bag, I put a luggage tag designed by me. On the front of each luggage tag is a picture of a girl and a suitcase with wheels on it. In each bag,I put a cuddly stuffed animal and a special note I wrote,letting them know that I love and care about them. My mom helped me type this note:

    Dear Friend,
    Hi ,my name is Makenzie Snyder. I am nine years old ,and I'm in the third grade. I collect suitcases and duffel bags as an act of kindness for those who are in need of them. God told me you could use a duffel bag and a cuddly friend so I sent this with love to you. I want you to always know that you are loved, especial and never give up.

    Love, your friend,
    Makenzie Snyder

    After the bags are stuffed, I call social workers to tell them they can come and pick up the bags to hand out to the foster-care kids. I have had a lot of support from several big companies, schools, churches, organizations and individuals who have donated money,or sent me bags and stuffed animals. I've even been on the Rosie O'Donnell Show! Several thousand bags have been sent out so far,and right now I have five thousand more ready to go, sitting in my den. Those bags will go to kids in Maryland, Washington ,D. C. , and Virginia.

    I have had a lot of help from a lot of people,but most importantly from my parents and my brothers. My brother Brock came up with the name for my project. He said I should call it "Children to Children" since it was all about kids knowing what other kids want and helping them get it. My brothers have also given me good advice about always sending thank-you notes to the people who help me. They told me I had to work hard ,call tons of people and to never give up.... and I haven't.

    I know that this is just the beginning. There are 530,000 foster-care kids in the United States. My dream is for all the foster-care kids in the entire United States to receive a duffel bag and a cuddly friend. I know it can be done if everyone helps out. It is a lot of work but I never get tired of it. I remember the girl in the movie that I saw. If she had been given one of my duffel bags,she would have known that someone out there cared about what happened to her. I don't want any kid ,anywhere, to go through what she or the two boys did. Kid to kid, Children to children - that's what it's
    all about.


    What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?
    George Eliot
     
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    Run with It by Susan Overton

    The first time I saw Jeff was when my best friend,Brian, and I were in the fourth grade. When our teacher introduced Jeff to the class she explained that he was sick and that he might not be able to be in class all of the time.

    Jeff was completely bald from cancer treatments, and he wore a hat. That was one reason that he and I bonded right away. Being the tomboy that I was,I liked wearing a hat - only I wasn't allowed to wear one in class. Jeff was allowed to wear his hat all of the time. Other than that ,he was a normal friend to both Brian and me. Some things he couldn't do as well as the other kids because he had tubes in his chest for his treatments,but we never thought of him as sick because he didn't act that way.

    The only time that we would realize that Jeff was sick was when he went for his chemotherapy treatments. We'd notice the difference, but we'd just sort of think, Yeah, Jeff's not feeling really well now, and then it would pass and things would be back to normal. Jeff, Brian and I were really sports-oriented ,and we became best buds. We would swim, run and jump on the trampoline. As fourth grade progressed, Jeff got better and better. By the end of the school year he went into remission;the cancer was all gone.

    Brian, Jeff and I spent tons of time together during the summer between fourth and fifth grades. We loved being outdoors, running everywhere and staying over at each
    other's houses. Before school started, Jeff went away on vacation with his family for a few weeks.

    Then came the night that I will always remember. We were eating dinner when the phone rang. It was Jeff's mom, calling to say that Jeff was in the hospital. The cancer had come back. My reaction was, Wait a minute. What's going on ?

    Jeff and I talked on the phone the next day and he sounded like his normal self. I couldn't really imagine him being back in the hospital. Then, a few days later, my mom took me to visit him. When I walked into his room, Jeff looked really weak. His mom was talking about a trip to California for a bone marrow transplant operation, and how important it would be for Jeff. Even though everyone looked very serious and sad, the thought of losing Jeff never crossed my mind. I just thought he would get better.

