Please Vote for Pencils of Promise!

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Last month, I started the Pencils of Promise Blogger Initiative along with several other bloggers in which we introduced you to this wonderful organization that helps educate the most underserved children in the world. Today, we are asking for your vote for the opportunity to win $1 million from Chase Community Giving.
Please join me in supporting the Pencils of Promise One Million for One Million Campaign. PoP has an opportunity to win $1 million in Chase Community Giving on Facebook! InNovember 2009, Chase Community Giving allowed Facebook’s 350 million users to chose from over 500,000 of their favorite small and local charities and vote for them to win Round
One of the competition. Through the support of PoP’s core team, loyal supporters and a massive blogging collective, PoP ranked in the Top 100 Charities and won $25K through Facebook. Thanks to the efforts in Round One, PoP now has a chance to will $1M in Round Two of the competition.

In order to win, PoP needs YOUR HELP. Please join me in
supporting the Pencils of Promise movement. During the Round Two voting period (January 15th-22nd) and in line with the organization’s
mission, PoP will allow each of its voters to decide on the next country of impact with Round Two grant funds. In the effort Founder Adam Braun is calling “true democratic social giving”, PoP supporters will vote on the organization’s Facebook Chase Community Giving page and then be prompted to a microsite to vote for the next country of impact. They will
also be provided with materials to self-organize and refer others to the site.

Please vote for PoP at Chase Community Giving by clicking here.

Then, get more involved and vote for the next country of impact. After casting your Chase vote, visit and register your Chase vote with your name, my Referrer username (Paloma Contreras) and network (La Dolce Vita Blog), and your desired next country of impact!

For more information on Pencils of Promise please visit their website:

Bloggers Taking Action: Pencils of Promise

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One of my dear friends, Mimi Nguyen, is a founding member of Pencils of Promise, a wonderful 501(c)(3) organization based in New York, that partners with local  communities and organizations to build schools of early-stage education in developing nations for some of the world’s most impoverished and undereducated children. Sadly, there are more than 75 million children in this terrible situation worldwide.

I have been thinking about what I can do to help since the first time Mimi told me all about this amazing organization. I devote my blog to sharing inspiring people and places and I am hard-pressed to find a more inspiring cause. As I thought about it, I realized that bloggers have an incredible platform for getting the word out about wonderful causes such as this one. In an effort to try to make a difference,  I contacted many of my blogger friends and they were just as inspired by Pencils of Promise as I was.
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{High School Students Outside of their Bamboo Dormitories}

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{The First Pencils of Promise Class Outside of their School}

Last December, the Pencils of Promise team visited a small village in Laos and by July 2009, they had built a new school for the village children who started attending classes on September 1st. This month, Pencils of Promise will be opening their third school and they hope to open the doors to education for more children in 2010.
Our Blogger Collaborative Project will benefit the females students of Champet, a village in Laos that is home to the only high school in the area for surrounding villages.  In order to attend this high school, the students must leave their families and homes to live in dormitories. However these dormitories are worlds away from what comes to mind when we think of Western boarding schools. Most importantly, PoP wants to point out that girls are moving and living in these unsafe dormitories which consists of make shift bamboo huts in order to get an education.  It is heartbreaking but so courageous at the same time.
The goal for Bloggers Taking Action today: To build safe, legitimate housing for the female children of Laos in order for them to have the opportunity to further their education.  Currently, some parents are unwilling to send their kids to school because of how dangerous the bamboo dormitory huts are.  This dormitory Pencils of Promise hopes to build will accommodate about 200 Laotian girls.

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In the spirit of the holiday season, we are asking for your help today on behalf of these children. Just think of the enormous impact we could have if each person who reads this post makes a donation. Whether you give $10 or $100, every little bit helps ($35 buys shelves for a classroom, $50 provides pencils for one year, $100 provides a teacher’s salary for three months and so on)! We are in the midst of the giving season and hope that you will find it in your heart to make a donation to this worthy cause today.
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If you would like to stay informed about the difference Pencils of Promise is making, be sure to become a fan on their Facebook page.
Image Credit: Nick Onken, the gifted photographer who so generously donated his time and talent by traveling to Laos with the PoP team to capture their progress on film.

A very special thank you goes out to the following bloggers who are participating in this collaborative effort today along with me. I couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you for using your voices to raise awareness for this special cause.
Lauren of Pure Style Home
Marianne Strong of Haven and Home
Valorie Hart of Visual Vamp
Amanda Harris of Oliveaux
Katie Denham of katiedid
Jennifer Ortiz of Bits of Beauty
Everyone from Material Girls
Crystal Gentilello of Plush Palate
Lauren Rauter of Rock Paper Scissors
Erin Gates of Elements of Style
Lucinda of Chateau de Lu
Cassandra Lavalle of coco + kelley
Julie Richard of Shelter
Megan Arquette of Beach Bungalow 8
Bradford Crowder of The Bedlam of Beefy
Jessica Graves of The Lovelist
Courtney of Under A Paper Moon
Brooke Giannetti of Velvet and Linen
Seleta Howard of Simply Seleta
Averill of Odi et Amo
Melissa of Reverie-Daydream
Brooke of Blueprint Bliss
Daniela de la Torre of DecoLove
Sarah Ring of Jeune Marié
Michele Ginnerty of My Notting Hill
Paige of I *heart* You
Carolina Saunders of Carolina Eclectic
Maria Killam of Colour Me Happy
Kamela Cody of Modern Girl Style