15 June, 2008 Posted by: McLovin

Servanthood sees the wholeness of each person,
In the center of their brokenness,
And serves the dignity of that wholeness

Our thanks to tjay from our forum for sharing those words with us, and to all of you who participated in the Castrofans United Service Project. The project was a huge success, and documentation for hundreds of hours of service have been coming in. Repeatedly, we are hearing from those who participated in a local project that they can't wait to get out there and do it again -- we understand firsthand what Jason meant when he said he gets the most joy from serving others.

There's talk of this becoming an annual event and - for those of you who are interested - Amber Snyder from GLOW Ministries in Zeeland, MI, has extended an invitation to us to join them for a week in Haiti to help out at their mission. We've been discussing this in our forum and hope to make this a big part of the next CUSP project -- if we can bear to wait that long, that is!

Continued after the jump.

CUSP Extra

14 June, 2008 Posted by: McLovin
sybilsarmy from the Castrocopia forum had this to share:

Thing of the day:
Most people have heard of Locks of Love, the charity that collects ponytails to make wigs for kids. I had never heard of Beautiful Lengths before. Pantene sponsors it, and the wigs to go women who've lost their hair during chemo. The good thing about this one is that they'll take a ponytail as short as 8". I did it tonight, so if you're going to see me tomorrow, don't make fun of my lumpy neck, 'k?

CUSPs of the Day

14 June, 2008 Posted by: McLovin
These are for Friday. I apologize for the delay -- something came up and I wasn't able to post these last night. But late is always better than never, so here we go!

Naquita's selection from Jason Castro Online:

Michele wrote:

I volunteered at "The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Central Florida".
They care for orphaned and injured wildlife, then release them back into the
wild. The photo is of me not working very hard, but trust me--I worked my
butt off in 90 degree heat. I spent most of the day cleaning stalls that
housed injured or baby raccoons, squirrels, otters, opossums, ducks, owls,
turtles, armadillos, rabbits and more. Lots of poop to clean up and hay
to clean out and replace. I hauled around wheelbarrows of sand to help with
a project and hundreds of pounds of produce donated by local grocery stores,
which feeds the animals. It was hugely rewarding and of course a little
sad. I'm returning next week.

CUSP - Wildlife Center

My husband and I also adopted a blind dog from a rescue group called
"Coastal Poodle Rescue". He's a little old man, mixed breed with only one
eye that he can't even see out of and requires eye drops 3 times a day!
His prospects for adoption were not good because of his age and blindness,
but we think he's a doll. We've named him Bouncer because his blindness
doesn't stop him. If he bumps into a wall, he just bounces off and
continues on his way. He sleeps with us and despite his blindness (which
was the result of neglect, but I won't make this any sadder than it is), he
loves life. He plays with toys, gives us sloppy kisses and we love him.

CUSP and Jason are great inspirations to me and I hope to others. Bouncer
sends lots of sloppy kisses!

CUSP - Adoption

DreadNation chose this one from DaydreamingBoy:

myjason15825 said:

I just contracted a Neil Diamond impersonator to do a 2 night fundraiser for our local food bank! I will be making sure he mentions Jason a few times during his acts! I will also make sure that we mention CUSP in all the promo for the event! How cool is that??? It is August 1st and 2nd at a little place called "Tony's Lil Roma" in Brookville, PA. It's the only dates I could get from the performer!

Finally, from Castrocopia:

Jason4Prez wrote:

Just finished doing my CUSP. I had been thinking about what to do exactly for a while now. Being all Jason-y (haha) i wanted to do something for battered women and children, as Jason has been reported to advocate. So i got my dad to contact his friend who ran a shelter for sexually abused women and children. It was all arranged, and so i brought my sister with me to the shelter 4 hours away from where i live. We stayed there for 4 days, and the girls were absolutely wonderful. We arranged all sorts of games for them, where they could just let loose and have fun. We bought them groceries, a mini pool (like the one where you just fill the water up. We spent time with them, talked to them, became their friends, their sisters.

While i was planning this CUSP, i thought i would do service to other people and make them happy, but then after doing the activity, i serviced myself, too. I mean, i have done a lot of outreaches in the past, but they were all done because of a school requirement, never out of my own volition. It was different this time, because i arranged everything myself; nothing was graded, i didn't have to pass a report afterwards. I did it for them, and for the other abused women and children out there. I realized that in helping these dignified women, i also helped myself. I have become more caring, less apathetic, and a lot more fulfilled.

