Category Archives: Charity

Skating For Sandy

On Saturday night, I traveled to Atlantic City with my family to watch Operation Hat Trick, a charity hockey game created in order to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Hockey all-stars Scott Hartnell from the Philadelphia Flyers and Brad Richards from the New York Rangers teamed up with Caesar’s Atlantic City to sponsor the event held at the Boardwalk Convention Center. The proceeds raised from the event were donated to the Empire State Relief Fund, the New Jersey Hurricane Relief Fund and the American Red Cross.

Hartnell and Richards were the captains of each team that featured players from the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Colorado Avalanche among many others. The sellout crowd of over 10,000 watched goalies Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist battle for the first time all hockey season. Lundqvist had 57 saves with his team winning 10 to 6. The event showcased several talented NHL players who put their rivalries aside to raise money for an important cause.

While the main and most important goal of the event was to raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims, Operation Hat Trick generated conversation about the NHL. Currently, the NHL is in a lockout because players and owners cannot reach an agreement over salaries. On Saturday night, there were hundreds of tweets about the charity game. Teams tweeted live updates about their players and game attendees sent pictures and videos to Twitter. Fans generated positive dialogues about the event that hopefully captured the attention of players and NHL officials. There was even a “We Want Hockey” chant started throughout the arena during the game.

Operation Hat Trick had both positive and negative public relations implications. On one hand, the event showed how the game of hockey can be used to raise money for a good cause. It gave hockey superstars an opportunity to give back while playing a sport they love. On the other hand, holding such an event reminded hockey fans everywhere of what they are missing. The game could be seen as a catalyst that sparked angry fans to voice their opinions and possibly boycott the sport if and when it does return. There is a rumor circulating saying that the NHL told NBC not to broadcast the game. We will see if that holds true.

It was both amazing and inspiring to see the NHL players put aside their differences and play for a good cause. If players could put aside such rivalries, I wonder why they can reach a mutual agreement in order to have a NHL season. Based off of the tweets from this weekend, hockey fans are dying for their sport to come back. Hopefully, they can settle this dispute soon so we can have somewhat of a hockey season.

Motivation Mondays: This is Your Reminder

October is a month dedicated to awareness: Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Bullying Prevention Month as well as National Coming Out Week and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Throughout the month, various celebrations occur like walks to raise money or wearing pink to show support. With the awareness of different issues being raised this month, I wanted this Motivation Monday post to serve as a reminder to all of us.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. In more than half of the instances, bullying has been a contributing factor to the suicide or attempted suicide. As someone who was bullied during middle school, I can completely agree that it takes a toll on you. The “It Gets Better” viral campaign was created in response to severe bullying in the LGBTQ community. Below is a video made by Google Chrome to highlight the campaign. While it was targeted for younger members of the LGBTQ community, the message can be applicable to anyone being bullied. I know it seems like all hope is lost, but I promise it does get better!

Cancer is a disease that does not discriminate and kills over 500,000 Americans each year. Recently, my 40 year-old cousin was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and only found out because of her baseline mammogram. Yet again, cancer has hit close to home and reminded me how precious life truly is. I have worn a pink ribbon all month for breast cancer awareness and in support of my cousin.

We run through our days complaining about our jobs or our families. But at least we were fortunate enough to wake up  and have jobs and families. I am very guilty of complaining about pointless things and missing the bigger picture. I am healthy with a supportive family and amazing friends. I was lucky enough to receive a college education when so many haven’t. Life is going pretty well for me. Please allow this blog post to be your reminder that life could always be worse. We are normally too busy and take for granted little things that others have lost. Remember, growing old is a privilege denied to many so celebrate each and every birthday!

Celebrating National Coming Out Week

From October 8th through the 11th, National Coming Out Week (NCOW) is celebrated on Temple’s campus. The week-long celebration that promotes LGBTQ education and awareness started in the fall of 2008. Since then, the list of events, sponsors and participants has grown exponentially.

Within the last five years, NCOW has created campus and city-wide awareness of the issues faced by the LGBTQ community. Through panel discussions and movie screenings, students at Temple have developed an understanding of what this community faces. The two annual events include NCOW Fest and Come Out, Speak Out. At NCOW Fest, students can obtain different resources from places like the Health Education Awareness Resource Team (HEART) at Temple and Campus Philly. My favorite event, Come Out, Speak Out, allows students, faculty members and guest speakers to share their coming out stories with the audience. It is a powerful event that provides attendees with real examples of strength and adversity from LGBTQ community members.

Each year, NCOW has a theme that focuses on inclusivity, uniqueness and celebrating diversity. This year’s theme is “Be You.” Its message is clear: regardless of your sexual orientation or anything else, celebrate the qualities that make you special. Hopefully, this message helps everyone on Temple’s campus, Philadelphia and around the world celebrate each other’s differences and embrace one another for who we really are.

I have participated and worked on NCOW since its conception. It is truly amazing to see how many people attend the events and leave more informed. NCOW gives all students the necessary resources to adjust healthily to college. Coming to college in a city like Philadelphia means meeting new people, some unlike any others you’ve met before. It’s an adjustment that some may struggle with. NCOW explores some of those difficulties and provides the tools needed to create a more accepting environment throughout campus.

For more information about NCOW, visit

Paying It Forward

I am a firm believer in paying it forward, lending a hand when you can and helping those in need.  Most of the time, helping out financially is going to be most beneficial. For me, making monetary donations is difficult since I don’t have a job. So, I try to show up and lend support that way, while contributing whatever I can. Within the last two weeks, two remarkable young boys reminded me why paying it forward is so important.

Nicholas winning his award

Two Sundays ago, I attended my cousin Nicholas’ fundraiser, where he received the Rider of the Year award. Nicholas participates in horse-riding therapy to help his Cerebral Palsy condition. At almost 23 months, he is already a stand-out and one of the toughest little boys I know. I am so glad I attended the fundraiser and got to see my amazing baby cousin win his award. It felt good to be there to support him and my aunt and uncle. While my monetary contributions were small, at least I donated. Showing up is an important part of paying it forward and now that I’m back at home, I hope to do more for Nicholas.

This past Sunday, I participated in the Central Jersey Walk for Autism Speaks, in honor of my friend’s little brother, Tommy. I’ve been going to the walk and fundraising for the last seven years and have watched it grow annually. Tommy is now almost as tall as me and gives me hugs whenever he sees me. Despite the rain, the walk was a success and raised more money than ever.

Both of these little boys have inspired me more than anyone has before. They are happy, determined boys and I know nothing will ever stop them. Paying it forward, even in a small way, is so rewarding and inspiring. As a young professional, it is important to me to work for a company that gives back in some way. I hope to continue to pay it forward each day and hope Nicholas and Tommy’s stories inspired you to do the same!

Team Tommy’s Angels 2011

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