We are happy to announce that we are one of the contestants in Tray Creative’s 2012 Vote for Good Contest. Jolkona, as well as other local Seattle-based nonprofits that have collaborated with Tray over the last several years, are eligible for votes.

The holidays are an ideal season to invest your time, energy and contributions in worthwhile endeavors. We have worked hard this past year to achieve good – please place a vote for our good to help our chances at being awarded a $1,000 donation.

What Tray Creative Does

Tray Creative is a dynamic organization based in Seattle that clarifies, strengthens and empowers the messaging and branding of other companies. They utilize their diverse professional skill sets to aid the mission of both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

We are honored to be a part of their holiday charitable campaign this year. Tray Creative’s pro-active participation in philanthropic activities is something we affirm and admire.

How to Vote

All it takes is a couple clicks of the mouse and your vote for Jolkona will be cast. Visit the voting page on Facebook and ‘like’ Tray Creative to access the voting platform. Just click “Vote” for Jolkona – and feel free to share the link or spread the word about the contest via your Facebook profile or Twitter.

Support Jolkona’s Mission

We couldn’t do what we do without the incredible support from people in our community. This $1,000 end of the year donation would be a wonderful capstone to a great, productive year here. The contest runs through December 31st – please, take just a moment to cast your vote and tell a friend. You will be facilitating the success of future projects and partnerships.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter , and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.


We are so excited to usher in this festive time of year with our very own giving campaign. Jolkona’s tireless volunteers and members have teamed up to present and advocate for projects important to them. This is, after all, the season of giving – and we believe genuine generosity is contagious. The holidays are special times for family and community, for gathering and storytelling, for being thankful and giving back. The spirit of giving is a malleable form that can manifest in many ways. We would like to share our spiritedness with you.

Launching our Gifts

Jolkona volunteers have been crafting videos dedicated to their chosen projects. Each day, beginning today, we will ‘unwrap’ a gift by unveiling a new video. The projects are meaningful and unique, one and all, which is why we want to let each one speak for itself on a given day. Visit the Campaign page here.

Our non-profit partners span focuses from healthcare to education to the environment. This campaign will give you an excellent opportunity to be exposed to different projects and choose one that really resonates with you. We are excited to have so many passionate team members on the Jolkona team to speak on behalf of these projects.

Take a look at the video below for our first gift of the season. It is all about our partner Calcutta Kids, an organization working hard in India to combat child mortality from diarrhea. Show your support for their ongoing health efforts by making a gift of $10.

A Gift of Impact

In addition to our 10 Days of Giving Campaign, we have a convenient gift option available for individuals looking to offer something different to a friend or family member. Our holiday e-gift cards can be easily purchased through the Jolkona platform; these can then be applied to a project of the donor’s choosing. Your gift to them will be a gift back to a community in need. It is a flexible and useful way to positively involve yourself in the lives of others. The gift of impact is a treasure.

Join the Jolkona family with your Support

People’s social support systems – family, friends, significant others, co-workers – play a vital role in celebrating the holidays. It is important to not lose sight of this love when considering the less fortunate. The spirit of giving is about philanthropy, yes – but it really comes alive through love and compassion.

We encourage you to commemorate this holiday season by getting involved in our 10 Days of Giving Campaign. Give to a particular project. Purchase an e-gift card to give to someone in your life. Spread the word about Jolkona’s projects through conversation and social media. Become a person of giving during this busy time of year. One individual’s impact is greatly amplified in the esteemed company of fellow givers.  

How will you give impact this holiday season?

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

The holiday season is a time brimming with joyous family gatherings, sumptuous meals, and shopping, shopping, shopping. Black Friday has become a feverish occasion in a culture obsessed with the notion of deals, sales and savings. Cyber Monday is a supplemental day to signal the online arena’s special promotions for the remaining year. From Thanksgiving through New Years, this surge of business brings innumerable companies out of the red and helps employ more people for seasonal work. Nevertheless, equal energy – if not more – should be expended on behalf of giving as well as receiving.

The beginning of the Giving Season

Giving Tuesday is today, November 27th, which marks the jump off point for a season of generosity and community. A wide range of collaborative organizations have made Giving Tuesday a reality, including but not limited to the United Nations Foundation, Microsoft, The Huffington Post and The Case Foundation. The motivation for organizing an official day is a simple but compelling case: help get people excited about giving. Take a look at the short video clip below which illustrates this vision of giving and social media:

A couple of Jolkona’s cherished projects

Support Transitional Housing Facility in USA: Homeless men and women in America often just need an opportunity for support to demonstrate their self-sufficiency and hard work. Downtown Streets Team (DST), which operates out of Palo Alto in California, affords these men and women the chance to give back while being supported. Homeless and unemployed individuals are able to work in exchange for food and shelter credits, job training skills, and more. Contribute to necessary supplies – like fresh linens or meals – to see DST’s impact continue to grow.