    During the next few weeks, before the operation, Jeff was allowed to play with Brian and me but he had to wear a surgical mask because he had to be careful of infections. I realize now that his parents wanted him to experience as much of life as possible while he could. One night ,they took Jeff and me to this really fancy restaurant up in the mountains,and it felt sort of like a date. We both dressed up - which was weird for me,because I never wore anything but shorts and hats.

    When Jeff left for California to have his operation I told him, "Bye ,see you in a month or so, "as if nothing much was happening. 1 wrote to him while he was there,and the letters that he sent to me talked about the things that we would do together when he returned home. It didn't even cross my mind that I might never see him again.

    Then ,one night ,I went to a skating party. Brian was supposed to be there but I couldn't find him. When I got home, my dad was out in the garage working on a project. When Dad spotted me,he opened the door to the house to let my mom know that I had arrived. 1 walked into the house,and Mom said, "I need to talk to you alone in your bedroom, Susie. "I grabbed some chocolate chips off the counter and bounded off to my room. "Jeff's mom called. . . "was all she had to say. 1 knew. The chocolate held me tightly. I've never been an emotional person, but my heart just sank and I felt empty. It was too hard to believe. Brian had heard about it just before the skating party,and that's why he hadn't been there.

    That evening ,Brian and I talked for hours. We had never talked much on the phone before, because we had always been doing things ,but that night we talked and talked ,reminiscing about Jeff. We started worrying about Jeff's parents and if they could handle the medical expenses. And that was the beginning of our idea. We wanted to do something, but we didn't know what.

    When we figured out that Jeff's parents didn't need the money, we started thinking instead about something that would help everybody remember Jeff, something to honor him. Brian and I thought about the time the three of us did a run together. Jeff had loved running ,but it had been hard for him to finish the run. He was really happy when he was able to cross the finish line ,and so were we. Why not do a run for Jeff?

    It seemed like a good idea. We knew that we would have to advertise in order to have enough runners,and that we'd have to get sponsors for food and drinks. We even thought we knew what the forms needed to look like for sign-ups.

    I know now that all of this planning was part of our grieving process. All through it ,we told each other stories about Jeff. Right around that time ,his parents donated a tree to the school and we all planted it in Jeff's memory. It was tough on his parents ,but it really helped all the kids. Everyone got to shovel some dirt around the tree, and Jeff's parents held hands with each other and cried.

    If we'd been old enough to know what was really involved, we probably wouldn't have started it. But we were just some kids with a great idea,so we went for it. We took the phone book and started calling Coors, Pepsi and Mile- High Yogurt -anything we could find. "We want to do a run, and we're looking for sponsorship, "We would say to whoever answered the phone. "Who can we talk to?"I wonder if the people on the other end could tell that we were only fifth-graders !

    Then one day ,Mom came to me all excited. "A man from Pepsi called and asked to talk to you. What's going on?"I guess we'd been persuasive enough ! After I called him back and got his pledge of support ,I told my parents about the run and they promised to help. The vice-principal got involved and he brought the plans for the run to the gym
    teacher ,who was a runner. All of the adults in our lives were encouraging us.

    We started writing letters to lots of companies ,which was pretty funny because Brian has the worst handwriting in the world. I don't know how anyone ever read what he was trying to say. But somehow it worked because we started receiving all kinds of gifts. The yogurt place gave us five hundred free yogurts ,and other companies donated money.

    The plans for the run were growing so big that we needed a professional organizer. Someone came along and donated this service for free ,and that's when things really started to roll. The entire community became involved : stuffing packets, raising money, writing numbers on racing bibs, holding meetings. Pretty soon, the whole city knew what was going to happen.

    The day of the run finally came ,and it was huge! Tons of people ran, ReMax donated T-shirts and there were awards for anyone who could beat the gym teacher's time. The park where the run was held was near Jeff's house, which was where the processional had gone after his funeral. Because of where it was held,the run had even more of a special meaning to Brian and me. And, we raised ten thousand dollars ! We donated the money to the Leukemia Society in Jeff's name.

    Even now ,I think about Jeff quite a lot. If something's going on in my life that feels bad, I tell myself, Come on, get over it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. If Jeff were still
    alive, he would be glad just to have the opportunity to deal with this.

