Change the world

Image  —  Posted: April 28, 2013 in about

Mid Deed Review

Posted: April 23, 2013 in about

In August of last year, I made a decision to try to make a difference in the world by completing 30 deeds before turning 30 in August of 2013.  When I started the journey, I was unsure what to expect.  After completing half the project, it has exceeded all my expectations.  I have completed a wide variety of deeds including: providing meals for the homeless, working with children, teaching computer basics, helping families in need during the holidays, helping fight cancer, and more.   I have met a number of great people and learned so much.  I am beyond excited to complete the next 15 deeds in the coming months.

What has been surprising to me is how little time giving back takes out of my schedule.  I still have time to complete everything I need/want to in my personal life, while setting aside time to volunteer.  Most people use the excuse that they do not have the time or resources to volunteer.  To be honest, I don’t buy it.  It takes very little time and money to truly make a difference in your community.  I challenge you to find a local organization and volunteer!

Unsure where to look or how to get involved?  Check out,, or my personal favorite,  New York Cares partners with a variety of organizations in the New York area to match volunteers with projects.  Most projects do not have a commitment  so you can bounce around from project to project to find your niche.   The website is extremely intuitive which makes it easy to find and sign up for projects.  No more excuses of why you can’t volunteer!

I am challenging you to challenge yourself to make a difference in the world.  I promise you will enjoy it and learn more than you could ever imagine!  Good luck and keep me posted on your progress!

Make sure to follow 30deeds on twitter @30deeds and Like it on facebook.

I stumbled across this photo on Facebook and thought  it was appropriate after my last deed

I stumbled across this photo on the Facebook page for  I thought it was appropriate after my last deed.  Who says pit bulls aren’t friendly!?

Image  —  Posted: April 10, 2013 in animals, dogs

I have been a dog lover my entire life.  In fact, I often joke that I like dogs more than I like people!  I have always had a dog as a pet and as weird as the may sound, I seem to connect/understand dogs better than most people do(dog lovers will understand this!).  This has led to me corralling runaway dogs in my neighborhood on multiple occasions which are stories all on their own.  Because of all these factors, volunteering at a local animal shelter was a natural fit for me.



The program I volunteered for was through New York Cares at the BARC no kill animal shelter in



Brooklyn, NY.  The purpose is for volunteers to walk the dogs around the neighborhood for a half hour or so.  The first dog I walked was a wonderful, friendly older dog named Colleen.  I let her lead the way and she had a great time exploring the city.  She also happened to be a big fan of pooping in the middle of the street, which caused quite a funny scene and a traffic jam :).  The next dog I walked was Josephine who was equally as friendly.  She was a bit younger with a little more energy. We walked up to a park to enjoy a softball game together.

Dogs really are simple creatures.  As long as you feed them and show them love, they are as happy as can be.  Unfortunately, at one point or another, these animals were neglected.  It doesn’t take much time or effort to help out a local animal shelter, ultimately making a difference in dogs lives.

The Village Care rehab center provides care and housing for people recovering from a wide variety of ailments.  Some people are in and out quickly and sadly, some never leave.  When I arrived I was greeted by the project leader Jane, who you really have to meet to appreciate.  She was energetic, quirky, fun, and truly passionate about volunteering.  I spent my time going from room to room with Jane to engage with the residents and invite them to bingo night (she was quite the saleswoman).

