You might be surprised to learn that in Russia where I’m originally from volunteering and supporting charitable organizations is not as popular as it is in the U.S. There are various historical and economical explanations that come into explaining this cultural difference (communism being one of them), but the truth is that charity is still a foreign word for many Russian people.
Through my work experiences and friendships with immigrants from the former Soviet Union, I noticed that many of them inherited this Russian approach to volunteering. “Why should I work if I’m not getting paid?” is one of the main arguments I’ve heard from my Russian-American friends. While I understand their position (every person is entitled to have their opinion), I have a different approach as I support a lot of charities and always ready to volunteer for a good cause.
Writing about every good cause would take more than just one post, that’s why I created this new blog series where I’ll be telling you about organizations that, in my opinion, are doing a great job at making the world a better place. For the first installment of the series, I’m collaborating with Longines, a Swiss watch brand that I’ve been wearing (and loving!) for the last… 10 years! My parents gifted me this beautiful Swiss watch for my 20th birthday and this diamond infused piece has been traveling with me all over the world.
As the epitome of elegance and chic, Longines established a reputation of being not only one of the most recognized luxury watchmaking brands but also as a supporter of many charitable organizations. One of them, Golden Hat Foundation co-founded by a Hollywood actress Kate Winslet, is one of the good causes I’d like to tell you about in today’s episode of Charities That I Support series.
The main goal of the Golden Hat Foundation is supporting families with kids struggling with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As you might know, this developmental disability manifests in early ages and affects the way children communicate, behave, and learn. The way autistic kids interact with the world makes it difficult for them to live a stereotypically “normal” life. Education and lifelong care of Autistic children are expensive. It is difficult for parents of autistic children to support their kids’ needs and build their family’s financial future. According to Autism Speaks, on average, Autism costs a family $60,000 a year and many families cannot afford to support their disabled child. Without the support of charitable organizations, many of the 3.5 million Americans with an autism spectrum disorder are unable to survive.
While there is no simple solution for families that face Autism, Kate Winslet’s foundation is making lives of autistic children and their families more comfortable. Education, career placement, medical and recreational facilities and many more services become available to these families thanks to the efforts of this charitable organization.
Besides helping families, the Golden Hat Foundation is working on raising awareness of the intellectual capabilities of people living with autism. In 2010, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson and Kate Winslet co-created A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism, a documentary designed to illustrate the realities of living with ASD. Two years later, a book The Golden Hat: Taking Back to Autism continued the dialog about those living with autism.
Last year, Longines joined Kate Winslet’s efforts to change public perception of people with ASD. To help raise funds for autistic families, the Swiss brand made a decision to re-issue one of their iconic watches and send the proceeds of the sales to the Golden Hat Foundation. The actress, who has been the brand’s Ambassador of Elegance for the last six years, selected a specific model of the watch for this exciting collaboration during her recent trip to the Longines Museum in Saint-Imier, Switzerland.
Being a long-time supporter of the brand and a recent supporter of the Golden Hat Foundation and the issues they advocate for, I’m excited about this watch release. While I am not on the market for another watch yet (my Longines watch that I received from parents still looks and works like new!), I believe that this beautiful campaign will find support from many fashion enthusiasts. While it may be impossible to cure autism spectrum disorders, we can help the families of autistic children in their daily lives, which is a great accomplishment!
Disclosure: I partnered with the brand to write this article but every word is mine.