Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Make a difference while you still can in 2009!!

As we head into 2009, be on the look-out for new stories, programs, experiences and developments coming directly from the House; to learn from, to grown from and to educate everyone on how important the work GMCH does is! We will be rolling out more ways to communicate with each other and with the external support system that we have been developing throughout the great Bay Area and beyond. We are so lucky to have supporters and advocates that consistently see what their time, efforts, and money does when we apply it to helping our families, our children and everyone that walks through out doors who are in need of our services.

But we can't do it without YOU; those of you who know little about GMCH. Call us, write us, comment on our blog. We would love to give you a tour, should the level of activity at the House permits, and show you how we are different from any hospital, any pediatric medical facility that we know of in the USA.

Thank you again and for more information on how YOU can make a huge difference, whether it's through volunteering, donating, sharing your time or your experiences, please visit our website: www.georgemark.org.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Links to support GMCH, links to get the word out...and more links!

To promote and support the ivaluable services that GMCH provides, and the tireless hours and efforts that our clinical and fundraising staff, volunteers and other supporters put into running the House, we have some great ways to give to GMCH...wihile you receive! For those of you who buy your milk online through safeway.com, or need another sweater before the weather turns warm from LL. Bean, make sure to set up an account with http://www.igive.com/, http://www.justgive.org/ and/or http://www.escrip.com/! These websites will set-up an acount where a certain percentage of your purchase will go to GMCH! It is that easy.

Another way to help get the word out about the House is through making "friends" with George Mark Children's House on http://www.facebook.com/! We are also an "organization" and a "cause" (the cause is called "Support Our Kids"). This way, we can all stay connected as the House and Fund grow throughout the New Year and beyond! You can also find us on Twitter.com and you can write reviews about us a http://www.greatnonprofits.org/ - kinda like the Zagat Restaurant Guide for nonprofits!

It's so easy. Please click on any of the links on the left side of this screen to find out more!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What do you celebrate?

Whether you are celebrating the solstice, having a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah, delightful Kwanzaa, or exciting Chinese New Year, here are some ways that people and cultures around the world/nation celebrate their "holidays" this time of year:

La Posada
In Mexico and many parts of Central America, people celebrate La Posada during the nine days before their Christmas celebrations. It is a reenactment of the journey Joseph and Mary took to find shelter before the birth of their child, Jesus.

For eight days each November or December, candles are lit in a special candleholder called a menorah. They do this to remember an ancient miracle in which one day's worth of oil burned for eight days in their temple. On Hanukkah, many eat special potato pancakes called latkes, sing songs, and spin a top called a dreidel to win chocolate coins, nuts, or raisins.

St. Lucia Day
To honor this third-century saint on December 13, many girls in Sweden dress up as "Lucia brides" in long white gowns with red sashes, and a wreath of burning candles on their heads. They wake up their families by singing songs and bringing them coffee and twisted saffron buns called "Lucia cats."

Bodhi Day
On December 8, Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day. It recalls the day in 596 BCE when the Buddha achieved enlightenment. This day is generally regarded as the birth day of Buddhism and is an Eastern tradition. This signifies when the Buddha achieved enlightenment and escaped the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth through reincarnation.
Many people, religious or not, might decorate a tree, add lights to their houses or visit with friends and family during the months of November and December. Atheists, Agnostics, Jews, Buddhists, etc., all look forward to their own traditions and ways of celebrating this festive time of year. Have a wonderful holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Latkes and Santa and Presents, Oh My!

GMCH was visited by a very special guest to the House again this year: S. Claus himself. And this time he brought the wife! Who I believe is also an amazing cook (she has to be...Santa's schedule can obviously get a bit intense this time of year). Santa had a wonderful time hanging out with GMCH kids, their families and staff, taking note of what everyone wants this year (better hurry back to the North Pole and check on production, Santa!) and checking off his naught and nice lists. He even brought an elf with him...all the way from the North Pole. Now that's dedication!

Shalom! GMCH also had Latke Day in Ruth's Cafe. Our very own Volunteer Manager Tami Blaj reigned as Head Chef for the day, assisted by Chef Barbara, of course, Sous Chef Stuart, and Michele & Amy (GMCH Fund Staff). "They were amazing! You LW's...you Latke Women," chimed in our Front Office Queen herself, Linda Mead. "You go, LW's!" The tables were strewn with chocolate coins and dradles. Mazal tov, Latke Makers, on another successful year of Latke making!

Happy Holidays and Cheers to the New Year...

GMCH has had many families from different cultural and religious backgrounds, with many different kinds of family practices and routines...you name it, we have seen it. This is one posting out of a series that will educate us all on the various and amazing traditions of the cultures that make up our Bay Area and our country!

Here is one of just a few things that you can make/do this holiday season to find out what actually happens during the eight days of Hanukkah, surrounding the Jewish traditions (keep in mind that underlined words are key words that you might want to look up for more information):


Latkes are traditionally eaten by Ashkenazi Jews during the Jewish Hanukkah festival. The oil for cooking the latkes is reminiscent of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle.
The word leviva, the Hebrew name for latke, has its origins in the
Book of Samuel's description of the story of Amnon and Tamar. Some interpreters have noted that the homonym levav means "heart," and the verbal form of l-v-v occurs in the Song of Songs as well.