    The run made such an impact on my life. The biggest thing was (and I credit the adults for this) that no one ever told us "No. " We kept hearing, "If you want to do it,you
    can do it ! "It has helped me in everything I've done since ,and I've had a "Go for it!" attitude about things.

    There's a big bike ride I've heard about that goes from Los Angeles to Orlando ,and I'm thinking about riding in it. Some of my friends think I'm crazy and they ask me,"Is that even possible?"Of course it is ! You're alive, you're here - so run with it !


    Do what you can, with what you have,where you are.
    Theodore Roosevelt
     
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    The Back of David's Head by Mary Ellyn Sandford

    I couldn't stand fifth grade. I didn't like the milk that was warm by lunchtime from sitting near the radiator all morning. I didn't like recess because 1 could never get a turn on the swing. But most of all I didn't like my teacher ,Mrs. Kelly, because I was sure that Mrs. Kelly didn't like me.

    Mrs. Kelly never let me pass out books or collect papers. Mrs. Kelly made me sit in the last seat of the sixth row behind David Abbot ,the biggest kid in the whole class. David
    was bigger than most of the eighth-graders, and he never, ever took a bath. The only thing I could see all day was the back of David's head.

    At the beginning of fifth grade, Mrs. Kelly had explained all the classroom rules including the one about being excused for the rest room. She told all the students that they had to
    raise their hand with one or two fingers when they wanted to be excused. Then she would know what they were going to do in the restroom,and how long they would be gone from the classroom. The whole class would laugh whenever anyone held up two fingers to be excused.

    One Monday in October, Mrs. Kelly said, "Clear your desks and take out your composition books. Today I'want you to write a composition called 'Something Interesting' about something you have personally seen. Do not repeat any
    topics. "

    "Can we write about Disneyland?" Maureen Murphy asked. Everyone in the class knew that Maureen had been to Disneyland more than anyone else in the whole school.

    "That would be perfect, Maureen, "Mrs. Kelly answered with a smile.

    I opened my black and white composition book. I tried to ignore the huge red U for "unsatisfactory"that partly covered the title, "My Summer Vacation." I remembered Mrs.
    Kelly's comments without even looking at them.

    It has been brought to my attention that this composition is about your last year's summer vacation ,and you have already written about the same trip for a composition last year during the fourth grade. Therefore, this assignment is unsatis factory. Your penmanship is also unsatisfactory.

    I didn't care about the penmanship comment. That was on every assignment I turned in. What bothered me was that Mrs. Kelly would not accept my composition about my train trip to Denver. The only trip I had ever gone on in my whole life had been the trip to Denver. In the fourth grade, my composition had been about all the things I had seen from the train windows on the way to Denver. For the fifth grade, I wrote a whole new composition about the hotel in Denver with the glass elevators.

    Mrs. Kelly wrote an outline on the blackboard. One paragraph for an introduction, then three paragraphs to describe the topic in detail. A final paragraph for a conclusion. I knew that Maureen Murphy had a composition book filled with E's for excellent and even S's for superior while my best pade had been an F. In spite of Mrs. Kelly's red marks ,I really liked to fill the pages of my composition book with words and ideas. I frowned and stared at the back of David's head.

    That's when I noticed that the back of David's head looked like a brown forest with a long, brown, hairy trail that ran down his neck. He had three big brown freckles peeking out from the forest. The top of his head looked like a cartoon porcupine with brown hairs sticking up all over. David's ears were reddish tan with pudgy lobes that flapped against his neck when he raised his hand with only one finger. Looking at the back of David's head, I decided this composition could be different. It could be full of imagination instead of boring and embarrassing because I had never had the chance to see anything interesting,outside of the trip to Denver.