I have had this deed circled on my calendar for quite a while as it  is something I hold close to my heart.  My grandfather spent a few years in a similar nursing home before passing.  My family and I visited him as much as possible but many other patients never received visitors.  The program is designed to get the residents out of their room to play bingo or other various board games. However, to me, the real purpose is spend time with them to try and brighten their day.  I did my best to make them smile but I found they did even more than that for me.  There is way too much to write about the incredible people I met that night but here are some of the highlights:

  • I met a woman who published over 20 travel guides and has been all over the world.  Listening to her tell stories about the places she has been was just incredible.
  • In the same room with her was a quirky hilarious woman who made me laugh from the moment I stepped in the room.  She jokingly offered me $10 to sneak her a bottle of rum for their virgin “Pina Colada” day.
  • I met a man with a 17 inch laptop that he couldn’t have been more proud of.  He was excited to have all his files from his desktop computer and was thrilled to use the wi-fi in the building to surf the web and check email.
  • When I walked into one woman’s room, she asked “Are you here for my sex therapy??”  She was obviously joking but I played along and had a ball of laughs.

What struck me was how upbeat and happy all of the residents were.  No matter how ill they were, you would never know anything was wrong.  I am definitely going to volunteer there again as I had a great time and felt like I made a difference with the residents.

anti-cupcakeI signed up for the project through Jersey Cares called Cupcake Creations.  It is an after school program at the Jubilee Center in Hoboken, NJ that allows children to bake and decorate cupcakes.  The Jubilee Center provides safe, fun activities for children ages 5-12.

I arrived at the Jubilee center and was greeted by about 10 happy children who were inquisitive and engaging.  I am not sure if they were happy because I was volunteering, or happy because I brought funfetti cupcake mix and icing :-).   The kids did most of the baking and the volunteers primarily supervised the process.  They cracked the eggs, took turns stirring, and pouring the mix into the cupcake tray.  While the cupcakes were in the oven, I played basketball and various board games with the children to keep them busy.  When the cupcakes came out of the oven, they started the decoration  process.  Half of the decorations wound up on the table/floor but the kids didn’t seem to mind.  However, one little girl was very meticulous about her decorations and it was no surprise to find out that she was emulating her favorite show, Cupcake Wars.  She was actually quite talented and I enjoyed watching her decorations come together.  All in all, I had a great time with the program and the kids really enjoyed it as well.


Image  —  Posted: March 14, 2013 in about

Every day I travel on the Path train from Hoboken to New York City.  For the past few months, I have noticed advertisements for an event called Cycle for Survival.  The event is four hours of spinning sponsored and held at Equinox Fitness Centers around the country.  When you sign up for Cycle for Survival a webpage is created to allow you and your team to collect donations leading up to the event.  All donations go directly towards Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to support  rare cancer research.


I participated in the event at an Equinox Fitness in NYC on Sunday, March 3rd.  When you first walk into the room, you can feel the energy.  Music is blasting, people are buzzing,  130 bikes are lined up and the room is lit up in orange(the official Cycle for Survival color).  The event was kicked off with a touching speech from a cancer survivor before quickly jumping into spinning.  In total, there were four 45 minute sessions which my team of three split up in 15 minute increments.  For those of you that have done spinning, you know it is not a walk in the park.  It was challenging but there was inspiration everywhere you looked.  Between the speeches delivered by cancer survivors, messages on a board about who people were riding for, blasting high energy music, and instructors yelling, it was relatively easy to push yourself to honor those who have been affected by cancer.

In all, it was a great event that I plan on doing again next year.  My team was able to raise $1,760 while the event raised over 13.6 million dollars to date.  Special thanks to my team and to those that donated as I could not have done it without your support.

30deeds Cycling Team

30deeds Cycling Team

Donations can still be made through the end of March here: 30deeds Cycling Donation page

crossfitI recently signed up for Crossfit in Hoboken, which is a gym that is known for high intensity group workouts.  I quickly discovered that it is different than a typical gym and encourages a sense of community.

Crossfit has a program they call “Hope for Kenya”.  The program allows you to collect donations in order to participate in a workout that took place on February 16th, 2013.  The workout was AMRAP (As many rounds as possible) in 12 minutes of: 50 Air Squats, 30 push ups, 15 pull ups.  The workout was difficult and exhausting, but well worth it.  All donations are used to supply, food, water, and education in and around Mombasa, Kenya.  The event raised over $250,000 across the country.

