Hope Wissel

Thankful Thursday

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Today I am introducing my new “GIVE BACK WITH ME” program.  Before you skip over this thinking it is just another sales pitch, please give me just a moment of your time.

I want to share with you a story – for those that follow my blog, this may be a refresher but I think it bears repeating….

Many years ago, when I was struggling in my addiction someone made a difference in my daughter’s life. They didn’t judge her because of the bad decisions that I made as a mom. They didn’t judge her because of where we lived. They didn’t judge her PERIOD. They opened their arms and their heart to her. I decided that when I was able – I would make a difference in the lives of other children. There are many children who are struggling because of no fault of their own.

Yes, I am a recovering addict of 25 years.  Yes, I made some horrible decisions that made an impact on my daughter.  I am blessed that she has turned out to be an AMAZING woman who now makes a difference in the lives of others everyday as a Social Worker.

When I was with the South Jersey AIDS Alliance, I started a children’s program that was once a month. This was a time for kids to be kids.  There was art and music therapy.  There was games.  There was gifts.  All designed to take them away from the stress of their lives – yes, kids have stress too. They worry about their parents.  They keep secrets about bullying.  They often learn early how to survive when things are tough.  And unfortunately, sometimes they are never allowed to be a kid.

As I moved on from SJAA, kids remained my heart.  Wanting to make them feel special.  Wanting them to know that despite the craziness of life, they could still be kids.  Now, I am blessed to have my own business and I have the chance to bless others.

To me, the greatest success I can have in my business is knowing that I did what I could to make a difference in another’s life.  I know that may sound like a lot of “fluff” but that is what gets me up every day and keeps me mouthing.

Every month from nominations received by YOU – my customers, my readers, my friends and my family – I will send a “You are AWESOME” zipper pouch to a child that YOU want to bless.  I will select 1 child per month.  The zipper pouch will contain some goodies as well as a letter as to why they are receiving this gift from YOU!  Nominations can be made monthly through my blog page

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Won’t you help to make a difference in the life of a child?  Complete the form below:

OR email me at HopeWs31@gmail.com with your nomination…

In addition, every month a local organization will be the recipient of a monetary donation.  I will donate a portion of my commission every month to that organization from YOU my customers.  I am so excited to be kicking this off in August

Let’s bring hope and a smile to a child, reminding them that they are special and worthy.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

World AIDS Day

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Yes, I am a day early….Tomorrow is actually World AIDS Day but for some every day is a day living with HIV/AIDS.  The recent disclosure by Charlie Sheen about his HIV status has brought this disease to the forefront yet again.

The theme this year is “Getting to Zero” which is in tandem with UNAIDS vision of achieving “Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths”.

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For me, I am reflecting on the lessons that I learned when I worked for the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.  As a new “inexperienced” Social Worker and a recovering addict, I was the “crazy white lady” that stepped into Bridgeton wanting to help the world.  Yes, that is what many of my clients thought of me and willing shared as we got to know each other.

I didn’t see any of the people that walked through our doors as “diseased”, “hopeless” or less than.  I saw them as people who because of their bad choices were sick.  “There by the grace of God go I” was a constant reminder for me since I too had  made bad choices over the years.

So what could I do in a little office (actually half a duplex) with little funding, the only paid staff, a handful of volunteers (who in many cases were also clients) and a heart that wanted to save them all.  In the early years, AIDS was not a “manageable disease” for many it was a death sentence.  It took babies from their mothers, it took moms and dads from their kids, it took people from all walks of life – yet no one talked about it.  I can remember the first few funerals where the family said “they died of cancer” because they did not want their loved one to be remembered for the stigma that went with HIV/AIDS.  This was the world that I dedicated a large portion of my professional life to – a total of about 15.  Belinda grew up joining me in this battle to end the stigma of HIV/AIDS.  She played with kids who were HIV-positive, she shared her toys, she helped with fundraising, as well as sorting and delivering holiday toys.  She grew up with a passion for helping people that I admire.

Fast forward to today, where little is spoken about HIV/AIDS unless a celebrity says the words.  It is now a manageable disease so we seldom hear the prevention message.  There are medicines that can help to keep you going, so why worry, right?

We aren’t there yet – we are close.  There are still 1.1 million people living with HIV in the US today.  Only 1 in 4 people are making their way through the obstacles called health care and medications.  Let’s not be complacent.  Let’s continue to share how HIV can be transmitted.

Let’s all work together for a day when there is an AIDS-Free Generation.

Today is in honor of those who lost their fight, and those who continue to fight every day.  You blessed my life more than you will ever know.  Thank you for allowing this “crazy white chick” to be a part of your lives.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

HUNGER Campaign

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Did you know that over 20% of the kids in NJ are living in food-insecure homes?

I remember when hunger and the lack of food first became a harsh reality for me.  In 1990 I was a new Case Manager at the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.  A family came in to get a bag of groceries and Maria shared her story with me.  A single mom with AIDS, she was raising her 2 grandchildren.  They lived on a fixed income since she could no longer work.  She had enough to pay the bills but struggled at the end of the month to feed her small family.  I looked at the USDA food and thought “would I feed this to my daughter?”.  The bag was filled with canned meats, veggies, rice, beans, cereal, canned fruit and powdered milk. This is what Maria would use for meals over the next week or so at home.

I vowed to stock our office pantry with things that were not only nutritious but would also allow the kids to not feel different at school.  Some used the Free Lunch programs at school but back then it wasn’t very popular.  My heart broke for the kids who wanted to take lunch like the other kids.  My heart hurt for the kids who stood out because of the FREE lunch program stigma.  My daughter shared her snacks with the kids she met in the office.

