Hope Wissel

May is Pay It Forward Month

May is Pay It Forward Month!  It is a month long campaign to encourage good deeds. #makeadifference

I love being part of company whose focus is on giving back every day. From Girls on the Run and Girl Talk to World Vision.  Thirty-One Gives supports organizations who share our mission to empower girls, women and families. Gives has been honored to donate $100 million in products and cash to nonprofit organizations like these since 2012.

Since our Consultants, Customers and Home Office staff are so generous through their work with Thirty-One Gives, it’s no surprise many have made giving back a family value.

Here are some tips for getting your own family into the giving spirit.

Pick out dog and cat toys to donate to an animal shelter

If you have very young children, it can be a challenge to find ways for them to become involved with community service.  Give your littlest ones a chance to give back by letting them choose a few dog and cat toys to donate to your local animal shelter. Bring your children along to shop, then drop off the donation – they might even get to see the animals enjoy their new toys!

Help with a local beach, park or trail cleanup

Picking up trash at a park, beach or trail is an easy way to give kids something active and concrete to accomplish. When they’ve finished, they’ll be able to actually see the difference they’ve made!  This can be especially motivating for older children who might need a little encouragement to put down the tech and perform some service – plus, it’s a great way to enjoy nature and get some fresh air together!

Make handmade cards for residents at a nursing home or patients in a hospital

Kids can get creative and brighten someone’s day by making handmade cards to deliver to a nursing home or hospital.  Deliver them together and, maybe even stay and visit with the patients or residents. Doing this can show your child the power of small gestures, and how easy it can be to make someone’s day a little better.

Go through their own toys

If you’re on a decluttering kick, involve your children, too! Have them comb through their toys and books to find ones they’d like pass on to other kids who need them. To make the process easier, give them a container they can easily fill, like a Mini Storage Bin or Deluxe Utility Tote. That way, they won’t stop at just one or two items!

Pack care baskets for a local hospital or shelter

Get a group of families together to pack care baskets for patients at a hospital or people staying at a homeless or women’s shelter. Make sure you coordinate with the organization you’re donating to first – you want to be sure to fill your baskets with things the recipients really need.

Thirty-One Gives sponsors the making of Hope Kits for women fleeing violence, abuse, poverty or disaster around the world. So far, our Consultants have assembled 32,000 Hope Kits containing toiletries and other essentials which are distributed through the World Vision charity.

 

Here are some more random acts of kindness…

  • Leave pennies head face up: Most people feel lucky finding a penny with the head face up. For one dollar you can make 100 people feel awesome.
  • Compliment someone:  It seems so basic yet for some reason we seldom do it. Make someone’s day by giving them a compliment.
  • Give up a preferred seat to someone in need: Whether it is on a bus, or just waiting for your take out food, this simple gesture could make their day.
  • Write a positive review for a restaurant you like: Share with the world your favorite places instead of complaining about the ones you hate.
  • Leave someone a huge tip: Give a tip to the guy who pumps your gas when you pay cash or leave a 31% tip for meal instead of the standard 15 – 20%.
  • Offer to take a photo for tourists: Tourist season is ramping up at the Jersey Shore, why not offer to take a picture for a group of tourists so everyone can be in the picture.  

What random acts of kindness will you do this month to “pay it forward”? Share it with us so you can be part of the Give on social media, and be sure to us #givebackwithme!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

What is the Link Between Self-Esteem & Technology in Girls?

I am excited to tell you about a groundbreaking study of more than 10,000 U.S. girls which Thirty One Gifts cosponsored with Ruling Out eXperiences, Inc. (ROX).  It is the largest of its kind and revealed surprising information on the role of technology on girls’ self-esteem. I know we have all heard about cyber bullying or “the mean girls” on social media and for some, they say “it won’t be my kid”.  Well, I felt the same way many years ago, until I read something my daughter wrote about being bullied.  You can read the story on my very first blog post “Bullying – The Visible vs The Invisible“.

The findings of this study is heartbreaking.  While they give us a glimpse into the raw truth about girls fifth through 12th-grade and their perception, it is also an opportunity for us to look for ways to be mentors and be a positive influence in their lives.

The mission of ROX (Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc.) a Columbus, Ohio-headquartered nonprofit organization is:

TO EQUIP GIRLS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS NECESSARY TO LIVE HEALTHY, INDEPENDENT, PRODUCTIVE AND VIOLENCE-FREE LIVES.

ROX announced the findings of their study from The Girls’ Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today’s Girls a few months ago.  This national survey was taken of 10,678 fifth- through 12th-grade girls with the sole purpose of capturing the girls’ perceptions and experiences around fitting in, body image, peer pressure, academics, friendships and relationships. The report is a comprehensive picture for parents and educators on the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors of girls across the country.  The demographics are from every walk of life – cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic of the school district, and the type for school for a broad spectrum of girls.

