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December 2010

In this issue:

About us:

Educating and engaging seniors to do social action;

Empowering grandchildren to make the world a better place;

And creating a legacy from one generation to another.

840 Vernon Avenue
Glencoe, Illinois 60022 
(847) 948-5556

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Book Recommendation:

A great book for children to use as a journal to think and toact, as well as for adults to use for ideas on how to help children become activists.

The Giving Book by Ellen Sabin

publisher: Watering Can Press

The book is written as a gift book from an adult to a child.  It has a facing page that says, "You can use this book to help so many people because you and your actions are powerful.  You make a BIG difference because you are special."

The chapters deal with helping others through donations of money or things, through group activities,and through kind and caring things you can do. 


Visit AARP's Create the Good for access to some great service opportunities!

Volunteer opportunities in or near your zip code
How-to guides for helping your friends, neighbors and community
Charitable donations through AARP Foundation
Share and post options to help you recruit volunteers for your service initiative

A Note from Bubbe Sharon


This month, I read a book called The “1” Book by Dan Zadra and Kobi Yamada.  It’s filled with quotes about making a difference in the world.  As we start a new year, let's remember that we all have the potential to create a great life, no matter our age, our background, or our religion.  I hope that you and your grandchildren have a happy, healthy New Year filled with all the blessings that one deserves.  One of my favorite quotes from the book:

"A great life is one with meaning, purpose, love, laughter, wonder and adventure.  A portion of a great life would be devoted to something bigger, greater than yourself, something that inspires you, energizes you, pulls you forward, something that responds to your unique talent or touch, and ultimately makes a difference in the world around you.  and at the end of your journey, you will look back on a life of significance, rather than regret-knowing in your heart you left the world better than you found it, knowing that you made a difference in the lives of others. Knowing that you got something wonderful out of it, and that you gave something wonderful back.  A great life, of course, is not something we experience, it is something we create."

New Year, New Possiblities!

This coming year, think about all the possibilities you have to find more meaning in your life and to help those who can be the benefactors of your kindness.  Often we ourselves are benefactors when we do something for someone else.

Kindness—Say please and thank you.  Offer a helping hand to a parent, a grandchild, a stranger in a store.

Collections—Clean closets at end of the year. Give things you no longer use to an organization that is important to you.  Find all the toiletries you’ve collected from hotels, and give them to a shelter.  Discuss what other kind of collection of products you might give to others.

Shop on behalf of a charity—Some stores have matching gifts. Some ask you to donate something and you get a discount on your shopping.  What can you do?

Time and support—Look in Make it Better Magazine.  It publishes an article every month that tells you where you can give time and support and donate items.  Ideas are big and small, but all are meaningful.

 Action—Visit the website for JUF’s TOV Vounteer Network to find scores of places to serve the community as adults or with children.

Monetary Donations—Sit with your family and choose your favorite charity or two, and then make a contribution.

Social justice-Once more, discuss with your family what causes are important to you and that can change the world.  Write a letter, attend a march, or discuss with others so they understand.  Choose a continuing project for the coming year.  What small or big things can you do this year if you met 6 times to do it?

Do One Nice Thing Featured Idea

This comes to us from Debbie Tenzer of Do One Nice Thing.  Visit her website for even more great and timely ideas!

Now you see them, now you don't.  Tens of thousands of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered serious injuries. 

Where are they? They're seldom in the news. Maybe that's because they don't whine. They just deal with their situation.

And what is their situation? They have wounds we can see, and wounds we cannot see. Hospital stays last months or even years. Many of the families are in distress, financial and otherwise. 

Still, they don't ask for anything. But do you know what makes them feel a bit better? Two words they should hear more: Thank You.

Please join me in sending love, thanks and support to these strong, brave people in care of the Warrior and Family Support Center (WFSC) at Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas. WFSC provides a "living room" environment with the comforts of home for the wounded warriors and their families, who are far away from their own homes.

Please send any of the following:

1. Art kits for the children, for fun while spending long hours at the hospital.

2. Gift cards to Target and Walmart, to help families pay for diapers, food and other necessities. 

3. Christmas and holiday cards. Put WFSC on your mailing list, and send thanks and love.
Help without leaving your desk. Art kits and gift cards can be ordered online. It takes just a few minutes. Click for the address and more info.

We can never replace what the wounded warriors and their families have lost. Even if we can't see them, we can still reach them. We can say, "Thank you."

Cookie's Fantastic December

A special thanks to GSA contributor Cookie S. for telling us about her month!  Keep up the great work! 

"December is a fun month in our house—it looks like a miniature Toys“R”Us.  Each year, my family adopts a classroom at a school in a poor community.  Each student writes a letter to Santa, and their teacher passes the letters to us.  We make sure that each kid gets what they asked for.  We also paint plastic shoeboxes for each kid, making sure the boys get boy-friendly designs on the box and girls get more “girly” designs on theirs.  In each box, the students get new crayons, markers, pencils, coloring books, as well as a toothbrush and toothpaste.  We bring it all to the school and hold a party for the students where each one makes a present for their parents.  We certainly get as much out of the day as they do—six years old is such a wonderful age!  Additionally, I always make sure to paint fifty boxes for the crisis nursery, fill them, and deliver them.  Finally, we have our Channukah party.  What a month!"

Let us know what you've been up to--email your activities to Sharon at!


Merry Mitzvot with the JUF's TOV Network

MM2010It is a perfect time to do a kind action for others. Do anything from setting up to serve dinner to the homeless- to organizing gifts for clients of the Ark- to delivering meals to those in need.  Go to or call 312-357-4762 for information and to sign up to help.  They need you desperately!

The Tikkun Olam Volunteer (TOV) Network is JUF's connection point for people who want to donate their time to help others in need. In accordance with tikkun olam, the Jewish concept of repairing the world one good deed at a time, TOV places members of the Jewish community with Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation affiliated agencies and with community service projects that need volunteers.

Whether you are interested in volunteering once a week or once a year, in the city or in the suburbs, with the elderly or with children, by tutoring or by serving food to the homeless, TOV's volunteer advisors will work hard to find the best match to meet your needs and interests.

Make it a Season to Remember by Volunteering with TOV!

The JUF TOV Volunteer Network's winter calendar of one-time volunteer projects, Merry Mitzvot, is here! Merry Mitzvot offers many opportunities to give back during the holiday season. From sorting donations to serving food, you are sure to find a way to make your holidays more meaningful.

Sign-ups are open now and projects run through Monday, January 3, 2011!

Sign up now to volunteer!

It's Gifting Season -- a new guide from Sharon Halper

Monthly GSA contributor Sharon Halper gives us a guide about the gifts we give to others.  Click here to read Sharon's latest guide!


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Grandparents for Social Action
Grandparents for Social Action
840 Vernon Ave
Glencoe, Illinois 60022

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