Healing Hands Paddleboard Race

Healing Hands Paddleboard Race
Click here for the event page on Facebook

Paddle for a great cause! Local pro rider Chase Kosterlitz and his stand up paddleboard company, Water Monkey have been kind enough to partner with One Week A Year to organize the Healing Hands Paddleboard Race and charity event.  Paddlers from all over will compete in a variety of divisions for all paddle craft.

Proceeds go to provide health care for families in La Carpio, Costa Rica as part of ONEWAY’s Healthy from the Ground Up initiative.  Click here to learn more about the project.

Race Info

3 mile fun race and 6 mile elite on the intracoastal waterway in St. Pete Beach! (Click for 3 mile course / 6 mile course)  This is a great race for first time racers and hardcore competitors!

When: July 9, registration opens at 8am.  Racer’s meeting at 9:30am for a 10am start.
Where: Water Monkey 9540 Blind Pass Road, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706 (click for directions)

All paddlecraft are welcome.  Divisions include the following:

Prone open
Mens SUP 12′6″
Women SUP 12′6″ 
Mens SUP 14′
Mens SUP UL 
Mens Stock
Womens Stock
Kids (13 and under)

Entry fee: $35

All are welcome to paddle, race or just enjoy the day and support those who need a helping hand.  Board demos will be on hand and we look forward to a great day.

For more info visit the Healing Hands Facebook Event Page or contact us via email or telephone.

chasekosterlitz@hotmail.com / info@oneweekayear.org 
727 481 3637 / 727 249 3359

Also, check out the event poster.  Feel free to print one out and post it where you think people might see it!

What we all want

The Dalai Lama says this all the time and he’s right:  We all want to be happy.  Every one of us.  The good news is that there is a shortcut.

The shortcut is no secret.  In fact, most of us have used it before.  It’s even written at the top of this website.  The simple truth is that when we do something for some one else, we feel better.  In fact, we usually feel great.  It’s very simple–help others, live better.

Why mention this now?

Now that we are one month into 2011 and new year’s resolutions are being made and broken and I hope you will give some thought to the ONEWAY pledge. Sometimes I wonder if the word “pledge” causes the wrong impression.  The pledge is not a donation.  It’s simply an intention.  After all, great accomplishments start with an intention.

So how does one take the pledge?

You simply decide what you want give of yourself to help others and make it known.  Do you want to give a week of canned goods to a homeless shelter? Do you want to volunteer a few hours a month in 2011?  To make the pledge you simply express your intention.  Wayne Dyer describes an intention as “synonymous with the supreme confidence that [you] can put the right energy in to the resolution of a problem.”  You can! In fact, you have probably thought countless times about things you would like to do to help others.  Here you have an easy and effective way to make that thought an intention–and that intention a reality.    It’s easy to make your pledge.  Just click here and make a little note about what you would like to do for others.

What the Pledge is not

The ONEWAY Pledge can be almost anything so it is easier to explain it in terms of what it is not.  The Pledge is not a petition for money or a nagging obligation.  The idea is that helping others will also improve your life.  So think of it as a way to put your intention out into the ether and the rest is up to you.  The pledge can be anonymous if you like and you will only receive a reminder if you ask for one.  For a great list of Pledge ideas click here.

Why is the ONEWAY Pledge important?

Because not only do we all want to be happy, we deserve to be.  The very fact that you find yourself reading these words at this moment means that you have felt the call to bring happiness into the lives of others.  You already know that somehow our happiness is linked to the happiness of others.  There is nothing strange about this phenomenon.  It’s a simple case of being human.  Making the ONEWAY pledge is a conscious change towards improving your life and helping others.  They are, after all, two faces of the same coin.

Before we go, we ask two small things.

First, please consider making a pledge to make an effort to involve yourself in some service activity or worthy cause this year.  You can click here to read some pledge ideas and make your own.

The last thing we ask is that you share this info with anyone and everyone you think might want to help or hear more.  Your voice truly is the ripple that gives rise to the swelling tide of goodwill.  Please get the word out on Facebook, Twitter, email or old-fashioned face-to-face contact.

Thanks for being a vehicle of love and positivity.  Have fun out there.

Los más pequeños–the little ones

We often call children ¨blissfully unaware.¨  But is it possible that despite all the spinning around and giggling, they know just what is going on?  This week we have done a bit of everything–surveyed families for public health concerns, treated injuries and illnesses and spent a lot of time around little kids who want to hug everyone in sight and laugh at absolutely everything.

Aren’t they bothered by living in shacks with no real floor under their feet?  Aren’t they upset by the poverty and pollution that keep them sick and malnourished?  The answer is yes…and no.

They are small and perfect.  But they get sick, a lot.  Much more than they should, or at least much more than they would if they lived somewhere else.  Even so, they laugh too much.  They want to be picked up and hugged and vueltas, or getting spun around never gets old.  Ever.

So what do we do?  The original idea was to march into their neighborhood–the poorest of the poor–with doctors ready to cure the sick and save the day.  What we have seen, however, is that they need more than a free clinic.  They need healthier lives that let them go to school and pay attention without feeling weak and broken.

