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A Blaze Of Floral Art

It was an act of love seven years ago when Angela Altern and friends created a painted blaze of colour in a floral mural along the driveway wall of The Domino Foundation’s Babies’ Home. “I had an overwhelming desire to brighten the lives of the little people living in the home until they were either reunited with their biological families or had joined their new adoptive ‘forever’ families.”

Time and the elements have faded the hues of the asters and daisies bedecking the wall. All the children who were then part of the little community on Adelaide Tambo Avenue have moved on, but Angela’s affection for the new clutch of babies and toddlers hasn’t dimmed. Now, as Cultural Coordinator overseeing music, drama and art at Redwood College, La Lucia, she suggested the school’s student outreach committee consider giving new life to the wall as a meaningful way to give back to and engage with the community.

The Redwood high school fans of the world’s most renowned street artist, Banksy, spent a good portion of Valentine’s Day hosing down, scrubbing and priming the 10 metre wall and then set to ‘replanting’. Standing back and admiring their handiwork, heads of the outreach committee, Megan Anamourlis and Kiera van Eden, declared: “We wanted to express love for the small residents at the home on this day linked with love. We think that the wall is a happy, warm welcome to all visitors and a declaration of the love which fills the Babies’ Home.”

Angela, whose four children all attend Redwood College, expressed her gratitude to Mica Durban North and Duram Smart Paints for their generous sponsorship of the paint for the project. House Mother at the home, Precious Thabethe, said that more than 170 children have been part of the ‘family’ over the two decades since its establishment: “Every act of love like this of the Redwood students adds something special to the little ones’ lives.” She encouraged anyone who has a heart for making a difference in children whose start in life has often been very hard to contact Domino on 031 110 0730 or marketing@domino.org.za

Caption: Redwood student, Megan Anamourlis, enjoys watching a small member of the ‘family’ at Domino’s Babies’ Home add a finishing touch to the school’s Cultural Coordinator Angela Altern’s makeup.

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Eyes Right!

The two words defined the day for 116 pupils at Ekuthuleni Primary School, Ntuzuma. “Eyes Right!” wasn’t a military command to the “troops” lined waiting for the team from the African Eye Institute (AEI).  Rather they were what would mark the day as a turning point in their educational journey. The eager young crowd were there to receive their new spectacles prescribed after the children’s screening as part of AEI’s OSaaT (One School at a Time) project.

Non-profit AEI works to reduce avoidable blindness and vision impairment caused by refractive errors and other eye deficiencies and, through donations and partnerships, supports free, quality eye health services to marginalised communities, particularly schoolchildren and the elderly.

Thobile Msani, head of The Domino Foundation’s Life Skills programme, talked about how the children’s lives would be impacted by their clearer vision of the world around them: “A lot of these learners have many challenges which have negative effects on their ability to really benefit from their schooling. Not being able to see clearly in class makes everything far more difficult. Children with poor eyesight find it harder to identify and interpret what they are seeing which creates difficulties in much of their education.” She explained that the spectacles not only mean the children can now see the board at the front of the class more clearly and how better vision helps learners’ brains take in, organise and interpret information. Some children have close-up vision deficiencies which can affect hand-eye coordination and delay reading and language skills development. Social and physical development can also suffer.

AEI’s Head of Programmes, Nad Ramsarup, described how his organisation has been providing free vision screening to hundreds of underprivileged schoolchildren in KZN and other provinces: “We don’t only provide spectacles but also refer some children to hospitals if further intervention is needed.” He said that 121 Ekuthuleni pupils had been identified for extra care and treatment for vision problems.

The OSaaT programme’s large-scale school screenings would not be possible without its sponsoring partners: Berkeley Vision, CooperVision, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, Transitions, Optometry Giving Sight, and Peek Vision.

Nad can be contacted at nad@aei.org.za for more information on AEI’s OSaaT (One School at a Time) project.

Caption:

Pic 1: AEI’s Kesi Naidoo shares in Mratiwa Moloi’s delight as the world comes into focus at the fitting of spectacles at Ekuthuleni Primary School.

