Contest is now closed!
More Than Words is a program that Harlequin started to bring "awareness of worthy causes that are a concern to women." There are women all over the world who are doing something that is bringing about some sort of change and lend a helping hand in this world, real life heroines. Each year Harlequin holds a contest to find worthy women so that they can share their stories with us, the readers. For more information on this program please visit More Than Words.
In More Than Words Vol. 6 we are introduced to five women, their programs, and the stories that they inspired five authors to write.
Katherine Chon, who with the help of her friend Derek Ellerman, who established the Polaris Project, named for the North Star which guided slaves to freedom. The Polaris Project came about after Ms. Chon found that slavery was alive and well still today. This is an entirely different type of slavery than what we learned about in our US History classes. Today we are facing human trafficking, where young people are lured away from family and friends and forced into prostitution. There is a definite dark side to the stories of the women who have come out of this dreadful situation.
Inspired by Katherine Chon's story and organization Joan Johnston wrote Almost Lost, the story of a thirteen year old girl who reports her best friend missing. Joan Johnston does a wonderful job in writing this story informing us of this real problem and giving us insight into what happens to young ladies that are caught in human trafficking without having the story become too dark. Of course there is a romance that starts blossoming, this is after all a romance anthology, but the romance does not overshadow the importance and ultimate goal of the novella.
Rhonda Clemons and the Zoe Institute: The Zoe Institute is "a faith based, long term support agency for single women and their children." The program came about after the death of Rhonda Clemons' husband. She was trying to raise four children on her own, however she had a lot of support. She wondered about all of the women in the world who found themselves in her position without the support and means that were available to her. Zoe Institute provides help to women who come from all walks of life, lending emotional and physical support. They provide safe houses, counseling, food, gas vouchers, etc.
Robyn Carr wrote Sheltering Hearts to help bring about an awareness to the Zoe Institute. In this novella you meet Dory, a single mother with two young children. She escaped an abusive marriage and now throws herself into her children, working at the grocery store, and the support group that her and a few other women started. The support group is modeled after another group that helped Dory several years before in Oklahoma.
This story is close to my heart. While I didn't suffer through an abusive relationship, I was a single mother for several years. Without the support of my family, I really don't know where my daughter and I would have ended up. I count myself as one of the fortunate women who unfortunately made a few bad decisions in my early years of adulthood.
Barbara Huston and Partners in care Maryland: This program, the brain child of Barbara Huston, started in the kitchen. It is a volunteer service where people can bank their time, kind of a "I scratch your back you scratch mine." Someone who has perfect vision may sit and read with someone with less than perfect, and when that person needs a ride to the doctor another member of the group will step up and take him/her. The program was devised to the older generation stay in their homes without feeling like a burden to their loved ones and without living in fear that they won't be able to afford to pay someone to come in and do the little things that they can no longer do.
In Safely Home by Christina Skye Sara Winslow travels to Sedona, Arizona to find her sister Hannah. Hannah is a free spirit, flitting from place to place on a whim, but she would never needlessly worry Sara. Sara finds the house empty, a cafe full of well meaning but very curious neighbors, and one sexy Deputy Sheriff who has her thinking relationship. In the midst of trying to figure out the disappearance of her sister, Sara runs across a log with names, DOBs, and jobs needing to be done. It seems that Sara has finally found a worthy cause to settle herself into.
Unfortunately life got in the way of my reading over the weekend and I didn't finish the last two stories. I am expecting that the last two novellas will be just as heart warming and touching.
Lara Tavares and Sky's The Limit Youth Organization: It wasn't that long ago that it was not common to have a computer at home. I had a little experience with them in high school, nothing major... learning to type only. It was only ten years ago that my stepdad brought the first computer home and I had my first taste of the internet. Now it seems like a foreign concept not to have access to my computer and internet on a daily basis. My son was playing games on it at two years old, and would probably be lost without it now at the grand old age of seven. So hearing that there are children that don't have access to do school projects just seems so unreal to me. Don't get me wrong I do know that there are countries where the poverty level is so great that there is no surprise, but for us in the United States and Canada?!!
Lara Tavares has made it her mission to close the digital divide in Canada. She is the founder and CEO of Sky's The Limit Youth Organization. The organization purchases refurbished computers and distributes them to students in under-resourced communities. Not only does the organization provide the computers but it also teaches the students how to use the computers.
Roni Lomeli and Shoes that Fit: Shoes that Fit is a charitable organization that provides school shoes for children in need. I hear my husbands stories about his childhood and think "Wow, as bad as it got, I never had to tape my shoes together." and I can't imagine either one of my children having to either. Unfortunately that is what some children are faced with each year. Their shoes are either falling apart, too small, hand me downs from an older sibling who might just be the opposite sex.
It is pretty cool how the organization works. It is much like a secret Santa that you would see at your kid's school. You find a tag that has a boy or girl on it with their shoe sizes. Often times the child that you are purchasing for will not be at your school. Once you purchase the shoes you take them back up to the school and drop them off. They are then given to the child in need, but in private so that the child does not feel bad about it.
Harlequin is offering up More Than Words Vol 6 to one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment here and I will use a randomizer to draw a name. The contest is open until Monday April 26. The contest is open to U.S and Canada only.
Please take a moment to stop by More Than Words website to learn more about this wonderful program, the winners of this years (and previous years) contest and the programs they have started. All proceeds from the sales of the book go directly back into the charity program. And if you know a lady that is taking strides to better her community maybe you could take the time to nominate her for next year!