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June 13, 2019

Father's Day: When Old Guys Rule

It used to be neckties, while today it's more likely to be golf gear. Father’s Day presents can be cliché in any culture depending on the man-gift of the hour. But the truth is it’s a holiday with a 100-year history in the United States, and when it comes to what to do for Father’s Day 2019, there are a lot of features beyond gifting – SUh0vqhcespecially in places outside of America.

When you look back at Father’s Day history, you see trending come and go. But to find out what is Father’s Day and find out how they determined when is Father’s Day, you can begin by looking back to the last century.

History of Father’s Day

Like Mother’s Day, the celebration for dads has a commercial element that began in the early 20th century. 

When a Philadelphia department store launched a special service to mothers, including the sale of feminine clothing and accessories with moms in mind, other retailers followed suit. By 1909, there were 45 states celebrating Mother’s Day, which President Wilson made official in 1914 – designated to be the second Sunday of May.

There would probably not be a Father’s Day if it weren’t for Mother’s Day, which was its inspiration. Mother’s Day was an outcropping of post-Civil War activism, when individuals like Ann Reeves Jarvis established “Mother’s Work Days” to bring together women from the Union and the Confederacy.

Mother’s Day was tied to commerce – the first to target sales to moms was the John Wanamaker department store – and it was fueled by financial success. But there were some who felt that fathers did not have the same sentimental appeal that mothers have; and therefore, it wouldn’t be as financially successful. For that reason the campaign for a Father’s Day celebration wasn’t as enthusiastic.c3cxTMh0 

According to the History Channel website, as early as 1908 there were special occasions honoring fathers being held in various locations. A group of church members in West Virginia commemorated some of their own fathers, as 362 men had died in an explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company mines in Monongah. One Sunday, they were memorialized by parishioners in a service where he delivered a sermon in their honor. Soon thereafter, Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children in a family where her father was raising them alone, had an idea. She visited churches, shopkeepers, the YMCA – even government officials – to support a plan to establish an equivalent of Mother’s Day, but for fathers.

Her efforts paid off. The state of Washington held its first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. It did not become a federal holiday, however, for more than 60 years.

People continued advocating to establish a holiday equivalent to Mother's Day, one that recognized fathers, and in 1924 President Coolidge encouraged state officials to recognize that request. It wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day actually became a national holiday.

One phenomenon found by early Father’s Day advocates was that mothers were far more universally embraced and appreciated, as were efforts to recognize them. It incited controversy about establishing Father’s Day.

One historian said that they “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products – often paid for by the father himself.” 

Still, advocacy ramped up. In the 1920s and ‘30s, groups in New York rallied to bring awareness to “Parent’s Day,” which would combine Mother’s and Father’s Day, honoring both parents in one day’s celebration.

WWII became a part of efforts to recognize the outstanding contributions of dads. In the 1940s, commercial retailers used Father’s Day to support the troops and the war effort, which the public got behind, though it wasn’t an official federal holiday.

Father’s Day Around the World

Honoring parents is not just an American idea. The website TimeandDate.com describes what is Father’s Day in the practices of worldwide cultures. 

LfRRvESGFather figures are recognized and celebrated, though not on the same dates; but many resemble America in holding the tradition of the third Sunday in June, such as the United Kingdom and Canada. Australia and New Zealand, however, celebrate dads on the first Sunday in September.

Though determining when is Father’s Day differs, there are many similarities in the intent and practice of honoring male parenting. Visits, phone calls, greeting cards and gifts are a part of recognizing dads in many cultures. Some traditions differ from family to family. And as it’s a modern holiday, there are many forms of dads recognized today:
• Fathers
• Stepfathers
• Grandfathers
• Great-grandfathers
• Guardians

An article in Personal Creations describes various countries and how they celebrate Father’s Day around the world. 

In Canada people wear roses to show their appreciation and they hold family reunions, contributing donations in the name of their male role models.

India now has a celebration that resembles an American Father’s Day – just smaller scale. Urban centers and large towns in India create more awareness of Father’s Day, as there are more citizens of western countries residing there.

South African Father’s Day celebrations are infused with social messaging. The cultures there stress the importance of fathers taking the role of nurturing very seriously, believing it contributes to a stronger society. They hold parties and other social gatherings to celebrate the father’s role in raising children.

German families celebrate “Vatrtag” by participating in activities such as hiking, biking and drinking. The mother typically stays home with the children so the men can celebrate together.

Children in Japan give their fathers handmade beer glasses and flowers, and a seafood dinner is served on Father’s Day.

In Nepal the daughters place their heads in their fathers’ hands and sons touch their heads to their fathers’ feet to show love and appreciation.

“Dia del Padre” is what it’s called in Mexico. Like other North American countries, families gather for food and typically bring gifts to father figures present.

In Thailand, Father’s Day became a federal holiday because it was also former King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday – December 5. They believe the king is the father of their nation and now that the birthdate of King Bhumibol’s successor, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, is July 28, there are two holidays: Father’s Day and the King of Thailand’s Birthday. People wear yellow on Father’s Day and one of their traditions involves gifting dads with canna flowers.

What to Do for Father’s Day when it Comes to Gifts

It’s the first thing family members ask themselves: What do I get Dad?

When people rack their brains, they often come up with items related to fishing, hunting, grilling, golf or wine. wibycYC3Some of the most common Father’s Day gift ideas are:
• Shavers
• Remote controls
• Socks
• Luggage
• Robe and slippers
• Sunglasses/shades
• DVDs
• Books
• Binoculars for birders

Of course, it depends on the man, but here are a few other ideas if you’re trying to figure out what to do for Father’s Day gifting:

Tools and Products for the House: Nobody does it better than a hardware store, and the Home Depot site has more options than you can imagine for a dad who loves to putter around the house or in the yard. Some options are:
• Lawnmower
• String Trimmer
• Barbecue
• Pressure Washer
• Miter Saw

Personalized Gifts: He’ll know it’s just for him if it has his name, initials or other customized feature on it. Good Housekeeping has some Father’s Day gift ideas that are personal than usual.

A company called Paprikaa Paperie creates personalized beer bottle labels you can order online. Or you can order an article of clothing, such as socks, with your dad’s photo on them. An Etsy store known as OurLoveWasBorn will frame a print of the night sky on specific dates. You can order the date you were born or another significant anniversary.

Maps are also a popular choice these days, which can be placed on coasters, cutting boards or many other media. You can choose the image of your hometown, your state or neighborhood. 

Dinner for Fathers: Another Good Housekeeping idea is a trip to a favorite chain restaurant, which often have the best deals for dads. An article in the magazine suggests the following, among others, that have Father’s Day pricing:

  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • Tony Roma's
  • P.F. Chang's
  • Chili's
  • Red Lobster

Father’s Day Donations

For the father who has everything, you can bring a smile to his face by honoring him with a donation to a nonprofit in his name. If you have the kind of dad who loves the beauty of generosity, or one who has a private passion for those who are underserved, this is a big opportunity.

6hWpIbPoWhen money is an issue for you, donating a car to charity is an easy way to contribute a good chunk of support without pulling out your checkbook. When you donate a car to charity through Cars2Charities you can choose whichever 501(c)(3) you want – or even better – please Dad by supporting one of his favorite causes.

Is he a veteran? You can donate a car to a veterans group. You may be a supporter of Wounded Warriors, or you can ask the car donation company for a suggestion. Cars2Charities has worked with several, including Heroes in the Rough.

Is your father a retired firefighter? There are many charities that support victims and those who fight fires.

If your dad has a special place in his heart for children with serious illnesses, you may consider a car donation to children, such as Rady Children’s Hospital or another medical charity with a nonprofit foundation. 

Many people want to benefit those who are homeless or are underprivileged. Of course, any nonprofit that relates to those issues can be processed through Cars2Charities. The Los Angeles Mission is a Southern California choice, but Habitat for Humanity serves individuals worldwide.

Everyone’s dad is different, so the way we choose to celebrate him comes in a range of traditions and practices. Which ever way your culture enjoys a Father’s Day celebration, you can customize it to please the number one man in your life.

June 05, 2019

The Power of Pride Month 2019

Involvement in Pride Month grows every year, as acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community increases. There have been large gains in legalities, social inclusion and cultural shifts in the last century.2oCsaUEC

What is Pride Month?

Pride Month is an annual commemoration and for founders determining when is Pride Month going to be, it made sense to establish it in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969. The Stonewall Inn, a gay club, was raided by police, and their reputed mistreatment of customers and employees sparked a riot. Residents of the Greenwich Village neighborhood clashed with law enforcement for six days of protests, largely thought to be the start of the Gay Rights Movement.

Cities across the country host Pride Month Parades, workshops, parties, picnics, symposia and concerts which draw millions of participants. It’s also a time to shine a light on the trauma of the HIV/AIDS virus and those whose lives have been lost simply for being a member of the LGBTQ community.

Gay bars have long been a safe haven for members of the movement, says an article on History.com. While members of the LGBTQ community have been excluded from many other venues, or at least discouraged from inclusion, backed up by criminal statutes in the history of the United States. But clubs have been a refuge for people who are openly gay, as a place where they can freely socialize without stigma or bias. 

Even in those places where they routinely gather there are times, of course, when they have been or even currently are hassled by police and sometimes State Liquor authorities. It’s the efforts by brave, determined advocates that are celebrated in Pride Month 2019.lsdkVkXr

History of Pride Month

Thanks to the work of early activists, the improving acceptance rate of LGBTQ Americans has mobilized legislation and workplace attitudes. A CNN article has a timeline tracing the gay rights movement back to 1924. 

The earliest advocate was Henry Gerber of Chicago, who founded the first documented gay rights organization.

Another activist, Harry Hay, founded the Mattachine Society in 1950, which centered on social support for the LGBTQ community.

In 1952, homosexuality was listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual. Experts thought it was a condition, categorizing it as a sociopathic personality disturbance.

The next year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower banned homosexuals from governmental jobs, signing an executive order claiming they put Americans’ security at risk.

A few years later, in September 1955, the San Francisco Daughters of Bilitis, or DOB, was formed. It’s the first lesbian rights organization in the country and its social activities were private so they would not be threatened by police action.

The 1960s brought further awareness, and homosexuality was first decriminalizedaHLrQJA2in Illinois in 1961, which meant sodomy laws were removed. The same year, a televised documentary about same sex couples was aired in California, the first of its kind in the United States.

A newspaper was launched in 1967 called “The Los Angeles Advocate,” later renamed “The Advocate,” and is reportedly the oldest continual LGBT publication in the country. It was originally a newsletter out of PRIDE – Personal Rights in Defense and Education.

One year after the Stonewall incident, the first Gay Pride Parade was established when New York City residents marched to recognize the first anniversary of the riots.

The next battleground was over marriage. In 1973 the state of Maryland banned same-sex marriage, the first state to create the statute.

The same year, a group called “Parents and Friends of Gays” was formed. In 1982 it was changed to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG.

At the end of the year, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the diagnostic manual which was previously categorized as a mental disorder.

The first openly gay individual to be elected to a public office was Kathy Kozachenko, who won her seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council in 1974. Another lesbian was elected that year to the State Legislature of Massachusetts, the first openly gay individual in a state office.

A federal gay rights bill was introduced in 1975. It would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation, but it never passed the Judiciary Committee.

Gay Pride 2019 Celebrates the Movement’s Accomplishments 

In 1924, when German immigrant Henry Gerber, who founded the Society for Human Rights, settled in Chicago, he saw the poor treatment of individuals with different sexual orientation. He was targeted by authorities and committed to a mental institution temporarily in 1917, says Dosomething.org.

"I had always bitterly felt the injustice with which my own American society accused the homosexual of ‘immoral acts,’” Gerber wrote.

D8gkVxNEIn the 21st century, thanks to activists the gains for the gay community come at a faster pace. In 2007, The Employment Nondiscrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation.

