Tuesday, December 13, 2011

OXO, Universal Design, a Good Cause and a Giveaway

A long time ago, back when I was a teacher, I had the privilege of working with NASA curriculum developers and educators and researchers through two weeklong workshops. Our goal was to create science labs for all students. We worked with participants who were hearing-impaired, visually-impaired, verbally-impaired and/or physically-impaired and these were exceptional people. I mean TRULY exceptional. They were people who I knew were my intellectual superiors, who had to break things down into easier pieces for me (Radio Telemetry, Black Holes and Quarks for starters). They were professors at top universities, institutes and engineers and designers for NASA. Through our discussions we were introduced to the concept of Universal Design. (Download a helpful .pdf here)

The basics are: 
  • Equitable Use
  • Flexibility in Use
  • Simple and Intuitive Use
  • Perceptible Information
  • Tolerance for Error
  • Low Physical Effort
  • Size and Space for Approach and Use
Source: The Center for Universal Design at NCSU

The most valuable lesson I learned was that by making very small modifications as a teacher, I could reach many more of my students. If I created scaffolding, they could climb. If I gave them the right tools, they could achieve anything. This is where we were introduced to OXO. Their motto is "OXO - Tools You Hold On To". They have taken the concepts of Universal Design to heart and it is within these guidelines that they design each and every one of their products. Read their take on it here. Here is a little excerpt:
OXO was founded in 1990 on the philosophy of Universal Design, which means the design of products usable by as many people as possible. It is important to note that Universal Design does not mean designing products fully usable by everybody, since there is no product that can truly fulfill the needs of all users. But when all users' needs are taken into consideration in the initial design process, the result is a product that can be used by the broadest spectrum of users. In the case of OXO, it means designing products for young and old, male and female, left- and right-handed and many with special needs.
Students who had difficulty with motor skills or vision-impairment suddenly could cook with a lot more safety and ease. This transferred into some aging adults who developed arthritis in their hands and found they were struggling in the the kitchen. Finally, when I became a parent, I realized how their tools were so easy for my child to use. The Little Man could help in the kitchen safely and confidently at a very young age. As a result I have become a big fan...a MAJOR fan of the company and their products. This is not a paid endorsement. I was merely given an opportunity and I had to give you the story about why I HAD to get involved. There are not many companies out there that I would say I believe in, but this is one. They truly are making a difference for people and giving them access to cooking and their kitchens, which means independence for so many.

As if that is not enough, I then received this letter and it just seemed like a perfect fit.
Dear Bloggers,
Let’s talk about how you can join OXO in supporting the movement to find a cure for pediatric cancer.
First a little background: Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was founded by two OXOnians (OXO employees), Gretchen and Larry Witt who were inspired by their son Liam’s battle with pediatric cancer. All forms of pediatric cancer combined claim the lives of more children in the United States than any other disease. They were shocked to learn that the main reason over 25% of kids diagnosed with cancer do not survive is because of a lack of effective therapies. And the reason for the lack of effective therapies was simple: lack of funding.
For two longtime OXOnians, it only seemed natural that their call-to-action was related to the kitchen and to food. And so, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was born to provide inspiration and support for individuals, communities and businesses to help fight pediatric cancer through the concept of local bake sales. Over the past four years, thousands of bake sales have been held, raising over $2.5 Million to fund pediatric cancer research.
With less than 70 employees, OXOnians regard each other as family. The news of Liam’s diagnosis hit us hard and we were determined to help “bake a difference.” Since the beginning, we have shown our support by baking cookies and holding bake sales. Through these efforts, OXOnians have helped raise over $150,000 to support Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.
This year, we are thrilled to announce a formal partnership with this organization so close to our hearts. In 2011, on top of our personal efforts to support this worthy cause, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

The Limited Edition OXO "Good Cookie" Spatula
This is where you come in. Your readers look to you for advice and tips when it comes to food, trends and community involvement. Spreading the word about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer will help us ensure that our mission to find a cure for pediatric cancer reaches as many people as possible.
Encourage your readers to participate in any way they can, large or small, by hosting a bake sale, buying a “Good Cookie” Spatula, or sending a Virtual Cookie on Facebook. You can do all this and more at www.oxogoodcookies.com.
For examples of how you can uniquely share the message, take a look at what two amazing bloggers we work with have already done: The Naptime Chef and Very Culinary.
If you’re able to spread the word with your readers, please let us know so we can share it with our online community on FacebookTwitter and here. If you also have a creative way of how you’d like to get involved, please don’t hesitate in contacting us with any questions or ideas you may have. Feel free to leave comments here or to email us at marketing@oxo.com.
Let’s bake a difference, one cookie at a time. Together we can make the letter “C” stand for Cookies.

