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Drafts for Craft 2015 Through the Eyes of JOHNNY.JPEG

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MARCH 27, 2015

He laughs. The whole boat laughs. The animals laugh. I mentally push him     off the boat…

Me, along with 5 other New Yorkers were invited to New Orleans, Louisiana this past weekend for the Drafts for Craftsevent at the World War II Museum. Thanks to Jet Blue for the comped airfare, it brought 6 (almost) strangers all together to experience a weekend of Louisiana food, drinks and a hell-of-a good time.


Phyl: The networking guru that shakes with his right hand & holds a bottle of Hennessy in the other.
Ruthie: The hilarious, commander-in-chief that keeps you punctual & in the center of all the action.
Hannah: The cross-fit goddess, yet reserved individual who also shares a love of fruit-roll ups, too.
Kristen: The winner of The Most Poised Award. She may just be the classiest person I’ve ever met.
Sara: The sun-kissed Californian with a personality that is always down to take a shot (or 2) with you.

That was the crew. We flew, explored and lived together for 72 hours. On our first night, we attended the Drafts for Crafts event. Local eateries smothered the event space with smells from the buttered shrimp & grits, slowly-roasted barbecue hog and a jambalaya that’ll make you wanna slap the Zatarain’s man himself.Drafts For CraftsDrafts_For_crafts_2Drafts_for_Crafts_3Drafts_for_Crafts_4Drafts_For_Crafts_6Johnny SelfDrfats_for_Crafts_7

Learn more about the Drafts for Crafts here

After the event, we hit the ground running and ended up on Bourbon Street. To be ultimately honest with you, I don’t have much recollection of that night. So, yeah..

Wait. No. That’s a lie. I do remember eating Willie’s fried chicken and basically dance battling myself to Shake It Off. Oh, and there was a guy with an over-sized black t-shirt and a bluetooth ear piece who kicked me and Phyl off of the VIP stage. It was embarrassing. (the ear piece, not the public humiliation.)

● ● ●

The hotel room couch was actually pretty comfortable, seeing as that’s where I woke up. “We’re leaving for brunch in 30.”, Ruthie says. Saturday’s itinerary consisted of brunch at Tivoli and Lee, a Louisiana swamp tour, downtown exploration of the French Market and dinner at Commanders Palace. (we wasted no time)

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We had about 30 minutes to spare before the swamp tour bus came and picked us up. Translation: we took lots & lots of photos.

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I was in complete disbelief that we’d actually see any gators on the tour. 60 seconds into the ride and our “captain?” (I guess you can call him a captain) shouted, “Look here comes Blain, one of our baby gators.”  (that thing was 7 feet long!)  We also saw this abandoned ship on one of the banks of the swamp and the captain said “See that boat there? That’s actually The Jennyfrom Forrest Gump.” I lock in eye contact with him to verify this and say “Are you effing kidding me, that’s really it?” He laughs. The whole boat laughs. The animals laugh. I mentally push him out of the boat…

Johnny SelfAlligatorJohnny SelfJohnny SelfJohnny SelfAfter 13 mosquito bites, snakes and wild hog sightings from the swamp, we headed to the French Quarter to feed our sweet tooth cravings. We found this super bohemian-ish food cart called The Crepe Cart. The owners totally looked like they made their own homemade all-natural soaps and baked their own gluten-free bread. I freaking loved watching them make these treats & they were awesome.


After dinner at Commander’s Palace, we headed back to the room to catch up on some much needed sleep. The journey was at it’s end and we were mentally and physically at our peak. Special thank you to Ruthie for planning this trip and all of the new friends I made with this adventure. You guys are all gems. Stay shining.

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Internship Opportunity with HealthCorps

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HealthCorps seeks a Community and Event Management Intern to work in our headquarters in lower Manhattan for 10 hours a week.  They can adjust to individual’s schedule; prefer someone to start immediately and work with until the end of May, with the option to extend the internship into the summer.  They are able to provide school credit and other relatable acknowledgement of internship.


