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Archive for the ‘Giving Back=Paying It Forward’ Category

Please Help: Nicaraguan Maternal Health Project

In Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, News, travel on November 6, 2017 at 10:31

Nica pregnant women

By Rosita Hassan

As many of you know, Nicaragua is a country very near and dear to my heart and women’s and maternal health is an issue that I have grown up with (thanks to my incredible midwife mother). While living in Nicaragua, I had the fortune to meet many courageous and resilient women of great strength and tenacity, who endured countless challenges in order to better their lives and the lives of their families.

Now back in the States, I became involved with a group of dedicated students and faculty from the University of Pittsburgh that have teamed up with Global Links and Rise Against Hunger to send support to pregnant women and new mothers in rural Nicaragua. You can donate here.

Pregnant women in rural Nicaragua face enormous challenges, and their resilience and endurance is a testament to the strength of women everywhere.

We are short of reaching our goal by $2,195. We need to hit this target by November 15th to provide essential nutritious packaged food to mothers in rural Nicaragua. 
We are kindly asking for YOUR support. ANY contribution helps!

Also, if you are a PITT STUDENT and want to contribute by volunteering your time, please let me know in the comments below.

Thanks in advance,

Rosita Hassan

Note by Laura Sgroi: “Everything I want for me I want for others”. As a pregnant woman, everything I wanted was good food and excellent healthcare (compliments and massages came next!). Everybody deserves the same. I feel for these women, thanks for helping them.

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How Have You Been?

In Blogging, Career, coaching, Contributors, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, Lifestyle, News, Videos on September 28, 2017 at 08:50

Aloha!

How Have You Been?

How has 2017 treated you?

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What are your plans for the remainder of it?

How are you preparing to finish it with a bang / in a high note?

I hope you are well, that this post finds you in good health and spirit and that you are safe wherever you are considering everything that has happened around the world lately. Please consider volunteering and/or donating to the causes closest to your heart.

It’s been a while since my last post. I barely shared a few articles on our Facebook page. I have missed you, writing for you, connecting with you. 

Last year was life-changing: After four years living in Nicaragua, I moved back to the United States, to my beloved Miami (It’s been over a year already, and I still owe Lia Seirotti a post about that-coming soon, promised!).

The move happened fast. We became homeowners. I thank my husband for doing most of the research and paperwork. I limited myself to following the great tips in this article by my talented friend Zania and contacting another great friend Oscar Terán as a realtor. The rest was signing a mountain of documents and we are still choosing furniture!

Once again, I was ready to conquer Miami. To recover my space, my work, my friends, my life. Not that I had lost them, but I definitely needed to reconnect.

They were all priorities. Work took over though. I started getting hired for Public Relations and Entertainment Production projects, it felt like I had never left and it was a great reassuring feeling. Fun projects took me to some of my favorite destinations while pulling me away from blogging, writing and social media, as I always strive to respect the time of my clients and the privacy that they deserve.

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I also went back to school for my Professional Coaching Certification. I am still offering complimentary coaching calls, please don’t hesitate to contact me and take advantage of that.

While all this was happening, I was simultaneously “working” on my health. I had been dealing with a hormonal imbalance that not only affected me physically but also emotionally as it directly conflicted with the deepest desire of my heart. I turned 34 in the middle of unpromising fertility diagnosis and felt like there was nothing to celebrate. I was wrong. More on that soon. In the mean time, if you plan to have children, please ask your doctor if you can start taking folic acid daily. You and your future babies can thank me later.

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Family and work kept me busy and entertained with exciting and all-consuming endeavors, including touring with a rock band in South America and other trips to new places and revisiting old ones. I kept it all to myself, absorbed it, digested it and now I am ready to share it. Stay tuned for upcoming travel blog posts.

The election results also affected my blogging persona. I realized once again the power of media, considering that a product of it had become president, and I felt even more responsible for what I was creating and sharing. It paralyzed me for months. Still not over it, but I have decided to transform fear and empower myself through it instead. That’s another reason why I am back.

Four days after publishing our latest post, I received the miracle that I had been praying for. Long story perfect for a future post. Just know that “When Jesus says yes, nobody can say no”.

Earlier this year we also lost two of our beloved contributors: Alfonsina Ferreira and Godelena Segura. I deeply miss them, their smiles, their energy and their wisdom. I am grateful for their lives and souls and the valuable time that we spent together.  

Take this post as a relaunch of this blog. I am back and with so much to offer. I want to write posts that have a lot for you in them. I can’t promise frequency and regularity, just content that will make you content. In that order, I would love to hear your ideas. What would you like to read about? Please let me know as soon as you can.

Thanks in advance for sharing this post with your family, friends and colleagues!

Who misses you?

Laura

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SOS: Gael Isaac Aquino

In Family, Finances, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, News on June 22, 2016 at 12:22

One of my dreams is to become a mom.

That was also the dream of Evelyn Urbáez, 35, a Dominican mom who gave birth to twin boys Gael and Matthew, only four months ago.

