Posts tagged with "Children"

SODY × BULLYING

EVEN POP STARS GET BULLIED – SODY SHARES HER STORY IN NEW SINGLE

Sporting long blonde hair, blue eyes, and pink sweater, SODY is not your conventional victim of bullying and has since turned it into a positive and personal experience by becoming a vocal advocate for anti-bullying in new single “The Bully.”  PRESS HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

Featuring a range of unenthusiastic schoolchildren posing for their school photos, “The Bully” presents itself as an ode to anyone picked on or feeling alone. “For my sanity, I needed to try to move on and find the positive in a negative situation to accept what happened and move on,” SODY told Celeb Mix. “I found my way to heal in the lyric ‘I’m glad it happened to me and not to you,’ and I hope it helps others find theirs too.”

Known to speak bluntly and honestly, SODY expresses raw emotion that allows audiences to relate. “It’s always going to be hard to show that vulnerability and be honest about yourself but the more people that show their authentic self, the more people will be confident to do so,” SODY told Thomas Bleach.

With a passion for standing against injustice, bullying and hate crime, SODY is just beginning to use her platforms to highlight the issues she cares about and plans to keep addressing these passions to help make the world a little less mean one song at a time.

Follow SODY: 
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HELP USA helps children

Helping Children Experiencing Homelessness to Succeed in School

At HELP USA, we believe that housing is only the beginning. We do everything we can to ensure that our residents thrive. For our youngest residents, this means making sure they get the best education possible. At HELP Bronx Crotona, a family shelter in the South Bronx, we have dramatically improved school attendance rates for the youth who live there. As a result of a partnership with the NYC school system, over 25% more students have good attendance rates. We’re excited that our young people have made such dramatic progress, and look forward to sharing more about our clients’ successes in the future!

Jon Bon Jovi visits HELP USA!

April is National Volunteer Month, and we’d like to say thank you to the many volunteers that help us accomplish our mission. We recently hosted a very special day of service in Newark, NJ. Students from Rutgers beautified the grounds of JBJ Soul Homes, and Jon Bon Jovi himself even stopped by! Jon Bon Jovi is a longtime friend of HELP USA and partnered with us to build JBJ Soul Homes and other housing developments. To learn more, visit our website.

“HELP was wonderful” – Ivy Lee’s Story

When Ivy Lee’s mother passed away, he found himself without a safe home. So he turned to HELP USA, where he found a new, affordable apartment at HELP Philadelphia V.

Click to hear why he’s grateful to HELP USA.

GIVE TODAY!

Austin Adventures: Family Appreciation Month

Through hard work and dedication to the details, Austin Adventures has grown to be the #1 Family Adventure company in the country. For over 35 years they have been taking families to the national parks of the West as well as special places around the globe. As a two-generation, owned and operated active travel company, family travel is in their DNA.

For the second year in a row, Austin Adventures is dedicating the entire month of March to “Family Appreciation,” with special incentives and giveaways, plus an interactive child & parent “Take a National Park Vacation” webinar that all ages will want to attend.

“Between work, school, athletic and social schedules, planning and scheduling a family vacation has never been more challenging, often to the point of missing the opportunity all together to create lasting bonds and memories within the family,” explains Dan Austin, company president and founder. “Austin Adventures is fully committed to helping anyway we can. Our goal is to take the stress out of vacation planning and then deliver an experience second-to-none.”

On Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 at 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT Austin Adventures invites kids and parents to a live webinar focused on helping families (especially the kids) with their vacation planning. Anyone considering a small group vacation tour now or in the future is encouraged to attend. For information and to register click here.

The seminar will be hosted by Kasey Austin, Outside Magazine 2014 Family Guide of the Year. Making a cameo appearance will be Dan Austin, company visionary and travel industry legend. Together, The Austin Family has set the bar for family adventure travel for decades, so much so, they are often referred to as “the First Family of Adventure Travel.”

During this informal and informative webinar focused on the younger generation, Kasey will offer tips and insights on planning and visiting America’s National Parks along with other popular family destinations.

