Some Thoughts About Donating a Car

 

A Customer Service Rep Shares Some Experiences

So many people that call me up at Kars4Kids to donate their vehicles aren’t just going through the motions of getting rid of and donating their cars. For many what goes through their minds is the good deed, tax deduction or vacation voucher. But for others and there are many like those, when they choose to donate their car, they frequently are very sentimentally attached to their car and are giving away something that is a part of themselves. Check out these two tweets.

Hard to donate a car Donating a car is hard

Taking good care of your car requires maintenance, foresight and devotion. It’s almost like a real relationship. You can kind of develop this emotional bond with your automobile. You take care of it; it in turn takes you where you need to go. Many people say with great pride, Ayy, that’s my ‘87 Oldsmobile. She’s served me very well all these years, taking me to work, funerals, sad occasions, family vacations and other nostalgic places. People have their traditional car maintenance reserved for over the weekend. They tinker and probe to make sure their car is in tip top shape. They wash it with care and then it sparkles in the sunlight.

There are all of these well known tips to making sure your car lives out its full lifetime.

• Read the user manual. They built it; they know best.

• Take it for oil changes periodically; although there are those that claim that today’s oil requires much less changing than previously. Oil today can extend from between 5-10k miles. Much different than what everyone says to get that 3k checkup. Oil has stronger properties these days. In any case, take good care of your car regardless.

• I’ve previously mentioned some of these tips in regard to saving on gasoline. Don’t gun the engine, let your car ease into the drive, try not to drive very fast and overuse the brakes.

• Check the filters, and fluids regularly along with getting your wheel rotations and other tips as well.

It’s interesting, but like I mentioned people actually develop a relationship with their mode of transportation.

Take a look at a tweet we discovered recently.

Kars for Kids cute image

I thought of 2 things here when I saw the tweet. There’s the same car with the same couple many years later. Now, I don’t know if this image was doctored or photoshopped in any way. My point is, cars need care – relationships need care. If your car is precious to you, you really can develop those sentimental feelings to it. People have a really hard time parting with their car.

Relationships whether with our friends, colleagues and especially those most near and dear to us; ourselves, spouses, parents, siblings and children need lots of oil changes, maintenance, reading the user guide well, care and devotion. I recently read an article on the 4 personalities necessary for building a business from Lolly Daskal. A business needs vision and accountability from its leader. It requires the one who actually makes sure things get done. It receives constructive critique from someone she calls the devil’s advocate and most importantly has an advocate, a mentor, someone who serves as an objective resource to help you thrive and grow; someone who will be there for you in the good times and in those rough moments. To be successful and to ensure things last,those are the relationships we need; whether it be a car, a business, your colleague, boss, or most importantly your children, your spouse and yourself.

So go ahead, take care of your car, get its full value before calling me at Kars4Kids or your local dealer; but more importantly, take care of yourself and those closest to you.

Laughter is the Best Medicine – A Tribute to Robin Williams

Robin Williams singing Kars4Kids jingle

Laughter. That’s what the late comedian Robin Williams is synonymous for. As his wife Susan Schneider said in her tribute for him “This morning, I lost my husband and best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings… As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions”

What Susan his wife expressed I find to be beautiful & on the mark. He brought lots and lots of laughter and joy to millions of people. Now that is no small feat. We live in a world with lots of pain, loss & disappointment. Artists, whether painting on canvas, architects, interior designers, musicians, comedians and countless others all have something very unique in common. They have the ability to bring out the beauty from the everyday life, from the mundane, and from the usually overlooked.

Yes, Robin publicly acknowledged his struggles with depression & substance abuse; however, we find that many comedians are depressed and eventually decide to commit suicide. Very unfortunate, but what would be underlying this depression? After all, they are the ones who have that great sense of humor, the ability to make others laugh, bring joy to millions, have a new and almost optimistic view of life, and are constantly surrounded by admirers.

There are many, both in the laymen’s & medical/research worlds who feel that laughter is the best medicine. Melinda Smith, MA & Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. explain that there are numerous psychological & physiological benefits to laughter.

