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Monday, May 4, 2015

Charitable

Although most of us have the ability to use the internet just about every day, I wonder if we have lost our realization of what an incredible thing it is. We have the chance to use machines on our desks, phones or tablets in our hands, even watches and eyewear, that connect us with the entire world and beyond. Just within my lifetime, computers have gone from huge machines that took up entire buildings or very large rooms, to tiny tote-able or wearable devices. Information that once took hours of research or study to find in books and magazines, often located in libraries that one had to go to in person, is now available in moments. Our past, present, and future are right at our fingertips. Both history and news are available for us in an instant.

Something that has gone hand-in-hand with this computing revolution is our ability to communicate with one another. Computers and telephones have melded together, and electronic communication has taken the world by storm. Although I occasionally mourn the potential loss of face-to-face or telephone conversation, I am amazed at the ways we can communicate these days. I can easily send a quick text by telephone while I speak with my Hungarian relatives and see their faces across the thousands of miles that separate us.

Another thing that has changed for many of us is our ability to meet new people and make new friends right from our homes, or wherever we connect to the internet. Through social networks, we can keep in touch with old friends and make new ones. A few years ago, I began using a fairly new social network, Google Plus. Before I knew it, I was acquainted with a wealth of new people of all interests and descriptions. It was there that I met Terry from Alberta and Shinae from California. This led to friendships with people from all over the world. Before long I knew people in countries including Switzerland, Hungary, Norway, Mexico, and Algeria, as well as many states in the USA. One friendship led to another, much as it does in "real life."

It was through Terry in Canada that I became acquainted with a cartoonist that we all know as Bearman Cartoons. Not only is Bearman a cartoonist with a great wit and sense of humor (even when he split out the seat of his pants while helping someone), he is also a normal folks' version of a philanthropist, or what The Wizard of Oz would have called a "phila...phila...good-deed doer." I was first made aware of Bearman because he was doing his annual charity donations. I was stunned to read that this man I'd never heard of before would donate certain amounts of his own money to charity if others would do something as simple as sharing his post or adding him as a friend on the social network.

This struck me as a great opportunity. I wanted to share money with one of the charities he was supporting that year but didn't have any money to spare. With just a few clicks of the mouse, I was able to do my part to help others. Not only did it make me feel good about Bearman, it made me feel good about Terry for sharing the post, and then feel good about myself for taking part in this chain of good deeds. 

I am sure that there are some of you reading this and asking what Bearman gets out of all of this. Well, I believe he gets more than we realize. Yes, he does create additional awareness of his creative work. But the greatest thing that he gets from this annual endeavor is the satisfaction of his efforts doing double duty. Not only does he share money to help victims of the earthquake in Nepal, to fund cancer research, or to buy school supplies for teachers to help their students, he also shares awareness. With any luck, for every few people like me who wish that they had more funds to donate, there are also one or two people who are inspired to donate money, goods, or time to the charities mentioned, or to other charities of their choice. Bearman has created something that allows him to give not just money but inspiration.

So, in order to separate Bearman from some more of his dollars, I am asking you to take a few moments to do something. Please visit the cartoon man with the green hair and help him give away some of his dollars. If you are so inclined and are able to do so, please consider giving some assistance to the causes that he is supporting with this year's challenge. You can find our green-haired friend by using this link: Bearman Charity Challenge 2015. Take a look at what Bearman himself has to say about the challenge and take a look at some of his cartoons, too. To borrow his own words, take greenbacks from the green hair. And enjoy an easy opportunity to be charitable. Thanks so much for anything that you can do, and thanks to you, Bearman!