Giving Back in Action Blog

Launching GBIA Logo Competition

We are thrilled to announce our GBIA Logo Competition. Our competition is broad because we believe in empowering individuals to make the best of their own talents and ideas. Be true to yourself and show us your authentic talent.  Whoever creates our chosen logo will receive public credit for their design in all of our social media, web and press material. The deadline is September 18, 2013.
Please forward submissions to Jordan or Tia at or
There are only a few requirements:
- An accurate Earth
- Hand-writing inspired lettering (hand-drawn is preferred over standard fonts)
-A design that can fit within a square
Additional themes possible to incorporate:
- Hands -Diversity
-Breaking Down Barriers

For Immediate Release

Shreveport, LA – Local nonprofit, The Center for Families, is partnering with Back in Action Massage Therapy to bring a new kind of therapeutic experience to the Shreveport-Bossier area by offering in-house massage therapy in addition to their counseling services. The on-staff massage therapists are licensed in the state of Louisiana and are available by appointment Monday 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM and Tuesday through Thursday 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Massage therapy appointments are open to the public and to current clients of The Center for Families.

Like The Center for Families, Back in Action Massage Therapy also offers services on a sliding fee scale (ability to pay rate) for low income clients. “No one should suffer the frustrations of muscular dysfunction AND be incapable of affording help,” says Tia Landrum, Back in Action’s founder and licensed massage therapist. “No one should be denied access to therapeutic services and or healthy physical condition due to their income or lack thereof.  We will work with you.”

Back in Action Massage Therapy is part of Giving Back in Action, a nonprofit organization that helps connect urgent charitable needs to long-term solutions and empowers compassionate people to be effective in their own nonprofit goals. Landrum has pledged to donate 30% of massage session fees to The Center for Families. If a client requires financial assistance, Giving Back in Action subsidizes part of the client’s session fee, but for all sessions paid in full, Giving Back in Action receives 20% of the session fee.

Meet Robert Specian

Meet Robert Specian, co-founder of Community Harvest and GBIA supporter. We asked Robert what inspires him to give back in action?

“My drive is derived from my desire to prove anything is possible given constant and earnest effort. I choose to focus my efforts on making a difference in the community by following my own interests in sustainability and open source principles. With this passion, I strive to help others succeed through education and resources. Sometimes all it takes to start something amazing is connecting two people together or connecting someone to a group they didn’t even know existed.”


Thoughts on MOVE DC

How can I not be inspired by the events that took place on November 17th? With fellow activists determined to changed the world we moved. I was moved. Washington DC was moved. I want this country to be moved. I want this planet to be moved. Move DC was like seeing the enthusiasm and hope of the World Peace Summit focused into a point like a beam of light shining through a lens to ignite a fire. Invisible Children’s goal is taking that lens and highlighting the atrocities still being committed by Joseph Kony and the LRA so that people will take notice.

How do we know it’s working? Well, during the holiday season I spent time with my family in Florida. My trip to DC came up in conversation one day and the cousins I was talking with said,”Yeah! I saw your posts about that trip on Facebook! What was that about?” When I told them about Joseph Kony, Invisible Children, and MOVE DC, the response was,”I thought that whole Kony thing had died down…” They thought it was over. Done. Kony 2012 brought the LRA into the mainstream, but we needed MOVE DC to keep it there.

Just yesterday we received word  that Congress passed the Rewards for Justice legislation which offers a reward for any information that directly leads to the arrest of Joseph Kony! All that’s left is for it to be signed by President Obama! We know that LOBBY DC, which took place on November 16th, was a key factor in getting this legislation passed! We also have reflections on MOVE DC  from the diplomats and government leaders who took part in the panel discussions.  They were impressed with the enthusiasm of the MOVE DC participants and emphasized the impact that we had in the efforts to persuade our government to maintain its involvement in the campaign to end LRA violence.

I’m honored to have been a part of MOVE DC, and it was a joy to have participated with my Giving Back in Action co-founders, Tia Landrum and Jordan Ring. I’d also like to give a shoutout to my other van-mates Christopher Louie Szabo, Ellen Orr, Adam Russell, Brianna Michelle Sellers, Amber McWhiney, Lauren Moore, and Emilie Harmeyer!

Back in Action Massage Therapy’s Black Friday Specials!

