As we continue to listen and learn amid this pandemic, we are committed to providing you with upbeat, thought-provoking content worthy of your time. How are you staying connected, enriched and inspired these days? Have tips or resources to share? Pass them along and we’ll include them in a future issue.

Hello Dear Readers! We haven’t sent an UPBEAT in a while because things were looking up and we didn’t think we needed to cheer you up any further. But alas, the virus is squarely back on the radar, as well as a number of humanitarian challenges around the world.

Want to feel good by doing good? Here’s what you can do today:




If you’re in the D.C. area, Lutheran Social Services is looking for volunteers to assist Afghans resettling in the U.S. Their website spotlights the number of refugees already welcomed and the numbers expected this week. Donate, act, advocate, or start a fundraiser are some of the options listed at the bottom of their home page — actions you can start taking now!


Save the Children has been a leading charity in Afghanistan since 1976, reaching more than 1.6M people in 2020. They’re also working hard to welcome newly arrived children and families to the U.S. and can use your support.


For more ideas on how to help, see Fast Company’s latest rundown.



Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to a spike in gang violence and the assassination of the president, only 0.23% of their population is vaccinated, according to Oxford University’s Our World in Data. So, after the devastating magnitude 7.2 earthquake on August 14, they need our help more than ever! Check out this great Washington Post article on ways to help the people of Haiti. 


The earthquake has affected about 1.2 million people — including 540,000 children — according to UNICEF. The child welfare organization estimates that 84,000 homes were damaged or destroyed — a situation that will require at least $15 million to respond to urgent needs. Can you give them a hand?


Based in Naples, Florida, Hope for Haiti is a nonprofit organization established to reduce poverty. Since its founding in 1990, it has responded to all natural disasters in Haiti. The organization is currently providing medical services and clean water in its infirmary in Les Cayes, and is accepting contributions for its relief efforts.


Hopital Bernard Mevs is the largest emergency hospital in Port-au-Prince. Although not directly affected by the earthquake, it is “over capacity” with patients. Some of its nurses and doctors are stationed in shelters near the earthquake’s epicenter. In partnership with Project Medishare, the hospital organized a GoFundMe campaign to help victims in Les Cayes and Jeremie.



At Beth Singer Design we are BIG advocates for using recycled materials instead of buying wrapping paper. This Valentine’s Day, why not say ‘I love you’ with a homemade card? Not only will you be saving all that holiday waste from mountainous landfills, you’ll be exercising your brain in a way that helps grow new neuropathways! If you need some inspiration, here are 38 ideas and tutorials from Country Living, or check out Beth’s TV news spots (here and here) about “wrapping with scrap” from last Christmas. And be sure to follow us on Instagram @wrapwithscrap!


You know the moment we’re talking about. Like other inaugural attendees, the Vermont senator dressed for a cold day in Washington, D.C. Matched to his sensible insulated coat were a pair of patterned “swittens” — part sweater, part mittens — made for Senator Sanders by Vermont teacher Jen Ellis. As he sat socially distanced from others, Sanders folded his hands over his legs and, voila!, a boatload of internet memes were born. We love that Bernie has the ability to laugh at himself — and that Jen Ellis now has a line of swittens at the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.


When schools closed due to the pandemic, father-daughter duo Jeremy and Rasa Smith turned their Q&A discussions into their own podcast: You Must Know Everything. “Rasa has taught me so much,” Smith told CNN. “Like, why fidgeting is actually good for you and then in return I teach her things like what to do when someone close to you experiences a loss.” Each 10-minute episode begins with a lesson or theory. They also read and discuss a poem, and end with a “vexing question” chosen from online submissions. “We plan to keep doing the podcast until life goes back to normal or we know everything — whichever comes first,” says Smith.


Want to be a rock star when you speak to your donors, followers, or students? Check out Beth’s latest article: 6 Tips for Nonprofit Professionals on Speaking Brilliantly with Your Slides — published by Nonprofit Tech for Good, the global resource for nonprofits with more than 1M followers on social media. Eileen Smith of Spokesmith adds her expertise, with advice to make your audience WANT to soak up your message — a tall order in this crazy, all-consuming, digital environment. Our piece has been shared over 3.4K times since it hits the streets. Not bad, eh?


