Have you snapped your #headbandforgood photo yet?

We are loving the ANZ #headbandforgood campaign raising funds for World Vision Australia! For every selfie taken and shared with the #tag, ANZ will donate $2 to World Vision to support their work in the Asia Pacific region.

Now that is GOOD!

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Emma is a World Vision Blog Ambassador and she wrote this article for them about the fun campaign:

http://blog.worldvision.com.au/show-us-headbandforgood/ 

Novak Djokovic is the face of the campaign and he has given some great inspiration with his fun headband photos. It’s going gangbusters on #socialmedia and so many people are sharing their fun photos, and it’s simple, just tag it!!

And then it was shared on the Global Citizen website!! Check it out here:

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/show-us-your-headbandforgood/

This such an easy and fun campaign to get behind and we can’t wait to see your #selfies with your #headbandforgood!

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Give more this Christmas – help street kids in Tanzania to get an education

Ok! I know Christmas is literally days away now and ya’ll are maxed out on shopping, buying, spending and the mania that comes with this time of year.

I ask you to stop for a moment and look outside of yourself, your immediate community and even our own borders. Look to those who don’t have the blessings that we have. Look to those who short of iphones, cool tshirts and new handbags, won’t even have the gift of education this christmas.

I’m aiming to fundraise $2015 in 2015 ( 8 days to go) to support street kids in Tanzania to get an education with the help of World Vision Australia​!

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I was so fortunate to go to good schools, get an education and I know I will always be able to have work and provide because of my upbringing. I only hope for this for other children in the world.

Just $20.15 is all I ask, out of the $100’s you will spend in this festive season!

Thank you and may you have the most wonderful time remembering what is special and important to you this festive season. With Love xx

https://2015in2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-lovell

 

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This is what hope looks like. #nepalearthquake

The situation in Nepal is increasing desperate as the death toll has now risen to 5000 and with bad weather rescue and aid supply efforts are becoming challenging. I’ve been speaking regularly with two friends on the ground and it’s heart breaking to hear what they are going through every hour.

This photo provides hope, as NGO’s such as World Vision Australia arrive with aid and supplies. Help their efforts with donations and spreading this message of hope. 

Photo from World Vision Australia
Photo from World Vision Australia

Bishaka Aryal, a dear friend and passionate Nepali woman, is braving the elements in Kathmandu as she uses her emergency training to help others. Bishaka is regularly telling me how she is feeling, what she is selling and what needs to be done. It’s desperate! Today she has sent through images from a reporter friend and here is just a sample of the devastation that this earthquake has ravaged on Nepal.

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Matt Darvas, World Vision Australia staff member and INF supporter (International Nepal Fellowships), has been sending me updates via Facebook and Skype. I’ve been managing his social media accounts to alert media, friends, family and other NGO’s of his movements. It’s been intense and really been my big focus this week – but it’s nothing compared to what people are going through there! Matt is a champion and his selfless dedication is inspiring! If this is the small way I can help, I’m happy to be here! This is a photo of a helicopter arriving yesterday with supplies, these small helicopters were coming and going all day, the good weather at the time bringing hope to locals.

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Here is the updated he posted last night-  he will now go to Pokhara and hand over to World Vision International aid workers as they arrive with supplies. He is running on empty but has dedicated his passionate heart to this cause. I admire him so greatly!

FINAL UPDATE @ 2:35 PM local time in Gorkha, Nepal (4 days exactly since ‪#‎NepalEarthquake‬)

As of now I have finished my duties reporting here in Gorkha for World Vision International and hope to return home to Pokhara tomorrow.

Since the earthquake I’ve had 11 hrs sleep in total until the writing of this post (but that’s nothing compared to the real struggles of people around me, who’ve lost loved ones or who still haven’t been able to reach those cut off from help).

Since arriving in Gorkha Monday morning, I haven’t taken a shower, changed clothes or brushed my teeth (I know… pretty bad but lucky no interviews face to face!!)

A team from World Vision International Nepal (accompanied by World Vision Canada‘s CEO) is arriving soon with emergency supplies to meet immediate needs, and will stay on for many months to continue efforts to rebuild the lives of the strong humble people here. A new communications officer will relieve me of duties and ensure the stories keep coming.

