This weeks charity spotlight is Imprint Hope, an organization in Uganda run by one of my friends and colleagues, Clare Byrne. Clare always has the warmest hugs, the craziest, out of the box ideas, and her free spirit makes me giggle like a child. God Bless you, Clare, for creating Imprint Hope to help children with disabilities and their families. You are such an inspiration! Read our dialogue below to learn more about Imprint Hope.
Q. Clare, we sat near each other for 3 years at Seton Hall University studying Occupational Therapy, both passed our state boards and became Occupational Therapists – what led you to Uganda and ultimately starting Imprint Hope?
A. I always wondered what happened to children with disabilities in other countries who were not blessed with social, medical and rehabilitative services. I wondered how children and families got by without Early Intervention; I wondered what hospitals were like; I wondered how children with disabilities were treated in other countries. When I was studying for my boards, I applied for jobs all over the world, but I also applied for a year-long volunteer experience through an organization called, Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB). CMMB is a non-profit organization that sends medical professionals all over the world. After graduating from Seton Hall University in 2012, I worked in Newark, New Jersey, USA for 6 months and then was sent to Uganda in 2013 through CMMB.
During my year of volunteer work with CMMB, I worked at an orphanage with over 300 children with disabilities. Being the only medical professional with the most severely disabled population of children I’ve ever seen was overwhelming, however the most challenging part apart that year of volunteer work was learning that 85% of the children at that orphanage actually had biological parents. These family members abandoned their child with a disability because they were overwhelmed by the challenge of taking care of a child with a disability with no social or rehabilitative services. Thus the dream to launch Imprint Hope began.
Q. What is Imprint Hope? What made you start this organization?
A. Founded in 2016 in Uganda, East Africa, Imprint Hope envisions a world where all children with disabilities are appreciated for their unique talents and provided an opportunity to actualize their full potential. The organization works to eliminate the neglect, abuse, abandonment, and death of children with disabilities in Uganda by educating communities on childhood disability, providing medical and rehabilitative services to the children affected and educating and empowering caretakers to care for their child and earn a living wage for their families. In doing so, Imprint Hope strives to raise awareness, break down barriers, and overcome the stigma that children with disabilities face on a daily basis.
To support and encourage families of children with disabilities, Imprint Hope’s team – social workers, a physical and occupational therapist, and a human rights advocate – identify and meet with families coming from rural areas of Central Uganda. The families who are invited to join Imprint Hope’s program begin a journey of discovery, enlightenment, and hope.
During the live-in 6-week program, Imprint Hope children receive daily physical and occupational therapy, orthopedic equipment and nutritional and medical support. While their child is being cared for, Imprint Hope families embark on a journey of their own, participating in daily classes on the types and causes of disability, proper hygiene, parenting techniques, and human rights of children with disabilities. In addition to learning about their child’s disability, families participate in vocational training in agriculture and tailoring to be better equipped to pay for their child’s medical expenses upon their return home.
Upon discharge from the program, Imprint Hope’s team conduct regular follow-up with children and their families at home, providing further education, equipment, and support.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself – what do you like to do for fun? What do you miss about living in New Jersey, USA?
A. My heart always yearns for adventure. Moving and living in a third world country has drastically shifted my daily routine, however, I still get up with the sun and go for a run down African dirt roads, do yoga and bake incessantly. My favorite parts of a day are interacting with the families at our center and spending quality time with two little boys I’ve adopted. Watching children grow, learn, laugh and develop for the first time in their life is a beautiful thing to see every day.
New Jersey will always have my heart because of my family. I’ve learned from living in Africa that home is where your family resides. I miss them so much and I hope for the day I can see them again!!
Q. What is a typical day life for you at Imprint Hope? What are the living conditions? Who else do you work with?
A. A “typical day” at Imprint Hope is watching the sun rise over the Nile River, getting my two adopted boys ready for school, and meeting with Imprint Hope staff members to plan for the day. I work with a Ugandan Physical Therapist all day in the therapy room. We provide one hour of individualized therapy to each child at our center during that day. This is where we work with the mothers and show them exercises to do with their child throughout the day and educate them on their child’s condition.
