Health, wellbeing and social support. Give to the Max is setting a new revolution in motion…

Posted by on Oct 10, 2011 in aging, Inspiration, women's health, work | 0 comments

I spend a lot of time on this blog writing about health and wellbeing and how the foundation for the two starts (and ends) with social support. Indeed, research has shown that women’s innate ability to nurture and nourish ties, coupled with overall satisfaction with work significantly predicts wellbeing especially during midlife and over the menopausal transition. It may even affect how long we live. Nowhere is this more important than in the communities where we reside because as much as many of us complain about how busy we are, there is a deep, soul stroking satisfaction in being able to help one another.

That is why it saddens me when I witness women building one another up in the community only to tear one another down in the workplace.

A line from a wonderful article that appeared in the New York Times in 2009 acknowledged certain stereotypes continue to perpetuate bad behavior. And, that as Author Peggy Klaus so aptly wrote, “the pink elephant is lurking in the room and we pretend it’s not there.”

Klaus’ point was that rather than help build each other’s careers, women often work to derail each other, engaging in “verbal abuse, job sabotage, misuse of authority and destroying of relationships.” She cited data suggesting that this type of behavior is directed from women to women more than 70% of the time, while the men who are “bullies in the workplace,” direct their aggression equally to both genders.

She encouraged us however, not to determine the why but rather, engage one another to put an end to this type of behavior.

Here’s an idea. Let’s start by supporting and building more power, self sufficiency and emotional equity from within businesses and from the top down. In other words, why not make an effort to support female-owned/founded businesses in our communities, especially those businesses that are working to eliminate inequities and promote the very qualities that improve health and wellbeing?

I recently learned that there are several female-founded nonprofit organizations  in the region where I personally live that truly embody these principles:

  • Suited for Change  Founded in 1992, Suited for Change provides professional clothing, career and life skills education to low-income women in order to increase employment and job retention potential. Their clientele include homeless women, survivors of domestic violence, teen mothers, senior citizens, returning citizens, and women who have overcome addiction.
  • Back on my Feet DC is an organization that promotes self sufficiency of homeless women (and men) — not through provision of shelter and food — but through physical activity, i.e. a running program to build confidence strength and self esteem, and teach the value of hard work, equality, respect, teamwork and leadership.

These nonprofits are only two examples of female-founded organizations that work to build self efficiency from the ground up and the top down, helping thousands of  individuals learn the value of self assurance. mutual respect and support. I can only imagine what hundreds of other organizations are likewise doing to break down barriers and build wellbeing.

Want to help me find out?

If  you know a local nonprofit that could use some extra support. then you need to know about  Give to the Max. And if you are ready to engage other women to learn how we can consistently build one another up, then you will want to know about Give to the Max.

On November 9, thousands of organizations and residents in the region are uniting to take part in Give to the Max Day, a one-day regional online fundraiser to support local nonprofit programs. Give to the Max provides DC, Maryland and Virginia 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations visibility and even a lasting web presence to conduct ongoing fundraising initiatives after November 9.  Most importantly, however, it’s a fantastic way for the community to give back and to support one of the region’s most important economic drivers at a time when the economy is taking a toll on charitable giving and simultatneously creating overwhelming demands for social services. For women, in particular, it’s a great start to breaking down the barriers that are destroying us in the workplace and finding ways to improve how we treat one another and why.

However, this day is not simply about women and women-owned nonprofits; an ‘Eight Neighbors Group’ alliance of the area’s leading nonprofit and civic organizations (Center for Nonprofit Advancement, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Leadership Greater Washington, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers) have joined forces with the online fundraiser Razoo, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and the United Way of the National Capital Area to insure that nonprofits have an opportunity to raise thousands of dollars in donations and grants on a single day.

But why should you care if you don’t  live in the DC/MD/VA region?

Give to the Max is just a start, an incentive for other other regions around the country to take back the health of their communities and leverage the individual for the collective wellbeing. As women, we have an opportunity to engage one another to end destructive behavior — not only in the workplace, but where we live.

Health and wellbeing start from where we all dwell; the heart. Let’s Give to the Max on November 9 and set a new revolution in motion.
















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