Monday, December 21, 2009

Tis the season to help the children =TEAM TAJI

SO I FOUND THE COOLEST SERVICE PROJECT!!! My brother Jeff lives at Camp Taji in Iraq, he is an attorney for the Army. He was deployed last summer from Ft. Hood, yes this is the same base where the shootings took place. As you know Iraq is a war torn country, the soldiers saw that the Iraqi children didn't have much, especially in the way of school supplies. So, some of the soldiers on the base in their spare time started a service project to help impoverished Iraqi children get school supplies, it is called Team Taji: OPERATION BACK TO SCHOOL.

My brother Jeff, emailed his friends and family to see if we could help collect any school supplies. I immediately wanted to help. Having been to third world countries, I have seen first hand how little children have, yet they always seem to be smiling some how. It is amazing how MUCH we have here in America, and where much is given much is expected. Plus having my own little child, it has made me so much more compassionate for the little ones where ever they are. But even more than that aspect, I really wanted to support my brother and the troops. This was such a neat thing they were doing and I wanted to help them to do it.

** Side note**

These soldiers sacrifice SO SO MUCH to serve our country. I never really realized it until I saw it first hand with my brother. He left a wife and 6 little kids at home to serve to keep us safe. All soldiers put their OWN lives at stake to protect us, EVERY DAY. Such a selfless act, and they are very proud to do it.

So about a month ago I took on the project. I knew it would take a great deal of time and effort, but I was willing to give it a go. I started to walk around to the businesses around my apartment to see if I could get any of them to donate. I wanted to get as many school supplies as possible, and I was all fired up after hearing about how cool the project was. The soldiers outlined what school supplies each child needed and called it a school kit. My initial efforts with the businesses were a little demotivating. All of them said no, except two, who gave me random pencil boxes and folders, which I was grateful. I decided I needed to recruite some help. I told the idea to my Relieve Society presidency and they loved it, so we decided to make it an enrichment program. One sister, Connie was super passionate about the project because her father had served in the first Iraqi war and she had lived on Ft. Hood! She jumped on board and we became partners and started our own Team Taji NY.

I realized some thing about this project as I was preparing to present it to my relief society. I learned that this simple service project is SO much more than giving kids school supplies, it is an opportunity to support our American troops, as well as help the Iraqi soldiers serve thier country as well. Jeff said that the US and Iraqi armies were giving out the school kits together, this was SO important for the Iraqi army to do because for SO long they have oppressed thier people instead of serving them. This project helps the Iraqi civilians to TRUST thier army rather than fear them, and intern as they trust thier army, it makes for a more stable Iraq. An Iraq where other countries do not need to be there helping out, including our precious soldiers. SO, as you can see, this service project is SO AWESOME on so many levels.

Anyway, after many late nights of putting together my presentation with pictures and all (thanks Jeff), it was ready. I gave the presentation to the sisters and it went really well, my brother Jeff even Skyed in to tell the ladies more about the project and give them his first hand expereince! That was the BEST part! After he spoke to us, we sang him a Christmas song and we were all moved by tears.

The next day Dec. 9th, Connie and got to work,

  • we started a non-profit organization so that people who donate could get a tax write off,
  • we started a website
  • email address
  • Facebook- "Operation Back to School-team Taji"

We wanted to give people more information about the project and try to get as many school kits as possible. If you are reading this and want more info, click on the link above to see a video of the project. Jeff was able to deliver some kits already! Also email us at or go to our website. You can see more pictures on Facebook too.

I know most of the people that read my blog are my friends and family, if you want to help, I would LOVE your support, here is how you can help:

  • Donate a school kit, Kits are $10- make your check out to "Team Taji" send it to:
    • Team Taji
    • 211 West 56th st. #27H
    • NY, NY 10019
  • Send ideas on how to get more kits to:

More info:

Watch video

Go to: Galleries> Video> Deadeye min 7

1 comment:

keri and taylor said...

That is so neat Mars! I'll for sure give you a check at our friends party. You're amazing!