Pic 2: Grade 1 pupil at Ekuthuleni Primary School, Xola Magikane, is delighted as the world comes into focus after he received spectacles through the African Eye Institute.

Thank you to our community media partners for your support

https://www.citizen.co.za/north-glen-news/news-headlines/local-news/2024/02/07/durban-north-organisation-helps-learners-look-to-a-brighter-future/

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No gift too small

“Both hats fit and they complement each other,” said Karen Brokensha of her twin roles at The Domino Foundation. The sunhat shadows her role as Marketing “Chief Storyteller” as she oversees the brand narrative of the NPO’s seven programmes. Whilst donning the cap as Donor Relations she ensures all their donors are kept informed as to how their funds are making an impact and nurturing those relationships. “In both cases, I am responsible for the various elements so that friends and supporters feel confident and inspired by their parts in what we affectionately refer to as the Domino Effect!

Much as Karen is tasked with sharing the wonderful stories of partnerships between Domino and the big corporates and business, she is intimately aware of the significance of the smaller consistent donations and one-off gifts that reflect the generous hearts of individuals in  community as a whole. “The parable of the widow giving her two mites speaks of a spirit of radical generosity and faithfulness to invest in what God has asked each one of us to do”

Karen described two easy methods for people to pledge their support of Domino’s Cradle to Career work – from the abandoned babies, survivors of human-trafficking, learners needing a high-protein meals in their school day to pre-adolescent youth being mentored to make good lifestyle-decisions, and whole families that have been impacted by the effects of natural and man-made disasters.

“You can sign up as a Direct Debit Donor donating R250 as a monthly contribution (or make a once off Christmas Credit Card donation). Alternatively, subscribe The Domino Foundation as one of your beneficiaries on your MySchool card so that each time you swipe at a local retail partner, we gain a small benefit. Many people know about this incredible My Village initiative but don’t realise you can nominate up to three beneficiaries on each card. That means, even if they are already supporting their children’s schools, they could easily add Domino as a third beneficiary.”

Karen encouraged learners and families to claim their own double portion of blessing by investing in the work of the foundation to make a meaningful difference ahead of the festive season and into 2024! Donate link on www.domino.org.za or contact Karen on 031 110 0730 or marketing@domino.org.za

#twomites #greatandsmall

Caption: Domino’s Karen Brokensha making it easy for community members both great and small to support the NPO’s work through financial giving.

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Family of four ride for fun in the sun

On Sundays, Durban summer heat permitting, the Brokensha family-foursome mount up and pedal their way to church.

Dad Athol, mum Karen and offspring Tori and Joshua have opted to cycle through the leafy suburb of Glenwood for a little pedal power before (and after) their spiritual recharge for the week.

Karen is Marketing Manager of The Domino Foundation, the official beneficiary of the aQuellé Tour Durban. She is fondly known as their “Chief Storyteller” and is a fervent supporter of the cycle race, and sees the story of the event as a great one to tell far and wide.

“We really do honour and celebrate partnerships like the one The Domino Foundation has with the Tour Durban. This joint project provides the opportunity for so many people from our own community here in Durban to join with others from across the country and from beyond our borders. It is a chance to make a difference in the lives of our thousands of beneficiaries through the money raised by this cycle race.”

At first, it was just one member of the Brokensha household, Athol, who committed to climbing on his saddle for a ride around the neighbourhood. Then Karen was given a bicycle, followed by Tori and Josh in hot pursuit! One or two rides to church and the bug had bitten the family peloton.

“It’s what we at the Foundation refer to as the Domino Effect,” declared Karen “We start with mercy, justice and empowerment in the life of one individual. As that one is impacted, ultimately a whole community is affected for the better.”

Just as the Brokensha family’s fitness levels are rising as they encourage each other on their cycle rides, every rand raised by people’s participation in this year’s Tour Durban race will have an exponential effect in transforming the lives of the people on Domino’s seven community-centric programmes.

For families and school groups keen to book to ride together, please email Karen on marketing@domino.org.za

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When granny says so!