Primary Responsibilities include:

  • Working with our Volunteers Coordinator to help train and vet potential volunteers from across the country
  • Helping the Volunteers Coordinator and Associate Producers build relationships with organizations and leaders in the community
  • Working with our Events Team to help plan and run our annual gala in April and our Highway to Health festival in May



  • Experience or strong interest in event planning and volunteer management
  • Attention to detail
  • A strong work ethic
  • A friendly and professional demeanor
  • Ability to train and lead other people
  • Flexibility and a desire to learn

HealthCorps® is a 501 (c) 3 founded in 2003 by heart surgeon and Daytime Emmy Award-winning host Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa to combat the childhood obesity crisis. HealthCorps is building a nationwide movement to shape a new generation.

HealthCorps Coordinators lead unique in-school and community programming designed to foster physical and mental fitness, particularly among high-need populations. The Coordinators serve as peer-mentors who deliver a progressive curriculum in nutrition, exercise and mental strength to students nationwide. For more than a decade, the HealthCorps program has inspired its participants to adopt a healthier lifestyle. And the HealthCorps schools have served as Living Labs through which we can explore the complex, underlying causes of the obesity crisis, as well as discover, communicate implement and advocate for national and regional solutions.

Today, the program network spans 56 schools in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Ultimately, HealthCorps’ goal is to extend the reach of its program to an ever-wider network of American communities. To that end, in 2012, we introduced HealthCorps University, a train the trainer professional development program that makes available the HealthCorps principles and curriculum to virtually any school, community or organization.

For more information, please visit at and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

Health Corps Annual Gala Volunteer Opportunities

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Charity Benefiting Dr. Mehmet Oz's Healthcorps Organization

Annual GARDEN GALA Benefiting

Gala Overview

HealthCorps®’ Ninth Annual Black-Tie Fundraiser Gala hosted by co-founders Lisa & Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 6:30 pm to Midnight Cipriani Wall Street New York, 55 Wall Street, New York City 10005

To fund HealthCorps’® continued expansion across the United States and raise brand awareness of our fight against the childhood obesity crisis.

Highlighting our  program growth Honoring like-minded people who are improving children’s health and well-being ● Promoting the partners who help our programs shine Celebrating the success of our Coordinators and Students

Invited Guests include celebrities, politicians, philanthropists, and leaders in business, finance, health, and entertainment

Hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz (heart surgeon and the two-time Daytime Emmy® Award-winning host of the three-time Daytime Emmy® Award-winning “The Dr. Oz Show) and his wife Lisa Oz (author and media personality)

Past Guests include Goldie Hawn, Gloria Steinem, Quincy Jones, Hugh and Deb Jackman, Marlo Thomas, Diane Sawyer, Russell Simmons, Ben Vereen, LL Cool J, Matthew Modine, Wyclef Jean, James Blunt, Gayle King, Harold Hamm, John Mack, Donna Karan, Rocco DiSpirito, New York Governor David Paterson and NY First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYC Councilman Joel Rivera, Tara and Peter Guber, Tibor Hollo, Trey Songz, Kevin Liles, BK Boreyko, and Miss Universe.

Our Host Committee incorporates organizations and individuals from across the country, representing all areas of interest and is currently in formation

The Annual Garden Gala is our largest single fundraising event: through the gala, we have

Details: entertained over 5,300 Guests and raised over $16.1 million.

Maximum of 600 Guests Tickets: $1,000 per person ​(Sponsor opportunities available) Unique “Festival of Health” Cocktail Reception with tasty food samples, performances and interactive exhibits VIP Red Carpet Photos with Dr. & Mrs. Oz and our Honorees Dinner programs & dancing featuring live music and featured performances Printed keepsake Program Journal ​(advertising opportunities available) ● Online AuctionGift Bags and Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for all Guests

The Cause: Annual GARDEN GALA Benefiting

501(c) 3 non-profit national service program fighting the childhood obesity  crisis by building a nationwide movement to shape a new generation.

