Saturday, December 31, 2011

Guardian Angels for Soldiers' Pets

When a soldier is deployed, everything, including a beloved pet is left behind.  "This left the deploying active duty military pet owner with only one option, which was to relinquish their beloved pets and pet ownership rights to an animal shelter or rescue group never to see their pets again, know if they got a new good home, or ended up being euthanized," explains the website that represents a nonprofit group called Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pets (GASP).

GASP formed in 2005 to  "...find a caring, loving, and safe home to care for them during the pet owner’s deployment to fight the global war on terrorism (combat and peace keeping missions), but had not been able to find someone to care for them."

Friday, December 30, 2011

Gaga & Bieber: "Celebs Gone Good"

A recent The Hollywood Reporter story announced the celebrities voted who gave the most:

For the second consecutive year, Gaga tops the Celebs Gone Good Top 20 list, courtesy of Hot on her heels is another pop superstar, Justin Bieber, who jumps to the No. 2 spot from last year's position at No. 10, with George Clooney rounding out the top 3.

Gaga instituted the Born This Way Foundation to help empower youth.  And teen pop star, Bieber, was recognized for his support of Pencils of Promise, "an organization which has built 41 schools in Laos, Nicaragua and Guatemala," according to the news release.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Army of Young To Change World For Good

  • Bring Your Dog To A Hospital
  • Teach Your Grandparents Technology
  • Teens for Jeans--Help the Homeless

Each of these ideas come from a website that encourages teens to act positive and "Do Something Good."  The website?

The site offers causes that range from stopping abuse to war, peace and politics. recently awarded "Do Something" with a $2 million grant to " build our army of young people who are changing the world for good."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Helping Your Neighbor Made Easy, allows people who need emergency help getting food or paying the electric bill to tell their stories; donors read those stories and make donations targeted for specific individuals or families, writes a recent USA Today story.    Here is more from USA Today:

Attorney Brad Newman, 41, started GiveLocally a little more than a year ago. Bo Young, 38, an Atlanta entrepreneur, came on board late last year. They purposely chose not to be a non-profit.
"The philanthropic model needs to be more accountable, so we are accountable to our donors and our investors," Newman says. "We operate like a business. We operate as a Web start-up. Our product is to help people. Our mission is to do it efficiently."

At a time many Americans are struggling, Newman and Young say their business fills a niche. "We chose this model because we want to be self-sufficient," Young says. "We are hard-working Americans helping one another, and we're not relying on charity or government to do it."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

U.S. Ranks "Most Charitable"

WASHINGTON, D.C.///December 19, 2011///The United States now ranks the highest in terms of charity in a massive global survey that put the nation in fifth place in 2010, according to CAFAmerica, a member organization of the United Kingdom based Charities Aid Foundation International Network of Offices, providing charitable financial services to individuals, global corporations, charities, and foundations. 

According to those surveyed, two out of three Americans said they donated money to charity (65 percent), more than two out of five volunteered their time (43 percent) and roughly three out of four helped a stranger (73 percent).  The new “World Giving Index (WGI) 2011” report is based on over 150,000 Gallup polling interviews with members of the public in 153 countries. The 2011 report looks at three aspects of giving behavior of individuals in the preceding month, asking if they have donated money to a charity, volunteered time to an organization, or helped a stranger. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Yes, Kmart Shoppers, There is a Santa Claus

December 19, 2011, 10:25 am
Shoppers at Kmart stores in several states are finding their layaway accounts for Christmas gifts being paid in full by anonymous donors, according to the Associated Press.

Executives with the retail chain said the phenomenon appears to have begun in Michigan and spread to stores in Indiana, Iowa, Montana, and Nebraska, with dozens of customers being notified that their balance for toys and children’s clothes have been fully or nearly covered.

Benefactors generally ask to help families that are deferring payment on items for young children. At an Indianapolis Kmart on Tuesday an anonymous woman reportedly paid layaway orders for as many as 50 people and handed out $50 bills as she left the store.