Provide Education to Girls in Liberia: Education is one of the best gifts someone can be blessed with in his or her life. In Liberia, girls need stronger support systems; the illegal sex trade, homelessness, and frequent impoverished conditions leave them vulnerable. More Than Me Foundation’s essential aim is to get the girls off the streets into the classrooms – and onto educated, safe, healthy lives. Give today and boost their scholastic path of success.

The Meaning of Giving

The holiday season can be taken back into the hands of generous, compassionate people one gift at a time. Rather than adopt the cynical mode of living often parroted by political pundits – that the U.S. is a culture of takers, not givers – demonstrate how invested we really are in one another’s lives. It is a joy couched in altruism as well as selfishness; truly helping someone in need is a wonderful feeling.

Our 10 Days of Giving Campaign

Jolkona has a special endeavor for the season of giving this year: our 10 Days of Giving Countdown. In the days leading up to Christmas, teams composed of our wonderful volunteers and contributors will each create their own campaign based on an important project. You will be able to pick your favorite(s) and help them reach their holiday goal!

Also, we will be offering e-gift cards for convenient gift giving this year. It’s as simple as purchasing one (say, worth $20), bestowing it to a friend or family member, and letting them peruse Jolkona’s website for a project that interests them. Check out last year’s Days of Giving Campaign to see what it’s all about!

Why not jumpstart your philanthropic mojo by giving to a non-profit today? The world will be better tomorrow because of it.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

The streets that pave our cities buzz a ceaseless din. Advertising bombards us with images teasing and confounding our wants and desires. Television, digital media and print media – their information cyclones inundate us with stories, facts, opinions, distortions and lies. Today’s global economic engine is a juggernaut with gale-force winds, flinging people from job to job and industry to industry. 21st century life operates in hyper-speed. Sometimes, one needs to apply pressure on the breaks and simply slow down.

The Human Spirit Compels Us

Here at Jolkona, we affirm the life-changing work being accomplished by our partners. We affirm the non-profit sector’s role throughout the world of helping create respectful, well-educated, creative and sustainable communities. We affirm the courageous, compassionate lives people compose for themselves out of an endlessly renewable resource: the human spirit, the will to live, the drive to make life worth living for all.

Affirmations aside, we recognize how easily individuals can become wrapped up in the pettiness of differences, the drama of conflict, and the chains of disillusionment. The following short film, We Are All One, succinctly and lucidly articulates an argument for life and the inherent kinship of all living things. Watch it below.

I won’t exhaust the contents of the film by breaking it down point by point – that would weaken the impact of its own presentation. Jolkona simply believes moments like these are critically important to allow for in our busy lives. Reflection is indicative of a curious, caring mind.

Connecting with your Environment

When it comes to philanthropic endeavors – or any meaningful undertakings for that matter – there exists the yin and yang of theory and praxis. Theory speaks to brainstorming, planning and strategic development. Praxis is defined by action; getting out there to complete tasks and accomplish goals. Theory without praxis is, ultimately, only words, only hypothetical conjecture. Praxis without theory may often turn out to be uninformed and unprepared. Both are essential characteristics to develop an open engagement with the world.

Reflection is equally important as the aforementioned qualities. Critical thinking breeds honesty, empowerment, and change. Life is not all sunshine and roses though – the narration confirms this fact time and again. The majestic footage captured in We All Are One is not intended to inspire surface-level, blind optimism about the future. Rather, it reminds us humans, who can become so distanced from the place we call home, that we are part and parcel of this world. There is no I without the other.

Building Bridges, Linking Lives

The ways in which we fortify ourselves from the earth in communication and conduct is illusionary and deceptive. We are not even merely stewards of this planet, here to establish goodwill and reverence for nature. As the classic Beatles song goes, “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” If we as a community truly desire a future that is sustainable and inclusive, it begins with personal moments of reflection. From there, a process of dialogue and ‘theory’ building with neighbors, friends and communities. This is followed by the execution of dignified goals. At the beginning of this process is reflection on self – and therefore – the world.

Align yourself with like-minded individuals. Align yourself with family and friends who may possess different values than you. Align yourself with inspiring non-profits. Align yourself with community leaders and local activities. Align yourself with life-affirming ways of being that resonate with what you have seen in the film above.

Jolkona wants to share its passion with people across the globe that we are confident share so much in common. Our histories and aspirations are much the same. Follow the link to Jolkona’s project center to get an idea of environmental projects we are involved with. But the buck does not stop there; Jolkona’s coalition of partners is ever-blossoming.

Like Jolkona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest to keep up with all of our ongoing projects.

