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These Moms Created a Neighborhood Camp (And So Can You!)



Hi Readers! Here’s a letter about a homemade camp started by two moms that just may inspire you —  the same way THEY got inspired last year, thanks to ideas being spread by Mike Lanza of Playborhood. (Here’s a cool post by him of how he turned his front yard into a neighborhood hangout.) If you start a camp, let us know! L. 
Dear Free-Range Kids: I wanted to let you know that you, Mike Lanza, and the Camp Iris Way creators inspired me and a fellow mom, Karen Hoffman, to start out own neighborhood camp.  The first annual “Montara Street Camp” happened last week and was a huge success!  Not only did the campers, counselors, families and neighbors love it, but Karen and I had so much fun running it.  Of all the volunteer efforts I’ve been part of as a stay-at-home mom, this one was the most…

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Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is committed to finding a cure for all childhood cancers. To date, they have funded over 200 research projects at more than 70 institutions across the country! In addition to funding cutting-edge research into finding better treatments and ultimately cures, they also fund nursing grants to improve the quality of life and care of children with cancer.

We dig this, its an awesome cause, an awesome idea for fundraising, and all from the mind of an awesome little girl.

If you ever needed proof that anyone can give back, I think this is it. My daughter and I set up our own online fundraiser which you can donate to here if you’re so inclined. You can also text “Lemonade E85448” to the number 85944 to donate $10 straight from your phone. Simple! You wouldnt believe how hard it is to get someone to let you hold an actual lemonade stand some place busy, but we’re working on it!

A $400 donation funds about a day of research, lets cure some cancer!

Staffing / Updates

I’ve been rounding up some people that I trust, admire, and in general think highly of to help out with this little project / ball of madness.

I’ve been looking for people to help write articles – so far I’ve got one recruited but we’re working on her internet skills.  She was my counselor when I was a kid, I made her professional life a nightmare for an hour a week for several years, so she can at least use this opportunity to get back at me.

Next up – I’ve got a new general partner in crime in Dee. She’s not quite sure what to write about yet, and keeps mumbling things about thesis work, but she is around. I like that Dee in general doesn’t take no for an answer, is smart and knows how to use it, and comes from a similar past. She is in my opinion the best first addition to the eventual “board” that we will have to have, and pretty like minded in wanting to change the world for kids that can’t help themselves.

There are still a few more key figures that we’ll have to round up, but for now we’re good. We continue to plug away on the becoming a legitimate “NPO” front, and have decided that is pretty much the best route. For now we’ll continue to rally support for existing causes, and plan out our model for helping kids that need our, and YOUR help.


Thanks Guys and Gals,




Bridging the gap.

I must preface this with the statement that the Quad City area is behind the times. On a lot of things. One of which is any sort of charitable giving or philanthropy. You have the same companies being asked for funds from the same Org’s every year, running the same fundraiser’s that they were 10 years ago. That’s not a terrible thing from a marketing standpoint, people know the event, what its for, and know someone who runs Race for the Cure or does Birdies for Charity, and might even feel compelled to donate because of it. Problem being, between the ages of 18-35 unless that person has previously been involved with some sort of charity or event, they couldn’t be less engaged.

Which leaves us this – A startup org, that’s going to be looking for funding. How do we bring that age group into play by either making it trendy or giving some sort of reward. Donor’s love to be rewarded. Mentioned. Thanked. Feel like they made a difference with little to no actual involvement or investment but some money.

How do we show John or Jane – Small Business Owner that we can do just as much with the $100 they can afford to spare, that the United Way can do with $500,000. We lie through our teeth. Ok, not really, but it’s pretty simple to thank these folks for the work that they do. The internet is amazing, especially in the blog word. I can thank someone for a donation right now and it’ll make its way to Google in less than a day. If you follow the underlying infrastructure of the internet and how important popularity is, THAT’S HUGE.

For individual donor’s the same principal applies, social media in it’s many many forms allows us contact with countless numbers of people. Calling people out and thanking them is an absolute must, but now it isn’t a Thank You card in the mail, it’s thanking them publicly – potentially in front of millions of people. But that honestly isn’t going to get anyone involved that isn’t already. So we’re left with finding different fundraising opportunities. Things more 20 something oriented. Events that are fun, so that while maintaining the “fun” that’s required to pique the interest of the age group. It still ends up being a charitable event.

Locals we’d love to hear ideas from you, not-so-locals what’s going on in your area? Whats the most memorable event you’ve been to?

DonorsChoose Projects for June 2012

First we have a project posted by Mrs. Leonard at Smart intermediate in Davenport.

Teaching these middle school kids how the basics of an electronic device works is a stellar idea. As an extension of their current curricula on green and renewable energy resources we might just be able to get a few kids interested in saving the planet. Donate a buck!


Next up is a project posted by Mrs. Verbeck from Colona grade school.

SCRABBLE! I’m pitching in a dollar just so these kids can learn the usefullness of the letter T! I know where she’s coming from though, unless a book has done a Harry Potteresque dash to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, kids in general don’t care about reading. Especially with the cost of these new “trendy” books, providing them to an entire class is expensive and improbable. Donate a buck!

Still rockin 80’s hair?

One of the easiest charities to give to, and an amazing cause is of course

Cut that mullet, chop off those mall bangs. Ladies, planning on a different look? Don’t let that hair hit the trash can, hit up a local locks of love salon, and donate it. They make hair pieces (wigs) out of real hair for cancer patients and all sorts of other follicly challenged kids.