• Laughter helps dissolve stressful situations, decrease anxiety, anger, & sadness. It also helps you shift perspectives. When you laugh it can relax you and in a more calm state of mind you can view situations more objectively.
• Laughter is usually common with more than one person. This can create nice social settings and less feeling alone. Friendships can be developed easier.
• Be able to laugh at yourself and life. It can help keep things in perspective. We all mess up. We’re human beings and judging ourselves does not help. Laughter helps ease those judgments.
• According to the Mayo Clinic laughter enhances intake of oxygen which is great for blood flow which also increases the endorphin amount released from your brain. Endorphins are a natural “happy” drug comparable to opiates & morphine.

Dr. Gil Greengross Ph.D. has done research on why people actually become comedians. Is it possible that something from their childhood promted their career choice? Previous research indicates that significant stress from the home can be a factor. Some of these pressures can include dad who was not satisfied with their child’s accomplishments and other reasons for feeling inadequate in their father’s eyes. For female comedians it was frequently their mother who placed similar pressure & displeasure with their daughter’s falling short of her expectations. Becoming a comedian was not as popular a career in parents’ eyes back then, but the child saw this as an opportunity to show & prove their value. This career choice was a method to kind of escape and use humor as a coping mechanism to block out the feelings of pain & anxiety. Dr. Greengross feels that today’s younger generation of comedians can be analyzed differently. He conducted a research with questionnaires filled out by 2 groups of students some who became comedians or were becoming comedians & other students. In his findings he did not see much of an influence from peer or parent experiences which led some to become part of the more humorous club.

It’s a hard thing to pinpoint what exactly leads comedians to depression but I along with some of my colleagues have some theories. One of the theories was that people of the arts can be on a different frequency than the rest of humanity. They are so creative; they think about everything in a way that most people cannot relate to. Sure, people who watch the TV shows, the stand-up routines, and the movies laugh and enjoy, but they cannot fathom how this comic actually does what he does; how he thinks of these brilliant ideas. I would venture to say and add to this that when someone is so smart in their own way it can be really lonely and even depressing.

Another theory we came up with is that yes laughter is a good medicine. Doing something that relaxes you; whether a game of tennis or shooting some hoops, listening to music, watching a movie or comedy show can all be healthy and encouraged outlets. The wise mind is able to do these and know that it’s for a specific period of time and set boundaries for themselves. They are in pain and yet they want to be happy & positive. I would say that unfortunately comedians may sometimes get so caught up with life and forget vital skills of combining their emotions with rational and logical thinking to help bring them to a good place. They’ll still be in pain; we all are from different experiences, but anyone not only comedians need to have a dialectic thought process that helps them cope. It’s a lifelong journey.

Robin Williams will always be remembered for his laugh & smile, for his ability to put others at ease and help people get on their feet. He was the energetic and fun actor as the voice of Alladin, Peter Pan, the maniacal DJ in Good Morning Vietnam and last but not least his role in Good Will Hunting. The lesson for us is to remember that laughter is the best medicine. But just like any medicine needs a prescription and used in moderation we too need to view comedy, letting our hair down and other forms of outlets to be within measure.

There are a number of resources for those suffering from depression including Laughter Yoga for Depression. For those who have suicidal thoughts, they can contact The Suicide Prevention Center Hotline at 877-7-CRISIS or visit their website here. Additionally, there is The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline available at 800-273-8255 or visit their website here.

To end off, please enjoy the video below where Robin was a featured character in “Don’t Worry Be Happy”; a motto to remember him for.

Travel this summer while saving your gas – Outings the economic way

Summer is halfway over and I am sure we are still looking forward to some summer fun including some outings. We may be looking to go camping, taking a cross country road-trip, visiting family, or just some nice day outings. Everything costs money, and on many breadwinners’ minds is the question, “how much are we going to spend on gas?”

The Gas is so Expensive! According to the EIA the average U.S. price per gallon on August 4, 2014 was $3.515. That is a bit more than 2 cent increase than a week earlier & compared to a year ago a bit more than an 11 cent decrease. Aaron Smith of CNN Money reports that gas prices are currently at a four year low.  This good news is in spite of the fall of Iraqi city Mosul to extremist militants back in June this year. Many had what some called “petronoia” as they feared gas prices would spike which they did, for a period of time. According to Gasbuddy.com energy analyst, Tom Kloza, prices will rise throughout the rest of the summer due to both high demand & that August can typically be a month of stormy weather in the Gulf of Mexico which can interfere with the oil refineries down there. Kloza however does expect that prices should begin falling back down again significantly to our four year low average.

