Thursday, May 31, 2012

Educate Girls: End Poverty's Cycle

At Edge of Seven, we believe that investing in girls in developing countries is the best strategy to end global poverty. We’re not alone.
When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 1990.
When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
Chris Fortson, “Women’s Rights Vital for Developing World,” Yale News Daily 2003.
When 10 percent more girls go to secondary school, a country’s economy grows by 3 percent.
Barbara Herz and Gene Sperling, What Works in Girls Education 2004  
Edge of Seven, in name and in spirit, offers volunteers the unique opportunity to work closely with people who face different obstacles in life, possess different histories, and hold different perspectives on our world.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Good Samaritans Decline Money For Their Help

Even media moguls experience a car breakdown on sparsely populated and no cell tower rural roads.  But thanks to some sightseeing tourists from Germany with  Samaritan hearts, Ted Turner was rescued on a lonely stretch of Highway 1 in Big Sur.

"... a couple of European Good Samaritans who were motoring down scenic Highway 1 near Big Sur on Saturday came to the CNN founder's rescue when they stopped to take in the view and noticed the 73-year-old struggling to start his Jeep's engine...The couple said they didn't recognize Turner when he introduced himself and were somewhat disbelieving when he told them he founded the Cable News Network...They they motored up the road...a to a gas station where Turner found a mechanic to drive back and jump-start his stubborn Jeep...the couple declined his offer of $100 for their trouble and said they were just glad to help," reads a McClatchy News report. 

Read more here:

Read more here:

Monday, May 28, 2012


From today's Letters to Editor:

I would like to express my gratitude to two unknown little girls who found my purse left in a cart at the Lowe's parking lot and brought it to the cashier in the garden section.  I wish I could thank you in person.

And thank you to the parents raising these thoughtful and kind children.

Source:  San Luis Obispo Tribune 5/28/12

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Family Devoted To Student Death-Prevention

High school graduation parties celebrate a life-passage, and they can also create a life's end. Each year, after a graduation ceremony some over-celebratory graduates will die from alcohol poisoning. 

Following the death of a popular Texas college student from alcohol poisoning, Aware Awake Alive formed to "...prevent loss of life to alcohol poisoning by educating teens, young adults and parents on the dangers and symptoms of alcohol overdose, generating awareness and dialogue around amnesty-based policy and legislation and creating an atmosphere of partnership in which young people, parents, educators and like-minded organizations share responsibility for supporting and educating one another."

The website acknowledges, " Julia, Scott and Hayden Starkey have faced the loss of their beloved son and brother with a focus on turning their personal tragedy into something positive for the greater good. The Starkey family believes the loss of Carson has given them a unique gift to serve and help others. Julia and Scott commit themselves fulltime to the mission of Aware Awake Alive."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Scholarships For Students Who Dream of Touching the Stars

More than 80 astronauts participate in the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, originally called the Mercury Seven Foundation, that provides  scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination, and exceptional performance in the science or engineering field of their major.

From the ASF website:

The original Mercury Seven Foundation began on a shoestring budget, and the first seven scholarships, at $1,000 each, were awarded in 1986. As more money was raised the amount and number of scholarships increased gradually. The foundation now awards 28 scholarships annually, each worth $10,000, for a total of $280,000. To date, the foundation has awarded over $3 million in scholarships to deserving students nationwide.

Scholarship money is raised through astronaut appearances, fund-raising events, corporate and individual donations, and astronaut autographs.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pay It Forward In Lamu, Kenya

You Can Thrive is a UK based charity that focuses on improving the living conditions thru sustainability, in Lamu, a small town on Lamu Island in Kenya.

The founder mentions that the level of poverty is related to "a lack of opportunity and tourism."  So the charity formed last October.   In February an organized Lamu Beautification project began which will include providing waste bins for households and businesses, and recycling bins for plastics and other wastes.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reaching Out to Disadvantaged South Asian Children in US

"... South Asian Youth Action (SAYA) seeks to help needy South Asian children, but not in some distant land like India — these youths are in its backyard in New York City," reports the New York Times.

