Ugly Ducklings Inc’s fundraiser begins!

official fundraiser ugly ducklings inc

Here’s the LINK to donate, and participate for a chance to win one of the 7 prize packs with Jennifer Morrison’s autograph… Continue reading

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Ugly Ducklings Inc is ready for 2015

Ugly Ducklings Inc is ready for 2015 Hi Ugly Ducklings! And Happy 2015! We dearly hope you enjoyed the holidays and are now ready to have fun, enjoy, and be surprised by wonderful things that this year will bring. We have a great announcement that we’ll make very soon, and for now, we just wanted to give you a heads up.

Check Twitter and Facebook

Don’t lose sight of the ducklings on social networks because they will be explaining the first big thing that we have prepared for you for this new year. HOWEVER, since you’re reading this, we’ll tell you the secret (but shhhh!!):

  • We’ll launch our new t-shirt designs very soon
  • We will hold our second charity raffle!
  • We have prize packs you won’t believe (and they all contain something signed by actress Jennifer Morrison)
  • We will also have some more goodies and producks you can get to help us support Mental Fitness Inc.
  • We’ll be working alongside Sanah Jivani again for this upcoming Natural Day!!

You can tweet at the ducklings here, and like us on Facebook, too! Besides that, we are looking forward to starting our new series of blog posts with topics that will inspire, encourage, and help others to become who they really want to be. Can’t really tell you more than that!! Just keep your eyes open for what’s coming!

What’s it like to meet Idina Menzel?

Meeting Idina Menzel

A few weeks ago, I went to the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Flea Market. The event takes place in New York City, and is run by a charity that helps people with HIV and AIDS.

I was so excited because there was an auction to win two tickets to If/Then and then go backstage and meet Idina Menzel!

I went with my mom, and I had one thought in mind: I need to win that auction. I had saved my money -I was sacrificing birthday, Hanukah, and Christmas gifts for this.

It is not every day that there is an auction to go backstage and meet your idol after her Broadway show

I was shaking while holding up my bidding paddle. I didn’t think there was any way for me to win. When they announced that I won, I was elated! Actually, “elated” does not even describe how I was feeling.

I was going to meet Idina Menzel backstage after If/Then!

When the big day came, it was my third time seeing If/Then (if you have not seen it, you should – it is absolutely amazing). This time was different; I was enjoying the show, of course, but I was more focused on what was happening after it was over.

She met Idina MenzelWhen If/Then ended, me, my mom, and one man (who was an acquaintance of Idina) were taken into a small room, which had different clothing items for the actors of the show. We waited there for about 10 minutes and then Idina Menzel’s dresser came in and brought us into Idina’s dressing room.

There were a few men in the room, my mom, Idina’s dresser and me, all waiting for Idina Menzel to make her appearance. That was when LaChanze (another star in the show) came into the dressing room with her cousins. Idina Menzel came out, greeted LaChanze’s cousins, and then greeted us. First she greeted the men in the room, then my mom, then me. She even hugged me.

Then we had a chance to talk: told her about a club my friend and I started for her charity “A BroaderWay”. A BroaderWay is a charity that sends underprivileged girls to camp for 10 days. At the end of camp, they put on a final performance. This camp is put on by Broadway stars including Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs.

My friend and I started a club for this charity because we think it’s such a great cause! Idina was so happy, which made me so happy. She also took a picture with me! We hung out in her dressing room for probably 20 minutes, then she hugged me goodbye and I got to go on stage! Standing on a Broadway stage is awesome! It was amazing.

It was a night that felt out of this world, and worth every penny, especially since the money went to a great charity. And Idina Menzel was so incredibly nice! She is such an inspiration because even though her life is filled with fame and glory, she is incredible down to earth; she was not a diva, and did not seem full of herself. I could not have asked for a better night.

-Allie

Allison is one of the 10 members of Operation Turducken, an essential part of the creation of The Ugly Ducklings Inc.

Josh Dallas NAHS charity fundraiser

Hello Ugly Ducklings. 

Today’s post is dedicated to our great friends, partners, and favorite people from the Charming Angels community and the fans and admirers of actor Josh Dallas from the tv show Once Upon a Time.

Last year we united forces for our first charity competition, where we had the support of these wonderful people. With their help, we raised $600 for Mental Fitness Inc!

Now, we want to help them spread the word on their new campaign in favor of Josh Dallas’ high school’s theater department.

They’ll do a series of raffles starting on June 9th and you only need to donate a small amount of money to participate and get a chance to win one of these!!!

Josh Dallas Charity Drive

Item from Lot 1 – Novel signed by Josh

Josh Dallas Charity Drive

Item from Lot 2. Complete Season 1 DVD signed twice by Josh

Make sure you read all the instructions over at their website: Josh Dallas NAHS Theater Dept. Charity Drive.

If you can’t donate money, then there’s something that’s free and super easy to do: tell others about this, so more people can help and support this great cause.