Program is:

Peer-mentoring for the Whole Child, activating students’ mind, body and spirit A New Educational Paradigm for Wellness with an Innovative Curriculum A Living Research Laboratory for Health Messaging A Hub of Coordinators to connect similar organizations

HealthCorps “Coordinators” carry out unique in school and community programming targeting high-need populations. Using peer mentoring to deliver a progressive curriculum in nutrition, fitness and mental strength, HealthCorps Coordinators give teens purpose, help develop human character and inspire an interest in health and culinary arts careers. HealthCorps also serves as a unique research laboratory — exploring the complex, underlying causes of the obesity crisis and discovering and communicating solutions.

We have introduced HealthCorps University, a new “train the trainer” professional development program that makes the HealthCorps principles and curriculum available to virtually any school.

HealthCorps’ national peer mentoring program spans 56 schools in 12 states: (CA, DE, FL, MA, MD, MS, NJ, NY, OK, OH, OR, TX) and the District of Columbia. We have impacted 142,900 students and 285,800 friends and family through our work.

For more information please contact: or


Highway 2 Health Volunteer Opportunities

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Marketing Coordinator – to assist in community outreach including donated advertising, flyer distribution, group booking, and press coverage approx. 20 hrs + day of event


Set Up Team Leader – coordinate set up and help designate the timeline, attend planning meetings & oversee event execution; approx. 12 hrs + day of event


Break Down Team Leader – coordinate break down and help designate the timeline, attend planning meetings and oversee event execution; approx. 12 hrs + day of event


Greeter / Surveys Team Leader – coordinate the team of greeters & surveyors to help direct attendees through event and secure demographics; approx. 10 hrs + day of event


Exhibitor Check In Assistant – assist with managing exhibitors from pre-event information distribution to check in and check out day of event; approx. 8 hrs + day of event


Fitness Tent Assistant – assist with the coordination of the demonstrations and traffic flow within the Fitness Tent; approx. 8 hrs + day of event


Teen Battle Chef Assistant – assist with the coordination of the student cooking program including food prep, on stage demonstration logistics, samples and cleanup process; approx. 15 hrs + day of event


Exhibitor Outreach Assistant– assist with reaching out to potential Exhibitors and Screeners for booths at the Health Fair.  Working closely with Line Producer Ashleigh Awusie 20 hrs + day of event

For more information please reach out to

Camille McGirt

HealthCorps Coordinator, NIH-NIDDK Research

Academy for Conservation and the Environment

South Shore Educational Complex

6565 Flatlands Ave

New York, NY 11236

P: (718) 968-4101 Ext. 2771

Slam Into Health With HealthCorps

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Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 11.33.23 PM

HealthCorps (TAX ID# 26-1269358) is a non-profit founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife, Lisa, which implements an innovative in-school model inspiring teens to make healthier choices for themselves and their families. This 2014-2015 academic year, there are HealthCorps programs in 60 schools in 13 states and the District of Columbia. We have impacted 233,100 students and 446,200 friends and families through our work.

The Academy for Conservation and the Environment partners with HealthCorps to host an annual in-school health fair. The 2015 health fair will be held on Thursday, March 26th from 9:00am – 1:15pm at South Shore High School in Brooklyn, NY. This year’s theme is “Slam into Health!” And they’re looking forward to a day of healthful and educational fun. This event aims to educate and empower high school students about their health.

The goals of the Health Fair event are to:

•Develop high school student leaders to plan and manage event

•Promote healthier behaviors to students, staff and families

• Provide resources and health services available through local organizations

They would like to invite you to participate by making a product or service donation to make this event a success. This is a wonderful opportunity for your organization to market products and services that encourage the community to access care and adopt healthier behaviors.

They are expecting 500+ attendees including students and staff as well as community members from the Brooklyn area.