More than 1 out of 20 youths (between the ages of five and 19) in New York City are South Asian. A quarter of this population lives at or below the poverty level, according to the United States Census Bureau American Community Survey from 2010.

"Founded in 1996 by Sayu Bhojwani, a Queens resident who saw a lack of resources for South Asian children in New York, SAYA offers more than a dozen sources of support. On the academic side, students can get tutoring and help with the college application process through the Chalo College program, which includes campus visits and information on financial aid and scholarships. For personal development, there is a leadership program for girls, a basketball program for boys and counseling for emotional issues," writes the NYT.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Saving China's Yangstze Finless Porpoises

The blog, Neptune 911 recently reported on the survival challenge of the endangered species Yangstze finless porpoises dwelling in China's waters.  Scientific American reports:

"Chinese officials added an extra 50,000 carp to the waters of Poyang Lake this week to help feed the endangered Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis) that live there, according to a report from the Xinhua news agency."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hollywood's Bridge For Veteran Support

Jobs.  Education.  Health.  Housing. Family. Leadership. 

These are the 6 Pillars the organizers for Got Your 6, a Hollywood-based non profit, announced as its partnership goals as a means to support US military veterans.

The website clarifies:

  • Got Your 6 will inspire Americans to help bridge the civilian-military divide.
  • Got Your 6 will provide tools, platforms, and resources that Americans can use to feel more comfortable with military and veteran culture. 
  • Got Your 6 will create opportunities for veterans and civilians to join together to reinvigorate our communities. 
  • Got Your 6 will change the conversation in America, so that our returning veterans are not seen as liabilities, but as assets.
  • Got Your 6 will embody—for all Americans—the values of duty, selfless service, and mutual respect upheld by those that serve in our military.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Spread Of Awesome

The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences is a worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe.

Started in 2009 in Boston, the foundation now spreads from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Zurich, Switzerland. 

Each office distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to "Awesome" projects and their creators.

 The April 2012 Awesome Foundation grant will be used to fund a dramatic extension to our current project by adding the publicly owned vacant lots in the other four boroughs to our site. This will give the communities in the rest of the city an idea of which vacant lots are owned by the city. It’s extra Awesome that this part of our project is funded now because without the map and data, we couldn’t make sense of vacant land in the other boroughs. The grant from Awesome will pay our hard-working programmer – who has been doing all work for 596 Acres for free for a year – to expand the online map’s capacity to handle data for the other boroughs. It will let our interactive map go ALL CITY. It’s hard to find funding for web development. It’s awesome that we have!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sport Teams Adopt Kids With Malignant Brain Tumors

5-year-old Tyler Bloom, struck with a malignant brain tumor at age 4,
 helps out with the coin toss at a Towson football game.
 Photo by Brendan Cavanaugh.
In 2004, 9-year-old Jaclyn Murphy was diagnosed with a medullo-blastoma, a malignant brain tumor. She longed to play lacrosse again.

In 2005, two unrelated friends of the Murphy family told Northwestern University's Lacrosse coach about Jaclyn's story and asked them if they could help. The team promptly adopted Jaclyn as an honorary member. Jaclyn's strength, courage, relentless spirit, and joy for life inspired everyone.

The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ) was founded to improve the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families by pairing them with college and high school athletic teams. The FOJ program has grown  to over 300 children who have been adopted by high school and college teams across the country. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Perus Chefs, Environmentalists Feed Hungry Pelicans

The Daily Prism returns  after a computer breakdown that limited our internet capacity.

 Today we found the good in a sad circumstance.  While pelicans are mysteriously dying on Peru's beaches--possibly from hotter than usual ocean temperatures that has driven a type of anchovy deeper into the sea-- Peruvian chefs, environmentalists, restaurant owners and citizens have taken to the north Peru beaches to feed the starving pelicans anchovies, according to Peru This Week.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jordanian Business Man Houses Syrian Refugees

From the New York Times:

Nearly every day, Thaer Al-Bashabsheh drives his BMW to the end of an unmarked road in Ramtha, in the northwest of Jordan, to check on the hundreds of refugees who occupy a five-building apartment complex donated by his family to house people fleeing from Syria.

