Released into the Wild

This is the time of the year where we usually get very busy and no time is left to sit back for just a moment and look at all the things we can be happy and grateful for.

But I just made the time anyway and it makes me warm and tingly all over. You might know that we here at JustZen strongly believe in the flow of things – good things can only come if we first create and give out good things. One of those positive things we put out is the support of foster children around the world. You might have read a bit about that on the page where we talk about the philosophy of

Supporting foster children around the world through first ChildReach and then PlanUSA predates JustZen by many years. It all started with my (Merlin’s) Father when I myself was only a child. He started to sponsor some foster children and I just grew up having ‘siblings’ around the world. When my father passed away, many, many years ago, it was clear that I would continue the obligation he had entered into and I continued his sponsorship until his two foster children graduated from the program.

Similarly natural was the decision to get more foster children after that graduation and then later, through the great love and appreciation we get through our tie-dye clothing, we were then able to adopt even more children in more parts of our planet.

It is always a great moment when we get letters from, and progress reports about, ‘our’ children, but what, just today, gave me this moment of deep love and appreciation was stumbling over the folder of one of our ‘graduates.’

Arnad came into our family when he was seven years old.

Over the years we got many letters and pictures from him and we learned about progress and improvements in his life as well as his family’s and  his village’s. PlanUSA does not pick a single child and gives it money. In following Lao Tzu’s wise remark “Give a Man a Fish, Feed Him For a Day. Teach a Man to Fish, Feed Him For a Lifetime” they help to improve the whole situation in an area through infrastructure and education. If an area has improved so that the changes are stable and don’t need any pampering any longer the participants in the area graduate from the program and resources can be funneled into different parts of the world.

That means, learning that one of our foster children has graduated from the program is always a great moment. But it is also a bit like releasing them into the wild, probably not to be seen again. This is never connected with any sensation of loss, just the opposite – it’s pride that we were able to help others to stand on their own.

Arnad recently graduated from the program at the age of 16. He is now in tenth grade and in this picture he is (I believe) working on some home work or perhaps getting his home work checked out.

You can imagine that an event like this creates just more urge to do more. We thought about how we can do this and we though of all our customers that might be able to pitch in a bit. So we came up with an idea we consider a win-win situation. In past years we had always free hairbands before the holiday – and we want to do this again this year, but with a twist.

We want to hear from you that you want one and you do this by donating something towards our growing family of foster children. It does not matter how much – make it one penny, make it a dollar or make it ten. As long as we get any donation from you we will add a hairband (or if you prefer, a scrunchy.) You can leave us a message in the notes section under the shipping info what you like and what color you prefer.


I guess I should tell you where to go – just in case you came here not from our main web site. You find us at and I have added a ‘Donation for our foster Children’ field at the end of the shipping info, just below the ‘Notes and Instructions’.

UPDATE Feb 9, 2011: It was really great to see the generosity of some of you! “Free Hair Band for a Donation” was intended as a pre-Christmas action but we just let it run a month longer, until we finally stopped and sent out our check to PlanUSA – not without first matching each and every of your donations because we did not want to be short of your generosity.

The holidays are over now and we ended this action, but somehow we felt there should be some way for you to continue to help us out with our foster children. So, here is what we came up with: You can still make a donation on checkout and we enter all your names into a raffle and whenever we reach $200 in donations we have a drawing for one items. We get in touch with the winner and let him or her choose a piece from our website.

How does that idea sound?

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