To learn more contact:

Camille McGirt

HealthCorps Coordinator, NIH-NIDDK Research

Academy for Conservation and the Environment

South Shore Educational Complex

6565 Flatlands Ave

New York, NY 11236

P: (718) 968-4101 Ext. 2771


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Featured by @johnnydotjpeg

Energy floated in between everyone as we drank fast, sang loudly and laughed inevitably. 

Back in Jawga (Georgia), Sunday lunch was whatever my mom whipped up from scratch before the 9am church service. With 12 mouths to feed (not including the dogs), food was plentiful and afternoon naps were non-negotiable. I soon realized those cherish-able Sunday’s were now in existent for me once I crossed the Mason Dixie Line headed into the Empire State. My new buddy Phyl invited me to one of his monthly museum brunch tours at the Met Museum. Ordinarily, I invest my Sundays blissfully binge watching something politically suspenseful on Netflix. Needless to say, I needed to get out of the house.. So, my camera & I hopped in an Uber and headed to 86th street, where I will notably say I was not the last person to arrive. (I got lost, twice).

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Incidentally, my friends Mike and Tierra were there, too – my two favorite distractions. You’ve seen one museum you’ve seen them all. Walk. Point. Read. Put index finger on chin, pretend to analyze. Repeat. And in our case, pose (for the camera). The tour was fantastic, thanks to Jenna and her extensive art history knowledge.

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After an hour or two of walking, we were treated with a real New York view on the roof. Up there I caught Tierra gazing into the future. The every day artist’s future. Our future.

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3 black SUV’s were arranged to drop our group of 20 in front of Sojourn, a brunch spot on 79th street. Phyl reserved a section in the back corner for us where candles were already lit and the mimosas were promptly being poured. I had the chicken and waffles, Because I’m low-key ratchet and needed to fill a hometown void my stomach was latching for.

Ratchet: adj; Term coined by Atlanta natives to describe something that represents true urban stereotypes. (ie) Chicken & Waffles and just about anything Tyler Perry directs.

Speaking of ratchet, the owner even let us play our own music. (Seeing that 65% of the group was from Atlanta, I don’t think he knew what he got himself into).

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Energy floated in between everyone as we drank fast, sang loudly and laughed inevitably. We knew we had the restaurant’s attention when our waiter began to sing the 90’s childhood theme songs with us, too.

New York Met Johnny Self

Hello, New York. I like you.

5 Big Company Branding Strategies Any Business Can Utilize

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1. Develop all-encompassing brand standards.
Think, for a second, about everything you know about the Coca-Cola brand. Now, imagine that the company released a new purple can with the words “Coca-Cola” in a bold sans-serif font.

You can’t picture it, can you?

That’s because Coca-Cola has one of the clearest all-encompassing brand standards out there. Everything from the company’s packaging, its social-media profiles to its television commercials draws on the same colors, fonts, motifs and experiences. None of that is by accident.

A big part of Coca-Cola’s success comes from its ability to transmit feelings and expectations through its branded elements. When you see that red and white can, you know you’re going to get a crisp, refreshing beverage, no matter where in the world you’re buying it.

You can do the same for your company. Start by learning how to develop a comprehensive brand standard and about the mistakes many companies encounter when going through this process.

2. Dedicate a single person to guiding and enforcing brand standards.
Now that you’ve got a set brand standard, make sure it’s followed by appointing a single “brand czar” within your organization.

If you’re working on new packaging, this person should be involved. Same goes for the creation of any new marketing materials.

Your brand ambassador might even get involved in training your customer-service reps if you make exceptional service a part of your standard.

No matter how branded elements play into your company’s business processes, give this person the overarching authority to make changes — even if they aren’t convenient (or cheap).

Just like Coca-Cola wouldn’t let that purple can go down its assembly line, don’t let anything your company produces interfere with the standards you’ve set for yourself. Doing so will only create confusion and diminish the effectiveness of your efforts.

3. Embrace storytelling.
Want to see a great example of storytelling in action? Check out one of the “Find Your Greatness” campaign videos produced by Nike.

