Thursday, November 19, 2009

LUV our Volunteers

Teaching Hands Introducing Bert

Bert is a lover. My days are full of kisses. Sometimes his tongue will dart in and out of my mouth. Ick! In his world the day is great as long as mommy [me] is in his sites. We will be faced with many changes because, of Teaching Hands. Another location will be added besides home and the truck.

He is my shadow when food is involved. Or when I was gone for minutes. There are those accidents when I step on him. He gets under foot while I'm cooking. Grapefruit is one of Bert's favorite. He enjoys all veggies except for mushrooms. Yes, he loves any type of meat. During the summer I bbq him a hamburger. In general Bert loves people food.

Bert is a tea cup, long haired Chihuahua. He is under 5lbs unless he's eaten his burger. This little guy is all muscle. Can't say this about his owner. My goal is to be in the physical shape he's in. The prior sentence is another story of its own.

One of Bert's playmates is Dallas a Great Dane. When Bert escapes, I'll find him in Dallas's yard down the street. Bert knows he's in deep trouble with me. He'll give me his cutest look he can muster.

We have the four seasons in Boise, Idaho. Most pet owners put their small pets in coats, sweaters to keep them warm. Bert will have none of that. He prefers sunspots and blankets. Bert will growl at you if you should make the mistake in trying to move him.

The truck that I drive is Bert's truck. His home away from home. This includes a blanket, toys, water, treats and his leash. He guards it with his might. Depending on the weather he'll ride with me. Bert doesn't go with me into public buildings. When I come back there is a slathering of kisses.

Since a puppy Bert has been socialize. He loves to meet other dogs. Not so much with people. They are giants to him. Most people believe him to be a puppy. No, I say. He's five years old.

On we travel to another adventure with Teaching Hands. Not sure where its all going to take me. One thing I do know, there is a cute dog waiting to kiss me all over.

Thursday, November 12, 2009



Cindy Williams
Teaching Hands


Boise, ID - November 12, 2009 - Teaching Hands is a unique nonprofit that is developing a community through the arts. September of 2008, our volunteers handcrafted items for the needy and terminally ill to keep them warm. In return they acquired new skills. While meeting at the Library! @ Hillcrest we helped: Boise Rescue Mission, Inter Faith Sanctuary, Saint Luke's Foundation and Women and Children's Alliance. Today this doesn't exist. Because, we do not have the start-up funds (23 million), to continue with.

Toward the end of August in 2008, Williams held an awareness event at the Library! @ Hillcrest. This was to let the public know we were headed toward major difficulties for the needy. The conference table was full of hats and scarves, Williams handcrafted herself. Two children came into the room. They were taken in by all the colors and different designs. The boy asked how much. I stated, "They are free." Out they went . Several minutes later grandpa and everyone picked what they needed, "God Bless You." grandpa whispered.

Tim Woodward of the Idaho Statesman did an article about Teaching Hands, March 2009. We grew from approximately 18-23 participants to 35-40. We had an inter-generational group ranging in ages from 8-88 years of age. The Library! @ Hillcrest was filled to the brim. During our stay the volunteers managed to fill numerous bags with handcrafted items for the community. And helped others to learn new skills free of charge.

In February of 2009, Williams called the Boise Rescue Mission to see if they needed three lawn and leaf bags full of handcrafted items. Yes, they did. The men were so cold they didn't care about wearing the ladies hats. Williams was told that 2008 was the "easy year" from what was yet to come in the years that ahead. There was no "easy" aspect for Teaching Hands as they unable to keep up. The last sentence of that phone conversation still rings in Williams ears, "They are freezing out there."

Teaching Hands is a free service to help the community develop skills through the arts. The volunteers are ready to get back to work and make these necessary handcrafted items for the community. They are more than happy to share their skills and help anyone else to learn.

For more information: or
Phone: 208-343-4725


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can Small Nonprofits Reap Success With Social Media? (Giving away a copy of Twitter for Dummies)

"With the big holiday charitable giving season just around the corner, there's a host of cause-related giving campaigns waiting in software launch and nonprofits gearing up for their end-of-the-year efforts. Some will launch sooner, while others have already swung into action.