The name Matthew Shepard is now iconic. The University of Wyoming student was attacked and killed by two men who targeted him because he was gay. In 2009, The Matthew Shepard Act outlawed crime towards individuals for reasons of sexual and gender identity

The federal government recognized same-sex marriage in 2013 and a year later, 19 states made it legal. There are 15 countries that currently allow same-sex marriage.

Anyone Can Take Part in Pride Month 2019

Even people who don’t know what to do for Pride Month quickly become aware of it when cities host events, making it possible to engage in activities, even if they never have in the past.

A site called “them.” offers the following tips for first-time Pride-goers.

There’s no dress code. Freedom to be yourself is nearly the entire focus of Pride Month, so you can express yourself in whatever way you desire. Ironically, dressing in shades of the rainbow are probably a better way to fade into the woodwork than something simple.

In searching for the nearest parade, there are sites to go to such as GayPrideCalendar.com. You’ll see other Pride Month events posted as well. You can also contact an LGBTQ rights office in your town. 

You don’t have to be gay to celebrate Pride Month, Week or Day. Some individuals use the opportunity to “come out,” and others are straight, but just want to support the community. Everyone’s welcome and your sexual preference isn’t an issue. You may keep it discreet.SFfcrDCB

Special Events During Pride Month 2019

Cities all over the world can make your Pride Month experience special, and none is more iconic, perhaps, than West Hollywood. If you don’t live in the Los Angeles area, it may be a good time to visit this prominently gay community. The Human Rights Campaign provides a website where you can find events in your state.

Sometimes referred to as “WeHo,” it is the home of iconic entertainment such as the legendary Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset Strip. Santa Monica Boulevard has a number of gay bars, dance clubs and shops and WeHo is famous for some of the city’s most buzzworthy restaurants.

There is a two-day festival planned this year during Gay Pride Week 2019 which opens following the Pride Month Parade. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is providing volunteers for the event, which is held on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, 2019. The Pride Week Parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday and the festival follows at 12 noon.

The HRC website describes the role of a volunteer: “Volunteering at Pride means talking to the general public about HRC's work, our resources and the importance of engaging in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. It also means asking for donations in order to sign people up as members.”

Perhaps the most widely-known Pride Month celebration is the San Francisco Pride Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Parade & Celebration, which will be held on June 29-30. With the tagline “Generations of Resistance,” the Bay Area festival is always colorful and sends strong messages to the rest of the world. 

Some of the attractions at this year’s Gay Pride Festival are:

• World-famous drag queens including Amara La Negra, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Kristin Beck
• Entertainers including La Frida, Candelaria and Book of Love
• San Francisco Pride Golf Tournament
• Identity & Pride Youth Art Show
• Speakers including Mayor London N. Breed and Senator Scott Wiener

If you have an amusement park in your community, check with their Pride Month 2019 schedule. They want you there and some of them create an LGBTQ-supportive atmosphere by decorating to celebrate Pride Month.

LGBTQ Pride Month is a good time to visit museums and memorials with the history of human rights. One of San Francisco’s notable institutions is the GLBT Historical Society Museum in the Castro District. It’s the first stand-alone museum of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender history and culture in the U.S. It has dynamic exhibits and it typically showcases diversity and social justice.

Recognize Pride Month 2019 by Empowering the LGBTQ Community

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to support a nonprofit that benefits the gay community, you only need one thing: a car you no longer want. It’s everyone’s experience at some point – when it’s time to replace your vehicle you have to decide how to kick your car to the curb.

sznl78lsIf you’ve always done a dealer trade-in or CarMax, you’ve lost value on your car (which you probably knew, but it didn’t matter because it was easy). Here’s your chance to do a little celebrating when you donate a car to an LGBTQ charity.

You get to decide which nonprofit gets proceeds from the sale of your car. It can be any 501(c)(3). At Cars2Charities we’ve processed car donations to gay charities in the past, so we can help you if you don’t have one in mind.

You can donate a car to the Alliance for Children Everywhere, which helps children in crisis, including those orphaned by AIDS. Its Nutrition & Nurture Program provides physical needs such as milk for infants and unbridled support for families.

Another nonprofit we’ve worked with is the Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness that works to offset the inequalities that exist for the underserved in San Francisco. Communities needing HIV/AIDS services, particularly the African American community, are among the sectors receiving the most attention from the charity.

Or you can donate a car to the Los Angeles LGBT Center through Cars2Charities. Citing its contribution with “50 Years of Queer,” the LAGBT Center assists individuals with everything from social services and housing to health services and education.

The move toward inclusion is worth celebrating. This year you may want to take part in your first Pride Month celebration, and there’s a growing number of opportunities.

June 01, 2019

Out with the New: Car Auction Advantages

You’ve thought about checking out a car auction, but if you’re being honest, you’d really like to buy something new. Who wouldn’t? It’s sleek, shiny and has that “new smell.” But the drawbacks may motivate you to look for a nearby car auction instead.NBrM9FNO

California Used Car vs. Buying New

It’s hard to resist Elon Musk’s affordable Tesla Model Y electric crossover SUV in his 2020 line. It will go a full 300 miles without needing a charge. It’s the crossover version of the Model 3 that emerged in 2016, which people were clamoring for, according to Green Car Reports. Tesla got 115,000 deposits of $1,000 each in 24 hours before the Model 3 launched. Before delivery of the cars the company collected 450,000 deposits. 

Though it’s comparable with other new cars for sale, pricewise, if you have a modest budget you have more options looking at used cars for sale.

MoneyCrashers has an article with reasons to buy a used car rather than ponying up the big bucks for a new car. The most obvious is the instant depreciation when you drive off the lot. But there are other advantages to finding used cars for sale.

There are a lot of associated fees with new car purchases. Some state laws charge taxes on new cars, but not on the sale of used cars. If you buy a car from a private owner in Georgia, you pay no taxes at all. On the other hand, dealers have to charge you thousands of dollars when they sell a vehicle from their lot.

Your car’s registration fee is at issue also. Because they’re typically based on the value of the vehicle, you obviously pay more if you buy a nicer, newer car.

Companies selling new cars also get extra money using such catch-all terms as “dealer preparation” or “destination fees.” With a used car, the only one you owe is the DMV for tag, title and registration fees.

And consider the features on your new car – there are hidden losses for you if you purchase a new vehicle rather than going to a car auction or other source. Some of the financial overkill that new car dealers get away with is the presence of extras on a new car. It’s a tactic some of them use to get a few extra bucks from car shoppers. By including something like “anti-rust coating” or a pinstripe they can add dollars to the sticker price, but it doesn’t increase the resale value of the car at all!

8G8 mQA5If you’re thinking, “Hey, I like all the bells and whistles,” don’t worry. You can add those features after you purchase the vehicle, and the after-market price is almost always lower.

Car Auctions & Other Ways to Find Used Cars for Sale

If you’ve bought and sold cars very often, you know there are many ways to locate cars for sale in Los Angeles.

AutoTrader
An online vehicle marketplace launched in 1997, AutoTrader reportedly has the largest number of used car listings – including both dealers and private sellers. This used car purchasing platform connects you with cars for sale in Los Angeles – or another area – when you input the make and model you’re searching for.

There are other resources on the website, from research and reviews to videos, seller specials and dealer discounts.

Craigslist
Founded by Craig Newmark in 1995, Craigslist is a classified ad website with categories of individual sales in arenas such as housing, jobs, household items, gigs, used cars and much more. Its headquarters are in San Francisco, but it is internationally known. Some individuals list their vehicles here and deal with it themselves rather than sending it to a car auction.dxNlZ2Lg

CarMax
This used car retailer actually came out of Circuit City stores. Though the first CarMax location opened in Richmond, Virginia in 1993, the service wasn’t widely known until much later. It’s the country’s largest used car retailer and because of its resources, cars can be shipped to a CarMax near you for free. The cars you buy through the company can only be six years old or less, while vehicles at a car auction can be a wide range of ages.

Also, CarMax sells cars to registered dealers, as well as to car auctions.

Finding Cars for Sale in Los Angeles, California through Auction

Many used cars find new owners through the auction process. And even before you’ve decided to make a purchase, you can attend the car auction for free to see how it works.

Auctions for Los Angeles used car sales take place in the north San Fernando Valley once a week – every Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. You should arrive early to see the vehicles between 8:30 and 9:45 a.m. Entrance is free of charge.

While the gates open at 8:30, the auction begins promptly at 10 a.m. The used car auction venue is outdoors, so there are some recommendations for attendees:
• Wear comfortable shoes
• Wear lightweight clothing in summer months
• Bring portable chairs
• Bring water and snacks
• No children are allowed at auction
• No smoking is allowed

Sales are CASH only – no other form of payment is accepted, and all donated vehicles are sold AS-IS and may or may not be operable.

You may look over the cars scheduled to be auctioned the same day by checking a list at the auctioneer booth. To find Cars2Charities donated vehicles, find the section of the car auction lot marked for our cars.

When you purchase a vehicle at the car auction, you must pay the entire balance (again – in cash only) by 5:00 p.m.

For more information you can call (818) 767-6031.

Purchasing a Car through Cars2Charities

W0zghdy8When you contact us at Cars2Charities with the desire to purchase a vehicle at the nearby car auction, we have a written guide to inform you in advance what to expect. It’s a unique form of used car sales, but there are many good reasons to support it.

Our Values

Service Excellence: For more than 30 years we have been handling car donations for clients with a goal to maintain service excellence at each phase of the process. We work to provide quality at every step, to every donor and partner – to be fast, simple, clean and timely. We constantly seek to understand the needs of those who count on us, and to exceed your expectations.

Integrity: We provide honest feedback, saying what we think and doing what we say. We are trusted because we are honest and dependable. We strive to align our beliefs with our every action.

Generosity: We seek to model cheerful, generous giving in our own lives. We express our gratitude freely and expect to see lives changed as a result of philanthropy and generosity. It is our hope that we inspire our clientele to generously give to the causes they care about, and a car donation is the beginning.

Accountability: You will not hear us say, “It’s not my fault” or “It’s not my job.” We follow through in what we tell you, taking responsibility for meeting commitments – personal ones as well as those of the entire organization. We own the results.

Partnership: We work together. Our teamwork strategy has served us well for decades, and it enables us to combine our strengths for the good of the company, our donors and charity partners. We genuinely care for and support everyone involved in our donation process.

Continuous Improvement: We add value to everything we touch, and we maximize the benefits others receive. “How can we do this better?” is our daily motto. We systematically keep making every step simpler, quicker and better.

When you buy your next “new to you” car through Cars2Charities, you’re supporting local and nationwide organizations. It's the chance to contribute to charities needing finances. 

We have been the conduit for car donations to every imaginable category of needs. You can donate a car to veterans or donate to children’s causes. Some of our donors are animal lovers, while others want to contribute to expand research for a medical condition.

Some of the causes we’ve been able to support are:
Habitat for Humanity: You may know them as home builders, but Habitat for Humanity does so much more. What actually began as a community farm in Americus, Georgia is now an international housing provider and they also run what they call “ReStores” in more than 900 locations.

Reach Out World Wide (ROWW): Established by the late actor Paul Walker after the Haiti earthquake of 2010, ROWW brings practical help to those suffering from natural disasters all over the world.

Parkinson’s Foundation: Helping people suffering from the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s Disease is the mission of this nonprofit organization. 

Humane Society: One of the most widely respected charities in the world, the Humane Society provides safety to animals living on the street and treats those that are injured, neglected and abused. 

Children’s Hospital: No one can imagine what it’s like to have a little one with a life-threatening disease. The medical staff at Children’s Hospital are in the trenches, treating whole families with cutting-edge science every day. 

Whether you consult Angie’s List or Yelp, you’ve probably depended on the remarks of fellow consumers for household services, products and restaurants. Likewise, we post comments by previous Cars2Charities donors on our testimonials page.

