Spring Update

Happy Spring from 205 W Leake St!

We are so excited about warm weather, sunshine, and fun events on the Brick Streets. 
Over the past couple of weeks, we've received fun photos of your Dot gear in awesome places from the Grand Canyon to Honduras. 

#DesignOurTee

Of all the fun this year has brought, the #DesignOurTee campaign has been our most exciting endeavor yet. We received lots of submissions from talented student artists, and we loved getting to involve our supporters in this decision. 5,000 votes later, and we are reminded of how crazy awesome it is to be part of a network of doers and givers that know how to have fun for a good cause. 

Josh Gaddy's design won, with a reminder for us to Do One Thing in not one but five languages. This shirt is available to order online now, and will be in the shop soon!

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Upcoming Events

Sidewalk Sessions
Thursday, March 30 // 6-9pm // The Brick Streets
Join us on the brick streets for spring air and live music. Local shops will be open with new lines of fun things, activities for all ages, and music by local artists. Drop by for a minute or stay all evening - just make sure to tell us hello!

Clinton Spring Market
Saturday, April 8 // The Brick Streets
Here's another chance to support local businesses, this time at the annual spring market. Stores, restaurants, and local makers will be selling their goods with a fresh springtime vibe. 

Stray at Home Festival
Saturday, May 13 // 11am-7pm // Smith Park, Jackson
We are excited to be among the talented and ambitious makers that are pulling together this annual festival in Jackson. 
From the website:

Stray at Home is a day in which those who create connect with those who enjoy, and stories and art are spread into our homes.  We are here to share and celebrate their beauty – the designers and builders – the dreamers and doers – the musicians, artistic muses, and culture makers.

Do One Thing this Spring

Whether you join us on the brick streets, take our products on a life-changing trip, or find other ways to change the world, we want to be part of it. Keep tagging us in photos and using our products for good. Enjoy the spring weather, and stop by and see us sometime!

- The Dot Team

#DesignOurTee

We're designing a new Dot T-shirt, and we need you! We love working with you on our hand-painted journals, so we are so excited to include you in this project too! We are passionate about empowering students, whether that be our student sponsor children around the world or local student artists, so we are thrilled to collaborate with the the talented students around us!

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 What We Need From You :

A T-Shirt design that encompasses our motto "Do One Thing" and keeps in mind that we are a school and art supply company. "Do One Thing" means something different to everyone; from the choices we make about the products we buy, to using our art for good, be creative and figure out what it means to you. We also want this to be a great product for everyone, so try to keep the design relatively gender neutral. Overall, get creative and make this your own!

What You Get From Us : 

Your design on our t-shirt! You'll also receive 3 shirts for you and your friends, an opportunity to collaborate with Dot on a hand-painted journal line, $75 worth of Dot Products, and a Starbucks giftcard! 

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The Rules : 

  1. Artists must be enrolled in an educational program of some sort. (A.K.A You gotta be a student.)

  2. All artwork must be one of a kind and completely unique to the artist.

  3. To submit your design, email the design in JPG file along with a picture of yourself to hallie@dotproducts.org then fill out our Google Form. We will email you when we receive your completed submission.

  4. Unfortunately, current and former Dot Interns are not eligible to apply.

We are so excited to see what you come up with! For more information go to dotproducts.org/designourtee. We can't wait to hear from you!

Do One Thing : Technology

Today I woke up to an alarm on my phone that goes off every weekday morning. I got out of bed and, without a thought, opened the Facebook notifications I’d accumulated overnight. Before I made coffee or brushed my teeth, I had checked my email, Instagram, and Twitter.

This is what people mean when they say that our generation is always online. It’s not something we can avoid, really; technology is woven into our lives. The question, then, is not if we should use the online world that is so readily available to us. The question is how should we use it?

It’s funny, but some of the best advice I ever heard about social media came from a tweet. Essentially, the author who posted it wanted to give a general reminder that it is your choice whether or not social media will be life-giving or life-taking. After reading that tweet, I became friends with the unfollow button. Before you can see the good in the world that comes from technology, you need to be comfortable with removing the not-so-good. This means not only unfollowing negative or unnecessary pages, but also learning to log off once in awhile.

It’s easy to welcome distractions into our lives, but there are still a lot of important things happening outside of our phones. It’s important to learn the discipline of leaving your phone in another room or turning it off sometimes so that you can really focus. Whether you’re working in an office, studying in your dorm room, or spending time with your family, there are some things in life that are better accomplished without a newsfeed in front of you.

The most important thing, the thing that allows us to use the internet for good, is remembering that behind every Twitter handle or Instagram name is a person. The power of social media is its ability to bring together individuals who otherwise would never have shared the same space. That’s a privilege, and we should honor it by speaking life and spreading messages of hope online.

There are a lot of ways to do that, and a lot of great people are using social media to do great things. Artists and writers have opportunities like never before to share their gifts with the world. News sources make it possible to be aware of what’s going on in the world and how you can affect change. On Instagram and Facebook, people’s stories are being told that otherwise would never have seen the light of day. Organizations are posting positive messages and spreading the word about causes that make the world better.

You can do that too.

Send an encouraging message.
Follow a cause you care about.
Put your phone away and have an unplugged conversation.
Clear your newsfeeds of negativity.
Share a story that’s important to you.

Today, Do One Thing to make technology a power for good in your life and in the world.

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I'm Alexa Jenkins, the Dot Social Media & Operations Intern!

 I'll be sharing on the blog for the next few weeks about different areas of life where we can Do One Thing to make the world a better place.
I think that small things like who we follow on Instagram and where we buy our coffee can have a big impact, and I hope these posts are an encouraging reminder that your choices are important. 

Dot Team Talks Haiti

In dreaming up our Haiti trip, I (founder, Hallie Darphin) wanted to give college students and young professionals the opportunity to put their gifts and talents to use in Haiti, even if their gifts and talents aren't typically seen as being useful in the developing world. We believe in sharing stories in a way that compels students to action, and we enlisted student and adult educators and storytellers--photographers, videographers, writers, and dreamers--to help us do just that. 

Our trip to Haiti was full of seeing. We experienced new culture, food, schools, interactions with artisans and gifted makers. Like almost any similar trip, it was hard and good and beautiful and overwhelming, and each girl's perspective and actions made Dot better. I think it made each of us better. 

Of course, we can't explain every piece of what we did, but we can work to express the parts that were meaningful to each of us. Here's what Alana, Annie, and Grace thought. 

