Did you know? Every day, 1200 kids enter foster care in the United States.
Together We Rise (TWR) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization comprising of motivated young adults and former foster youth. Its’ mission is to improve the lives of foster children in America, who often find themselves forgotten and neglected. TWR collaborates with community partners to bring resources to foster youth and use service-learning activities to educate volunteers on issues surrounding the foster care system. It strives to give foster children a brighter future, a sense of normalcy and belonging.
Last week, Team Sentiv had the pleasure of visiting the headquarters of Together We Rise in Los Angeles to help build bikes for children in foster care who’ve never owned one or lost one while moving from one place to another. Earlier this year, we’d raised $2100 via Sentiv to helped purchase these bikes.
The prospect of giving these kids the joy they deserve, especially after all the hardship they go through every single day, made this a truly memorable experience for us. After all, these kids deserve the same childhood fun we were fortunate to have.
Our journey with TWR began in June when Nishant, Sentiv’s CEO, raised a $1000 from 25 supporters via a personal CauseFit by logging 350K steps in 3 weeks. He raised $2.50 for every 10K steps. The fundraiser helped him improve his fitness and raise money for the kids. He celebrated his daughter, Anaya’s, first birthday with children in foster care supported by TWR. His contributions helped fund Sweet Cases (blue duffel bags stuffed with a teddy bear, a blanket, a hygiene kit, a coloring book, and crayons), bringing some much-deserved happiness into their lives.
In August, we designed a CauseFit challenge to further support TWR by raising money to provide bikes to be given to youth in foster care. This time, we got all our fitlanthropists (fitness driven philanthropists) to walk together in support of these kids and this wonderful organization. Over the span of a month, nearly 300 participants came together and walked a whopping 42 million steps. Through Sentiv these steps amounted to over $2100 raised for Together We Rise!
A big thank you to all our Fitlanthropists who worked hard and pushed each other to achieve one milestone after another. We are overwhelmed with the support and grateful for the collective unity shown throughout the entire journey.
With your help, we were able to fund and helped build 30 bikes. Donating our time and effort to this worthy cause backed by the money you helped raise reinforced the reason we created Sentiv – to help others through fitness! Even the action of a single step can go miles in helping those in need.
At Team Sentiv, we’re overjoyed to play our part in supporting such a great cause and community. We could not have done it without you and want to thank each one of our participants that made this contribution possible.
If you wish to donate to TogetherWeRise follow link below.
Socially responsible brands are the first choice for many consumers and with good reason. Consumers are passionate about causes and they deeply care about issues like sustainability and the protection of our environment. They care about what goes into making the final product, where the ingredients are sourced from, and the environmental impact of creating it. Consumers also resonate with brands that have a strong, social message such as the ‘Like a Girl’ campaign that was conducted by Always. Also, if you notice, a lot of start-ups are implementing this learning in their strategies. A classic example of this is Taloma Backpacks. They developed a business model that enables people to make a difference in impoverished regions of Africa, by simply buying a backpack. Start-ups and established brands alike are adopting policies and practices that are socially and environmentally responsible.
Here are 5 crowd favorites:
The famous One for One Campaign by TOMS is the perfect example of a big brand being socially responsible. For every pair of TOMS you purchase, the brand sends out a pair of footwear or eyewear to less fortunate people in impoverished areas of the world. This campaign is more than just a marketing strategy and focuses on not only promoting the sale of their shoes but also on engaging with their customers and spreading awareness about issues that matter. Brownie points for TOMS because their shoes are incredibly comfy as well.
2. LUSH Cosmetics
Lush specializes in fresh, handmade cosmetics with ingredients that smell like they’re good enough to eat (they’re not food-grade so don’t try). But what makes this brand special is the array of causes that they stand for. Lush has a ‘Charity Pot’, a lotion that is crafted specifically for charity. The proceeds are donated to multiple, worthy causes. Their stance on animal cruelty is commendable, and they host a number of events supporting Animal Rights activists to end animal testing, the fur trade, and cruelty towards animals. Their products are 100% handmade, vegetarian, and crafted with care. What’s more, each ingredient is ethically bought from different parts of the world as they are staunch believers in fair trade.