Stay awesome Ugly Ducklings. And thank you!

Swan Out,
– Marie

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

EDRA week

Hello Ugly Ducklings!

This week is “Eating Disorder Awareness Week” and as most of you know, this is an issue that is very close to our hearts. Our ED Awarenessfavourite charity, Mental Fitness Inc, focuses on providing information about eating disorders, healthy coping mechanisms, body image and stress management to schools. The Ugly Ducklings support this charity with a portion of our monetary proceeds; this year we did #OperationNORMAL which raised additional funds for Mental Fitness Inc; and one of our own Ugly Ducklings Allie gave her birthday to helping out Mental Fitness Inc!

We don’t want to list a bunch of stats about eating disorders in this blog to demonstrate how important it is for us to bring attention to the issue. Instead, we want to direct you to the resource page at Mental Fitness Inc so you can educate yourself, especially if you think you or someone you love may be struggling with an eating disorder.

This week, we want to send loving, positive and inspiring thoughts to Mental Fitness Inc and the CEO and Founder, Robyn Hussa who we know is working incredibly hard, this week and every other week, to raise education and awareness about eating disorders. We are grateful for Robyn and how supportive she has been of Ugly Ducklings Inc and we cannot wait to see what happens next!

Do you want to make a donation as an Ugly Duckling to help out Mental Fitness Inc? Check out this page to find out how to do that!

Hmm, wouldn’t it be awesome if Mental Fitness Inc got bombarded with donations this week? Let’s do it, Ugly Ducklings! This week only, if you donate through our link to MFI and email us the confirmation, we’ll send you a little something to say thanks! To make it a little extra special, feel free to include a personal message for Mental Fitness Inc and Robyn and we’ll compile them all and send them off to her once this crazy week is over!  (Also remember, a portion of all our PRODUCK profits go towards supporting MFI as well!)

DUCKLINGS UNITE!

swan out

It’s simple to spread the word, very simple

donate a click and spread the word
Click! Click! We do it all the time. Have you even stopped for a second to consider how many clicks we do per day? Crazy, right?

What if one of those clicks you do with your mouse can make a huge difference?

Have you ever paused for a moment and consider that?

Because today you have the chance to do it.

Ever since this movement started we decided to commit ourselves to a very worthy organization called NORMAL in Schools (now Mental Fitness Inc.). And we want to support them as much as we can. After our humble fundraise of $600 to their organization, and the immense support we got from so many of you, we now want to urge you to help us with… yes, that’s right, with a CLICK.

That’s it, you say? well…

Skype with Kristen Bell, Private casting sessions, Tickets and a Backstage Tour of Conan. Yes! they’re all part of the Fall Auction.

just a click can make magic happenWe understand that they might be too expensive for you. But what about a Click?…that’s free, and it can be magical!

It’s as simple as that. A retweet, a post on  your Facebook, a photo on Pinterest!

Take this photo to any of the social networks you use and paste it with the Fall Auction link!

Or better yet: “Mental Fitness Inc.’s awesome Fall auction. Help us share with #YourMagicTouch http://twitpic.com/dh9enl | http://goo.gl/mxou7b”

Love and thanks!

– Marie,

The Tail Shaker.
The Ugly Ducklings Inc's swan

Thank you, Heroes!

heroes-banner

Before I begin, I just want to say that my heart goes out to the families, friends and co-workers of the 19 elite firefighters who lost their lives in Arizona last weekend.  I am overcome with emotion and gratitude for anyone who sacrifices their safety to save others.

My siblings are EMS workers.  One works in extremely risky situations on a daily basis.  This can actually be quite difficult for me sometimes; there are television shows I often can handle watching and I don’t listen to the news anymore.  Over the past several years, I have written dozens of “Op-Eds” and “Letters to the Editor” to Canadian newspapers in response to stories that belittle or bash our local heroes or question the value of their paycheques.  This has become a passion of mine.  I have so much respect for heroes and I often wish they were given the public acknowledgement they deserve on a regular basis, not just when they die in the line of duty.

This blog isn’t just about fallen heroes, but I wanted to make sure I honoured them.  I want us all to remember that when we’re running away from a situation, the heroes are the ones running into it.  And they’re doing it for us.  Heroes are some of the most important people in the world.  Whether they are personal heroes or public heroes… whether they have fallen or still stand, heroes can impact our lives so drastically.

Heroes can be strangers who are there on the worst days of our lives and intentionally sacrifice themselves in some way to make it a little easier on us.   Heroes can be the ones who just live their lives in such a way that they inadvertently give others inspiration and courage to live just bravely.  A hero can really be anyone who impacts your life in a positive way, whether you know them personally or not.

My life is filled with heroes.  I love hearing people’s stories and through that, I often learn about people’s heroic qualities, even if they don’t consider themselves to be heroes at all.