At D.C. brewery Republic Restoratives, “Madam” is a whiskey, and a portrait by talented local artist Lex Marie @thelexmarie. A blend of seven-year-old bourbon and five-year-old rye, the finished whiskey is slow-smithed before bottling to produce what we all strive for — a more perfect union. In honor of the first woman (and first African American and first Asian American) Vice President, it’s a celebration of the outspoken and disruptive, of those who inspire us to resist and persist. Available for curbside pick-up or D.C. home delivery — and check out their Valentine’s Day Cocktail Kit and other great offerings!

Dear Readers,

We are sending this issue of UPBEAT on the eve of what is normally a bustling holiday of travel, large family feasts, and many bear hugs. But since nothing about 2020 is normal, we're sharing a few items that remind us of what we are grateful for — like the first time listening to new music or losing oneself in the artwork of a master. Most of all, we’re grateful to you, our friends, clients, and partners, for keeping us curious, engaged, and focused on a brighter future for all.

— Yours in gratitude, from all of us at Beth Singer Design


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If you don’t already know TwinsthenewTrend on YouTube, you must check them out! Tim and Fred Williams are 22-year-old brothers who listen to music they’ve never heard before, from all genres, and share their reactions. Through the twins’ ears, eyes, and enthusiasm, we get to hear those songs for what feels like the first time. And they are turning people of all ages onto classics like Frank Sinatra, Phil Collins, Janis Joplin, in addition to lots of contemporary artists. When they chose Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’ from former President Barak Obama’s A Promised Land playlist — Obama himself paid them a surprise visit! Read more about the twins in People, where Alicia Keys responds, and also in the Chicago Tribune.


Climb inside Vincent Van Gogh’s head and lose yourself for just a few minutes. This amazing confluence of art and music, featuring Jim van der Zee’s cover of Don McLean’s “Vincent,” will open your eyes wider than ever to the genius of the artist. Van Gogh’s paintings are brought to life at Atelier des Lumières, Paris, in a new production that retraces the intense life of the artist, who painted more than 2,000 pictures during the last 10 years of his life. This pioneering immersive digital exhibition by Culturespaces highlights the chromatic richness of his palette, as well as the potency of his drawings and his use of impasto.


Designing for nonprofits in the education field makes our hearts sing! We’re so proud of how our work for long-time client Advance CTE, a national organization that helps leaders in the Career Technical Education field create policy and resources so that ALL learners in every state are prepared for careers or college. Our recent update to the state profiles on their website involved interpreting and bringing their raw data to life through data visualization. We learned a lot about how to showcase important facts and results through infographics. It was a fun challenge to clarify the statistics and make them engaging to boot! Visitors can go to any or all of the state profiles using a clickable map, and can look at data across multiple states with a new comparison tool.


We may think that more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations will make us happier. But according to Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos, we’d be dead wrong. In her podcast, The Happiness Lab, Dr. Santos walks us through the latest scientific research in positive psychology and shares surprising and inspiring stories that teach us new ways to find happiness. To combat increasing lockdown fatigue, check out her episodes on managing emotional burnout during the pandemic. And one of our favorites is “Help Others to Help Yourself.” Her popular (and free) online class, “The Science of Well-Being,” has enrolled more than 3 million people.


Makayla Wray is pushing back against the fashion industry. With her mobile sewing shop on the streets of NYC, she urges people to repair or revamp their clothes rather than buy more. “I would like to normalize people rewearing and saving their clothing,” she says. In SoHo, buttons are a big business for her small cart. “People get rid of things because of not having a button. And it’s such an easy fix.” Seventy percent of the fiber produced globally each year ends up in a landfill or gets incinerated — that’s more than 37 million tons of waste. Upcycling is a huge challenge for manufacturers, but Wray believes consumers have the power to change the fashion culture. Bravo Makayla!