$100 for:
One small Special Occasion package (one-hour massage and custom floral arrangement by Special Occasions florist).

Two one-hour massage therapy sessions.

$250 for:
One Rehabilitation package (one one-hour massage per week for six weeks).
One large Special Occasion package (one 90-minute massage, one extra-large custom floral & balloon arrangement by Special Occasions florist, custom-made chocolates).

Email before midnight on Friday, 11/23/12 (with your name, contact information, requested deal, and either a requested appointment date/time OR requested gift certificate with recipient information) in order to reserve your discount package.


Who is the massage therapist?
I’m the therapist offering these specials. And yes, I’m incredibly capable. I love working to alleviate chronic, anxiety, and injury rehabilitation discomfort.

Where is the business located?
2040 Line Avenue, Shreveport, LA 71104. We have a peaceful office with deluxe equipment and easy parking.

What are the office hours?
By appointment only, 10am-5pm Mon-Sat unless special scheduling is necessary.

When can promotional deals be redeemed?
Anytime during regular office hours for one year.

How does one pay for a chosen deal?
Cash, check, or credit card may be paid at our office by appointment, or online donation to to designate 50% of your purchase to our nonprofit efforts.

How do we receive our gift certificates or proof of appointment?
Gift certificates/ proof of appointment may be sent via email.

For more information:

Tia – Back in Action!

After a long and frustrating encounter with cerebral falciparum malaria (courtesy of my amazing Ghana trip), I am now back on my feet and exhilarated to continue this amazing journey.  I can’t tell you how grateful and changed I feel after this extensive experience.  This year has been phenomenal.  Terrifying, yes.  Painfully enlightening, yes.  Sleep-depriving/life-dominating/trial-by-fire?  Most definitely yes.

Absolutely worth it?  More than I ever imagined.

Everything is moving along rapidly, though the structure and purposes of the organization are incredibly complicated and require thorough decision-making at each step.

We are organizing a fundraiser for one month from now (my birthday!) in order to pay the required fees to file our 501(c)(3). The process (without any paid legal work) costs over $1000, so we have some serious funds to raise.

In lieu of the Haiti trip we’d hoped for December (malaria and complications prevented this from happening) we will host a supply-sorting/inventory day for any interested volunteers to come enjoy holiday movies, hot chocolate, and some healthy and delicious holiday snacks (yes, they really do exist!) in celebration of the end of term at Centenary, Christmas, good cheer, or whatever your happy motivation!

Without any further ado…  Here is our current cause!  If you would like to contribute, please eat at the Raising Cane’s on Kings Hwy in Shreveport this Friday from 4-8pm and mention “Move:DC” or donate and write in the description field “November 6 FB” to designate it as being in response to this post.  If by some miracle we raise anything above our goal, the remaining funds will be used to fully establish Giving Back in Action 501(c)(3).  Funds donated to Move:DC will be used to supplement whatever amount is still needed after the Raising Cane’s fundraiser is concluded.  (Sorry for all the technicalities, but transparency is vitally important to us out of respect for our generous contributors!)

***Did you know…***

The LRA (“Lord’s Resistance Army” of the media sensation Joseph Kony) has abducted over 100,000 children and adolescents for criminal warfare resulting in another 100,000 deaths, internally displaced 2.3 million citizens of several African nations, and currently is responsible for creating nearly 30,000 refugees of those nations.

These are numbers over a long span of time, and sensationalized media has exaggerated some statistics of the current standing of the LRA.  It’s a shame that this is the case, but the truth is, despite the decline in LRA power and presence, it is NOT irrelevant.  Historically, the use of child soldiers and horrific criminal war practices is nowhere near new.  Kony may very well be on his way out, but the LRA is very real, as are the followers of Kony who intend to take up his mantle to torment and overtake innocent citizens of African nations.  There is a legacy of this practice that goes from one criminal tyrant dynasty to the next.

I think of the beautiful little children I met in Ghana and imagine if the two hundred miles disappeared between them and some of their African peers.  They are no different than the young childrenphysically forced to murder their own families, drugged and brainwashed to commit unmentionable acts.  We try not to think about it, but this very scenario happened to someone today.  This will continue to happen until the LRA and other child soldier organizations are extinguished permanently from this planet.