Alana: Haiti- What I Saw

Processing my trip from Haiti has been interesting for me. I can tell you all about what I saw, the information my eyes, and other senses gathered, but I cannot cohesively form conclusions about it. Haiti is such a complex place, there are a lot of moving parts in the machine that is Haiti, and I cannot pretend that a week of observation gives me the right to make any conclusions. I won’t try to analyze the information into a seven-point thesis that concludes in world peace. I can’t give you answers, but I can tell you what I saw.

I saw contrast.

I saw dark mahogany skin with gleaming white smiles.

I saw orange gingham uniforms well kept, but outgrown.

I saw a clean compound, kitchens kept clean and bathrooms swept and cleaned. I saw a Hope Center where cleanliness just as you and I would expect at our homes was kept and maintained by Haitian women.

I saw filthy streets where it appeared as if empty water bottles were the bricks and dirt was the mortar.

I saw pikles.
I saw spicy pikles. (Only some will appreciate this contrast.)

I saw women barely dressed, and I saw women who would feel immodest in anything but skirts.

I saw people fed up with a system that teaches in French, but doesn’t teach French.

I saw Haitian people who believed speaking French was a necessary divider; a skill used to separate one candidate from another, like a degree.

I saw children suffering from malnutrition.
I saw the biggest bowl of rice I have ever seen in my entire life.

I saw well-behaved three year olds sit still as food was passed out one by one.
I saw rowdy children who were almost never in class.
I saw teachers who were quick to discipline with a belt.
I saw translators who were quick to scoop a child into his lap.

I saw flirtatious men, who told me their unsavory thoughts with their eyes.
I saw sweet young boys, who told me the Creole names for plants and animals as we walked hand in hand back from their school.

I saw Haitian children afraid of white people.
I saw Haitian children who thought white people were like Santa Claus.

I saw joy.
I saw pain.

I saw people with questions.
I saw people trying to find answers.

I saw a lot to do.
I saw people doing a lot.

Annie: Final Thoughts

I went into this trip far more anxious than I'd like to admit. Two days before my flight, I cried in a Target parking lot, overwhelmed by the thought of tiny toothpastes and traveling with strangers.

Why had I even agreed to this entire enterprise? 

Way back in October or November, Hallie Darphin -- a girl I knew as the owner of Dot Products, thanks to my gig in retail -- emailed me, asking if I'd like to join her business on its first trip to Haiti, a trip designed to spread the word about the work Dot is doing, to interact with children and artists and to tell their stories well. 

This, I thought, I could do. This was a mission I believed I was actually semi-qualified for, no nursing or house-building required. (Because truly: No one wants me building their house, ever.)

Then weeks later, when I was having doubts about leaving the country without my husband, I went to email Hallie, to clarify some points, to maybe back out of the whole thing, when a quick Google mail search revealed: This girl I knew as the leader of Dot had actually been reading my now-defunct blog for years. I found comments she'd posted way back before I knew anyone was actually reading my words, and I thought: This girl is kindred. My words? They meant something to her. This Internet thing? Maybe it's not as terrible as we can sometimes make it. This trip? I can do it.

So on a bright and early Sunday morning in May, I prayed with Jordan in the somewhat sketchy terminal of the Tallahassee airport. He read to me from the Book of Common Prayer, and as I crossed the threshold of security, I felt an immediate peace. I was still meeting strangers in Miami, but the fear? It was gone. 

Once in Miami, I joined Hallie and the five other girls -- some from Dot, another, like me, from the weird world of the Internet -- and it clicked. Sure, all of the girls were several years my junior, but it didn't matter. Any anxiety I had disappeared then, too. We were just girls, ready to take pictures and tell stories and make a difference, even if it was as small as we are. 

Much of my original anxiety, I know, came from my seeming lack of missional experience. I had never traveled out of the country with a church group, didn't grow up going on mission trips to Mexico or Honduras or Belize. But I quickly realized my lack of experience didn't matter, should never have been a legitimate concern. My adult life has been a mission field: in the workplace, at the bookstore, in my small town. And the truth is, of course, that relationships and loving people, serving them, caring for them? That's about far more than geography. 

And so God used my age and my experience in ways I didn't anticipate. I was able to be calm, maybe wise. He used me in moments far beyond what I could have expected or imagined, and this "job" I took with The Bookshelf three years ago? It led me to Hallie, and to Haiti, and to a world so more vast than my eyes and my heart really ever knew. 

We fed children and took their pictures, met the artisans Hallie and Dot employ, helped develop new product and prepare Dot for its new retail space in downtown Clinton, Mississippi. As a small group of women, we prayed together and talked about entrepreneurship and life after college; I offered book recommendations and learned to be quiet again. 

The whole thing was, in some ways, easier than my day-to-day life as an entrepreneur. There was less worry, less maintenance, more accountability and more acceptance. There were no emails to check or social media accounts to manage. I was so far removed from the shop -- literally and electronically -- that I remembered just how small it is, just how insignificant some of my concerns can be. It was a lesson in pride, in my small-ness and the world's big-ness. It was a reminder of what I've been created to do, and why. 

I am not a young college student, still grappling with my life's choices and decisions. But I am a sometimes-floundering grownup, and Haiti -- with its bright colors and island breezes, its delicious food and oppressive heat -- was a reminder of what really matters. I breathed deeper and easier there, and in the weeks since I've been home, I've tried to remember what's really important and why. I'll owe Haiti that, I think, and I owe Hallie my gratitude for reaching out to a girl she met on the Internet, for taking a chance on my gifts and abilities and putting me to work. I couldn't be more grateful for her, or for what Dot is doing all over this big, big world. 

Grace- A Road Made of Rock

I didn’t know why God wanted me to go to Haiti until about three days into our trip. As our plane was landing in Port Au Prince, my eyes were continuously drawn to the rubble.  I had been to a developing nation before, and I had seen slums, but something about rubble made this experience new for me.  Our plane landed on a small piece of asphalt, and we loadedourselves off into the heat, the sweat, and the welcoming music of the Haitians.  Hearing the live music in the airport reminded me of standing in Jackson Square in New Orleans; it was comforting, and I felt like I had landed somewhere that I could stay.  After getting our bags, we made our way to a van that would transport us to The Hope Center.  As we drove through the city, I couldn’t help but feel comfortable.  I knew that I should feel a need to compare or a need to cry for these people, but that is not what I felt.  In fact, that is not what I felt the entire trip, and that is not what I feel now.  From the beautiful missionaries that we received the privilege of living with for a week to the children we got to measure for uniforms at the school to the amazing Haitians that translated for us, I was reminded that Haiti does not need my pity, and Haiti doesn’t even need me; Haiti doesn’t need any of us.  Haiti taught me to act instead of speak.  Haiti taught me that God doesn’t need me to impact the world, but he does need me to act.  He just needs willingness, and he will change the world.  The people of Haiti made me more willing than I have ever been in my life, and as we drove the 30 minute drive down the rock road that we had become all too familiar with, I couldn’t help but think, “I will be back.”       