As an incentive to register and attend, every family that participates will receive a coupon worth $250 off their next Austin Adventures family vacation. Plus, all participating kids (age 6-12) whose parents end up booking a 2019 family national park adventure will receive a logo-embossed backpack (on Day 1 of the trip) packed full of swag (logo water bottle, trip journal, field guide, hacky sack, stickers and more).

“I had so much fun sharing my passion for our National Parks last year, I couldn’t wait to do it all again this year. Sharing the parks with the next generation of adventurer really is my passion. I am looking forward to sharing what we know and have learned from our 35+ years of taking families deep into our national parks,” said Kasey Austin.

“Dan and I will draw from our own experiences and help families with real time information that can assist them in making the most of a park vacation, whether with us or on their own. There will be a follow-up email survey as well as ample time for questions and answers.”

The webinar will help Austin Adventures kick-off their second annual “Family Appreciation” Month. Dedicated to celebrating and encouraging family vacations worldwide, this observance comes on the heels of the company’s 2nd wildly successful “Alumni Appreciation” month held in December, 2018. Throughout the month there will be dedicated e-newsletters and blogs on family travel, special incentives, travel agent promotions and for extended families, an offer of a free trip for one guest in groups of ten or more booked.

To assist in vacation planning, Austin Adventures also offers a free Insider’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Family Adventure. See: https://www.austinadventures.com/free-family-travel-guide/.

Austin Adventures has led the field when it comes to family adventures (twice being acknowledged by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the #1 Tour and Family Tour Operator in the World). For 2019, there are over 40 family adventures planned across the globe. Here is a sampling of some of the more popular National Park itineraries on the current Austin Adventures roster. All adult rates are per person, double occupancy.

Grand Canyon National Park: 6-days/5-nights from $2,998; children from $2,398.

Alaska- Kenai Fjords National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $3,328.

Bryce & Zion National Parks: 6 days/5 nights from $2,798; children from $2,518.

Yellowstone National Park:  6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.

Grand Teton National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,968.

Yosemite National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $2,958.

Glacier National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,638.

South Dakota – Black Hills (Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments / Wind Cave NP): 6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.

Banff to Jasper National Parks 6 days/5 nights from $3,098; children from $2,478.

About Austin Adventures
Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent over 35 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multi-sport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. They have been acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution, all backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee.

Rise in Obesity-Related Cancers

A new analysis, published in the Lancet Public Health, raises the alarm that the rates of obesity-related cancers are rising in younger and younger adults. In the new study, six of twelve types of obesity-related cancers have significantly increased between 1995-2014 and the risk of these cancers is increasing in each successive younger age group. These cancers include colorectal, pancreatic, gallbladder, kidney cancer and multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer). These cancer types are particularly concerning because they are very serious and account for over 150,000 deaths in the U.S. every year.

“These numbers are worrying but not surprising; the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recently sounded the alarm that having overweight and obesity cause at least 12 types of cancer. However, the younger and younger age bracket in which we see rates increasing is even more troubling and demands a response. We cannot just watch these rates go up and ignore the factors that we know are contributing to these increases,” says Dr. Nigel Brockton, Vice President of Research at AICR.

Disturbingly, over 70% of Americans have overweight or obesity according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And AICR maintains that cancer risk increases across each higher category of Body Mass Index (BMI) as an indicator of body fatness (Healthy = 18.5-24.9, Overweight = 25-29.9, and Obesity = 30 and above).

A mere five BMI points (kg/m2) separate the three basic (healthy, overweight, obese) BMI categories. It is important to emphasize that cancer risk is not limited to the extreme category of obesity only, the risk increases for those with overweight too. For example, compared to those having healthy BMI range overweight category face an increased liver cancer risk of 30% and those having obesity of 60%.

