Make a Difference Today

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-by Matt Leedham
Hi everyone.  Occasionally,Jaime and I reach out to our readers for help. And this is one of those times.  Icould really use your help, and so can some kids in Northern Virginia.  Please read below and be in touch if you can be of assistance!
The Short Version:
I need your help.  My wife works at an afterschoolprogram for disadvantaged youth and needs arts, sports, and academicsupplies.  Take a look at the list below and let me know if you haveanything lying around your house that you can contribute.  You are allawesome people and I am eternally grateful for whatever you can give! J

The Long Version:
For those that don’t know, my wife has recently transitionedfull-time from being an entrepreneur  inthe unique field of multi-cultural marketing (for 8+ years!) to working withimmigrant youth.  This is her passion after dealing with the struggles ofassimilating to a new society when she was young.  Immigrant advocacy andeducation is now her focus and her first stop on this journey is running anafterschool program to better understand the needs and resources available tothis demographic.
Her program is called the Culmore Safe YouthProject (CSYP) and is run out of Alternative House, anon-profit that calls itself the “abused and homeless children’s refuge.”  Culmore is near Bailey’s Crossroads and is a predominantly Hispanicimmigrant community living in low-income apartment complexes.  Her “center,”if you can call it that, is single room about the size of a typical apartmentliving room (maybe 25’ x 25’).  She averages 22 kids per day in that smallspace and tries to provide a safe space for children while creating anatmosphere conducive to studying, physical activity, and socializing. It’s tough, but she’s really making a difference.
My wife is extraordinarily gifted in working with troubled,disadvantaged youth.  What she can’t do is provide all of these kids withthe tools and resources they need to learn and grow.  And so, it hasbecome my personal mission to raise money, awareness, and resources to supporther.  I believe this is my strength, and a way for me to contribute. In fact, I’m in the process of planning a fundraising event in February thatwill be A LOT of fun, and you will all be invited!
So, my “ask” of you is to review the wishlist below. Do you have any of these items?  Are any of these things collecting dustin your home?  What about your friends or family members?  Pleasetake a moment to review the list below and let me know what you might have thatis either not being used, or that you’d be willing to part with.
I’ve always believed in asking for help.  You justnever know who or how someone can help you until you ask.
Can you help?
CSYP Wishlist

Arts & Crafts
  • Paint Sharpees & regular color Sharpees
  • Cool coloring project kits
  • Colored construction paper
  • Regular color marker set
  • Lego set
  • Miscellaneous arts & craft projects and supplies
  • Play Doe
  • Paint sets with brushes
  • Any other general art supplies

  • 3-6th grad level reading books (fiction and non-fiction)
  • Educational books
  • Coloring books

  • Computers w/ or w/out monitors (they do not needmonitors)
  • Just Dance Game 2nd or 3rd version (Wii)
  • Other Wii games
  • Computer games (strategy and leisure)
  • Boombox with CD player
  • Computer printer & extra ink cartridges
  • Ethernet cable splitter

  • Educational age-appropriate documentaries
  • Discovery DVDs

Outdoor Equipment
  • Badminton racquets
  • Pogo sticks
  • Jump Ropes
  • Hoola hoops
  • Soccer balls
  • Footballs
  • Rubber balls for Dodge Ball

Gift Cards / Prizes
  • Foot Locker
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Target
  • iTunes

  • Non-board games
  • Strategy games
  • One-player games
  • Group games

  • Movie Tickets
  • Amusement Park Tickets
  • Tickets to anything that would be appropriate for a fieldtrip

*Many people havealready told me that they don’t have any of these items, but would like tocontribute some money to buy these items for the program.  A number of us (mostly family and close friends)have decided to forgo Christmas gifts this year and pool our money together tosupport the program.  You are welcome tojoin us in donating to the pool.  I can’teven imagine the kind of academic/art supply shopping spree we’re going to goon after the holidays!  J

4 thoughts on “Make a Difference Today

  1. Thanks J! Email me directly ( and I will send you my paypal information. Or you can mail a check. Just email me!

  2. Thanks J! Email me directly ( and I will send you my paypal information. Or you can mail a check. Just email me!

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