 

Dot Goes to Haiti

Hello! I'm Claire - a summer intern for Dot this year! Before I "officially" started as a Dot intern, I had the chance to join  six wonderful ladies brought together through Dot on a missions trip to Haiti. If I’m just being honest, I had no idea where we were specifically going in Haiti or what we were going to be doing. What unfolded throughout our weeklong stay in Galette Chambon, Haiti at the But God Ministries compound left me excited, thankful and inspired. Here's a snippet of our time there!

The sun came up at 4:45 every morning (a complete and total JOY for me as early mornings are quite possibly my favorite things ever), and we spent the day at a school that BGM sponsors kids at gathering information about the kids for the sponsors, getting measurements for school uniforms and serving the kids lunch. My primary job while at the school was to walk around and take pictures and videos to document our work and the sweet kids. The little boys LOVED dancing around like little crazy people while I videoed them and then watching the video. The laughter that came from watching those silly videos will always be one of my favorite memories from the trip. 

Some (or most) afternoons we would nap, hang out, and complete various tasks. One afternoon we took a long walk through the village to see the houses that the Haitians live in. Their houses were small and extremely simple, but some had made their yard absolutely beautiful with gardens and flowers. All of the people in the village were so welcoming and kind as we walked around.

On Wednesday we took a day trip to Petionville, a city close to Port-au-Prince, to visit fabric stores to find possible options for fabric designs for future Dot products. We also took a detour to the Apparent Project to buy some souvenirs made by Haitians (and also eat some pizza, burgers, smoothies and use the Wi-Fi). 

Throughout the week we worked with Nathan and Ruth, two Haitians who make the Dot pencil bags and are going to be making more products for us in the future. Hallie had many opportunities to sit down with them and talk through the logistics of getting those new products made.  

Nathan and his son in his home where he makes products for Dot.

Nathan and his son in his home where he makes products for Dot.

From left to right: Nathan, Junior (translator), Ruth and Hallie

From left to right: Nathan, Junior (translator), Ruth and Hallie

Hallie and Ruth

Hallie and Ruth

Hallie and Nathan in a fabric store that we visited.

Hallie and Nathan in a fabric store that we visited.

On our last full day, Hallie and I visited Nathan’s house in the village to see the exact place where he has made all of Dot’s pencil bags thus far. This was a sweet moment for me. He has an old fashioned sewing machine in his home where he does all of his work with his wife and three adorable kids all in the same room. Seeing the people who are positively impacted by Dot, and realizing how Nathan can provide the most basic of needs for his family partly because of Dot, was so special and it made me just that much more excited to work for Dot this summer!

This trip was filled with absolutely amazing meals, many pieces of mango, lots of bug bites, too many granola bars, early mornings and early bedtimes, lovely moments with some of the sweetest kids there are, hot but beautiful walks to the school, a lot of hilarious conversations with us trying to speak Creole (and a lot of smiling and nodding), a lot of time staring at the beautiful mountains right in front of us, a few rides down the bumpiest road I’ve ever been on, and really awesome new friendships. God used this trip as a huge encouragement to me, and I think many of the other girls, too.

Now, I’m sitting here writing this in a room that is the size of an entire house in Haiti. My prayer is that I will not forget the people I met and the experiences I gained on this trip, and that I will continue to learn how to live in gratitude and humility. I hope you all have the opportunity to witness the beauty of the broken and God’s unwavering goodness in hardship like I did in Haiti.

Also, huge thanks to Tony and Mickie West and the rest of the BGM staff at Galette Chambon for hosting us, making us feel welcomed, and loving us so well while we were in Haiti. You, your family and your ministry will always be in my prayers. May God bless you for your willingness to live for Him and to love the Haitians in what only can be described as love fully empowered by the knowledge of God’s love for you. 

Photos by Claire Winesett

Claire is an upcoming senior at Mississippi State University from Denver, Colorado. She studies communication with a minor in Spanish and is pursing a certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Claire loves early mornings, lots of coffee, traveling, and pizza of any kind.

Do One Thing: Spring Break Edition

Hey guys, Grace here!

Let’s be honest.  Spring Break is the best.  We love it because it comes exactly when we need it.  Our lives are chaotic, and we are desperate for a breather, and in comes our rescue: Spring Break.  All of this is great and very needed, but what if Spring Break could be a time used to cultivate instead of just chill?  What would that even look like?  Well, I think it can look different for everyone.

 

1. Home

This Spring Break, I will be heading home to Dallas to spend some much needed time with my family.  Often when I go home, I expect home and the people there to refuel and reenergize me.  I forget that others might also expect something from me.  Going home or being home for Spring Break is an opportunity for us to more than just relax, it is an opportunity for us to grow in our relationships with family. 

 

Want to “Do One Thing” while you’re home?  It’s pretty simple.  Love the people who love you.

How do we do this?  Cook dinner with your mom, catch a movie with your dad, grab coffee with your sister or just relax with you brother.  There’s no need to complicate the break, just be purposeful with your time and let your family know you actually want to be with them.

 

2. The Beach

Unlike me, some of you guys are doing really adventurous things for Spring Break!  In the past week, I have been overwhelmed with the number of people who have told me they are going to the beach.  I am trying not to be jealous.  I don’t know about you, but when I think about the beach, all I can imagine is relaxation.  I mean a majority of the time we spend at the beach is just lying around, but I think that it holds so much more potential than that.  When we go to the beach with friends, it is a huge bonding opportunity, but often we focus more on ourselves than we do on our friends.  Something about the beach just pushes us into a comatose stage of bliss, but what if we pulled ourselves out and used this beach trip to go deeper with friends?  One week can change an entire relationship. 

The “One Thing” to do at the beach isn’t get the best tan, but rather to be engaged with those who are there with us.

How can we be more engaged with our friends?  Ask yourself if you really know the people around you.  I don’t mean just know the facts about them, but do you know how they’re struggling, how they’re growing, or how you can help them?  If you don’t, use the beach as your time to ask more questions than you ever have.  The result?  You will love them better.

 

3. The Mountains

Something about the mountains always brings me back down to earth.  They are a reminder to us that we have been given this amazing thing, and now we have to figure out how we are going to play a part in taking care of it.  Spring Break in the mountains is probably my favorite, but it also stings a little bit.  Why? Because I remember that as big and immovable this world is, everyday we do things that impact it positively or negatively.  

