Tag Archives: supporting charity

Authors For Nepal (and an Influenza Update)

Time is of the essence with this one – not just, of course, in terms of the people of Nepal and their need for aid after the recent earthquake there, but also because this fantastic auction to raise money for them is coming to an end soon.

Image: nepalpoint.com

Image: nepalpoint.com

There are some brilliant things to be had – signed books, literary swag of all sorts, author appearances, and things of that ilk – but the best bits, in my opinion, are the manuscript critiques which are being offered by some of the best literary agents in the business.

Including, of course, my agent, the redoubtable (in a good way) and fabulous Polly Nolan of Greenhouse Literary Agency.

Here’s a link to the page where you can place a bid to have her critique your manuscript (should you have written one), and included in her prize is a one-hour meeting or phonecall to discuss said manuscript – and, possibly, the publishing business in general, because she’s a fount of terribly useful information, is Polly – which means that being the clever person in possession of the highest bid when the auction closes would be a Very Good Thing. Of course, it would help if you’re a children’s/YA writer-type with a completed manuscript for Polly to read, but I’m sure plenty of you gentle readers out there fall into just that category.

And, if kidlit (and, indeed, writing) is not your thing, then perhaps you’d prefer to check out the signed books and/or literary swag which is also on offer. In short, what I’m saying is, get yourself over to the Authors for Nepal auction site and have a snoop about. There’s bound to be something there to suit you, and you’ll be doing a wonderful thing for your fellow humans at the same time.

As for what I’ve been up to – well. Recuperating, is about the height of it. I’m beginning to feel like myself again, though I’m still not back to 100% functionality (and perhaps I never will be, alas. Age is beginning to take its toll, too, and decrepitude is surely just around the corner…) I made the silly mistake of trying to work on two WiPs at once last week, which wouldn’t have been a good idea even if I’d been in the full of my health (then, perhaps the idea to do it wouldn’t have occurred to me had I been in the full of my health), but – needless to say – all it meant was I didn’t make huge progress with either one. This week I hope to pick one project, focus on it, and make some headway. It would also be rather nice to be able to read something without my brain deciding to slide out of my ears and/or waking up half an hour later with my chin covered in drool.

Not that this happened at all during last week. Not at all. *ahem*

In any case, I’m (hopefully) back on the blogging horse, and with any luck I’m here to stay. Perhaps my absence gave you a chance to miss me, and perhaps you didn’t even notice I was gone. Either way, welcome to a new week and I hope it treats us all as well as can be expected, and perhaps even a little better than we’d hoped for.

And I hope it will have a lot less to do with handkerchiefs and self-pity than the past seven days have had…

*parp!* Photo Credit: Auntie P via Compfight cc

*parp!*
Photo Credit: Auntie P via Compfight cc

ISPCC Shield Campaign – Standing Up to Bullying

If you’ve been following me on Twitter over the past few weeks, doubtless you’ll have seen me making mention of the #ISPCCShield hashtag from time to time. In case you’ve been wondering what on earth that means, then wonder no more. Today is the ISPCC’s (the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s) National Day of Action against bullying, and the Shield is the logo they’ve chosen to symbolise their commitment to eradicating the scourge of bullying, once and for all.

The ISPCC is a charity I hold very dear. They work tirelessly – and without any significant government funding – for the betterment of the lives of all children, no matter where they live or who they are or how much money their parents have. They run Childline (available on the phone at 1800 66 66 66, via text message (within Ireland) by texting ‘Talk’ to 50101, or on webchat via their website), 24 hours a day 365 days a year, and all staffed mainly by volunteers. They were recently involved in setting up Ireland’s Missing Children’s Helpline, designed to give help and support to parents when their child goes missing, and also to reach out to the missing child him/herself, giving them a non-judgmental way to contact home if they need to. The Helpline is also designed to help children considering running away, helping them find better options to deal with their problems.

Pretty amazing, I hope you’ll agree.