Fast forward to today – food pantries are stocked with more then just government commodities and the FREE lunch program is now accepted my more people. The old negative stigma has become a harsh reality for many.

Now, you have heard of the “Back to School” campaigns that provide kids with backpacks and school supplies, right?  These programs each child start off the school year on the right foot.

This year, I will be providing THERMAL LUNCH TOTES to children.  I am filling the thermals with a different kind of school supply – some healthy snacks along with a tip sheet on some inexpensive ideas to provide a healthy lunch for your kids.  I mean let’s be honest, the FREE lunches sometimes do not have kid friendly foods.  No hate mail PLEASE because I know that there are some places that have great meals but let’s be honest, not all of them do.

So, for $20, you can sponsor a thermal tote filled with healthy snacks for a child in need.  If you want to help BUT you don’t have $20, donate what you can – $1, $2, $5, or $10.  Finances are tight BUT you know a business that may want to help, GREAT!  Let me know or forward this information to them.  I will supply a list of business sponsors in every thermal tote along with blogging about them – FREE advertising for helping out a great cause.  Where else could they get FREE advertising for $20 or $40?

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Won’t you help?  Fill out the form below with your information or contact me directly.  Let’s bring a smile to the face of as many children as we can this school year.

Have ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

World AIDS Day 2014

Today December 1st is World AIDS Day.  For some, it is just another day.  For others, it is a time to remember those who have fought the battle and lost, encourage those who continue to fight and educate to end AIDS in our lifetime.  It is exciting to think that this once deadly diagnosis could actually be ended in my lifetime.  I remember the early days of the HIV/AIDS panademic…

For me, I the lessons that I learned when I worked for the South Jersey AIDS Alliance are embedded in my mind.  As a new “inexperienced” Social Worker and a recovering addict, I was the “crazy white lady” that stepped into Bridgeton wanting to help the world.  Yes, that is what many of my clients thought of me and willing shared as we got to know each other.  I didn’t see any of the people that walked through our doors as “diseased”, “hopeless” or less than.  I saw them as people who because of their bad choices were sick.  “There by the grace of God go I” was a constant reminder for me since I too had  made many bad choices over the years.  So what could I do in a little office (actually half a duplex) with little funding, the only paid staff, a handful of volunteers (who in many cases were also clients) and a heart that wanted to save them all.  In the early years, AIDS was not a “manageable disease” for many it was a death sentence.  It took babies from their mothers, it took moms and dads from their kids, it took people from all walks of life – yet no one talked about it.  I can remember the first few funerals where the family said “they died of cancer” because they did not want their loved one to be remembered for the stigma that went with HIV/AIDS.  That was the world that I dedicated many years of my professional life too – a total of about 15.  Belinda grew up joining me in this battle to end the stigma of HIV/AIDS.  She played with kids who were HIV-positive, she shared her toys, she helped with fundraising, as well as sorting and delivering holiday toys.  She grew up with a passion for helping people that I admire.

Fast forward to today, as little is spoken about HIV/AIDS.  It is now a manageable disease so we seldom hear the prevention message.  There are medicines that can help to keep you going, so why worry, right?  The theme for World AIDS Day 2014 is ““Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation.”  We aren’t there yet but we are close.  There are still 1.1 million people living with HIV in the US today.  Only 1 in 4 people are making their way through the obstacles called health care and medications.  Let’s not be complacent.  Let’s continue to share how HIV can be transmitted.  Let’s all work together for a day when there is an AIDS-Free Generation.

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What are you willing to do to help?  Today, I remember those who fought a great fight – Jackie Wise, Matt McCrossen, Sam, Maria and all of the others who walked through the doors of my office in Bridgeton and the other SJAA offices.  I honor those who continue to fight especially Jeff, Donna and Veronica.  They continue to inspire me with their strength and determination after 23 years.

Honor someone you know who is living with HIV/AIDS or who has lost the fight.  Share their names so we too can honor them.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#worldaidsdays, #southjerseyaidsalliance, #blessing, #cumberlandcount

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Do You Have Passion

What are you passionate about?  Passion is defined as: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.  Over the years, my passion for things has changed – I have to admit that I don’t think I was really passionate about anything until I started volunteering with the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.  That is when I started to understand what the word passion was all about.  My passion for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS continued for many years (about 13+) and everyone I talked with knew it.  As I left the field of HIV/AIDS and began working for Bethel (a non-profit), my passion became a larger group of underserved populations (the homeless, the underemployed, etc.).

Then Thirty One entered my life.  In the beginning it was just a hobby with a mere thought that it could be more.  When I made the decision to leave Bethel after 7 years due to the long commute (4 hours round-trip daily), I saw a glimmer of passion in my Thirty One business.  Every time I do a party or talk to someone about the company or the products – my passion glows.  The sparks that keep my passion flamed are my hostess, my customers and my team.  I LOVE seeing them grow and their passion get fueled by the possibilities this business has for them.  So, why do I let Satan steal that passion some days?  You may know what I mean – those days when nothing seems to go right or there are no parties filling your calendar or potential recruits.  How about those days when jealousy of what others have in their business tries to latch on and diminish your passion?  Let’s be honest, we all have days when the pink balloon deflates a little, right?  No matter what your business is, there are some days when we forget about the passion that got us to where we are, right?  John Maxwell’s word of the day was PASSION.  Click the link to hear him talk about this AWESOME word.

So, I ask you again – what are YOU passionate about?  Share your passion with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!