The findings of The Girls’ Index include:

#1 Most girls like to be in charge, but self-doubt can impact their pursuit of leadership.  A surprising 46% of the girls reported they don’t say what they are thinking or disagree with other peers.  WHY?   Because they want to be liked with 1 in 3 girls being afraid to be a leader because they don’t want others to think they are bossy.

#2 30% of the girls with the highest grade point averages (4.0 or above),  don’t think they’re smart enough for their dream careers. Despite their high academic achievements, they are still filled with confidence issues.

#3 Girls who spend the most time using technology (8 hrs./day) are 5x more likely to be sad or depressed nearly every day compared to the girls who spend four or fewer hours.  If this isn’t a reason to restrict technology time, I don’t know what is.  Technology and social media greatly impact girls’ relationships, achievement, confidence, mood and school engagement.

#4 By high school, sexting is common and prevalent with 2 out of 3 girls reporting by 12th grade they have been asked to send a sexually explicit photo to another person.  I am so grateful cell phones weren’t popular when my daughter was growing up.

#5  Girls who have strong and trusting friendships with other girls fare better and report significantly lower levels of sadness and depression.

ROX concluded “girls who have strong and trusting friendships fare better, it is crucial girls receive the opportunities and tools they need to forge the positive friendships which safeguard their emotions and experiences.

This study shakes me to my core.  I grew up lacking confidence.  I had friends but not the kind of strong trusting friendships which helped me to battle sadness and depression.  Those emotions and experiences traveled with me through my college years straight through to my years of addiction.  My goal was for my daughter’s life to be different.  She was blessed to have one or two strong, trusting friendships growing up yet on the inside she lacked confidence despite the outward strong appearance.

The bottom line is we as parents, teachers and coaches are missing out on at least half of what girls think, know and believe.  YIKES!  We are losing the creativity, contributions and impact these young girls can make on the world.

As these studies become public, as awareness grows, we have an obligation to do better and a responsibility to make the world a place where girls can feel confident and capable.

Thirty-One Gifts proudly partner with ROX to provide girls with opportunities to talk candidly and openly about their experiences, while arming them with tools to positively and safely use social media, navigate relationships and manage pressure to ultimately develop a positive self-concept. Learn more about ROX, including ways you can get involved, at rulingourexperiences.com.

Share some of the products from Thirty One’s URU collection.  The Be the Give! Littles Carry-All Caddy comes with a special message “Love who you were born to be”.   A great way to encourage and celebrate the young girl in your life for Valentine’s Day or Easter or just as a “thinking of you” gift.  It is also the perfect solution for organizing the little things in your life. From office supplies to eating utensils and cosmetics, this caddy helps keep your life in order by keeping everything right at your fingertips. Great for gifts, small toys, crafts, office desks and candy.

Won’t you help to make a difference in the live of a young girl?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel

What is Your Purpose?

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During a recent conversation with a good friend, I had an AHA moment.  You know the moment when you realize what your purpose is?  Or at least you think you do!!

As I get closer to my 6th Anniversary with Thirty One, I wonder how is someone’s life better because they crossed my path?  Why now?  Because I love to inspire, encourage and do things for others to make them smile.  Hubby said “you should have married a wealthy man so you could just do what you love – helping others without having to worry about bills or money.”  Would I change my life – NEVER.  Although I do want to fulfill my purpose.

So, do you know why are you here?  I don’t mean right this second, I mean in the BIG picture.  The why are you here on this planet at this time, born into the family you were born into, with your unique gifts and talents, with your experiences? There is indeed a reason we are here.  I struggle with the answer sometimes.

Many would call this our purpose or our mission in life.  We all have one. For many years (okay most of my career) I defined myself as my job.  I was a Social Worker, and a single mom.  As time passed, I became a wife and a “retired” Social Worker.    The truth was there was more to my purpose on this planet.

My deepest desire is to discover my purpose and live it. When I get to the end of my life, I want to be able to say, “Mission accomplished”? My mission gets fuzzy, what about you?  I tend to feel lost, despite the rest of the world thinking I have it all together.  I have been blessed with awards and honors not only in my previous career, but also in my pink bubble yet I long to know if I am really making a difference.  Not necessarily a huge footprint on the world but just in each person’s life I come in contact with every day.  External accolades of success are wonderful, but some times there is an empty place in your soul longing for true fulfillment.  The true fulfillment comes when you are living your purpose.

So, can you answer this one question? “How is someone’s life better when they cross your path?”  Without a lot thought and hunting for what you think the answer should be.  Don’t spend hours analyzing it – just answer from your gut.

