Friday, March 29, 2013

Flying Sams Land Medical Care for Needy

aircrafts,propeller planes,transportation,single,privateThere are good Samaritans and there are Flying Samaritans.  The Flying Samaritans, AKA The Flying Sams,  "... is a group of professionals from many different walks of life interested in helping provide healthcare services at no charge to the people in Baja California, Mexico who otherwise have no access to medical care. We are physicians, nurses, dentists, pilots, translators and many other people. We are a non-sectarian organization and our bylaws clearly establish that our purpose is to offer medical assistance and education to the people in rural areas of Mexico. All Flying Samaritan Clinics are operated free of charge to patients," notes the website.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Circle of Women Build Friendship Bridge

Throughout the Western and Southwestern regions of  the United States circles of women gather and help build a Friendship Bridge, "...a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that provides microcredit and education to Guatemalan women so that they can create their own solutions to poverty for themselves, their families and their communities. Through (the)  Microcredit Plus program – which combines small loans averaging $250 for four-to-twelve month loan terms and participatory education – women start, expand or diversify their businesses and learn practical, applicable lessons on everyday topics including business, health and self-esteem. With Friendship Bridge's support, nearly 16,000 empowered women are making strides toward eliminating poverty," notes the group's webpage.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ski Patrollers Help Habitat With "Ascension"

I'm breaking my own rule about highlighting people as opposed to the deed.  But this time the person I'm highlighting lost her life at age 24--Tessa Horan young, athletic and with a big heart.

Last weekend Santa Fe Ski Area Ski Patrol hosted, the annual Tessa's Ascension that benefited Habitat for Humanity.

From the webpage:

Tessa's father, Kevin Horan with friend.
 The ASCENSION is a memorial endurance ski race to honor one of our Ski Patrollers who lost her life while serving in the Peace Corps.Tessa Horan earned her Bachelor's Degree in Education and wanted to engage in meaningful service to others and to the cause of environmental health, restoration, and world peace. In 2006 she joined the Peace Corp and was assigned to Tonga as a teacher of children. Her desire to help others and to give of herself drew her to this remote part of the world where she strived to make a difference in the lives of people in need. While teaching in Tonga, Tessa recognized that the children needed a library. She wrote and called home about her dream of establishing a children's library.

Tessa was killed in a shark attack before her hopes could be realized.  After her death the library was built using contributions to the Tessa Horan Foundation, and with funds raised through the first two years of Tessa's Ascension event. The library is now completed and named in her honor.
...Tessa's Ascension is an event established by her friends and family to honor her and her commitment to a better and more peaceful world.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Resource Generation

 A recent NY Times article caught our attention.  It begins,

Most people would probably be quite happy to receive an inheritance. They would pay off debt, maybe their mortgage; save for retirement; take a trip or two. It would be blissful, and it would make their lives easier.

Then there are those who have actually received an inheritance, sometimes sizable, and struggled with the accompanying responsibility. How should they manage it? What should they spend it on? Do they even deserve it?

In this group, there is a small subset — call them trust-fund progressives — who want to give all or most of the money away while they’re young. 

From the Resource Generation website :

Since 1998, Resource Generation (RG) has engaged over 1,800 young people with wealth across the U.S. Through community building, education and organizing, we help young people with wealth bring all they have and all they are to the social change movements and issues they care about. We organize to transform philanthropy, policy, and institutions and leverage our collective power to make lasting structural change.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lotus Pedals: Bikes For Cambodian Girls

From Philanthropy Today

For young girls in rural parts of Cambodia, the road to school is often not only long but also perilous.But the number of girls making it to school is slowly increasing because of Lotus Pedals, a program to give bicycles to young Cambodian girls...It’s hard to attack a girl on a bike, says (the) executive director of Lotus Outreach International, the San Francisco charity that runs the program...Lotus Pedals distributed 500 bikes in Cambodia last year, and...the goal is 2,000 in 2013. Lotus Outreach International was founded in India in 1993 by Khyentse Norbu, a Buddhist teacher who sought to serve the world’s most dispossessed people through education.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

12-Year-Old Commits to Environmental Health

Editor's Note:  The Daily Prism usually highlights the good people do, but not necessarily the people.  But after reading the February blog from The Pollination Project (TPP), Maya's Ideas 4 the Planet was a natural for demonstrating how children can commit and act for the planet's well-being. 