Kmart representatives said they have done nothing to instigate or spread word of the giving. “It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year,” said Salima Yala, a vice president with the company’s layaway division.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A 1000 Gifts For Senior Citizens Missed by Santa

Pennsyvania college students recently sorted, tagged and wrapped about a 1000 holiday packages for senior citizens who would, otherwise, be without a present under the tree on Christmas morning, reports The Times-Tribune:

“…dozens of students…sponsor a program where students and faculty can purchase and wrap presents for local senior citizens who would otherwise have nothing to unwrap on Christmas morning….This year…about 1,000 gifts, all of which fulfill wish lists filled out by area seniors….”

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mud & Volunteers Create Energy Efficient Housing

“In this challenging economy when people are struggling to afford housing and other basic essentials, it is admirable that you and all the good people involved with Adobe in Action are working not just to help provide any home for a deserving family in Espanola (New Mexico) but a home that is both energy efficient with the use of classic adobe bricks and sustainable with passive solar design. We commend you on combining sustainability with heritage values while meeting real economic needs in our time," said the president of an environmental group when awarding the  2011 Conservation Quest Champions Prize in New Mexico.

Adobe in Action, in coordination and partnership with other entities, promotes access to affordable, quality, sustainable and energy efficient housing to those who have fewer resources. This year the organization has employed thousands of labor hours from dedicated volunteers and students from over twenty distinct groups in exchange for education in traditional brick building skills. All told, volunteers have produced over 6,000 adobe bricks which will be used to build Adobe in Action’s first home for an Espanola family in need, notes a Dec. 16, 2011 media release.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Basic Need: Shoes

In sub-Sahara Africa, alone, 20 million children will never own a pair of shoes.

The barefoot facts: "As the skin on the bottom of the feet toughens and thickens, large cracks can form, which allows parasitic infections such as hookworm and threadworm to penetrate the skin. In addition, constant cuts and scrapes to the feet and ankles frequently become infected and many of these infections can lead to ulcers and worse...In addition to infections brought on by external injuries, a child's bare foot is particularly at risk of infection by hookworm. Especially at risk are children living in African and Southeast Asian countries, where hookworm infections are about 60 times more common," notes the nonprofit Soles4Souls -- a nonprofit that procures shoes and distributes them to those in need.

Soles4Souls collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty.  
Soles4Souls’ other two divisions, Clothes4Souls and Hope4Souls, provide the same relief and support through clothing and other necessities.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Boomers Post Nonprofits On To-Do Lists

From The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

?More than 12 million Americans from 44 to 70 years old would like to start nonprofits or businesses that solve social problems, according to a new study by Civic Ventures, a think tank in San Francisco. The report, which was supported by the MetLife Foundation and compiled by Penn Schoen Berland, a marketing-research firm, also found that more than half of those 12 million Americans say it is very likely they will start such an organization within the next five to 10 years."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rebuilding Joplin, Mo Schools After EF5 Tornado

A generous community came together after the May 2011 EF5 tornado destroyed or severely damaged Joplin, Mo schools.  Here's a list of some of the volunteer fundraising and efforts to help the schools rebuild:

$25,000 from Freeman Health Systems
$22,500 from Anderson Family Charitable Foundation & supporters
$1400 from New Jersey 5th Grade student
3000 books from 13-year-old California student
$850 from Webb City students
$7500 & truckload of supplies from Parkway School students
School supplies from 3rd grade student
$500,000 from United Arab Emirates
$50,000 from Liberty Bank
From Texas donors:
  • around 70 bikes and scooters

  • over 330 pairs of shoes

  • 230 backpacks filled with toys, craft supplies, and other supplies for kids aged pre-school through eighth grade

  • 40 boxes of books for school libraries and classrooms

  • 10 "treasure" boxes for Pre-K and kindergarten teachers

  • $263,000 in classroom supplies from Learning Resources
    $360 from 9-year-old who held a car wash
    $250,000 from Satterlee Family
    $20,000 from Blue Springs School District
    $250,000 from Humphrey Family

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Wishbook Benefits Soldiers and Military Families

    The USO Wishbook is a new online catalog for giving to US military troop and family. One can tailor a gift from a $25 phone call or a gift box for the children of deployed soldiers, called Growing Up Brave, or one can Build a Bike for a Wounded Warrior " extraordinary gift for some truly extraordinary people – our wounded warriors. Each bike purchased with this gift will be custom built for their specific injury, and each bike will be used to restore hope and confidence, and the joy of once again being active with their families and friends," for $5000.