So thank you Castrocopia and Jason and whoever started this CUSP project for inspiring me to inspire others.

That would be DreadNation, the CUSP Queen, who started this phenomenon. The projects we've featured on the blog alone show an incredible amount of work done oh behalf of CUSP, and they don't even scratch the surface.

Well done, DreadNation. You rock, girl.

CUSP Extra

12 June, 2008 Posted by: McLovin
Joni posted the following information on our forum about ONE, and organization dedicated to fighting global poverty, hunger, and disease.

Join me in fighting poverty!


I've just signed the ONE Declaration committing myself to help fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty.

I'm asking you to make that commitment, too, by adding your voice.

I think our names belong on that declaration, too. You can put it there by visiting:

ONE is a new effort by Americans to rally Americans - one by one. So far, over two million have signed the declaration in support of a historic pact for compassion and justice to help the poorest people of the world.

Together as ONE we can make a difference!


CUSPs of the Day

12 June, 2008 Posted by: McLovin
We're happy to welcome Naquita from Jason Castro Online with a CUSP of the Day selected from the JCO forum:

Here is what * Amanda* from over at my site did:

I went and cleaned up the local beach tonight. I wasn't able to do the
whole thing tonight, but I am going back first thing in the morning to
finish up. My mom is even going to help me in the morning. Tonight my little
brother helped me. He is 10 and he was like "Amanda this is a big beach you
can't do it all by yourself". He was actually a big help.

Here is the picture we took:


DreadNation selected this one, an e-mail from one of the Dreadheads at DaydreamingBoy:

Portraitpainter writes:

No more invasive plants choking the oxygen out of our beautiful Chesapeake Bay!!.

I know this for a fact because I pulled out every bit of the dreaded "garlic mustard" (why does that sound like part of a sandwich order? but no kidding, that was my assignment) in the 5000 sq foot Thrifton Hill tributary (in northern VA)-- in appreciation of Jason's music and philanthropic spirit---volunteering through Save the Bay Foundation.

So even if I get poison ivy or sumac on every inch of my exposed body (tho I would
prefer not of course) it will have been worth it. Also turned on all my co-weed-scavengers to the DDB website and music downloads.

"Come Sail the Bay", Jason! You've earned it (and your spirit deserves some tranquility.)

From Castrocopia:
kbkysun's CUSP project, featured as a CUSP of the Day yesterday, inspired another one of our other posters, Castrophile, to do something similar that is very close to her heart.

kbk - if you were here right now, I would jump in your lap, hug you and squeeze you and call you George! (please tell me some of you remember that cartoon...) Your WONDERFUL, inspiring post, and your beautiful, giving, caring Grandmother have lit a fire under my considerable derriere! After the Bug went to bed, I sat on the sofa next to Hubs and crocheted my first two "CUSP Preemie Beanies"! Took me about an hour, because I'm two years rusty, but I think I can get that down to finishing four in the course of a movie without breaking a sweat - YAY! And the best part is - I LOVED IT!

It felt SO GOOD to make something for someone with my own two hands. As I worked, I thought about Liam, and how tiny he was, and how blessed we are that he is now a huge, healthy hunk! I thought about the parents of the babies whose tiny little heads might be covered with these hats, and their fear and pain in seeing their children so helpless in that NICU. I thought about YOU, kb, and how caring, thoughtful and giving you ALWAYS are, and what an inspiration that is to me. And I thought about your Grandmother, who threw stitch after stitch making all those mittens, year after year...and, of course I cried. But, it was a GOOD cry - a HAPPY cry - a GRATEFUL cry!

And, I thought again about this little Castro kid...whose quiet, generous spirit has moved so many of us to do more than we otherwise would have...even the most curmudgeonly (Lemon, you know who you are!)...and once again, I was awed and humbled.

So, overall, I had a KICK ASS NIGHT, and I just had to come in here and say THANK YOU!!

Now, don't look too carefully at the stitches - my tension is a little off, but it'll come back...and I don't think the munchkins will mind. ;) And, DN - this isn't THE picture - my goal is to have at least ten done by the end of CUSP week to donate to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughter's NICU, so I'll take a pic of them all. (This won't stop at the end of the week, though - it feels too good, and I'm a selfish bitch, so it'll be an ongoing thing - I'm hooked!)

And, the phone is there to show how teeny they are....