When I was 15 years old and hanging out at home one day, I noticed my sister behaving strangely. She was lethargic and looked pale in the face. My parents and I had noticed her uncharacteristically large appetite and unquenchable thirst over the prior month. Yet she was mysteriously losing weight and was sapped of her usual energy. In the spring of 2004 on what was until then an ordinary day around the house – we rushed my sister to the ER. Much to our family’s shock and dismay, we found out that the root cause was type 1 diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects almost 350 million people in the world at present. When the pancreas stops producing insulin, or one’s body proves incapable of utilizing the insulin it creates, this is diagnosed as either type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. Nearly 90 percent of all diabetics have type 2, which is often associated with obesity and long-term dietary issues. Type 1 can occur at any age, unlike type 2, which can develop overtime due to lifestyle habits. The first of the two is colloquially referred to as insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset diabetes. My sister was 11 years old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes; her body attacks the very little insulin she naturally produces meaning she must take daily injections of insulin to stabilize her quality of life.

Why World Diabetes Day Matters

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects almost 350 million people in the world at present. When the pancreas stops producing insulin, or one’s body proves incapable of utilizing the insulin it creates, this is diagnosed as either type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. Nearly 90 percent of all diabetics have type 2, which is often associated with obesity and long-term dietary issues. Type 1 can occur at any age, unlike type 2, which can be developed overtime due to lifestyle habits. The first of the two is colloquially referred to as insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset diabetes. My sister was 11 years old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes; her body attacks the very insulin she naturally produces meaning she must take daily injections of insulin to stabilize her quality of life.

World Diabetes Day implores all people of this planet to unite for diabetes. Humankind is, after all, most resilient when working toward a common goal. The International Diabetes Federation and World Health Organization ignited the initial flames to start this day and allow its knowledge to spread like wildfire. Global awareness of diabetes along with prevention and support education is the battering ram with which we must push forward. Take a look at the IDF’s animated video below, which speaks to these critical matters.

Moving Forward

Tenacity and optimism: these are traits I see in my own sister, as well as in medical professionals, researchers, activists, advocates, and other diabetics. Please take a moment to consider that person or those persons in your life who must confront their condition on a daily basis. Even if you donate know anyone personally with diabetes personally, the degrees of separation are most certainly small. Have a conversation with a friend about diabetes; post a link or forward an email about World Diabetes Day; make a donation to the International Diabetes Federation or one of Jolkona’s own healthcare-related projects.

The blue circle plastered on the web and featured prominently in the video is diabetes’ universal symbol. Why a deliberate symbol, and what does it symbolize? The vibrant ring forms an identity for people to latch onto. Its blue color represents the United Nations’ distinctly global unity and the beautiful vastness of the sky above. The circle also embodies the strength and connection so vital to ongoing research and campaigns.

Just join in the dialogue – it is impossible to know what spark might catch.

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The United States’ forthcoming national election carries exceptional expectations. In one sense, categorizing the election season in such a way is more of a platitude; every Presidential run affirms itself as the biggest, most critical election yet. The media’s inundating hype-machine turns the complex ramifications of choosing political leaders into a horse-race. And yet, with the incumbent President Barack Obama squaring off against the Republican challenger Mitt Romney, major issues in healthcare, the economy, social services, women’s rights, clean energy and more remain at stake.

Every Vote Counts

Most vital to the continuation of a healthy, robust political process are citizens getting their votes out. Honest engagement with the system is key. The cliche ‘every vote counts’ is in fact a potent piece of reality that people need to be reminded of every now and again. Jolkona’s own namesake and mission closely mirrors this philosophy: the word means ‘every drop counts’ in Bengali, signaling the importance of every individual contribution. People can and do make a monumental difference when they utilize their time, energy, skill sets, or connections to speak up for the issues that matter.

Let’s take a look at one of the issues that matters. Although often overlooked in political matches, the candidates’ history in the philanthropic arena is of considerable value. Not only what they have done in the past, or the positions they take now, but how the candidates will conduct themselves in the future on non-profit issues is worth investigating.

Obama and Romney’s Records

President Barack Obama
He argued for and signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009, which boasted a substantial expansion on AmeriCorps’ budget and impact. Furthermore, the act created the Social Innovation Fund; it offers grants to help non-profits and expand funding to facilitate widening volunteer capacities.

Obama also completed the Promise Neighborhoods Program of 2011, a federal source for non-profits focused on disadvantaged youth. Funding is provided to aid non-profits working in tandem with schools, businesses, and foundations that are devoted to improving young people’s opportunities in low-income, high-crime communities.

Mitt Romney
During his term as Massachusetts State Governor, Romney led a bi-partisan effort to have state governors sign a 2003 letter arguing emergency aid be given to AmeriCorps. This proposal of national service aimed to have President George W. Bush lend immediate resources to the withering program and prevent drastic cuts.

He appointed his wife Ann Romney to assume an unpaid leadership role in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This organization helps allocate federal funds to religious organizations dedicated to offering tangible social services in their communities.

Arts & Culture Support

President Barack Obama
His 2013 proposed budget includes a small increase in the budgets of the National Endowment of the Arts as well as the National Endowment for Humanities (up an additional $8 million to a total of $154 million). These independent agencies extend funding and support to projects and events based around arts, culture, theater and more. In addition, flat-spending has been stipulated for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through 2015.