From The Pollination Project:

Maya’s Ideas 4 the Planet spreads environmental awareness and encourages young girls to follow their dreams in non-traditional fields.  Maya is using TPP “Pay it Forward” Loan funds to write and illustrate a book about getting kids active in helping the environment and taking care of the planet with the two of her animated characters Lucy and Sammy sheep.  Maya will distribute this environmental awareness book when she speaks at schools and girls/kids organizations and events. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Walking Off War

It's been proven that spending time in nature helps ground us. To that end, a group of war veterans are heading out on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail to "Walk Off the War."

Trail SafetyThe Appalachian Trail Conservancy, in partnership with Warrior Hike, Operation Military Embrace, the Military Family Lifestyle Charitable Foundation, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, has launched an initiative called the “Walk Off the War” program. This program will provide 13 military veterans the opportunity to reconnect with the United States in a uniquely physical and psychological way – a fully funded scholarship to hike the Appalachian Trail.

The objective of this program is to provide thes veterans a self-directed, self-paced journey along the A.T. 

Hiking the trail provides the opportunity to eliminate the negative effects of the war, through walking in nature, engaging with other hikers, and experiencing the hospitality of the trail towns along the A.T.

In the end, the goal is to return these soldiers back into civilian society with the greatest opportunity for success in their personal and professional lives.

Friday, March 22, 2013

World Water Day, March 22, 2013

Individuals, communities, towns, cities, states, governments and nonprofits and religious groups around the world join together today to bring to international attention how we use water on this planet.

Global Brigades  is comprised of university students and alumni mobilized to implement programs with partner communities abroad. Their current water projects are in Ghana and Honduras.

The success of one of the projects in Ghana is expressed by a beneficiary:  We are still waiting for the rainy season, but I know we will be able to store water in the dry season.” “We say a very big thank you knowing that this tank will be used by my children, grand children, and great grand children to come.” “We will forever be grateful and thankful to you. We are never going to forget you even after you have left the community for good. We will tell them about when  you were here building this tank.”- Adjoa (Mary) Kwaaba

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Helping Others Also Helps Self

"...a new study suggests a healthier way to cope with the perils of stress: helping others.

"The study, led by Michael J. Poulin of the University of Buffalo, followed 846 people over five years. At the start of the study, the researchers interviewed all of these people about stressful events in their lives, such as non-life-threatening illnesses, job loss, financial difficulties, or the death of a family member.

"They also asked participants whether they had helped friends, neighbors, or relatives who did not live with them over the past year, and how much time they’d spent doing so. This included such altruistic deeds as driving people places, running errands for them, or doing housework or providing child care for others.

"After five years, doing good clearly did good—for the givers...According to Poulin, acts of kindness buffer the giver against the harm of psychological stress that occurs when bad things happen in your life."

Source: University of California, Berkeley

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Marathon App--"Charity Miles"

Gene Gurkoff: Making Every Mile Matter-

2013 Dewey Winburne Community Service Award Winner

 What he did: Created Charity Miles, an application for mobile phones that helps people raise money for charity when they walk, run, or bike.
Why he did it: A devoted runner and triathlete, Mr. Gurkoff says he had long wondered how to encourage those who walk, run, bike, and participate in weekend races to raise money for nonprofits through these activities. At a brainstorming meeting with representatives from the American Cancer Society, Mr. Gurkoff started to think that businesses might be willing to “sponsor” everyday athletes if they knew the money went to a good cause (and they could get good publicity).
How he did it: Through his work as a lawyer and volunteer fundraiser, Mr. Gurkoff had ties to people at big charities and managed to persuade several groups, including the American Cancer Society, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and Feeding America, to test the idea. From there, Mr. Gurkoff worked with a business partner, Joe Marinucci, a marketing expert, to develop a business plan for the project. They tapped a team of developers to build the Charity Miles app, which allows corporate sponsors to connect with walkers, runners, and bikers who are interested in raising money for charity.
What he accomplished: Since its debut in June, more than 55,000 people have used the Charity Miles app to raise more than $105,000.