The following are a few of those:
• “They did an incredible job ... made the whole process simple.” – John V.
• “Working with Cars2Charities has been great all around. Highly recommend.” – Abigail V.
• “This is the place and the people that go over and above to help you with all the needs. They are friendly, reliable, and honest to their work.” – Rachel N.

You can read more reviews on Yelp; Facebook; and our Testimonials Page.qYAYDqNs

Testimonials add value to a company’s credibility. You know you can trust the services of an institution with positive reviews. According to Dimensional Research, which specializes in technology companies, 90% of consumers claim they’re influenced by online reviews when making purchases. 

Whether you’re on the donor side or you’re looking for cars for sale, we can help you. The benefit to you if you want to donate a car to charity, is that your car can join other cars for sale in Los Angeles, California, and it will come at no cost or effort for you.

If you’re looking for a used car to purchase, you can experience the excitement of a car auction nearby and you may find yourself like a lot of our past car buyers – coming back again for your next set of wheels.

May 23, 2019

A More Meaningful Memorial Day 2019

While Memorial Day 2019 may feature a lot of the usual patriotic traditions, it’s a holiday with a 150-year history which has gone through an evolution over  Qo0FH8btime. In fact, in the beginning it wasn’t even called Memorial Day.

History of Memorial Day

The Civil War marks the beginning of Memorial Day history. First it was known as Decoration Day, established to commemorate the large number of Americans killed, as the Civil War took more lives than any war in the history of the country.

The name is derived from the practice of decorating the graves of soldiers with flowers. Visitors would also hold springtime tributes and recite prayers for fallen soldiers. 

Various communities began their own, similar traditions, but the Memorial Day history recorded in books finds that 1966 marked the holiday’s establishment. That’s when the federal government made Waterloo, New York the official birthplace of Memorial Day –100 years after Waterloo’s first Decoration Day, held on May 5, 1866.

The history of Memorial Day is tied to General John A. Logan, who led the Northern Civil War Veterans organization. He called for a special day of recognition for those who died in service to the country.

He said: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

They chose the last Monday of May to hold the commemoration, because there had been no battle on that date. Arlington National Cemetery was the site of a Decoration Day speech by General James Garfield, who was an Ohio congressman at the time, later elected president, in 1881.

There were 5,000 participants who heard his address before they decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington. Gen. Garfield explained the purpose of Decoration Day, first by acknowledging that words could not match the significance of the soldiers’ sacrifice.kw ITYQV

The tradition continued in northern states and by 1890 many had made it official. There was a separate day for the southern states to commemorate their dead.

Decoration Day honored Civil War soldiers at first, but by the time of World War I the holiday expanded to also recognize members of the military who died in all wars.

There were times when the U.S. Congress made changes to aspects defining what is Memorial Day. The “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” passed by Congress in 1968 created a three-day weekend for federal employees by adjoining the celebration of Memorial Day to a weekend – the last Monday of May.

That’s why Memorial Day 2019 is Monday, May 27.

Visiting National Cemeteries on Memorial Day

The Civil War period was also the beginning of the government establishment of national cemeteries. Today there are 136 cemeteries maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration. There are national cemeteries in 40 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

The first ones were established before the end of the Civil War, about a dozen such cemeteries in 1862. By 1870 there were 73 national cemeteries where nearly 300,000 Union soldiers and sailors were laid to rest.

While it began with the Civil War dead, now the spectrum includes any person who served in the military. They can be buried at the national cemeteries, soldiers’ lots, government lots and Confederate cemeteries. These are managed by three agencies: The National Cemetery Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs; the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior; and the Department of the Army of the Department of Defense.

zrPtn1 VWhile most soldiers who died in the War of 1812 or the American Revolution were buried in family cemeteries or churchyards, the country’s expansion west in the 19th century required burials at U.S. Army posts. Also, cities began building cemeteries on the outskirts of their populated areas for the sake of sanitation.

With time, there were far more casualties in wartime, so the process of burial had to make shifts and alterations.

In July 1862, the United States Congress passed legislation concerning pay, rations and the purchase of land to establish cemeteries for those who died fighting for the Union Army. The first of these were created near battlefields, troop concentration points and hospitals, including:

  • Nancy, Kentucky
  • Keokuk, Iowa
  • Alexandria, Virginia

By the end of the Civil War there were 30 national cemeteries and seven soldiers’ lots in private cemeteries.

Memorial Day Events Nationwide

According to the Automobile Club, nearly 43 million U.S. residents will travel over the Memorial Day 2019 holiday weekend. A total of 37.6 million are expected to travel by car and some will have destinations in mind to honor the military dead.

A CNN travel article features recommended locations where Memorial Day events will be held.

Visitors to Charleston, South Carolina can dedicate a flag to heroes of their choice at the Charleston Field of Honor from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fees will benefit local veterans’ groups.

Columbus, the capital of Ohio, has a new National Veterans Memorial and Museum where veterans have free admission. The museum focuses on people who served rather than detailing the wars and conflicts themselves.

An impressive set of monuments are found in Indianapolis, Indiana, including veteran-related fountains and statues. The Indiana War Memorials and Museum is a popular stopping point for individuals choosing to take meaningful trips for Memorial Day 2019.

One of the jewels of the East Coast – Cape Cod – is the site of an annual Memorial Day parade, which will actually be held on Sunday, May 26. It begins at Nantucket Legion Hall and ends at Prospect Hill Cemetery in the town. There is a whaling museum worth visiting, and an annual Memorial Day sailing race as well. yCxwfnK

The home of country music, Nashville, Tennessee, has a World War II Memorial at Bicentennial Capitol Mall. It houses an eight-ton marble globe that is situated in flowing water, which is a wonder for visitors.

About 20 miles outside of Nashville is “The Hermitage,” the former home of President Andrew Jackson. You can view his house and picturesque grounds.

The charm of Oklahoma City draws thousands on Memorial Day for a ceremony that includes firing a WWII anti-tank gun. It takes place at a renowned patriotic venue – the 45th Division Museum. After the ceremony at 10 a.m. visitors can take in such exhibits as the Reaves weapons collection in the museum.

A getaway for the Hollywood crowd, Palm Springs, California may not resonate with patriotism, but its Memorial Day weekend does more than just launch the tourist season. City leaders will honor soldiers at the Palm Springs Air Museum at the Memorial Day Flower Drop and Air Fair. The annual event centers around a flyover by a B-25 Mitchell bomber that drops more than 3,000 red and white carnations. The rest of the day includes flight exhibitions and activities as well.

The area in and around Pensacola, Florida offers beach activities along the Panhandle, as well as the presence of many military men and women. Memorial Day 2019 includes a Pensacola Beach Pride celebration over the weekend, plus you can visit the area’s memorable National Naval Aviation Museum – the largest in the world of its kind.

You may want to step onto Whidbey Island, a ferry ride from Seattle, Washington where you can reflect among the natural beauty of Puget Sound. Maple Leaf Cemetery on the northern part of the island in Oak Harbor is the site of the Memorial Day Service of Remembrance at 10 a.m. The ceremony will involve the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and the Oak Harbor High School Chorus.

The epitome of Memorial Day celebrations, of course, is in Washington, D.C. It’s always a patriotic centerpiece, but for Memorial Day a visit to the nation’s capital has additional meaning.

Memorial Day 2019 in Washington, D.C. includes:

-- National Memorial Day Concert: Held on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol building, it begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, May 26. You can also watch it on PBS and see appearances by Patti LaBelle, retired Gen. Colin Powell, the National Symphony Orchestra and performance groups from the military branches.
-- National Memorial Day Parade: Beginning at 2 p.m. on Monday, May 27 and running next to the National Mall along Constitution Avenue, this year’s grand marshals will be D-Day survivors who helped liberate France 75 years ago and also actor Gary Sinise, who runs a foundation for veterans.
-- Arlington Cemetery: The site of the eternal flame, where famed military men and women are buried, including President John F. Kennedy, Arlington Cemetery is a popular patriotic site year-round. A Memorial Day ceremony begins there at 11 a.m. Monday, May 27 and will draw approximately 5,000 visitors to the Memorial Amphitheater.
-- National Mall Memorials: There are permanent honorary markers dedicated to individuals who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. But there is special meaning to visiting these structures over Memorial Day.
-- USAA Poppy Wall of Honor: The District of Columbia has begun a new tradition, creating a wall of honor using poppy flowers, which are a symbol of sacrifice by members of the military. For Memorial Day 2019 it will be located on the southwest side of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall and is open from Friday, May 24 through Sunday, May 26.

National Moment of Remembrance

National Moment of Remembrance resolutions, passed in December 2000, proposes that at 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day all Americans voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a literal moment of remembrance and respect. Many of these celebrations will participate in the tradition during their ceremonies.

Donating to Military Causes

d7FpFXdkAs a gesture of your own patriotism for Memorial Day 2019, you can consider doing something to support the men and women who serve in the military. If you have an affinity for those serving abroad, there are nonprofit groups sending care packages. If you prefer to help the wounded, there are organizations you can support to do that as well.

When you donate a car to military charities, it’s a chance to use a car you’re planning to replace as a gift to causes you care about.

A car donation to veterans through Cars2Charities enables you to target your donation to any charity you choose. The process they use has advantages, including the fact that they assess your car donation before selling it, which tends to garner a higher selling price, which gets you a better tax write-off.

It’s also incredibly easy. Not only do you not have to think about the work involved in prepping your car for sale, they pick up your donation vehicle and – literally – handle the entire process.

All you do is choose the charity you prefer, which is any 501(c)(3). Cars2Charities has worked with numerous military nonprofit groups, including: 

Wounded Warrior Project: A veterans’ nonprofit support organization, WWP gives comfort to members of the military who have suffered physical or mental injuries from their service to the country since September 11, 2001.

Heroes in the Rough: Based in Pebble Beach, Heroes in the Rough offers veterans and their families the opportunity to become active, including golf clinics, lessons and tournaments. Disabled veterans gain coordination and stabilize memory while they build physical stamina and golf skills.

Patriots and Paws: Providing help to any one of the 8% who have served in the U.S. military or the 4% who are currently serving, Patriots and Paws is a Fresno-based nonprofit helping them transition back to civilian life. Approximately 95% of those aided by the organization have been homeless at some point and through this volunteer-run charity, individuals can gain access to housing, home furnishings, as well as a rescued companionship animal.

This year, you can reflect on “What is Memorial Day” and celebrate in an elevatedX30yWVuIfashion. Choose to visit or tune in to new forms of celebration and remembrance, or donate to military members of the military to show your respect and thanks to United States Military heroes. Either way, Memorial Day 2019 can be a standout experience for you.

May 13, 2019

Nevada Nuptials: How to Get Married in Vegas

Las Vegas lore is filled with stories about people getting married in Vegas. Falling under the tagline “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” quickie weddings and secret marriages keep up the public’s curiosity. And for the most part, it’s n7wHLkilworth the effort by inquiring minds.

The Rich and Famous Who Get Married in Vegas

You can find little else to connect such public people as Kelly Ripa, Shia Laboeuf, Richard Gere and Jane Fonda than the fact they had weddings in Vegas – some in successful unions and some ... well ... not-so-much. Tabloid readers have been keeping up with these revolving door-style weddings for decades.

One of the earliest Hollywood examples and one of the entertainment industry’s most enduring marriages took place in Vegas – Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in 1958.

One of the best-known brides (eight times) was Elizabeth Taylor, who married Eddie Fisher in a Jewish ceremony at a Las Vegas synagogue in 1959.

In an interesting backstory, Taylor had just converted to Judaism the year before, after her beloved husband Mike Todd died in an airplane crash. According to the Daily Beast in an article about an Andy Warhol exhibition in the Jewish Museum, the 26-year-old Taylor was seeking support while mourning the death of Todd, whose birth name was Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen. Rabbi Max Nussbaum oversaw her conversion and officiated at her marriage to Fisher. 