    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    A 1000 Trees A Year for One Cool Earth

    One Cool Earth is a registered nonprofit devoted to planting as a means of creating a sustainable planet.
    Projects are holistic with five goals for each project:
    ·         Education
    ·         Restoration
    ·         Beautification
    ·         Human Utility
    ·         Economy
    “We currently plant over 1000 trees each year with the help of hundreds of volunteers, and both numbers  continue to grow,” notes the organization’s web site.

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Teens Benefit From Celebrity Clothes Donation

    Children's Resource Network, a local nonprofit program  that allows disadvantaged and homeless teens or their parents to pick out and try on donated clothing, took in a large donation of stylish clothes delivered by a handsome young man who looked like a movie star.  As he helped the nonprofit's president and CEO load clothes into the back of her car, he introduced himself.  "Hi, I'm Zac Efron," greeted the popular celebrity.

    Efron donated over 300 pieces, and signed a few, that will be available to regional teens in the Teens Closet, a small portable building where clothes are distributed.

    High school students volunteer to help sort and organize donated clothing.

    Source:  San Luis Obispo Tribune


    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Helping With Modest Needs

    • Furniture Maker Lost All Tools In a Fire: Needs Help Getting Livelihood Back
    • Chemotherapy Took My Hair, Need Wig to Feel Like Me Again
    • Husband Sidelined by Brain Infection: Help Us Keep Our Home
    The above pleas for help are typical of the circumstances of the average  low-income worker whom conventional philanthropy has forgotten.

    Modest Needs has a simple mission: to  work to stop the cycle of poverty BEFORE it starts.

    "We do this by empowering compassionate members of the general public to safely and securely help hard-working, low-income households to afford the kinds of short-term emergency expenses that we've all encountered before: the unexpected car repair, the unanticipated visit to the doctor, or the unusually large heating bill, for example.

    Since 2002, by working together in this very 'modest' way, Modest Needs' donors have stopped 10,082 low-income individuals and families from entering the vicious cycle of poverty and a lifetime of dependence on the public welfare system for their survival," the website explains.

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Promoting Anti-Bias and Diversity Training Programs

    The Anti-Defamation League's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute provides anti-bias education and diversity training programs and resources. The Institute seeks to help participants: recognize bias and the harm it inflicts on individuals and society; explore the value of diversity; improve intergroup relations; and combat racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of prejudice and bigotry.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Battle of The Toucan Benefits Mayan Culture

    Maya Archaeology Initiative Logo

    Toucan Sam
     Defending their Fruit Loops Toucan Sam, Michigan Kellogg Company's cereal mascot, was, they claimed, much too similar to the toucan logo used by the Maya Archaeology Initiative, a San Francisco nonprofit group.

    But according to a Detroit News story, the battle of the toucans took a peaceful flight with the cereal maker giving "...the green light to continue using its rendering of a toucan, and will contribute $100,000 toward establishing a Mayan cultural center."

    The Maya Archaeology Initiative's mission includes,

    "... to provide the means to protect and improve northern Guatemala through a range of diverse programs including:

    1) To provide educational opportunities and training in Mayan history and culture for Guatemalan young people. This includes sharing artifacts and antiquities at interpretive centers, explaining the significance of Maya history in world history, and fieldwork at archaeological when possible.

    2) To encourage conservation of the Peten rainforest’s animals, plants, and natural resources. To this end, MAI works with other NGOs seeking protection for the region's invaluable natural resources;

    3) To support research in new areas of Maya archaeology, including pressing for protection of Holmul, Cival and nearby sites;

    4) To protect cultural and historical resources, and to make them available to the public through digital means where possible;

    5) To help communities better their standards of living by supporting sustainable tourism and promotion of traditional arts and handicrafts."

