Friday, March 30, 2012

Volunteers Clean Up Public Recreation Areas

Hundreds of volunteers from regional Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  churches committed to a day of service for the last three years to tackle maintenance projects at a public recreational area.

Strapped by budget cuts, the day use area requires repair and maintenance on walkways, fences, landscaping, administration building and more. The church members are raising $10,000 for supplies and recruiting, at least, 250 volunteers for this year's project.

Previous years the church has brought in 300 volunteers who have planted trees, installed drip irrigation, stain picnic tables and more.

Source:  San Luis Obispo Tribune

Thursday, March 29, 2012

University Offers Course in Compassion & Kindness

Stanford Compassion Training (SCT) is an eight-week course (plus one week orientation session) designed to develop the qualities of compassion, empathy, and kindness for oneself and for others. SCT integrates traditional contemplative practices with contemporary psychology and scientific research on compassion. The program was developed at Stanford University by a team of contemplative scholars, clinical psychologists, and researchers.

SCT is designed to support anyone who wants to cultivate compassion for themselves and for others. This includes parents, caregivers, educators, healthcare professionals, therapists, executives, public servants, and people in a wide range of professions and life contexts. No previous meditation experience is required, although willingness to practice daily meditation is a key component of the training.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Expanded Learning for All Students

From Expanded Learning and Afterschool

Young people need—and deserve—more from their education. High quality afterschool and summer learning programs powered by school-community partnerships offer young people a variety of hands-on, engaging learning activities that build upon the school day.

The Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project connects you with research, resources and best practices for building affordable and sustainable approaches to expanding learning in your community.
High quality expanded learning, afterschool and summer programs incorporate:
  • School-Community Partnerships. Building upon strong collaboration between communities and schools
  • Engaged Learning. Incorporating learning that is hands-on and engaging
  • Affordability and Scalability. Utilizing financial models that are affordable, scalable and sustainable
  • Learning Time after School and during the Summer. Adding significant time for learning and enrichment that complements the school day
  • Family Engagement. Engaging families to participate in their children's learning
  • Health and Wellness. Linking to meals and providing opportunities and supports for physical and mental well-being

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Foxhounds Trained To Halt Rhino Poachers

From South African National Parks:

Three Foxhounds, called Kombi, Jetta and Chico, have become the first of a new generation of crime fighters entering the poaching war on the side of our rhinos. They are busy completing the initial phase of their training, and are making excellent progress. They have shown above average abilities, and have already learnt to ignore animal spoor in favour of their human quarry. They are busy with a daily tracking routine which already has them tracking people with a 90% success rate. They are well balanced, keen and boisterous and are displaying an eagerness to track which bodes well for their futures...

The SANParks Honorary Rangers decided to sponsor this project with a R43 000 sponsorship through the Unite Against Poaching project, to help increase the efficiency of counter poaching teams. The dogs will be deployed as part of a rapid reaction team, which can be on the scene of a poaching incident within minutes. These tracker dogs will enable counter poaching teams to track poachers much faster and efficiently...

Monday, March 26, 2012

St. Baldrick Makes Shiney Heads For Cancer Research

The Daily Prism featured "St. Baldrick's Day" last year...and we can't help but feature it again--especially when our news sources broadcast the news we wish to change.  But the folks who support this event to raise funds to battle childhood cancer, take the negative out of the news and highlight the very good within us all.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Surfer's Enthusiam Seeks Alternative Energy for South Africa

A young pro surfer was shocked to discover that a coal-fired power plant was about to be built along a pristine Chilean coast where he surfed.  He researched the project, which eventually led him to creating Surfing For Change--an environmental activist website to bring awareness to ecologically delicate areas around the globe.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Today: World TB Day. Stop Tuberculosis

In 1906 my great grandfather died from tuberculosis. People still die from this preventable killer. 
The World TB Day Campaign 2012 will allow people all over the world to make an individual call to stop TB in their lifetimes.  From the Stop TB Partnership website:

In their lifetimes, today's children should expect to see a world where no one gets sick with TB.

In their lifetimes, women and men should expect to see a world where no one dies from TB.

People of different ages and living in different countries could have these hopes for stopping TB in their lifetimes:

  • Zero deaths from TB
  • Faster treatment
  • A quick, cheap, low-tech test
  • An effective vaccine
  • A world free of TB.

Friday, March 23, 2012

World Peacekeeping Without Guns

Experts on nonviolent peacekeeping presented their methodologies, lessons learned, and the way forward for the innovative field at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) on March 21, 2012. Representatives from Peace Brigades International and Nonviolence Peaceforce, two leaders in unarmed civilian protection, described how they provide “protective accompaniment” for human rights advocates in conflict zones, build local capacity for conflict resolution and raise awareness of organized violence at local, national and international levels.   Read more:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Representing the Under Represented in Ireland

Homelessness in Ireland is a condition that a group, Simon Communities Of Ireland, actively seeks to resolve. The nonprofit's priorities include:
  • Prevention - Developing and testing effective ways of reducing the number of people becoming homeless
  • Campaigning - Effecting changes in economic and social policy in Ireland that will contribute to the elimination of homelessness and its causes
  • Creating Homes- Enabling the people who come in contact with our services and projects to move as soon as possible to an appropriate place they can call home
  • Strengthening Simon - Increasing our capability to achieve our objectives

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Group Monitors Free Speech Violations

If there is one thing an authoritarian leader or government doesn't like, it is a trained journalist/reporter. Authoritarians are not wild about freedom of expression. 

