January 2012

Do You Like to Dance?

So you want to have good times… maybe you want to become more active or lose a little weight this year. Then I shouldn’t have to tell you… DANCE! Dancing will get you active and you’ll be burning calories. This will help you lose weight and gain muscle and all that good stuff; though really… to make any real changes, you have to make a lifestyle change.

Call To Action: Guerilla Philanthropy

Follow a new kind of giving back, anonymously doing something for random people in your community just because.

When everyone seems to be scraping by, it can be difficult to feel like being charitable. Lines like “selflessness”, or “doing something for the common good” can sound naïve, or even ignorant. However, it might just be what everyone needs to hear. So it went in a little locally-owned coffee shop in Bluffton, South Carolina, called the Corner Perk. Two years ago a woman walked in and placed a $100 bill on the counter and told the barrista to use it to pay for everyone’s drinks until the money ran out. Over the last two years the gesture has caught on, and now the coffee shop has become somewhat of a local bastion for paying it forward.

This got me thinking about the different ways in which we, as individuals, can “pay it forward” (to borrow a rather cliché ten-year old term) in our own communities in ways that are tangible and visible to us and the people we regularly interact with. We’ve put such a premium in broad, large-scale charity (not that it’s a bad thing) that we sometimes neglect the community right outside of our window. With the economy being what it is, there’s plenty of homegrown suffering. That’s why, in a parody of what has come to be called “venture philanthropy”, I propose we start a little “guerilla philanthropy” right here in our own communities. Much like the anonymous good Samaritan that left $100 spot on a coffee-shop counter, in what ways can we pay forward a little generosity in our own communities? Beginning with the case of Central Perk, here are a few ideas.

Find a local business that seems to cater to good people, has a good standing in the community, and drop a little extra money in the “penny” plate. It doesn’t have to be a hundred dollars, but even $10 is likely to get some people’s attention.

Decentralized Dance Party

Do you enjoy going out dancing?

Do you enjoy losing yourself in the music alone or with your partner? This is a fun past time for sure. Though I bet you don’t enjoy the creepy guards feeling you up and giving you a stern eye as they manhandle your ID. Then, of course, there is usually a cover charge to get in to the venue.

I bet you don’t like that extra expense of drinks either. Most bars mark up their drinks by as much as 5 times the cost of the alcohol, depending. Read more here. My suggestion to avoid all of this and still dance your butt off is to partake in a Decentralized Dance Party.

What is a Decentralized Dance Party? It is exactly what it sounds like- a party that has no centralized location. One of the party organizers will carry a mobile radio transmitter via back pack or cart. Then hundreds upon hundreds of people (who are in the know) will carry around boom boxes and stereos tuned into the same radio frequency. Heck, you could even plug in to this party via your Walkman, but you wouldn’t be able to hear the debauchery going on if you’re tuned out on your ear buds or headphones.