The support I’ve had from the World Vision International Emergency Communications team has been remarkable. You might be ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ me on media throughout the world, but I am merely the product of a TEAM of 20 plus AMAZING WV Comms Staff working with incredible coordination from around the world to keep the news rolling 24/7. They have supported, encouraged and sustained me throughout. They are lead by Kristy Allen-Shirley and Joy Toose.

I must also point out the outstanding efforts of the organization Brittany works for – and who we are living in Nepal to serve – the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) and our friends United Mission to Nepal. Their joint medical team that I rode in with was one of the very first responders, and two of their doctors, Josh Riggsbee and Rebecca McAteer, deployed heroically on helicopters to remote villages here. Thomas and Artur from INF, have helped with photos and stories that I’ve relied on to paint a picture for the world as to what is happening in this remote and devastated area that is home to more than 270 000 people.

Special mentions as well to Emma Lovell from Lovelly Communications, who has selflessly managed my personal social media to engage even more media opportunities during this time, whilst also keeping authorities, NGOs, friends, family and concerned Nepalis throughout the world updated. And Steph Kate Judd for her support of INF, both of whom have done so out of their own time and deep personal connections with Nepal.

And of course, my amazing wife Brittany Darvas. This has been harder for her than anyone else on this ride with me, as she tirelessly looks after our precious daughter (who has started crawling whilst I’ve been away!!) through aftershocks and a husband one hundred kilometers away in a disaster zone! She’s also done interviews for Australian media, directed countless peoples questions on ‘where to give’, and has been distributing aid locally in Pokhara to friends and community members in need. Like we said in our wedding vowels, “We are on each-others team!”

Finally, I can’t stress how much I’ve seen God at work throughout all of this. People might say, “Where is God in the face of so much death and chaos?”

Well…

… He’s in the countless selfless individuals risking their own lives to serve others, amidst the rubble with those crying out for help, and in the stirring of hearts around the world to give generously.

Mysteriously though often agonisingly, God is most elegantly on display in times like this where many mistakenly think He is absent.

He doesn’t ‘will’ death or destruction but rather, through his Son’s radical example of love and sacrifice for us all, proclaims life, justice and grace. I wonder if you know Him?

Let us continue to keep Nepal in our prayers and not fail to forget the people here in the coming months and years. I never will. And thank you for encouraging, praying and supporting me.

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With the support of Australian donations, World Vision Australia can make a massive difference to the lives of those people affected by #NepalEarthquake:

Please donate here!

The day you think you plane will fall out of the sky

A few days ago I flew into one of my favourite cities in the world, Kathmandu. My excitement and anticipation quickly turned to fear when the plane rattled through the air and dropped altitude suddenly a number of times. Flying into the Kathmandu valley surrounded by the world’s tallest mountains can be trying at the best of times…. with zero visibility and an electrical storm, it’s downright dangerous!

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It’s pretty terrifying when you hear screams coming from various areas of the plane as your plane rattles, shakes and drops periodically. It’s worrying to see strangers holding hands. It’s nerve wracking to see the woman in your row gripping her knees with white knuckles and praying. And it strikes fear in your heart when you see not one but three flashes of light followed swiftly by a loud bang on the right side of your plane.

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But I’m safe. I’m safe in Kathmandu.

This is a place that I love so much. Tears filled my eyes as I walked off the plane and the memories of this incredible country of Nepal came rushing back.

Meeting my friend Sundar again
Meeting my friend Sundar again

It was AWFUL weather that day. All credit to the Thai Airways pilot who had awful flying conditions. We circled the city in the air three times before a bumpy landing met by applause.

Cute babies to calm me down
Cute babies to calm me down

I was picked up by my dear friend Sundar’s cousin-brother and taken to the familiar home only minutes from the airport. I was here in 2010 and stayed with this beautiful family. They now have a 2 year old son as well as there beautiful daughter who I met on my second visit, she’s now 8. It’s incredible that after only a few minutes I can feel so incredibly comfortable after such a horrendous experience and being so many miles away from my home.