One of the best parts of Hanukkah is having Latkes, the traditional potato pancake that is easier than you think to make!

3 large potatoes, grated, 1 small onion , grated 2 eggs well beaten 2 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon salt pinch of pepper vegetable oil for frying
To makes latkes, mix the grated potatoes and onions with eggs, flour and seasonings. Then heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the pancake batter to the oil in large spoonfuls and fry until golden brown. Turn the pancakes and fry the other side. Serve the pancakes with apple sauce and sour cream (or both...trust me on this one).

More to come on Kwanzaa and other religious commemorations around the world...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blogging for Life

Since the economic downturn is putting us all on edge, let's take inventory and bank on the following positive facts (no pun intended):
-It is Latke Monday with Tami at George Mark Children's House on Monday...with applesauce, no less!
-I swear I saw a camel in the garden at George Mark Children's House...oh wait. Silly me! I saw a camel, some dogs, a bunny, birds, horses, and mini-horse...duh. Just another pet therapy day at the House.
-Linda Mead is the greatest...period.
-The holidays make everyone happy...so stay happy!

More to come at the New Year...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thank you again, Legacy!

Thank you to Ashley Machette (Legacy Sponsorship Co-Chair) and Lindsey Schwarz for supporting GMCH through Lindsey's "Jean's For Charity Day" at her workplace. Jeans will be in fashion on Friday at O'Melveny & Myers LLP!

When: Friday, December 18, 2008
Beneficiary: George Mark Children's House

The Firm has been well-educated on what it takes to make GMCH run. Here's a little refresher for all of us!

What A Gift Makes Possible:

$20 Medical Supplies for One Day
$50 One Morning's Breakfast for Children and Their Families
$100 One Evening's Dinner for Families and Children
$250 Family Suite Accommodations for One Family for One Day
$500 Nursing Care for One Child for One 8-Hour Shift
$1,000 Bereavement Support Group for Families for One Month
$2,000 One Day of Medical Care for One Child

igive this Holiday Season to GMCH!

You shop, we win! Help GMCH for free.

Shop online at over 700 brand name stores (i.e. Staples.com, ebay, etc.) and a portion of each purchase will be donated to your favorite cause (GMCH, of course)! Just select George Mark Children's House, register with iGive and shop at brand name online stores through the iGive Mall. A portion of your purchase will be donated to our kids, their families and our cause. You can also save money with exclusive coupons/free shipping deals, AND when you shop within 45 days of registering we’ll donate an extra $5 to your cause! www.igive.com

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Messyah Concert to Benefit GMCH!

Please join us for the U.S. premiere of British Composer Paul Ayres' amazing re-working of Handel's Messiah, which has been called “fresh, invigorating, thought-provoking and entertaining,” performed by the Sanford Dole Ensemble. The Sanford Dole leads a professional chamber orchestra and chorus, giving the familiar Handelian melodies a fresh feel with new rhythmic settings and harmonic surprises.

“Not your grandmother's Messiah”

Sunday, December 21, 4:00 pm
Old St. Mary's Cathedral
660 California Street (at Grant), San Francisco
$25 general, $40 reserved section
*doors open at 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm reception to follow

Proceeds will benefit the Sanford Dole Ensemble and George Mark Children's House. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.georgemark.org/.

The Stanford Dole Ensemble: Exploring the world of contemporary music combining voices and instruments. For more information, please visit www.sde.org.

Monday, December 8, 2008

GMCH on now on Facebook!

...in more ways than one. "George Mark Children's House" now has its own Facebook profile and it has been created as an "Organization." Additionally, we are working towards creating GMCH as a "Cause." For more information and to learn more about Facebook, please go to www.facebook.com.

Thank you!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Give, give and give some more!

We are so blessed to live in an age where (althought it's scary) we can keep in touch with people and communicate through just clicking through a website. These things might seem like impersonal ways to talk to your neighbors, friends, family and colleagues, but when used for doing good, technology can open up a whole new world. There was an article in today's San Francisco Chronicle that shows how much people are gearing their businesses towards giving to others and supporting important causes...like GMCH. To read more, please click here:

Everywun.com is a great way to learn more about how easy it is to support your favorite cause without spending your own money. Go to the website and learn more!!

Have a great weekend and happy holidays!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us on staff at George Mark Children's House, to the GMCH community and beyond, we wish you all happiness and the support of loved one's and family as we enter into the holiday season. Remember to give thoughtfully, receive thankfully and love whole-heartedly.

Happy Thanksgiving and may your holiday's be warm and bright.

All the best,

George Mark Children's House and Fund

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welcome to GMCH's New Blog!

GMCH and the Fund Office would like to welcome you to their first published blog. Please feel free to post any of your questions, comments or stories on this public forum for all things GMCH! And thank you for your patience as we continue to update and develop this blog.

Thank you!

Warmest regards,

George Mark Children's House and Fund Staff