3. The Body Shop
A brand that prides itself on their use of natural, fair trade ingredients, The Body Shop’s products are all certified cruelty-free by PETA, although not all of their products are vegan. They have been campaigning to stop animal testing for years, and have actually seen success at the policy level. They also have product lines like their Hemp Collection which raise funds for worthy causes. If you subscribe to their mailers, you will realize just how many of them are mobilizing the community for a greater cause.
SolarCity is the largest solar power provider in the US. To begin with, they’re already super green because they deal with sustainable energy. This ecologically aware brand also has a foundation which donates solar power systems to schools in South America and Africa. Doing good, while doing good!
5. Levi Strauss
Levi Strauss has been in the clothing industry since 1873. This is one brand that has truly evolved with the times. Since the birth of the Waterless production process back in 2011, the brand has saved over 1 billion liters of water! They’ve also taken up social causes like removing the stigma related to HIV/AIDS and are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint. That’s truly clothing that you can live in.
These brands go to show that opportunities exist for concerned brands to do good in all areas of their business – manufacturing, product development, and even in the way they use their profits. We believe (wish) that more brands and companies go down this road. After all, nothing feels as good as giving back to society and our planet right?
The perfect recipe for an enjoyable day – one cup great sleep, two spoons relaxation and a heaping dose of the great outdoors. Picture it now…The sun is shining bright to warm you while the breeze cools you off juuuust right. A big breath of fresh air gives you the energy you need to get your sweat on – that sweat is your badge of honor. Forget about “beating the heat” by staying indoors, getting outdoors can motivate you to exercise faithfully. Burning those calories outdoors not only helps you tone your muscles, but also has a psychological effect on you – exercise for the mind too.
One with Nature
Whether it is just a leisurely stroll outside a heavy-duty run, getting outside is good for you. A quick rendezvous with nature will revitalize you, without any distraction of screens or electronics. Set up an outdoor workout regime. It’s also a great idea to involve the rest of your family too. Have the kids play while you work out outdoors!
Awesome for your mood
There is a clear connection between spending time outdoors and stress reduction. Fresh air, especially oxygen, releases feel-good chemicals like serotonin in your body. That’s the good stuff your body needs for several functions – including sound sleep. Your outdoor exercises not only help keep you keep fit and healthy, they boost your mood to make you feel good too.
Burn more calories while exercising outdoors.
When you run against the wind while exercising outdoors, you burn more calories. You can do that when you run or cycle outdoors or while crossing the hilly terrain of your neighborhood park. Your body works harder than usual while resisting the wind.
Save more money
Gym memberships aren’t cheap but nature is free and available to everyone! That apart, how many of us have paid membership fees and never turned up for any sessions at all? So save the hassle, the guilt and save your money. Get your running shoes on and run to the park from your home – save cash on gas too.
Improved mental focus and commitment to exercise
While exercising outdoors, you deal with the continually changing environment – the weather, temperature, and the terrain are all factors to consider. When you focus on the changes around you, it is more engaging – a temporary break from your daily stress. Completing a long and challenging hike, trail run, or bike ride has an addictive quality that leaves you craving more! When you run through different landscapes you’re less likely to get bored and end up exercising for even longer than planned.
Low-impact exercise strengthens your body
Low-impact exercises such as walking are powerful to recover from intense, structured gym workouts. They increase the blood flow to help your muscles recover. This helps deliver oxygen and nutrients, keeping your organs healthy.
Moderate sunlight is helpful for your body and mind
Replace your Vitamin D supplements with the real deal – sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risk to a host of chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and some cancers. Use natural sunlight to feel happier too – that’s why it’s called a sunny disposition!