Along with a Ugandan Physical Therapist, Imprint Hope’s Staff includes a social worker, who provides an hour of counseling to the families every day. A Ugandan Human Rights Advocate, who teaches our families about the human rights of children with disabilities in Uganda. A cook, who prepares all of the food for the families. As well as a Day Guard, Night Guard, and various part-time teachers on nutrition, hygiene, parenting, disability, agriculture, tailoring, and business development.
Q. How do I get involved with Imprint Hope?
A. The motto of Imprint Hope from the launch is “it takes a village.” This means that we need a village in Uganda and a village in America. It was an abundant privilege
to grow up in America and not have to worry about where the next meal or set of clothing was coming from. However, I’ve learned from living in Uganda that this is not the reality for people in other countries of the world. If we are going to “imprint” a mark in Uganda we all need to work together and pool resources to help these desperate.
Any help in the realm of supplies for the center, monetary support or volunteer work over here in Uganda would be so transformative for the mission at large and a tremendous blessing to the families and children we serve.
Q. What do you need the most help with from Realm of Vibes readers?
A. If Imprint Hope’s Mission tugs at anyone’s heartstrings, please spread the word about how children with disabilities are living in other countries. Please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org and ask how you can get further involved. Through spreading awareness and educating people, I know we can transform the lives of so many families in Uganda. #Ittakesavillage
Q. Give Realm of Vibes readers some final thoughts…
A. Children with disabilities are very special souls to me. Witnessing firsthand the disparity, rejection and challenges children with disabilities in Uganda experience on a daily basis compels my heart to action. Witnessing their joy, perseverance, and compassion they exemplify to everyone has transformed my outlook on life. I know in life we receive so we can go. We feel loved so we can love. We witness hope so we can be beacons of hope. These moments have given me renewed purpose in life and it is too good of a gift not to share with others.
If you have a non-profit organization that you would like featured on Realm of Vibes, contact email@example.com.
How many of you purchase compressed air to clean your computers? How many of you took a look at the ingredients in that can before you purchased that $7 can? As many of you know and have read from previous blog posts, I am really trying to live a more natural, holistic lifestyle. One thing I got rid my home of was compressed air cans due to the fact that they contain chemicals like hydrofluorocarbons, difluoroethane, and other greenhouse gasses. Compressed air cans can explode, cause frostbite, and cause pollution, too.
I was sent the X3 Hurricane Canless Air System to review. The X3 Hurriance is a canless air system that uses the air we breathe to blow air at 260+ MPH to clean a variety of different items in and outside your household. This model is designed for corporate and IT department use; other models have lesser airspeed for a once in awhile computer cleaning.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Computers, Printers, Fax Machines
- Delicate Antiques
- Blinds & Lampshades
- Silk Plants
- Durable Medical Equipment
- Hobbies & Models
The X3 Hurricane model comes with the actual handheld device (about 8 inches, wide for my small hand, perfect for my husbands goliath hands), a charger (charges rather quickly, about 20 minutes), and a 3 piece attachment kit for hard to reach places. The X3 Hurricane is equivalent to 5,000 cans of compressed air, without all the chemicals!
Fully charge the X3 Hurricane before using it; it comes with a half charge, but you don’t really experience the full power unless it is fully charged. When fully charged the X3 Hurricane can run for over 15 minutes straight.
This was awesome cleaning my car. Having two dogs, we get a lot of dust and hair on the dashboard. You hold the X3 Hurricane in your hand (I’d guess it weighs about a pound and a half) and press the button. It is noisy enough to scare my small dog so this wouldn’t be something you would want to do around sleeping children. However, dog hair went flying out the door and this made my life a lot easier cleaning the floor mats and getting all of the junk out of the cup holders on the doors. The X3 Hurricane can be used from any angle, unlike compressed air cans that can only be used upright. (And, if you’re like me, you always lose or break the straw component).