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Two Wheels To A Better Life

    This story was featured in a Sunday magazine, Wheels of Change.  The mission statement says,
    "Wheels of Change International was established to help the people of Africa gain access to mobility and create a better life for all in their communities.  As an organization WOC International’s mission is to help form the foundation for change in Africa, driven by the simple belief that a bicycle can make a difference."

    Facts from the WOC website:
    When a bicycle is donated, the possibilities are endless and the math becomes simple.  In the hands of a healthcare worker, they can cover four times the ground than otherwise on foot. This translates into four times the number of patient visits and four times the number of medication disbursements.  Wheels of Change helps fulfill a basic need: to provide a distribution vehicle for improved healthcare for those too remote from formalized healthcare facilities.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Why bikes?
    • A healthcare worker visits 3 to 4 times the number of clients with a bicycle compared to walking.
    • Girls are 70 percent more likely to attend school if their household owns a bicycle.
    • 5km on foot = 1 hour / 5km by bicycle = 20 minutes.
    • A bicycle carries up to 5 times the load compared with a person walking

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Volunteers Continue Building In Earthquake Destroyed Peruvian Region

    In 2007 a devastating  7.9 magnitude earthquake along the Pisco region of Peru, left thousands of families without homes and community resources.  One year later, Pisco Sin Fronteras (PSF), a  Peruvian organization formed  to launch sustainable reconstruction--one without a pullout date.

    "Our vision is of a Pisco with adequate housing, sanitation and education for all, in which everyone has the opportunity to shape their own future," notes the website.

    "PSF works directly with families and communities in the region of Pisco, improving their lives through construction projects, community initiatives and education. From short term disaster relief to sustainable long term solutions, PSF empowers local people and volunteers from all over the world to build a stronger Pisco."

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    First Ecoregion Map of the World

    Scientists and conservationists from nearly every corner of planet Earth contributed to create Freshwater Ecoregions of the World, (FEOW), a new global biogeographic regionalization of the Earth's freshwater biodiversity.  Covering virtually all freshwater habitats on Earth, this first-ever ecoregion map, together with associated species data, is a useful tool for underpinning global and regional conservation planning efforts, particularly to identify outstanding and imperiled freshwater systems; for serving as a logical framework for large-scale conservation strategies; and for providing a global-scale knowledge base for increasing freshwater biogeographic literacy.

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Culturally Diverse Program For Young Women in Crisis

    "The Center for Young Women's Development (CYWD) is one of the first non-profits in the United States run and led entirely by young women. From the beginning, we have organized young women who were the most marginalized in San Francisco — those in the street economies and the juvenile justice system — to design and deliver peer-to-peer education and support."

    The mission: Our mission is to empower and inspire young women who have been involved with the juvenile justice system and/or the underground street economy to create positive change in their lives and communities.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    From Halloween Fear to Feeding Hungry Families

    New Mexico Vietnam Veterans Deliver food and gift cards to teen homeless shelter.
     Last October a "Halloween geek"  and a host of volunteers created "the best haunted house in the world," in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which this week (beginning Nov. 21), benefited the For Kid’s Sake Project, St. Elizabeth’s homeless shelter, Casa Familia and the Agua Fria Teen Shelter, according to an Albuquerque Journal report.

    The haunted house volunteers from Vietnam Vets of America/ Northern New Mexico Chapter 996 and The Santa Fe VIP.COM, presented  gift certificates and boxes of food to homeless teens, this week.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Dance Moves Empower Survivors

    Professional dancers from Gibney Dance For Community Action in New York, donate time to help teach dance moves to victims of domestic violence.    A program designed to work with domestic violence survivors  has been developed that can be used in other communities.