We are all here for a reason – leaving the world a better place is our purpose. The fun part is we get to do this by using our own uniqueness – our gifts, strengths, passion and experiences.  Your mission does not have to be unique.  You do not have to be the ONLY person in the world with your particular mission.  The difference is you are the only one who can accomplish it the way you can.

God placed people in our lives who we are uniquely able to impact. They connect with you. They are around you. They are impacted by you.  I was blessed this past weekend to see this in action.  I was at an event, sharing the gift of Thirty One when I began talking about Thirty One Gives and Girl Talk. This wonderful woman explained how her school could use this program.  I have always wanted to start a Girl Talk Chapter BUT have always hesitated thinking it was beyond my gifts and talents.  God opened a door and I am running through it.

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I’m not the only person whose mission is to encourage struggling women to live fulfilling lives.  For some reason, right now, something caused us to connect. Whether it be to let you know you are not alone? Or to make you smile.

In this moment, I get to live out my mission. I challenge you to write your purpose in one simple sentence.  Answer the question:

How is someone’s life better because they crossed your path? 

Thank you for letting me continue to share my strengths, hope and experience with you in the hope it sill make a difference to you or someone you know.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Give Back Tuesday!

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Yes, you are seeing a SECOND blog post in the same day!  No, it isn’t a mistake.  I just wanted to share something with you…

Thirty-One Gifts and World Vision partner to help women in need each year. Here is the story of Leyla.

Leyla lives in a small village in northwest Armenia — a region known for its harsh winters — with her three children, ages 11, 9, and 3. Her husband had to go to Russia to find work, leaving Leyla alone to look after the children. On top of that, her mother-in-law is sick in the hospital.

To help Leyla and her family, World Vision provided her and others with felting classes to learn how to work with wool. Designed to empower young women, the three-month course trains potential entrepreneurs how to use wool to make jewelry, slippers, bedding designs, and more.

At the end of the training, the women held an exhibition, and several hotel owners became interested in their beautiful products.  World Vision keeps in touch with Leyla and the other participants to continue to support their development and small businesses.

In addition, Leyla received some gifts from World Vision to help her overcome her difficulties. Through their partnership with Thirty-One Gifts — a U.S. company that sells bags to empower women — World Vision was able to provide bags and blankets to help families through the harsh winters.

Displaying one of the bags, Leyla says, “This one is also very comfortable as a school bag so I can save also on buying new school bags for my kids.”

This year, any gift given to World Vision on Giving Tuesday, December 1, will be matched with a donation of product from Thirty-One Gifts (up to $1 million total matching).

We are partnering with Thirty-One Gifts to send needed items to Syrian refugees living in Armenia. Receiving blankets will also be provided to pregnant mothers in Somalia as an incentive to give birth in clinics, which will help reduce maternal death rates in rural communities.

This is just one of Thirty One’s projects.  We also supply 150,000 filled bags to Ronald McDonald Houses across the country. These bags are given to families when they arrive to help with the necessities they may have forgotten in their haste to get their child emergency care.  Girl Talk is also one of our National Partners.

Thirty One is so much more than just a purse!  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Girl Talk

No, we are not going to “dish” about friends or family… what I want to share about is another GREAT program that is attacking “bullying” in a unique way…..

Girl Talk is an international non-profit program with a very simple premise..high school girls mentor middle school girls to help them deal with the triumphs and trails of the early teenage years.  I first found out about this program at our National Conference last year when they were presented with a check to help with their efforts.  In February of this year, they became a National partner with Thirty One and part of the Thirty One Gives Foundation.  As a result, they received an additional $50,000 to help them in growing from their current 43 States with programs to all 50 States.  

Girl Talk’s mission is to help young teenage girls build self-esteem, develop leadership skills and recognize the value of community service. Since 2002, the organization has served more than 40,000 girls in 43 states and 7 countries. Girl Talk’s program is twofold: high school leaders have the opportunity to share their experiences as positive role models. And middle school girls have the chance to learn that they are not alone in the issue they face and that understanding, kindness and compassion can be the foundation for better relationships with others. Research consistently reveals that grades 5-8 are the most formative years of a young person’s life. We believe that the lessons learned in Girl Talk contribute to girls becoming more confident, service-minded women with better relationships. Girl Talk also helps women become stronger leaders in the work place and more effective as parents.  I found only one chapter in my immediate area of Girl Talk – Toms River East.  

Bullying comes in many forms – visible and invisible.  Those who are bullied are not just from low income or single parent households – they come from all walks of life, even adults in the workplace.  Your support of these programs is vital to the development of our future generations….   

Check out these anti-bullying programs: Girl Talk  ; Kickin’ It, and Ringside Resue.  You can hear all about Kickin’ It at the Family Wellness and Beauty Day hosted by Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Moms on April 13th.  Tickets are still available with all proceeds going to Kickin’ It.