The 1960s saw the most famous Las Vegas wedding couple, Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu, hold a ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in May 1967. In the same decade, others included Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda in 1965 and Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra, who tied the knot at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in July 1966.

The legends continued to fill the altars at Las Vegas chapels and hotels. Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson held one of their two marriages in Las Vegas in 1976. It lasted six months and they remarried in 1989.10G8xeWR

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore became an official power couple at the Golden Nugget Hotel in Las Vegas in 1987 and divorced in 2000.

Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos were married in 1996 and Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford united in 1998.

Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton brought in the new millennium with their union at the Little Church of the West Wedding Chapel in 2000. Leah Remini and Angelo Pagan had a poolside ceremony at the Bellagio hotel in 2003.

Though it’s not a record for the shortest length of a marriage made in Vegas, Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander rang in the new year with a wedding in Las Vegas in 2004 and stayed hitched for just 55 hours. Of course, she pretty much eschewed tradition with her wardrobe – a midriff-revealing T-shirt, ripped jeans and a baseball cap.

“Entourage” star Kevin Dillon and Jane Stuart, a professional model, said “I do” in 2006. They made it a Vegas classic with an Elvis impersonator who did several performances at their ceremony.

Pamela Anderson and Rick Salomon married and began their demise in Vegas when they reportedly began fighting about his poker debts. That was their first marriage (2007). They married again in 2014 and divorced again in 2015.

Shia LaBeouf and Mia Goth began their two-year marriage in 2016.

Fast forward to today and keep watching. On May 1, 2019 Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner got married in Las Vegas after the Billboard Music Awards. More hasty marital decisions are sure to follow.

What Happens in Vegas Wedding Preparations?

Gvbc5jOjWe’ve heard a lot of the stories, but the best ones don't come from sources like The Knot or Pinterest. And the best storytellers are people who've seen it all up close, so they really know how to get married in Vegas. 

A writer for Cracked online got inside information from a former Vegas wedding chapel employee who dishes all kinds of facts about the quirky choice of Las Vegas for marital beginnings. When it comes to how to get married in Vegas, this woman has seen it all. 

Its reputation as an ideal city for impulsive marriage decisions actually began in 1928 in California, when the Golden State passed a “gin law” which made engaged couples take three days before issuing them a marriage license. It was an effort to limit people from entering marriages while drunk, but what it did, of course, was send people over the border, increasing the number of couples going to Nevada for Las Vegas weddings.

You won’t find Las Vegas leadership complaining – it’s a cash cow and keeps tourism high. The county’s marriage license bureau is near the Sunset Strip and the city’s agency office stays open until midnight every day of the year – even Christmas.

It typically doesn’t even take an hour to get what you need, which includes your marriage license and certificate, costing you about $93. When crowds are few you can get married for less than $100 and in less than an hour’s time.

As you may or may not expect, like a favorite bar or hangout, even Vegas has “regulars.” The chapel employee remembered one man who got married in April, then again two weeks later, and her chapel married him to other women another two times the same year. Each time he produced annulment papers so they could reissue him a license.

What happens when someone under 18 attempts to get married in Las Vegas?

According to the article, it’s hard to stop them, because they can lie about their age. It’s up to the bureau to catch them and if someone underage gets married in Vegas, the marriage is illegitimate until the parties are both 18 or over. At that point, it automatically becomes legitimate unless the parents got the marriage annulled somewhere along the way.

People from all over the world come to Nevada thinking they understand how to get married in Vegas, but sometimes they misunderstand the protocol. They assume there’s little-to-no paperwork involved, that it’s just like the movies –an Elvis impersonator calls you “husband and wife” and bada-bing-bada-boom – you’re married.

How to Get Married in Vegas

If you’re a Nevada resident, want a quickie wedding, or if you simply think it wouldCgyvbn2Dbe a fun venue for your invite list, getting married in Las Vegas makes sense. Lucky for you, the steps are simple!

1. Go online and complete the Clark County Marriage License Pre-Application form. The county clerk receives your completed form and it is saved in their system for a year. You have to include a social security number (though there’s an option if you don’t have one). It asks how many times you’ve been married, and you don’t even have to know the exact date you received an annulment or divorce.

The form has a hot link to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce where you get information on every related service you can think of. 

Some of the businesses advertising there to gain access to new applicants are:
Bootlegger Italian Bistro; The Sugar Factory; and Las Vegas Weddings.

Make sure you are eligible: You must be 18 years old, and minors 17 or 16 must get the consent of a parent or legal guardian. To avoid bigamy charges, both individuals must be legally single to get married.

2. Pick up your marriage license at the Clark County Marriage License Bureau, which is located at 201 E. Clark Avenue Las Vegas, Nevada, 89101. It is open from 8 a.m. -12 midnight. Each bride and groom needs to present a valid form of ID.

3. A witness is required during the wedding, but if you’re alone the chapel may provide a witness for you. To choose a wedding chapel, consult online reviews. 

If you have a crowd coming, there are plenty of venues online with packages to include your party, rooms and food. Some of those include:

The Little Neon Chapel –three locations, where you can have free VIP night club access and show tickets 

Viva Las Vegas – where you can experience the Hound Dog Wedding Package or the Elvis Pink Caddy Package 

Wee Kirk O’ the Heather – opened in 1940 and offers destination weddings including helicopters and Las Vegas Sign ceremonies 

And, believe it or not, getting married in Vegas doesn’t have to involve a little chapel. There are numerous outdoor venues as well. 

Getting Married in Vegas Saves Money

When you’re just starting out, finding cost cutters may be essential to your survival. Just because you have a Vegas wedding doesn’t mean you take divorce lightly, and since surveys reveal that money is the number one topic leading to divorce, you want to minimize the friction by addressing it.

An article in the Business Insider says that particularly in the first and third years of marriage, money causes more conflict than the spouses’ families, children or religion. They found that when couples bring debt into their marriage it causes a great deal of unhappiness. Those with $20,000 to $50,000 of debt have the lowest satisfaction in marriage, according to studies.

Most of us know it’s an important topic to discuss before tying the knot – whether you get married in Vegas or not. But about one-fourth of couples studied admitted to avoiding those conversations.

jXDvms1SThere was a study by American Express that showed fewer than 50 percent of married couples actually talked about money before they got married, but results were higher when they just polled affluent couples and young professionals. More than 10 percent of married folks claimed they had never discussed finances with their spouses.

“Budgets are Sexy” money blogger Andy Prescott explains in Business Insider how he saved money getting married in Vegas. 

“I got married in Las Vegas for $500, and if I had to do it all over again I would do it exactly the same,” he says. “I understand it's not for everybody, but for the right people it's a great way to save thousands of dollars.”

The first thing Prescott does in his writeup is help you determine if you’re, in fact, least likely to be happy with the decision to get married in Vegas.

First of all, if you dreamed of a traditional, elegant affair, you probably won’t like what you get with a Las Vegas wedding. And if you have family who want the same for you, it’s not a best bet possibility.

But if you have conflict within the family, or if you don’t want them showing up – hosting a Vegas wedding is a great idea. If something short, sweet and cheap is at the top of your priority list, then it’s a good choice as well.

The writer points out that you can get married in Las Vegas for as little as $55, but you may not get Elvis for that. Prescott’s wedding ceremony cost $300 at the Golden Nugget, which amounted to a simple affair in a pretty nice hotel. They were married by a Roman Catholic priest who recited a traditional speech and it included a wedding planner and photographer.

Your Financial Decisions after Getting Married in Las Vegas

You’ve got to get home, one way or the other. If you flew to Vegas, but don’t have a return flight, consider buying a car.

It sounds crazy, but many residents of Western states such as California find they can save money by purchasing wheels out of state. Because the population is lower in Nevada, you can often find individuals who are more desperate to unload their used cars because there isn’t as big a pool of car buyers.

Or you may be in the market for a particular RV or a vintage vehicle with a long list of specs – and if you find it in Nevada you can drive you and your newlywed partner home.

It’s not smart to be completely impulsive about it, but it’s something to consider.

If your CPA wants you to find more tax write-offs this year, you can donate a car to charity and there’s an added financial benefit. You can swing through Valley Auto Mall after Elvis pronounces you “man and wife” (or whatever) and you get the luxury of a new set of wheels plus an easy way to unload the car that’s parked in your garage.

When you make a car donation to charity you don’t really have to do much. A call to Cars2Charities, or a donation online means a towing professional comes to pick up your donation vehicle – at a time and place that’s convenient for you.CYQiv6lS

The only other effort you have is to choose the 501(c)(3) nonprofit to obtain proceeds from the car donation. Cars2Charities completes all the paperwork – even the title transfer.

This could very well be the best year of your life. If you’re getting married in Vegas, it’s the beginning of a lifelong journey, which you can expand to be so much more. How about a honeymoon at Graceland?

May 07, 2019

Making Mother's Day 2019 More Meaningful

Unless you’re over 100 years old, you’ve celebrated Mom your entire life, considering Mother’s Day 2019 is the 105th official celebration in U.S. history. The holiday dates back to 1908, when Anna Marie Jarvis of West Virginia suggestedGMmUTam5that Americans create an observance of mothers.

Mother’s Day History

A complete Mother’s Day history – the start of officially recognizing the women who gave birth to us – requires going back to ancient times.

The ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele through festivals, according to the History Channel website. Rhea was a Greek Titaness figure, a mythological daughter of the earth goddess Gaia. Cybele is a more universal mother from the Roman province of Phrygia. 

The Christians made it sacred by establishing “Mothering Sunday” on the fourth Sunday of Lent, communicating the idea that congregants return to their mother church for a special service. This tradition was strongest in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe.

Mother’s Day 2019 is, of course, a secular celebration, which it became in due course, where kids would give their mothers flowers and other gifts of appreciation. By the 1930s and ‘40s it began to look much like the American Mother’s Day we are accustomed to celebrating.

Anna Jarvis launched the idea in 1908, approximately three years after the death of her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, who was an activist who drew attention to issues involving women. The elder Jarvis, who lived before the Civil War, created “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs,” where local women could gather to learn superior childcare practices.

Ann Reeves Jarvis also established “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” which united women from both sides of the Mason-Dixon line after the war. She was a contemporary of Julia Ward Howe, a suffragette and abolitionist who wrote a “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870 with the purpose of uniting women to promote world peace. Howe also campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be established and celebrated on June 2 every year.

I4e1s8mnAlso adding legs to the idea for a Mother’s Day movement, in the 1870s another activist, Juliet Calhoun Blakely, was a catalyst for the establishment of a Mother’s Day celebration in her own community of Albion, Michigan.

Both Ann and Anna Reeves were active in the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church and it was a closing prayer that Anna heard her mother deliver that gave her inspiration for a Mother’s Day tribute:

“I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial to Mother’s Day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.”

The young Jarvis got funding from department store owner John Wanamaker in Philadelphia and in May 1908 held the first Mother’s Day celebration at her home church while another was held at one of the businessman’s stores.

She campaigned to make it official, arguing that American holidays only celebrated men, but on a larger scale, she also established the Mother’s Day International Association.

Mother’s Day history in America finally began when it was signed and put in place as a proclamation from President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.

Anna Jarvis never married nor became a mother herself, and her connection to Mother’s Day ended with irony. While she saw Mother’s Day as a personal celebration relegated to families, it became much more than individuals attending church services wearing white carnations to honor their mothers.

Greeting card companies and florists popularized it, which turned it into a commercial holiday. The very industry that Jarvis engaged when attempting to launch her campaign – florists – became a thorn in her side.

Anna Jarvis denounced American Mother’s Day in 1920, even starting a full opposition to its profiteers, including candy makers, florists and card companies. She incited lawsuits against those using the words “Mother’s Day” and by 1948 when she died, she was lobbying the government to remove it from the official calendar.