The recent AICR Energy Balance and Body Fatness Report presented strong evidence for factors that can reduce risk of having weight gain, overweight and obesity, including walking, aerobic physical activity, food containing fiber and a “Mediterranean-type” diets rich in fruits and vegetables that reduce the risk of weight gain, overweight and obesity. Conversely, sugar-sweetened drinks, fast foods and a “Western type” diet rich in meats and energy-dense proteins are strongly linked to increased weight gain, overweight and obesity.

The Report also points to the evidence that greater screen time is a cause of weight gain, overweight and obesity in children. This is particularly relevant in light of the Lancet study that discussed the onset of cancer at an early age, since children with overweight and obesity are likely to turn into young adults in a similar status. There is enormous opportunity to prevent future cancer cases, if changes can be made to stop and reverse the current trend of increasing overweight and obesity. In addition to helping individuals learn about healthy lifestyle choices, community and national policies play a crucial role in creating living spaces more conducive to physical activity and healthier food choices.

AICR is urging Congress and federal agencies to improve funding for cancer prevention research, ensure that federal nutrition and physical activity guidelines reflect the latest research regarding cancer risk, improve nutrition labeling and improve access to lifestyle interventions.

Native Shoes & Zappos for Good

Native Shoes & Zappos for Good Partner to Turn Recycled Shoes into Playgrounds

Project aims to collect 10,000 shoes by the end of 2018

Native Shoes is excited to announce it’s joining forces with Zappos for Good, the community outreach arm of Zappos.com, the customer service company that just happens to sell shoes, clothing and more, to collect well-loved Native Shoes to be recycled and made into playground matting. The initiative, called The Remix Project, is one of Native Shoes’ programs that aims to have each and every pair of their shoes 100 percent life cycle managed by 2023. Consumers can help build playgrounds by visiting Zappos for Good, requesting a free shipping label, and sending all styles of well-loved Native Shoes to be recycled. The project’s goal is to receive 10,000 recycled shoes by December 31, 2018 and build its first playground in 2019.

“Our customers are always showing us how to keep it lite and have fun when they wear Native Shoes. It seemed like a perfect fit to turn them into something useful, on a playground where communities gather to have fun and play,” said Kyle Housman, President, Native Shoes. “We’re excited to be working with Zappos for Good on this project, what a great opportunity to team up and bring fun to communities.”

“As an advocate for environmental sustainability, joining forces with Native Shoes is an amazing opportunity to help communities do more with less by encouraging an environmental best practice in the retail industry that simultaneously creates a fun space for kids¬–and their imaginations–to run wild,” said Steven Bautista, Head of Zappos for Good at Zappos. “With our overarching goal of delivering happiness, this project’s sustainability efforts allow us to spread smiles on both a national and local level.”

How to Participate in The Remix Project

Recycling Native Shoes is easy:

●Visit the Zappos for Good website

●Select Recycle with Native Shoes – The Remix Project and box up your well-loved Native Shoes (all styles are welcome) in any shipping box

●Login or create a new Zappos.com account and print your special prepaid shipping label

●Attach the label and drop off your box at any UPS Store in the continental United States

To contribute a pair of well-loved Native Shoes today, visit https://zapposforgood.org/recycle/native

For more information or to learn more about The Remix Project, please visit nativeshoes.com

Former Vice President Joe Biden Knows America’s “Dirty Little Secret”

Former Vice President Joe Biden Knows America’s “Dirty Little Secret”

Former Vice President Joe Biden has called it a, “public health epidemic.” A “stain on the moral character of a society.” An issue that “cuts to the very core of how we measure ourselves.” Joe Biden believes, “We must change the culture.” See Joe Biden live, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, January 28, 2019.

Fort Lauderdale, FLA – Hope for Children Foundation®! ; mission stands firmly in supporting the prevention of cruelty to children, extending and offering protection to children, families and adults in the United States through free online video and movie education. Hope for Children Foundation celebrates the lives of children and families in the United States of America.

The FBI reported 97% of abused children reported to the legal system are not protected.

