New Site!

Please go to the new site, This site is no longer going to be updated or kept current. All posts and information will be on the new site.

Come join us on the new site!

Hey all. Just so you know this will now be the only place for these blog posts.

As we transition Change You Can Afford into a charity, that site will be dedicated to the charity and no longer host the blogging archives.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Homelessness and Puppets?

Today I am writing a post inspired by puppets. While that may sound odd, it is true. A performer created a video to raise awareness about the homelessness issues and inspire people to help. And he has, so I am helping. But first, here is his video that went viral and helped to raise awareness.

The sign and bedding he borrowed from an actual homeless individual. On the youtube video's description he has two links which give ideas about how to help those affected with homelessness. The first is a great list of suggestions on volunteering and how to help without necessarily donating money. The article is "How You Can Help the Homeless Without Spending a Dime" hosted on Squidoo.It has some great suggestions, such as help them apply for jobs and volunteer somewhere that provides childcare for the children of homeless people so that they can go look for work. He also links to a great list of non-profits that work on the issue on

I prefer to find charities by checking their charity navigator ratings and then choosing a charity that way. But in this case, my chosen charity is both highly rated on charity navigator (four stars!) and included on the list of suggestions from the performer.

Today I will be helping The National Alliance to End Homelessness - "a nonprofit, non-partisan, organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. By improving policy, building capacity, and educating opinion leaders, the Alliance has become a leading voice on this issue." They aim high their goal is to end homelessness, and I appreciate it when people aim high, thats better than sitting around thinking we can't change the world. Here is their charity navigator page, with their four star rating!

Here is a little video interview of the performer talking about his motivations and all. Thought y'all might enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A good individual.

I had read a story about this person before, but I noticed another story about him and the awards he has received and I decided to share them with y'all. I am talking about an Australian man named Don Ritchie. He and his wife moved into a home near the Gap, which are some rugged cliffs with views of the Sydney Harbor.

This is one of those places, like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, that is a well known suicide spot. "Australians have been committing suicide at this spot since at least 1863, when a local woman, Anne Harrison, leapt to her death. An estimated 50 people kill themselves there every year."

Don Ritchie began talking to people who he thought might be committing suicide and then inviting them over for a cup of tea and has managed to convince many people change their mind. "Gordon Parker, executive director of the Black Dog Institute, a clinical facility that treats people with depression, says: "People go to places like the Gap in a state of perturbation. They pace up and down, and in that period of time there's a window of opportunity. Don has saved lives because he has gone up to people and chatted to them.""

For his efforts he has been awarded the "medal for bravery and an Order of Australia (the nation’s second highest honor) for averting hundreds of would-be suicides by approaching people and offering them a cup of tea. ‘I used to sell kitchen scales and bacon cutters,’ he says. Now, ‘I’m trying to sell people life.’"

I hope that throughout my life I can do as much good as him and stay as modest and self-effacing as he does. Truly inspiring individual!