    I opened my composition book and began to write. I wrote and wrote until Mrs. Kelly said, "Mary Ellyn, this is the third time I've called your name. It is time to line up to go home. However ,you will stay after and writer 'I will pay attention in class'one hundred times before you are excused. "

    On Wednesday,Maureen tiptoed around the room in her fancy shoes passing back everyone's composition notebooks. I ignored her snotty smile and opened my book,paging past all the F's and U's. I couldn't wait to see a beautiful letter at the top of my composition, entitled "The Back of David's Head. "

    By the time I found the page ,my whole body was so tense with excitement I almost fell off my seat. But what I saw made my breath stop in a gasp. Across the whole composition Mrs. Kelly had scrawled a huge red U. It was the biggest and reddest U I had ever seen. The red words in the margin swam in a blur from the tears that filled my eyes. A huge tear plopped onto the page ,splashing over the comment about penmanship. I slapped the book shut and raised my hand with two fingers. I didn't care who laughed.

    In the bathroom,I sat on the edge of a toilet and cried for a long time. After a while I heard the restroom door swish open.

    "I know you're in here, Mary Ellyn , "Maureen Murphy's voice oozed under the green painted metal door. "Mrs. Kelly says you'd better get back in class ,right now."

    I waited for the sound of the door swishing closed. "You just wait and see, Mrs. Kelly, "I said in a low scary voice. "Someday I'll show you. Someday 1'11 write lots of stories
    and SELL them for lots of money. Someday my stories will be in books! Just you wait and see. "

    And when I grew up ,that's exactly what I did. SO THERE, MRS. KELLY !


    Have a belief in purself that is bigger than anyone's disbelief.
    August Wilson
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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    Going to the Dogs by Stephanie Taylor

    One day my mom and I were sitting in her office looking at a magazine called Humane Society News. We read a very sad story about a New Jersey police dog named Solo that had been sent into a building to catch an armed suspect. The last thing Solo did before entering the building was to lick his owner's face. A few minutes later, Solo was shot and killed in the line of duty. I knew how sad that officer must have felt because my own dog, Kela, had recently died. I felt like my world had ended when I lost Kela. She had been my best friend since I could remember.

    The article went on to tell about a fund-raiser that was going on in New Jersey to help buy bulletproof vests for the police dogs there. I thought, Every police dog should be protected just like the police. I may be a kid, but why can't I do a fund-raiser to help save the dogs in our area?

    Then I found out that a bulletproof vest for a police dog costs $475. My mom thought it was a lot of money for an eleven-year-old girl to raise, but she told me to go ahead and try anyway.

    We called our local Oceanside Police Department and found out that their dogs needed bulletproof vests. At that point, I realized that I needed a name for the fund-raiser and thought since I was trying to protect just one dog's life, I would call my program Vest A Dog.

    I decided that veterinarian offices and pet stores would be really good places to go with donation boxes and Vest A Dog flyers. I used little green Chinese take-out boxes, decorated with a picture of Tiko, the dog I chose to vest, and me. I wrote on each box "Help protect the life of a police dog by donating a dollar. "

    One afternoon, after all the boxes had been distributed throughout our community ,I got a call from a local newspaper reporter who had seen one of my fliers. The reporter decided to do an article about Vest A Dog. That ought to spread the word,I thought. I asked K9 Officer Jim Wall ,who is Tiko's partner,if they would have their picture taken with me for the article and they did.

    After the article came out, I waited for a few days before checking to see if there were any donations. I was really nervous when I finally went to collect the money. Would there be anything in the boxes?I wondered. I really wasn't sure that I could raise enough to buy the vest. But when I collected the first box,I couldn't believe my eyes. I realized that there are many generous animal lovers out there. The box was practically overflowing with dollar bills! I kept checking back to collect the donations every few days. After about three weeks ,I counted the money from all of the boxes. It totaled over three thousand dollars! I was so excited and totally amazed at the amount of money that I had raised. Not only was there enough money to buy Tiko's vest ,but Vest A Dog had raised enough to buy vests for the other five unprotected dogs on the Oceanside Police Department. I couldn't believe it!