Mitt Romney
He has been chastised by the Obama camp for threatening to “kill Big Bird” if elected as President. Romney has clearly stated his intentions several times pertaining to the National Endowment of the Arts, Humanities, and PBS, which is for severe reductions if not eliminating their federal funding entirely. He believes federal subsidies to these programs are unnecessarily wasteful in this climate of a hurt economy and rising debt.

Make Your Voice and Vote Heard

The choice cannot and will not be black and white for this upcoming election. There are things to agree and disagree on with both candidates. But keep Jolkona’s mantra close in mind over the next couple of days – that every person’s voice is valuable, unique and significant. So too is your vote. Read up on your local and state officials as well; your city and state politics are just as important and relevant, if not more so!

Learn more about the Presidential candidates’  non-profit policies and beliefs over at The Chronicle of Philanthropy, an exhaustive set of news articles, resources and outreach avenues. Also check out Jolkona’s formidable and diverse project list to make your impact today. Election Day’s aftermath could very well impact these non-profits in the future.

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Halloween. All Hallow’s Eve. Pumpkin carvings, haunted houses and zany costumes. October 31st traditions are commonplace among U.S. households to bring fun, laughter – and inevitable sugar highs – to children. The first Halloween I remember involved cladding my young self in armor, a young but valiant knight. Another year around kindergarten age I danced in and out of the shadows as a trick-or-treating ninja. The vibrancy of kids’ imaginations, not to mention the overwhelming allure of free candy, turns an ordinary day into a happy, costumed spectacle.

UNICEF’s Inspiring October Month

Children deserve the stable health and peace of mind necessary to fully engage in cultural community traditions like Halloween. Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is a riveting campaign created to assure such an accomplishment for our youth. UNICEF concentrates on developmental work and human rights for children and women all over the globe. If most adults are still just kids at heart, then helping children out in the world right now should be a no-brainer. The Trick-or-Treat campaign has already accumulated tens of millions of dollars for causes which champion the education and success of kids.

We admire the widespread efforts of UNICEF in its autumn campaign. Similarly, Jolkona would like to emphasize a few of its child-minded partners who continue to make life less scary for their communities of focus. Take a look below at engaging non-profits in the fields of healthcare, education and nutrition.

Children are the Future

Supply Medicine to Children in Sierra Leone: All As One is a non-profit medical clinic that combines professional nurses, doctors and resources under one roof for ailing children in Sierra Leone. Lack of access to proper healthcare services greatly contributes to the country’s high child mortality rate. Improve their quality of life in a substantive way today.

Sponsor a Child in Bangladesh: Underprivileged is an understatement for many Bangladeshi youth; Distressed Children & Infants International works tirelessly to secure children equality and education. School supplies, adequate medical treatment, clean clothes – these are essential factors during childhood and adolescent development. Partner with DCI by sponsoring a child’s future well-being.

Rescue Nepali Children from Severe Malnutrition: Poor nutrition, as well as a scarcity of food in general, significantly contributes to Nepal’s struggling population of kids and mothers. The Nepal Youth Foundation operates Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes where they can come to live, learn, and grow healthy and strong. Mothers learn how to prepare nutritious meals with local, affordable staples; children are periodically checked up on after returning home.

Halloween’s festive day is filled with otherworldly ghouls, goblins, witches and werewolves – but consider joining Jolkona in its aspirations for regular, extraordinary people. Children are in need of healthful treatment and care everywhere.

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As a follow-up to yesterday’s introduction to the United Nations’ set of Millennium Development Goals, I would like to share more exciting Jolkona projects that tie in with the remaining missions. Remember, United Nations Week runs through this Friday, October 26th!

Millennium Development Goals by 2015

Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health

  1. Target 5A:Reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters
  2. Target 5B: Achieve universal access to reproductive healthcare

Provide Maternal and Child Healthcare in Guatemala through Jolkona by making a donation toward pre and post-delivery care. Project Concern International, a trusted partner of ours since April 2010, envisions a world devoid of preventable birth complications and health problems. To realize this dream, they have designed their Mother’s House program to ensure mothers and newborns in Guatemala receive excellent care.

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDs, Malaria, and Other Diseases

  1.  Target 6A: Have HIV/AIDS halted and begin to reverse the spread
  2.  Target 6B: Achieve universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for who need it
  3.  Target 6C: Have incidences of malaria and other major disease halted

Give Care to HIV-Infected Cambodian Children by aligning yourself with New Hope for Cambodian Children. Their services are in extremely high demand; tens of thousands of children and their families are suffering from HIV/AIDs. The group’s ambitious project is the creation of “Our Village,” a miraculous 18 acre hub where orphaned or otherwise abandoned children may live, learn and receive desperately needed health services.

Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Plant Trees in Senegal in no time with the assistance of Trees for the Future. The benefits of planting new trees cannot be overstated. They are not only important for our future; they are part and parcel of any sustainable future — period. For about the cost of a latte you can get a whopping 50 trees planted. Trees for the Future’s agroforestry specimens grow quickly and live out long lives. Reduce your carbon footprint, contribute to land restoration in the region, and provide a struggling individual with an opportunity for income.

Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

Sponsor Your Fellows to Help Earthquake Victims and contribute to a new generation of Japanese entrepreneurs and philanthropists. iLEAP/ETIC’s Disaster Recovery Leadership Program is an awe-inspiring 3-12 month commitment for determined individuals in their 20s and 30s. Myriad disaster relief and community development projects in Japan are in need of immediate, passionate leadership. Sponsor a young adult in their effort to cultivate their own social consciousness and work out tangible, positive changes in their community.

Do (UN)to Others as You Would Have Done Unto You

The UN is a leading light in the international community for good will and stewardship. Jolkona is proud to stand behind their Millennium Development Goals as defining characteristics for the partners and projects we connect with. By learning about the crux of the UN’s mission and Jolkona’s related ambitions, philanthropists can become informed about the present and optimistic about the future.

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I learned extensively about how the United Nations operates during my time in high school by participating in Model UN. Whether doing mock sessions in the classroom or attending multi-day conferences with fellow high schoolers, I devoted time to research, oratory skills and argument-building. My ability to think critically benefited greatly from this period in my life – but it is the diplomacy and goodwill that I experienced in the program which resonates with me most clearly to this day.

Show Your Support for Peacemaking

Today, October 24th, is United Nations Day, a moment to celebrate the UN’s impact, spread its mission, and build international support for its goals. Here at Jolkona, the United Nations’ Millennium Goals vitally inform the partners and projects we align ourselves with. They are a set of ambitious targets endorsed by all 193 member states in the UN. The breadth and depth of the goals serve to arm non-profits, governments, politicians, activists and citizens all over the world with a blueprint for change.

Jolkona’s projects below relate directly to the UN’s ongoing objectives. They are geared towards the health, education and empowerment of children, men, and women – among other exceptional missions!

United Nations Millennium Development Goals

Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

  1. Target 1A: Halve the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day
  2. Target 1B: Achieve Decent Employment for Women, Men, and Young People
  3. Target 1C: Halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

Feed a Hungry Family in Nicaragua and contribute to long-lasting food development for families in Nicaragua. Through the help of MADRE, donations will provide seeds, farming supplies, and agricultural training to men and women in need. Sustainable models for saving people from poverty and hunger are achievable with nonprofits such as MADRE.

Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

  1. Target 2A: Ensure all children can complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015

Give Books and Education to Children in Myanmar by supporting Educational Empowerment, an organization Jolkona started partnering with in August 2012. Educational access and opportunity is their modus operandi; and with a simple $25 gift a library in Myanmar, Burma can be stocked with local books for elementary-age children. Do what you can to facilitate the UN’s goal to successfully provide primary education for all.

Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

  1. Target 3A: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015

Provide Business Opportunities for Peruvian Women through Awamaki, a non-profit based in Peru that works on economic development in rural communities in the area, where opportunities for education and entrepreneurship are scarce. Basket-weaving women from Quechua-speaking villages are presented with workshops and materials to improve the quality of their product – and even resources for ascertaining greater business independence. Give to Awamaki through Jolkona and empower women today.

Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality Rates

  1. Target 4A: Between 1990 and 2015, reduce the rate of mortality for children under five by two-thirds.

Save a Young Child from Diarrhea in India with a gift of only $10. Calcutta Kids has been tirelessly aiding Indian children since 2004, providing access to and education on health care, nutrition, and medicine. Oral rehydration solution and Zinc Sulphate is administered from top Calcutta medical professionals to ensure children do not succumb to deathly dehydration. Calcutta Kids’ follow-up therapy and life-counseling is life-changing.

Check in tomorrow to learn about the UN’s four additional Millennium Development Goals, and celebrate United Nations week all week long with Jolkona.

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Life and Times of the Seattle Center

I have fond memories of afternoons spent at the Pacific Science Center as a child. Interactions with the fast-talking robot were always entertaining, while the proto-virtual reality soccer sequences always had eager kids waiting their turn. And who can forget the dinosaur exhibit or the labyrinthine network of brightly colored tunnels that the naked mole rats amble through? My experiences were engaging and formative, and by no means a rarity among my peers; the Seattle Center has served as the literal and symbolic epicenter for our youth’s – or rather the whole city’s – engagement in education, technology and social connections for half a century.