    The program offers free movement workshops for lower income women in domestic violence shelters.  Currently 100 free workshops operate in New York City that offer safe, supportive and empowering moves to help explore physical ease and expression.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Brigades of Peace Activism

    Since it's beginnings in 1981, Peace Brigades International (PBI) "...has helped hundreds of communities and thousands of people in 11 countries by protecting human rights defenders who tirelessly work in pursuit of justice for the victims and survivors of violence, displacement and repression."

    PBI sends  international volunteers to areas of conflict, providing protective accompaniment to human rights defenders threatened by political violence,  and  PBI facilitates other peace-building initiatives.

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Peaceful Passings for Animal Friends

    As  our pets age we are faced with hard decisions as to their well being.  Today's prism of light I found through Facebook, it's called Peaceful Passings, Inc..

    The website states,
    Peaceful Passings is a home-based animal rescue, located in Fluvanna County in Central Virginia. Our vision is a world where no animal has to be euthanized because of age or medical challenge, where a quality of life remains.
    The goal of animal hospice is to provide comfort, dignity, and a sense of peace to animals reaching the end of their natural lives. The focus of care is on sustaining
    the highest quality of life for whatever time remains.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Scholarships for Young Women Honor Generous Hero

     Viola’s Huge Heart Foundation is a charity founded by the Barrios family of San Antonio, TX, that...awards one full time scholarship to a student at Incarnate Word High School...This scholarship will support a young lady who might not have been given the opportunity to pursue a high-quality education due to financial constraints.

    The foundation, according to its website,  supports causes in San Antonio as well as in Bustamante, Mexico. "The foundation will also support Les Dames d’Escoffier scholarship, a scholarship that encourages women to pursue careers in the culinary arts..."

    The nonprofit was formed after the violent murder of a San Antonio matriarch, restaurateur and community volunteer, Viola Barrios.

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Penny Power Benefits Hospitalized Kids

    A young girl with a hospitalized brother proves the power of a penny through Pennies of Love.

     She explains from her website:

     "Brianna's Pennies of Love" collects money and art supplies for childern with medical needs.  I use the money to buy art and craft supplies on wish lists at hospitals and clinics and to make art bags for children in isolation.  They need large easels, painting smocks, drying racks, and other art supplies.  The children use the art supplies to keep them busy while they are receiving extended medical treatment.  This includes the Children's Blood and Cancer Center, Children's Dialysis Clinic, other infusion centers, and Dell Children's Hospital's playrooms and art bags for children in isolation

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Restoring, Protecting Costa Rican Rainforests

    The Hacienda Rio Coté Project (HRC) has been established to restore and protect rainforest land adjacent to the Rio Coté National Protected Areas in Costa Rica.

    HRC’s mission is to reforest and preserve land that is contiguous with existing protected areas of the Rio Coté National Forest and in effect to increase the size of a pristine rainforest environment. HRC’s goal is to maintain and extend natural biodiversity, preserve watersheds, reduce erosion and river degradation, protect animal and insect habitats, and preserve the primordial beauty of the tropical rain forests for future generations.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    "Wrap With Care, Save A Polar Bear"

    “Wrap with care, save the polar bear,” reads a condom packet.  “Wear a condom now, save the spotted owl,” says another.

    The Center for Biological Diversity is one of the first environmental groups to address human over population by giving away "endangered species condoms" with messages like the above.

    A recent New York Times article notes:

    Major American environmental groups have dodged the subject of population control for decades, wary of getting caught up in the bruising politics of reproductive health.

    Yet, virtually alone, the Center for Biological Diversity is breaking the taboo by directly tying population growth to environmental problems through efforts like giving away condoms in colorful packages depicting endangered animals. The idea is to start a debate about how overpopulation crowds out species and hastens climate change — just when the world is welcoming Baby No. 7 Billion.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Worldwide Effort To Correct Birth Defect

    "Clubfoot, which affects about 200,000 infants a year, is a horribly disabling birth defect, one that can doom a child born in a poor country to a marginal life. In the condition, one or both feet are turned inward and down, forcing afflicted people to walk clumsily on the sides of their feet," writes Barry Meier for The New York Times.