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Home-made momos 

We sipped chai, chomped on momos and I played with the children. I rested in the cosy bed as the rain poured down, waking periodically to “Aunty. Aunty” and having a chubby little face hovering over me. So sweet.

Baby Attis
Baby Attis

I know I will again fall in love with this place and cry my eyes out as I walk back on to the plane, waiting for my next visit.

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Why am I here do you ask?

I’m climbing to Mt Everest Base Camp on March 7, 2015. Sponsor me and support the work of World Vision Australia.https://everest2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-takes-on-the-best-trek-everest. You can follow our adventure on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hash tag #everestbasecamptrek2015 and by following @inspiredadvntrs on Twitter and the blog here.

 Thank you for your support!!

Incredible Australian visits her Sponsor Child with World Vision in Haiti

I’m sharing another incredible story of my friend Alana Kaye who has again visited a child she sponsors through World Vision Australia. As a child sponsor myself, I know how incredibly important it is to see sponsor children and how moving it can be to have the opportunity to meet them. Alana not only sponsors one child, and she not only visited one child. She has made it her goal to enrich the lives of as many children as possible around this world and to also continue supporting the great work of World Vision Australia in their communities. She loves the work of World Vision and is a passionate believer of their work. I love stories like this and am so proud to call Alana a dear friend.
Written in first person by Alana Kaye.
After taking a life changing trip to Marcala, Honduras to meet my sponsor child, Velinda in 2013, I decided to take another trip to meet my other sponsor child, Fabiola. My travels this time took me to la Gonâve, Haiti.
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On February 9th, 2015, I arrived in Port Au Prince via Atlanta and San Francisco. I drove by 4WD two hours north and then took a boat from the mainland of Haiti to the island of La Gonâve 3 days later.
{La Gonâve is an island off the west Coast of Haiti. Haiti (République d’Haïti) is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and is known as “the country the world has forgotten,” La Gonâve is known as “the island that Haiti has forgotten.” Though, these words are powerful, it only begins to paint the dark picture of daily struggles faced by residents on la Gonâve.}
There is a small boat service that leaves from an old, destitute, graffitied-on, jetty (north of the capital Port au Prince) on the mainland of Haiti, that takes you over to la Gonâve. I arrived at the jetty and was shoved onto a tiny, overcrowded boat with 26 la Gonâve locals. Creole was yelled, used and abused to get people on to the boats and fights broke out over ‘tit for tat’ money (equivalent of 2Cents in USD). I was absolutely in awe of this small operation and it’s happenings.
The logistical/ operational side of getting yourself on a boat to la Gonâve was an intense environment. All I could think though was how fortunate I was to be travelling in daylight hours so that I could “try” to at least see everything that was going on.
(Need did I know, I would be travelling back on this same overcrowded boat in the pitch black 2 days later!)
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The poverty on la Gonâve is overwhelming. The local “la Gonâvian” people have profound struggles and for them their daily struggles mean life OR death.
Getting food & clean water to la Gonâve is almost logistically impossible. The island is made up of limestone and the dry, barren nature of the soil has long prevented any agriculture development. I spoke with a man drilling (a well) for water on La Gonave, he had come from the US, he said he drills for water 3 times and it costs $12,000USD. Often, he doesn’t find ANY water and getting the equipment to La Gonâve is so difficult for him and his company. A few foreign companies have funded well projects/drilling on including World Vision, The Tougher than Hell Motorcycle Rally, Water Platform and Haiti Outreach.
Approximately, only 5% of the people have electricity (and occasional electricity at that, for those that do). Having enough money to send their children to school and be able to afford a doctor if their child was to fall ill are absolute luxuries only very few can afford. There is next to no work on the Island so the people can’t even strive at the hope of making ends meet for their families.
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I travelled 4 hours each way by 4WD to the Pacodes Area Development Programme where World Vision operates out of and Fabiola lives. Fabiola and her Mum and I met at World Vision’s office and we spent the morning there together. Following this, we went to her home so that I could look at her home, village and school book and to collect her sisters to come for lunch with us (Fabiola’s requests!)
Too much happened to write it all down but my favourite moments with Fabiola were:
When I asked her what she would like to be when she grows up. She confidently said “An Engineer in Australia, so that she will be close to me.”
I then asked her younger sister the same question. Her sister’s answer was: “When I grow up, I just want to have the chance to have YOU as my sponsor, like Fabiola has had.”