It’s a family affair! Indefatigable Lizzy Cullen has inspanned son Richard, and grandson Matthew to support aQuellé Tour Durban this year. Not content with only having them join her in her sandwich-making for The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme, she noted the date of this year’s Tour Durban and told the pair: “Get your cycling helmets on! We are going to ride in this year’s event on 14 May because the funds raised will go towards Domino’s seven programmes and we will be able to make even more peanut butter sandwiches!”

For many years, Lizzy has been a faithful twice-weekly volunteer at Domino’s Doonside kitchens, making sandwiches for schoolchildren and ECD centres on the Nutrition programme south of Ethekwini. She has been determined that there should be a new generation who knows what it means to serve the vulnerable people in their communities. “I have taught my grandchildren what an absolute pleasure it is to give to people who will never be able to give back to them. There was a prayer I learned at school that said:  ‘Teach us, good Lord, to serve you, to give and not to ask for any reward.’”

Lizzy and family have sent out the challenge to the community to sign up for Tour Durban and show what Toti can do (Grandad Alan, declined the invitation, but got behind the camera to take the pic of the trio).

Caption: As she adjusts grandson Matthew’s strap, Lizzy Cullen assures him that she has her own helmet ready for Tour Durban race day.

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Routes to excite off-road enthusiasts

Durban – The 2022 aQuellé Tour Durban MTB races powered by CycleLab will once again dish up two exciting routes for the off-road fanatics on Saturday, 10 September 2022. And The Domino Foundation is the beneficiary of this event.

The EMBA Trails north of Cornubia Mall will once again host riders for the two distances on offer – this year being 35km and 20km. Last year’s long ride was 40km, but after the recent floods, the distance has been slightly reduced and a new route has been devised for logistical purposes.

Organisers are confident that they will have two routes that will be a challenge and offer excitement for all those taking part.

“Despite extensive flood damage to the area including the bridge used previously for the long route being washed away, we have been able to plot a challenging and interesting route without having to cross over the arterial road or the river for the long route,” race director Alec Lenferna said.

“It’s good that we are able to stay at the same venue as it allows for the event to have positive impact on the area with improvements being made and funding put towards EMBA for the good of all riders throughout the year.”

This year’s long race offering will be five kilometres shorter than 2021 but for route manager Noel Baker that will not necessarily make the ride easier.

“For the long ride, riders will have to deal with around 750 metres of accumulated climbing so it’s going to be tough,” Baker said.

“We’ve managed to avoid the main road for this year’s route which means that we can make better use of our marshalls and we’ll definitely have better markings this year.

“The start will also be extended before riders race into the single track which should prevent a bottle neck there.

“We’ve listened to what people had to say after last year’s race and this year we’ve made some positive changes although the routes will be very similar for the most part.”

Entries for the 2022 aQuellé Tour Durban are open and riders can enter at www.tourdurban.co.za

Social Media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TourDurban/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TourDbn
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tourdurban/
#TourDurban2022
#Ride4Good
#CelebrateTogether

Karen Brokensha –Domino Storyteller

“Empowerment has always been at the heart of Tour Durban, and The Domino Foundation has a very special relationship with this major event on the Ethekwini calendar.

We all have had to navigate the disruptions of the recent floods with road wash-aways and general infrastructure damage, but the race organisers have again put together an event which all of Durban and our avid cyclists will be proud of. We thank them, all the riders and volunteer in advance as we continue to ‘Cycle for Change’.

We have over 15,000 beneficiaries who will be very grateful for all that is achieved on the 10 and 11 September 2022.”

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A Heart filled with Hope through Nadia

The lineage of the name ‘Nadia’ can be traced back to the Slavic languages and beyond to the ancient Middle East. Among its meanings is “Filled with hope”. Nadia Aboud knows that her name describes her inner self perfectly. Originally hailing from a small Free State town where caring for each other is second nature to the members of the community, she has always had a heart to extend hope to those in need of it. When she moved to Durban in 2016, big city life came as something of a culture shock. She was swept up into the pressured demands of corporate life and, in her own words, “I lost track of myself.” In her search for the Nadia of Koffiefontein of her youth, she met Nicky Walton, a fellow La Lucia resident who introduced her to The Domino Foundation. There Nadia has found ample scope for her innate capacity for hope to overflow to beneficiaries on the foundation’s programmes.  Initially, she volunteered during the mammoth relief effort Domino coordinated in the aftermath of the KZN April and May 2022 floods. She was stirred by the effort of so many for the good of those in need and knew she had found her space to inspire hope.