Take for example Big Warm Up, a campaign by Lands End to encourage people to donate winter coats to homeless people. This cause-related campaign has a big fancy web site and nonprofit partners. They've also taken a leaf from Mom's Rising's playbook and have videos that you can customize

After last week's social media workshop, a gentleman from a local nonprofit came up to me and said, "Well this social media stuff is all fine and good for large national advocacy organizations, but it is not very relevant for small or regional organizations with really tight resources."

And many small, grassroots nonprofits may look at big beautiful flash web sites and giving campaigns
knowing that they probably won't have corporate sponsorship at that levels.

Whenever I get this question, I wonder myself. Is social media appropriate or relevant for smaller resource strapped organizations?

Today, I got an email from a blog reader, Cindy Williams, who is the founder of a nonprofit, Teaching Hands" They are located in Boise, Idaho. Cindy's nonprofit teaches kids and adults to knit hats and sweaters for less fortunate people in their community. Cindy wrote:

"A couple of months ago I was reading an article about Twitter and went to your blog. At the time was getting my feet on the ground with social networking. I set-up a Twitter account, forgot it, figured a waste of time, until now. I connected with @chrisvoss and learned from his videos how to use Twitter to help my organization.

Today, we are listed as #21/100 from Twitterholic in Boise, Id. From my knowledge we are the only nonprofit in the top 100. We have people around the world talking with us. Building bridges with other nonprofits around the world. We received our first business hiring us as their charity of choice to send proceeds to.

Thank you, for encouraging the little guy like me to tackle social networking. "

So, if your thinking that social media is just for corporate giants and fancy flash web sites to support national campaigns or chains and has no value if you doing work in your local community - think again. Be like Cindy Williams and give it a try.

* What do you have to lose with small low risk investment?
* What do you have lose by having the conversation?
* What is the cost of not participating?

And, if you are small organization and have succeeded, I want to hear about it.

Leave a comment sharing how you're using social media to support your organization's work in a local community or regional effort and using a shoe string budget to do it. And, if you could win a copy of "Twitter for Dummies" that the good folks from Wiley just sent me.

Update: Julio disagrees. He feels that small nonprofits should "just say no" to social media and focus their limited resources elsewhere. I think they should open the conversation and look at what they're doing, what's working and start experiment. It's possible get started without a major investment. What's the opportunity cost?

What do you think?

More articles from Beth. clicking here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

TeachingHands: Indy request - duct tape bracelets

"Okay, you girls on the Indy wanted to know how to make a duct tape bracelet, so here's me on the floor of my bedroom telling you how. :D And BTW, see that string bracelet on my right wrist?"

TeachingHands: How to Make Rubber Band Bracelets.

"I've been promising this one for awhile. Sorry it took me so long; school has taken up a lot of my time lately. Add me:"

TeachingHands: Plastic Bag Bracelet

Another easy project to use up your plastic bags that are collected after shopping. This video does the knot your strip add bead, knot, add another bead. This might be a simple project for the crochet chain stitch too. An area to play with.

Have fun with this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

TeachingHands: How to Crochet Easy Pot Holders

"When crocheting easy pot holders, use two strands of yarn in order to make the pot holders useful, meaning that they will prevent the hands from being burned. Discover how to make a chain of 10 to..."

You might start with a K hook to see if gauge is correct. The stitches need to be tight but, not puckering. Don't want to burn yourself or another person. Quick gift for the holiday season. Let us know how your Pot Holder turned out.

TeachingHands: How to Crochet Animals

You must know how to crochet for this video to work for you. Many pictures are posted to give you ideas. Have fun with this.

"When crocheting animals, most animals begin with a body that is a tube or a circle and a head that is a tube or a circle, and these two pieces are then crocheted together. Find out how to stuff..."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

TeachingHands: Twitter and Iphone App Review #1

My Twitter and Iphone App Review series on The Chris Voss Show. I Review, Cooliris, Fluent Mobile. http://www.thechrisvossshow...