Mother’s Day Around the World

There are more telephone calls on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year, sometimes rising by 37 percent over other averages. It makes sense, as peopleNvVjSN0Eacross the globe acknowledge a special day for mothers.

In Ethiopia there’s a festival honoring motherhood at the end of the fall, when participants sing and a large feast is consumed as they celebrate over several days, explains an article on Care.com. Called Antrosht, it marks the end of the rainy season, so family members are able to come home to the celebration. The daughters are responsible to bring the cheese, vegetables, butter and spices. A mother’s sons bring the meats, which typically includes lamb or bull. These ingredients are combined to create a traditional hash.

Citizens in Brazil celebrate Mother’s Day in a commercial way, second most prominent to Christmas in their country. Held the second Sunday in May, children perform and church members gather, culminating in large barbecues bringing together multiple generations.

Carnations are a part of Japan’s Mother’s Day celebration, as they signify their mothers’ gentleness and strength. Also held on the second Sunday in May, art contests feature the work of kids who create reflections of their mothers and people pamper their moms, often showering them with flowers and cards, like we do in America.

In Germany it’s called Muttertag and mostly involves cards for Mom today. The holiday had great significance during World War II in recognition that mothers provided children for the Fatherland. There were medals awarded to moms, the number based on the number of children each woman had in her household. Mother’s Day 2019 looks more like it does in America – women are given cards, flowers and gifts while the family gathers for meals.

Peru has adopted some of the cultural aspects of Mother’s Day that their northern partners in the West have as well. Celebrated the second Sunday of May, families unite for meals and give Mom chocolate and other gifts, while there is a gift exchange between mothers and their kids. The Andean people of Peru have their own celebration of Mother Earth, whose name is Pachamama, and it’s held in early August. She brings fertility to couples, but this mythological goddess is also capable of causing earthquakes. The day of celebration is called Martes de Challa.

Carnations and chrysanthemums play a part in Australia’s Mother’s Day. Using the same celebration day as America’s, they also bring gifts to “Mum,” (which explains the use of mums). They celebrate their grandmothers and aunts that day as well, and there are often events to raise money for nonprofit women’s causes.

Hindus in India celebrate Durga, the Divine Mother or goddess over 10 days. The Durga Puja festival is held in October and celebrates the triumph of goodness over evil. Family members exchange gifts and hold feasts throughout the celebration. India has a diverse population, so a Mother’s Day is also held by residents with more westernized practices. More like the celebration in America, on the second Sunday in May they recognize the importance of mothers and their sacrifices.

Serbian families celebrate mothers in December, when other holidays are held, including Father’s Day and Children’s Day. They set aside three Sundays for these family celebrations. One Sunday is dedicated to mothers and involves tying them up in a rope until they make treats for the family. On Children’s Day it’s the same, but the ropes come off when kids agree to behave. For fathers, they remove the ropes when Dad buys them Christmas gifts.

Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day 2019

Acknowledging the universal burden of housework, mothers typically respond positively to help with chores. Creating a house chore coupon book is not only a customized, personal effort, it’s free. You can also spend a few dollars and have it eN0QLC6jprinted commercially.

It’s the purchase made around the world: flowers for mom. If she’s a flower fanatic and you have it in your wallet, you can always set up a year of deliveries.

Give her a “spa day.” Whether you choose a chain like Massage Envy or support a local business, there are numerous locations offering spa treatments, some with high-end, luxury services. Some of Glen Ivy’s signature treatments are:

Warm Stone Massage
Fatigued Legs and Feet Enhancement
Renewing Body Scrub
Marine Mud Massage
Pro-Sleep Ritual
Aromasoul Elements Ritual
Shirodhara Treatment
Spa.Wave

And, of course, they also have facials, nail care and other services. And even more appropriate for Mother’s Day 2019 – Glen Ivy offers a New Mum Massage.

“What I Love About You” journals can bring a tear to her eye. You may have seen these fill-in-the-blank books at Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon. When you don’t have the words to craft a poem or prose sentiments yourself, the prompts help you communicate how you feel from deep inside.

Oil diffusers are hot items for Mother’s Day 2019. Creating atmosphere through scent is a primal, mood-affecting practice and a lot of women love it. If she already has a system, all you have to do is buy her new oils.

To Celebrate Mother’s Day 2019, Donate to Charity

For moms who say, “I don’t need any more stuff,” there’s a surefire way to her heart: donating to charity in her name.

If you tried this method in the past – maybe purchased a couple of goats for someone in South America – you could try something new this year. You can donate to women’s charities. It sounds simple, but when you support women’s charities you do more than just provide resources. Studies show there are soulful benefits for both parties and even boosts to your physical health!

College Area Pregnancy Center in San Diego needs funding to help young women who come through their door trying to cope with an unwanted pregnancy. More financial support for the nonprofit means more support for young women feeling hopeless and helpless.

The Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita is a place for women and children to find safety when they feel trapped by circumstances beyond their control. When family members are threatened, they need a strong support system to not only make changes to their physical placement, but emotional counseling to sort out the particulars. The SCV Domestic Violence Center has a safe house in addition to the powerful benefit of working with the Child & Family Center for support services.

Whether it’s a mother with bipolar disorder, a messy divorce situation or a child failing in school, the Child and Family Center in Santa Clarita is prepared to provide what its clientele need. With a host of professional services under the guidance of medical personnel from psychiatrists to case workers, this active nonprofit was established more than 40 years ago.

On top of safe spaces and counseling, women who are raising kids alone have great needs. Single Mothers Outreach offers an outpouring of love, strength and education for moms in need. If you donate to SMO, you honor both your own mother and those who are having trouble providing their children the love and care you were privileged to have. It’s an easy way to dovetail your Mother’s Day 2019 celebration into providing a future that gives the next generation reasons to celebrate as well.

You know that contributing to almost any charity that provides food support is reaching women and children – most likely, above others. Food for the Hungry is a good example. Women, children and men can benefit from this Christian agency designed to meet the physical needs of those without enough money to feed themselves. There are 20 countries benefiting from Food for the Hungry, which is also educating families about agriculture, health and child development. This organization seeks to bring lasting care and hope to impoverished communities around the globe.

You can donate a car to charity, as well. In some ways, turning over the value ofwFQHjiJ6your vehicle to a charity is better than writing a check. You still get the tax write-off and you gain the added advantage of having someone else tow away the car you don’t need and filling out all of the paperwork for you.

Cars2Charities has been processing car donations for 30 years, making nonprofits happy with additional support, while making clients happy because of how easy it is. And because our process tends to garner higher selling prices for our clients’ cars, they get a bigger tax write-off.

Choosing Mother’s Day to donate a car you don’t need is certainly a unique way to celebrate Mother’s Day 2019. You can go with the same-old, same-old or you can look outside the box and try something new this year. Either way – she’s special.

April 29, 2019

Rewarding Our Educators: Teacher Appreciation Week

Every American has been touched by an educator, and Teacher Appreciation Week drives home the influence they’ve had across generations and at every level of learning. Many famous leaders and philosophers have validated the importance of 5RVwExxRour educators...

BF Skinner: Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.

Helen Caldicott: Teachers are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth.

Henry Brooks Adams: Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops.

Plato: If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.

Barack Obama: If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.

History of National Teacher Appreciation Week

When is Teacher Appreciation Day?

Typically held during the first week of May, National Teachers Day is the focal point of an entire week spent giving regard to educators of choice. Elementary, junior high and secondary level schools across the country are dedicating a week to thank and reward instructors for their efforts.

Finding an authority on the true beginnings of National Teachers Day isn’t easy. According to the National Education Association, or NEA, just before the end of World War II an Arkansas teacher named Mattye Whyte Woodridge addressed political leaders about designating a day to honor teachers on a national level. Eleanor Roosevelt responded to Woodridge and in 1953 the 81st Congress proclaimed a National Teachers Day.

While the work of the NEA got teachers their recognition, the decision about when is Teacher Appreciation Day had not been permanently determined. Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day and it remained a celebrationZcGb6c Rduring the month of March until 1985 when National Teacher Day was moved by the NEA Representative Assembly to the first Tuesday in May and became National Teacher Appreciation Week.

Who is Making the Teachers’ Day

The Teacher Appreciation Week program is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Google is one of the sponsors. The tech company partners with DonorsChoose.org to boost opportunities for students and teachers.

The nonprofit organization brings classroom dreams to life; in fact, it’s the number one classroom funding site for teachers. Founded by a Bronx high school teacher in the year 2000, DonorsChoose.org accepts requests for classroom projects, providing more than $20 million and funding over 1,402,490 projects since its inception. The nonprofit has touched 10 percent of all public schools in the country and is supported by 3,711,723 people.

One of the reasons many parents voice the idea that teachers deserve rewards is the fact that they typically spend their own, personal finances on classroom supplies for their students. So, while they inspire students and provide lifelong lessons and advice for the kids, they’re whittling down their earnings with these expenses.

That’s where the PTA comes in to help defray these costs and offer physical assistance as well. The PTA website offers a lot of suggestions for teachers’ day recognition. Parents can participate in gifting, offering money and supplies, as well as launching programs and spearheading events.

What You Can Do for National Teacher Appreciation Week

Calling it a shout-out to the “T” in PTA, students and parents can pool their resources to make their teachers’ day in creative ways.

Some of the more conventional methods spearheaded by PTA groups every year include:

  • Heartfelt cards and letters with messages of appreciation for teachers
  • Artwork, poems and video message
  • Certificates and award
  • Special ceremonies
  • Decorating classrooms and administrative lounges
  • Extra volunteerism
  • Surprise assemblies/events

Uploading pictures and Throwback Thursday photos of your favorite educators

The PTA site also has ready-made thank you cards, flyers and certificates you can download and fill to let them know they’ve made a difference. They can also help you with social media graphics if you need help sharing photos and activities during Teacher Appreciation Week.

kksH MqiThere are a lot of other gift ideas that put your own personal stamp on them. You can also customize gifts by engraving metal, painting wood or just using Crayons.

• Books
• Classroom supplies
• Gift cards
• Homemade card
• Mug and coffee
DIY projects 

Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week through Donations

If you just completed your taxes and realized you need more write-offs for next year, you can celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week with a donation to a nonprofit education foundation.

If you don’t have extra cash, or if you want to contribute another way, you can donate a car to education through nonprofit groups. When you donate a car to charity it pays off in several ways. You benefit kids, of course, but you also find an easy way to dispose of a car you no longer need – plus garner a tax write-off.

When donating a car through Cars2Charities there’s no drop-off locations to deal with, and the company fills out all the necessary DMV paperwork. In other words, you make a phone call or donate online and your vehicle is picked up – it’s extremely easy.

Your tax break is based on the sale price of the car. When Cars2Charities sells your car, the company sends you the paperwork for your taxes. You simply decide which nonprofit to receive proceeds – any 501(c)(3) is eligible.MrcG1cTY

College of the Canyons Foundation 

The College of the Canyons Foundation is a part of the Santa Clarita Community College District. Helping to fill gaps in state funding, the nonprofit provides financial resources to educators and students to ensure that individuals seeking higher education have the ability to accomplish it. Through a partnership of community members and other supporters, they fill in gaps left by decreasing financial support from state and federal funding.

The College of the Canyons (COC) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit auxiliary organization formed to generate philanthropic support for College of the Canyons. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors who are an enthusiastic and committed group of volunteer business and community leaders who donate their time, resources and energy to positively impact educational access in the Santa Clarita Valley. The board's mission is to provide an affordable and accessible college education for all having the desire to succeed.

Like other educational institutions, the college needs charitable gifts to endow scholarships and to support educational programs and capital improvements, which can mean the difference between ordinary and extraordinary programs and services for student success. Through annual giving, special events and scholarship programs, the foundation provides the college with crucial private financial resources.