From their site –

Our mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.

But what if you dont have a participating salon in your area? Ask your favorite stylist to sign up! Going as bald as me? You can email them and request a key tag you can swipe at Albertson’s stores and they donate a percentage of your purchase to Locks of Love. SIMPLE!. No word on if it works at Jewel/Osco local folks.

Looking to donate locally? I talked with Corie at Salon 3G in Moline and she says to go to the salon you’re most comfortable with. Your donation has to be 10 inches from the cut to the tip, either braided or in a pony tail, and placed in a plastic bag. Then you just mail it to Locks of Love, simple! For more information check out –

Good weather giving

It’s a beautiful friday morning, and I stumbled upon this little request for some charitable giving.

It’s got a 50/50 match, it’s an awesome idea to cut down on waste, and the school is semi-local.

The thing I like about is that they work hard to make sure everything is on the up and up. They place the order and verify the delivery, they verify the teacher is indeed a teacher, you can feel confident in whatever amount you donate really goes to help kids in a real classroom. Sortable by State, County, City, you name it.

If you don’t like this one, dig around a bit, I guarantee you’ll find one that you want to donate to. Then get 5 of your friends to donate as well, That’s how we roll. did some digging and found that if you use offer code MORNINGJOE when you check out Starbucks/MSNBC matches your donation. Finished that off for a whopping $9.76! Some kids in NC are going to have a cozy place to sit and read and I dig that!

Summer Event ideas for the Quad Cities?

Looking for something to try and pull off this summer, open to suggestions.

What I was kind of thinking off the top of my head – My buddy Nick runs a local charity that donates bikes to needy kids in and around the midwest. He rounded up 12 or 13 last year and after much hullabaloo and me talking to the guys at 4 state trucks finally got them taken down to some needy kids in Joplin Missouri after the big tornadoes down there last year.

Some are just plain jane off the shelf bikes you get from Target or Wal Mart, but some are genuine full on BMX racing bikes for kids that would like to get into BMX racing but due to financial circumstance, just can’t do it. Nick and a bunch of concerned BMX’ers and people just like you make it possible. Whether it’s building some super rad bike for a needy kid, or a show bike he can sell to get more money for the program, he’s always working on some 2 wheel monsters.

Nick and some other local guy named Rick Moliterno (maybe you’ve heard of him?)  are putting on a BMX festival right here in Davenport this May at the skate park. Because they’re crazy, the whole shindig is gonna be free. Donations accepted, but seriously it’s free to go check this thing out.

I’d definitely like to see you guys attend, but what can we the Mobbits do to make this thing better? If you’ve got the time, go, if you don’t – share the event on your facebook wall (timeline) and let other people know about it. Maybe if we get enough people to show up and give Nick some scratch, he’ll build a super sweet Tot Mob bike for some lucky kid…

Big Thanks!

Finally getting some time to sit down and thank all of the awesome people that have helped Tot Mob thus far –

Randy Yates @ Donated financially, and had some ideas to offer for our first event.

Tom Terronez and the team @ Donated financially, and helped me understand the importance of and gave me the basics on how to “get the word out”

Brian Stupski @  Created our super sweet logo and donated it, the guy is a wizard.

The Lackey, Robinson, Davis, and White Families, they came through when called upon, both financially and spiritually.

And you – for taking the time to read this, let’s me know that the cause is getting bigger.




If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won’t have to struggle, we won’t have to pass fruitless idle resolutions. But we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering. -Gandhi

More accurate words have never been written. Gandhi wrote some powerful stuff, and well some crazy stuff, and some stuff that you definitely couldn’t say today.

I get a message from a buddy of mine yesterday saying he’d like to help out, gonna write me a check to get some more toy’s for the Quad Cities Toys for Tots drive. They were having the final big collection of the year, and things were looking bleak, so I headed on over and did what any good Mobbit, or human being in general would do. Picked up the check and went shopping. I rolled into Target with 250 dollars worth of Tom’s hard earned cash

not too shabby, eh?

(check his company out at ) The first thing that I note is that Target has a bunch of different toy groupings at buy 1, get 1 50% off.


All said and done I ended up with a cart load of toys and turned Tom’s 250 bucks into 364 dollars worth of toys. You can see the full monty on our facebook page, I like to take pictures of everything I buy for people so they can see the good they really did. Shopping vicariously if you will.

Cutscene – Running home with a truck full of toys to eat dinner at 5 o’clock, the toy drive is over at 6:30 and I’ve got a couple more toys I picked up at home anyway. Well fed, and underway, I make my way over to the district to meet up with GySgt Matt Dorsey, and the rest of our local toy gathering heroes. Upon arrival I note that 1 they picked up some toys, which is good, because things were looking pretty dire. And that there is a news crew outside, not just filming the event, but interviewing people. OH NO. To say that I’m camera shy, is an understatement, and I’m fully aware that I look like a homeless person at that point, a penniless philanthropist if you will.  Anyway I help Matt and crew unload all of the toys and they of course let me know that they’d like to put me on the news…. OH LORD. It didn’t go as bad as I’d imagined, They were kind enough to edit out a lot of my babble. Too bad they couldn’t edit out my beard. You can read the full article here – pretty awesome night for kids in the Quad Cities.