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Help Haiti by Watching YouTube

Just after the horrific earthquake rocked Haiti, I wrote an article discussing several different ways that you can help. More than a month later, there are still bodies buried in the rubble. Stories are popping up in the news on a daily basis of survivors being found alive, having been buried or trapped for weeks. There is no end in sight for the plight of the brave Haitian people. It will take many years to begin to recover from this disastrous event.

The people of Haiti still need your help. Stars in the music industry have stepped up in full force, putting together fundraisers and even telethons. Now, however, they’ve come up with an even cooler way for you to do your part in the relief effort. Thanks to producer Quincy Jones, we now have a new version of the old song “We Are The World”, in which Michael Jackson and a cast of other stars sang to raise money to help end World hunger. This time, the proceeds are going to the Haiti Relief Effort.

A new version of “We Are the World” has premiered on YouTube, featuring more than 75 artists. The video features a diverse array of artists including Mary J. Blige, Tony Bennett, YouTube teen phenom Justin Bieber, and a flashback to Michael and Janet Jackson performing the song 25 years ago. The charitable connection here is a digital download – all proceeds from sales of the song on iTunes go to Haiti relief. The We Are the World Foundation website also offers other ways to donate, as well as more information about the song.

In discussing the effort, Quincy Jones stated that “… with the stroke of a key on your keyboard or cell phone, images and messages can be transferred all around the world to hundreds of millions of people in seconds. That’s an enormous amount of power. How can you not try and harness that resource to help people in need?”

With such a small amount of effort required – and an amazing video to watch – how can you not click that button?

How to Help Haiti Earthquake Victims

The screams in Haiti are being heard around the World. The 7.0 earthquake that rocked Port Au Prince on Tuesday brought the already impoverished city of more than two million people to its collective knees. Buildings lie in ruin. Bodies are piled in the streets. Hundreds of thousands of people are still missing in the wreckage, their fates unknown. There is no food, no water and no electricity. As emergency crews fight to get to the scene, people are digging through the rubble on their hands and knees, hoping to uncover survivors. What few houses remain are structurally unsafe. People who were lucky enough to escape with their lives are huddling together in open fields, too afraid to enter any buildings that may still be standing.

Earthquake in Haiti

The devastation is unthinkable and unimaginable. The sheer amount of destruction is seemingly insurmountable. One news blog that I read a little while ago ended with the sentiment that “Any thoughts of full recovery during this generation is unrealistic.”. The more news, videos and photos that reach us from Haiti, the more we begin to realize how true that small statement is. One way to keep up with the very latest news is to follow reporter Richard Morse. He is giving updates from Port Au Prince as often as he can.

Those of us who are not in Haiti are scrambling, trying to figure out what we can do to help. Not knowing what we can do often leads us to do nothing at all. In my opinion, this is not an option right now. The devastation caused by this earthquake is being compared to losing an entire war in just a few short moments.

There are many trustworthy organizations who are already on the scene, and many more that are gathering together resources to aid the victims of this awful tragedy. We have come up with a list of some of the ways that you can help. Please remember that every penny – literally – counts. If you are in a situation where you cannot send money or supplies, do not feel as though you are worthless. Your thoughts, prayers and support are needed by the people in Haiti, as much as the physical donations are.

  • American Red Cross – There are three ways you can contribute via the Red Cross: monetary donations, blood donations, and signing up as a volunteer.
  • Text to Donate – If you want to donate money but are a little short right now, the State Dept. has set up a way to donate via text message. Text “Haiti” to 90999 and a donation of ten dollars will be added to your next phone bill and forwarded to the Red Cross.
  • Doctors Without Borders – The Doctors Without Borders program has been stationed in Haiti for a long time already. Their facilities were destroyed by the earthquake, along with much of their supplies. They are rushing to attempt to care for the injured people who need them, but they need your help.
  • National Nurses United – The nation’s largest organization of registered nurses tonight activated its nationwide disaster relief program to recruit nurse volunteers to provide assistance to residents of earthquake devastated Haiti.
  • UNICEF – UNICEF is dedicated to helping children. Before Tuesday, there were already thousands of children who were orphans living below the poverty level. Today, there are many thousands more.
  • Operation USA – Operation USA has been rated as a four-star charity for the past six years. Every penny that goes in to the organization goes right back out to the places that need it.
  • Mercy Corps – Mercy Corps allows you to send a flat donation of your own, or can help you organize your own fundraising team. They also accept donations other than money, such as clothing and building materials.
  • World Food Bank – The WFP has already pledged more than two million dollars to help feed the people of Haiti. It is expected that the amount needed will far exceed this.
  • T-shirts – Emerald City Fashion Week is raising money to support the relief effort with a Fashion4Haiti T-shirts which are available for immediate purchase! Net proceeds will be donated to World Vision to help children and families affected by the 7.0 earthquake.