Almighty BOD (Brian O'Driscoll) thinks so, too. Image: businessandleadership.com

Almighty BOD (Brian O’Driscoll) thinks so, too.
Image: businessandleadership.com

In March 2012, the ISPCC launched the Shield Campaign for the first time. The Shield logo itself is simple: a person wears a Shield pin (available in selected retailers across Ireland, or from an army of volunteer sellers who’ll be braving the weather tomorrow all over the country) in order to display their commitment to eradicating bullying wherever they see it. The Shield shows that its wearer will act as a shield between a child and a bully, and that any child being bullied can turn to a Shield-wearer for help and support. Children and adults alike can wear it to show that they will not be a bystander, and they will not allow anyone to be bullied in their presence without standing up and saying something.

Importantly, the price of the Shield pin – €2 – goes directly to the ISPCC to help them fund their vital work. The charity sector in Ireland has taken a battering recently due to scandals at senior management in a small handful of charitable organisations, but it’s important to remember that not all charities should be judged the same way. Charities still need help and support, and the ISPCC is one I particularly love. It’s suffering due to lack of funds, and if it suffers then thousands of children will suffer, too.

Because of that, I’m volunteering to sell Shields today, and I’m writing this post to let anyone who happens to stumble across it know that the ISPCC can accept donations through their website (if you’re not living in Ireland, or you won’t be able to get out and about to buy a Shield); more importantly, I want to say that I’m a proud Shield-wearer, and that I fully support any effort to stamp out bullying, in all its forms.

Image: ispcc.ie

Image: ispcc.ie

Bullying isn’t just picking on a smaller child and using your fists to hurt them. It’s calling names, or spreading rumours, or attacking another person’s reputation, or making threats. It’s making insulting comments on Twitter and linking it to your victim’s @account. A scandal involving this very thing happened – among adults – as recently as this week, and among adults who are intelligent and talented and who should have known better, at that. It’s writing hurtful things on their Facebook wall. It’s sending them text messages designed to hurt or frighten them. It’s saying things like ‘if you don’t agree with me, then I’m going to hurt you’ – I am dumbfounded by how often I see things like this on Twitter, or Tumblr, or in social media in general. If you wouldn’t say something to a person’s face, why would you say it on a social media account?

Image: ispcc.ie

Image: ispcc.ie

Bullying is ganging up on someone and pulling them to shreds. It’s laughing at someone because you think they’re weak, or different, or weird. It’s setting yourself up as the arbiter of justice, and deciding that other people – for sometimes nonsensical reasons – don’t measure up to your standards. It’s not thinking about your actions. It’s using words carelessly, words like ‘loser’ or ‘fool’ or ‘idiot’ or worse; words which make someone else afraid.

It’s not something that people ‘just have to go through.’ It’s not something kids need to experience ‘in order to toughen them up.’ It’s not ‘just for the laugh.’ It’s not acceptable, from anyone or in any situation. It’s not acceptable from adults, or from children; in workplaces or in playgrounds; in real life or on the internet. The Shield Campaign is designed to draw attention to bullying and to bring it out into the light, where it can be dealt with properly.

If you’re a bully, the urge to hurt others can come from a deep place of pain within you. The ISPCC’s Shield Campaign is designed to help bullies, too – because, sometimes, bullies need more help than their victims do. It can come from a sense of disenfranchisement or powerlessness or because of a history of abuse that you’ve suffered in silence – or for a whole galaxy of reasons. One thing is definitely true: taking it out on another person may give you momentary relief, but it won’t solve your own problems. Worse than that, it might end up really hurting someone else.

Image: ispcc.ie

Image: ispcc.ie

If you happen to have €2 burning a hole in your pocket, and you’re looking for a good way to spend it, you could do worse than buying an ISPCC Shield today. If you feel like donating a small amount in order to help in a more long-term way, that would be wonderful too – or, if you’re not Irish, and your own country has a similar organisation to the ISPCC which you’d prefer to support, that would be awesome. But – most importantly – try always to stand up to bullying, no matter where you find it, and remember to treat every other person with the same respect you would show to someone you love.

And, finally, try to show good example to any young people in your life, and show them the way to treat others through your own actions.

Here endeth the lesson.

(Incidentally, in case you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, writing-wise, lately, well… I’ll have more to say about than on Monday. Stay tuned!)

Image: wodumedia.org

Image: wodumedia.org