Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bar Mitzvah Gifts Benefit Homeless Center

After a 13-year-old counted his monetary gifts from his recent bar mitzvah, he took the money and purchased a washer and dryer for a homeless assistance center

His thoughtfulness so inspired the owners of the appliance store, that they, too, donated another washer/dryer set to the center.

Source:  San Luis Obispo Tribune

Friday, April 29, 2011

"Silent Knight" Rescued Again--For Life

On December 7, 2010  a stately California sea lion was nameless and one of many near San Francisco.  He was also the victim of a random shooting that left him listless on the beach. When he was discovered on December 8 by a marine mammal rescue team, they called him Silent Knight

After his rescue, the  marine mammal vet reported, " least 5 buckshot metal fragments (are) lodged in his head. Damage also extended(s) to his mouth and jaw." Shortly after Christmas, Silent Knight was deemed blind.  This meant he could not be released to his natural home.  It also meant that euthanasia may be the only humane alternative for this victim of human violence--unless he was rescued again.

Fortunately the San Francisco Zoological Society has adopted the medically rehabilitated, but permanently blind, Silent Knight and he will soon have a new home at the San Francisco Zoo, according to a San Francisco Examiner report.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tunisian Communities Welcome Libyan Refugees

A recent commentary took notice that less than one in ten Libyans seeking refuge are staying in UN refugee camps, and that the people of Tunisia have opened their arms and taken in Libyan refugees.

"The homeless Libyans are being hosted by locals, at the locals' expense and with great generosity, given the Tunisians' own resources are not great," the columnist wrote.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Climb Every Mountain

When a mountaineer lost his mother and two aunts to Alzheimer's, he challenged himself  to climb higher and raise at least $1-million for Alzheimer's research.

His goal is to climb the 7 Summits--the highest peak on each continent--at a dollar a foot donation. He's presently climbing Mt. Everest.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Anne Frank Center Zeroes In On Intolerance

An office tower, near ground zero in New York City, is set to become the new Anne Frank Center before the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, "Center co-chairwoman Deborah Chapin says it's fitting for an organization that promotes tolerance and human rights to be near ground zero. The nonprofit also offers educational programs about the Holocaust."

Monday, April 25, 2011

"One Soul At A Time," Say Jon Bon Jovi

If you are a teen who's now too old for foster care, you may wind up on the streets.  Rocker, Jon Bon Jovi, however, put homelessness on his To Do List and recently donated funds to open a new facility for homeless teens and young adults, Rights of Passage in Philadelphia.

During the recent ribbon cutting, the rock star said, "Today is a celebration of the lives of the young people who will call this home. It’s a victory over the issues that forced them into homelessness and economic despair. Through the funding and creation of programs and partnerships like this, we can all support innovative community efforts to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.”   He heads the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kissing Pigs For Kids' Advocacy

It was not a “boar-ing” kind of fundraising event.  In fact, four fearless volunteers went hog wild for an abused childrens’ advocacy group and raised over $6000.  They "swined" over a charming pig, then sought sponsors--sponsors who put up the money to watch their friends publicly "Kiss The Pig."
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) trains volunteers to become "a trusted friend and security" for a "child who is victim of abuse of neglect and becomes a dependent of the juvenile court."  
The CASA website notes the following statistics for their county:
*       650 children receive county services due to their abuse or neglect
*       500 children are under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court due to abuse and neglect
*       120 abused or neglected children have their own CASA volunteer to advocate for their unique needs and to speak for them in court

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Buzz Is Business Founder To Donate 70,000 Acres

After selling her business, Burt's Bees, the now multi-millionaire, purchased over 120,000 acres of Maine woodlands for preservation.

The Burt's Bees founder, "...wants to give more than 70,000 wild acres next to Maine's cherished Baxter State Park to the federal government, hoping to create a Maine Woods National Park. She envisions a visitor center dedicated to Henry David Thoreau, the naturalist who made three trips to Maine in the 1800s.

The park would be nearly twice the size of Maine's Acadia National Park," says a CBS news report.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mental Health Professionals 'Give an Hour' to Veterans

In 2008 a RAND report claimed that over "...18 percent of troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan--nearly 300,000 troops--have symptoms of post-traumatic stress or major depression. At the same time, about 19 percent of service members reported that they experienced a possible traumatic brain injury," reads a website the urges mental health professionals to Give An Hour to veterans.

Give an Hour™  asks mental health professionals nationwide to literally donate an hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Orangutans and Thin Mints

Who knew that the iconic Girl Scout cookie is part of the destruction of Southeast Asian rain forests?  And as deforestation grows the natural habitat of orangutans, Sumatran tigers and pygmy elephants shrinks. Palm farms also displace the indigenous people of the rain forests.

Stripping fragile rain forests and replacing the vegetation with palms for oil, some of which is used in Girl Scout cookies, caught the attention of two Girl Scouts. They took a stand and formed O.R.A.N.G.S. ( Orangutans Really Appreciate And Need Girl Scouts) with the goal to cease use of palm oil in Girl Scout cookies.

Source: Earth Island Journal

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Giving 400,000 Kids A Smile

Over 50 children in one community recently received free dental care that included fillings, cleanings, X-rays, and extractions. Dental supply purveyors, dentists, dental hygienists and office staff donated their product and services to "Give Kids A Smile" day.

