Monthly Archives: September 2010

Remaining Positive Gathers Attention

In an incredible story of overcoming the odds, a high school student (now in college) had both legs amputated after a bad accident. Most of the reports coming from doctors were so negative, you would think he had lost his life. But this young man sought a positive attitude—so positive, in fact, that a psychologist was brought in to evaluate him. That positivism, though, has raised over $530,000 from a rubber wristband slogan that says “Press On, JT.”
““Mentally and emotionally, I was pretty good right after my accident because I had a lot of family and support there,” he recalls. “I had this awareness that, if I worked hard, I could be back to where I was before the accident. So I never felt that I was going to be limited.”

Yet, during his weeks at the hospital, Thomas met other amputees who didn’t have the same support and access to care—those who could never afford high-quality prosthetics like his, which cost upward of $24,000. He learned that children especially have a tough lot because they often outgrow their prosthetics and need to buy new ones more frequently than adults.

“There were so many kids who didn’t have access to the health care that I did, didn’t have the family support and the friends support,” Thomas says. “I learned the incredible need out there for support in all kinds of ways. That was an eye-opening experience for me, just seeing the kids who were so much worse off than me, because I’d never been confronted with that before.”

Thomas didn’t look away from that harsh reality. Instead, he and his parents (both doctors from Chattanooga, Tenn.) shared his experiences, a core group began to grow, and the Jordan Thomas Foundation was formed while its namesake was still in the hospital.

The dollars came rolling in, through fundraisers like golf classics and low-country boils popular in the Charleston, S.C., area, where he attends college. Funds came as well as through the sales of rubber bracelets imprinted with “Press on J.T.”—an inspiring phrase that came from Larry Coker, head football coach at the University of Miami, who visited Thomas in the hospital. At press time, the Jordan Thomas Foundation had raised around $530,000” (http://www.successmagazine.com/your-personal-best-amputee-jordan-thomas-presses-on/PARAMS/article/1178/channel/22).
What an inspiring story for all of us!

Community Events Include Dance, Apples, and Rubber Wristbands

It’s great to report on communities that are promoting events to help good causes. One community, Abington, is promoting a host of events from apple festivals to luncheons to seminars to Italian festivals. One event, though, a dance, will be selling rubber wristbands and t-shirts to support the Susan G. Koman Foundation:
““Pink Paw for a Cure” Lackawanna Trail School District students elementary center and high school will sell T-shirts and inspirational rubber bracelets prior a dance with the proceeds going to the Susan G. Koman Foundation. Cost: T-shirt prices are $7 for youth XS to adult XL and $9 for 2XL. Orders due no later the Sept. 10 with delivery on Oct. 4. Info: Lackawanna Trail Elementary Center 945.5153 or the Lackawanna Trail High School 945.5181” (http://www.timesleader.com/AbingtonJournal/extra/Daily_Events_09-08-2010.html).
What kind of events does your community do to raise money and awareness of important items?

Blogger Resents Silly Bandz

Perhaps trends annoy us. They are trendy after all. Or, perhaps they fascinate us. Trends cause thousands, even millions, of people to buy products that might otherwise seem worthless. In an age where trends come and go, it is amazing to see the lifespan of rubber wristbands . Silly Bandz, though, might just be another fleeting version of POGS, the early nineties revolution. Today, I report on a blogger who resents Silly Bandz, but for more reasons than one:
“Since the early age of seven, I have been on a self-proclaimed mission to invent a product and sell my idea for lots of money, ultimately leading to my incessant success. I learned quickly that, in order to do this, there had to be a high-volume consumer response to the product of my creation. My victory would then be rewarded with early retirement, instant wealth, and eternal recognition. I also discovered the importance of persuading my peers to buy my product, even though it would probably be something they did not need. This realization happened after observing Go-Go Crazy Bones, POGS, Furby, and many other wasted toy phenomenons of my generation.

I thought I had almost accomplished this life-goal of entrepreneurship in the first grade. I had assembled a contraption for a class project that would make it easier to drink the leftover milk after eating a bowl of cereal. By taping a plastic straw to a Styrofoam bowl, I had created the “EZ Sipper” (Seriously, you can ask my mom). Needless to say my dream was crushed when I saw the popular Sip-A-Bowl in an aisle of a supermarket months later.