    When the officers from the K9 unit found out that they were going to be able to protect all six of their dogs, they couldn't stop thanking me. They decided to put together a presentation ceremony where I would give the six vests I was donating to the department's dogs. That's where I got to meet all of the other police dogs and their handlers. I was actually a little scared of them, but the officers assured me that the dogs were very friendly. I learned that these were not just police dogs ,but also the officers' family pet. Again, I thought of my dog Kela and also about Solo. I wanted even more to make sure that these police dogs didn't die while trying to protect people.

    Once I began presenting the vests at the ceremony,I kept seeing television reporters come in and set up cameras. I never expected to see so many news stations there! 1 was excited to talk with them about what I was doing. When they asked me if I was going to continue my Vest A Dog program to help protect the other fifty dogs in San Diego County,where we live, I replied, "Yes ! We need to protect these dogs because they protect us every day. "

    Soon the phone was ringing off the hook ! Each day, reporters from newspapers and television stations called with interview requests. They wanted more information about my Vest A Dog program and also wanted to know where donations could be made. The media is so powerful! People began to mail donations to Vest A Dog!

    Looking back,the success of Vest A Dog totally surprised me at first. Then I realized that it wasn't unusual that a lot of other people felt the same way I did about these dogs. They just didn't know how to help before Vest A Dog got started.

    So far ,Vest A Dog has raised more than twenty-five thousand dollars and has supplied all of the law enforcement dogs within San Diego County with a protective vest! Then, just when I had achieved what I thought was my highest goal, people from all over the country began to call me to find out how to raise funds to vest dogs in their areas. So now my fund-raiser is continuing nationwide, and I have a Web page to tell other people how to organize a fund-raiser like the one that I did.

    Knowing that more and more dogs are being protected is really rewarding. It has made all my efforts more than worth it.

    Then,one day after school,my mom told me that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)wanted to honor me for the work that I had done to protect police dogs. They invited my mom and me to New York so that I could receive an award and a check for five thousand dollars! That vested another ten dogs !

    I'm so proud and happy that the money I have raised is all going to the dogs. I'm still amazed that I have vested so many dogs when I really wasn't sure if I could vest even one. Even though some days I was tired from schoolwork, I knew it was important to continue fund raising to help save these special dogs. It was a lot of hard work but I learned that if you just keep going, you can accomplish anything. Don't think that just because you are a kid that you can't make a difference. Even if you think something is impossible ,it can be done.


    If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.
    Thomas Edison
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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    Nawainruk Lurking Around Most Valuable Users

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    Thinking of You by Alicia von Stamwitz

    Sophie's face faded into the gray winter light of the sitting room. She dozed in the armchair that Joe had bought for her on their fortieth anniversary. The room was warm and quiet. Outside it was snowing lightly.
    At a quarter past one the mailman turned the corner onto Allen Street. He was behind on his route, not because of the snow, but because it was Valentine's Day and there was more mail than usual. He passed Sophie's house without looking up. Twenty minutes later he climbed back into his truck and drove off.

    Sophie stirred when she heard the mail truck pull away, then took off her glasses and wiped her mouth and eyes with the handkerchief she always carried in her sleeve. She pushed herself up using the arm of the chair for support, straightened slowly and smoothed the lap of her dark green housedress.

    Her slippers made a soft, shuffling sound on the bare floor as she walked to the kitchen. She stopped at the sink to wash the two dishes she had left on the counter after lunch. Then she filled a plastic cup halfway with water and took her pills. It was one fortyfive. There was a rocker in the sitting room by the front window. Sophie eased herself into it. In a half-hour the children would be passing by on their way home from school. Sophie waited, rocking and watching the snow. The boys came first, as always, running and calling out things Sophie could not hear. Today they were making snowballs as they went, throwing them at one another. One snowball missed and smacked hard into Sophie's window. She jerked backward, and the rocker slipped off the edge of her oval rag rug.

    The girls dilly-dallied after the boys, in twos and threes, cupping their mittened hands over their mouths and giggling. Sophie wondered if they were telling each other about the valentines they had received at school. One pretty girl with long brown hair stopped and pointed to the window where Sophie sat watching. Sophie slipped her face behind the drapes, suddenly self-conscious.