According to the American Dental Association website, for the year 2011, 399,268 low income U.S. children have benefited from the program.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Have You Voluntoured Lately?

Volunteer vacations grow in popularity, according to a 2008 Conde Nast/MSNBC poll. This travel style created a new word: voluntourism

Two non-profit foundations, The International EcoTourism Society and Planeterra, recently joined forces to perfect eco travel blended with conservation and sustainability.

“Travelers are searching for new authentic experiences worldwide, like voluntours, that put them face to face with some of our most important global challenges,” says Megan Epler Wood Executive Director of Planeterra. “There are now more opportunities for travelers with skills, in areas like engineering and health care, to assist local communities and help develop beneficial projects, like assisting with clinics and developing clean water systems for villages that lack adequate services ” says Epler Wood.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Inspiration and Rising Above the Fear

When an event is so ugly, like the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, some people rise to the call to serve those who are without any other help.  And some of those people focus on the good they find inside a humanitarian nightmare, and then rise above the fear.  This scenario occured to an American teacher in Rwanda in 1994.  He took his experience and now inspires youth and others to go out into the world and serve for the greater good, forming a nonprofit called World Outside My Shoes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Divers and Science Seek Answers For Coral Reef Protection

It started as an organization to "..galvanize the dive community" to protect the planet's coral reefs.  The Coral Reef Alliance  (CORAL) is now an international non-profit that "... provide tools, education, and inspiration to residents of coral reef destinations to support local projects that benefit both reefs and people."

Coral reefs are now one of the most endangered environments on the planet, from rising ocean temperatures, overfishing and ocean acidification.

CORAL's mission statement includes, "We believe in the majesty and mystery of coral reefs, in their ability to teach, sustain, inspire, and give life. We are their students and their protectors; we hold the knowing that if reefs die, we all die—plain and simple."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Unheralded Good Deed

Another Facebook announcement of folks doing the right thing:

"Celebrating a blessing. I left my debit card in the ATM machine at the Credit Union. While I was sitting in my truck looking for music a man knocked on my window and handed it back to me."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Teens' "Birthday Club" Benefits Foster Kids

One of the tastiest invitations on my Facebook page came in recently and it read: "... this event is for my club, Better Birthdays, where we give birthday presents to foster kids in Ventura County. This Friday, if you bring a $ donation or a new (unwrapped) toy to Sweet Arleen's, you get a FREE CUPCAKE!"

Yum and a win-win.  Tasty confections, cash for foster kids' birthdays and toys!

A Westlake High School student, founded Better Birthdays with her sister about seven years ago,

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Regardless of the Times, People Still Give

Even when wallets and checkbooks are thin of extra cash there are folks who fervently  find ways to bring cash flow into causes and movements to groups trying to uplift the underprivileged and oppressed among us.  A recent dinner fundraiser in California, for example, brought in $3,000, for the Malek Clinic in Kenya. 

This clinic assists refugees escaping the political violence in Sudan.  The clinic, "Educate(s) Refugees (and) has five years of experience working with southern Sudanese refugee students living in Kenya. These bright young people have fled war, starvation and persecution in their own countries and neighboring ones and are struggling daily to survive in a foreign land," states the website.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Foundation Aspires To Help Disadvantaged Youth Achieve

Aspiring for Achievement Foundation, headquartered in New Delhi, India, was founded by youth concerned about the well being of  impoverished and disadvantaged youth in India.  The foundation, according to the website, " towards socially disadvantaged sections of the society through education, health, providing economic opportunities by facilitating access, generating employment, e-commerce and delivering essential services in rural and urban areas."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Worldwide Communication Bridge for Patient Updates

When a family member undergoes a serious health crisis, it's not easy to keep the rest of the family and friends abreast with the most recent news about the person in treatment. Fortunately donors fund a website called CaringBridge--a free website that ..."connect(s) people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends, making each health journey easier.

Daily, a half-million people use the website to connect with each other, through updated posts about a patient, and a guestbook where friends and family can post their thoughts or pass on information.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Technology Aids Humanitarian Relief

After a natural or man made disaster trucking in humanitarian relief has eased a bit through a free mapping service, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team.  This is a free and collabrative mapping service built by volunteers "surveying with GPS, digitizing aerial imagery, and collecting and liberating existing public sources of geographic data."

In Japan where the combination of an earthquake and tsunami wiped out most road systems, by using this service, relief workers can save time by accessing updated imagery and create a route that will bypass road blockages and more.  Update youtube videos are regularly posted.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One Day--600,000 Volunteers

Kiwanis International put hammer to hand, tractors to work, shovels in the dirt and spent "One Day", Saturday, Apr. 2, 2011, performing hands-on-service around the world.  Nearly 600,000 volunteers participated. 

One Kiwanis group restored a Boy Scout Camp, while others repaired day care centers, cleaned nature trails, volunteered in kitchens,  and more.  Source:  San Luis Obispo Tribune

Friday, April 1, 2011

Land Trust Volunteers Provide Stewardship

As more small working farms that decorated country lanes disappear into multinational corporate run mega-farms, communities concerned with such a blight have formed land conservancies and trusts, like the Peconic Land Trust formed to protect more than 10,000 acres. Within the trust working farms, natural habitat and historic sites are preserved for future generations.
Volunteers work to raise funds to maintain the trust and provide stewardship.