If you’re going to the mountains for Spring Break, let the mountains remind you of how small you are, but also let them remind you of what difference your small self can make.

What does this mean when we go home?  It means we are smart with our resources.  This is what Dot is all about.  Think before you buy, and do some research.  If we all do this together, we can make a huge impact!

 

4. The City

From Dallas to New York to San Francisco to Portland, tons of people will be heading to really cool cities over Spring Break!  Cities are awesome.  They have so many options of what to do.  Food, music, art, and culture, they’ve got it all.  Cities also have so much need.  From the homeless to the refugees to the orphans, cities are home to some of the most broken in our society. 

If you’re going to a city this Spring Break challenge yourself to not just go to get something from the city, but go to give something back to it.  

Here are some organizations that can help you give back:

http://www.salvationarmyusa.org

http://www.habitat.org

http://www.cancer.org

http://www.rmhc.org


Breaks are awesome.  They are just what they sound like.  They let us take a break, but what if instead of taking a break from something, we took a break to do something.  Push yourself this Spring Break, and just “Do One Thing.”    


--For those of you heading on mission this Spring Break, let us know how we can help you or be praying for you!  Dot is so joyful to celebrate how each of you will be used this break!  Let us know all of the cool things that happen while you’re away!



The Yellow Fireplace

Hallie in front of the yellow fireplace. 

            I walked into the room, and the first thing I noticed was the yellow fireplace.  In a room full of white, it stood out.  Something about it spoke to me.  I knew it was important, but I didn’t yet know why.  I couldn’t decide if it reminded me of something from the past or if it just appealed to my senses.  Looking back, I realize that it is what made me know I would be at home at Dot and with Hallie. 

            Hallie and I sat down to have our own version of an interview; which means we talked about life for two hours.  When we sat down, I told her that I love the fireplace, and she proceeded to tell me the story of the room where we sat. 

            When Hallie first came to tour LifeHouse, it was a mess.  Actually, it was falling apart.  The house was undergoing renovations and was definitely a work in progress.  As she toured through, not knowing that one-day she would be working here, each room seemed to be just like any other.  “I’ve always been a little dramatic, so I asked God to give me a sign if this is where I should be,” said Hallie in reference to that first walkthrough. 

            When she walked up the stairs, she saw three different rooms that were all similar, but as she walked in the last one, she noticed something special: a yellow fireplace.  Yellow had always been special to Hallie.  Since she was a little girl, it has been her favorite color and a sign of good things.  This was the sign she had been seeking.  She noted that this was the room where she would like to see her business thrive.  This was the room where God could take Dot from a college kid with a dream to a faithful woman with a purpose, and that is exactly what He did.

            On January 11, 2015 Halle moved into LifeHouse.  She moved into the very room where she imagined her life changing.  She moved into the room with the yellow fireplace.

            One full year later, I am sitting on the floor of this room, next to the yellow fireplace, looking up at Hallie, and I am amazed.  This yellow fireplace evolved from a beacon shining in a big mess, to a symbol of God’s provision for Dot.  It represents this crazy story of what happens when one girl has faith in one God, and the two do amazing things together. 

            The yellow fireplace is a story of providence.  It is the story of Dot and the story of Hallie, and now, the yellow fireplace is a part of my story too.   

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--Grace Jones, 2016 School Year Intern 

Welcome Grace Jones to the Dot Intern Team!

As you probably know, we're obsessed with our Intern Team. These girls bring life and light to Dot World and make so much of what we do possible. All that said, we are so excited to introduce you to the newest member of the Dot Intern Team! 

Meet Grace Jones:  She's from Dallas, TX and is currently a junior at Mississippi College. She is majoring in Interpersonal Communications, and her minor is English Literature. With this new semester, a new exciting thing is happening in her life in the form of Dot!  She is joining the team as an intern to help with events, campaigns, and blogging!  She loves color, glitter, and polka dots, so she is going to fit right in!  .  She loves to rock climb with her siblings after lunch at a Vietnamese café in Dallas.     

We are so excited to have Grace with us this semester. Say hey to her on Instagram at @GraceCarJo!

Kendall's Intern Project: Hand-Painted Journals

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One of the most rewarding parts of working at Dot is the opportunity Hallie gives every intern to design their own product. In doing so, we are encouraged to practice independence and humility, learning to accept help where it's needed while still completing a huge task on our own. As a social media intern, this seemed daunting to me- with Dot, I live in the world of Instagram; how was I expected to design and produce an entire project?

I knew from the beginning that I wanted my project to involve our craft paper journals. They're easily my favorite product, and journaling is a long-time habit of mine. I also didn't want to leave Instagram out of the equation; as superficial as social media can be, it is an incredible place to discover new people and small businesses. But where did that leave me? Journals plus Instagram still didn't seem to add up to anything too product-like.

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Eventually, I decided to make a product that would involve reaching out to independent artists to paint one-of-a-kind journals. Hallie and I decided it would be best for the first batch of these journals to be through someone I know, and lucky for me, I know some incredibly talented people. The first person to come to mind was a girl I know named Kacy- take a look at @_kacybeck or @kacybeckdesign on Instagram, and you'll immediately understand why. Her art is breathtaking. After one short Instagram DM, Kacy was ready to help us change the lives of children abroad with her art.

After a few emails were exchanged, the Dot office said goodbye to a box full of blank journals waiting to be painted. When we shipped those journals out, we had no idea that our expectations would be blown out of the water by Kacy’s talents. They are stunning. Just before our office’s holiday break, we received the journals back from Kacy, and finally, they're for sale! These journals are the first batch of our new line of one-of-a-kind journals from independent artists that can only be purchased from DotWorking with artists outside of the Dot office has been a beautiful display of how social media can foster great things, and I couldn't be happier with the journals that represent the time I've spent on this project.

Kendall Hardy
Millsaps College Sophomore
Dot Products Social Media Intern

Dot Products Holiday Gift Guide

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We gave our sweet and sassy intern, Katie, the challenge of putting together an awesome, ethical, and fun Holiday Gift Guide for the female college student, and we are thrilled with what she came up with!

With no further ado, here you are: 

The Dot Products Holiday Gift Guide!

Anytime is Coffee (and Tea!) Time

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1. TOMS :: Instead of filling your mug with a normal roast, try TOMS Honduran Coffee? Each bag purchased provides clean drinking water to a person in need.

2. Azulina :: Sit down for your morning cup of Joe with this beautiful mug handpainted by Azulina artisans. Azulina ceramics are made in Columbia and provide jobs to talented men and women across the country.