You’ll Fight Germs
Gyms could be breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Poorly circulated indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, according to a study from the Environmental Protection Agency. Breathe easier by simply taking your training outside.
Take a nature break
A short walk in nature during your lunch hour rejuvenates and gets you more focused for the rest of your day. Challenge yourself with a new or favorite activity, a trail run or mountain bike route, or maybe you’ll attempt paddle-boarding for the first time. A new activity will be both exciting and rewarding.
Remember this about outdoor exercising in nature ~
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
That’s Rachel Carson in “Silent Spring” – we agree.
Raising money for charity is not as simple as it may sound. To come up with creative ideas all the time is no easy feat. Budget, time, and venue all need to be considered as well. Underneath all this administrative burden lies what maybe the most important key to a successful charity program. FUN! Fun fundraisers are likely to be more successful and produce better results. It’s simple really – happy people are more likely to give, and happier people likely to give more!
How to make your fundraising fun?
Any fundraiser is a success only when everyone feels involved, and all stakeholders stay with the idea and initiative until the end. People need to remain committed, not lose interest, and stay the course – making it fun for them is one way to do that. Here are 7 quick tips on how to add the fun back into a fundraising event.
1. Plan something fun at each stage
Participants are volunteering their time and money, so you want to keep your event light, friendly, and fun at every stage – not just at the very end. Set up small rewards, even if only pats on the back, when small milestones are crossed. Everyone will work hard to get there but plan it such that when they look back they remember the “fun”.
2. A funny reward
You know what’s the best? Seeing your boss, a parent or a very serious person do funny things or get involved in funny situations. You can incorporate that thread into your events for maximum participation. Think of the “Dunk the clown” stall at the carnival – except when your aim is right it’s the big boss man who falls into the water.
Speaking of seeing things, people always like to take pictures. This is a fantastic fundraising idea. Selfies and Groupfies are all the rage so give people the opportunity to turn the cameras their way with props, set pieces, or other creative situations. A creative option is for a group to dress up with a particular theme in mind. Start up the camera and make some memories.
4. Prizes people want
For your fundraising event make sure you have prizes that people will want to have. Movie tickets, a makeover, gift vouchers, discounts or any prizes along these lines pique the interest of the potential donor. The more the gift resonates with them the better. This is always a wonderful way to engage participants to work toward a fun prize.
5. Bring out the food!
This may need space, time, and effort but the results are always worth it! The people gotta eat. Bring together the best home bakers in the city and you will be amazed at how many prefer home-baked goodness over store bought goodies. Fire up that BBQ in the summer and grill your way to fundraising success.
6. Victory event
Remember that the end should be loaded with fun. Achieving your fundraising goal should be a celebration for everyone involved. This is the time to name names, recognize those who contributed, those who helped, and to show them exactly what their efforts have achieved.
7. Creative fitness-based fun fundraising ideas
Have you considered fitness-based activities for fundraising? These ideas are not only fun but comparatively easier to organize and drive better user participation. They can be done at a small scale and even rolled up into a much larger effort.
Here are some thoughts:
-10,000 Steps Challenge
Get participants excited about reaching a certain goal in a day, week or a month. When there is a visual and achievable goal ahead, users will do their best to reach it. Add up the numbers and assign amounts that go to the charity for each goal achieved.
-Host A 5K
You can organize one for your company and invite friends and family to join -whether walking or running. Have participants walk or run for your cause; record and share updates on social media to get better visibility for your event too.
Like a marathon but wetter, organize one for those who love to swim – and allow them to swim for a cause! Have interesting incentives and prizes for the winners.
It’s right there – staring us in the face this whole time – the FUN is right there in FUNdraiser. So, for the next worthy cause go for it – be serious about what you want to achieve but have fun while getting there.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
There is an adage, “Motivation gets you started, habit keeps you going” – this is especially true for you and your fitness. The million-dollar question is, how to make your fitness a habit? Well, that’s where the fitness tracker revolution is making a significant impact. Tracking your fitness and your daily activity by using apps or wearable devices can act as both a motivator and help to keep you going. Keeping an account of your fitness routine encourages you to walk more, take more stairs and even push you to run further each week.