Giving to a nonprofit like the Foundation can serve as a gesture of support for Teacher Appreciation Week this year.

Established in 1987, the COC Foundation accepts contributions of real estate, bequests and other legacy gifts, as well as cash, to provide specialized educational programs, granting as much as $2.9 million back to the college so far.

Its bylaws indicate the nonprofit foundation can receive gifts for the college from individuals, foundations and corporations. Through these charitable gifts the foundation endows scholarships and supports a variety of educational programs and capital improvements.

Nearly 75 percent of the state of California’s citizens have been educated by community colleges, according to the College of the Canyons Foundation. Unfortunately, however, community colleges only receive 11 percent of the per-student state dollars for education.

The mission of the Foundation is to financially support the Santa Clarita Community College District so they can bring the achievement level beyond its ability with tax dollars alone. The aspects of the school’s offerings hoping to benefit from the fundraising arm include teaching, scholarship, vocational training and innovation.

The Foundation seeks to bring together private enterprise with public educational institutions to make education at this level as affordable and accessible as possible.

Some fast facts about the College of the Canyons Foundation:
• Raised more than $23 million cumulatively over the last 25 years to assist programs and students
• Established more than 200 scholarships that are awarded annually
• Generated more than $5 million toward the University Center and Culinary Arts Capital Campaigns
• Raised more than $1 million for endowed scholarships through the Osher initiative
• Granted more than $255,000 over the last five years in mini-grants to fund innovative projects and academic programs
• Established the Alumni and Athletic Halls of Fame
• Established endowments for the Arts, the Library and the Athletic Track
• Provided funding to build the Cougar Den outdoor meeting area adjacent to the stadium

 
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• Co-founded the Santa Clarita Valley Nonprofit Leadership Network that serves more than 100 local nonprofit organizations and agencies

The City School 

If you want to honor Teacher Appreciation Week with a donation, The City School is another charity you can benefit. The Boston nonprofit was launched in 1987 to tackle the problems of homelessness by educating students.

Young students from Milton Academy were posing questions about how to solve problems associated with homelessness and it led to Youth Outreach Weekends, which were designed so that adults could mentor teens on related issues. The weekend retreats looked at the causes of homelessness, and attendees pooled ideas for taking action in order to turn it around.

In 1995, The City School’s Summer Leadership Program began, which continued that learning process for young people. A collaboration between Cathedral High School, Boston Latin School, and Milton Academy, it pulls together a diverse number of teens for leadership training and seminars about important issues. From the beginning, one of the byproducts of the program is a rise in building community and bridging relationships.

Because of Boston’s diversity of neighborhoods, including its suburban areas, the Summer Leadership Program has expanded to place teens in various internships with local nonprofits and Community Action Projects where students get to put into action concrete, meaningful projects throughout the city.

Through these weekend, after-school and summer programs, The City School continues to develop youth leadership, improving their focus on critical thinking, service operations, building community, and taking action.

The long-term leadership skills unite Boston area teens from diverse backgrounds who have a common interest in their concern for social justice. They’re building relationships across gender, race, class and geography to create caring, learning communities committed to making changes for the benefit of all. The City School teens come from neighborhoods as widely divided as Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury, as well as from suburbs and outlying communities including Cambridge, Milton, Newton, Ayer, Needham, Brookline, Canton and more.

ASE Enrichment 

Many parents – particularly those in two-career homes – need after-school care. A welcome option is a program where their kids get both an opportunity to develop social skills and learn something new. It’s also a chance to throw your support toward a Teacher Appreciation Day.

After School Enrichment, or A.S.E., is a nonprofit program providing a fun, upbeat and educational opportunity to kids in several school districts, including Santa Clarita and the San Fernando Valley. They offer classes from practical arts and crafts to STEM field courses and athletics.

They are all hands-on experiences and teachers are both trained and fingerprinted for safety and security. Bringing a wealth of experience working with and teaching children, many of the teachers hired by A.S.E. have years of experience in professional positions. The organization strives to draw from people in the Greater Los Angeles community who have integrity, morals and good character qualities to ensure that children are exposed to solid role models.

The charity’s leadership is open to new ideas for classes, maintaining a level of9q7VegDRflexibility to match the needs of evolving interests of children. Some of the classes offered include:

  • Backyard Summer Cooking for kindergarten through sixth grade
  • Beginning Baking for kindergarten through sixth grade
  • Basketball for first through sixth grade
  • Ceramics for first through sixth grade
  • Draw and Paint Like a Modern Master for kindergarten through sixth grade
  • Introduction to Coding
  • LEGO Everyday Engineers
  • LEGO Robotics: Star Wars for kindergarten through sixth grade
  • LEGO Stop Motion Animation for first through sixth grade
  • The Muggle Club
  • Video Game Design with Scratch Programming for third through sixth grade

As mentioned, A.S.E. teachers come from a variety of backgrounds, some with a professional background in the subjects they teach, even former college athletes with experience coaching children. There are musicians and dancers with teaching experience who have completed many years of personal instruction, practice and performing, while some of the instructors are longtime homemakers with much to share.

The synergistic advantages of holding “national recognition weeks” enable Americans across the country to create a bigger splash. In the case of National Teacher Appreciation Week, those who contribute so much to the nation’s children get a little bit of applause and extra attention for their efforts, which so often remain under the radar.

April 22, 2019

Looking Both Ways from Earth Day 2019

Like every April for the last 49 years, Earth Day 2019 is a celebration of the birth of the modern environmental movement. It’s come a long way and, doubtless, will WtB55Opccontinue to evolve as issues affecting our global welfare emerge. 

Earth Day History

April 22, 1970 is the anniversary of the first time Americans banded together to draw attention to the need for cleaner living on the planet. There were 20 million people who showed up to parks, onto streets and filling auditoriums around the country in rallies and peaceful protests of practices including:
• Driving gas-guzzling cars with V-8 engines
• Raw sewage spills
• Pollution-creating factories
• Toxic dumps
• Shrinking wilderness areas
• Oil spills
• Power plant operations
• Pesticide use
• Wildlife extinction

From the beginning, the movement to promote healthy sustainability had bipartisan support. It was spearheaded by a Democrat, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin, but his second-in-command was a Republican Congressman, Pete McCloskey. The national coordinator was Denis Hayes from Harvard who put together a staff of 85 individuals and promoted events.

Among the many Earth Day facts that led to its rise was a book by author Rachel Carson – “Silent Spring” – a New York Times bestseller released in 1962. More than 500,000 copies sold in 24 countries, and it brought to the collective consciousness the importance of the environment and the connection between public health and the effects of pollution.

And decades of events laid a foundation forging such large-scale support for a day of recognition that our planet needed help. It came on the heels of the counterculture revolution of the 1960s, including protests of the Vietnam War and large groups paying attention to messaging in rock and roll music.

As far as choosing when is Earth Day, founders strategized that student support could be gained by good timing, so it was scheduled after spring break and before final exams.

Now a permanent part of the social landscape, Earth Day facts outlining the goals of the special day include:
• Raise awareness and educate the general populations about endangered species jPam5YH
• Improve policies that protect species and their habitats
• Create global movements that embrace nature
• Encourage individuals to become aware of how their lifestyle affects the planet

Two decades after its inception, environmental conservation grew to include more than just a national profile. In 1990 it hit the world stage when Hayes organized an Earth Day campaign that mobilized 200 million participants in 141 nations. It kicked off universal efforts for recycling and led to the United Nations Earth Summit in 1992.

How to Do Earth Day 2019

Today’s events aim to both serve the common good and draw attention to Earth Day facts affecting the health and welfare of citizens of the planet. Cities nationwide determine their own lineup of celebrations and environmental workday projects.

Earth Day 2019 Species Protection

Words from Carson’s book set the stage for this arm of the movement: “In nature, nothing exists alone.”

There are millions of species on earth, with many still unknown to man. But when we humans insert ourselves into any environment, it has an impact, which you could call the “butterfly effect.” We typically upset the balance, causing extinction of various plant and animal life – sometimes rapidly – many times due to abuse or overuse of resources.

Some of the factors affecting the loss of species are:
• Poaching
• Pollution
• Trafficking
• Deforestation/loss of habitat
• Climate change
• Unsustainable agriculture

There are species in innumerable settings that are facing endangerment or KVb FdR9extinction. There has been damage to fish, arthropods (which are arachnids and insects), crustaceans, amphibians, corals, reptiles, mammals and birds.

According to EarthDay.org, there are approximately one to five species annually that become extinct, but scientists estimate that 1,000-10,000 times that rate are going into extinction every day. In some cases they disappear before humans discover them.

Over the last 28 years researchers in Germany have noted that insect species have dropped by more than 75 percent in that country, which is detrimental to plant life, as bees and insects are necessary for pollination. In addition, birds need these species for food.

And primates are disappearing also. They’re most similar to humankind, but 60 percent of the 504 primate species in existence are threatened with extinction, while 75 percent are in severe decline.

Due to overfishing, the ocean’s mammals are fading. Greater than 650,000 of them are seriously injured or caught up by fishing gear every year. Approximately 65 percent of pinnipeds, such as sea lions, and 75 percent of all whale species with teeth, which include porpoises and dolphins, are indirectly caught by fishing operations.

While the large cat family may not cross our minds much, their number is also declining. From tigers to cheetahs, big cats are killed for their skins and other body parts, mostly by hunters in China.

The importance of Earth Day awareness can be seen by every place on the human timeline. It was evidenced in early America, when there were bison across the United States – north to Alaska and south to Mexico. But their habitat is now less than one percent of the original.

Earth Day 2019 Domestic Cleanup

Throughout the month of April this year, more than 3,000 cleanups were established in the United States for Earth Day 2019. Some of the partners in that effort were National CleanUp Day and Keep America Beautiful.

It’s a big day for volunteerism across the country through physical cleanup efforts, mobile registration, social media awareness and photo sharing.

Data collected from Earth Day 2019 is laying the groundwork for a successful Earth Day 2020. Everything is expected to be scaled up to include more than 100,000 domestic events and one billion pieces of trash collected next year.

“The Great Global Cleanup will bring together millions of people around the globe to create the largest coordinated volunteer event in history,” Earth Day Network President Kathleen Rogers said. “We are excited to kick off in cities across the U.S. in 2019, and to expand globally in 2020 in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.” For more information, go to earthday.org/greatglobalcleanup.

Some of the Earth Day 2019 sponsors were huge corporations, including Kohl’s, Toyota, Burton Snowboards and Fetzer.

Earth Day 2019 Global Cleanup

The upscaling efforts for Earth Day 2020 extend to global environmental causes as well. Billions of pieces of trash are expected to be collected and mobilization aimed at reducing waste and cleaning up all kinds of areas from urban spaces to waterways.

Some of the most common areas tackled by local citizens include parks, rivers, lakes, trails, beaches and neighborhoods. There are numerous ways to engage the community:
• Getting updates on progress in ending pollution caused by plastics
• Sharing ideas about reducing, reusing and recycling
• Downloading an Earth Day Action Toolkit
• Using a calculator to track the volume of plastic you use

Ways to Look Ahead from Earth Day 2019

Earth Day history has led to the formation of the Earth Day Network, an entity qShNGaOworking year round – not just in April – to find solutions to climate change, put a stop to pollution from plastics and protect endangered species. The nonprofit organization seeks to educate the world and broaden what is the world’s largest environmental movement.

Right now they are counting down to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day next year, but you can create a personal trajectory today that lowers your carbon footprint and contributes to environmentally-friendly causes.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering to contribute to the improvement of your community’s environment puts your power behind the efforts of agencies and nonprofit groups. By galvanizing citizens in structured projects, large-scale efforts can produce solutions to ecological challenges. You can turn to governmental agency National Service for volunteer opportunities. 