Most of the deeds have been in and around my local community.  Hope for Kenya allowed me to help people across the world.  It is a trend I would like to continue as I complete the rest of the deeds.


Mini Deed: Train Back Home

Posted: February 24, 2013 in donations

A young man approached me at the train station tonight and asked for money to buy a train ticket.  I am typically skeptical of people asking for money so I decided to engage in a conversation.  He came home yesterday to visit his mom to try and rebuild their rocky relationship.  It did not go well which caused his Crohn’s disease to flare up.  He spent all day in the hospital (hospital bracelet still on) and was just trying to get back home to Staten Island.  He only had a dollar to his name ( I asked).  I gave him money to help buy a ticket and he was able to get on the train.  It proves that the common misnomer that people asking for money are “just going to use it on drugs or alcohol” is not always true.  If you take a little time to listen, you may find that people that are down and out may just need a little boost.

happy_computer_parch_excelI have been around computers all my life dating back to the days of MS DOS and Windows 3.1.  Utilizing and educating myself on technology is something that has always come natural to me.  When I saw a program that would allow me to transfer these skills to others, I jumped at the opportunity.

The program I volunteered for was called “Computer Basics at Chelsea Recreation Center”.  The purpose of the program is to develop computer knowledge of adults and seniors through the Microsoft suite and internet browsing.  I was paired with an admirable woman who was looking to learn more about Microsoft Excel.

The woman had a limited exposure to excel and the Microsoft Suite in general.  She was looking to improve her skills to make her more attractive to employers after she was laid off after 29 years of service at a law firm in New York City.  We started with the basics and within a few hours she was creating spreadsheets with formulas and had a good grasp on the program in general.

While I certainly helped her, she also unknowingly reminded me of a valuable lesson:  No matter where you are in life or how knowledgeable you are, there is always room to improve yourself and provide value to others.

I came across this in a local store in upstate NY.  I believe it sums up the mission of 30deeds very well.

Image  —  Posted: February 17, 2013 in about

PBP Seaside Logo LETR and SONJ SeparateA friend of mine is participating in the Polar Bear Plunge at the end of February.  For those of you that don’t know, the Polar Bear Plunge is an event where participants jump into a freezing cold body of water during the winter, typically to raise money for a charitable organization.  In this case, all donations go towards the Special Olympics-New Jersey.  I made a small donation to help his cause.  If you would like to donate, you can do so at the link below.

Click Here to Donate!

Achilles International is an organization that enables people with disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics.  A chapter in New York holds a run/walk every Tuesday in central park throughout the year.  Volunteers are matched with participants depending on the speed of the runners/walkers.  On the day I volunteered, there were just as many volunteers as athletes (about 20 of each).  I was not prepared to run, so I was partnered with a man named Patrick.

Patrick is a regular participant in the program.  He participated in the program when he was a kid 25 years ago and joined back up about 8 months ago.  In that 8 months, he has lost over 60 pounds and turned his life around.  On the day I volunteered, he walked from 3:00 until 7:15(the actual program only runs from 6:00-8:30).  It was freezing cold and pouring rain.  Patrick did not complain, kept a smile on his face, and continued to walk…and walk..and walk..and walk….All while using a walker.

Patrick is truly an inspirational athlete.  Witnessing what he does without issue truly makes you realize what you take for granted on a daily basis.  Even through the bad weather, it was one of my favorite deeds so far.

I want to be honest and put this out there.  I have never been a big fan of children in large groups.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant to sign up for a Saturday morning program to interact with a large group of children.  The program was through New York Cares who partnered with an elementary school in downtown NYC.  There were about 80 children and around 15 volunteers who took part in the programsports_editor.

I spent a few hours playing every sport imaginable with the children.  My day started with basketball, to a relay race, to volleyball, football, baseball, hockey, and dodge ball.  It was completely exhausting.  I have new found respect for teachers(especially gym teachers), parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else that interacts frequently with children.