A fantastic way to motivate yourself to exercise is to go beyond just setting goals and tracking your progress. That’s where fitness tracking apps come in. It’s all there in your pocket, or on your wrist – that map of your running route is a powerful visual reminder of your accomplishment. That should be enough to keep you going! Tracking your fitness activity is just the beginning of helping you achieve personal greatness.
The fitness tracker is a wellness device. This is always an ever-useful application to monitor your daily and minute-by-minute fitness agenda. A fitness tracker is your coach, trainer, and best bud who calculates everything needed to push you further to reach your health and fitness goals. There’s a lot you can do with these devices – more than you may imagine.
1. Activity tracker
Count your steps and track your sleep! A fitness activity tracker is great for showing how far you have walked or your quality of sleep each night. Sometimes you spend hours on the couch without even thinking about it. Wearing an activity tracker increases your awareness about how you spend your time not exercising too. Track your water intake TOO – everyone benefits with an adequate amount of water intake. Track your intake to ensure you’ve got your hydration quota for the day or not.
2. Counting your calories
With some apps, you can scan the barcode right off the food you’re eating! In others, your food and the calories it contains are in an enormous database – all you need to do is be honest to the app, and yourself about what and how much you’re eating. Those two slices of pepperoni pizza – 340 calories buddy! So, if you grab a yogurt, protein bar, or a frozen meal, all you must do is scan the barcode and say if you had it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. These apps then analyze your food intake. The massive database tracks and calculates things about all the food you eat all day. You can see what you’re eating, spot patterns, tell you what’s missing, and suggest what you need to do to supplement your diet. Once you know what you do – isn’t that a great motivator to improve your diet?
3. Rewarding Yourself
Isn’t it exciting to get cash for achieving goals? Is movie night with popcorn (Large tub – 1200 calories) tempting to you? You can tell your device and set it up as a reward for a week’s worth of achievement. Feel awesome when you achieve each goal! Whether you work better towards daily, weekly, or monthly goals, it allows you to track your progress. If you achieve specific goals or milestones those badges show up on your profile too – like your very own medals.
4. Organizing Group Activities and Challenges
Helen Keller once said, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”-Yes, instead of doing alone it is always better to do it with a fitness partner. But what if you don’t have anyone at hand – well you can turn to your online tribe.
Track every calorie you’ve burned or that extra mile you crossed and share it with others just like you – just by using the fitness tracker! Being part of a fitness group increases your adrenaline because you push yourself into calorie-burning challenges or weekly walking step counting competitions.
Group activity with fitness tracking for any individual is always motivating as you are not only taking care of your own fitness, you are motivating others to take part and improve their lifestyle too.
5. Supporting Your Favorite Cause
Set a charitable cause you would like to contribute to. Invite others like you to be a part of your mission. Then as each of you does what you have to do to stay fit, your fitness tracker counts down towards your goal. Each milestone you cross – a certain amount of money goes to fund the cause you have set up. You, your friends, and your fitness tracker will all be working (out) towards a worthy cause. The tracker and the app ensure that the activity is logged, the milestones are checked off, and the money moves when it should – neat right?
It’s been said that what gets measured gets managed – this is why tracking your own fitness activity is motivating. You know where you have to get, you know the way to get there and with fitness tracking, you know whether you are on the right path at all times – how can you go wrong? Fitness tracking is more than just a craze, it’s a lifestyle. Is it yours?
“I think it all comes down to motivation. If you really want to do something, you will work
hard for it.” – First man on Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary
Did you know? While on a diet, those kept a food journal lost double the weight compared to those who didn’t. What does that mean to us? Just that keeping count is a great way to keep yourself motivated. It’s the same with your workout goals – getting out of bed every day with just the faraway goal in your mind can get tough – you need to motivate yourself to keep at it. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you motivate yourself to stay focused on your exercise or your workout goals.