When I visited Fabiola’s house, she ran inside to get her school book. She wanted to show me her absolutely beautiful hand writing and her grades. We went through the school book together and she was sooooooo happy with the excitement that I showed when I saw her grades.
At the end of the day when I was leaving, Fabiola’s Mum and I were crying. Fabiola and I hugged goodbye and she whispered to me that “She will give the teddy bear that I gave for HER, to HER sister because she wants to share some of her happiness with her.” I couldn’t stop crying at this… I told her how beautiful she was for being so amazingly generous, kind and thoughtful to her little sister!
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Meeting Fabiola has changed my life there is no doubt about that. It was the best day of my life getting to know her and travelling to her remote and life changing country.
In the days leading up to my visit I thought my trip might not happen. On the day that I arrived in Port au Prince violent protests broke out in the city where I was staying and every shop, hotel, taxi, and business of any sort went into complete lock down. (I was staying in Port au Prince for 3 nights.)
The streets were set on fire by thousands of protesters and people were shot.
The morning that I travelled to la Gonâve was a peaceful day in Haiti. That EXACT morning I was travelling, everything resumed as normal and the protests and violence were over!
What I experienced when meeting Fabiola was pure joy in seeing her face, her smile, her laugh, her family, her school and her village.
But I knew in my heart how the timing was a miracle so that everything could come together in peace for this beautiful day.
On my other day in La Gonave I was lucky enough to visit my friend Ada’s sponsor child…. Jwensly.
Jwensly is a beautiful boy. He has a disability but has never seen a Doctor. Last month Ada amazingly organised (all the way from Cairns, Australia) for a wheelchair to be picked up and delivered from Port au Prince to Jwensly’s house. (From reading my above notes about la Gonâve you can probably understand how significant the day was when the wheelchair actually got to Jwensly! At times it seemed absolutely impossible!) Ada’s determination and hard work paid off and through this she became friends with Jean (a local man that has an organisation on la Gonâve for disabled and elderly people). (called ASHOG). While I was there I met up with Jean and went to see his work.
Jean taking me to Jwensly’s house was definitely the highlight. We showered him with presents, colourful goodies, water, supplies and groceries.
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In the evening in La Gonave, Jean invited me to visit the “slum house/ poor house” in Anse-a-Galets. This poor house is basically a nursing home and has 26 elderly, disabled “guests” (locals) and consists of a tiny room (concrete walls with a leaking roof). It has no electricity, no beds, no food, no water, no showers, or toilets. They have no one to take care of them, they sit in the pitch black n their own s**t and wee… They live with goats (and the goats s**t and wee, within the four walls.) This house is absolutely festering disease and is the most unsafe, unsanitary, overcrowded, disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life.
The elderly guests die weekly of starvation, dehydration, disease and old age…..(amongst other things- no will to live/ no hope/no love possibly?)..  Their dead bodies are thrown behind the house, (by passer-by’s, as a good deed so the bodies don’t fester in the house). I have never witnessed poverty like this. To me, this is truly hell on earth and I don’t know if I will ever be the same person having seen what I did.
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My time on la Gonave was extremely eye-opening and I could not be more glad that Fabiola lives there and I was able to experience an island of this world that most people will never see.
A major question is why did people first move there/why do they live there? And if it is this bad then why do they stay? The island is heartbreakingly made up of runaway slaves, these people sort refuge here from their owners on the mainland of Haiti. Also, the indigenous Tainos people (major indigenous people of the Caribbean region) sort refuge on la Gonâve after early battles with the Spanish.
I asked Fabiola’s Mum why does she stay and would she ever move. Her answer was “I would never, I have all of my children and we would have to walk for 4 days to reach the “boat terminal”, then at the terminal, we don’t have any money to cross over. When we cross over, we don’t know anyone on the other side. We would be homeless, with no work and my children would die on the way of dehydration/ hunger.”
In the mean time, all I can do is continue to support Fabiola on her quest to grow up healthy and happy (and become an “Engineer”… I’m not sure if she knows what an engineer is, but very proud of her for saying that). Even though I visited the island known as the “poorest of the poor” ….I, for certain, felt their amazing generosity in their smiles and their kindness in the way they accepted me.
Mèsi Bondye pou sa a ti fi ti kras koute chè an Ayiti ~ Thanks to God for this precious little girl in Haiti.
AMAZING ALANA! You are a gift to this world and your stories are just beautiful.