Twins

Gael and Matthew

Little Gael is in need of an urgent cardiac surgery to correct a Double Outlet Right Ventricle with severe pulmonary stenosis. His little brother did not survive, however, Gael still has a chance for a healthy future and needs your help. As the surviving baby of twins, his parents are desperately trying to save his life. Unfortunately, they do not have the financial resources needed for his surgery, the cost is $35000.

Please help save Gael. You can be his miracle. Please donate here

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Gael Isaac Aquino

Donate Today for Gael Isaac Aquino

We firmly believe no donation is too small to help us save children’s lives. Every donation, regardless of the amount, takes us closer to our goal of raising and maintaining a multimillion-dollar fund for the critical care of children with no resources for medical treatment in their home countries.

If you wish to donate by check or money order, you can mail your donation to:

International Kids Fund
P.O. Box 2020
Miami, FL 33101

Please Specify on your check or money order to which child you would like to allocate your funds and make your checks or money orders payable to International Kids Fund.

In Gratitude,

Laura

 

 

Let’s Work Together!

In Blogging, Career, Entrepreneurs, Finances, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Lifestyle, News, Relationships, Spirituality, wellness on June 8, 2016 at 13:40

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Thank You for Considering the Possibility of Working Together!

I Can Help You with:

COACHING

Would you like to become partners in a thought-provoking and creative process that will inspire you to maximize your personal and professional potential and produce fulfilling results?

I promise to listen deeply, to observe completely, and to customize my heart-centered approach to your individual needs, that way we can grow and harvest the seeds that God already put inside you.

I am currently training to be a Certified Professional Coach with the University of Miami, an Accredited Program by the International Coach Federation.

Please contact me to schedule a complimentary 30-minute call to meet and decide if we would be great partners!

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BRAND COLLABORATIONS, ADVERTISING & SPONSORSHIPS

I’d Love to Talk with You About Brand Collaborations, Advertising & Sponsorships if I Deeply Know and Love your Brand.

Please contact me and we will decide together the most organic way to support each other!

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WRITING & SPEAKING

Do You Like My Voice?

I Can Lend it to You, Your Brand and/or Your Organization!

I am a freelance Bilingual Writer & Speaker about diverse topics such as:

Positive Lifestyle | Wellness & Beauty | Inspiration, Motivation & Empowerment  Relationships | Self-Love | Education | Women’s Interests | Spirituality | Blogging | Travel | Work-Life Balance 

Please contact me for samples and availability.

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COMMUNICATIONS 

Public Relations | TV & Events Production Management | Marketing

I am a Multi-Passionate & Creative Communications Professional and Consultant with diverse work experience and an excellent track record that spans several cities in the United States and Latin America.

I have had the privilege of working with large and heterogeneous groups in multicultural environments for more than a decade, that has helped me develop strong communications and project management skills, and most importantly, I have managed to gain the trust of countless clients and colleagues.

Please check my LinkedIn profile for more on my career and please don’t hesitate to contact me for your future projects.

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BLOGGING 

I learn and share blogging tips on The Blogger Union, please find below my latest posts:

What Should I Name My Blog

The Benefits of Joining a Mastermind

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Thanks in advance!

In Gratitude and Service,

Laura

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How My Mother Taught Me to Love

In Blogging, Contributors, Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, News, Relationships on May 30, 2016 at 09:35

The following piece was written by Lia Seirotti, Writer and Blogger at A Girl in Her Thirties

Lia

Lia Seirotti

Some people come into our lives and we feel instant chemistry. With little effort we form a friendship that is not easily broken. Others, require time and effort, and with great difficulty we work to build those relationships. Still, in the face of rejection, if we counter with love, we can create strong bonds. That is what my mother taught me.

My mother says I rejected her almost immediately when I was born. It could be because I was dealing with the pain and symptoms caused by a slight birth defect; but I suspect my real defect was being born with a tendency to be less affectionate than most humans. From then onward, I’ve continued being somewhat cold. To this day, I prefer not to have unsolicited skin contact, I rarely ask for hugs, and I am extremely uncomfortable when strangers touch me. I am perfectly content this way. Deep down, however, I know this personality trait has always bothered my mother. In fact, my mother might well be the exact opposite of me, she is more open about her emotions and is not afraid to let her feelings show. Perhaps these are the reasons we didn’t have that instant chemistry the day we met. Rather, our bond is the product of a resilient effort made by my mother to win my affections over time.

It was with courage, through the worst of times that she single-handedly built our relationship. When I was hospitalized at the age of two, my mother dropped everything in her life to advocate for me. With much hardship, she traveled great distances in a developing country, in order for me to receive the best medical care. She stood up to doctors and demanded that I be treated the way she instinctively knew was best. Later, at the age of eight and immigrants in this new country, I was hospitalized a second time. My mother spent every night at my bedside. She comforted me through the physical pain and the fear I felt. Despite the fact that I was not very communicative or affectionate, she stayed with me. Then, when I was diagnosed with different disease at the age of twenty-one, she took care of me once again. My mother knew it was important for me as a newlywed to conserve some dignity. So, for almost a year she came to my house weekly to inject my medications, so that my husband wouldn’t have to see me that way. When I soiled myself in my own bed, she cleaned me. When I lost more weight than I expected, she took my dresses in so that I didn’t look as sick. And when the suicidal thoughts left me debilitated, she cleaned my house and cooked for my husband.