Set Small Goals
Do you find it hard to get started if you have a crazy load of work to do – most people do. So what you do is to start small. Distant goals can drive feelings of disappointment with the progress and a sense of being overwhelmed with the task at hand. Take baby steps instead. Break up the journey into smaller steps with identified milestones. Track progress against milestones and the sense of satisfaction you get will drive you forward. That way, you stop stressing and sweating the big stuff.
Get a Goal-Buddy
Many world athletic records are set by runners running alongside specifically designated pacing crews. You can follow suit with your own pacing crew – a Goal Buddy if you will! Get someone who supports you and pushes you to achieve your goals. You can be accountable to your buddy – empower your goal buddy to question you when you slip, and perhaps allow you a reward when you stick the course. Having a goal buddy just increases your determination to keep moving.
Wear workout clothes at home
Even if you don’t workout at home, get some fitness gear and wear that at home while you lounge about. For example, if you need to step out to get groceries, wear your best workout pants and trainers/sneakers. From that, it’s just a short hop step and jump to actually walking or jogging your way there. Drive past the park or that jogging trail when you’re out – the sight of the others out and about could incite you. And if it does – hey you’re already dressed for it!
Mix it up
You don’t always have to go for a run every single day. That's the beauty of exercise, you can do a mix of activities and lose the same calories. You could swim one day, go for a power walk the next, or go on a bike ride the next – who’s stopping you! You can even do Zumba to mix up your routines and stay motivated to power through. If running is your thing then run different tracks or trails – change directions if you’ve run a trail before – the changed view will help you keep moving.
Do it for a cause or charity.
Yes, you can also workout for a good cause. Tone your abs or run 10 kilometers – all for a cause. Think ice-bucket challenge – but with more movement, and greater health benefit. This activity will double your adrenaline rush because you will not only help yourself by exercising but you will help someone else in need too. Think – looking good and feeling good too at the end of it all. If you’re looking for ideas on how to do this – may we suggest
Keep training on a schedule like a meeting.
Everybody is so busy these days, it is hard to find time to exercise – so build it into a routine, a calendar if you will. It is more or less the same thing for people who can’t consciously save money. Take the choice element out of it –schedule it or automate it somehow. Let the schedule rule you and like clockwork, oblige and just do it. Go for a walk after lunch or dinner. Do crunches while you watch TV. Just build it into the schedule!
Do it even when you don’t want to.
Forcing yourself to do it – yes, this is a great way to stay motivated. When you exercise, you have happy hormones (endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin) released in your body. Once you feel that runner’s high or that adrenaline rush, it gets addictive and you want more of it. So do it even when you don’t feel like – and soon enough you won’t ever not want it. Clear?
Join an online community
If you can’t find a workout partner or a goal buddy, find a tribe online. Share news of your progress, ask questions about what troubles you, learn from the experiences of others, and pay attention to what is working for others like you. This works in two ways – that little bit of competition will drive you to push yourself for one. Then you can also get inspired by the journey or someone in the community – maybe someone who has overcome a significant personal obstacle. You can feed off the success of others.
In the end, the aim is to form a habit – doing what you have to do over and over again till it becomes second nature to you. Doing this is hard – but not if you stay motivated to stay the course!
Who could ever forget Stetson? The story of Stetson tugged at the heart strings of anyone who read about the abuse and neglect he experienced prior to his rescue by the Forgotten Pet Advocates. Forgotten Pet Advocates serves as a voice for neglected, mistreated and abused animals in Houston. Several weeks ago, Koushik and I had the opportunity to meet with Marlene Marino, the energetic leader of this wonderful organization. Forgotten Pet Advocates has been recognized for their outstanding work, previously being named as the top Rescue Organization in Houston. Sentiv was proud to sponsor a CauseFit event with the proceeds going to pay for Stetson’s veterinary care. We are happy to announce that Stetson made a full recovery and was later adopted by a wonderful couple who will be taking care of him going forward.