Nadia’s creative and artistic skills are finding expression as she works with the survivors of human-trafficking in the Red Light Programme, teaching them jewellery and seamstressing. As one of the finalists in Mrs SA 2022 in November, fashion and beauty are hallmarks of Nadia’s. She has also stepped forward to volunteer at Domino’s Babies Home and is keen to bring her special brand of hope to the little ones there. “I was thrilled to meet the new baby who has just been welcomed into the ‘family’ there and I am appealling to the community for winter tracksuits and leggings and winter tops for 2 to 4 year-olds, flannel cot sheets and receiving blankets.” Precious Thabethe, House Mother at the home, invited any well-wishers to drop their donations off either at the home or at Domino’s offices (37 Mackeurtan Avenue, Durban North).

Nadia with a precious little baby from Fairhavens Baby Home Nadia Aboud imparting her special brand of hope to a small member of the ‘family’ at The Domino Foundation’s Babies Home.

 

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Making a difference … being the difference

“Teach us, good Lord…to give and not to count the cost,”…part of Spanish theologian Ignatius of Loyola’s well-known prayer sums up the true heart of what it means to be a volunteer. In a nutshell, a volunteer is someone who is willing to give their time or their talent for the benefit of others, with no thought of personal gain or pay-back. There are others not in a position to do either of these and so dig into their ‘treasure’ to be a vital part in the relieving of the suffering of others.

The spirit of volunteering has been on jaw-dropping display over the past few months as literally thousands have flocked to lend a proverbial hand to lighten the plight of those whose lives were devastatingly interrupted by April’s flooding.

One of the many established disaster relief collaborations, the KZN Response Unit, (a partnership of NPOs: The Domino Foundation, Zoe Life, City Hope Disaster, The South African Red Cross and The KZN Christian Council) once again rallied to alleviate the dire consequences of the calamity. The partnership operated like a well-oiled machine, having together adapted and navigated the Covid-19 pandemic, the destruction caused by the July 2021 KZN civil unrest, as well as many other disasters – shack fires, xenophobic unrest, tornados and other natural and man-made crises. Its impact on all of these has been significant. However, it was the willingness of volunteers to roll up their which ensured that much of the help and relief aid was able to reach those most desperately needing it.

The statistics of what was donated, packed and distributed in the weeks after the deluge tore through communities, were staggering. Esther Madikane, The Domino Foundation’s Volunteer Manager, listed 6,135 food and hygiene parcels, 184 tonnes of food aid, 40,385 litres of drinking water, 212 bags of clothing, a tower of 2,633 blankets and an even bigger mountain of 2,326 mattresses. “But,” she adamantly said, “we would never have coped with moving it all out of the various national superlinks and partnering vehicles, with manoeuvring forklifts to shift laden pallets, packing dried foodstuffs into relief hampers, without the small armies of volunteers who appeared every day to serve at the Domino offices in Durban North and Amazimtoti.”

Esther shared countless stories of homegroups from churches who came in to serve, corporate businesses rallying together as community outreach activations, staff who took leave to lend a hand, many young and energetic school learners who took the opportunity to put tangible meaning to their community service hours, and the elderly folk who abandoned their morning tea times for the hive of humanity working to bring aid to those in need. “We were seeing between 12 and 30 volunteers every day receiving donations and sending them out within the day.”