The Hurricane X3 was also used to clean off my laptop and printer. I couldn’t believe the amount of dust that flew out of the keys and in the tiny crevices on the printer. It feels good to clean in a safe way.
Canless Air has other models available for purchase for the household user that aren’t as intense as the X3 Hurricane, which is intended for commercial use. They also have the 3 piece accessory kit, the charger, and a holster as available accessories.
I think corporate environments that spend money on compressed air cans should consider investing in the Canless Air system products. Not only will it be more environmentally friendly, but it would provide greater health benefits to the companies staff. (Never mind the person who decides to use the compressed air can get high on their lunch break…)
I think that this is great for household use, too. You earn your money back relatively quickly with purchasing one of the Canless Air system products. Nothing is worth compromising my health and I am glad to use a product that provides sustainability and safety within my home.
Disclaimer: I received the X3 Hurricane Canless Air System complimentary for review. All opinions within are my own. If you have a product that you would like featured on Realm of Vibes, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am obsessed with blankets. I love cuddling up on the couch with a good book and hot cup of coffee. I met Connie from a local garage sale site on Facebook. I think I was collecting donations for Caring Canine Connections, and we engaged in friendly conversation. She and I shared a common interest, helping those in need. Connie sent me a beautiful fleece gray and pink elephant blanket for my almost-here daughter, Emilia. She knows some of the struggles that I have faced during this pregnancy like I know about the hardships she has encountered dealing with her mom going through chemotherapy for cancer treatment. In a cold world, it’s nice to have someone to talk to, confide in, and help you get through another day.
Connie started Creative Chaos CMP, a project of passion where she helps create blankets for people and/or animals in need, one stitch at a time.
Read our interview below:
Q) Your mom having cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatments inspired you to start making blankets, and ultimately starting Creative Chaos CMP… so where and how did you learn to sew?
A) When I was 12 or 13 years old my Aunt Gee took me under her wing and gave me a couple lessons. Since I didn’t have a sewing machine I lost touch with the skill.
About 3 years ago my husband bought me a sewing machine and I re-taught myself. Before I knew it I was off and sewing! I started by making stuffed bears then progressed to making my own clothing and blankets.
Q) You have helped patients undergoing cancer treatments, dog rescues, and Imprint Hope, a charity for disabled children, what makes these organizations meaningful and purposeful to you?
A) Sometimes something as simple as a blanket can help. At the end of the day, I wanted to give someone or animal something to call their own. Something to snuggle into and forget about how hard life can get.
Q) What is your favorite blanket print?
A) I really don’t have a favorite print but my favorite fabric to work with is fleece.
Q) How long does one blanket take to make?
A) One blanket (1 yard) double-sided takes me about 15-30 minutes. What I like about my blankets is I can customize them to people’s preferences. If a child likes Paw Patrol and unicorns, I can make a two-sided blanket with those prints.
Q) What could others do to help you give more blankets?
A) I would love for them to share my webpage to increase brand awareness. If they know anyone they think would benefit from a custom blanket, please email me at email@example.com.
Q) What are the next steps for Creative Chaos CMP?
A) My ultimate goal is to inspire others to spread hope through positivity.
Q) What do you tell people who want to start doing charity work?
A) Follow your heart and give what you can, when you can. It’s not about your income, it’s about what is in your heart.
Give Realm of Vibes readers some final words…
The past year has reminded me that life sometimes sucks… But, when someone thinks of you and does an act of kindness it resonates with you, and life can seem a bit better. I thought, maybe, if I can make someone smile and brighten their day, that person will pay it forward and we can start spreading kindness through the world. I know I can’t change everyone, however, if I can make a least one person smile, then it’s worth it.