For much of this year, the Seattle Center has been curating historic events to commemorate 50 years since Seattle’s 1962 World Fair. The Next Fifty aims to inform the community about past endeavors and inspire new aspirations and plans. Compassion Games, a month-long celebration of human kindness organized by Compassion Seattle and United Way Day of Caring, is tied into this year’s culminating events. Running from September 21st through October 21st (the final day of “The Next Fifty”), the Compassion Games rewrites what it means to be a winner, and how one goes about cultivating care and generosity in their daily life.

Living Selflessly

Compassion Games’ acts of compassion are intended to build trust and communion between you and friends, family, and strangers. Call a mentor to say thank you; donate blood; read to a child; or simply list what you are grateful for and share it with others. Use your imagination about how you can make the world better one gesture or thank you at a time.

I would like to take this opportunity to share what I am grateful for in my life, as well as include the thoughts of a few of my fellow volunteers.

Dania Primley
I am thankful for all of the wonderful volunteers and interns we see at Jolkona. The volume and quality of volunteer applicants I get always inspires me. The idea that smart, dedicated, passionate people would work for free to help others in need really makes my heart happy.

Mari Hirabayashi
As a new mother, I am thankful for the innocence I see in my son’s eyes and the compassion it gives me.

Santina Rigano
I am grateful for the fantastic experiences and opportunities that I have been given throughout Australia and America. It is absolutely unbelievable to think of what one can achieve, and although my notches are not off my belt as yet, they are getting there. I am truly grateful for the amazing friends and family that I have created here in Seattle and for the West Seattle community which are so supportive, fun, and always there for me. 

Gabriel St. John:
I’m grateful for my stellar community of friends and family – those near and those not so near.

Cameron LaFlam
I am thankful for the family and friends I call my own; I have learned so much about love, friendship, and generosity from our relationships together. I am also grateful for becoming a part of Jolkona – the good will and tenacity I see in others here is humbling and inspiring.

Thank you to the wonderful volunteers and philanthropists of Jolkona who took the time to share what they are grateful for! Here, here to making Seattle more compassionate hour by hour, day by day, and year by year.

In the spirit of Compassion Games’ community involvement and philanthropic gusto, consider giving a gift through Jolkona. Our endeavors range far and wide, capturing the hard work of non-profits in education, healthcare, employment, art and more. Check out our up-to-date project list to discover non-profits doing amazing work in the world; right now!

What will your compassionate act be today?

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Women make the world go round. They inspire, lead, challenge, and renew the lives we lead and the places we call home. But they also need our help. Girl Rising is the name of a transformative documentary that captures the day-to-day life of ten young girls from ten nations all over the globe. The heart of knowledge spearheading the film is this: when provided with adequate educational and social opportunities, girls change the world for the better. Check out this infographic which succinctly illustrates the indelible impact girls make in others’ lives. While you are at it, take a look below at a teaser trailer for the upcoming film!

Day of the Girl Alliance

The filmmakers are backed by an incredible, diverse partnership between NGOs like La Pietra Coalition and Girl Up, project partners such as CNN Films and Business Online, and the leading strategic partner Intel. Together, they form an unbreakable bond of support for the 1st annual International Day of the Girl. Today, Thursday, October 11th honors and celebrates the lives of girls and behooves those in their communities to give back in the name of girls’ education and empowerment.

Jolkona believes that every girl deserves an equal chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Education, economic independence, financial stability, adequate healthcare, and full legal representation; these are a handful of just a few goals among many that International Day of the Girl is all about. See these ambitions being fruitfully put into action through Jolkona’s partners, like a few standouts described below.

Championing Women through Jolkona

Empower Women in Nepal Through Higher Education: The Bo M. Karlsson Foundation is dedicated to advancing young Nepalese women through school beyond the primary level. Differing levels of gifts can provide them with much needed resources like transportation, an internet connection, school books, and even room, board and tuition.

Support Women Farmers in Sudan: Many women in their Sudanese communities are struggling to transform their poverty-stricken lives, which is why standing behind MADRE is so critical. Essential agricultural resources, like farming training, seeds, or a fresh plot of land, are made available through their hard work. In Sudan, women do the majority of farming but there is a dearth of support when it comes to land rights and income. Help MADRE change this.

Provide Education to the Females of Afghanistan: Look no further than Barakat for proof of exceptional work being accomplished for Afghani girls. The cultural taboos and societal imbalances for women pursuing education are significant, but far from insurmountable. Personally fund a girl’s accelerated literary class for only $40. Help these girls stay on track to blossom into highly literate, educated members of their community.

Support Rape Survivors in Haiti Displacement Camps: Sexual assault is a demeaning, destructive and inexorably heinous act. In the aftermath of such a traumatic event, professional resources and emotional support is imperative. MADRE, the previously mentioned women’s rights nonprofit, works alongside women in Haiti, offering hygiene kits and peer therapy sessions. International Day of the Girl should not pass in vain; instantly become an activist on behalf of marginalized women by making a donation.