CUSP Preemie-beanies

CUSPs of the Day

11 June, 2008 Posted by: McLovin
The CUSP stories keep coming in. Just a reminder that if a rep from JasonCastroOnline, IDF or any other forum would like to send us a CUSP to be included in a future post, we'd love to hear from you:

DreadNation's selection from DayDreaming Boy:

keyeser wrote:
Jason's Sunshine shined at the Orlando Coalition for the Homeless Shelter this Tuesday night. About 35 kids, and teens living in the family center came for a puppet show, craft night! It was great! The kids went nuts over the puppets, loved the bookmarks with cool stickers and tambourines with rainbows! There were 9 Jason fans and we loved the smiles and hugs!

And from Castrocopia:

kbkysun wrote:
What I should do for CUSP has been weighing on my heart. It has been challenging to me to find something that goes above and beyond what my normal activities would be. I have lived a very blessed life. I have no idea what its like to go without something or to be in a situation where I feel helpless, neither does my daughter. It has always been my mission as a parent to instill compassion into my child. I never wanted her to feel guilty for what she has because when you work hard it is okay to have reward but I wanted her to see that other people do go without and are put into bad situations. We already volunteer at an animal shelter, we already donate supplies to a woman's shelter and we have Alex's Lemonade stand every summer to benefit cancer research. I already had a garage sale planned for this weekend and the money is going to charity. I am not telling you all this because I want to be congratulated for what I do. Its never been about that for me, its always been about leading my daughter down the right path by example. I tell you these things so you can understand why I needed to find something else to do.

Today would have been my Grandmother's birthday. I brought flowers to her grave early this morning and had an epiphany of what I should be doing. For as long as I can remember my grandmother was always knitting mittens. She made about 100 pairs every year and sent them to a church in a disadvantaged neighborhood. She didn't want the children to have cold hands. Eventually the Priest from that church transferred to the church my grandparents attended. At my grandmother's funeral that priest asked why she was being buried with a pair of mittens. He was told the story of the mittens. The priest then told us all that he never knew where they came from. The box just showed up every single year on the steps of the Rectory with no return address. Well my grandmother taught me to knit. Today I bought yarn and am going to continue on with my grandmothers work. I will not be done this week or have pictures for the book but this is something I am going to continue on with for years to come.

So, if those stories aren't enough to turn you into the blubbering mess that DreadNation and I have both become today, there's more. The Castrocopia CUSP of the Day had already been chosen when another great story came in that we both agreed needed to be told because it illustrates, as DreadNation said, "what can happen when our eyes are open to the needs around us - because we're all thinking about it this week -- just look for the possibilities for making a difference."

sybilsarmy wrote:
I haven't been great at coming up with new ideas lately, but I've been trying to walk with both eyes open, and found an opportunity last night. I was leaving Walgreens and there was a woman asking people for help with bus money. I talked to her for a few minutes, and she said her husband died and she had to go back to work - but didn't have any real experience. She just lost that job recently. I picked up some groceries for her, then took her to Kinko's and helped her put together a resume - today I brought a copy into our HR dept. I don't know if they'll do anything with it - I can be a reference, but I don't have any say - but I hope it works out for her.

CUSPs of the Day

10 June, 2008 Posted by: McLovin
Keep up the good work, ya'll. We haven't even hit the halfway mark for the project and so many of you have already contributed your time and effort to improve your corners of the world.

Crazydo from DaydreamingBoy:

I just got back from our local animal shelter where I walked dogs and donated some items on their wish list. I had a great time. I even signed up to volunteer there this summer. I hope I can get there at least once a week. While I was walking I keep thinking about when Jason said in one of his first interviews "whatever you do at the end of the day, if it's all for yourself, what good is it?" "I find the most joy in helping others". I did find joy and I think the dogs enjoyed it too. I'm off to the Food Bank tomorrow.

Tiffani from Castrocopia:

Today Riley took two Target bags and a backpack filled with breakfast and lunch snacks, juice boxes and supplies to her summer enrichment class for the deaf/hard of hearing. The last thing the teacher needs to do is worry about enough snacks. Even though everyone is asked to bring in stuff, there are always some kids who just can't. Riley wanted to make sure everyone had plenty, so we sent extras. It sure made her feel good.

CUSP Project

For those of you with a Face Book and a few moments to spare, sbb from Castrocopia had this idea to share:

Here's a simple CUSP project for anyone with a Facebook account.*

Short version - Just join this group or look for Let's talk to Coca Cola about saving the World's children. Joining the group shows Coca-Cola that a lot of people want them to help make a difference in the world. Then encourage your Facebook friends to join.

Long version - Here's what I like about this project.

