12.12.12 ❥ A Celebration of Generosity

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 20, Valley Gives Day

Valley Gives Logo (png)I love this about the little Valley I call home: people care about the larger world and they care about this community. I think volunteerism is something that’s a community value. To wit, my daughter’s preschool—not just the parents—are involved in community service activities. The message, as I understand it, to help others is part of life. Period.

The folks at the Community Foundation apparently think the same and so this year, there’s an initiative Valley Gives to bring lots of energy—and money—to participating organizations across the Valley. Their language: Valley Gives is a “celebration of generosity.” In order to partake in the day—it’s 12.12.12—each non-profit received some training, about using website and email and social media to reach out to their constituencies, and to ride the wave of the larger effort, the 12.12.12 one (is this date lodged in your mind yet?).

Even our preschool is participating.

I’ll be honest; there’s an overwhelm factor to a day like this—for the people doing the asking and for the people being asked, often, if you’re someone like me, known to be a cheerleader and a donor, you are being asked to help loads of organizations on one day and how can you possibly do so?

I’ve been thinking hard about this. Here are my answers:

  1. I am going to take some money that would have gone to holiday gifts and give it out on 12.12.12—and then I’m going to let my family know, as a holiday gift, that I have done so. I will give to organizations that matter not just to me but also to them. It’s not going to do magic for anyone, but it’s a way at this rather expensive time of year to justify giving a little more—and back to the helping is part of life, period sentiment, I’m not going to apologize for the fact that giving is part of life. To give is, in fact, a gift. You probably agree if you’ve read this far.
  2. I am inviting you—if you are involved with or enamored of an organization that’s participating in Valley Gives to leave a comment and let more people know about your favorite organization (click the link on the word, preschool, above, for one of mine). Add a link; tell us why.


Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

9 Comments on “12.12.12 ❥ A Celebration of Generosity

  1. If anyone is looking to donate to a theater I recommend New Century Theater or Serious Play! Ensemble. Both are companies that keep theater alive in our Valley and provide jobs/opportunities for artists and actors of all ages.

  2. Northampton Parents Center is participating in Valley Gives. The Parents Center is an amazing resource for caregivers of young children in the Valley. We serve moms, dads, grandparents, nannies, old & young, English speaking & ESL, rich & poor, lesbian couples & straight couples, parents with a permissive style of parenting & those with an authoritarian style, and EVERYTHING in between! We are all united in our caring for young children. And we all really care about those children.

    We are a very small non-profit and we serve 500 families a year on a budget of under $30,000… To learn more or to donate to our cause: http://valleygives.razoo.com/story/Northampton-Parents-Center

  3. We at Tapestry Health are excited to participate in Valley Gives Day and hope you’ll contribute to continuing our vital work right here in western Mass. Tapestry Health is a locally grown, community-based non-profit that has been there for the people of western Massachusetts for almost 40 years, providing medical services and education on some of the most sensitive and life-changing health issues. Tapestry Health offers affordable, high quality care to all in our community regardless of income or insurance status. Our sites provide family planning services, reproductive health exams, STI screenings, HIV counseling and testing, needle exchange, insurance enrollment, LGBT services, outreach efforts, a WIC nutrition program for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children (under the age of five), and much more.


  4. HI Sarah!
    We have a connection via Lisa Rubin (my husband and Seeds of Solidarity co-founder is Ricky Baruc. Wonderful to read your blog and thanks for the beautiful words about gifting through Valley Gives-
    Gifts or increased awareness of our work to promote local food resiliency and transform hunger, this is a great day. Our valley gives page includes our newest video on our Grow Food Everywhere for Health and Justice project: http://valleygives.razoo.com/story/Seeds-Of-Solidarity-Education-Center

  5. Our Close Friends lost their home today due to an electrical fire in Erving,Ma..Red Cross gave them a room.for 1 night…they have 4 kids n are homeless tomorrow…How can we help them for the holiday?they need an apt for 6 n 2dogs..Please Someone help…they have a 2year Lil girl n 9year boy…Can people give me ideas how to help this family…send me an email @ reddawny74@aol.com..Thank You Merry Christmas

  6. I will be giving to Amherst Montessori School this year. My family has been so blessed with the good fortune of sending both of our children to this amazing school. The teachers and staff have created a space for my children and for our family as a whole that has improved our lives imensely. We are all incredibly thankful for the experience we have had!

  7. Community Resources for People with Autism, founded and directed by parents and professionals, provides support, information, and practical help for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families living in Western Massachusetts.

    Our goal today remains to help families build on their strengths, work together to create a positive vision for the future, and help their children learn, grow, and be welcomed, fully included members of their communities.

    Major cuts by the state have made a huge impact on the amount of families able to receive in-home direct care. We serve 1200 of the over 4000 families with one or more children that have autism. We would love to do more.


  8. Whole Children is an afterschool recreation and enrichment center for kids with special needs. That’s the quick description, but what it really is is a magical place filled with kids raising the bar, stretching the limits, making friends, doing things that no one ever thought possible.
    Whole Children was started by a small group of mothers of kids with disabilities who knew that their kids were capable of a lot more then the “experts” were telling them.
    We started in 2004 with 40 families, and since then more than 600 families have joined this community.
    We need to raise $100,000 every year to keep the classes affordable to all families.
    To see Whole Children in action, please check out our video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfPi2hXq-qw&list=UL

  9. What a wonderful Mash note, Sarah! Thank you for telling folks about Valley Gives and thanks for the opportunity to promote our involvement in it! MotherWoman is extremely proud to be participating in this day of generosity. We’ve connected our donation goals with real-life work that we do, so you can see what your money will go toward: http://valleygives.razoo.com/story/Motherwoman

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