3. Thistle Farms :: Perfect for the college girl on the go, the Thistle Farms Tea Kit contains everything necessary for your daily hot tea fix. Each kit is packed with 12 servings of tea, 10 honey sticks, a spoon, and paper strainers all wrapped up in a beautiful Kenyan satchel.

Wish Your Friends A Merry Christmas

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4. Thimblepress :: Send Christmas greetings to your friends and loved ones from your hometown (or state) this year. Thimblepress is a locally owned Jackson, MS business, and we continue to be impressed with their creative cards for every occasion! 

Treat Yo' Self

5. Kurandza :: This beautiful hot pink tote bag is the perfect travel companion, whether you're going across your campus or across the country. With leather straps and inside pockets, this bag is handmade and provides employment to women artisans in Mozambique. 

6. Paisley and Sparrow :: This on-trend and fun accessory is the perfect piece for any outfit, day or night. Each Paisley and Sparrow piece has a purpose, and these provide employment for women overcoming addiction in Nashville, Tennessee. 

7. Della :: Carry your computer wherever you need it with this beautiful Della laptop case. Find this case and other similar styles on their website. 

Cozy Up To Christmas

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8. Prosperity Candle :: Shine bright this holiday season with a Prosperity Candle! Choose your container and scent to develop a candle perfect for your home or dorm. Prosperity Candles provide work to recently settled refugees from around the world!

9. Thimblepress :: Thimblepress isn't just print items. They also have fun pillows and home accessories! 

10. Dignify :: Cuddle up with a book and your cozy Kantha quilt from Dignify. These quilts are handcrafted by talented artisans in Bangladesh and provide jobs and a way out of sex-trafficking for many women in the area. Hold a piece of world-change with each blanket you buy!

And of course, a set of Dot Products for every stocking in your home!

We've got some fun discounts for your holiday shopping. Thanks so much for helping us be #schoolsupplieschanginglives!

20% off all orders using "ShopOnline"

or

Free Shipping on orders over $50 using "GiveTwice"

Discount codes work through December 1st!

Southern Living 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Southern Living is the quintessential representation of the beauty it is to be southern, and we are so honored to have our Dot Products Colored Pencil Set featured in their Holiday Gift Guide this Christmas season! 

With every colored pencil set we sell, we're helping students around the world pursue bright futures through education! Pick up this month's magazine wherever magazines are sold, and find us on page 104! 

Looking for stocking stuffers? We love the list SL put together for every person on your list. 

Thanks so much for sharing the Dot Story with your world, Southern Living! We are so honored!

--Hallie and the Dot Team

Raise All The Money. Do All The Good.

The best part of running a company like Dot is being able to connect with so many world-changing ladies around the world. Right now, three of our favorite organizations are running crowdfunding campaigns to move forward in making their dreams happen! Between these three campaigns, you have the chance to be involved in caring for orphans and providing jobs for single moms and artisans in four countries! It's such a fun time to be in the social enterprise world.

Check out each campaign by clicking on the organization's name!

Hands Producing Hope

Our friends at Hands Producing Hope have been working with a group of artisans in Costa Rica for more than two years, and now they're expanding their operations to Rwanda! Help them reach their goals by donating to their IndieGoGo campaign today. Perks include our first-ever customized Dot Journal, available only on the crowdfunding campaign! 

Glorious Orphan Care

Glorious Orphan Care are our Global Partners in Tanzania. After a local children's home shut down, they've taken in a group of orphans and are now working to raise the finances to provide long-term care for these children. We love Glorious and are so thankful for the way they tirelessly care for the children of Arusha, Tanzania! Donate on their Classy Campaign today!

SoloHope

SoloHope works with a group of artisans in Honduras and has just recently began providing violence prevention courses in Honduras. An anonymous donor is matching up to $2,500 that is given between now and October 1st, so they have the chance to turn $2,500 to $5,000, an awesome gift for SoloHope founder, Emilee Connell's Birthday! Give TODAY on their IndieGoGo campaign!

Welcome New Interns!

Happy Fall, y'all! Hallie here, Dot's Founder and CEO. I'm so excited to introduce y'all to our newest intern class! We're doing things a little differently around here this year, so these girls will be with us all year. This way, they get the chance to really see the way all the pieces of Dot fit together throughout an entire year! I'm so excited about this group of girls, and hope you enjoy getting to know them a little better through this blog. Jackson friends, stop by the office and meet them sometime soon!

Meet Katie Morehead, our Operations Intern! She is a sophomore at Mississippi College, majoring in Accounting and is a member of Nenamoosha Social Tribe (MC's version of a sorority). This summer, Katie studied abroad in Spain where she learned Spanish and lived with 12 other students from around the world! Katie can recite the alphabet backwards, and she hates Mac and Cheese (something that we're learning to forgive her for ;]). A few of her favorite things include lasagna, the movie “A Knight’s Tale”, and free T-shirts. We are so excited to have Katie on our team this school year!

Meet Tatum Rosenbaum, one of our Global Partnerships and Events Interns. She is a senior at Mississippi College where she is majoring in Communications. She is obsessed with hedgehogs and loves showing off the multiple Instagram accounts she follows that are dedicated to them. Tatum is up for almost anything and loves to learn about new parts of the country or the world whenever she can! We are so excited to have Tatum on our team this school year!

Meet Kendall Hardy, our Social Media and Communications Intern! She is a sophomore at Millsaps College, where she is studying Communications. A Texas native, Kendall adores her home city of San Antonio and everything that comes with it, even the 105 degree summers! The best thing about her hometown is that her parents and five siblings live there--except her older sister who is also a Millsaps student! Kendall loves exploring new places, even when they're just down the road. She loves simple styles, all things handmade, and Ted Talks, so we think she'll get along just fine at the Dot Office! We are so excited to have Kendall on our team this school year!

Meet Alana Nardini, our other Global Partnerships and Events Intern! She is a senior at Millsaps College where she is majoring in European Studies. She is a fantastic baker and a big foodie and loves a swanky dinner as much as a late night run to Waffle House with her sorority sisters. This summer she studied abroad in France, and her sweet mom joined her for a few days in Paris, as seen in the picture above! In first grade, she broke her elbow, and the doctor thought her lower arm might not grow anymore. Don't worry though, it did! We are so excited to have Alana on our team this school year!


We're so excited about some brand new projects they'll be helping us to implement this school year. Stay tuned for more great things from this world-changing group of ladies!

--Hallie

In Your... Backpack

As we head back to school in a couple weeks, we thought it would be good to have our final post in the "In Your..." Series be about our favorite school supplies!

1-3. School Supplies, Dot Products

As you probably know, Dot sells a variety of school supplies, including binders, pencils, colored pencils, rulers, and pencil bags! Each product purchased provides half a day of school to a child in Mexico, Tanzania, or Mexico. Be a world changer and get your school supplies today!