Well, what you’re probably thinking is, OK, how does this impact my costs this summer and long term. What can I do to help my situation out by not racking up such a huge gas bill?

The truth is that our salaries aren’t really going up but the products we consume are getting more expensive. A bit unfair but the reality.

So here are some tips for making your summer travels more enjoyable, now that you have some ideas how to save on your gas usage.

How far do you drive?

Can you stay more local? Instead of going on a big road trip, there are dozens of nice attractions & activities that can be done more locally.

Extra baggage, open windows & rooftop accessories:

Do you know that all of these can impact your speed and how much gas your car has to give in order to maintain your driving? Things on your car roof can impact your speed and gas usage just by the wind drag that slows your car down. The car then has to compensate by using more gas.

Speed of travel is also a factor. Stopping and starting on local roads uses extra gas and so does accelerating on the highway. I personally don’t have definitive answers for this one but if you can go 65 mph instead of 75 do it. If you can cruise your car more gently instead of gunning the motor and using the brakes less can also be very helpful. By the way, there are those that say that every 5 mph slower can save 7% of your gas.

What type of car do you drive? I’m not advising you to go out and buy a new car. However, car manufacturers are working very hard and competitively to get more gas per mile you drive. Hybrids can be a great way to go. Analyze your options. What size car do you really need? A bigger car will be heavier and less gas mileage will be the outcome.

Idling: If your car will be sitting for a couple of minutes or you see that you’re in heavy traffic, put the car in park and turn off the engine.

What else: Check your alignment, make sure your tires are inflated, & your vehicle serviced regularly. Make sure your gas cap is tight and not letting fumes escape both hurting your gas mileage & the environment. One more thing, check your air filter. A clean air filter has been known to improve up to 10% in your mileage.

Apps for saving on gas: There is a lot of technology out there that can be taken advantage of as well. Depending on where you are located in your travels, you can make use of maps that demonstrate regions where cost of gas per gallon can be more or less.

Apps from various companies can help as well. Many if not all are free to download. They not only provide you with directions but also which gas station is open when, the best way to get there and other money saving tools as well. These include Gas Buddy app, AAA, Google Maps, Waze & others. Click here for more info.

With this all in mind, I’m sure there is much more to be found & done to save money. So good luck, happy & safe travels, & enjoy!

Repurposed Trash or A New Item? A Review on Some Great Benefits to Recycling

Every Sunday evening where I live here in New Jersey right near the coast, I put out my trash of the week. One container is designated for “real” trash; the other is designated for recycling. There is so much out there about recycling, there are those for, and those against. Everyone has data and everyone has an opinion. So what is recycling? What are my plastic milk containers, soda cans, cardboard boxes & more really accomplishing?

What’s also interesting is that in some communities, if you include recyclables in the regular trash, you will be issued a warning that if done again, the perpetrator will receive a fine from the city.

A bit of background -

Back in the day when resources were scarcer, people used to take the old fabric from a piece of clothing and re-design it to serve a new purpose. We still do that sometimes by taking an old undershirt or towel and using it as a rag. Recycling was essentially part & parcel of the average household who could not afford to buy new items. Businesses and factories did not always have access to new raw products & therefore creating a brand new product directly became expensive.

I still remember when my mother patched my pants up. My grandparents used to even wash plastic plates. The whole idea of disposable was foreign to them!

Historical efforts – During the depression years and throughout The Second World War that followed, the focus of everyone was to ration & recycle goods for the benefit of the economy & war effort. More history here

Following the war, there was more prosperity and reusing & recycling became a thing of the past. That was until a new movement began in the 1970s by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin when activists reacted to the oil spill near the city of Santa Barbara, CA. There was extensive damage to sea life & the environment. This awakened an urgency to examine the environment, our use of resources and how to protect it from an environmental perspective, financial & practical standpoint. Click here for more information.

Some Reasons for recycling:

  • Why use space for landfills when things can be recycled. Space can be scarce & expensive or plentiful & can be used for businesses or homes. Landfills can also create pollution. So why not minimize that.
  • Plastic recycling can be not so efficient according to some. However, recycling steel can reduce a lot of energy (up to 74%) that it takes to mine iron ore,the refining process & forging new steel from scratch.
  • Recycling can give people new opportunities for employment. It can shave off expenses of the city that would be used to pay for space in landfills by the ton.