Some of the options suggested include:

• Volunteer at a local environmental charity

• Do some gardening to grow more fresh food or herbs for cooking

• Set up a recycling system for your home or workplace

• Recycle your car

Earth Day and Decisions about What You Drive

Though you may not think of it this way, when you pass down the car you no longer need, it’s a form of recycling, particularly if you replace it with a used vehicle. We can more easily see the advantages to recycling our clothing or home goods, but we also have opportunities to maximize the use of our vehicles by making them available to others and choosing wisely ourselves.

And you can really score one for the planet if you reduce your carbon footprint by downsizing your car from a gas-guzzler to a lighter, smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle. You support the environmentally-friendly efforts of car companies as well as producing less pollution when you purchase a hybrid or electric car.

There are more and more companies manufacturing hybrids, but CarMax created a list of the best electric cars on the market last year:

1. Nissan LEAF
2. Mercedes-Benz B-Class
3. BMW i3
4. Tesla Model S
5. Ford Focus Electric
6. Chevrolet Spark EV
7. Chevrolet Volt EV
8. Mitsubishi i-MIEV

vQX6 BgXYou can also donate a car to charity and directly benefit an environmental cause. Coastal Habitat Education Environmental Restoration, also known as CHEER, is a registered nonprofit organization with a mission to restore coastal ecosystems but still safeguarding resource-based local economies. CHEER believes that assessing and reconciling these interests so that each group profits by cooperation in restoration efforts is the key to more effective environmental programming.

You can donate a car to CHEER through Cars2Charities and send financial support to the work of the 501(c)(3) which includes negotiating conservation easements that are essential to pilot-project start-ups. It is supported by various funding opportunities for designated current and future projects.

The organization has a “mobile education unit” called the Coastal Watersheds Garbage Museum which teaches the community about damage done to California waterways. An interactive environmental exhibit uses a photo tour to display stages of destruction in areas including Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay watersheds. It discusses fish trapping and garbage dumping, among other problems.

You can donate a car to Northern California Land Trust and provide affordable homes and community facilities for individuals of various means. Goals of this kind make available housing that’s affordable and sustainable, which are huge concerns in modern America.

The organization’s Community Co-Ownership Initiative is a partnership with the People of Color Sustainable Housing Network, or POCSHN, which means the value of the vehicle you no longer need can become a home for families who need a little help. They have expanded access to home ownership, offering leadership training to clients while also helping them develop new financial tools in the process.

If you have been to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, you not only got an education about wildlife in a desert habitat, you also witnessed the results of a nonprofit aiming to protect, preserve and restore natural environments. A car donation to the Living Desert and Zoo Gardens supports conservation on many levels.

This charity takes care of the ecosystems and wildlife, while informing the public about action they can take to support environmental causes. Their mission involves promoting and ensuring that environmental energy and natural resource sustainability is available; collaborating with other conservation organizations around the world; and building populations of desert animals and plants threatened with extinction.

Since 1951, the Nature Conservancy has supported the protection of land and water for the health and sustainability of human life. Based in Arlington, Virginia, the nonprofit has taken on such challenges as land acquisition and developing a vision for diversity of life.

Another way to celebrate Earth Day is to support this science-based, innovative cause with a car donation through Cars2Charities. Protecting nature is the heart of its work and there’s inherent accountability to ensure the value of a car you don’tWrk4 OgQneed is going to an honest organization.

The 501(c)(3) has a high global charity rating because of its transparency and successful outcomes. You have access to its privacy policy, as well as conditions to prove that a car donation to the Nature Conservancy is an effective use of your money.

Celebrating Earth Day is really more of a lifestyle choice, and it’s not limited to one day in April. If you’ve been thinking you’d like to expand on your contributions to the cause of environmental sustainability, you can change course by changing your routine.

For some people it may mean beginning a practice of yoga to relieve stressors and to develop a sense of practicality, making do with less. For others it may involve hiking or other activities that bring them closer to nature.

For everyone it can involve using fewer resources and finding more environmentally healthy tools for such necessities as dining. With these kinds of decisions you make Earth Day 2019 usher in new promises with the dawn of Earth Day 2020.

April 13, 2019

Secrets to Maximizing Your Tax Deduction

April is a happier time if you’ve managed to find new ways of maximizing your tax deduction. It means you can spend time at the watercooler talking about binge-8HSzgyQUwatching episodes or your desert trip rather than the government takeover of your bank account.

Unfortunately, however, it’s not a very happy time for a lot of Americans, thanks to changes in 2018 taxes – and along with the new rules there are the usual problems. It’s easy to get bogged down by anxiety about the results, frustration with bad news, plus the feeling that all the work you put in through the year has gone out the window.

That’s where tax deductions come in.

What is a Tax Deduction?

If you’re really new to the process – perhaps you’re an immigrant or a young adult – tax deductions are used to lower your taxable income. You list them when you’re filing taxes and while it doesn’t directly bring down the total you owe to the government, it does it indirectly – by reducing your taxable income.

Think of it as a little bit of good news amid not-so-cheery circumstances.

Standard vs. Itemized

Everyone knows you want to choose a tax write-off whenever possible. But just how does it work?

There are two different types of deductions on your returns – standard and itemized.

A standard tax deduction on your 2018 taxes means you claim a set amount in U.S. dollars which is determined by the IRS. It requires no additional forms or receipts when you file taxes. It’s simple to do, of course, because you don’t have to collect tax receipts or gather together paperwork for your accountant. But it doesn’t grant you nearly the advantage that itemizing does.

The Intuit website has examples of how it works when you itemize tax deductions. If a married couple filing jointly took the simpler, standard deduction in 2009 it was $11,400. But if they opened retirement accounts, made contributions to charity or owned a home, they may have greatly exceeded that standard deduction, but it would have required that they itemize things when filing taxes.

By looking at that case, you can see the prospect of maximizing your tax deduction by choosing to itemize. It means you file a 1040 Schedule A ... or at least your CPA does.

There are particular categories for itemizing that are laid out by the IRS. Before you jump for joy at the prospects, be aware that some categories have thresholds that have to be met. That means the amount you spent last year in a particular category has to exceed a certain percentage of your income.zXXLRY4C

The categories include:
• Medical, dental, prescription drugs, and health care costs: To write off any of these expenses, it needs to cost more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. If it didn’t cost you at least that much, you can’t use it when filing taxes. There are also high-income earners who can’t use this category of write-offs. And next year – when filing 2019 taxes, the threshold will go up to 10 percent of your adjusted gross income.
• State and local income taxes or sales taxes: Sometimes called the SALT deduction, there have been changes to the write-offs you gain on your federal tax return based on what you paid in state and local taxes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for 2018 taxes instituted a maximum of $10,000 for a SALT deduction. Before this year there wasn’t a limit.
• Mortgage interest: You could previously deduct up to $1 million in mortgage debt cost plus up to $100,000 in interest paid if you took out a second (home equity loan), but that’s changed, says an article on the CNBC website. Now you’re allowed to deduct interest on your mortgage up to $750,000, and that’s just for what you used to buy, build or improve your house or second property. If you’ve got a home equity loan or line of credit, you can use it as a tax write-off only if it was used to buy, build or improve the dwelling. 

• Personal losses due to theft or casualty: The spring thaw comes just after the most dangerous time of year, when it comes to fires. Nearly half of all fires that begin in people’s homes occur in December, January and February, according to CNBC. And when it comes to tax gains from these kinds of losses, there’s less to claim. In the past, Americans could itemize property losses occurring from accidents, theft, vandalism, fires and natural disasters if they exceeded 10 percent of their adjusted gross income. Now the only costs from disasters that count as a tax write-off are those from tragedies declared by the president as official disasters. The 10 percent threshold has remained the same, however. The last year that data is available is 2016, when 154,274 claims for casualty or theft deductions were submitted to the IRS.
• Union dues: For this one there’s bad news. Through 2017 an employee could write off their union dues, but from 2018 taxes through the year 2025 you can no longer deduct them, even if you itemize your tax return. They used to be deducted under “unreimbursed business expenses” as long as they met a minimum. Now, employee expenses are only deductible for self-employed taxpayers under “business expense.”

Hidden Tax Deductions

There are other tax deductions that are “hidden” – they’re lesser-known opportunities to lower your taxable income, which are often overlooked. The newest tax laws made some of these beefier, which is good news. 

• Gas mileage for volunteerism: When you drive to where you are volunteering, the return rate is 14 cents for each mile driven, a standard set by Congress.
• Money spent towards an education: The Kiplinger Letter says that parents can benefit by paying student loan interest. Because the IRS sees it as a gift to the child that was directly applied to debt payments, the son/daughter can claim it as a deduction up to $2,500. Because the mom/dad aren’t liable for the debt they can’t claim it – only their (non-dependent) child can.
• Reserve military travel expenses: Are you a military reservist? If so, keep track of your bills when you travel to or from service, whether it’s meetings or drills. You can write off lodging expenses and half of your food but you need to provide a tax receipt for your deductions. You also get an allowance for mileage.
• Car registration fees: This one is restricted to the part of your car registration fees that are based on the car’s value. Each state calculates the value of a vehicle and that is the only part of your car registration that’s a tax write-off. You itemize this one on Schedule A on the line that says “personal property taxes.”
• Traveling fees: Believe it or not, the IRS may help you out with those baggage fees. If you’re self-employed and travel for business, you can claim extra dollars paid for travel changes, booking fees and baggage.
• Teachers’ out-of-pocket costs: Do you spend weekends designing bulletin boards and hanging seasonal decorations? Save your receipts from Staples or other stores where you put your own hard-earned money on the line for a better classroom. These additional learning tools that are making your paycheck shrink are tax-deductible.
• Home office expenses: Do you work at home? If you’re an entrepreneur or own a small business, you can save on 2018 taxes through home office expense deductions. The IRS standards are laid out for you and they apply to an individual who works at home on a regular basis and uses part of the house exclusively for work. You can deduct rent, real estate taxes, repairs, maintenance and utilities. Believe it or not, this applies if you work from a house (rented or owned), a condo, apartment or even a boat. It does not apply to temporary lodging such as a hotel.
• Gambling debts: At last, you can be a loser in Las Vegas and come out a winner. Believe it or not, you can itemize gambling losses as long as you have reported the same amount in winnings. You need to, at the very least, keep your receipts, but the IRS also suggests you keep a diary of all gambling activity to validate dates and times, wagers, the names of the establishments, etc. They even ask you to declare the people you are with when you were gambling.

Non-deductible 2018 Taxes

zXXLRY4CBecause there have been a lot of changes, it’s difficult to understand (and metabolize) an entire tax code. There are a few standouts to mention that aren’t deductible in the same way they were before.

In the past, some of your itemized tax deductions fell under the category of “miscellaneous.” Now those are no longer allowed.

But some of those that previously fell into the “miscellaneous” category are now in redefined deductible categories. Certain deductions for unreimbursed employee expenses are still permissible. The IRS website says that you may be able to write off expenses if your employment falls under one of these categories of employment:
• In the Armed Forces Reserve
• A qualified performing artist
• Fee-based government official – state or local
• Employee with an expense related to impairment

If you’re in one of these categories of employment, you can consider certain expenses as a deduction from your adjusted gross income. They have to be paid during the tax year you’re filing and have to go toward furthering your business or employment, and they have to be ordinary and necessary.

There have also been changes in fines or penalties deducted in the past, which you may want to check on the IRS website

Improving Your 2018 Taxes through Charitable Giving

Americans give an estimated $390 billion to U.S. charities per year, including corporations, individual donors, foundations and estates. An article on Bankrate.com illustrates what the power of combined giving can do. 

If everyone in the United States gave one dollar, it would support the American Red Cross disaster services for one year. If 5,000,000 individuals gave $5 each, the March of Dimes could do research and offer medical support for one year. And if 1,000,000 people donated $75 each, Goodwill Industries could provide financial wellness and career-building services for 36.6 million individuals. And 100 seniors could have Meals on Wheels for one year if 10,000 Americans gave $25 each.