Amazing woman Alana Kaye visits her World Vision sponsor child in Honduras

My beautiful friend and inspiration, Alana Kaye, went with World Vision Australia in 2013 to Honduras to visit her sponsor child. She is currently in Haiti visiting her second sponsor child. This woman never ceases to amaze me in her loving, generous and kind efforts. As a #WVABlogger Blog Ambassador, I want to spread the word about people like this and encourage people who are sponsors to visit their children, and those who aren’t, to become sponsors!

Here is the story from Alana about what it was like to visit her World Vision Sponsor Child.

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DATE: 1st November, 2013.
CITY: Marcala, Honduras.
TIME SPONSORING CHILD: 3 years. (First time visiting her!)
AGE OF SPONSOR CHILD: 9 yrs old at time of visit.
EXPERIENCE: The best day of my life.
WHAT INSPIRED ME TO TAKE THE TRIP:
My beautiful friend Emma from Lovelly Communications! She had visited her sponsor child in Tanzania and this was the first time that I had heard that you could visit your sponsor child. After asking Emma some specifics, I decided to go ahead and request with World VIsion to visit my sponsor child, Velinda, in Honduras. WIthin 3 months, I was on my way for the trip.
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WHAT WAS THE BEST PART OF VISITING VELINDA:
Of course nothing will ever take away from the moment that I met Velinda! Finally meeting someone in person that you have been writing to/ conversing with/ sending photos and updates with for years is an unbelievable feeling. Meeting Velinda made me cry, laugh and scream with joy. I was so happy to meet her in person!!! The experience was unbelievable!!! Overall, the whole day really blew me away. I didn’t realise that by just sponsoring one child that it can have such an impact on the whole community. I was overwhelmed with World Vision’s organisation and their attention to detail on the day and the way they had involved the whole community in my visit. They had been planning my visit to Marcala for 3 months and had made every effort to make it an incredible experience for Velinda and I. The whole day was simply phenomenal!
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MY VISIT: 
I flew into Tegucigalpa and overnighted at a hotel in the city. The next morning a World Vision representative picked me up and we drove west for around 8 hours with a full car of World Vision staff (All were so amazingly welcoming and beautiful)! That evening we went to a Camp Site where the World Vision Staff were at a conference. Around 90 staff. We overnighted that night near that village, World Vision staff took me to a “Home Stay” We had a hammock and it was so lush and green and beautiful!
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The next morning – 8am, was THE day that I got to meet Velinda!!
We travelled an hour to her village “Marcala” and she was waiting on the dirt road of the World Vision office with a bunch of red flowers in her hand.  I ran to her and we hugged so tight!!!! She was old enough to ‘understand’ what was going on, but still young enough that she would go between her Mum and me all day.
That day of my visit, we did a hike together, had a picnic, we went to a restaurant for lunch and then visited 4 different villages and the children in the different villages had planned plays/ skits/ songs/ to perform for Velinda and I and the World Vision staff. The villages had so many presents to give- baskets of Bananas, coffee, hand woven bags with my name sown on!…. Just overwhelming sweet! The town Doctor and Town Elders then did a thank you speech for coming to their villages and they each told me how World Vision has changed their community. I did a speech in each village to thank them for their overwhelming hospitality. In one village the local radio came to interview Velinda and I and a Women’s rights Activist on the topic of  “Why that I feel it is important to sponsor Velinda/ or a child in a far away community”.
World Vision had organised a translator for my day with Velinda. His english was perfect and he was quick with his translations too, which was amazing … (Even if Velinda whispered something in my ear, he would kneel down and listen too and then straight away translate). It was things like “Will you visit me again? I like your hair” All those little details that I would have missed, the translator made possible for me.
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WHAT HAS BEEN MY INVOLVEMENT WITH WORLD VISION SINCE MY TRIP TO HONDURAS: 
After visiting Honduras, I was so overwhelmed with World Vision’s work and the impact that they make that I decided to sponsor another child. So, I now also sponsor Fabiola who lives in Haiti. I am going to visit Fabiola next month (February, 2015). I can’t wait! 
 