With that said, I had the time of my life.  The children were all so happy and engaging.  I was smiling from ear to ear and laughing from the time I got there to the time I left.  The experience completely changed my opinion.  I will definitely be volunteering for the same or similar programs in the future.

When most people think of volunteering, the first thing that comes to their mind is a soup kitchen.  I had never volunteered at one before last Monday.  The image I had in my head was completely different from the actual environment.

All Souls Church treats the entire experience like a nice  restaurant.  Guests are seated at tables with tablecloths.  They are served coffee, tea, soup, salad, a main course, and dessert.  The meal served that night was ginger chicken, brown rice, and steamed fresh vegetables(the food looked very good and the guests seemed quite satisfied).  I spent my time serving coffee, the main course, and helping clean everything up.

The most amazing part of the experience were the guests(250 of them).  I can honestly say that I have never been around a more grateful, polite, friendly group of people.  Everyone was so happy to have a warm  place for a few hours, a hot meal, and  nice people to converse with.  I struck up a conversation with a man that had spare computer parts.  He found a broken laptop and salvaged the ram, and wireless chip.  He was so intelligent, engaging and gave me a detailed description of the different types of ram and how he was going to utilize the parts.

If more people volunteered at a similar place, I really believe it could make a difference in the world.  It makes you truly appreciate what you have and opens your eyes to the everyday things you take for granted.  If these people, who have been through so much and fallen on hard times, can be so happy and grateful…why can’t you?

Over the years I have accrued a large amount of clothes, jackets, shoes etc.  It is not because I go shopping a lot (because I don’t), I just never get rid of anything.  I still had a large amount of clothes from High school 12-15 years later.

I decided to donate a number of shirts, pants. suits, and shoes, that I was no longer wearing.  In my opinion, if it hasn’t been worn in the last 3-4 years, it is time to give it to someone who will put it to good use.  I cannot take full credit and have to give my parents a Jason Kidd assist as they initiated and organized the donation with the local Rescue Mission.

Donating clothing and similar items is something anyone can get involved with. It doesn’t take much time, effort, or financial obligation.  Spend some time this winter to go through your closet and donate some of the gently used clothing/shoes that would otherwise continue to collect dust.

Every year around Christmas, my hometown has a program where you can buy gifts for an assigned family.  I have known about it for a few years and this year, I decided to take part in the program.  I was assigned children from 2 sets of families- 4 and 6 year old boys.  8 month and 3 year old girls.  I was given guidance that the girls needed clothes and the boys liked Spiderman and super heroes in general.

Clothes for the girls

Clothes for the girls

As I mentioned in my previous post, buying gifts for children is not exactly my area of expertise.  I can barely dress myself, so I knew I would struggle to buy clothes for the 2 little girls.  I decided to enlist the help of what I will call “one of Santa’s elves”, who has a lot more experience in this area.  The elf was able to help me find matching shirts, pants, jackets, and pajamas in a matter of minutes for the girls.

Gifts for the Boys

Gifts for the Boys

The boys on the other hand, were another story.  As a big kid myself, I share a mutual interest in Superheros.  I was able to find toys, a Spiderman hat and gloves, shirts, and pants rather quickly.

As I have learned throughout the years, the Christmas is all about giving back.  No matter how big or small, every bit helps.  Take some time to reflect and pay it forward this holiday season.

Deed 4: Answering a Letter to Santa

Posted: December 17, 2012 in Christmas
Disney Princess Bicycle

Disney Princess Bicycle

I signed up to answer a letter to Santa through New York Cares who is partnering with SCAN New York(Supportive Chidren’s Advocacy Network).  The letter I received was from a 4 year old girl named Grace in New York.  Within the letter she asked for a bike, fish, or a doll.  As a 29 year old male without kids, I don’t know anything about dolls so I was certainly not qualified to purchase one for Grace.  I thought about getting her a fish as I had a goldfish as a kid that lived for over 14 years(a story for another day) however, fish come with additional expenses and responsibility for the owner.  I decided to purchase a bicycle as I still remember the joy I felt as a kid when my parents had a bicycle under the tree for me on Christmas morning.