These feelings of angst came rushing back this summer when I took notice of a new toy wonder that had hit the shelves. My revulsion for this recent phenomenon was based upon three obvious facts: I did not invent this toy, people everywhere had this toy, and this toy was conceived from the most effortless design known to mankind. Hint: Multicolored silicone bracelets in the shape of animals, objects, or words found on most humans’ left or right wrists. That’s right; I’m talking about Silly Bandz” (http://media.www.therotundaonline.com/media/storage/paper1354/news/2010/09/08/Features/Why-Didnt.I.Think.Of.That-3928369.shtml).
What about you? Are you into trends? Do they fascinate you, excite you? Or are they annoying and cliché?

Student Barred from Middle School Graduation

In the latest string of events happening in relation to the now famous “I Love Boobies” silicone wristbands , apparently a student was barred from graduation for wearing one. Interestingly, though, the student wasn’t trying to support breast cancer, which is why the wristbands are made. Rather, he just thought it was funny.
“I got a call last spring from a woman whose son was barred from what I recall was his middle school graduation.
This last-minute development was an embarrassment and an inconvenience. For one thing, the boy’s grandmother had come from out of town to see the graduation. For another, the mother ended up making a scene in the auditorium because the principal wouldn’t leave the stage to talk to her.
The boy’s offense: Wearing an “I love boobies” bracelet. They are created by Keep A Breast Foundation, a Carlsbad, Calif., nonprofit group that seeks to increase breast cancer awareness among young people.

At first glance, I was inclined to side with the family, at least somewhat. I’m a big supporter of breast cancer research and awareness, and the principal’s reaction seemed extreme.
But it turns out that the principal had specifically told the boy the day before not to wear it to graduation, then saw him wearing it anyway, told him again, and the kid refused at first to take it off.

What’s more, it didn’t reflect any great commitment on the kid’s part to this cause. He just found it in a store and thought it was funny. So there was nothing noble about his defiance” (http://blogs.mcall.com/bill_white/2010/09/i-love-boobies-bracelets.html).
This story lends a great deal of credibility to those who say the wristbands are in poor taste. How many 13-year-olds, after all, might be wearing the bands for reasons other than to support breast cancer awareness?

More Bans on “Boobies” Bracelets

The controversy is continuing to swirl around the “I Love Boobies” silicone wristbands circulating the country—and, more specifically, junior and senior high schools. So what does the founder of these bracelets think about school districts in 5 states banning them in their classrooms? They are happy about it.
“Wristbands of varying colors are popular ways to support causes and charities, and many teens wear several of them. But school principals in at least five states, including Florida, California, South Dakota, Colorado and Wisconsin have either banned these bracelets entirely, or forced students to turn them inside-out during school time.

“When we had an assembly the first day of school, I basically told the students we were not insensitive to the cause,” Jim Aisenbrey, principal of Baltic High School in South Dakota, told USA Today. “I think everyone in the gym, including myself, has had a family member or relative or friend who has dealt with this issue. I do think there are more proper ways to bring this plight to the attention of people, and I don’t think this is a proper way.”

Not surprisingly, Shaney Jo Darden, founder and executive director of Keep A Breast Foundation, the California-based not-for-profit group that created the $4 wristbands, disagrees. “That’s the whole idea, it’s getting people to talk about breast cancer, it’s getting people to share their feelings about how this disease has impacted their life,”says Darden. “The bracelet is doing what it’s meant to do – it’s making people talk” (http://www.care2.com/causes/education/blog/schools-banning-i-love-boobies-bracelets/).
I think Ms Darden is correct. People are talking about it. The message is spreading, isn’t it?

Rumors, Superstitions Spread about Silicone Wristbands

As more and more athletes and celebrities are caught wearing cheap silicone wristbands known as Power Balance wristbands, the rumors and superstitions are growing around these silly wristbands. Ostensibly, these wristbands help people feel and perform better during the regular workday and on the field or court. The latest to be seen wearing them? Demi Moore and Robert De Niro.
“Soccer star David Beckham has been spotted sporting a cheap rubber wristband, because it reportedly enhances the body’s positive frequencies and blocks out negative ones from devices such as mobile telephones and radios. The 35-year-old was seen wearing the ‘Power Balance’ bracelet while in
Hollywood with wife Victoria. The band, which costs about 30 pounds, is meant to “optimise natural energy” and is popular with sports stars, reports thesun.co.uk.
Other sports stars like Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal have been wearing the bracelets at work and play.
Even Hollywood stars Robert De Niro, Gerard Butler and Demi Moore have taken to wearing ‘mystical’ black silicone wrist bands, which they believe will boost their performance” (http://www.hindustantimes.com/Beckham-s-band/Article1-590695.aspx).
Sounds a bit too good to be true, doesn’t it? But what do you think? Are these wristbands really working?