4. '15-'16 Academic Planner, Passion Planner

This planner is one of our favorites at the Dot HQ. Starting with either Monday or Sunday, it breaks down the days by every half hour, helping us schedule appointments, as well as help us set both short term and long term goals. It's basically a life coach in binding! Something fun about the Passion Planner is that if you aren't sure  about it yet, you can download undated weekly sheets (the same as are found in the planner) for free! Just check out the link here.

5. The Kane Backpack, STATE Bags

Not only is the backpack super fun and colorful, but it is also high quality and will carry all of your school supplies! With every backpack sold, STATE Bags will donate a backpack full of school supplies to an American child in need. We love when students are empowered to succeed in school!

6. Hyeren Stationary Set, Mariemae

Stationary might not be the first thing you think about when shopping for back to school, but everyone needs cute cards, and these are definitely some of the best! This set of cards was designed by a woman in Accra, Ghana, and every purchase provides an hour of business training to entrepreneurs in Africa. Sustainable and empowering change through adorable stationary; we love it!

7. Summer Snow Sugar Free Gum, Project 7

Every student knows how important it is to have gum in your backpack! Project 7's tag line is "great tasting and world changing", the perfect description of why we love to have their gum in our bags every day! Each purchase helps give back to one of 7 different causes, including giving children in developing countries access to education!

8. 1st Clean Water Umbrella, Jonas Umbrellas

Now this umbrella probably won't fit in your backpack, but every student needs an umbrella for the days you get caught in the rain while walking to class! Not only is this one of the most high quality umbrellas we have ever seen, but 75% of Jonas' profits go towards funding a clean water well at a school in Uganda! "Stay dry, give water, make a difference". Get yours today!

9. Soaring II 13" MacBook Case, Della

This laptop case is padded and protective and a perfect pop of color in your school supplies! Made by women in Ghana, West Africa and made with really fun local Ghanaian fabric, these laptop cases provide sustainable jobs and income for artisans. Men and women are empowered through education via micro-financing, savings, and entrepreneurship classes, and you keep your laptop safe! Everyone wins!

We hope that you will consider all of these products when you start your back-to-school shopping and that you will use your school supplies to make a difference this year! 

Best,

Erica

In Your... Lunch Box

This week's post for the "In Your..." Series is one about one of our favorite things in the Dot HQ....food. We have everything you need to fill your (or your child's) lunchbox with nutritious and sweet products that also help people around the world! 

1. Fair Trade Colorful Lunch Bag, MayaWorks

To start things off, we have a beautiful lunch bag to keep all of our goodies in! From MayaWorks, this lunch bag is made by Guatemalan artisans who are paid a fair wage and given microcredit and educational opportunities for their work. 

2. Thai Sticky Purple Rice, Alter Eco Foods

Rice is a great staple for every student, and this rice not only tastes good, but it does good! It is fair trade and each purchase helps to empower women in Peru, Bolivia, and the Philippines. 

3. Peanut Butter, Good Spread

Nothing says lunch like a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Each jar of Good Spread Peanut Butter helps provide a child in need with life-saving therapeutic food. 

4. Sea Salt Potato, Popchips

Popchips are a healthy alternative to potato chips and are the perfect addition to any lunch. These are non-GMO products made with organic ingredients and they are super tasty. What could be better?

5. Dark Milk Chocolate Ancho Chile, Pistachio Bar, Askinosie Chocolate

Askinosie Chocolate is a luxurious and delicious desert for after lunch. With Direct Trade practices and fair wages, each person that plays a part in making the chocolate bars is empowered.

6. Chocolate Banana Mini Bar, 2 Degrees 

These bars are the perfect yummy snack to keep in your lunch box! 2 Degrees' mission is simple: for every bar sold, they give a meal to a hungry child. Through your support, 2 Degrees fights world hunger both domestically and globally.

7. Dark Chocolate Almond, barkTHINS

Another delicious dessert for after lunch are these tasty chocolate snacks! They are fair trade certified and non-GMO verified! With multiple flavors and options, there is surely one for you!

8. Greek Yogurt, Happy Squeeze

This no-mess yogurt is the best way to add some nutrients to your lunch! It's a fun and yummy way to feed your stomach while also doing good. Happy Family gives back to communities around the world by partnering with organizations that feed children in need, provide a home for orphans, and mentor young entrepreneurs. 

9. Smoothie Packs, Pitaya Plus

If you like smoothies, this is for you! These smoothie packs provide the base for a delicious dragon fruit smoothie, and they also help to support poverty-stricken communities in Nicaragua! 

10. Do Good Blend, Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company 

Coffee might not be something you put into your lunchbox, but here at the Dot HQ it is something we like to keep on hand! And what could be better than a coffee blend literally named the "Do Good Blend"?! Land of a Thousand Hills works with Rwandan coffee farmers to give them a fair sustainable income and help meet the needs in the community, while providing a high quality coffee for you!

11. Drink Mixes, Everly

These drink mixes in 3 flavors are the perfect way to add a sugar free (& calorie free) beverage option to your lunch without losing the taste! Another cool thing about Everly is that with every packet purchased, life-saving hydration medicines are given to kids who have waterborne diseases. You get a tasty drink and you save a life!

12. Lemonade, Make a Stand

For another drink option, we also have bottled lemonade from Make a Stand. It is far trade, non-GMO, and 5% from every purchase goes towards ending slavery around the world.

We hope that you will check out these companies and support them by purchasing some goodies for your own lunch bag! Every purchase makes a difference!

Enjoy your lunch!

Erica



In Your... Closet

The third segment of our "In Your..." series is a super fun look at our favorite companies that supply some of the best items in our wardrobes.

1. Evie Scarf, Tribe Alive

This scarf is hand spun from Indian cotton and is the perfect addition to any outfit that needs a pop of color. Made in India, this scarf provides employment for women and gives them a dignified wage.

2. Xinia Teal Bracelets (Set of 3), Hands Producing Hope

These bracelets (and all of the others) stand out and are sure to be noticed. Purchasing from Hands Producing Hope helps empower women in Costa Rica by providing resources for the economic, educational, and spiritual needs of the women as they rise out of poverty.

3. Druzy Rectangle Necklace, Paisley + Sparrow

This gorgeous necklace from Paisley + Sparrow is not only a simple way to spice up any outfit, but a way to impact women around the world. This specific necklace is made by women who have overcome addiction in Nashville, TN. 

