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1,001

Since we started last Monday, my co-workers and I — some I’m close with and some I’d never spoken to before — have folded 1,001 paper cranes.

1,001.

We also raised a sizable contribution for the American Red Cross’s relief efforts in Japan, which have only just scratched the surface of what is sure to be an endless recovery process.

In celebration of the work, the patience and the time we donated to this project, a few of us enjoyed a post-work celebratory hurricane at a local New Orleans fare restaurant. We stayed so long we got to enjoy the jazz band also.

I’ve been more than happy to work on this fundraiser, but I’ll also be happy if I never fold another piece of paper.

Cheers!

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For Japan, With Love

I’ll be back tomorrow to update the progress of my fundraising project at work for the Red Cross, but for now please check out For Japan With Love.

When Was the Last Time You Made a Paper Crane?

If all goes as planned, I’ll be teaching the art of paper crane-making to co-workers today in an effort to raise money for the Red Cross Relief Fund. This was a brilliant idea until it hit me on Saturday that I’d first need to learn how to make paper cranes before I could teach anyone else.

So I tried one, then tried teaching my eager pupils.

Jessie and I are matching because it was halftime of our game against Duke. I can’t talk basketball today because of yet another heinous NCAA snub.

Dexter dashed in from the patio to help.

He is a handsome devil.

Stay tuned for a fundraising and paper-crane-making story of success or failure.

It could be a coin toss.

But let’s hope for success.

Please and Thank You

First, the thank you:

Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by (and is still stopping by) today — I’ve really enjoyed being freshly pressed! I appreciate all your comments and subscriptions, and I hope at least some of you come back to read more. Talk about inspiration to post every day! So again, thank you kindly.

Now, the please:

I know I’m not the only person who woke up to the news of the earthquake in Japan today and was left with a heavy heart. I won’t begin to describe it because there are not words, but I am keeping that country, its people, and those with loved ones there in my thoughts. I am organizing an event at work next week that I hope will, in some small way, pay forward to those in need a favor I once received.

I was a junior in college on April 16, 2007 when a gunman killed 32 people on my campus. I have carried the effects of that day with me every day since. So today when I was brainstorming ways my company could support the relief effort in Japan, I was reminded of the thousands of paper cranes that were sent to my school by Japanese school children in the days following our tragedy. The cranes are a significant symbol in Japanese culture, globally accepted as a symbol of peace and healing since the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

During the summer of 2007, I passed those cranes every day as they hung from the atrium ceiling of the student center. And every day they brought a little more peace to my heart.

Next week I will ask my colleagues to join me in making paper cranes. By asking for one dollar per crane, I hope we can raise a decent donation for the Red Cross Relief Fund. When all the cranes are finished, we will bring them to the Japanese Embassy which is not far from our office.

I understand that the scope of this situation and the one I went through are vastly different, but my hope is that the gift will have a similar effect. I am still grateful for the one I received almost four years ago.

So please, consider donating to the Red Cross Relief Fund. Or make some paper cranes. You just never know how even the smallest effort can help someone.

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