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Jennifer’s February Column in Savvy Family Magazine

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Sister Mary Rose McGeady was said “There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life.”  Giving back is really important to me, my employees, and my family. There are so many needs in our community and often it’s hard to decide how to best help organizations in need. My favorite way to give to charities is to give them the gift of organization.

At the top of my list of favorite local organizations is the BJC Hospice Pediatric Friends of WINGS program (friendsofwings.com). WINGS is a non profit organization that provides clinical, emotional, spiritual, social and practical support and services to children from newborn through 21 years who have progressive, life threatening or life limiting illnesses or conditions, regardless of their ability to pay.

For the last couple of years, Saint Louis Closet Co. has collected art supplies at Christmas time to support their art therapy program. My staff, our clients, colleagues and friends have been incredibly generous to the Friends of Wings program and have helped a lot of individual children and their siblings to have supplies for their art therapy.  In 2008 we are planning on getting their storage closet organized to hold even more supplies.

I am proud to have been the Honorary Chair for the last 2 years for the Friends of Wings Big Bear Brunch.  Families enrolled in the program are invited to come and share in delicious food, great activities and a truly supportive environment.

The St. Louis Crisis Nursery (crisisnurserykids.org) was another organization we enjoyed helping this year. They are committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect and provide emergency intervention, respite care and support to families in crisis. We donated a walk-in closet for their baby clothes drop-off. They had some good systems for their drop-off, but now they are organized and ready for lots of donations of clothes.

Since I live in Kirkwood, I enjoy supporting local organizations in my community. We had a great time donating, designing and installing the entire teen area at the Kirkwood Public Library (kpl.lib.mo.us). If you’re in Kirkwood, stop by and see how great their teen area looks.

Another Kirkwood organization that is near to my heart and my two children is The Magic House (magichouse.org)..  We had fun helping organize their coat closet for visitors. The Magic House engages children in hands-on learning experiences that encourage experimentation, creativity and the development of problem-solving skills. They are one of the most attended children’s museums in the country and we enjoyed designing closets to fit all of their winter and rainy day needs.

There are a lot of St. Louis charities and organizations that need your help. A great start is to go to the website www.charity-charities.org/charities/MO/StLouis.html. Another great website is www.charitynavigator.org (type in St. Louis). They both contain a complete list of local charities. Figuring out what you have to offer is the first step, whether it’s time, money, services or products. Then, get busy helping.

There is no better way than to start off the New Year organizing your thoughts and your budget as to how you can help and give back.  

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Jennifer’s January Column in Savvy Family Magazine

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 January is National Get Organized Month.

In celebration of National Get Organized month, I’m really excited to be partnering up with Claire Keeling from Sort It Out, Inc. and Carol Daniel from KMOX on January 10th. We are hosting an evening of organization at Saint Louis Closet Co. Claire will be sharing valuable information to help you start 2008 more organized and Carol will be the hostess for the evening.  The event is from 6:30 to 8:00pm , so mark your calendars now and RSVP as seating is complementary but limited.  Please RSVP via email to diane@stlouisclosetco.com by January 8th, 2008.

As many of you may have put this on your list, getting organized is frequently in the top 10 of people’s New Year’s resolutions. It is a great goal to start the year off organized. The problem that many people have is that they lose their motivation or go back to old habits of disorganization if they don’t get going right away.

If the only thing you are able to accomplish during Get Organized month is to give everything in your home or office a “home”, you’ll be amazed at how organized you’ll stay. Just like the Saint Louis Company motto, you really do need “a place for everything”.  We pile, stack and spread because we don’t know where to put things.

I’ve heard before that it takes 21 days to create a habit. For some people I’m sure that’s true, but I think Stephen Covey is more accurate when he states in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, that to develop a habit, you need the knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do it) and desire (the want to do it).  If you don’t have all three, you truly can’t begin and then develop the habit. 

People give me helpful organizing tips all of the time and I always appreciate learning something new. As a mother of two, I’m constantly looking for more efficient ways to help my kids stay organized. My favorite tip regarding library books is for the books to always stay in the kids’ backpacks. Most moms I know have had to deal with lost library books at some point and it’s really frustrating to have to pay for the book and then eventually find it again. If you get the books out of the backpacks to read them, just help your kids develop the habit of putting them back into the backpack as their “home”. Once the books go into the kids’ rooms, it’s very easy for them to get lost or mixed in with their own books.

If you’re interested in more helpful organizing information, make sure to come to our January 10th event. I can guarantee that you will learn something new and will be motivated to start your 2008 more organized.

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