In a matter of 3 short days we had over 165 people sign up and commit to a goal of walking 10 Million steps, with each step helping raise money for Stetson’s veterinary care. I am happy to report that not only did this group complete the 10 million steps, they actually went above and beyond, reaching nearly 11 million steps in a short two-week period. Every step taken by our supporters brought Stetson closer to his full recovery. Marlene was so appreciative of the effort and dedication each of the participants put into reaching the fitness goals and we here at Sentiv wanted to take a minute to acknowledge some of the Sentiv users that made this such a successful event.
At Sentiv, one of our core missions is to incentivize users to be more physically active with monetary challenges either for themselves (GroupFit) or for a charitable cause (CauseFit). For the latter, we are excited to begin partnering with local charities and show how Sentiv can be a great tool to help raise both awareness and money for a cause you care about while promoting physical activity.
Last week, Koushik Chowdavarapu, Sentiv’s CDO, and I had the pleasure of meeting Marlene Marino, the President of Forgotten Pet Advocates. Marlene has a deep passion for rescuing and caring for mistreated animals, which we were able to witness in-person. Her stories of saving animals from the brink of death and helping them get adopted are simply incredible. The enthusiasm with which she describes her successful rescue-to-adoption stories is almost tangible. In our meeting, we took a casual stroll around the neighborhood and saw her work first-hand. As we were walking, Marlene suddenly pointed at a spot about 100 yards away, “See that black cat over there? We made sure she was well taken care of”. Koushik and I turned and squinted and saw a cat under an old abandoned truck. We could hardly see that far into the sun and yet Marlene knew the cat was there almost instinctively. This is how Marlene operates- she actively seeks out to help animals in need. And believe me, the need is much greater than you or I could imagine.
As an example, Marlene tells us about a recent rescue of two chihuahuas, mother and child. To our dismay the chihuahuas had been chained day and night with no food or water in sight. In addition, the owners had run over- for fun- 6 of the mother’s babies. We were stunned. How could someone run over six baby dogs, for fun?! While Marlene recognized the horrid nature of the act, her focus remained squarely on how to save the remaining chihuahuas. At one point, when the owner was unwilling to give over his abused chihuahuas, Marlene made a daring midnight run with a squeaky toy in order to lure out the surviving mother and baby. The mother proved to be too fearful and the attempt was unsuccessful. But Marlene did not stop there, after a few more weeks Marlene came to an agreement with the owners and was finally able to rescue the dogs. I am happy to say that these two dogs, Violet and Sophia, are currently in the process of adoption. After hearing stories such as these, we realized Marlene was truly a guardian angel for the forgotten and mistreated pets of Houston.
During our meeting, Marlene introduced us to the newest dog rescued by her organization, Stetson, medium sized with a brindled coat. Stetson showed up at someone’s job site – barely alive. A Good Samaritan fed him, while others told her to leave him alone – he was almost dead.She contacted The Forgotten Pet Advocates for help. His condition at the time of rescue was almost unfathomable – he was dehydrated, malnourished, missing patches of hair and skin, and suffering from a contagious mange. After several weeks of intense veterinary care, Stetson is making steps towards a recovery but he will require several more days of care in order to get back to full health. Marlene’s dedication to Stetson is abundantly clear – she takes him out for a daily walk at 11am sharp and beams at how he is now on the road to recovery and hopefully to adoption.
Marlene’s selflessness and passion for helping abandoned pets through Forgotten Pet Advocates is truly inspirational. We, at Sentiv, are delighted to support such a worthy cause and hope that through our platform, we can support her in raising money and awareness for her amazing organization.
To participate in the Forgotten Pet Advocates’ CauseFit challenge, click on the button below. All you have to do is walk! Every step you take raises money for Forgotten Pet Advocates.Join Stetson's CauseFit
If you’d like to partner with us, please reach out to me at email@example.com
Sentiv Chief Community Outreach Officer