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This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

by Amy and Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas

A rock star unites with puppets, an author urges fans to light a candle and a TV mainstay turns to the world wide web. Here are this week’s most inspirational pop culture moments.

Elvis Costello and the Muppets Perform at a Benefit Gala

This week Elvis Costello took the stage with the Muppets at the Sesame Workshop’s ninth annual benefit dinner. The rocker performed “Alison” solo before being joined by Grover, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Telly Monster, Zoe and Kami for a rousing rendition of “What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding.” The evening, emceed by ABC’s Deborah Roberts, honored Charles MacCormack, President and CEO of Save the Children and celebrated the impact of the Sesame Workshop’s innovative health education programs.

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The gala raised over $2.2 million to help fund the Workshop’s projects around the world. This sum, along with funds earned from the sales of Sesame Street merchandise, grants, sponsorships and philanthropy, will allow the Workshop to continue with their charitable efforts. Each year they help countless children around the globe in initiatives like unity through diversity training in Indonesia, literacy-learning in Nigeria, reducing the stigma of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, fighting Malaria in Tanzania or and combatting childhood obesity right here in the U.S.

The president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, Gary E. Knell, said, “Our gala was centered on our core message of giving simple and accessible strategies to help parents and caregivers build healthy behaviors in children and ensure that they grow into strong adults.”

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Light a Candle with J.K. Rowling

This week, in honor of International Children’s Day, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling encouraged her fans to take part in her Light a Birthday Candle campaign. The initiative raises funds and awareness for the millions of children in Europe who live in institutionalized care.

Rowling’s charity, Lumos, organized the campaign as a way to bring happiness to these disadvantaged kids. The Lumos website reads, “Separated from their families and isolated from their community, these children receive little human or emotional contact. Year after year the staff who look after them cannot provide the individual attention they need so desperately, meaning they don’t have access to the educational or social activities we take for granted – from attending school to marking each passing year by celebrating a birthday.” There are three ways to help:

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1) Donate. Visit the Lumos website and click on the “Light a Birthday Candle” link to make an online donation.

2) Bake and take. Organize a workplace bake sale to raise funds for the kids.

3) Tea and cake: Host an afternoon tea to make money for the cause — this is a British charity after all.

The organization hopes that by taking part in the Light a Birthday Candle for Lumos this Children’s Day, that these kids will have a proper celebration in the years to come.

Tori Spelling Takes Her Message to the World Wide Web

Tori Spelling is a self-promotion machine. The former teen star of her dad’s hit series “Beverly Hills, 90210” has become a mini-mogul over the past few years. She and her husband Dean McDermott have had not one, not two, but three reality shows – “Inn Love,” “Home Sweet Hollywood” and, most recently, “sTORIbook Weddings.” She’s become a best selling author of books for adults and kids with “sTORI Telling,” “Mommywood,” “Presenting Tallulah” and “uncharted terriTORI.” Plus she has her own jewelry line, kids clothing collection and L.A. area storefront called invenTORI.

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Now she’s bringing her multi-tasking skills to the world wide web, hoping to motivate people everywhere to live their lives with a little flair. The site is split into sections like “Style,” “Dwell,” “Eat,” “Entertain,” “Craft,” “Live,” “Raise” and “Love.”

As Tori says in her welcome blog, “The details of daily life add up to who we are – so, why not strive to be inspired?” So her mission is simple and springs from her “desire to share ideas and inspiration for elevating everyday life.”

Perhaps the most invigorating area of the website will be “Raise,” in which the soon-to-be mother of three hopes to “share my tips for navigating the choppy waters of modern mommyhood. I can’t wait to hear how all you hot mamas balance everything!”

But even non-parents will be able to relate to “Live,” where Tori intends to share, “advice for keeping stress in check and staying in tune with yourself: body, spirit, mind…oh, and all the little voices in your head.”

Visit the newly launched ediTORIal at torispelling.com

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