The family subsidizes the camp for Jordan’s Interior Ministry at a personal cost of about 280,000 Jordanian dinars, or $395,000, per year. They also provide food, water, clothing and cigarettes for those who have fled President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Mr. Bashabsheh said. The camp is supposed to hold only 600 people, but at one point it overflowed with 2,000 refugees, according to local news reports

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Great Dane Rescue Volunteers

Great Dane Rescue of Northern California  (GDRNC) is a group of volunteers concerned with the welfare of Great Danes. The rescue saves the lives of Great Danes every day by taking in surrendered and found Danes, by funding their medical care and advanced surgical treatments, performing spay and neutering services along with providing shelter, food and rehabilitation training.

GDRNC strives to provide a safe haven for lost, abandoned or surrendered Danes until they can find loving safe homes for them. "We feel it is our heartfelt responsibility to do all that we can for every Dane that comes into our safe haven and into our care," the organization states.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

1995 photo of Adam Yauch with
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The recent death of Adam Yauch brings to mind his work towards human rights in Tibet.  Yauch, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, served "...on the ICT Board of Directors (1996-2006), the ICT Board of Advisors, and (was) a prominent and generous supporter of Tibet through many other manifestations, including the Tibetan Freedom Concerts, The Milarepa Fund and individual efforts. His passion for Tibet came from his devotion to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Buddhadharma, and from accepting that celebrity could and should be used for a greater good."

The ICT mission statement includes:

  • Human Rights Monitoring and Advocacy
  • Legislative Activities
  • Fact-Finding Missions
  • Environment and Development Initiative
  • Tibetan Refugees in Exile
  • Chinese Outreach
  • Education and Publications

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Summer Camp For Kids With Ostomies

Youth Rally is a week long summer camp providing mentoring and support services for kids with Crohn’s disease, Colitis, Vader’s Syndrome, and a variety of other autoimmune disorders. Throughout the week, camp attendees from 12 to 17 find new friends, go on a one day trip to an amusement park or the beach, and learn valuable quality of life lessons through confidence building workshops. It’s a place to hang with people with similar stories.

Youth Rally, according to the webite, " devoted to providing a positive atmosphere of support, learning, and personal growth for youths with bowel and/or bladder dysfunction. Every year the Youth Rally teaches campers that everybody, regardless of any medical or physical differences, matters as a person and has the ability to achieve their goals...For over 30 years the Youth Rally has been a place for adolescents with ostomies and continent diversions, or who are preparing for surgery, to come together and meet other young people who deal with similar life experiences."

Faith, Ecology and Regeneration

Renewable energy.  Energy efficiency. Conservation.  These subjects are something one might not expect to hear from a Sunday pulpit, but are some of the tangible elements suggested by an interfaith community, The Regeneration Project.

The word “regeneration” has personal, biological and institutional significance.  It is the process of spiritual, moral and ecological renewal. We seek to make a practical link between spiritual and ecological health.  TRP envisions that people of faith will serve as the foundation for a national movement that addresses ecological issues from theological roots. Our purpose, therefore, is to expand and deepen this link between religious faith and action, particularly in regards to environmental protection, explains the website.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Operation Peacekeeper Youth Outreach Workers are street-wise men and women who reach out to gang-related youth ages 10 to 18, and provide the resources necessary for them to abstain from a gang lifestyle and to become productive members of society.

The vision is to build mentoring relationships with youth who have the highest risk of gang involvement, particularly serious gun-related violence, and provide positive alternatives for a healthier non-violent lifestyle.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Conserving Natural India

 Centre for Wildlife Studies practices science-based conservation, with special emphasis on the ecology and conservation of the tiger and other large mammals. CWS works in collaboration with Central and State Governments in India to promote conservation of wildlife and wild lands and is additionally supported by several international and national charities, agencies and donors. CWS has implemented several projects involving wildlife research, education, training, outreach and site-based conservation at regional and national levels.