Read more about this and view free online videos by going to the Website: www.hopeforchildrenfoundation.org  Hope for Children Foundation’s presence is throughout the United States due to the power of the Internet. Many free movies and videos are available for your increased protection and knowledge. Be careful and make sure you are on the correct URL address. A few others wrongly use our name. We have the Trademark Registration number 5,409,810.

Joe Biden has spent more than 25 years fighting to end violence against women, children and men, in the United States. In the 1990s, as a senator, he wrote the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which drastically changed how the U.S. responded to domestic violence and sexual assault. 

This video produced by Hope for Children Foundation shows how this Act offers protection to women, children and men:

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/zZAPzGy7HZI

Donations to Hope for Children Foundation

You can donate online through Paypal or mail a check to a safe P.O. Box 191028  Dallas, TX  75219. All of our training has always been free to everyone. Therefore, we greatly appreciate your donation to further the future of Hope for Children Foundation.

Abuse of Power – Help End the Cycle of Abuse

Joe Biden was raised by a gentle, honorable man who always taught his children that the greatest sin anyone could commit is the abuse of power — and the cardinal sin is when a man raises his hand to a woman or a child or someone with less physical power, including raising a hand to a weaker man.

When he started to work on this issue, violence against women, children and men, were not taken as seriously, and survivors were not given the recourse they deserved. Too often, victims of violent crimes were blamed. Too often, perpetrators were not prosecuted.

Joe Biden, Hope for Children Foundation, and many others, are convinced America needs to change its culture. And in order to change the culture, we have to pull the mask off of this dirty little secret. A simple message for all Americans:  You should be the ultimate agents of change. It’s time for all of you to step up. 

Think about a culture that exists when a victim who’s been abused or raped is asked all the wrong questions: Why were you there? What were you wearing? What did you say? Why did you say it? What were you drinking? Those are all the wrong questions. It’s never the victim’s fault.

The right questions are: What made that person think they had a right to touch me?  Why on Earth did no one step up when they had the chance? Or for you men:  Why didn’t I have the courage to speak up — to intervene, to act?  Men to ask yourselves: What would I have done if she was my sister?

Passing the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, has literally saved lives. Women, men and children need to know they won’t be abused again by the system, they’re reporting violen! ce at higher rates. Twenty – five years ago, there was no domestic violence hotline — now 3.4 million women and men have called the National Domestic Violence Hotline and gotten support and help.

The yearly domestic violence rates dropped 64 percent between 1993 and 2010. There were no special victims units — now, police departments across the country have specially trained personnel to treat domestic abuse as crime rather than a private matter. The culture is changing so that abusers are now treated as the criminals they are. It’s no longer acceptable for a man to abuse a woman in public or privately in the home. Sexism is no longer tolerated. We no longer remain silent when a woman is being abused in front of us. The #MeToo and #Time’sUp Movements have helped to empower victims of violent crimes. The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace.

We all should take a pledge and act on three things: (1) I promise to intervene instead of being a bystander. (2) I promise to recognize that any time consent is not given — or cannot be given — it’s sexual assault and it’s a crime; and (3) I promise to do everything I! can to create an environment where sexual assault is unacceptable, where survivors are supported, where perpetrators are treated with the moral and legal accountability they deserve. 

Healthy Support for the United States of America

Joe Biden by instinct and long experience has shown he has the ability to reach across the aisle and return this country to civility and compromise with integrity, respect, dignity and honor in the best interest of protecting Americans, and other people around the world. Joe Biden is interested in all Americans and supports a healing process for all to experience. Hope for Children Foundation encourages you to attend Joe Biden’s American Promise Tour. We did, and realized America is better off having a man and a women standing strong for Americans like former Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden.

For more information, visit the website at https://www.hopeforchildrenfoundation.org

Western River Expeditions

One river rafting company anticipates one of its best years in its history is just around the bend, thanks to the unprecedented strength of its early season bookings.
 
Western River Expeditions reports that its 3, 4, 6 and 7-day Grand Canyon trips for 2020 are full on many dates. And 2019 is already completely sold out. Western River is taking a wait list for spots that open up due to cancellations.
 