Source:  Philanthropy Today

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blooms Without Borders for Refugees

From the Pollination Project:  

Photo from The Pollination Project
Blooms without Borders, is an organic vegetable and herb garden that will be cultivated by refugee communities in Omaha.  (The coordinator) explains, “Omaha is now home to thousands of refugees from South Sudan, Burma, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Burundi, the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Iran and Liberia, with new community members continuously arriving. The income of newly-arrived refugees is extremely minimal. With these economic dynamics, access to nourishing foods is extremely restricted.” She hopes to offer a self-sustaining food source for healthy food, while also creating a cross-cultural, nurturing atmosphere for participants.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Paddleboarders Sweep Waterway Trash

From SUP Magazine

A beautiful thing happened on a windy morning in January. After 230 standup paddlers exited the sheltered waters of Miami’s Bayside at the start of the 2013 Orange Bowl Paddle Championships, a flotilla of young volunteers dispersed on paddleboards to pluck trash from the harbor with the help of a simple but ingenious device.

(The net creator) currently constructs the nets himself.. The core mission of the program is sharing the concept of environmental stewardship. (He) encourages everyone to “Take what you need, give what you can.” He hopes to make this type of networking cool. “We need to make picking up trash chic.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fueling Dreams Of Young Africans

The Kuyu Project aims to teach young African students how to use various forms of social media to make a positive impact in their communities.

By doing this, they believe that  "...we are in essence fueling the dreams and aspirations of these young people which in turn may turn out to be the innovations and solutions that will change Africa.

We plan to achieve this using this wiki which people can contribute content based on the following five broad themes:

  • Create
  • Connect
  • Collaborate
  • Learn
  • Share
"We believe that these are the fundamental skills the students will need to make a positive impact in their communities. We now have a task to flesh out these themes with specific content about the available technologies that can help students achieve this.

"The most important part of this project is relating the content of the wiki to our mission of empowering young minds across the continent to make a positive impact in their communities."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Racing For Marine Conservation

From the environmental activist website, Earthrace, the website explains the nonprofit's mission:
Earthrace Conservation Organisation aims to identify marine conservation issues, and intervene where and when necessary to protect and defend threatened marine ecosystems world-wide.

Through direct action and education, and by involving local communities, governments and businesses, it will encourage respect and guardianship of our oceans and all animals that depend on them.

Earthrace Conservation will galvanize a global movement to speak out for the preservation of marine life everywhere.

The name comes from a the boat, Earthrace-- a project that demonstrated that renewable fuels were viable.  Earthrace, received world-wide attention  by breaking the global circumnavigation speed record using only bio diesel from sustainable sources. The journey took 60 days 23 hours 49 minutes, breaking the previous record by almost two weeks

Monday, March 11, 2013

Technology for Good--There's an App for That

Philanthropy Today announced:
Innovative efforts to use technology to improve health care, curb climate change, and help the poor take center stage when thousands of business, media, and nonprofit experts converge in Austin, Tex., for the annual SXSW Interactive Festival March 8-12, 2013.
To emphasize the importance of using technology to further the greater good, conference organizers have named 10 people to receive the annual Dewey Winburne Community Service Award, named after a teacher who showed children from tough backgrounds how to put digital technology tools to work.

The Daily Prism will feature some of the ten winners, like Rey Faustino, who "While earning his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 2011, Mr. Faustino set out to help families get access to the services they need to escape poverty. His nonprofit, One Degree, built an extensive online database of organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area that provide emergency food, legal services, health care, and early-childhood education, among other services."

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Waiter Donates Donation

From the FW

Last month, Michael Garcia made a lot of people smile. The 45-year-old, who is a waiter at Laurenzo’s Restaurant in Houston, Texas, refused to serve a family who insulted Milo Castillo, a five-year-old with Down Syndrome, by suggesting that “special needs children need to be special someplace else.”

The story became national news after being picked up by Houston’s 29-95 blog, and folks started giving Garcia donations, in part to make up for the tip he lost when he told the offending family to take a hike.

In total, Garcia received over $1,000 in cash, but instead of keeping the money, he donated it to Milo’s school. Milo attends the Rise School of Houston, which is described as “the city’s first and only school that offers an integrated learning environment to children born with Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities.”

The school celebrated Garcia’s good heart and generosity with a celebration in his honor, in which Garcia was presented with a special crown for his good deed.

Still, Garcia doesn’t think his actions were that big of a deal.

“The children are the real heroes,” he explained. “I don’t feel like a hero in any way. It’s the children. That’s what this is about, helping the children.”

Friday, March 8, 2013

Taiwan Based Group "Cultivates Compassion, Service"

The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is an international organization with the charitable mission to educate the rich to help the poor and to inspire the poor to realize their riches.