When rain water and garbage runoff regularly wash through your house from the hills above and saturate your dirt floor it is tough to stay completely healthy.  Kids pick up parasites constantly in their own homes and because of the dirty air, asthma runs rampant as well.  So this is where we draw the line in the sand and focus our efforts.

Our goal is to educate the families about asthma and get them the albuterol they need to keep them breathing.  More importantly, most of the health issues they face can be fixed simply by putting in a floor.  This thin layer of concrete can be the difference between staying clean and healthy and fighting constant parasite and bacterial infections.

We are already picking dates to come back and put floors in homes and educate families about asthma and how to use the asthma medication.  We hope you will help us make a difference.  We cannot turn La Carpio into the suburbs overnight, be we can help deserving children live healthier.

Maybe the next time they get sick will just be because you gave them too many vueltas.

Dispatch from Costa Rica

We are probably the first volunteer workers in Costa Rica to carry a ukelele in our medical supplies.  These past few days have been a steady diet of visiting families in needy areas and music for the locals courtesy of Patrick (Dr. Klemawesch).

Our mission has been to attend to the medical needs of the families in the most precarious situation of an already impoverished community.  What can you do for those families that live steps away from a polluted area?  What is the best way to help those relegated to shacks that wash away in rainstorms?  Finding the answer to these questions is why we’re here.  There is no easy answer, but we are getting close.

As you can see in the photos below we have seen a bit of everything–even sad faced boys who regret falling out a tree.  The La Carpio community is has the unsurprising misfortune to be next to a landfill and a river polluted by San Jose.  It is no surprise then that the area is rife with asthma and curious toddlers can’t help but catch frequent parasites and other infections.

Have an idea as to what can be done?  Post an idea in the comment section below.  We would love to hear your thoughts and any vote of confidence from our supporters would be nice gust of wind in our sails!

We have set our sights on a program to decrease the transmission of parasites and other illnesses by improving the living conditions.  You are probably not surprised that no longer sleeping on a dirt floor makes a big difference in one’s health.  We are also arranging a medical fair to help families learn about treating and controlling their asthma and using a few hygiene strategies to keep illness from jumping from person to person like some deranged flea.

The proposed project is already in the prep stage.  Any volunteer group will be able to implement the plan and you can even join in and lend a hand on the next trip.  There a few better feelings than helping a child feel better and it is never more apparent than when they are no longer sleeping in the dirt and they are rested, healthy and not covered in muck from head to toe!

We have more to do in the next few days and we will keep you posted.  Please share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

This beats going to the mall!

One Week A Year is in Costa Rica!

The holidays is arguably the best time of year to participate in service activities and it’s less stressful than holiday crowds at the mall!  For the next week I will be in La Carpio (pictured left) volunteering and researching a future medical mission or other project.  I encourage everyone to take some time and do something that makes them feel good.

I am lucky to have a great copilot in Dr. Patrick Klemawesch who is a skilled physician, musician and overall great human being.  We will be working to improve the health care situation for families in the most impoverished area of La Carpio.   Of course, we are doing research for our next medical mission or service trip so you can join in too.

I will try to get pics and post when I have time.  So far it has been a great start out of the gates.  We went from the airport straight to La Carpio to take part in an impromptu soup kitchen.  More to come tomorrow when we begin treating the sick.

Here’s your Spanish word for the day:  Abrazo.  That’s what we send everyone at home.

Something we can all agree on….

What if instead of giving money to a cause, you could invest in a person?

Why not bankroll some one’s dream?  You might be surprised how far 25$ can go.  Making a loan to a small entrepreneur through www.kiva.org is one of the most effective and satisfying ways to  help others.

Everyone’s talking about microfinance

I think we can all agree that teaching to plant a tree is better than just donating fruit.  What if we could invest in the orchard?  Through Kiva.org you can do just that by giving micro-loans to local entrepreneurs in developing countries.  That means you, both figuratively and literally, are planting the seed that helps someone sustain him/herself and his/her family

What type of entrepreneurs are we talking about?

Yusi in Peru needs a loan for fertilizer and to buy a bull for her family farm.  Mariatu in Sierra Leone needs to buy more inventory for her used clothing business.  In Rwanda, Boniface needs capital to finish a dwelling that he intends to rent out.  There are hundreds of people and families that you can support by investing in, not giving to, their projects.

How much are we talking here?

Loans can be as little as $25 and can be as high as a few hundred.  Applicants receive loans from many sources so you do not have to fund an entire project.  You simply help get the venture off the ground.  Of course, you get your money back.  Kiva has a 98.99% repayment rate to date!

How to Get Involved?

One of the great things about Kiva is how well it is put together.  It really is as simple as visiting the site, browsing the loans and picking one you would like to support.  Each applicant is listed with a personal bio, a description of the project, the financial needs and even a detail of his or her loan/credit history.  www.kiva.org is very user friendly and easy to navigate.