Opening day to place 2020 reservations was Nov. 15, 2018. “We booked over 1,000 seats on that day alone,” says Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions.  “Online bookings are way up, with over 70 percent of some trips being booking online. Compared to the 40 percent average norm, this is a huge increase!”
 
He adds that, “other rivers are also seeing booming interest and bookings.” Bookings for 2019 five-day trips on Desolation Canyon, Green River are up three-fold over 2018. ”We have as many bookings for Desolation Canyon now as we usually end the year with.”
 
Other rivers favored in this booking uptick, comparing same time 2018 and 2019 include 

Lake attributes these record sales in part to:

  • Good overall US economy (to this point),
  • Swell of retiring Baby Boomers,
  • Popularity of the bucket list and desire to experience lifelong dreams like running the Grand Canyon and Cataract Canyon, 
  • Increasing interest in National Parks, particularly Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park which many guests visit while in Moab, Utah, before their trip to Desolation Canyon or Cataract Canyon.
  • Many new, excellent accommodation choices and availability for pre- and post-trip stays on adventures that depart from Moab, Utah (Cataract Canyon and Desolation Canyon). 

For those chomping at the bit to get on a raft in 2019, Western River advises that people call soon to reserve their space. “There are still some spots on some of our most popular expeditions and this is going to be an incredible year to experience the river.”
 
Lake explains that Western River is bound by the permits granted to them. These permits limit the number of guests that can travel with them each year. “This number doesn’t change, but guest demand for what is essentially a limited opportunity does.”
 
Utah’s Cataract Canyon, deep within Canyonlands National Park, is near enough in scale, appearance and proximity to the Grand Canyon that it works the same kind of magic found in the Grand herself. Just one canyon upstream on the Colorado River in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park is hands down the best alternative to a Grand Canyon rafting vacation,” he says.
 
Farther north from the confluence, Utah’s Desolation Canyon was carved by the 730-mile Green River, born from glacial melts on the Continental Divide in the Wyoming Rockies. The Green has created such rare and unique universe that Desolation Canyon has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. The Green’s whitewater promises soft adventure thrills over 60 fun-filled Class II and III rapids.
 

Calling Desolation Canyon “the ultimate, back-country family river trip,” Jason Taylor, an operations manager who oversees all of Western River Expeditions’ trips in Utah, noted that the five-day program is appropriate for children as young as 5. It’s also a great river trip for extended families and first-time rafters.
 
For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2019 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

Yvonne Maria Lowery

Yvonne Maria Irby was born on October 14, 1941, in Asheville, North Carolina. She was the first born to Mary Elvira Wilson and James Edward Irby. The two met and married in Washington, DC. From this union, there were five children. Yvonne was the eldest and was given the nickname “Irby”. Her beautiful Godmother MaryAnna help raise, loved and adored Yvonne. She also showered Yvonne’s children with equal love and admiration. She would visit every summer and created many wonderful memories. Yvonne truly appreciated there relationship.

Yvonne was raised Catholic and attended private school all the way through college. She was only a few months from becoming a nun, until a special person came and change the direction of her life. While attending Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, she met and married her handsome co-ed Joseph Echols Lowery Jr. in 1964. The couple decided to progress and move to Detroit, Michigan. Before leaving Ohio, Yvonne and Joseph opened a restaurant in Dayton. They also owned a fish market in Detroit. After the businesses closed, Yvonne started new ventures. With her warm and friendly outgoing personality, she decided to run for Detroit District Council (yes, there was a district Council back then). She was trying to make a difference in her community.

Yvonne worked for Amurcon Management Group in the 1970s and earlier 1980s as a Property Manager. One of the properties she managed for a few years was Research Park Apartments and Townhouses, which she and her family lived for years. Yvonne and her children created over forty years of true lifetime friendships that continues to this very day. Later, Yvonne and Joseph both landed contract positions with Detroit Edison (now known as DTE) in 1981 as analysts. This gave them an excellent opportunity to help with Hawaii’s Hurricane Disaster in 1982. They spent approximately four to six weeks in Hawaii to help assess the electrical damage in 1983. In 1984, Yvonne became employed with Rivers Investment Group as a Property Manager and remained there for several years.