Krithi Karanth works on human dimensions of conservation, such as human-wildlife conflicts, land use change, voluntary resettlement, tourism impacts and people-park relationships. With a National Geographic grant, she will assess human-wildlife conflicts in five parks of India’s Western Ghats. The project will identify and map risks and consequences for local people and the implications for conflict-prone wildlife species such as elephants, wild pigs, leopards and tigers.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Crabbers Rescue Entangled Whale

C. Coimbra Photo
From Associated Press
       Crab fisherman Mark Anello noticed something odd near his boat off the Northern California coast: three buoys floating nearby were moving. Motoring closer he saw a gray whale tangled in a large fishing line.
        It was the same whale, officials determined later, that was first spotted hundreds of miles south off the Orange County coast April 17, dragging several buoys attached to a net...
        Tony Anello echoed DeAngelis' fears, saying his son and crew could have been hurt by the large creature. But he also said while fishing gear was the cause of the whale's woe, many fishermen care deeply about the sea and a sustainable fishery.
        "There are fishermen who care about the ocean," he said. "We are stewards of the ocean and want a sustainable fishery."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Political and Spiritual Values

From Greater Good

Political and spiritual values
We... found that greater spirituality strongly correlated with greater altruism among all three political categories we included: conservatives, moderates, and liberals.
It may surprise some of you to learn that more conservative political views were linked to higher altruism. However, further analysis revealed that the link between politics and altruism varied a lot depending on people’s level of spirituality.

In fact, secular liberals ended up being much more altruistic than secular conservatives: “Not at all spiritual” conservatives were some of the least altruistic respondents, but “extremely spiritual” conservatives were among the most altruistic overall. It seems that spirituality might be significantly more important in predicting altruism among political conservatives than it is among liberals.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

US Academics Pledge To Battle Poverty

Twenty-eight college leaders have pledged to give 5% of their earnings to fight global poverty, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education

Inspiring the commitment is the book, The Life You Can Save, penned by a Princeton University bio ethicist, Peter Singer. The "... 2009 book is often cited by philanthropists, who find it difficult to reject Mr. Singer's argument that the failure of people who are relatively well off financially to eradicate global poverty is an unconscionable moral stain," notes the news article. 

(The book inspired the web page:

"...28 current and former college leaders will publicly come forward as charter members of the Presidents' Pledge Against Global Poverty.  In so doing, they commit to join (the project)  donating 5 percent of their total compensation this year to charities that fight global poverty.

The list includes presidents from liberal-arts colleges, religiously affiliated institutions, and a few research universities."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Mulch Fairy" Inspires Daily Good Conversation

A Facebook (FB) group shares everyday chat among a group of women.  One woman, tired of the organic debris that built up around her residence, but outside of her property decided to clean it up.
Leaf bag after leaf bag filled with rich compost perfect debris…but there was no place to dispose of it and no city or residential collection was available. But a smile, enthusiasm and kind words coerced another person with access to taking garden debris for composting, to haul the mountain of compost-ready debris to a proper facility.
The following (edited) FB posts ensued:
#1:  When you consider that each individual knows about 200 other people...individual action can have a big impact.  Just think what would happen, if just for a month, each of us decided to say something nice to every person we see during the day...I think I just happened unto a personal project.
#2:  Or do one kind thing for someone...and it has to be anonymous. 
#1:  ...if something good (catches) my attention, I should say something.  It's amazing how you brighten up someone's face just by saying to a cashier, "what a pretty name."  Side benefit--makes me feel good too.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Maintaining Cultural Connections

"The Urban Lifeways Project works with Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Flagstaff, Arizona to maintain a connection to culture and the environment while living in an urban setting. We do this through programs in urban agriculture, public art, community composting, and youth leadership development that incorporate traditional teachings from our communities into a contemporary urban environment.

All of our programs are youth-led and operated through a summer internship program hosted at a local high school. By engaging youth in our programming every step of the way, from the organizing to the implementation, we are helping develop leadership capacity for our community’s next generation of leaders."