Making the determination to buy a bicycle for Grace turned out to be the easy part.  I quickly realized I do not know anything about bikes for 4 year old girls.  Where do I buy one from? What size do I get?  What do 4 year old girls even like?  How in the world was I going to get it to uptown Manhattan quickly?  I called around to bike shops in New York, did some research online and checked every website I could think of that may have one(Target, Toys-R-Us, Walmart, Amazon, Kmart, etc).  I came to the determination that a 16 inch bike in pink was the best bet.  The next question was how could I get the bike there?  Carrying a giant box in a cab or on the subway wasn’t exactly feasible.  When I looked into shipping the bike, almost every website would take too long to get it there.  The last thing I wanted to happen was for Grace to be disappointed on Christmas.

I finally came across Walmart who had a 16″ Disney Princess bicycle that could be delivered quickly and made the purchase(pictured above).  I hope I bring happiness to Grace and her whole family this Christmas.

christmas-treeChristmas has always been a special time of the year for me.  It is not about the presents, or Santa, or food, but about bringing family closer together and helping others in need.  It has always brought me joy to sit around the Christmas tree and enjoy time spent with family.

I came across an organization called New York Cares that is partnering with Anne’s Treeland in the Rockaways in NYC.  As some of you may know, this area was hit particularly hard by hurricane Sandy.  Many of the families have been displaced and lost nearly everything.  I made a donation that will result in a family receiving a Christmas tree for free.  I hope it brings joy to a special family in need during what may be the most difficult time of their lives.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

If you are interested in donating a tree, more information can be found here:

Deed 2: Donation to the American Red Cross

Posted: November 25, 2012 in sandy

After the first deed, I still had the desire to help hurricane Sandy victims.  I discovered that the company I work for(which shall remain nameless), would match any gift up to $1,000 at a 2:1 ratio.  For example, if I donate $100, they would donate $200, bringing the total donation to $300.  I made a donation and helped spread the word about the matching program to other colleagues resulting in a number of additional donations.  This plays into the underlying theme of the 30deeds project; making it bigger than myself and motivating others to pay it forward.

Trunk full of Donations

As most of you know, the New Jersey shore was hit hard by hurricane Sandy.  I watched and listened to the news coverage all week and felt helpless.  On Sunday, November 3rd, I decided to do something about it.  I gathered up clothes, blankets, canned goods, water, and headed down to Belmar to donate.

When I arrived in Belmar, I was floored by the amount of donations and the number of people volunteering.  Volunteers came from all over NJ and surrounding states with donations.  A man and his daughter arrived with an entire Uhaul truck filled with various supplies.  Two women arrived with 2 full school buses packed floor to ceiling with toys, blankets and other linens.  It made my trunk full of donations seem quite feeble.  All day long, car after car, truck after truck, the donations kept rolling in.  I spent a majority of my time helping unload the vehicles and sorting the donations.

It was an amazing, touching, and humbling experience.  It is truly incredible what society can accomplish in a time of need.  It was a great way to start my my quest to change the world, one deed at a time.

About 30deeds

Posted: November 10, 2012 in about

I spent the first 29 years of my life just going through the motions and doing enough to get by.  I was mainly concerned about myself and did not go out of my way to help others.  As I started to think about my 30th birthday, I decided it was time to make a change.  Time to give back.

Leading up to my 30th birthday in August of 2013, I will be  completing 30 deeds.  Most will be planned but some may be spontaneous.  They will span a wide range of deeds from helping the homeless, animals, children, among others.  I have aspirations to make the project bigger than myself; motivating others to pay it forward.

Most people say that one man can’t change the world.  I beg to differ.