Working as an occupational therapist with older adults who have lung diseases like COPD and emphysema, is always a brutal eye-opener. Did they smoke? Did they commute to NYC every day for 30 years? Were they factory workers? What caused them to have such terrible diagnoses and prognoses? A big factor that most people ignore: air pollution.
I learned so much about air quality and pollution from IQAir. We take 25,000 breaths each day. How many of those breaths are of good quality? IQAir reports that an MIT study reports that air pollution contributes to 10% of deaths in America. And, our indoor environments can be worse than outside, leaving us with physical symptoms like headaches and fatigue.
I was sent the AirVisual Pro air quality monitor from IQAir. I hooked up the monitor on my console table at the top of my stairs. (I live in a bi-level.) Within a few minutes, I had the device hooked up to my Wi-Fi network. I downloaded the AirVisual app on my Android device (also available for Apple devices).
The screen is 3.25 inches high, 7.25 inches wide, and 4 inches deep. The LED screen is 5 inches. It has a chargeable lithium battery and can operate 4 hours on a single charge. AirVisual Pro allows you to select three languages: English, Chinese, or French. It comes with a Micro USB to USB cord and a USB power adapter. The problem with the IQAir is that the screen is not a touchscreen. The top of the device has up and down buttons. I think having a touchscreen would provide greater ease when putting in Wi-Fi passwords.
AirVisual Pro is super sensitive. It detects particulate matter (PM2.5) from .3 – 2.5 µm, carbon dioxide from 400-10,000 parts per million, temperature from 14 – 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and 0 – 95% relative humidity. This all appears on your screen within minutes. (You scroll through the different screens using the up and down arrows).
I learned in the user manual that particulate matter is considered the most hazardous pollutant to human health as it can be absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs. That you want the Air Quality Index (AQI) to be between 0-50, which means little to no health risk. Thankfully, as you can see on my monitor, our house has good air quality. The index ranges from 0-500, which the higher index values indicate higher levels of air pollution. I also learned about carbon dioxide (and how it is different than carbon monoxide). The levels range from under 700 ppm to 10,000 ppm. What I noticed in our home was that when we closed the windows and turned on the air conditioning, the carbon dioxide increased dramatically. The good news is that high carbon dioxide rarely causes long-term health effects, but in the short term can cause headaches, drowsiness, and decreased productivity and concentration.
Luckily, there is an outdoor AirVisual Pro in a nearby town. So our screen shows the air quality in the living room of our home and Chester, New Jersey. It also gives an air pollution and weather forecast to guide our schedule of outdoor activities. I can’t wait to see what the air quality reader says during the hot, humid New Jersey summers. The indoor screen provides temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels. The recommendations screen has advice icons (a little man on a bicycle indicating to go and enjoy outdoor activities), Wi-Fi status, Battery status, time, date, and advice text (“Your CO2 levels are high. Open your windows to get clean, fresh air.”)
The AirVisual Pro recently completed registration with IFTTT, so it is now a smart device. If you are unfamiliar with IFTTT, it’s a free service that allows devices to interact with each other (www.ifttt.com). A simple example would be that If the AirVisual Pro reported an AQI over a certain level in your home, you could have it turn on the HVAC fan via a smart thermostat (e.g. Nest, Honeywell). If you have an efficient filtration system, like IQAir’s Perfect16, you can clean the air. The AirVisual Pro has five triggers (Temperature, Humidity, AQI, PM 2.5, and CO2).
The AirVisual Pro is awesome. I like how it provides a lot of different information about the air quality inside my home and outdoors. It is a compact device and a good weather center as my husband and I are getting ready in the morning. The only downside is that I wish it was a touchscreen. If you are looking for an air quality monitor, are a frequent traveler, or have a lung condition, I would absolutely recommend AirVisual Pro by IQAir.