Endorse this day as a symbol for the value and worth of women in our world. Watch what amazing things girls will achieve if given a chance. Jolkona’s partners believe deeply and emphatically in promoting equality between the genders and doing whatever possible to empower women. When girls thrive, so too do their children, families, friends and communities. See more Jolkona projects for and about women here.

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Postpartum Depression

Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health reports that upwards of 85% of mothers experience postpartum baby blues in the days immediately following birth. Yet, postpartum depression often goes unaddressed in communities. For the majority of women, feelings of tearfulness and exhaustion dissipate within a week or so; it is the continuation and escalation of these symptoms and more that pose a lasting threat to the mother’s well-being.

Women suffering from postpartum depression may experience severe agitation, guilt, or fear, loss of concentration, appetite, and sleep, and thoughts of suicide or harm to the child. Disturbingly, despite the deluge of health resources available in the world today, the pervasiveness of postpartum depression is often overlooked. One admirable organization looking to right this cultural oversight is Madre Bonita, a non-profit based in Japan. Started by Maco Yoshioka, Madre Bonita offers postpartum fitness classes for women to provide a healthy community in which they can improve their mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is today, October 10th, an appropriate catalyst for highlighting Jolkona’s project Prevent Postpartum Depression for Mothers in Japan. According to the World Health Organization, this year’s theme is Depression: A Global Crisis. The day is intended to encourage and promote awareness, discussion, and activism on behalf of mental health issues. The WHO reports that over 350 million people suffer from depression, a disease which is not always easily diagnosed by the victim or those in the victim’s life.

Present research states that nearly 100,000 women in Japan experience postpartum depression in a pronounced way. Its detrimental effects wear heavily on mothers as well as adversely affecting their baby’s well-being. Madre Bonita’s dedication speaks to what every new mother truly deserves: rest, empathy, and professional resources that will augment the health of their whole person. Over 2,000 women took classes with Madre Bonita’s staff in 2010 alone; they hope to extend their cultural reach every year.

Photo Source: Madre Bonita

Healthy Mothers

By supporting the organization’s mission, you give struggling mothers the chance to move on with their lives in a positive manner. Those who benefit from Jolkona’s project are typically young or single mothers, or mothers of premature babies or those with significant disabilities. $50 covers the cost of one class for a mother to rehabilitate her mental health and stability. For only $15, important booklet materials are given to a woman to supplement her recovery concerning postpartum depression. It is a small amount to give to register such an unquantifiable impact on a mother, her child, and their lives together.

If you or someone in your life is suffering from depression, know that there is help and hope for you. Call to speak with a professional free of charge, day or night, and reach someone willing to listen unconditionally. Stand in solidarity with people suffering around the world and celebrate World Mental Health Day as a means towards greater healing.

Prevent Postpartum Depression for Mothers in Japan and promote the healthy empowerment of women today.

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Jolkona takes considerable pride in its multitude of partnerships. The organizations we link up with are committed and compassionate. Roots & Wings International is one such non-profit that truly works hard for its cause, which is fostering educational opportunity for Guatemalan youth. A partner of Jolkona’s since July 2009, we are grateful for their passion and purpose.


Roots & Wings International began simply enough, with founder Erik Swanson in Guatemala on a post-college expedition. After spending several months teaching English to students and forming a connection with the community, though, those couple of months rapidly snowballed into a two year stay in Guatemala.

By the time he was done, Erik had worked as the director for El Instituto La Asunción, a junior high and high school. He even supported the college ambitions of the top two high school graduates – one boy and one girl – by singlehandedly funding their university scholarships.

Erik officially founded Roots & Wings International in 2004, making education the organization’s central mission. Illiteracy is a prevalent issue in Guatemala, with up to a 70% illiteracy rate in rural communities. By virtue of families basing their livelihood on predominately subsistence farming, the majority of children do not receive more than an elementary school education.

Photo Source: Roots & Wings Intl.


Roots & Wings International wants to change the illiteracy levels in Guatemala – but in a way which facilitates self-sustained development. The autonomy and agency of individuals within their own communities is paramount. Erik and those that work alongside him have seen first-hand that when given proper educational access, people in their local communities become best-equipped to lead, change, and cultivate their environment.

They are witnesses to short-term improvements in students’ lives vis-a -vis scholarships and tutoring programs. Long-term, though, it is the computer training lessons and college education that will sustain them in the future. Roots & Wings commented that, “many of our scholarship students intend to return to their home communities to be teachers, lawyers, or doctors…our mission is to improve overall educational opportunities to empower young people to promote development in their own communities.”


Roots & Wings International shared an especially meaningful story about one of their students with us. They recounted, “Manuela Tzep Lopez is one of our scholarship students nearing the end of her studies in Social Work…she is also working as a coordinator in a small community development organization.” Her diligent work ethic shines through brightly; “she is gaining valuable social work experience coordinating job training programs for young women and inmates.” By empowering the youth, Roots & Wings are providing them the education and tools they need to help others in the community.