The video unfolds like a movie, features an unexpected protagonist and includes a moral lesson shared by an accented narrator. Basically, it’s got all the hallmarks of a Hollywood movie, packed into a single minute of campaign footage.

Related: 4 Branding Lessons That You Don’t Want to Learn the Hard Way

Harnessing the power of storytelling isn’t limited to the big brands alone.

Share the story of how your company came to be. Post case studies that show how you’ve impacted the stories of your customers. Forget about talking like a marketer and instead focus on sharing the things that make your company unique.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly your customers adopt these stories and spread them for you.

4. Take advantage of big data.
“Big data” is one of marketing’s latest buzzwords, but just because it’s “big” doesn’t mean it’s unattainable for smaller brands.

Chances are you already have a number of programs producing data for you, from Google Analytics to your customer-relationship management system and more. But are you actually doing anything with this data?

Start by figuring out what metrics matter most for your company’s success. Then, figure out how to extract reports from your data sources that will measure your progress towards these key performance indicators.

Once a month (or more or less frequently, depending on the length of your sales cycle), run your reports, read through them and make at least three changes based on what you find.

Don’t over complicate things, and don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of data you have access to. Begin with this simple process, but refine your approach as you get more comfortable harnessing the power of data.

5. Get involved in the community.
At its core, branding should draw people in. People who observe your branded elements should feel as if they’re part of a community, that they have a shared bond with others in the same situation.

Some big brands choose to make this relationship more explicit, as in the case of Expedia’s “Find Yours” campaign:

The campaign encourages participants to share their travel stories, creating a powerful sense of community amongst those featured in the videos, as well as those who view them.

No matter how you approach it, find ways to encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand. It’s a powerful approach to community-building that serves the dual purpose of building brand exposure and awareness as well.

Aaron Agius
Search, Content & Social Media Marketer
Contributor to Entrepreneur

[TNN Lifestyle: The Guru Games]

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Being FIT is more than just a workout every now and then or deciding to eat less carbs; being FIT is about a LIFESTYLE. Over the last year or so I have really challenged myself to live a healthier life. I guess its something that you think about more often as you get older however, its something that everyone should keep in mind no matter how old or young they are. As hectic as my weeks may be I am sure to always take time out for myself to go to the gym and it is something that I have grown to love and look forward to. There is a change I want to see (and feel) so I figured in order to stay motivated and keep it fun, I would find other young professionals within NYC who have like goals. The man responsible for bringing us all together is none other than NYC Celebrity Fitness Trainer;Corey Rouse or as majority know him as, [The Fitness Guru of NYC].

Guru Flyer


I met Corey back in Atlanta when we both attended Morehouse College and he has always been about healthy living while looking and feeling your best and has a lot to do with my current outlook on both fitness and health. Last weekend we all headed to Long Island City (which just may be my new favorite place) to hit the obstacle course created by Corey that targeted muscles in my body that I didn’t even know exist. The view we had of Manhattan, the weather, and all the jokes going back and forth made all the pain we endured worth while. This weekend it all goes down again with a call time of 9AM and to be quite honest, I’ve been looking forward to it all week. You can get involved too and also say that you’ve experienced a Guru workout because on …

October 4th, Phylanthropic Inc. and The Fitness Guru of NYC present #TheGuruGames, a team-based obstacle course fitness competition focused on health and fitness located at Astoria Park Great Lawn 01  from noon til 4PM.

Corey’s workouts are no joke and I am positive that #TheGuruGames won’t be easy but who doesn’t like a challenge right?! I’ve been appointed Captain of my team and we are definitely coming to win so if you plan on stepping foot on that field just understand that its every TEAM for themselves!






The Guru Games is a proud supporter of Health Corps inspiring inner city youth to adopt a healthy lifestyle through education.

Photos by Marcus Rosendoll

This article originally appeared on [The-No=Names] 

Kids Learn How to Code at Essence Festival Hack-A-Thon

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Victoria Pannell could have spent her Fourth of July weekend going to barbecues and hanging out with her friends, but the 15-year-old chose to stay indoors and learn how to code.

