Bay Babies In Need: Understanding Poverty in Anne Arundel County

I wanted to share with everyone a great service project that has been created by a student at South River High School.  It is a much needed service and one that all of us could help out with.  Please support Siena and Food Link  by supplying essential items to struggling families with newborns through Food Link’s Emergency Baby Pantry program.   At the same time, increasing awareness of poverty in Anne Arundel County.   Siena says, “My hope is to change the face of poverty so that we may be more tolerant and understanding of those in need.” 

Check out Siena’s video:

Bamboo Bikes Made in Greensboro, Alabama

Every year in April a group of martial artist from around the country assemble in Greensboro, Alabama for a different kind of convention.  This convention is about doing good for others, a time to put into practice what we talk about all year.  It is also about learning from each other and those around us.

In the last couple of years we have learned from this group who are building bamboo bicycles.  Can you imagine people from the community learning to build a bike with local, recoverable resources.  Here is a little video about their work and is a part of a campaign to raise money.  I am not asking you to contribute unless you are moved to do so.  I am asking you to look at this example and for all of us to ask ourselves if we are contributing to our community in the best way that we can.   Here is their video.

Showing support for the families in Newtown, CT

Dear Parents and Friends,

With the recent events in Connecticut all of us have been struck by very deep emotions and feelings of wanting to help and support the families involved.  Personally I would love to be able to go and sit and support personally each of the families of the students and teachers and others that were so close to the situation.  For me this is not possible, so I have thought of another way that I would like to support them.

I would like to encourage all of us to write a letter of support or create / buy a card with a note of support that we can send to the Family Services group in Newtown.  I believe this is a good way for us to get our feelings on paper and to demonstrate our support for the families.  There will be time in the future to have the other conversations we need to have as a country, but now lets support the families in this manner.

On Friday December 22 I will take all the collected cards and letters and mail them to Newtown to be distributed to the families. (NO POSTAGE REQUIRED ON YOUR PART)  If you would like to take part in this demonstration of support please bring your letter or card to Balanced Life Skills by end of day on Friday the 22nd.  I will get them in the mail that evening (Fed Ex) so they arrive prior to Christmas.

Thank you for supporting this effort of healing.


Joe Van Deuren

PS. If you feel like you would like to donate funds to a group that will be dealing with these families long after everyone else is gone I would suggest the Newtown Youth and Family Services.

Ready, Set, Get Tough!

In 13 (short) weeks, I will be competing — and I use that term loosely — with a team in the Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder Event. To give an overview of the obstacles I am committed to overcoming, I will submerge and swim through an ice tank, crawl through narrow, sloping pipes leading into frigid mud, slither under low-hanging live wires waiting to electrocute, leap over 4-foot high hurdles of kerosene flames, and so, so much more across the distance of 12 miles!


Why go through with this? Besides wanting to challenge myself and test my physical limits, the Tough Mudder raises awareness and funds for theWounded Warrior Project. This project is focused on reintegrating injured soldiers into society, and active lifestyles, with their programs.

If you are interested and able, please support me in the Tough Mudder event, on September 8th, by donating online here. The proceeds raised will assist many individuals and families struggling to deal with the injuries received in the line of duty. You contribution is greatly appreciated!