Roots & Wings International is a trustworthy, industrious non-profit that deserves recognition. For individuals interested in making a positive impact on the lives of Guatemalan children, follow the link below for an easy, reliable way to do so. You can support computer literacy in the region by providing a month’s worth of training for as little as $5.

Give a donation through Jolkona via Roots & Wings International and improve a child’s education today.

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Editor’s note: This blog post relates to our Corks & Forks dinner/auction in 2012. For information about Corks & Forks dinner/auction planned for Oct. 10, 2013, visit this page

Jolkona’s 1st annual Corks & Forks auction and dinner event is coming up quick! Join us on October 4th from 6:30-9:30pm at the Blue Ribbon Cooking School for an evening of cooking, drink-making, and bidding to unite the community around a mission of giving. Hosted by auctioneer Jim Dever of Evening Magazine, the night is sure to be full of laughs and fun!

The assortment of hands-on classes will teach you how to craft everything from savory truffles to sophisticated cocktails to mouth-watering soups and salads. Come ready to wow family, friends, and co-workers at future dinner parties!

Excellent prizes and getaways will be up for auction – not to mention the plethora of items available in the silent auction! Take a look at the complete auction item list for the big night.

Grab yourself a ticket while they are still available right here!


A huge thank you goes out to the major sponsors of Corks & Forks, Coinstar, Inc. and Jaa’ Warren Hooker Fitness Performance. We went ahead and asked them a couple of questions about partnering with Jolkona and the importance of food to them.

Coinstar, Inc.

A local company, Coinstar, Inc got its start in Bellevue, WA in 1991. Jolkona is so excited to have Coinstar onboard for the upcoming auction and fundraising event. By backing our mission, their resources and reputation help illuminate the projects we are dedicated to.

Thank you Coinstar for your sponsorship and support!

Why are you a sponsor for Jolkona?
Coinstar, Inc. is proud to sponsor Jolkona for its innovative approach to giving. Jolkona’s use of technology brings donors and grantees closer together by reporting on impact. It’s an excellent method to entice more people to give!

What has food meant to you?
Like Jolkona, we feel lucky our company is headquartered in Seattle, surrounded by a robust local food movement. Our region’s focus on food feels special and serves as another way to bring our community together, whether that’s at the community garden, co-op grocery or family dinner table.

Jaa’ Warren Hooker Fitness Performance

Jaa’ Warren Hooker Fitness Performance is made up of a team of fitness professionals who provide mobile services for exercise, nutrition, and rehabilitation needs. Jolkona is thrilled to have Jaa’ Warren’s involvement and support. It means a lot to have meaningful, local sponsors for a special event like Corks & Forks.

Once more, thank you to Jaa’ Warren Hooker Fitness Performance!

What has food meant to you?

Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been my favorite holidays, gathering with friends and family to tell stories and create a positive community. Besides the food always being spectacular, food brings people together.

Local Projects

Jolkona works intimately with a number of local organizations dedicated to furthering education, employment, and personal well-being. We would like to spotlight a few of these to give you a better idea about the kinds of non-profits we support in our own backyard.

Washington CASH aims to educate and motivate low-income individuals with entrepreneurial ambitions. Their means of empowerment include personalized business training, professional workshops, business development training courses, and even microloans to help legitimately finance start up businesses. CASH strives to give people the skill sets and confidence necessary to achieve success in today’s tumultuous economy.

The Pacific Science Center is a leading light for education and culture in Seattle. It has been a pillar of the community for fifty years as the nation’s first science and technology-based museum. Jolkona partners with the Pacific Science Center to give children the opportunity to attend science camp by sponsoring campers. Camps for Curious Minds are made up of countless programs for every age and inclination. These experiences prove to be exciting, edifying, and life-changing for our youth.

Jubilee Women’s Center provides housing, staffing resources, and life improvement services for homeless women in the community. They are determined in their undertaking to restore dignity and self-sufficiency to the lives of women who have endured an array of struggles. Jolkona facilitates shopping excursions for women to boost self-confidence, as well as thorough one-on-one professional care. Jubilee’s focus on comprehensive services from employment to education to mental health makes it a meaningful hub in our community.


100% of the proceeds from Corks & Forks go to the Kona Fund for Jolkona, which sustains our goals in several ways. The contributions help maintain our operations, which allow us to take young philanthropists under our wing, while also ensuring 100% of the donations we receive are given to their rightful cause and actualized. It is because of your generous support that Jolkona is able to devote its time and energy to those in need.

Please, come join us for this exceptional opportunity to show your support for one another in the community and Jolkona!

General Tickets are currently $120, while tickets for our NextGen young philanthropists are at the special price of $100. VIP Tickets (which include awesome bonuses like champagne and wine, appetizers, and your own apron) are $175 a piece.

Buy tickets now for you and your party before ticket prices increase on Oct. 3rd at 5pm!

See you at Corks & Forks on Oct. 4th to celebrate the generous world of giving!

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