Yvonne became ill in the early 1990s. Her health was up and down for many years thereafter. She was a real fighter to say the least. She remained a people person. Always upbeat, positive, and smiling. She became very feisty in her last years. If you know any of her children, then you know, they much of her personality.

Yvonne always prided herself on all of her children and her grandchildren. She was so proud and loved spending time with family, particularly her grandchildren. She loved to laugh with them. Sometimes, she’d laugh so hard she would almost fall over and we had to run over and catch her. She loved candy! Her favorites were Tootsie Rolls, Mentos, Mints, and Milky Ways. She loved watching local sports and rooting for the Detroit Pistons and Detroit Tigers every season. She was a ray of light that will always continue to shine above us all!

She leaves in memory of her passing: Her parents Mary Stephen and James Irby, (both deceased) her brothers, James Irby (deceased) Charles Irby of Charlotte, North Carolina, her sisters Jane Tahir (Melvin) of Baltimore, Maryland, Regina Gates-Flowers (Michael) of Los Angeles, California: her children Felicia Garnes (Wayne), of Livingston, New Jersey, Joseph Lowery III of Silver Spring, Maryland, Dawn Lowery-Campbell (Gregory) of Detroit, Michigan, Rashawnda Lowery of Detroit, Michigan, Vaughn Lowery of Los Angeles, California, thirteen grandchildren and two-great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and family friends.

Starlight Xperience for Children

Starlight Children’s Foundation, an organization whose mission is to create moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families, unveiled today its newest initiative, Starlight XperienceTM virtual reality, a groundbreaking new technology program that offers millions of seriously ill children a fun and exciting way to explore the world and beyond through the magic of VR.

To watch a video on Starlight Xperience and how it helps kids, please see here.

Built for the Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream, Starlight Xperience features a state-of-the-art and hospital-ready headset that comes preloaded with age-appropriate and dynamic content geared toward entertainment and distraction for hospitalized kids, which has been specifically modified to meet strict infection safety protocols for use in hospital settings. Pre-loaded content includes educational field trips to exotic locations through Google Expeditions and Street View, fun interactive stories like Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay by ILMxLAB, and Lola and the Giant, popular apps such as Ocean Rift and Hello Mars, and meditation exercises and therapeutic games such as Relax VR, which allows the patient to escape into beautiful environments.

Starlight Xperience was created in collaboration with Founding Sponsor, Star Wars: Force for Change, the charitable initiative from Lucasfilm and The Walt Disney Company that harnesses the power of Star Wars to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. Through grant funding provided by The Walt Disney Company and Niagara Cares – the philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling – as well as charitable donations from grassroots donors, Starlight Xperience will be provided at no cost to Starlight’s network of more than 800 children’s hospitals and other health care facilities across the US.

“We believe Starlight Xperience has the potential to transform the hospital experience for millions of seriously ill children and their families,” said Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “We’re thrilled to stand beside The Walt Disney Company, Google, Lenovo and Niagara Cares in unveiling this exciting new program, which is the latest evolution in our 35-year history of bringing innovative entertainment technologies to hospitalized kids.”

“Providing these unique entertainment experiences reflects our commitment to bring comfort during what can be difficult times for kids and families. This is part of our Disney Team of Heroes initiative, which includes a $100 million commitment to children’s hospitals,” said Elissa Margolis, senior vice president, Enterprise Social Responsibility for The Walt Disney Company. “The collaboration with Google and Lenovo is the perfect blend of technology and content that we’ll be able to deliver to kids during their hospital stay.”

“Our goal has always been to create virtual reality experiences that are accessible, useful, and relevant to as many people as possible,” said Amit Singh, VP of Business & Operations for AR & VR at Google. “Starlight Xperience is a shining example of that goal coming to life in a really great way. We’re thrilled to be able to support Starlight in bringing transporting VR experiences to hospitalized children across the country.”