Our hearts go out to everyone in Haiti, as well as to the people around the World waiting for news of loved ones.

Five Geeky Ways to Give Back to the World, Even if You’re Broke

Geek!This is Xavier Lanier’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own.

NOTE: Xavier’s also running an HP Magic Giveaway at Notebooks.com and isn’t officially entered in the Geeks contest. This is just a cross-promotion.

Chances are you feel you are broke or at least worried about going broke, but no matter how bad your situation is there’s always someone out there that’s less fortunate than you. Not all of us have time to volunteer at a local soup kitchen or enough spare cash to stamp out all the world’s ills, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an impact. Here are five ways to make a difference from the comfort of your desk.

1. Make a micro-loan. Lend a budding entrepreneur as little as $25 on Kiva and you can help lift her family out of poverty. Entrepreneurs on Kiva are from just about every corner of the world and your $25 can really make an impact in their lives. You get to choose the entrepreneur and receive email updates to see how her venture is going. When the loan is paid back you can lend the same cash to another entrepreneur, donate the money to Kiva or withdraw the money if you need it back. You’ll get a taste of what it’s like to be a high-powered venture capitalist on Sand Hill Road, minus the big paydays and having to occasionally tell your investors you lost their cash.

2. Build a Web site. There’s no shortage of organizations that need a new Web site created or their existing sites updated. Ask your local school, church or non-profit if you can put your geek powers to good use. A lot of smaller non-profits’ Web sites look like they haven’t been updated since 1999. You can use a free service like SynthaSite to create a new site for your favorite non-profit or bust out Dreamweaver to spruce up what they’ve already got. Adding driving directions, PayPal donation buttons and calendars to non-profits’ Web sites can be very helpful.

3. Scan and Restore Photos. Senior citizens’ photos are often tattered and torn. If you have a scanner, printer and basic Photoshop skills you can quickly restore your elderly neighbors’ old photos to their former glory. If you don’t have any old folks on your block call your local retirement home and drag your laptop, scanner and printer down there for an afternoon. Scanners and photo repair is like magic to people who were born long before the digital age. Print out clean copies of their wedding portraits and you’ll be their hero.

4. Put Your Social Network to Good Use. Find a cause you care about and ask all of your Facebook friends, Twitter followers and blog readers to contribute a buck each to it. Not everyone will contribute, but others will contribute more than you’re asking for. Pick an intriguing cause and ask your friends to share it with their friends regardless if they donate. If you get lucky you can raise a few thousand dollars.

5. Raise Awareness About an Issue. If you have the skills to splice together clips of your cat playing with your socks, then you can create a video that can raise awareness about an issue that matters. Grab factoids, music, video clips and photos from places like Flickr and Wikipedia. Mash them together to create a short movie that briefly describes the problem and what, who’s suffering and what can be done to help. Post your video on YouTube, share it on Facebook and email it to politicians.

What do you do with your old Computers?

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John sent an email to me the other day, with his tips for what you can do with old computers. Don’t send them to a landfill to rot! There are many other options.

  • Donate it to the local school district. The school district uses old computers for parts to refurbish and maintain their current computer stock. If it’s a new enough computer, they may even use it to replace one of their older ones.
  • Donate it to City Hall. Again, if it’s in good enough shape, they may use it as is. Or, they may use some of the parts to maintain their emergency service department units.
  • Send it to an Electronic Recycling center. They will strip out all the useful chips, gold and silver and resell them. Normally, they will pay the donator of a unit a nominal fee.
  • Give it to your local homeless shelter, or Women’s shelter. Some shelters allow the less privileged among us a chance to use computers for job searching, and Emailing family.
  • Your church. They always know of some one who needs a good computer.



Keep in mind that if you donate your computer(s) to anywhere other than a recycling center, you can then write the donation off on your taxes the following year. Being generous really does pay off!

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