Ten years have passed since my mother last took care of me; but when my older sister called me recently to tell me my mother was in the emergency room, I dropped everything. It was the middle of a workday. Hardly thinking and without packing any clothes, I shut my computer down, got in my car, and drove six hours to be by her side. To be honest, all those moments in my life in which my mother had taken care of me didn’t even cross my mind. I was driven by pure instinct. It was almost a sixth sense that I felt. I knew exactly what my mother needed, and knew that I was the only one who understood the proper way to care for her.

I knew she would need someone who could advocate for her, because that was what she did for me when I was two. I knew she would need someone who would stay by her side every sleepless night, because that was what she did for me when I was eight. And, I knew she would want dignity and privacy because that was what she gave me when I was twenty-one. Immediately upon arriving, I organized and cleaned her room, because that was what she meticulously did for me every week when I was sick. I asked her if she had eaten and taken her medication, even when I knew she hadn’t. I knew I had to make small talk and pretend we weren’t all scared. I knew it was my job to downplay the entire situation as if it were normal, because I have learned to never let the fear of chronic illness show in your demeanor as caregiver.

Now that my mother is recovering, we hardly speak of illness, she knows I’d rather not get emotional. But now we both know now that I am capable of caring for her and that I will when she needs it again. In fact, I don’t remember if I hugged her or kissed her, but I know I cared for her and loved her.

Doctors say there is a vital moment immediately after birth in which a mother and child should have uninterrupted skin to skin contact. They attribute this to being key in any mother-child relationship. While that may be true, I have learned that if you missed that chance you can make up for it with resiliency, compassion, and consideration. Without realizing or intending to, my mother taught me so many invaluable lessons about love. She has shown me that even if you feel you already deserve it and shouldn’t have to, you can work to earn someone’s affections. She taught me how to nurse someone you love. She modeled what unconditional love looks like and taught me that it can triumph over unrequited love.

About Lia:

Lia is a writer, blogger, and art-lover. Ultimately, just a girl in her thirties blogging about Miami’s lifestyle, her travels, and growing up in general on her coming of age blog: www.agirlinherthirties.com.

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You Can Read, You Can Help

In Giving Back=Paying It Forward, News on May 21, 2016 at 08:00

I live between Nicaragua and the United States since 2012. When I moved to Nicaragua, one of my goals was to volunteer for locals. That didn’t happen officially, as I got involved with personal causes. Now that I know that in the near future, I will not be in Nicaragua permanently, I feel the urge to volunteer again. This country has given me so much time, space and growth and I want to pay it forward before I leave. I started contacting organizations and that is how I met Ivania.

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Ivania Mena García, 38, is the single mom of two girls. Years ago, she didn’t have a job. Around the same time, her neighbor Darrell Bushnell and other concerned community members met to discuss the possibility of opening the first lending library open to the public in Granada, Nicaragua with the prime objective of bringing the pleasure of reading to the people of Granada. They started a Reading Corner at Hotel con Corazón and they trained Ivania to be in charge of it, from cleaning the space, to helping the children with their homework and reading, to being a librarian, and hosting members, volunteers and visitors.

From the Reading Corner they moved and became Café Chavalos for a couple years, until they started Puedo Leer (I Can Read), with a main focus on promoting reading and a love of reading among children, so that they can become lifelong learners, succeed academically and economically, and ultimately be instrumental in raising standards of education and literacy in Nicaragua.

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Puedo Leer took to the road, delivering books bi-weekly to elementary classrooms. As books made their debut in the public schools, enthusiasm passed from teacher to teacher and from teacher to student. For many of the teachers, holding a children’s book was a new experience. Children began to look forward to stories being read to them, then asked to hold the books themselves. As splashes of color and bold graphics jumped from each page and the ability to read became a reality, a new world began to unfold.

Puedo Leer has mushroomed into a major project with a profound impact on the children of Granada. They are now looking into the possibility of adding more libraries and reading centers in other locations in Granada since it is a neighborhood activity center. They are also adding other activities such as art classes and crafts which provides great experiences for the children here since they do not have much opportunity for hands-on activities. The schools do not have the time or resources and there are few community centers offering activities.

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The verb “to read” is averse to being put in the imperative, an intolerance it shares with certain other verbs, such as “to love” and “to dream”. -Daniel Pennac (French Writer)  (Photo taken at Puedo Leer Library)

 

Even though I have only visited the library a few times, I have witnessed the dedication of the team and the gratitude of the kids. It is beautiful and inspiring to hear Annaelizabeth Blandon and Carol Rea, Executive Director and Operations Manager respectively, share their vision for the library, supported by Ivania, the Board of Directors, and Volunteers.

We can help Puedo Leer Library:

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for helping!

With love and gratitude,

Laura

Note: Fragments of text from Puedo Leer’s website appear in this post.

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