    When she looked out again, the boys and girls were gone. It was cold by the window, but she stayed there watching the snow cover the children's footprints.

    A florist's truck turned onto Allen Street. Sophie followed it with her eyes. It was moving slowly. Twice it stopped and started again. Then the driver pulled up in front of Mrs. Mason's house next door and parked.
    Who would be sending Mrs. Mason flowers? Sophie wondered. Her daughter in Wisconsin? Or her brother? No, her brother was very ill It was probably her daughter. How nice of her.

    Flowers made Sophie think of Joe and, for a moment, she let the aching memory fill her. Tomorrow was the fif-teenth. Eight months since his death.

    The flower man was knocking at Mrs. Mason's front door. He carried a long white and green box and a clipboard. No one seemed to be answering. Of course! It was Friday Mrs. Mason quilted at the church on Friday afternoons. The delivery man looked around, then started toward Sophie's house. Sophie shoved herself out of the rocker and stood close to the drapes. The man knocked. Her hands trembled as she straightened her hair. She reached her front hall on his third knock. "Yes?" she said, peering around a slightly opened door. "Good afternoon, ma'am," the man said loudly. "Would you take a delivery for your
    neighbor?"

    "Yes," Sophie answered, pulling the door wide open. "Where would you like me to put them?" the man asked politely as he strode in. "In the kitchen, please. On the table." The man looked big to Sophie. She
    could hardly see his face between his green cap and full beard. Sophie was glad he left quickly, and she locked the door after him. The box was as long as the kitchen table. Sophie drew near to it and bent
    over to read the lettering: "NATALIE'S Flowers for Every Occasion." The rich smell of roses engulfed her. She closed her eyes and took slower breaths, imagining yellow roses. Joe had always chosen yellow. "To my sunshine," he would say, presenting the extravagant bouquet. He would laugh delightedly, kiss her on the forehead, then take her hands in his and sing to her "You Are My Sunshine."

    It was five o'clock when Mrs. Mason knocked at Sophie's front door. Sophie was still at the kitchen table. The flower box was now open though, and she held the roses on her lap, swaying slightly and stroking the delicate yellow petals. Mrs. Mason knocked again, but Sophie did not hear her, and after several minutes the neighbor left. Sophie rose a little while later, laying the flowers on the kitchen table. Her
    cheeks were flushed. She dragged a stepstool across the kitchen floor and lifted a white porce-lain vase from the top corner cabinet. Using a drinking glass, she filled the vase with water, then tenderly arranged the roses and greens, and carried them into the sitting room.

    She was smiling as she reached the middle of the room. She turned slightly and began to dip and twirl in small slow circles. She stepped lightly, gracefully, around the sitting room, into the kitchen, down the hall,
    back again. She danced till her knees grew weak, and then she dropped into the armchair and slept.

    At a quarter past six, Sophie awoke with a start. Someone was knocking on the back door this time. It was Mrs. Mason. "Hello, Sophie," Mrs. Mason said. "How are you? I knocked at five and was a little worried when you didn't come. Were you napping?" She chattered as she wiped her snowy boots on the welcome mat and stepped inside. 'I just hate the snow, don't you? The radio says we might have six inches by midnight, but you can never trust them, you know. Do you remember last winter when they
    predicted four inches and we had twenty-one? Twentyone! And they said we'd have a mild winter this year. Ha! I don't think it's been over zero in weeks. Do you know my oil bill was $263 last month? For my little house!"

    Sophie was only half-listening. She had remembered the roses suddenly and was turning hot with shame. The empty flower box was behind her on the kitchen table. What would she say to Mrs. Mason? "I don't know how much longer I can keep paying the bills. If only Alfred, God bless him, had been as careful with money as your Joseph. Joseph! Oh, good heavens! I almost forgot about the roses."

