Philanthropy: A Small Group of...

I’m no fan of beauty pageants. But recently I came across the Quality of Life finalists’ videos for the 2012 Miss America contestants (duh, on YouTube! =P), and I was blown away by the clarity of their thoughts. How each one chose a cause close to their hearts, and was using the Miss America platform to take their causes further. [Check out the Miss America website for more info on the awards: . Also do YouTube this specific award to hear out the contestants themselves!]. 

The finalists made me think: These are all young women between the age of 17-24 (that’s the age restriction), and they are already doing so much with their lives in terms of giving back to society! Beauty pageants I may be no fan of, but I can respect and do recognize these women for the dedication in their chosen fields [The platforms are varied - from bullying to sexual assaults, Alzheimer’s to eating disorders, they cover a myriad of issues]. 

On the other hand, I’m currently working with a group of young teenagers for a charity project. These youngsters are quite inspiring: They’ll starve themselves for 30 hours; volunteer at a food donation center (while starving!); and engage in fundraisers, all in effort to create awareness and contributions to one day “banish hunger to the history books” []. The students were given a choice to skip the event, but they chose otherwise; and that makes me so proud of them! =)

Lastly, our fellow blogger Sufi Nawaz introduced me to HUP (Healthcare for Underprivileged Program), originally an initiative of a handful of MicroSoft employees. [Sufi has promised to blog about it so I’ll spare you all the details!]. This non-profit’s actual charity work is done in Bangladesh, but someone like Sufi, residing in the States, still contributes by volunteering to develop its website, as an example.

~So all these wonderful stories around me make me think: There is so much to do, and we all can do something, each in our own ways, no? What a wonderful world to live in! =)

You Should Definitely Visit...

…The Celestial Park, if you are in or around Addison, TX! 

It has a sundial for goodness’ sake; nature-based poems and quotations spring up all over the masterfully decorated place. I must admit though, it wasn’t exactly “love at first sight” for me. Intrigue, yes! [Who can resist sundial + nature + poetry?]. It’s just the overall decoration of the park seemed a bit too stagey. However, I’m verryyyy happy to say, TRUE LOVE finally happened tonight for me…under the full moon! =D Yes, ‘tis truly a park to be enjoyed in the evening/night [the park hours are 5 am to 11 pm]; the lights are soft and subdued and you can definitely savor the blissful moonlight. Now, that’s a rare treat for an urban'ite used to the harsh glaring streetlights!

Still not convinced? It’s been named by as one of the Top 10 parks of the DFW metroplex, and one of the “Best Romantic Places to Propose in Dallas” by [One user review even has a fabulous proposal story]. 

~Just check it out, will you please? =D