Pannell, who traveled 24 hours by car with her mom from New York to New Orleans, was one of dozens of teens from all over the country who participated in the Essence Festival’s first-ever hack-a-thon. The event was the official launch of #YesWeCode, an initiative spearheaded by Van Jones (and supported by Prince, who gave it a shout out during his headlining performance) that aims to get 100,000 “high potential, low opportunity” youth to interested and involved in coding.

The event presented the perfect opportunity for Pannell to marry her love for computers and her passion for helping to end child sex trafficking, which was the focus of the application she spent the weekend building. When Pannell was 13, she portrayed a girl forced into sex trafficking in a public service announcement for The issue has stuck with her ever since. “After I portrayed Monica, the victim, I couldn’t sleep thinking about how there were girls whose bodies were being ravaged by strangers every day,” Pannell said. “Sex trafficking is an operation, and we want to prevent that operation from happening.” Through her application, the Sex Trafficking Operations Prevention app or, STOP, she’d help connect potential and current victims of trafficking to support services like the Polaris Project’s Hotline.

The sciences, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) are the fastest growing career fields in the United States. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates occupations in the STEM field will by 17% by 2018, while non-STEM jobs are expected to grow by 9%. Microsoft projects about 1.2 million jobs will open in computer sciences by 2020—but only about 40,000 Americans currently graduate with the necessary credentials to fill the positions. #YesWeCode is looking to increase the number of African-Americans in STEM.

“I aspire to become a software engineer,” said Zachary Dorcinville, a rising high school senior from the Bronx who crowd-funded $1,500 to purchase his plane ticket to get to the Festival. His team developed an application that uses music to make workout experiences more social. “Technology is always changing and always evolving. I love it.”

While some applications were teen-centric, focusing on issues like bullying and writing college essays, many spoke to problems that face the community at large. A group of boys built a glucose-reader. A girl from Memphis built an application that would create food-to-table partnerships in areas that are considered food deserts.

On Sunday, after working for four days to bring their ideas to life, the teams pitched their apps to a panel of judges that included executives from Microsoft and Facebook.
The most fulfilling aspect of the weekend, says #YESWECODE mentor and creative technologist Errol King, was how much the kids were able to grasp in the short amount of time.

“When you start to see light bulbs go off, when they start using the terminology we use every day in the field, you start to realize the universe has expanded,” King said.

This article originally appeared on


Six ways to becoming a Phylanthropist

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A Phylanthropist embodies leadership, giving back to the community, and positively changing people’s lives. While being a key community influencer, this role helps fuel your self-worth. Often people think of wealthy individuals when they reflect on a philanthropist, but anyone can give back regardless of income bracket. You can get involved with charity by giving time or donations. Discover below how you too can become a Phylanthropist.


1. Research various charities to determine which organizations you want to become involved in. There are numerous local, national and global charities, and connect with whichever organizations you see fit.


2. Find out ways you can become involved with each charity you have chosen. Larger organizations may have local chapters you can visit and volunteer your time.


3. Figure out how much you can give. Always remember, this can be money or time. If you are unsure how much you can spare, start out small. When giving money, you can donate as small as one percent of your total income, and eventually work your way up the donation ladder.


4. Prioritize and pledge your donation amount. Think about what you spend in a week and notice where things than can be eliminated. A helpful tip on starting donation money is to save coin change. Coins saved over a period of time accumulate into a few dollars, and this is helpful in making donations to your selected charity.


5. Become active with your chosen charity or charities. Ways to become active include fundraisers, tutoring students, coaching youth leagues, and much more.


6. Start giving today and watch how your life changes the more you become involved. Often the more you give of yourself and your money; the more great things will come into your life. This opens you up to become increasingly active as a Phylanthropist whether with your time, your money or both.


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Get Involved Volunteer With Phylanthropic