So I am spreading the word, and I will ask you to as well. If you click here, you can join the cause by leaving a comment. 

If you leave a comment on here about your favorite type of cookie, OXO has given me a Limited Edition OXO "Good Cookie" Spatula to give to a reader. It is VERY kid-friendly and the perfect size for little hands to help. On Dec. 18, I will randomly pick a reader who left a comment and send them their own Good Cookie Spatula. 

A friend lost her child this year due to a brain tumor. January 14th, Maddie was at school. January 16th, they were told she was going to die. It was inoperable. There was nothing they could do. There was nothing any of us could do. 57 days later, she left this life. I can't begin to imagine. I can't. But, I can do this. So it is what I will do. Let there be a chance for others.

Thank you for reading and I hope you pass this very important message forward and don't forget to leave a comment with your favorite type of cookie. Heck, if you can Tweet, Google+ or FB this, come back and tell me and you can count that as another entry.

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  1. Chocolate chip with pecans. Dangerously yummy....

  2. Val this is just beautiful! I don't know what else to say, I can't begin to understand what parents must feel having to deal with watching a child they love battle, and in some instances loose the battle with cancer. I'm so sorry your friends had to deal with this. No parent should face this horror. Thank you for spreading the word. I will post your link on my FB page and twitter!! Bless you dear friend!

  3. Ugh, I hate hearing stories of kids with cancer, especially those where they don't survive. This is a great cause and such a cute spatula too! :) So sorry Val for your friends loss. I can't even imagine the horror. Spreading the news on my end via Twitter, facebook, and Google+


  4. Ok, now that I've stopped crying I can tell you my favorite cookie is snickerdoodles.
    Thanks for the info Val and I will pass this on to my daughter [the teacher].

  5. What a wonderful cause and yet don't you wish that sometimes even the little things can change someone's life. Thanks for sharing this great post. Love it.
    My favorite cookie is (I know it's so trite) chocolate chip.
    Hope you have a great rest of the week,
    Spanish4Kiddos – The Spanish Science Corner

  6. Wow...*sniff* that was hard to read. Prayers for your friend and her family. It can't be easy.

    Cookies for cancer is a TOTALLY cool name and a great idea. Oh, BTW...my fav cookies are these nameless ones I bake each Xmas. You see, you melt butter, pour graham cracker crumbs all over the butter, add chocolate chips, nuts, coconut and sweetened condensed milk. Where did I get this nameless receipe? I have no idea, but they're my fav!!!

    I'm gonna tweet this puppy right now!

    Kissy kissy

  7. I have a friend who's daughter just underwent a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. She was diagnosed at only 15 weeks old. You can read her story here: http://rikerstardresser.blogspot.com/
    It is so heartbreaking to hear of childhood cancer. Those families are so strong and need as much help as others can provide. This is a wonderful cause you are promoting.
    Oh, and my favorite cookie is good ol' fashioned chocolate chip. Can't beat it!

  8. Nothing rips my heart apart more than the thought of kids with cancer. Cancer and kids should never be in the same sentence. Great work, Val.

    My favorite cookie is a snickerdoodle.

  9. My favorite cookies are whatever happens to be in the house! In other words I ♥ just about all cookies! But if I have to choose, it would be oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

    OXO sounds very interesting I have rheumatoid arthritis. I'm going to check out their site more!

  10. So many things to say... :) Having taught in a very large school I've had the pleasure of teaching in old labs and newer ones - can you guess which was my favourite? :)
    I am definitely not a fan of old-style Science classrooms - they are so limiting in what you can and can't do with kids, so I am all for organisations that aim to bring Science experiences to everyone!
    (And because my maiden name was Cook, I've always been known as a good cookie:)
    Will follow your link - thanks so much for sharing!

  11. What a wonderful cause. May god bless you for sharing.

    Cancer is dreadful and even worse when it falls on kids.

  12. So sorry for your friend's loss, I can't even begin to understand what that must be like. Such a wonderful cause, and cute spatula. My favorite cookies are gingersnaps. Thanks for sharing this!

  13. Loosing a child to cancer is so unfair. My heart goes out to your friends and to all the other parents who have lost a child.
    My favorite cookie; all of them! I love cookies! Chocolate chip with nuts, oatmeal raisin, biscotti, yum

  14. I love chocolate icebox cookies with white chocolate and hazelnuts. Its an old Martha recipe that never fails me!

    larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

  15. I tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/PurpleLarkspur/status/147700196095164416

    larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

  16. love snickerdoodles thanks for the article and giveaway


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