A group of Canadian journalists spearheaded a group to counter this challenge, that eventually became the International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 

IFEX  is now a "... global network of action and information-sharing, members gain influence, leverage and authority. IFEX is in a position to bring real change to a global situation where more than half of the world’s nations violate the principles of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," according to the group's website.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Student Led Greening Efforts Spreads The Globe

Their motto, a Margaret Mead quote,  "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world.  Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has," leads the Greening Forward program, established by a student who, " response to seeing litter found all over his school campus...created an interactive website called Recycling Education that addressed many environmental issues," according to the website.

This led to the Earth Savers Club,  that "...has reached 6,000 youth in 30 communities in the US, Asia, and Africa."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Treasure Hunt Benefits US Military Children & Spouses

From ThanksUSA:
While two sisters, Rachel (10) and Kelsi (8), were on a family vacation in August 2005, they became fascinated with the appeal of treasure hunts. They were trying to locate the treasures hidden by Michael Stadther in his book, A Treasure's Trove, and they asked their parents about the historical basis for the clues in the movie, National Treasure.

The girls wondered whether you could use the appeal of treasure hunts to get kids and their parents to support a national goal. Asked what that goal should be, the girls said they wanted to help the families of military troops. They were inspired by their neighbor, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Lanier Ward, who had been severely injured in Iraq. Although the girls had already sent care packages from school and church and they had written letters to the soldiers, but they wanted to do something more.

The family discussion turned into the idea of creating a national treasure hunt game, based on American history and American values, which could encourage Americans to "thank" the troops through contributions and activities. After researching what programs are available to troops and their families, they decided to establish a scholarship program for the children and spouses of American troops using private, corporate and federal funding. Ultimately, both the treasure hunt and the scholarship program were grouped under the moniker of ThanksUSA, short for "Treasure Hunt Aiding Needs of Kids and Spouses of those serving the United States of America."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Music To Fight Children's Neurological Diseases

Jourdan Urbach was honored for his achievement on Tuesday with one of the nation's highest public service awards — the Jefferson Awards.

The 20-year-old resident of the Long Island community of Roslyn founded Concerts for a Cure when he was only 7 years old. Since then, he has raised $5.1 million to fight children's neurological diseases and fund research. Through benefit concerts, he has funded 12 life-saving neurosurgeries, 1,000 cochlear implants, pediatric clinics in Africa and El Salvador and a bedside music program at the University of Michigan's Mott Children's Hospital.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kids Measure Water Footprint

World Water Day--which is actually a month long event, March 22-April 22, 2012, is designated as project of the month by Generation On.  The project is designed to help children measure their water footprint in a time when drinkable water is becoming an increasingly large worldwide issue.

International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dialogue Crafted For Nonviolence

"Our activities have ranged from entering active conflict zones to remove civilians in the crossfire to providing opposing factions a safe space to negotiate. Other activities include serving as a communication link between warring factions, securing safe temporary housing for civilians displaced by war, providing violence prevention measures during elections and negotiating the return of kidnapped family members," explains the website for Nonviolence Force For Peace.

The organization's mission is to, "...promote, develop and implement unarmed civilian peacekeeping as a tool for reducing violence and protecting civilians in situations of violent conflict."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Birthday Celebration Benefits Local Food Bank

A simple and easy good deed:  A couple celebrating their 60th birthday threw a party.  No presents, please...just bring "donations for the Food Bank.."  The party brought in $1200 and 60 pounds of food--all donated to the local food bank.

Source: San Luis Tribune, March 8, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Information Democratization for the Poor in Mexico

FundaciĆ³n Proacceso has created 70 education centers in poorer areas of Mexico that have helped more than 200,000 people get hands-on training in how to use computers and the Internet. Teenagers can also work toward completing their high-school degrees through the centers. The organization's goal is to  “democratize information and education at a low cost.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

Citizens Maintain Healthy Alaskan Ecosystem

With over 4,200 violations of the federal Clean Water Act in Cook Inlet--a watershed ecosystem covering 47,000 square miles of Southcentral Alaska--by oil and gas producers, a group of Alaskans, concerned about rapid ecological changes unfolding in Cook Inlet,  came together and formed Cook Inletkeeper, modeled after successful "Waterkeeper" programs across the country. Since its inception, Inletkeeper has become a leader at the state and national levels in the fight for clean water and healthy fisheries

Friday, March 2, 2012

Farm Animal Refuge

The roots of this story are sad and unfortunate.  (The abandonment of 50,000 egg laying chickens left to starve and die.)  But a group of caring individuals took action and rescued the few chickens that might have a fighting chance for survival.

Animal Place,  a refuge for abused or neglected farm animals, spearheaded the rescue effort.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A World Free of Neglected Tropical Diseases

They are called NTDs or Neglected Tropical Diseases that comprise "... 14 parasitic and bacterial infections. They are the most common afflictions of humankind. The seven most prevalent NTDs (ascariasis, hookworm infection, trichuriasis, lymphatic filariasis (LF), onchoocerciasis, schistosomiasis, and trachoma) affect over one billion individuals, one sixth of the world population. Ninety percent of the disease burden of NTDs is in Africa with the majority of the infected two or more NTDs. Most can be prevented and eliminated through the administration of inexpensive or donated medicines. Children are the most vulnerable," explains the website for Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI).

"Since 2002 the SCI has been working with governments towards treating and protecting the populations of sub-Saharan African countries from the debilitating and life-threatening consequences of NTDs. By 2007, thanks to funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we have facilitated delivery of approximately 40 million treatments," the website further informs.