  • First, it's about fighting dehydration, a leading cause of death, in developing countries. Water alone can't treat dehydration (parents, you know that you give your child something like Pedialyte or Gatorade) once you're dehydrated you have to replenish salts, sugars and basic nutrients.

  • Second, the solution to dehydration is simple- a packet to pour into water. It's lightweight, easy to use, and easy to manufacture. (I love simple solutions.) The only challenge is really distribution.

  • Third, this project is about getting help for distribution from the world's leading distributor of beverages Coca-Cola. Coincidentally a major sponsor of American Idol. (Don't you love the irony of that?)

  • Finally, project originator Simon Berry is now (as in, they just started this week) in serious discussion with Coca-Cola executives about how this can happen. They see the reasonableness of using their distribution network (small locally-owned businesses in Africa) for dehydration packets. This is not about cutting into their bottom line, and is especially not about hurting the local distributors. This is about using existing channels to save lives.

  • More info You can read about it on Facebook or on Simon Berry's personal blog the first video, where Simon explains how the campaign started, is a good summary.

    Summary - Coca-Cola is paying attention to the number of people (customers) who are signed up with the Facebook group, so if you have a Facebook account, please sign up there, and encourage your friends to do so as well. You really don't have to do anything else besides spread the word.

    *You can also sign up for alerts on the blog if you don't have a Facebook account.

    CUSPs of the Day

    09 June, 2008 Posted by: McLovin
    It's only Monday and already we've been reading some great posts from people who aren't waiting for the world to change as part of CUSP. DreadNation and I have each selected one from our respective forums to post and hope to continue this throughout the week. Please keep those updates coming. You never know what is going to inspire someone to take some action of their own. It could be YOUR post that moves them to participate.

    If a rep from JasonCastroOnline, IDF or any other forum would like to send us a CUSP to be included in a future post, we'd love to hear from you:

    From DaydreamingBoy:

    Myty11 wrote:
    You guys it was great! My brother, daughter (she is 1 and 1/2) and I went shopping, got bags of groceries for 3 of the food pantries in the area plus dog and cat food for the humane society. The food lines at the shelter have grown longer and longer recently due to the economy and the donation sites were very grateful for the help. They were happy to take pics for us and thought the CUSP was a great project. What made it special for me was spending time with my brother and daughter. My brother and I lost our mom 1 and 1/2 years ago and we talked alot about her today(something we don't do alot because its upsetting but today for some reason alot of happy/silly memories came out and it was very healing). I am so glad this project was started and of course am glad Jason's wonderful example was the reason for it. If you haven't done it yet I recommend it. It makes you feel GOOD!!!!!

    P.S We also wore all blue, our Dreadhead hats and carried our towels-it was a blast, even my brother (who was hesitant about it all because at first he didn't understand what it was all about) got into the spirit and threw on a blue shirt and waved his towel...Too cute..can't wait for the pics!!

    And from Castrocopia:

    wrypilgrim wrote:
    Our church has the mother of all tag sales this weekend to benefit 3 charities (a food pantry, domestic violence center and homeless veterans). In the spirit of CUSP, I signed up to work every afternoon this week and today was my first day sorting and pricing the thousands and thousands of items people donate. I live in the NE and man oh man was it hot today! Plus a good deal of the donations do not arrive in great condition (dirty, dusty, food encrusted, sticky...generally toxic). Nonetheless - every time I broke nail, wiped a liter of sweat off my brow or wanted to scream ENUF - I just hummed a little SOTR, picked up my bottle of Windex and went back to work!

    Thanks, ya'll. We're proud to be associated with such good-hearted people.


    07 June, 2008 Posted by: McLovin
    I just couldn't wait another four and half hours to put up the banner made of win created by Chickadee for the week of The CUSP. She did a great job, huh?

    Hope everyone's all set with their service projects; if you're still undecided and need some inspiration, ideas or even a little guilt, please have a look here.

    Or just watch this if all you need is a teeny push.

    The CUSP is Upon Us!

    06 June, 2008 Posted by: McLovin
    Be sure to keep reading after the jump!

    The CUSP

    DreadNation is back for a visit from DaydreamingBoy about the upcoming Castrofans United Service Project that's taking place - Yikes! - next week already! Time flies when you're O.D.-ing on homecoming news and videos. I'm glad a lot of us got our CUSP ducks in a row before last week.

    We've got several group and individual projects in the works here at Castrocopia, but let's check in with our guest of honor first. So, DreadNation....what's going on in your neighbourhood? Is everyone amped about the service project? What are some of the things being planned by The Dreadheads?
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