"With the spirit of self-discipline, diligence, frugality, and perseverance, Tzu Chi set out to help the poor and relieve suffering. Over time, the foundation’s mission started with Charity and extended into Medicine, Education, and Humanistic Culture...The shared goal of Tzu Chi volunteers is to cultivate sincerity, integrity, faith, and honesty within while exercising kindness, compassion, joy, and selflessness to humanity through concrete actions. Transcending the bounds of race, nationality, language, and religion, they serve the world under the notion that 'when others are hurting, we feel their pain; when others suffer, we feel their sorrow'," explains the website.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Volunteers Rescue Sea Lion Pups

Stranded sea lions and dramatic rescue operations have been in the news more than ever in California. Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine mammals stranded along the Orange County coastline.More than 90 skinny, sick sea lion pups have been handed over to the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro so far this year.

The nonprofit rescues, rehabilitates, and releases marine mammals that respond to treatment.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Americorps Set To Help Schools in Decline

KPPC reports;

Struggling and low performing schools are about to get a little help.  U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has announced a $15 million grant to deploy Americorps volunteers to some of the worst schools in the country...the volunteers’ will focus on improving reading and math skills, raise graduation rates, and boost college enrollment... The program will send 650 Americorps members to 60 rural and urban schools over three years.

The grant is open to public and private nonprofit organizations, including faith based groups. It’s funded by the Department of Education and the Corporation for National Community Service, which is seeking private funds to shore it up.

Duncan said he’s looking for applicants that focus on increasing parent and family engagement in education. Applications are due by April 2.
A notice of intent to apply must be submitted to CNCS by April 2, 2013 via e-mail at: Applications are due on April 23, 2013. More information about the notice of intent and application instructions may be found here.
Grants will be awarded by mid-July.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"Peace Corps for Geeks"

Code for America   is a three-year-old nonprofit that seeks to increase the number of technology experts working to make city governments more open and efficient. It's mission: "Code for America helps governments work better for everyone with the people and the power of the web. Through our Fellowship, Accelerator, and Brigade, we're building a network of cities, citizens, community groups, and startups, all equally committed to reimagining government for the 21st century."

According to Philanthropy Today
Code for America has four programs that help city governments and civic-oriented start-ups become more efficient through the use of technology. One of the programs, dubbed “Peace Corps for geeks,” deploys technology fellows to selected cities for a year.

In Boston, Code for America developed an app called “Adopt-a-Hydrant” that allows people to volunteer to be responsible for shoveling snow away from fire hydrants following big storms. That app is now being spread to other cities.

Code for America for describes its program: "Cities are under greater pressure than ever, struggling with budget cuts and outdated technology. Code for America believes that instead of cutting services or raising taxes, cities can leverage the power of the web to become more open and efficient. And we want to help them do it...Code for America helps governments become more connected, lean, and participatory through new opportunities for public service -- both inside and outside government -- so we're not only making a direct impact everyday, but also creating the relationships and network for lasting change."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Going Bald For the Kids

The Daily Prism annually reports on a St. Baldrick's Day--a fundraiser  to benefit research for kids with cancer.  According to the Saint Baldrick's Foundation webpage:  Worldwide, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. And in the U.S., more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease—more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined.


The recent Baltimore, Maryland event set a goal to raise $150,000 in  2013 by seeking volunteers to shave their heads bald.  Here are photos from one team during yesterday's event:

Before the Shave
St. Baldrick Heroes--After the Shave

One of the doctors who received funds from the foundation    for childhood brain cancer research with a brain cancer survivor

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Ask Questions

Our final theme for this series is Question.  Ask. Probe. Query. 

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

 “The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he's one who asks the right questions.”
Claude Lévi-Strauss

“The question is very understandable, but no one has found a satisfactory answer to it so far. Yes, why do they make still more gigantic planes, still heavier bombs and, at the same time, prefabricated houses for reconstruction? Why should millions be spent daily on the war and yet there's not a penny available for medical services, artists, or for poor people?

Why do some people have to starve, while there are surpluses rotting in other parts of the world? Oh,why are people so crazy?”
Anne Frank 

“He explained to me with great insistence that every question possessed a power that did not lie in the answer.”
Elie Wiesel,

Friday, March 1, 2013

But For A Dosage of Knowledge

Knowledge is one of the keys that unlocks the truth.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

 “When you know better you do better.”
Maya Angelou

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
Stephen Hawking