4. 1 Face Watch, Education

This watch is wonderful for multiple reasons, but our favorite is that with every watch purchased, 73 days of school get funded for a child! It is also yellow (Hallie's favorite color), and it tells time while looking really sleek. We love it!

5. Make Love Floral Tee, Clothe Your Neighbor as Yourself

This "Make Love a Verb" graphic tee is great to throw on with a pair of shorts or jeans for any outing. 100% of profits from this shirt go to a cause of your choice!

6. Arched Collegiate Logo Sweatshirt, Patagonia

We definitely love a good fair trade sweatshirt, and we love Patagonia. This crew neck sweatshirt is the perfect thing to pull on when the nights begin to get chilly. This sweatshirt is Fair Trade Certified and will quickly become your go-to to warm up with!

7. Page Dolman Top, BeGood

This light french terry top is easy to throw on with any outfit and is so cute! Each purchase also provides 12 gallons of clean water to a rural area in Kenya and Uganda.

8. Ecuador Haurache Sandal, Nisolo

Every girl's closet needs a pair of cute and comfy sandals, and these do just the trick! Each pair purchased helps provide jobs to workers in Peru, who are paid well and treated with dignity.

9. Humana Fragrance, MicaGem

These fragrances (for men and women) don't just smell great, they save lives! With every bottle purchased, a mosquito net is donated to a child in need. 

10. Cream Reef Crew Sock, PACT

Another staple in every closet is a good pair of crew socks! These socks are made fair trade and help to improve the workers' communities around the world. They are also absolutely adorable! 

11. Sunetha Full Punjammies, Sudara

These adorable pajama pants are the best bedtime attire. They provide sustainable work and income to women in India who have been rescued from slave trade, and with these jobs, they are able to stay out of it.

It is our hope that you will check out these awesome companies that are helping people around the world. We will definitely be purchasing a couple things!

Happy shopping!

Erica

In Your... Party Basket

For the second post of our "In Your..." series, we are channeling our Independence Day spirit and sharing our favorite party supplies. We have everything you need to pull off the best summer party, from table settings to fun activities for the kids!

1. & 2. Napkins & Tablecloths, Imagine Goods 

Starting with the basics, napkins and tablecloths are a sure way to make a table setting look tied together. These products from Imagine Goods are fair trade and empower the Cambodian women who make them by giving them opportunities to work and giving them fair wages for their work.

3. Bamboo Utensils, Earth Easy

Enjoy your tasty party food with these biodegradable utensils made out of bamboo. We love this company because of their dedication to bettering the environment!

4. Aqua Tall Glass Pitcher, The Little Market

Serve your favorite cold drink in style with this beautiful pitcher from The Little Market! Their extraordinary mission is to create sustainable partnerships with artisans around the world, and to empower women artisans to rise above poverty and support their families.

5. Jute Floor Tote, Serrv

What better way to carry anything and everything you need to pull off your party than with this woven party basket! Servv is a fair trade non-profit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide. 

6. Push-Pop Eco-Friendly Confetti, Thimblepress 

Confetti makes any day a celebration, and we love the way these push-pops make confetti convenient! Thimblepress is a locally owned business here in Jackson, and we love their beautiful store and all their fun products!

7. & 8. Dotty Cup & Biodegradable Lunch Trays, Sweet Lulu 

Sweet Lulu has precious products for every one of your party needs, ranging from these Dotty cups to fun lunch trays to make serving a breeze!

9. Pom Pom Garland, The Little Market

Every party needs decor, and we love this Pom Pom Garland from The Little Market!

10. Giraffe, Lion, & Butterfly Masks, Opposite of Far 

Your kids will love playing with these masks at your party- or any day of the week! There are tons of different types of animals masks, even tails too! For your party, you can even purchase a Party Pack, which comes with three, five, or ten masks.

11. Party Tattoos, Wee Gallery 

These tattoos are as great as it gets! They are cute, fun, simple to apply, and you can pick which themed set you would like for your party! The Party Tattoos featured are a set of 12, with 3 different animals all wearing party hats! The perfect addition to any children's party!

We hope you will check out all these products and give your support to these organizations that are helping people world-wide. Enjoy your festivities and happy Fourth of July!

Cheers!

Mary and Erica

 

 

In Your... Beach Bag

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Hey Friends!

Summer is in full swing and we here at Dot are on the lookout for the best products to use on all our summer adventures. We're starting a series called "In Your...", and in each post we will include a list of fairtrade items that we support and would love for you to check out!  Because of this crazy Mississippi heat, all we've been dreaming about lately is the beach. So we've compiled a list of all the necessities for your next beach trip. Happy shopping and happy summer!

1. Sunglasses, Warby Parker

Keeping your eyes protected from the sun is a must. And when you purchase a pair of Warby Parker Sunglasses, they donates glasses to one of their partners. They also train men and women in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell glasses to their communities at affordable prices.

2. Kids Sunglasses, Subsidy Shades

Your kiddos eyes need protection from the sun as well, so why not protect them in style! Subsidy Shades has a number of adorable kids sunglasses, like the strawberry ones shown above. Subsidy Shades has our full support because of their sweet mission: helping families with the financial burden of adoption. 

3. Beach Towel, Creative Women

We love these beach towels not only because they are beautifully handwoven, but also because Creative Women works with women-owned and led studios around the world to create a positive impact in communities through long-term, reliable employment that ripples out into better health, education, and opportunities for families! And you thought you were just laying on a towel! 

4. Savanna Sports Disc, Pocket Disc

Have some fun on the beach or anywhere with these awesome frisbees by Pocket Disc! Pocket Disc is committed to supporting and improving the lives of the Maya that work to create these flying works of art. They fund water filtration systems in numerous villages, organize local river clean-up days, and their main mission is to provide a much better place for the women to come to work everyday.

5. Anena Beach Bag, The Catrinka Project

The most important item for any beach trip- a bag to carry all your beach necessities! This reversible beach bag is sewn in Uganda from locally grown cotton. The Catrinka Project is an organization after our own heart, for a share of their proceeds goes to fund education for the girls in the areas where they work.

6. Chocolate Banana Mini Bar, 2 Degrees 

These bars are the perfect yummy snack to ease your hunger on those long days in the sun! 2 Degrees' mission is simple: for every bar sold, they give a meal to a hungry child. Through your support, 2 Degrees fights world hunger both domestically and globally.

7. The Dot Journal, Dot Products

That's us! Spend your time at the beach journaling, doodling, etc. And what better way than with our very own Dot Journal! Every product we sell funds half a day of school to a child in Mexico, Congo, or Tanzania.