“We know that most people who donate to charitable nonprofits do so because they believe in the mission of the organization and not for a tax deduction,” said Rick Cohen, Chief Communications Officer for National Council of Nonprofits. “But a lot of research has shown that while people will still give, they will give less without access to the tax incentive. This has been proven when different states have experimented with taking away or limiting deductions on state taxes for charitable contributions.”

Many people think some things should be tax-deductible, such as offering time instead of money. When you offer professional services to a nonprofit for free, it has a direct impact on their bottom line. Turning that value into dollars and cents for the purposes of a write-off seems like it should be a fair trade. The Corporation for National & Community Service says that 62.6 million adults in the U.S. gave 7.8 billion hours of volunteer time to nonprofit groups in 2015. The value translates into $184 billion.

Did you donate goods to a 501(c)(3)? If you followed the KonMari method and cleaned out your closets, you probably took extra clothing and home goods to the Salvation Army or another charity. You can tally up the value of those donations and write them off your taxes. 

You may be overlooking the opportunity for maximizing your tax deduction through goods and services. If you prepared food for a meals program such as a soup kitchen, save your receipt from the groceries and add it as a tax receipt when you’re filing taxes. Even if you bought stamps for PTA or drove for a charity – it all contributes to bringing down your 2018 taxes.

Another popular non-cash contribution is donating a car to charity. Because it’s a necessity for every vehicle owner to send their car down the path when they purchase something new, it’s a built-in method for maximizing their financial situation through a tax deduction.

Ideally, you make it easy on yourself by getting it handled by a company with a good deal of experience processing these transactions. That way there’s a dualww7H5nnAbenefit – you get the job done (passing on your old car) in a hassle-free manner plus helping your bottom line.

The name of the game is raising your awareness. The more you know about available tax deductions, the more discretionary spending you have, not to mention money to put away for retirement. A good way to achieve that is through maximizing your tax deduction, thus lowering your taxable income and coming out ahead.

April 09, 2019

Guide to Filing Taxes for the Year 2018

Even an expert needs a guide to filing taxes. And for those of us who can barely balance a checkbook, there’s an even greater need for guidance.

zXXLRY4CEvery American who gets a paycheck is already paying income taxes. Depending on how you claim your taxes throughout the year on your income, it will affect the amount you owe or the amount you receive in a tax refund.

There are a lot of changes to the tax code this year, mostly due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was passed in December of 2017. That means a greater challenge for individuals who were already wondering, “How do I file taxes?” There were new tax brackets created, changes to itemization, and an expansion on the Child Care credit.

More than a quarter of Americans don’t understand the code changes, which means they can’t completely understand how to file taxes, says an article posted by CNBC. And it’s disappointing for many, as refund totals have dropped by 8.7 percent this year based on early returns. 

With or without a guide to filing taxes, parents aim to score the highest on their returns for taxes 2018, particularly those with kids younger than 18 living at home, and primarily in low-income states – Texas, Wyoming and Washington. They’re able to deduct up to $2,000 per child, which is double what they previously could deduct.

There are new deductions for older children still living at home also. College-age kids under 23 give the parents or grandparents, depending on their residence, a $500 credit.

Five of seven tax rates were lowered, so some people see their refund shrinking. Up to 20 percent of citizens didn’t have their employers withhold enough taxes throughout the year, so they may be paying rather than collecting an overage when they file taxes.9PT4t21Y

Ways You Can File Taxes 2018

If you’re one of the approximately one-third of Americans who hires a certified public accountant to prepare your taxes, you probably choose to do so because either your financial situation is complicated, or you just don’t have time. You also may simply like the comfort of knowing someone professional is filing your taxes correctly.

If hiring a CPA is new territory for you, the first task is to find someone who is competent, but also fits your budget. According to personal finance website The Balance, you can expect to pay approximately $273 for an itemized tax return and $176 if you aren’t itemizing your taxes. But be aware, if you’re disorganized and require extra time by your CPA while you collect receipts, your W-2s, 1099s, etc., you’ll be charged more. 

If you’re comparing the cost of tax preparation by various CPAs, you’ll find they may price their services in different ways. Those include:

• Fees from each tax form/schedule needed
• Based on fees from the previous year and adding costs if your situation is more complicated
• A set minimum tax return fee and additional fees if your situation is complicated
• Hourly rates

You may not know this, but there are actually illegal forms of pricing – actions prohibited by the United States Treasury Department. CPAs cannot charge “an unconscionable fee” to file taxes, nor can they charge you based on the content of your tax return.

The Balance article says, “Several cases of fraud have involved tax preparers taking inappropriate deductions and tax credits and charging large fees to their clients. If your invoice is much higher than you anticipated, be sure to ask your accountant how the fees were determined.”

If you’re filing on your own through a tax software program such as Turbo Tax or H&R Block, you get additional instructions from those. 

They have various types of memberships you can purchase, and they each offer an interactive online service to answer questions and clarify throughout the process.

You may also file taxes by going straight to the IRS website where you can manually print and complete a 1040 form. The agency provides online instructions there as well. After printing the Taxes 2018 forms, you mail the paperwork and any payments owed to the IRS to the address provided. 

Paperwork for Taxes 2018

v3XmgjkyIf you’re accustomed to IRS Form 1040 used in the past, you’ll note some changes. For taxes 2018 you won’t use Form 1040-A or Form 1040-EZ. Now there’s a redesigned Form 1040. You may not need to file a Schedule with your 1040 form either.

Schedule Forms for taxes 2018 are designed for use when you have a more complicated return. If you are claiming deductions or credits, or if you owe additional taxes, you need one of them included.

The Form 1040 Schedule A is used by taxpayers who have deductions they need to itemize. These deductions tend to lower your federal income taxes, but you can’t include any expenses you've already been reimbursed for.

Some of the categories for deductions are:
• Medical and dental expenses: IRS instructions say, “You can deduct only the part of your medical and dental expenses that exceeds 7.5% of the amount of your adjusted gross income on Form 1040, line 7.”
• State and local taxes paid, including real estate and personal property taxes: There’s a limit on how much you can deduct in this category. Of your state and local taxes, including real estate, personal property and income taxes, you cannot deduct more than $10,000 if filing jointly. If you’re paying foreign real estate taxes, that is not deductible.
• Home mortgage interest and points: This year there’s a limit to the total dollars Americans can deduct for their home mortgage interest. You can deduct the interest on the first $750,000 of indebtedness. That number is $375,000 if you’re married, but filing separately. You can deduct more if your indebtedness was incurred on or before December 15, 2017. And in an even more dramatic shift, you cannot deduct interest for a home equity loan where the money was used for something other than buying, building or improving your home.
• Investment interest
• Casualty and theft losses from a federally declared disaster
• Gifts to Charity – The Schedule A form says that the limitation threshold for certain charitable contributions has gone up. It says, “For most gifts by cash or check, the total amount of such contributions that can be deducted is now limited to 60% of your contributions base, instead of 50%. See Pub. 526 for more information.” (See bottom for more about charitable giving.)

There’s a comment section on the Schedule A form, where you can provide feedback with your opinion about the form itself and the process of guiding you through how to file taxes. The IRS will not respond to you as an individual, but the agency will take into consideration the comments received by the taxpaying public.

The comment section is not for questions to the IRS. The appropriate place for that is the Tax Law Questions page.

Form 525 is important to check if you need clarification about which of your gifts and income should be taxed. The three forms of income are money, property and services.

Form 525 covers several categories, including:
• Income you get from S Corporations, royalties, partnerships and bartering
• Money from wages and fringe benefits for employees
• Disability pensions
• Public assistance such as welfare
• Proceeds from life insurance

If you’re filing on your own using a tax software program such as Turbo Tax ORVf2bPO

or H&R Block 

you have access to resources provided by these programs. They offer assistance for you through filing your taxes, and ask you questions about your income and any possible deductions. They have various types of memberships to purchase.

If you begin one of these programs and determine it’s too complex, you may want to turn to a professional, especially if you have multiple sources of income or investments. Ask H&R Block or Turbo Tax about refund policies.

Guide to Filing Taxes – the Process

The actual steps are outlined on the websites mentioned, but to get an idea what you’re looking at when considering how to file taxes, here is a list of some of those matters you need to collect or consider for completion.

• Collect any and all W2s, says The Balance. These are received by corporations or small businesses you worked for last year. You’ll see on the form the amount of taxes withheld for federal and state purposes and your social security and government healthcare withholding. Employees must report wages they earned if they exceeded $600. 

• Proof of health insurance
• Receipts for charitable donations, business or medical expenses
• Decide on your filing status. Factors affecting your status include marital status, income and age.

• Understand your tax bracket, which is important in determining how much you owe or how much you will get back

• Add up income, investments, pensions, retirement funds, interest, and the taxes you owe
• Check common available tax deductions, education, claim dependents, or donations

How to File Taxes with Charitable Contributions

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I file taxes so I come out ahead?” there are some win-win ways to do that. One of those is by giving to charity.

Donations to charity fell by more than 6 percent at the beginning of last year, reports The Balance. But if you’re committed to promoting good in the world by supporting such nonprofits, keep it up.

There are many different types of charities, such as places of worship, global contributors such as Reach Out World Wide, Goodwill, CARE and Salvation Army. Other tax-deductible contributions can be made to 501(c)(3) groups, including educational organizations, some hospitals and medical centers, volunteer fire companies, private foundations associated with service groups, some veterans’ groups, and membership organizations that receive more than one-third of their money from the general public.

When you have a cause you care about – perhaps you spend time volunteering for a nonprofit organization – you can benefit the cause and gain a tax credit. You can do a “tax exempt organization search” on the IRS website to determine if the nonprofit you support has tax-deduction status. The organization needs to be a 501(c)(3).

To determine if your contribution is tax-deductible you need to gather for the IRS:
• Your filing status
• Gross income
• How much you donated and to who
• Does that organization qualify as tax exempt

When you make a non-cash contribution, such as when you donate a car to charity, there are breakdowns in paperwork required, based on value of the car. The IRS site breaks it down for you. 

If you donate a vehicle such as a motorcycle, which is valued between $250-$500 you need an 8HSzgyQUacknowledgement from the nonprofit including:

• The name of the charitable organization.
• The date and location of the charitable contribution.
• A detailed description of the car.
• Whether the charity provided any goods or services in return for the car and a description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods and services received.
• If the charity provided solely intangible religious benefits, a statement to that effect.

When your car donation to charity totals $500-$5,000 you need from the nonprofit:
• Your name and taxpayer identification number (TIN).
• The vehicle identification number (VIN).
• Beyond the above items, what the written acknowledgment must contain depends on what the charity does with the vehicle. If the charity sells the vehicle, the written acknowledgment must contain the date the car was sold by the charity, a certification that the charity sold the car in an arm’s length transaction between unrelated parties, the gross proceeds of the sale, and a statement that your deduction may not exceed the gross proceeds of the sale.

When your car exceeds $5,000 in value, the acknowledgement from the charity needs the information from both of the above categories. Section B of Form 8283 needs to be completed and attached to your return.

You don’t have to know how to file taxes to make a car charity donation. There’s an advantage to making your donation through a seasoned car donation company. They should have experience completing the process and it’s ideal if the company fills out all of the paperwork for you.

Vehicle donations through Cars2Charities are handled from start to finish, includingww7H5nnAthe title transfer, and paperwork follows the IRS tax code. And because a car donation tax deduction is based on the sale price of the vehicle, Cars2Charities aims to bring a higher price through making improvements to donation cars when needed.

There are many roads you can take this year in submitting your paperwork for taxes 2018 but everyone has the same responsibility. It’s nice to know there are many resources offering a guide to filing taxes, so you’re not alone.

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