So I may be a bit behind on this one, but I am so glad I stumbled upon this video!
Theo Rossi, of Sons of Anarchy, has deployed a challenge. He wants to see all the ways you’ve shown gratitude by the 18th of December. Thursday. Told you I was
a bit behind…
Some of my ways may seem unconventional (and older than two weeks). I am always trying to give back, even in the simplest of ways. Gratitude and giving does not have to be a grand gesture. The little things in life have always turned out to be the big ones.
1. Remember November.
On my Instagram and Facebook, I did #RememberNovember for 26 days leading up to Thanksgiving. I wanted to take each day and thank a group of people that have touched my life in a positive way. This is only a few of the days. Day 26 was my Senior Year in college. Day 24 was my Sophomore year in college. Day 20 was my summer in New York for a Screenwriting Workshop. Day 15 was my time at Donna Lee Studio of Dance. Day 13 is all of my time flying in the air. Day 7 is my 2nd contract aboard Grandeur of the Seas. Day 1 is my husband.
To check out the rest, you can add me on Instagram (Blackvelvetink), but I thought these few sufficed.
2. Little Danielle
Just this past weekend, I helped out my old dance school. They put on their annual Christmas show (which kicked major ass).
While helping backstage, I met a little girl. Her name is Danielle. I saw her scratching away at her skin and I went to see what was the matter. It became clear once I’d come up close. She was covered with dermatitis and a fungus that makes it all worse. It’s not contagious. I know this because I have it. I have had dermatitis all of my life and since my skin is so sensitive, I caught a fungus aboard my first cruise ship and it tore away at my skin. It was unbearably itchy and painful. In this picture you can see all the white spots on my skin. She had this over her entire body, including her face.
I was (and still am) on meds to help subdue the symptoms. This poor little girl was going through such torture. So, I grabbed some of my skin meds, wrote down a long list of things she could try on her skin, and handed it all to her mother. She was so thankful. I am just so happy I could pass on all the things that have helped me to someone who can benefit from them.
3. Friends for Columbia
During my 2nd contract aboard Grandeur of the Seas, we were stationed out of Colon, Panama. One of our weekly stops was Columbia. A few of us were able to come in contact with a Columbian organization called ‘Friends for Columbia’. One port day, we were allowed to come and take part in the children’s dance class. It was so much fun. We played, danced, and even got to face paint. This is a picture my husband took of one of the boys.
I quickly became attached and wanted to see if I could get some of the children signed on board. This was SUCH a task. I had to go through the ranks and get signatures to even THINK about being able to sign them on board. I corresponded back and forth with the couple who led the organization (they were from the states!). I got Sports Management involved as well as our Food and Beverage Manager. I got ‘field trip forms’ ready and received all of the children’s information to be processed through the system. It took about a month to get all of this sorted. My Stage Manager was so helpful and our Activities Manager on board made sure to be with us throughout the entire day so he could help translate everything into Spanish.
I will NEVER forget that day. The children came aboard and were in awe. They had NEVER been on an elevator before. They even had a whale of a time with the automatic hand sanitizer dispensers. We took them up to the rock wall where they spent an hour climbing up the wall. Then we gave them a tour of backstage and how a production show is brought to life. Finally, we sat them down in the dining room for pizza, burgers, fries, and ice-cream. Those kids may have had a wonderful day, but they surely had made mine.
4. Cast videos
I have had 3 contracts (2011-2014) as a professional dancer aboard cruise ships. I sadly got distracted my second contract and didn’t create any videos. All I have are tons of photos (it’s when I met my husband… so you can see where I got distracted). But, to show my castmates all the love I have for them, I documented all of my first contract and my third contract via pics and video. I have 4 from my first, and 3 from my last. I won’t put them
ALL… ah who am I kidding. Here they all are. It just highlights all the best times we had together. I wish I would have documented my second cast because I got to throw an Easter “Egg” hunt in March and Scavenger hunt for Christmas. It was a blast. It helps distract us all from the reality that we are away from our families and only have each other to lean on.
5. Invisible Children
In college, a friend of mine had a friend who ran a nonprofit club called ‘Invisible Children’. I got in contact with them to see if I could attend a meeting. From there began my 4 year long journey with an amazing organization.
I quickly took over as the Event Coordinator and used all of my downtown resources to throw an annual benefit concert. We were able to put together 4 benefit concerts while I was part of the club. Aside from those events, we threw many others. We sold t-shirts, had documentary showings, sold Ugandan jewelry and bags that benefited mothers over in Uganda, and had a massive book drive ever year for ‘Schools for Schools.’ One year, I had stacks of books in my house for about a week. It was like a maze! I had a great time working with such unbelievable people. It felt rewarding to be a part of something on such an international scale. And, as far as I know, we raised over $5000 with the benefit concerts.
6. Feeding the Homeless
I wrote an article on my blog entitled ‘A True Poverty’. Apparently, more and more cities are trying to make it illegal to feed the homeless. I found this outrageous and unconstitutional.
In November, I visited a gas station where I saw a woman sitting in a wheelchair holding a sign asking for money. She looked like she hadn’t showered in weeks and was very frail. I drove away without offering her some money. It ate away at me. So, the next time I had to fill up, I drove back to that same gas station. She happened to be there that day as well. However, now she was leaned up against a wall with her head resting on a cement platform. She looked exhausted. As I went to go pay inside the station, another homeless man approached me and asked for some money. I told him I’d get him something to eat inside if that’s what he would like. He followed me in and picked out what he wanted. A soda and some cheese combos. After he handed them to me, I went and retrieved a huge orange juice from their fridge and paid for it all at the till. I met him outside with the bag. He thanked me and walked off. I went over to the sleeping woman and placed the juice beside her head. She heard me and woke up. She whispered ‘thank you’. As I made my way to my car, she rolled her wheelchair over to the other side of the station and enjoyed some of her orange juice. It broke my heart. I sat in my car for a quick moment and realized how lucky I truly am.
Full read — https://brwren.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/a-true-poverty/
7. Deeds of December
Here is where this comes full circle. The reason why I found Theo’s video (your video if you are reading this), is because I was trying to find a way to contact The Son’s cast. I am running a campaign on my blog called ‘Deeds of December’. I want everyone to Give Up, Give In, Give Way, Give Praise, and Give Birth this Decmeber before the New Year begins. (*You can find the whole blog post inside my ‘Listen Up’ sub category folder).
For my Give Praise, I was first going to write a girlfriend of mine. However, I talk to her all the time and figured she knew how much she meant to me. I wanted to find someone who had no idea the effect they have on me. After watching the Conan show where all the Sons came on and answered questions (I re-watched it on youtube recently), I was struck with the idea to write Charlie. He seemed so forlorn about leaving his character behind, as well as the rest of the cast. I know what it’s like to become attached to something. So, I decided to choose him as my person. But then, after writing him a small letter, I thought, why not show the whole cast a lot of love! Of course, I figured I would never be able to get this letter to them, but I wanted to try. And here I am! While searching the net, I happily came across Theo’s (your) video. I have always been a #savejuice fan and loved getting to watch him get into all sorts of trouble.
Regardless if I get chosen, I hope this letter gets to you guys.
And that’s a wrap.
Remember to enjoy life! Show gratitude whenever the chance presents itself!
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I send my best to you on all of your future endeavors (acting and producing).
Happy holidays, Theo.
Love, B. R. Wren
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