Saturday, January 16, 2010

Helping Haiti

Most of the books I write are about teenagers. They explore certain themes common to teenagers around the world. These themes might include discovering that right and wrong isn't always as simple as black and white. Or the push-pull of feeling like an adult, yet being treated like a kid. The frustration of knowing what to do in a given situation, yet not being trusted to do it--or being unable to act due to restrictions placed on teens.

When I was a teen, contributing to a cause often meant a reliance on adults. Sure, my friends and I could raise money to help people in need, but cutting a check or making a credit card payment required an adult's signature. Even then, once we raised money, it took time to get to its destination. Instant online payments didn't exist.

Today, that's not the case. When catastrophe strikes, as it struck in Haiti this week, you can make a difference, all on your own, and your contribution can be used immediately.

Have a cell phone? You can text "Haiti" to 90999 and $10 will be added to your cell phone bill. If you pay that bill yourself, you're covered. If not, hand the person who pays it a $10 bill.

Have an iTunes account? You can donate there, too. There's currently a link to the iTunes donation page on the Apple homepage, or you can sign in to your iTunes account and search "Haiti."

Have a job? Ask your employer if they'll match any donations you make, or if they're taking up a collection and adding their own contributions. Having an employer contribute makes your donation go further.

I made my own donation through the Clinton Foundation's Haiti page. Former President Bill Clinton is a US Special Envoy to Haiti (he was appointed to this position prior to the earthquake) and is working to coordinate efforts to distribute food and medical supplies on the ground.

Haiti needs our help. Let's give it.

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