Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Alternative Gifts: MarkMakers

We spent last Christmas with some friends, and when their 8 year old son opened a card from an aunt and exclaimed, "Cool!" I expected there to be cash or some kind of toy store gift certificate inside.

Well, there was a gift certificate, but it was not your run-of-the-mill gift, and it was very, very cool. So cool that I've been waiting an entire year for the Alternative Gifts series to come around again so I could blog about it.

Markmakers.org is "A Place for Young People Making a Difference." Here's how it works:

1. You buy a Markmakers card (for any amount, $10 minimum) for the young person of your choice.

2. That young person can then go to the Markmakers online store and spend the cash on any number of things inside.

The store is visually appealing and fun to explore. You can browse different sections of the store to learn about the items you are about to purchase. Here is just a tiny sampling of the things your Markmakers card can do:

  • Purchase Vaccines to Immunize Children Against the Six Major Childhood Diseases
  • Provide Meals To Elderly, Disabled & Homebound Americans
  • Help Purchase a Cow or Goat To Provide Sustenance for a Nomadic Kenyan Family
  • Help Build Playrooms for Hospitalized Children
  • Help Fund the Cost of Organ Transplants For Young People
  • Help Rescue and Rehabilitate Seals, Dolphins, Sea Otters & Whales
  • Provide Shelter & Care For Homeless and Abandoned Animals
  • Help Protect Threatened Coral Reefs
  • Help Repair and Provide Refurbished Musical Instruments to Kids in Need
  • Help Encourage a Worldwide Ban on Land Mines
This is such a great stocking stuffer or gift for an important young person in your life. What I love most about this is that it puts the power in the hands of the child. *They* get to decide what is important to them, and how *they* want to make a difference in the world. And they can begin to believe what J. R. R. Tolkien wrote in The Lord of the Rings:

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."

100% of your donation will go to the organizations the child chooses. Here is the complete list from the Markmakers site:

The name of the organization providing the relevant goods or services is indicated in each product description. The mix of organizations is designed to appeal to the broad range of interests and concerns on the minds of young people today. The organizations that receive funding do not pay to be here. They are as follows:

Doctors Without Borders
Earth Force
First Book
Grameen Foundation
Heifer Project International
Human Rights Watch
Institute for Transportation & Development Policy
International Campaign To Ban Landmines
International Rescue Committee
Jumpstart
Marine Mammal Rescue Center
Meals on Wheels
Miracle Flights for Kids
Mr. Hollands Opus Foundation
Nomadic Kenyan Children's Educational Fund
Operation Smile
One Laptop Per Child
Performing Animals Welfare Society
Playpumps International
Save the Children
Seeds of Peace
Seva Foundation
Solar Cookers International
Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation
Surfrider Foundation USA
The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp
The Hunger Project
The Nature Conservancy
The Wilderness Society
Trees For Life
United States Fund for UNICEF
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (North America)
World Learning
World Wildlife Federation

1 comment:

Blackgirl On Mars said...

hey girl, this is cool. my son is 8 and i will def give him one of those for christmas! thanks for visiting me here in mars (ha ha) and i look forward to reading more of your stuff! take care and be in peace and lots of love--life's too short for all the other stuff!
hugs,
lab