    The Ponseti International Association was formed to create "a world free of clubfoot."  Their mission includes, "To prevent disability, ill health, and poverty in children born with clubfoot by globally implementing comprehensive programs of Ponseti training, ongoing support, and public awareness. "

    Clubfoot Birth Defect
    Corrected Birth Defect

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Generous Lower-Income Brits

    From the Third Sector:

    People earning less than £32,000 give on average more than 1 per cent of their income to charity, whereas those on more than £52,000 typically give only 0.8 per cent, according to research by the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Busting World Poverty With Innovation

    A California couple recently donated $150 million to Stanford Graduate School of Business in an effort to sideline world wide poverty  through  enabling entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders to alleviate poverty in developing economies.  The program is  Institute for Innovation in Developing Ecnomies, also known as SEED.

    A university press release notes:

    To amplify its impact on the more than one billion people in the world who live on less than $1.25 a day, SEED will partner with organizations such as Endeavor, which mentors and accelerates the work of high-impact entrepreneurs; Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm that helps scale innovative organizations that catalyze economic, social, and political change; Skoll Foundation, which drives change by investing in social entrepreneurs; and global social enterprise investor Acumen Fund. All have established operations abroad.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Editor's Note:  We joined a CSF and are amazed at how much we learned about our local fish and feel good about supporting our local industry.  Also, it is the best fish ever, other than catching your own. is an online network that links consumers to community supported fisheries (CSFs).
    The network seeks to increase the visibility of CSFs and it aims to provide assistance to individuals and organizations that need support envisioning, designing, and implementing locally-relevant businesses that work towards a triple bottom line.

    Though each CSF is designed to fit its local context, several core elements tie them together. CSFs:
    • Establish a transparent chain-of-custody from boat to fork;
    • Increase access to premium, locally caught seafood;
    • Ensure fishers receive a fair price for their catch that reflects the value of their work;
    • Engage fishers and community members in more robust, viable, local food systems;
    • Provide a framework through which fishers and customers alike can creatively steward our marine resources.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Four Events To Help Others

    Four local events listed in today's news with a holiday flavor to help others:

    1) Coats for Christmas Day Drive: Raising funds to purchase coast for the homeless.

    2) Holiday poinsettia sales to benefit mental health providers for less fortunate.

    3) "Be a Santa to a Senior" program featuring ornaments that list names of seniors and their gift requests.

    4) Horsemen's Club Toy Ride: Collecting toys for disadvantaged children.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    China's Orphans' Life Improvement Program

    In 1996, Jenny. Bowen and her husband adopted a 20-month-old girl from China who couldn’t walk or talk but grew into a healthy child. Two years later, Ms. Bowen started Half the Sky to change the way China cares for its orphans. Since then, the charity has grown to operate programs in 51 Chinese cities, improving conditions for more than 60,000 children. In the next five years, the organization will help train 110,000 child-care workers and watch as the Chinese government invests $300-million in building 300 model orphanages. Ms. Bowen will ask donors to match the prize money and pay for a national effort in China to train workers who care for orphans.

    Source:  Philanthropy Today

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Rockers Promise End To "Teenage Wasteland" For Cancer Patients

    For more than a decade rock legends from the band the Who, Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend, have supported England's Teenage Cancer Trust--19 cancer units for teenagers across the U.K, reports Rolling Stone.

    The report notes, "On Friday, (Roger Daltry)  was joined in Los Angeles by Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin to announce the launch of the UCLA Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program, in hopes of changing a medical culture that categorizes patients as either adults or children, with few special considerations for teens."

    A UCLA news release explains, "The vision of the UCLA Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program is to ensure that every young person receives the best possible care and professional support to help them meet the physical and emotional challenges of a cancer diagnosis. The belief is that teenagers and young adults shouldn't stop enjoying their youth just because they have cancer."

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Daily Prism Blog Writer Busy With Life

    The Daily Prism's poster is suddenly busy with life.

    Our next post will return Sunday, Nov. 7.

    Keep you light beaming!