November 17 marks the Global Summit on the LRA. A group of passionate Centenary students are committed to actively being a part of this conversation.  Two of our organization founders happen to fall in that group (myself and the amazing Jordan Ring).  We will drive to Washington D.C. to participate in the active plans for ending the LRA and use of child soldiers, permanently.  We can all do something, and this experience is our organization’s opportunity to become more informed and connected in these efforts.  Doing effective work requires collaboration and support of those who fight alongside you.  We will be there.  We will fight.  We will rectify these atrocities against humanity. Thank you for being a part of this long-needed change in the world.


Pieces of a puzzle

Just said goodbye to Adom Grace.

She is much more lively than usual and seems to respond when you say her name. We can’t be sure whether she’s hearing it or responding to our body language, but it’s unnecessary to do tests for things like hearing until she’s out of the woods.

It was heartbreaking for her to hold my hands, playing with my fingers and smiling at me for the last time.

I hope I will see her again, but Allen was wise to remind me that we all act as pieces of a puzzle to create the image that is life. Our support and hope will be perpetuated through the changes we’ve made in her previously dark circumstances.

I will have a very difficult last day here, but I’m ready to come home now that I’ve said goodbye to the person who has meant the most to my trip here in Ghana.

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Happy Thursday

Thank you everyone for your amazing pictures and love.

We returned to the hospital this morning to deliver antibiotics and some small things for Grace. We hung up all of the pictures in her room while we were there.

Adom is doing remarkably well, though she was unhappy when we visited due to having her injury dressings changed.

In the photo you can see her gazing at Solomiya, one of my favorite people. Miya sadly left Ghana today to work for Global Brigades in Panama. She has been very instrumental in all of this and cares a great deal for Grace. I’ll definitely miss Miya.

The best update for today: Maame Afua is a magical woman. She somehow managed to push through Adom’s governmental health insurance, and we’ve received a temporary insurance card for reducing the costs for her care!!! It’s hard to convey how huge this is. Ghana’s universal healthcare is brand new and incredibly difficult to get, even for already established citizens. For an unknown orphan to get it is phenomenal.

Just left Kakum National Park, which is basically an incredible rainforest with canopy walks. Outstanding experience to spend a few hours in the middle of a rainforest with my fellow interns, hiking through the brush and walking through the treetops.

We are headed back to Weda (our lodge), where I will hopefully spend time researching with my friend Veronica about homemade water purification systems for individuals in our rural communities.

Happy Thursday!

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Thank you

At the Cape Coast hospital, and Adom (Grace) is doing very well. She eats and digests normally. Her skin is glowing with improved health, and her wounds are healing. She is HIV negative, and she can sit up in a chair for meals. She appear very tired, but it’s the first time she’s been able to relax in such a long time, I’m in no way surprised.

We were able to pay the caregiver for the month, and she is PERFECT for the job. She does an excellent and efficient job and updates us thoroughly when we visit.We will hopefully return tomorrow morning to discuss her chest X-ray with the doctor.

Thank you so much for making this possible. When we withdrew funds to pay for her hospital supplies this evening, I thought of you and your generosity. The thought that we couldn’t have kept her in the hospital even this long… You all should be so proud and excited with what you have accomplished. I’m thrilled, though I will remain ever cautious until she is released from the hospital.

Tonight I will make some small posters with vocabulary and her name written on them so she has mental stimulation. I wish I’d thought of it sooner… Our medical coordinator, Kevin, suggested the idea tonight, and it makes me very excited to have something creative to do for her tonight. Hopefully I can get my fellow interns to help… They’ve been anxious to contribute to her cause.

By the way, we reached $5000 last night! Thank you, Mother, for topping us off. ;)

I love you all. Thank you always.

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At Peace

You’re all amazing, as usual.

I don’t know Adom (Grace)’s test results yet, but I do know she is improving marginally every day. She sleeps most of the time she isn’t eating, which is a welcome change. Her internal pain was too much for her to rest before.

She’s had a full bath and all of her wounds dressed with care. She is at peace and has stolen the hearts of her nurses.

The caregiver we lucked into this weekend has requested to stay with her for a month of hospitalization. We are hopeful that all will continue on the current path and that we can continue to improve Adom’s quality of life. The sweetness of her sleeping peacefully in a warm, clean bed with a motherly caregiver watching over her, at her side 24 hours a day, is touching beyond words.

Thank you for your continued love and support. You will know as soon as I know anything more.

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