Did you know?

  • Each year, approximately 10 million vehicles are recycled. You can recycle up to 75% of each car.
  • Recycling cans can save 95% of the energy to make new cans.
  • Recycling your car can save an estimated 80 million barrels of oil/year. Think about your local gas station’s prices. KeepAmericaBeautiful.com

Aside from all of this information on recycling, there are some more interesting, fun, & creative ways to practice this in your own confines. Many of these ideas can actually be an activity that will add cheer & excitement to your home and can be done together with your children & family.

Here are some creative DIY recycling ideas!

Ten Creatively Repurposed Licensed Plates – What creative things can you do with your old license plates. Share with us what you did!

 Eleven Creatively Crafted  Lamps – Are you going to go to Home Depot or doing something cute, creative & unique? We’d love to hear!

Recycle crayons into art – You know those old crayons that are just laying around that you want to throw out. Here is a different set of ideas.

Here are two images of a wastebasket made out of newspapers by my own sister, Batya Geberer. Pretty Cool! Unfortunately she didn’t provide me with the “how to” instructions.

IMG_1803[1] IMG_1802[1]

Here are two nice videos that are geared for just these ideas. Have fun!

So go on, have some fun with repurposing your old faucet (I’m sure you can find something creative to do with that), and happy recycling!

Some Resources:

  • Recycling industry consists of approximately 56k establishments that employ over 1.1 million people.
  • Recycling can generate the federal, state, & local governments billions in revenue.
  • For more information you can visit How Stuff Works & epa.gov

FBS – The Mystery, The Facts, & The Gravity of Forgotten Baby Syndrome

Oh, those errands can be taxing, especially on parents or caregivers of young children. The temptation to leave the children in the car for juuust a minute (or two) is very strong. “I’ll just run inside to get a carton of milk or eggs” can be a common excuse to leave one or more young children inside a car.

There are those who feel that no responsible parent would ever do such a thing. There are others who’d understandably so, go ahead with this justification. What can happen already, right?

So what’s the right thing to do? Is there a right or a wrong? Is it dangerous or illegal? What if I crack the window so that fresh air comes in?

Some stats & a video on this issue:

  • Since 1998 over 600 children left in cars have died from heatstroke.
  • The inside of a car can reach 109° in the matter of 15 minutes during the hot summer.
  • At 104° the internal organs of a child begin shutting down.
  • The child’s body cannot regulate as well as an adult’s can.
  • Even with a window cracked the heat is still intense & rising inside the car.

It’s clear from these stats that not only is it dangerous but can be fatal to a child.

Now what about a simple change in schedule where today Mom will take the kids to school instead of a carpool or Dad will take the child to daycare on his way to work when normally he has a different routine? Could you entertain the possibility that a responsible parent would forget—not choose to leave—a child in the car because of the change in routine?

According to USF Neurologist Dr. David Diamond, there is science to this situation. The brain habit system is so powerful that it can actually suppress or override the working memory of the brain from reminding the parent that there is a child in the backseat. This can be caused by sleep deprivation, stress, changes in routine, & emotion.

So which parent can actually forget their child in a hot car? Answer: ANY parent. From the most professional, to the most loving. From the most responsible, to the highly intelligent. This can happen to ANYONE. It can be a dangerous lack of knowledge of what actually occurs in the hot car that causes the parent to purposefully leave the child just for a minute or two. It can also be the change of routine which can be at the root of forgetting the child. In each scenario, the parent is simply unaware of the dangers or what potentially can happen with a simple change in schedule.

There are numerous ideas & gadgets that have been developed to help prevent such situations from occurring. These include but are not limited to:

  • Take one of your shoes off & leave it in the back seat. (you won’t go anywhere with just one shoe, right?)
  • Leave some of child’s belongings next to you in the front seat.
  • Don’t leave the car seat behind the driver. It’s easier to remember if easier to see.
  • Look Before You Lock
  • The ChildMinder SoftClip System by Baby Alert Int’l & car seat sensors that can tell if the baby is still in the car seat after the car has been turned off.
  • Recently, we at Kars4Kids developed, a free app for Android users to help prevent this from happening. This app is simple with one When disconnected from your car’s Bluetooth, an alarm sounds. Easy customization; an app to help prevent the tragic from happening to you or your friends, EVER.

