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A couple weeks ago, two members of the Pixel team shared their favorite charities and the ways that they Ignite Good! in a blog post. We’re continuing the trend by answering the question: “What’s one of your favorite ways to give and why?”

Jan Helson (aka Mama Ben):

One place that’s close to my heart is The Academy at Saint Andrew’s: a school designed for children with autism.

It is one of my favorites because I have a personal connection to this disease that affects so many families. My nephew was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old and I have witnessed the pain and struggles my brother and his family encounter as they deal with this very difficult disease. However, rather than be beaten down by their son’s diagnosis, they decided to take it on and beat it! They not only reached out on behalf of their son to ensure that he has access the most cutting edge, best programs available in the country, but they also brought that knowledge, research and experience back home and vested it in The Academy at Saint Andrew’s program.

The Academy at St. Andrew’s understands children with autism and represents a unique and innovative model that offers an intensive, highly structured and individualized educational experience for autistic students. It provides them an integrated educational approach that blends education, behavior and living skills into the learning experience. In this school, not only have my brother and his wife helped to create an amazing learning environment for their son, who has made incredible personal progress and growth, but also for other children and families in their community who are seeking the same opportunities for their children with autism.

A lot of research is still needed to fully understand the root cause and a lot of resources are needed to educate and help autistic children survive in a world that they never completely feel a part of. The Academy at Saint Andrew’s is a great contribution to fulfilling these goals. I’m proud to have donated to this cutting edge educational program and helped to raise funds as well, by sitting on the fundraising committee for 2011.

Following is a link to their website:


Shannon Runke:
I love working with GGC, because there are great ideas for doing good things in a diverse array of interests:  the needs of people, our earth, and all the creatures and creativity upon it! It’s great to find a place where everyone’s ideas and ideals have merit and can make a positive difference in the world.

For instance, I’ve always had an affinity for animals (horses, especially); as I grew up, I realized more and more that being empathetic and compassionate to animals carries over into how one relates with people. As one of my personal heroes – both as a horse trainer and as a compassionate human being – Buck Brannaman, often says, “You can’t be a good guy when you leave the barn, and a bad guy when you enter the barn. Human nature doesn’t work that way.” Animals also tend to teach us to trust our intuition and rely on subtle cues to communicate. That sets us up to be more sensitive to the needs of other people as well.

One of my favourite charities is They provide options for neglected and abused domestic horses, and find homes for wild horses culled from their herds as part of the Bureau of Land Management’s sustainability program. Taking responsibility for the diminishing habitat of America’s wild horses by assuring that the culled horses are not sold for slaughter, or otherwise mistreated, is a great way this charity IGNITES GOOD! There are many ways to participate in their programs, from adopting and caring for a displaced horse to donating whatever amount of money you can afford. Just spreading the word about the work of this charity can help the horses in need. What’s your favourite animal? What are some ways to IGNITE GOOD! in that creature’s world?

Thanks for sharing, Jan and Shannon.  The rest of you, keep checking back to find out more about some of our favorite charities and be sure to share how you Ignite Good!, too!