    Sophie's cheeks burned. She began to stammer an apology, stepping aside to reveal the empty box. "Oh, good," Mrs. Mason interrupted. "You put the roses in water. Then you saw the card. I hope it didn't startle you to see Joseph's handwriting. Joseph had asked me to bring you the roses the first year, so I could explain for him. He didn't want to alarm you. His 'Rose Trust' I think he called it. He arranged it with the florist last April. Such a good man, your Joseph...."

    But Sophie had stopped listening. Her heart was pounding as she picked up the small white envelope she had missed earlier. It had been lying beside the flower box all the time. With trembling hands, she removed the card.

    "To my sunshine," it said. "I love you with all my heart. Try to be happy
    when you think of me. Love, Joe."


    To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.
    Thomas Campbell
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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    Nawainruk Lurking Around Most Valuable Users

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    Someone to Watch Over Me by Sharon Wajda

    The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver and, using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he'd told her was empty. Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her leg.

    It had been a year since Susan, thirty-four, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis she had been rendered sightness, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity. Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan now felt condemned by this terrible twist of fate to become a powerless, help-less burden on everyone around her. "How could this have happened to me?" she would plead, her heart knotted with anger. But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth her sight was never going to return. A cloud of depression hung over Susan's once optimistic spirit. Just getting through each day was an exercise in frustration and exhaustion. And all she had to cling to was her husband Mark.

    Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan with all of his heart. When she first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was determined to help his wife gain the strength and confidence she needed to become independent again. Mark's military background had trained him well to deal with sensitive situations, and yet he knew this was the most difficult battle he would ever face.

    Finally, Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city. At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark's need to protect his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task. Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn't working it was hectic, and costly.

    Susan is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to himself. But just the thought of mentioning it to her made him cringe. She was still so fragile, so angry. How would she react? Just as Mark predicted, Susan was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again. "I'm blind!" she responded bitterly. "How am I supposed to know
    where I'm going? I feel like you're abandoning me."

    Mark's heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised Susan that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long as it took, until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened. For two solid weeks, Mark, military uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses, specifically her hearing, to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her, and save her a seat. He made her laugh, even on those not-so-good days when she would trip exiting the
    bus, or drop her briefcase full of papers on the aisle floor.

    Each morning they made the journey together, and Mark would take a cab back to his office. Although this routine was even more costly and exhausting than the previous one, Mark knew it was only a matter of time before Susan would be able to ride the bus on her own. He believed in her, in the Susan he used to know before she'd lost her sight, who wasn't afraid of any challenge and who would never, ever quit.

    Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own. Monday morning arrived, and before she left, she threw her arms around Mark, her temporary bus riding companion, her husband, and her best friend. Her eyes filled with tears of gratitude for his loyalty, his patience, and his love. She said good-bye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways.

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.... Each day on her own went perfectly, and Susan had never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself.

    On Friday morning, Susan took the bus to work as usual. As she was paying her fare to exit the bus, the driver said, "Boy, I sure envy you." Susan wasn't sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all, who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live for the past year? Curious, she asked the driver, "Why do you say that you envy me?" The driver responded, "It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected like you are."

    Susan had no idea what the driver was talking about, and again asked, "What do you mean?" The driver answered, "You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking gentlemen in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches until you enter your office building. Then he blows you a kiss, gives you a little
    salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady."

    Tears of happiness poured down Susan's cheeks. For although she couldn't physically see him, she had always felt Mark's presence. She was lucky, so lucky, for he had given her a gift more powerful than sight, a gift she didn't need to see to believe the gift of love that can bring light where there had been darkness.
     
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    light_hater Lurking Around Most Valuable Users

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    Very nice story... :top:

    Apalagi stelah tau bahwa masalah dog vest itu ternyata kisah nyata....
    Gmn dgn kisah lainny?? True Story smua kah?? :???:
     
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    darker_rizzie Beginner Most Valuable Users

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    Ini benar2 bisa dibilang Masterpiece... O.O Saya baru pertama kali baca cerita kayak gini tapi saya sudah bisa bilang bahwa ceritanya benar2 Great ^^
     
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