A Few Thoughts and Suggestions

  • A cool holiday idea is to pick a loan on Kiva.org and get your friends, families or co-workers to contribute.  You and a few people can have an enormous impact!
  • Ever traveled to a country that left a lasting impression?  Why not look to see if there are any applicants in that country where you can return the favor?  Kiva lets you browse by geographic region.
  • Imagine how great you and the loan recipient will feel when your money is paid back.  Both you and the loan recipient will feel great when the investment pays off!

Giving Thanks!

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The great thing about giving thanks is that it is simply recognizing all the great things that happen every day.  So today ONEWAY gives thanks for you.  You and everyone else make this world a colorful, and often hilarious, place to inhabit.  Here’s to hoping you enjoy everything today–from the stuffing to the to the sunset to the weird uncle who makes inappropriate jokes at the dinner table.  When you look at all of it all together it’s hard not to recognize how wonderful it is.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. God called and said gluttony was OK for the next 12 hours.

You found us.

We’re glad the word is spreading and that new people are finding us and getting involved.  One Week A Year exists to help others enjoy life more by injecting it with a healthy dose goodwill.

Simple idea:  Help others.  Live Better.

Do you remember the last time you were lucky enough to help some one in need? Chances are you felt great afterward.  Our goal is to make that feeling a regular part of our lives.  It is simple.  Just let us help you dedicate a small part of your life to service each year.  You might be surprised by how making a simple resolution can make you feel great.  We suggest you check out the link for the ONEWAY Pledge (link on right margin) to see some simple suggestions for helping others.

Get on the bus

We currently have a medical service trip to Costa Rica that is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to get involved–either by participating directly or by helping making the trip a success with your contributions.  Each year we will have at least one week-long service trip for those that would like to join and we always keep a list of cool organizations that we think are great causes.  (See link on the right margin.)

Please poke around our website and remember you have the power to make a change right now.  Deciding to do something for others is a sure way to bring joy to your life.  Give it a shot!

Email anytime with questions!

Book Review: Half the Sky. Excellent Read

***Quick note before the book review:  Online donations are now up and running.  The link is in the “Get Involved” menu.  Also, a local doctor is almost 100% confirmed for our service trip to Costa Rica in December.  We still need volunteers!

Half the Sky

This book arrived unexpectedly by mail and I didn’t know what to think.  It was a gift from Sally Smith who works with an amazing organization called Sudan Now (Sudan Now website) and has mediocre dancing abilities.  I trust her recommendations, but I admit to being less than excited about reading about topics such as genital mutilation.

My initial take on the book, however, was wrong.  Read this book.  Half the Sky is, and I can’t believe I am saying this, a page turner.  Penned by New York Times contributing journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as an examination of the worldwide oppression of women, the book gives us much more.

Sure, you’ll get your fill of forced prostitution and fistula surgeries, but Half the Sky is almost a step by step guide to how small acts of courage and compassion bring positive change even when an issue seems beyond our scope.  Schools are built by rape victims.  Grandmothers raise millions for service organization.  Hospitals are built by the victimized and communities are transformed.

The authors understand, of course, that inspiration without a blueprint for change is a battle half won.  There is no shortage of ways to get involved and interesting organizations that are worth looking up online.  More importantly, Half the Sky makes a broad statement of consciousness.  Oppression and suffering, now matter how remote they may seem, affect us too.  The book’s title refers to a Chinese proverb that says women hold up half the sky.  When we allow oppression to bind women or anyone, their half of the sky falls heavy on our hands.

Overall, Half the Sky is a fantastic, potentially life-changing read, that provides a blueprint for helping others in ways we thought were beyond our reach.  I hope this book inspires you as much as it did me.

Wind in the sails…

We’re making headway! Thank you for all the help and support.  It’s great to see all the ONEWAY Pledge’s and the posts on Facebook.  I can’t help but feel that something good is in the works and the end result will be all of us, and many others, enjoying life even more than we do now.

So, as this is the first post, I wanted to make a quick note about what to expect from One Week A Year posts.  Of course, we want to keep you up to date with any service opportunities that come up, but you can also expect book reviews, news bites and of course the occasional brief moment of sheer brilliance.

Posts will be made every couple of weeks, but in this beginning period there should be quite a bit more activity as there are new developments every day.  Don’t worry, pretty soon the pace will go down to normal.  I will also send out a few emails l in the coming weeks to spark a little word of mouth and build our family a bit.

For now I mostly want to thank you and encourage you to leave any comments on any part of the blog or email anytime.  Please continue to spread the word and I hope you will think about the ONEWAY Pledge.  It is not a pledge of money or a donation of any kind.  It’s just a small step that creates more happiness in your life.  Bad economy or no, this is one investment that has a worthwhile return.

Of course, don’t forget about the Costa Rica trip on December 11.  We would love to have you join us.  We are working on information packets and a fundraising kit.  Volunteering in needy areas in Latin America is an incredible experience and you might be surprised how willing your friends and family might be to help support your service efforts and share the costs.

Have a great day!