“We are thrilled to be working with Starlight and Google to bring technology to hospitalized children in their time of need. Helping to provide a solution for the children and their families allows us to truly make a difference for the better,” said Gunjan Shah, general manager for North America Smart Devices at Lenovo.

Starlight Xperience was developed in part through a series of grants provided by Starlight to the CHARIOT program (short for Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology) at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. CHARIOT implements new technologies in the hospital that are nontraditional yet familiar to children to engage and distract them during stressful or painful procedures, keeping clinical usage in mind and improving upon the typical hospital experience. This past summer, Starlight Xperience was soft launched and tested at five children’s hospitals: Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minn., and Texas Children’s Hospital.

“At Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, virtual reality has been a fantastic addition for our patients,” said Chantel Barney, Ph.D., a clinical scientist who leads Gillette’s VR program. “In some instances, we’ve been able to curb the anxiety and fears our kids typically experience during procedures such as blood draws, transfusions, wound cleanings, casting and more. It’s a wonderful distraction for kids and parents alike.”

“We’re proud to support Starlight Xperience and look forward to bringing smiles to the faces of hospitalized children through this educational and inspirational program,” said Andrew Peykoff II, President and CEO, Niagara Bottling. “This technology makes learning fun and we’re excited to expand the program to even more children.”

Thanks to the grants provided by The Walt Disney Company and Niagara Cares, in addition to the generosity of charitable donations from individuals, Starlight is on track to deliver up to 1,000 Starlight Xperience kits to its network of hospital partners by the end of 2018, with a goal of doubling that by the end of 2019. A donation to Starlight will entertain, educate and inspire hospitalized kids across the US through stimulating immersive experiences that transport children from the hospital to any place in the world – or beyond – through the magic of virtual reality.

The public is invited to learn more and support the program online at www.starlight.org/starlight-xperience.

ABOUT STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION
Starlight creates moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families. For 35 years, Starlight’s programs have positively impacted more than 60 million critically, chronically and terminally ill or injured children in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. With your help, more kids and their families will enjoy Starlight Gowns, Starlight Fun Centers and other Starlight programs at a children’s hospital or facility near you. Support Starlight’s work by visiting www.starlight.org and by following Starlight on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

ABOUT STAR WARS: FORCE FOR CHANGE
Star Wars: Force for Change, a charitable initiative from Lucasfilm and Disney, harnesses the strength of Star Wars to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. Since 2014, it was inspired by Star Wars fans, and the countless hours they have dedicated to philanthropy over the past four decades. To date, over $16 million has been raised for charitable causes around the world on behalf of Star Wars: Force for Change. With a bright future ahead, and new Star Wars stories to be told, Force for Change aims to continue collaborating with causes and encouraging others to be forces for change in their own community. To learn more, please visit ForceForChange.com.

ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified worldwide entertainment company with operations in four business segments: Media Networks; Studio Entertainment; Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products; and Direct-to-Consumer and International. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $55.1 billion in its Fiscal Year 2017.

ABOUT LENOVO
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$45 billion Fortune Global 500 company and a global technology leader in driving Intelligent Transformation through smart devices and infrastructure that create the best user experience. Lenovo manufactures one of the world’s widest portfolios of connected products, including smartphones, tablets, PCs (ThinkPad, Yoga, Lenovo Legion), data centers and workstations as well as AR/VR devices and smart home/office solutions. Lenovo works to inspire the difference in everyone and build a smarter future where everyone thrives. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Weibo, read about the latest news via our Storyhub, or visit our website at http://www.lenovo.com/.

ABOUT NIAGARA CARES
Niagara Cares, a philanthropic arm of Niagara Bottling, is committed to supporting local and national community initiatives serving children and families in need by engaging stakeholders and investing its resources. Niagara Cares efforts include national strategic partnerships, local community grants, employee engagement, volunteerism and the Andrew D. Peykoff, Sr. Scholarship Program. For more information, visit www.niagarawater.com/niagara-cares.