It is really a double win when a volunteer responds to the call to serve in an emergency, and then signs up to be committed for the long haul. All of the partnering NPOs in the KZN Response Unit have opportunities for volunteers to get involved in their ongoing community work. Built on what we read in Matthew’s gospel that we will always have the poor, needy and destitute with us, Domino’s programmes provide many opportunities for people wanting to give of their valuable time. The Babies’ Home welcomes volunteers who like to get down to the little people’s levels to play, sing and read stories – all vital input into the formative first 1,000 days of a vulnerable child’s life, many of whom have been abandoned and who crave gentle loving one-on-one attention. The Nutrition Programme, in its regular routine, hosts shifts of sandwich-makers to ply their peanut butter knives to assemble the thousands of high-protein ‘sarmies’ which go out of a daily basis to partnering primary schools, ECD centres and other learning establishments. With many young Ethekwini citizens, whose homes and schools were damaged or destroyed by the raging waters, and now sheltering in community halls, small tummies are still hungry and need to be fed. Whether it’s a time of predictable routine or a contingency like the present one, Cathy Whittle and Cheryl Dann, who head up the Durban North and South Nutrition teams respectively, are always keen to have would-be makers-of-sandwiches contact them.

Domino’s Marketing Storyteller, Karen Brokensha, spoke about how the #everyONEaddONE campaign rolled out earlier this year has had an unexpected and extraordinary boost from the post-floods call to action: “We have been asking all existing Domino’s friends and supporters to refer just one friend, family member, colleague, church, business or local/international funder to the Foundation so that we could double our impact this year. What has happened in the space of two months is that we have had a number of new volunteers, people who have never been involved with Domino or been on our property before, or weren’t previously active in making a difference in the lives of the people we are working with. We welcome them as they stay on as Domino ambassadors as volunteers in one of our programmes.”

Karen went on to describe how people with specialised skills have also been offering their talents as well as their time: “We had a medical student who took time out from her studies in Tshwane to travel down to Durban, and an optometrist who offered her services. A group of avid artists in Cape Town are putting their creations up for auction to raise money for us to help beneficiaries, and a Health Science and Social Services graduate specialising in community and health psychology has come forward to be a part of the Foundation’s work with survivors of human-trafficking.”

What about people using their treasure as part of volunteering ? Crowded schedules, and to a degree, for many local and regular volunteers, physical city logistics and water-damaged roads made it impossible for many to be hands-on volunteers. Instead, they dug deep into their pockets or reached out to their extensive networks to link in so that community needs could be met. Again, generosity of hearts was the key. A Johannesburg coffee outlet sent out the appeal to its faithful tribe of caffeine addicts who donated 8 tonnes of relief aid which was sent to KZN…and they were only one group out of many that reached out and sharied their storehouses to be part of the band of helping hands.

All too often, self-interest often takes precedence over all other considerations. However, there are over one billion people who volunteer in one way or another across the globe. These volunteers (in whatever way they may be giving of themselves) are showing compassion and demonstrating humanity at its best. They are also finding that, in giving, they are receiving: their volunteering connects them to others, making them diverse new friends and sharpening their social conscience skills. Another added benefit of volunteering is that the mind and body are positively impacted: stress, anger, anxiety and depression are reduced, and research, which has measured hormones and brain activity, has shown that going beyond oneself to help others gives a deep sense of satisfaction.

Esther gave a call to would-be volunteers when she said: “Every NPO in the post flood-relief is grateful for all the individuals who have given in any way over the past weeks.” She encouraged them to consider volunteering on an ongoing basis. She emphasized the fact that, as lives are rebuilt, it is easy to think that all is now well, but great needs remain. She said that each of the partnering NPOs in KZN Response would welcome willing hands looking for ways to carry on reaching out and being agents of change.”

KZN Response partners can be reached on:Domino Foundation 031 5639605 or volunteer@domino.org.zZoe Life 031 267 0080 or info@zoe-life.co.zaCity Hope 086 11 22 331 or admin@cityhope.co.za

Photos from Left to Right. Top to Bottom.

Mrs South African finalist Nadia Aboud, helping with the babies in the home

After the looting – cleaning up the streets

Meals for those in need – buckets for distribution

#everyONEaddONE – the power of our building a bigger network of helping hands and hearts

School girls making sandwiches for Nutrition Programme

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Reach out – Restore – Release

Red light Anti-Human-Trafficking

Investing in women at risk

Objectives for the programme

  • Help our beneficiaries through health and wholeness
  • Help them regain hope
  • Help to restore their dignity
  • Assist them to live a drug free lifestyle

Activities

During lockdown we kept the programme running, via Whatsapp messaging and video calls.

