www.PostSanta.com Hoping to Link Donors with Those in Need Virtually
BATON ROUGE, La. (December 8, 2006) -- The social media movement has sparked an adoption frenzy this holiday season and is changing the face of philanthropy. Thanks to www.postsanta.com, www.hurricane-katrina.org, and www.katrinasangels.org, three online, virtual entities, Christmas will arrive for families who are still struggling with the realities after Hurricane Katrina from those who want to make a real difference. The three Web sites not only highlight the ongoing difficulties for those in the New Orleans area trying to rebuild their lives, but they are also a vital link between those in need and those who want to donate food, money, even Christmas trees. They are all engaged in innovative, transformational, change the world media, with a shared vision to catalyze their online endeavors to help the Gulf Coast recover.
Hundreds of Katrina families have written "Dear Santa" letters online. "Post Santa" is now seeking out prospective "Santas" for these families. Katrina's Angels, which has also been prescreening deserving families, will help donors fulfill wish lists and handle the New Orleans-area distribution. And the effort all came together on "Beyond Katrina."
"It started out as research for a story I'm writing, a ghost story, set in a post-Katrina world. I was so moved by every word I read, every picture I saw. Then Christmas was suddenly upon us -- over commercialized, self-centered. I couldn't sit back any longer. The true meaning of Christmas had to be revived, and this was how to do it," explains screenwriter Lola Teigland, creator of the Post Santa Web site. "I joined forces with Margaret Saizan, who united families with donors last year. She has an amazing website and she's an amazing person, so we set out to make some magic."
www.hurricane-katrina.org is aptly named "Beyond Katrina: The Voice of Hurricane and Disaster Recovery. This blog, which began as Margaret Saizan's personal account of the storm in her home state of Louisiana, has transformed into a gathering place and historical resource for those looking beyond the storm and seeking to learn from the catastrophe. From activists seeking to change public policy to victims looking for assistance and resources, "Beyond Katrina" is a one-stop shop for those connected to and affected by the unprecedented storm of 2005.
"When Lola contacted me, I knew we had to team up with a nonprofit that already has 'boots to the ground', so Katrina's Angels was a perfect fit," added Saizan, Beyond Katrina creator. "I have readers from 174 countries and more than 2,300 U.S. cities. If we can help direct only a fraction of them to www.postsanta.com, then Lola will be able to reach her dream of making a difference and the volunteer "angels" will deliver those dreams to the families who are suffering. Amazingly, all of this can be done without physical, brick-and-mortar spaces."
"We have the families ready and waiting, we just need those who want to help to reach out and connect with us," said Lynne Onufer, Katrina's Angels program director. "From the past, we know they're out there. We just want them to reach through www.postsanta.com so we can bring Christmas to the Big Easy."
"It's great to see how through new technologies, people now have the capacity to form meaningful online communities to explore common interests, advance important goals, and catalyze a shared vision," said Saizan.
Saizan's blog was recently awarded the Society for New Communications Research Professional Award. The award honors innovative organizations and professionals who are pioneering the use of social media (i.e., blogs, wikis, podcasts, collaborative tools and other forms of participatory communications) in the areas of marketing, public relations and advertising, politics, entertainment, academics, and community and cultural development.
About Margaret Saizan
Margaret Saizan (www.margaretsaizan.org) is a new media publisher, personal/ organizational coach, and community activist. The Baton Rouge, La. native became a blogger during the largest natural disaster in U.S. history - Hurricane Katrina. A graduate of Newfield Network, one of the best regarded international coach training schools, Margaret focuses on empowering leadership and facilitating action during transition, crisis, and disaster as the pathway to new vision. http://www.hurricane-katrina.org and Big Vision Media aspire to ignite wise action, new vision and positive change through transformational media.
About Katrina's Angels
The management and volunteers of Katrina's Angels are committed to a mission of providing resource coordination and needs fulfillment with sensitivity, professionalism and impeccable customer service to the evacuees of major natural disasters in the United States. To learn more about the 501 c3 non-profit organization, visit www.katrinasangels.org.
# # # Other Releases By Beyond Katrina:
- Japanese Musician and Jazz Lover Gives Back to New Orleans 2006-12-05
- Beyond Katrina Wins National Award 2006-11-09
- Louisiana Photographer Joins Blogger's Online Community, Beyond Katrina, The Voice of Hurricane Disaster Recovery 2006-10-13
- Louisiana Woman Documents Katrina Experience Online 2006-08-25