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Differences Ignored In Wake Of Humanitarian Call

    SOMETIMES it takes a tragedy. The earthquake that struck Turkey’s mainly Kurdish province of Van on October 23rd, killing at least 481 people, triggered an outpouring of solidarity. Millions of Turks donated to relief campaigns. Convoys of volunteers drove thousands of miles from Istanbul to help dig for survivors in Van, an impoverished and mountainous province that borders Iran. Mustafa Sarigul, the mayor of a posh borough in Istanbul, offered free housing and education to 1,000 children left homeless by the quake.

    From Globes

    This afternoon, the first Israeli assistance airlift was due to fly out to the disaster area in Eastern Turkey with portable homes and buildings. Ankara has requested help from Israel and 30 other countries to repair damage from the strong earthquake that has caused the death of more than 400 people so far.

    Turkey is mainly interested in receiving portable homes and buildings to house refugees whose homes were destroyed in the earthquake, as well as equipment for rescuing people trapped under the rubble. The office of Minister of Defense Ehud Barak said that, "After receiving a request from the Turkish government in Ankara, it instructed the defense establishment to fly out special aid to Turkey following the earthquake."

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    A Better World Due to " Better Angels"

    When caught in the clutch of 24/7 cable news, it can look as though the world is collapsing on itself.  But not so, says a recent report by Seth Borenstein for Associate Press

    Borenstein writes, "...historically, we've never had it this peaceful.

    That's the thesis of three new books, including one by prominent Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker. Statistics reveal dramatic reductions in war deaths, family violence, racism, rape, murder and all sorts of mayhem.

    In his book, Pinker writes: "The decline of violence may be the most significant and least appreciated development in the history of our species."

    In a Greater Good report it says,
     Steven Pinker’s new book, The Better Angles of Our Nature, starts with a modest claim: “This book is about what may be the most important thing that has ever happened in human history.”
    “Believe it or not,” he continues, “violence has declined over long stretches of time, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence.”

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    "Trick Or Treat So Others Can Eat"

    Following the lead on a recent post about hunger in America, American youth have taken to the streets in a campaign to collect food for their local food banks.

    "We're the next generation. ... We can make a big difference," said Ellie Morrison, 15, of Ventura, according to a recent Ventura County News report.

    The national campaign began Oct. 17 and runs through Nov. 7.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Feeding the Hungry

    A network of food banks "supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors," in a time when 1 in 6 Americans struggle with hunger. 

    " These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days," says the nonprofit website Feeding America.

    200 member food banks are located across the United States.

    Take the Hunger In America Quiz

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Act of Giving Blesses

    After seeing American castoffs at the curb with free signs on them, a Nigerian man collected the goods with thoughts of sending them to his native Nigeria, where people have so little.  He'd often collect the free goods while riding his bicycle.

    “A lot of people had sympathy when they saw me on the bicycle and offered to help convey the things to my house," he explained to a local reporter.

    He then collected goods from garage sales and stored them in a rented shed--spending an average of $200-$300 per week. The assorted household items are now filling a container for shipment to Nigeria. 

    “... The level of generosity and lightness of heart (is) America, which gives more than any other country in the world. America is seen as the grandfather of the world. America is always there to provide solutions," he told the reporter.

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Honoring Cultural and Biological Diversity

    "Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin...(Amazon Watch) envisions a world that honors and values cultural and biological diversity and the critical contribution of tropical rainforests to our planet's life support system," notes the group's website.

    Amazon Watch also:
    • Believes that indigenous self-determination is paramount,
    • Indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contribute greatly to sustainable and equitable stewardship of the Earth.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Another Bar Mitzvah Benefits Local Food Bank

    Today's local paper reports that a local young man who recently celebrated his bar mitzvah, "...used his monetary gifts to help fight hunger...(and) donated $1,000 to the Food Bank Coalition..."

    Source: The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, October 20, 2011

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Saving Poland's Primeval Forests

    Poland's  Bialowieza Primeval Forest is a treasured forest that is more than 8,000 years old.  Preserving and protecting the forest has become the focused project by a group called Workshop for All Beings.