Disclaimer: Realm of Vibes received the AirVisual Pro complimentary for review. All opinions within are my own. If you would like your product to be featured on Realm of Vibes, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclosure: I received a one-week GreenBlender subscription complimentary for review. This post also contains affiliate and referral links where I earn a small commission to help sustain Realm of Vibes. Thank you for your support.
Every Sunday, I wash, cut, and prep for a week’s worth of fruit for smoothies. They are super basic: water, spinach, and berries. Sometimes, I will add a vegetable (usually cucumber), a piece of ginger, chia seeds or a drop or two of essential oils. My husband never complains, so I keep creating the same concoctions in my Blendtec (The Blendtec, in my humble opinion, is the best blender on the market – and I have tried almost all of them).
GreenBlender is a smoothie subscription service, similar to Hello Fresh. Each week, GreenBlender sends its members original recipes and pre-portioned ingredients to make smoothies at home. Every box includes all of the ingredients needed to make 5 different recipes, with 2 servings in each recipe (for a total of 10 smoothie servings). You have the option of picking 5 of the most appealing smoothies from a selection of 8. GreenBlender also meets a variety of dietary restrictions and needs (gluten and dairy free – like me!)
GreenBlender also focuses on sourcing from organic farms, urban and local farms, green markets, and vendors who value sustainable practices whenever possible. I live near farms and really try to buy locally to support real people, rather than big businesses.
My Smoothie Choices
- Blueberry Punch
- Prep: 5 minutes
- I added 1 cup of water, the blueberries, banana, summer squash, amia powder and ice to the Blendtec and within a minute, had a perfectly blended smoothie. I never had heard of amla powder before, so I learned about the abundance of nutritional benefits. Amla powder is safe for pregnancy, too. I never made a smoothie with summer squash and was pleasantly surprised. The Blueberry Punch smoothie had the right amount of sweetness and was not only a beautiful start to my morning but a great way to be introduced to GreenBlender.
- Kale Mango Glow
- Prep: 10 minutes
- I hate peeling mangos, so the prep took me a little longer today. Otherwise, It was happy to use kale, acai berry, flaxseed, and a banana. It was very creamy, sweet, and perfect to increase my energy, glow, and immunity. Absolutely delicious!
- Orange Berry Basil
- Prep: 5 minutes
- It was my first time ever using collard greens and basil in a smoothie and I was left wondering why I hadn’t. What I like about GreenBlender is that I feel that the chefs really create out-of-the-box recipes that actually work! The Orange Berry Basil is your quintessential green drink; I noticed it was a little gritty, but then remembered I forgot to add ice. User error! Otherwise, it was super tasty and I would absolutely make this again!
- Mangosteen Morning
- Prep: 8 minutes
- Since I am now an expert in cutting mangos, the prep was 2 minutes shorter today. Mangosteen Morning included baby spinach, cantaloupe, kiwis, mangosteen powder, coconut flakes, ice and water. This smoothie was not as sweet as the others, and a little gritty. I wasn’t sure of the organic shredded coconut should have been blender or used as a garnish. It was a little gritty, and my least favorite of all the smoothie choices, but I drank all of it since it has immune boosting benefits.
- Green Cucumber Mint
- Prep: 6 minutes
- This smoothie boasts anti-inflammatory and high fiber benefits. It also is low sugar, perfect for my gestational diabetes. I thought the combinationof the collard greens, pear, cucumbers, mint, lime, chia seeds, water and ice was super light, fresh, cooling, and a great start to my morning. My husband, Jason, said, “There are a lot of flavors in here, and it tastes really good!” If he compliments it, it must be good!
I love GreenBlender. Not only are these recipes easy, but the flavor profiles are so different and versatile – I wouldn’t imagine coming up with some of the recipe combinations! I feel that the chefs really make sure they are holistic, healthy, and delicious. I also love all of the different options. I am excited for my next box!
Use my referral link to get $20 off your first subscription box! (So $29.90 USD – a steal!)
If you would like your products featured on Realm of Vibes, contact email@example.com or visit the Contact page.