Although it was very difficult at first, we managed to keep communication and support going with the help of the Project Exodus material that our Restore Co-Ordinator/In house Social Worker is using at present to empower the beneficiaries.

Challenges and decisions

The main challenge we faced was the fear of the beneficiaries relapsing because we were not able to monitor them on in person or that they might get infected with the Corona Virus, making them even more vulnerable.

On assessment we discovered 50% of the beneficiaries had relapsed. Reasons being that they were worried about the future holds for them, in the programme and outside in their communities, this insecurity led to instability and back to their old ways.

Management agreed beneficiaries could come back on site to be screened, sanitised and on condition there would be wearing of masks at all times

We engaged the external service provider HIV/TB Care team to come and help us with the medical screening for all our beneficiaries (and staff if they wanted to).

We are still striving towards the Release Phase for these beneficiaries once our Social Worker is satisfied with their progress in the current Restore Phase. A final assessment will be done which will serve as a gateway to the Release Phase.

Outcomes

August 2020 – The programme has resumed as planned with four beneficiaries and there has been a keen interest of six new beneficiaries wanting to sign up for the programme in 2021.

Meet Esther Madikane & Gugu Mazwele who run the Red Light Anti-Human-Trafficking Programme

What does the process of Reach out – Restore and Release look like …

This is one of the ways we equip the ladies to discover their gifts to help them help themselves with a trip to the Blue Roof Life Space…

Do you have a heart for abused and addicted women? A desire to be part of the solution to set them free? YOU do? Then please make contact with our Donor Relations Team – Karen Brokensha or Tarin Stevenson on ways to partner in this programme to bring life, wholeness and healing!  

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#KnowYourNPO #Domino

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If you’ve ever wondered what the Domino Foundation actually does… here’s your chance to #KnowYourNPO! This quarter we’re unpacking what the Domino Foundation does on a larger scale.

#1: We are a group of like-minded individuals that believe in the power of a changed life. We have a range of community outreach programmes that focus on the individual, to empower, uplift and transform their lives so they too can impact the nation and others around them. We currently impact the lives of just over 4000 individuals every single day, ranging from 0 to 18 years of age.

#2: We seek to assist and empower the neediest in communities to pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. Our dream is to equip individuals physically, emotionally, socially, cognitively and spiritually to enable purpose-filled lives.

#3: We manage focused interventions and initiatives operating into the spaces of education, nutrition, injustice, child support and business development. So depending on your company’s CSR policy and specific area of impact, we have a diverse offering across multiple geographic locations to suit your needs with the ultimate goal being the same: to empower, uplift and transform our communities.

#4: We believe that for effective social change to take place within communities, we need to work effectively in three key areas. Namely social charity, social justice and social entrepreneurship to holistically transform communities.

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#5: Over the years we have witnessed changed lives, changing other lives and we’ve termed this #TheDominoEffect. As we have impacted, uplifted and transformed an individual’s life, they have gone and transformed their immediate family’s lives, and they have gone on to impact and transform their community’s lives and so a beautiful ripple effect, or #DominoEffect of changed lives takes shape. We believe that you change a community, by changing an individual!

#6: We rely on support from a host of like-minded businesses, individuals, partner organisations, schools, churches, international supporters & activists and sporting enthusiasts. So if you know of any, start your own #DominoEffect and share the love!

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#7: We couldn’t do what we do without an AMAZING team. These people LOVE doing what they do and what nothing more than to uplift, encourage, support and transform people’s lives. Dedicated, inspired, driven and fun, our teams are truly the best around!

#8: Ways to support ALL

There are SO many ways for EVERYONE to get involved. Whether you’re in school, a group of interested staff members, corporate’s looking to satisfy your #BEE scorecard or simply an individual with a heart for others, there is space for YOU to join the #DominoEffect.

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#9: Our support process is super simple. SUPPORT > RECEIVE DOCUMENTATION > FEEL GOOD. Repeat!

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