8. Wide Brim Raffia Hat, Purse and Clutch

Block the sun and look fabulous at the same time with this hat from Purse and Clutch. We support Purse and Clutch because they are a fair trade organization that partners with artisans around the world to treat them with respect and pay them the living wage in their region!

9. Reusable Bottle, People Water 

Got to stay hydrated! This fun reusable bottle from People Water helps with their clean water project. For every bottle purchased, the organization will give an equal amount of water to a person in need.

10. Simple Healthy Sunscreen, Butterbean Organics 

Protecting your skin is important for any day in the sun! We love Butterbean Organics because the organization is dedicated to providing chemical free and effective products in a way that compliment both the people that use them and the environment that they are used in.

11. Lip Balm, Thistle Farms 

Keeping your lips protected goes hand in hand with protecting your skin. Thistle Farms has our support because of what they do. The Residential Program at Thistle Farms serves women who have survived prostitution, trafficking, addiction, and life on the streets. The residents and graduates of the program create bath and body products, and purchases of Thistle Farms products directly benefit the women by whom they were made.

We hope you will check out all these products and give your support to these organizations that are helping people world-wide. Enjoy your beach trips!

Mary (Intern A)


Who is DOT?

Hey there!

As the summer kicks off and the weather gets hot, we thought we'd give y'all a little introduction to the members of the Dot team! Along with a short bio filled with fun facts, we each designed and decorated a Dot Binder that we thought was fun and expressed a bit about ourselves. It is my hope that you will enjoy learning a bit more about us here in the Dot office!

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First up, we have our founder and fearless leader, Hallie Darphin. Hallie started Dot as a school project for a class at Mississippi College. She has a passion for sending kids in third world countries to school, and Dot has been the perfect way to do that. If you know Hallie, you know that she loves the color yellow. She even chose the Dot office for her space to work because of the yellow fireplace! Hallie wanted y'all to know that she only ate food from a health food co-op until she was 10, that she was cast as the Cat in the Hat in her 4th grade play, and that she has lived in 3 countries--the United States, Belize, and Uganda. 

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Meet Mary Cockrell from Tupelo, MS! Mary is working as a Dot Intern this summer, and will be a sophomore at Mississippi State University come the fall. Some fun facts about Mary include that she loves to crochet and cross-stitch, has killer hand-lettering skills, and never leaves home without her lipstick. She wanted you to know that while she got her first cavity at age 2, she has gone through a phase of eating 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and has run 2 separate half marathons. 

And I'm Erica Voss! I am a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, and I am spending the summer as a Dot Intern along with Mary. I love cool summer days, cooking new foods, and playing cards. Some fun facts about myself are that I was captain of the bowling team for two consecutive years, and I have traveled to 15 different countries in my 21 years. 

Mary and I will be taking over the Dot Blog this summer, so you will definitely be seeing more of us around here! But for now, hello! and nice to meet you! 

See you soon, 

Erica 

Living Globally Minded

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Ashton, our spring blog and social media intern, has headed to camp for the summer, but we've got one more blog from her. We love Ashton and Hailey and are so thankful for the impact they made on Dot this semester! Here's the blog:

Hey guys, it's Ashton!

All of us on the Dot Team believe that we should live every day doing what we can to help others. It's a joke around the office that I can't help but buy anything and everything non-profit or give-back, because I'm such a sucker for doing anything to help others in need. 

As my farewell blog as the Dot Intern, I'm going to share this special piece of my heart: the part that loves helping people and acknowledging the brokenness in the world and does something about it. So from my heart to yours, here are five ways to live globally minded in your everyday life.

1. Be Informed
By being informed, I don't mean that you need to watch the news religiously or commit your every free moment to research, I just mean that we don't need to avoid the information. It's really easy to stay out of "the know" but staying uninformed doesn't help the problem. Not knowing about ISIS or the tragedy in Nepal isn't going to make it better, but once you know, you can help. It's important to know what's going on in the world around you.

You can stay informed simply by following social media accounts that will tell you what's going on, watching documentaries on Netflix, or by making a habit of watching the news. Hiding from the bad things in the world isn't going to make them go away, but being informed about them can lead you to a place where you can help.

2. Talk about it.
This is easy once you're informed on a topic. When you learn about something and you're passionate about it, you can't help but share the truth with the people you love. Informing others is a solid way you can live globally minded. The issues of poverty or human trafficking are things people are often afraid to talk about because they're "too sad" or "too big to do anything about" but not talking about it isn't going to make it go away. The right conversation with the right person could potentially set the ground work for a nonprofit or a national campaign. Do your friends a favor by telling them what you know. Allow them to join you in living a big picture life where you can change the world together. 

3. Pray
This is potentially the most important thing you can do. I think sometimes we get caught up in being afraid to pray for something because we don't want to be disappointed, but we can't do that forever. We serve a God who loves His children, loves justice, and loves hearing our prayers. By praying for the problems themselves or for ways to help, lives will begin to change. Praying about the brokenness, it reminds you that change is possible and doesn't allow you to disregard the reality of it.

4. Purchase with a purpose.
This is my personal favorite because I love nonprofits and give-backs. 

It's easy. Take a second and think before you buy. If you need a new coffee mug, buy one that is a little bit more expensive that provides a job for someone who needs it. Need a new purse? Look for one that was made by a woman who needs to feed her kids. If you need school supplies, but some that provides education for kids around the world (hint hint). I have loads of products from different nonprofits and givebacks ranging from a bag of coffee, a necklace, t-shirts, books, a watch, and more! There are companies that sell things as simple as a white t-shirt that was made by a woman in Africa. Yes, products that hold a purpose are a bit more expensive, but it's worth sacrificing a Chick-fil-a meal or two to provide a family with food. If you're not looking to buy stuff, there's always the option of sponsoring kids through companies like Glorious, Compassion, or Amazima. When you purchase with a purpose, you dollar goes farther than you could imagine. Let the things you buy change lives, it's more fun that way.

5. Do something.
It can start with a conversation or the purchasing of some give-back school supplies. You've just got to get out and do something about the problems in the world. Go volunteer at a homeless shelter or thrift store. Take a week, a month, a summer, or a year. Visit the countries that need help. Don't wait for other people to step in where you could. Be active in seeking change and justice.

The world is full of brokenness and people who are in need and we can't live in a way that ignores that. We have to pray and talk and serve in ways that reflects our acknowledgment of the problems. I hope that these tips can open your eyes to how you can change the world, but don't stop here. Surprise us all and go to Africa or raise money to send to a missionary. 

Being a Dot Intern has been one way that I've been able to live globally minded this semester. It's hard saying goodbye, but I'm so pumped for the future of Dot. 

Stay great friends,

Ashton
Dot Blog & Social Media