Colorado Schools Latest to Ban Controversial Wristband

With school running in full swing, the controversy and spread over a wristband touting a phrase that some find offensive is increasing. Many schools in many states have begun banning the rubber wristbands that are said to be distracting, offensive, and inappropriate for schools. Colorado schools are the latest to join this ban effort:
“A Colorado school has banned popular rubber bracelets that promote breast cancer awareness.
The wording on the wristbands isn’t welcome at Mountain Ridge Middle School.
Bracelets read “I heart boobies” or “I love boobies.”
The school district says some people have complained the wording is offensive and it has disrupted class time.
The principal told students the school supports breast cancer awareness but the bands are inappropriate for school.
The $4 bracelets are hugely popular, selling out daily at a local skateboard store” (http://www.wwmt.com/articles/banned-1380724-school-popular.html).
Will there be a nationwide ban? How successful do you think this wristband is?

Keep-A-Breast Compared to Livestrong Bracelets

The controversy across the country over the cancer awareness bracelets that say “I Love Boobies” is continuing to grow as school gets going in full swing. The rubber wristbands, created by the Keep-A-Breast foundation, are being compared to the Livestrong wristbands —only more offensive and eye-popping:
“Rocklin High has recently become home to a wave of cancer awareness activism. Rubber bracelets worn by students to support breast cancer awareness have caused quite a stir on campus.

The wristband bracelets read the phrase “I ? boobies”, the slogan of the Keep-A-Breast Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at raising breast cancer awareness among young people.

“I think it’s a creative way for teens to show their support. The bracelets are only 4 dollars, and the proceeds go to a great cause,” said senior Rafael Maniego.

This type of free speech is not exactly unprecedented. It’s hard not to notice that this recent trend reminds us of a certain yellow wristband popular about five years ago.

So what makes the Keep-A-Breast campaign so much more controversial than Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong bracelets? Faculty members at RHS argue that the bracelets are in poor taste” (http://my.hsj.org/Schools/Newspaper/tabid/100/view/frontpage/articleid/368662/newspaperid/234/I_Heart_Boobies.aspx).
So, will these wristbands have the same effect as the Livestrong wristbands? Right now, they seem popular enough to at least make similar waves across the country.

Intermediate School Among Latest to Ban Wristbands

In a time where custom wristbands are one of the most popular and effective trends to spread messages, awareness, and raise money, it is no wonder, really, that someone came up with a phrase that is offending others. The interesting thing about the latest developments in the “I Love Boobies” controversy (over a phrase printed on rubber wristbands) is that few can decide if it is too offensive for schools or if it is really doing a good thing. Here is what just happened at a middle school:
“Students at Willows Intermediate School can no longer wear a breast cancer awareness bracelet that reads “I Love Boobies.”
Others have a heart symbol instead of the word love.
Principal Steve Sailsbery announced the ban at the end of the day on Aug. 25.
“It’s clever,” Sailsbery admitted, “but it’s not appropriate for middle school — grades 5 to 8 — and it offends some people.”
He said fifth- and sixth-grade teachers told him after the announcement that many of their students said “they shouldn’t wear that to school anyway.”
Some sixth- and seventh-graders got upset and others — mainly boys — teachers told Sailsbery, giggled because the principal said “boobies.”
Resource specialist Tammy Thomson, who teaches all grades at the school, said the 1-inch bracelets might support a great cause, but the large message is distracting” (http://www.willows-journal.com/news/school-5286-breast-cancer.html).
Perhaps the phrase is something too distracting for students aged 10 to 14. Is this something more appropriate for college campuses?

ABC World News On Cancer Bracelets

The news is spreading like wildfire on a hot, windy day: ‘I love Boobies’ bracelets are popular among the youth. In the latest report coming out of South Dakota, ABC World News is reporting the enormity of this debate as it reaches the four corners of the country. While many are arguing that they are offensive and in poor taste, the creators of the silicone wristbands disagree. So I report on what they say:
“The bracelets in question cost about $4 in stores and online. They were created by the Keep A Breast foundation, a non-profit based in California that says its mission is to “help eradicate breast cancer by exposing young people to methods of prevention, early detection and support.”
“The bracelet is doing what it’s meant to do,” Keep A Breast founder Shaney Jo Darden told USA Today. “It’s making people talk” (http://abcnews.go.com/WN/schools-ban-cancer-awareness-bracelets-offensive-message-question/story?id=11532038).
People are definitely talking. Maybe their plan really is working.