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Alana and I in Bahamas sharing stories of our World Vision sponsor visits

Raising $2015 in 2015 for World Vision Australia

World Vision Australia is a charity I passionately support and am proud to be a blog ambassador for. In 2015, I vow to raise $2015 for this incredible organisation. Funds raised will go towards the Hope Street Children Project to support vulnerable street kids in Tanzania with education, care and protection.

You can sponsor me here: https://2015in2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-lovell

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I’ve visited my sponsor child in Tanzania and seen the amazing work of World Vision in Uganda recently on a blog ambassador trip. The work they do is valid, valuable and essential! Every little bit we can do from here can do great things over there!

Meeting Lazaro in Tanzania in 2008

You can read more about the amazing work already delivered by the project and Ikrison’s passion for education here:http://www.worldvision.com.au/Issues/Transforming_Lives___Child_Sponsorship/ikrisons-passion-for-education.aspx

For fun, I’m suggesting donations of $20.15. If I get 100 donations of this exact amount, I’ll reach my target in no time! If you want to give more, or you can only afford less, that is also great. Every $$ counts!

Photo: Suzy Sainovski/World Vision

Photo taken on 2014 #WVAbloggers tour to Uganda with World Vision Australia. 

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BITE BACK wants to hear about the positive things you’re doing to take life to the next level!

We love this new promotion for BITE BACK as part of Black Dog Institute’s program for youth in 2015. Young people have the chance to make a plan for ways to challenge themselves in 2015 and even win prizes. Here are the details!

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Share your big plans to get the most out of 2015. Some massive prize packs are on offer!

There’s always room for more of the good stuff and it’s great to launch into the new year on a positive note. So for this competition, BITE BACK wants to hear about the positive things you’re doing to take life to the next level.

To sweeten the deal they’ve got 5 prize packs to give away for the most captivating entries including Fuji instant cameras, zombie speakers, an ice cream maker, desktop mini pool table, and heaps more.

So how will you BITE BACK in 2015?

Entries close soon! Visit http://www.biteback.org.au/competition for more details

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Loving this idea of taking positive steps with mental health. Setting plans and making goals are important for a bright future!

In 2015, Emma Lovell will take on the Trek to Happiness in Bhutan with Black Dog Institute. Emma is aiming to raise $3500 for this wonderful organisation. Each year, Black Dog Institute aims to advance the understanding, diagnosis and management of depression and Bipolar Disorder and improve the lives of those affected by these mood disorders. Please help Emma in this cause by donating through the online fundraising page:
http://bhutantrektohappiness.gofundraise.com.au/page/LovellyEmma

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You can follow Emma’s adventures at: 

Instagram: @Lovellyem
Twitter: @lovellyinc
Blog: www.travellerem.com
Facebook. www.facebook.com/lovellycommunications

Social Biz Magazine article: How I raised $4000 for World Vision using Social Media

As a guest writer for Social Biz Magazine, I’ve been able to explore some of the ways in which we can use social media. At the moment, I’m really into Social Media for social good. Here is an excerpt from that article:

“I vowed to raise a minimum of $4000 for World Vision Australia and to take on the mighty climb to Everest Base Camp in March 2015. Call me cocky, but I wasn’t really phased by the task (of fundraising that is; the trek is another matter altogether!). This is because I believe in the power of social media and how we can use the medium for good. So I set about raising said $4000 solely using social media and guess what… it worked!”

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Read more: http://www.socialbizmagazine.com/2014/12/10/raised-4000-world-vision-using-social-media/

Thanks for reading,

Emma Lovell, Director at Lovelly Communications

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