     "Workshop for All Beings-— seeks to protect the environment of Poland by helping local communities become knowledgeable about their local environment and enabling them to better articulate the conservation issue they need to pursue. It is building a broad citizen-based environmental movement and equipping citizens to form and sustain a commitment to Poland’s primeval forests and wildlife and to the ecology of its many human communities, as development takes place in the recent political and economic contexts. They prepare maps of "Wild Poland" and of existing and possible problems and conflicts. To help provide a social background for these efforts, they find and gather local people to participate in training programs. The seminars and workshops inform them about Poland's environmental laws, ways of social, political and scientific cooperation and participation, and ways of creating groups of lobbyist. They publish a monthly illustrated magazine "Wild Nature," which is widely quoted in the national media." explains Solutions Site.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Standing For Women's Rights in Armenia

    Following the death of an Armenian woman by domestic violence, volunteers worked to bring the case to public view in a conservative environment.  For the first time, the accused batterer was sentenced to a lengthy prison stay, according to a recent Armenian Weekly report.

    Seven organizations gathered together for the first time and built the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women -- bringing this case to the public.  Last January, over 200 people marched in Los Angeles, demanding justice.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    A Bank For The Poor

    The Grameen Bank (Grameen meaning "village") was formed for the poor with the following objectives:
    * extend banking facilities to poor men and women;
    * eliminate the exploitation of the poor by money lenders;
    * create opportunities for self-employment for the vast multitude of unemployed people in rural Bangladesh;
    * bring the disadvantaged, mostly the women from the poorest households, within the fold of an organizational format which they can understand and manage by themselves; and
    * reverse the age-old vicious circle of "low income, low saving & low investment", into virtuous circle of "low income, injection of credit, investment, more income, more savings, more investment, more income.
    From Wikipedia:

    Grameen believes that charity is not an answer to poverty. It only helps poverty to continue as it creates dependency and takes away individual's initiative to break through the cycle of poverty, whereas loans offer people the opportunity to take initiatives in business or agriculture, providing earnings and enabling them to pay off the debt.

    Grameen regards all human beings, including the poorest, as endowed with endless potential, and that unleashing the creativity in each individual should be the answer to poverty.[15] Grameen has offered credit to many poor, women, illiterate and unemployed people. It created access to credit on reasonable terms such as the group lending system and weekly-installment payment with reasonably long term of loans, enabling the poor to build on their existing skill to earn a better income in each cycle of loans.

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Compassion Drives Mobile Loaves & Fishes

    14,000 volunteers in seven US cities  participate is a program called Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a nonprofit ministry with the mission of  "Going out onto city streets every night with our catering trucks, MLF serves food, basic clothing, hygiene products, etc. to our brothers and sisters living on or near the streets.  MLF currently owns 19 catering trucks located in seven cities, six states all serving with compassion and love. We help meet the needs of our brothers and sisters through a powerful, innovative process of mobilizing communities of volunteers to serve the homeless and working poor. While our fundamental mission is to feed the hungry, our broader mission is to empower individuals to serve their communities, thus inspiring a lifestyle of volunteering to serve."

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    A Garden for the Righteous

    Dedicated to honoring those who have stood up against genocide and persecution,  gardens in locales such as Armenia, are planted by the Committee For The Gardens of The Righteous Worldwide.

    From the website:

    The Righteous Gardens are remembrance places dedicated to those who opposed human rights violations in our most recent history, which has been marked by increasingly widespread genocidal practices.

    After Yad Vashem Garden within the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, other gardens have been created worldwide such as in Yerevan besides the Museum of Armenian Genocide, as well as in Milan, in Sarajevo and in Poland.

    Trees symbolize life and call for its defence against the haralds of death; the example of the Righteous becomes a cry to our conscience and shows that even in the direst straights it is possible to choose not to remain indifferent.

    This is why the Righteous Gardens play a role in terms of remembrance as an educational tool for the new generations, the protagonists of tomorrow's history, to whom they propose a feasible alternative, a warning and a message of hope.