Let “Children Left in Cars” be an issue of the past.

We feel that if even but one child’s life is saved, all our effort will have been worthwhile.

 

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Town of Newton Stuffed Animals Makes Its Way to Austin, Tx

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This past March, Kars4Kids, had the privilege to sponsor the launching of America Responds With Love’s  project to donate pillows, comfort pillows and books to Safe Place of Austin, Tx.

The actual stuffed animals and comfort pillows donated to Safe Place were provided to America Responds With Love by the Town of Newtown in Connecticut.  Following the shooting of school children and school personnel in December of 2012, people throughout the United States sent tens of thousands of stuffed animals and comfort pillows to the Town of Newtown.  The community utilized a portion of the donated products to help people truly in need in Newtown as well as throughout the State of Connecticut.

Safe Place will be using the stuffed animals, comfort pillows, and books in its Planet Safe Program.  Planet Safe is a collaborative project of Safe Place and Travis County that allows children living in families with histories of family violence to have supervised visits between parents in a safe setting.  Planet Safe provides safety for all family members, for children as well as for both custodial and non-custodial parents.  Arrival and departure times are staggered, and custodial and non-custodial parents use separate entrances and separate waiting rooms upon arrival. Further security measures are also in place.

A variety of resources are available to help the children while at Planet Safe.  A young child, for example, may select a comfort pillow or a stuffed animal.  Children and teenagers will both have the opportunity to select books of interest.

“This generous gift from America Responds With Love will help the many children who are living through traumatic experiences as they use PlanetSafe services,” said Steven Olender, Community Relations Coordinator at SafePlace.  “It’s hard to imagine how traumatic it is for babies, children and teens to endure custodial transfers and visits when there’s a history of family violence. The culture of fear and uncertainty that’s present in these situations can be particularly hard on children. We always rely on help from the community to provide the supplies and materials we need to support babies and children, and we are very grateful to American Responds With Love for their generosity.”

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Eager Parents Attempt To Donate Their Kids

Here are some comments that were filled out on the donate form on kids4kars.org :

 

capernicusss My son Mason loves coloring Ninja Turtles, eating Cheerios and picking his nose…O and he‘s trained in the deadly art of Mandarian Chinese Kung-Fu and he has ADHD…good luck
Tina wants a personal ATM machine!
Jason Her ability to stay up all night long!
Alex Has a tendency to inhale his food and 5 minutes later complains that he is hungry.  Bottomless pit will help keep garbage waste levels down
Jack He is nuts
Beelzebub Her voice–really shakes up your spinal cord.
Matt Awesome.
Rameses He has a lot to say all the time and does his part tearing up the place as his mom cleans right behind them. He is number 1!
mike My kid sits on his butt all day and just lets them all rip
Julia My daughter has her moments of awesomeness, but basically I just need to sleep and work and not have someone follow me around the house all day, so I‘m just donating her for someone else to enjoy. She still has a ton of mileage left.
Joel He is a wonderful little boy!
Jeremiah He is a good cook
Lazarus Wears a mask and flies through the air to defeat villainous types.  All while thinking im sleeping.  How can I sleep knowing my child is a vigilante?!?
ALAN K LIKES TO WHINE…. LOUD
Take Take him away ASAP. Please even tho its an april fools day prank.
Andrew He is too smart for his own good…we love him, but why am I always wrong?!?!
Chris Omg, I love this charity!
Maya Never eats what Mom cooks
Emily She bites like hell. Will not stop. She bites me, kids on the playground. I spank her, talk to her, nothing works. She also likes to poop in random places. Last week she pooped in Kmart… IN KMART. Please. Save. Me.
Dovid *He is all yours now!!!!!!!!!!!!!
christian Likes to climb tables and beats up cats
Merak Super dooper weird
Kate My kid is so incredibly non-special that she transcends normality and becomes incredibly, uniquely boring.
Bobby He eats his own toenails.
Joshua My kid can make anyone laugh.
Saumya Jain Most jailtime in respect to age
Nannie My kid can eat their boogers.
James So dum I want him out