My siblings are my heroes.  If you sacrifice family events, holidays, hours of sleep and your own safety to help others, you’re a hero to me.

If you’re someone who has overcome huge adversity in your life and now use your experience to help others who are struggling, you’re a hero to me.

If you’re someone famous and you decide to use your realm of influence to raise money or awareness for a charity or important issue, you’re a hero to me.

If you’re a singer who pours every vulnerability within you into your music then releases it publicly, not caring whether it makes money but hoping it changes lives, you’re a hero to me.

If you work solely to make money to help others, you’re a hero to me.

If you use your voice to speak out against injustice, you’re a hero to me.

If you’ve given your life to a cause worth fighting for, you’re a hero to me.

I can think of several examples of people for everything I just mentioned.  And they are my heroes.  They are living a heroic life and inspiring others to follow.

Who are your heroes?  Who inspires you to live your life the way you do?  Who has helped you through the most difficult time of your life and not asked for anything in return?

I want to hear your hero stories – And I want to honour the heroes in our lives.

When you think of these people, remember to thank them for what they’ve done for you or others.  Write a card to your local police, fire or ambulance stations and thank them for their service and sacrifice.  Write a thank you note to the people who started your favourite charity.  Send a tweet to someone who has inspired you to change your life.  Let’s live in a spirit of acknowledgement and gratitude!

The girl who gave her birthday

she donated on her birthday

I remember when Allison asked me the name of the non-profit organization to which Ugly Ducklings Inc donated part of its profits.

Then, she said something that really struck me. In the best of ways.

I remember how good it felt after I had used the money that my mom had gotten to give to each of her children (a Christmas pay or something like that) to buy cookies for all my aunts and uncles. There was something left, which I used to buy the wrapping paper and the ribbons. There was a huge smile on my face.

girls who donated to NORMAL in schools

Some of Allison’s friends who donated

I was so excited and happy about what Allison was asking that I felt the need to interview her and ask her how she thought of this and why she was doing it.

First, I was super curious to know why she decided to start with NORMAL in Schools. And this was her answer:

I decided to start with NORMAL in Schools because I heard about it through The Ugly Ducklings on Twitter, and my birthday was coming up. People were asking me what I wanted, and I decided I wanted everyone to donate.

What’s the importance in giving? 

The importance in giving is, when you are fortunate enough to not need, or want anything, it’s very important to give back to those who do. If you can offer help, it is important to offer it where it is needed.

Allison's friend donated to NORMAL in Schools

But then, how did she get the idea? Was it from her parents, or perhaps it was already a tradition? Well, none of the above. Allison said that she got the idea from seeing a lot of her friends asking people to donate to charities for their birthdays. “After noticing my friend’s generosity, I decided to take after them, and have them donate for my birthday”. 

Sidenote: Sigh, I’m getting even more excited

I was even more curious question after question. Because it is one thing to have an idea, but it is another thing to make up your mind and actually DO IT. So, I asked Allison what made her decide to give others, instead of others giving gifts to her.

I made the decision to help others instead of getting gifts because to me, it just seemed like the right thing to do. I did not really need anything for my birthday. I thought that instead of that, what felt right was to help others. Even if I helped just a little bit, it was totally worth it.

Another necessary sidenote: A little bit? To me it’s so much more than a little bit.

I want to say that I feel something strange and wonderful in my heart. I’m overjoyed to see people like Allison making part of this wonderful community, which exists and is constantly fed by all of you <3 I also felt the need to ask her what The Ugly Ducklings meant to her, and this is what she had to say about it…  

The Ugly Ducklings movement, to me, means acceptance. I think the Ugly Ducklings is about everyone accepting each other for who they are. People should not be afraid to express who they really are. Nobody should be so consumed with the idea of people judging them, that they forget who they really are.

lauren donated to NORMAL in Schools

That’s it. I rest my case. I don’t know what else to add after this answer.

I’m kidding!  We have one more thing to share from Allison’s interview; however, I’m still speechless after such beautiful words. 

The last two questions I had for Allison were, of course, about telling others to do the same thing. It’s true, sometimes we just feel like we want so many gifts: the latest iPod, or the latest DVD release that we’ve got to have before the rest; or perhaps we want our parents to buy us a plane ticket to go to that place we’ve always wanted to go. But then, it all comes down to how you feel after, instead of getting things, you give them.

I just hope that I inspire others to do the same thing. I hope that on my friend’s birthdays they decide to ask everyone to donate instead of getting gifts. In other words, I would definitely tell others to donate on their birthdays. Even though getting gifts is great, I find it more meaningful to help others.

annie allison donated to NORMAL in SchoolsAnd that, my amazing friends, is something we had to share with you. I can’t wait for it to be October 31st (yep, my birthday is on Halloween) to see how all my friends and family donate money to NORMAL, instead of sending me things. I can’t wait…

– Marie,

The Tail Shaker.
The Ugly Ducklings Inc's swan