Every year in California over 5000 young people are released from foster care. The odds for success after foster care are minimal. First Place for Youth, an Oakland based nonprofit, however, works to turn the negative statistics around.
From the website:
Place for Youth pioneered four innovative programs designed to defy
negative statistics among former foster youth by providing an innovative
permanent housing with a graduated subsidy
employment training and job development
education assessment and support
transformative emotional support and community building
the last decade, First Place has had a profound impact on our youth
participants. When compared to other transition age foster youth, First
Place youth are:
five times less likely to experience homelessness
three times less likely to give birth before the age of 21
up with ways that devoutly religious people can learn to peacefully
coexist around the world — regardless of myriad political, moral,
economic or theological differences — will be the mission of a new
center to be established at Rice University thanks to a $28.5 million
gift from Houston philanthropists Milton and Laurie Boniuk that was
The Boniuk Institute for the Study and
Advancement of Religious Tolerance will conduct research, engage in
public outreach and develop new courses, Rice officials said.
the culturally and religiously diverse city of Houston serving as both a
laboratory and role model of sorts, the institute’s goal will be
nothing less than explaining and solving a major source of human
conflict that’s existed since the dawn of civilization.
out how these religions can live together is not an obvious matter,”
Rice President David Leebron said. “It’s time to devote more resources
to it. What are the sources of religious intolerance, and what makes
people think what they think?”
"The widespread and rapidly growing use of mobile phones throughout the
world offers an exciting Pacific Institute’s Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) SMS Project is creating a highly accessible
communication and monitoring system that uses readily available mobile
phones to collect and disseminate information that can fill multiple
data needs – for poor residents, utilities, local governments, NGOs, as
well as the average customer – and is designed to be accessible both to
resource-strapped utilities and poor residents. Through crowd-sourcing
it helps develop rich, actionable data that addresses critical urban
WASH needs, and informs better policymaking, budgeting, and planning.
opportunity for enabling information to flow
between communities, governmental entities, water and sanitation service
providers, and NGOs and to support rapid and informed decision-making.
Mobile connectivity is outpacing fixed line telephones around the world,
and especially in many developing countries due to the cost savings in
both network infrastructure and individual subscription fees."
Kiruna Declaration: On the Occasion of the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council on May 15, 2013:
We, the Ministers representing the eight Arctic States, joined by
the representatives of the six Permanent Participant organizations of
the Arctic Council, have gathered in Kiruna, Sweden, at the conclusion
of the first cycle of Chairmanships for the Eighth Ministerial meeting
of the Arctic Council,
Recognizing the importance of maintaining peace, stability, and constructive cooperation in the Arctic,
Recognizing the importance of the sustainable use of resources, economic development and environmental protection,
Recognizing that the Arctic is first and foremost an inhabited
region with diverse economies, cultures and societies, further
recognizing the rights of the indigenous peoples and interests of all
Arctic inhabitants, and emphasizing that a fundamental strength of the
Council is the unique role played by Arctic indigenous peoples,
Today rescue dogs will work hard to find survivors of the Oklahoma tornadoes. Training these dogs is an expensive effort. The Search Dog Foundation is based in Ojai, California.
"Our mission is to strengthen disaster
response in America by recruiting rescued dogs and partnering them with
firefighters and other first responders to find people buried alive in
the wreckage of disasters.
"We offer the professionally trained canines and an ongoing training program at no cost to fire departments.
And we ensure lifetime care for every dog in our program: once rescued,
these dogs never need to be rescued again. There are currently 72
SDF-trained Search Teams located in California, Florida, Nebraska, New
York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. Thanks to Mutual Aid Agreements between
counties, cities and states, these precious, life-saving resources can
be shared regionally and nationally to make sure that when disaster
strikes, NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND."
Unlike a sea otter, sharks don't usually win the cute and cuddly creature from the sea award. But this doesn't lessen a shark's value to the overall ecology of the ocean. Furthermore, over 1/3 of pelagic shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction by overfishing and shark finning, according to Shark Stewards.
Shark Stewards is dedicated to preventing the practice of shark finning and stopping the shark fin trade, notes the website. "We
are at the forefront of the global movment to protect sharks, ban the
shark fin trade, stop illegal shark finning and establish shark
The author behind the popular book, film and foundation, Pay It Forward, continues a daily mission to be kind.
Presently, a campaign to raise funds for "Ucif's Wedding" is meeting its goal of $2,000. From the Facebook page:
Ouchaoua "Ucif" Youcef, a good friend to many of us on Facebook, lives
in Algeria. He manages to get by on...well, not much. The wonderful news
is that, in his late 30s, he is about to get married for the first
time. The happy date is Thursday, March 6th, 2014.
Ucif needs a
dowry, sheep, a fridge, money to paint a few rooms, a stove...it adds up
to about $2,000. He didn't ask me to do this, but...ten or twenty
dollars from a lot of people will add up to a lot of help.
Let's show him we care by Paying it Forward to Ucif and getting his married life off to a great start.
More than 550,000 people picked up in excess of 10 million pounds of
trash along 17,719 miles of international coastlines in September during
the Ocean Conservancy’s annual cleanup. Billed as the largest
ocean-related volunteer effort in the world, the event spotlights just
what sort of ocean trash washes up on beaches around the world and what
can be done to scale back the refuse.
I Love Animals is a series of educational books and companion
workbooks designed to raise awareness about the sentient nature of
animals, the food connection, our responsibility to companion animals
if we have them and importantly, how every choice we make impacts on the
lives of all beings both near and far. They stories are aimed at
children 5-8 years old all over the world.
Gypsy will also create an interactive website (which will go live at
the end of Feb.) where children are encouraged to send in stories,
videos, poems and pictures of kind acts towards animals and enroll in
the Kindness is Kool Klub. The Pollination Project grant will be used
specifically for the website development. All proceeds of the book
sales will go to animal sanctuaries.
"Launched on January 9, 2012 with 400 founding members and now over 1000+
mom bloggers strong Mom Bloggers for Social Good is a global coalition
of mom bloggers who span seventeen countries – United States, Canada, Brazil, UK, India, Spain, Nigeria, Singapore, Netherlands, Pakistan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Peru, Jamaica, and the Philippines
— who care about spreading the good news about the amazing work
non-profit organizations and NGOs do around the world. When our partners
need to reach the masses about new initiatives, advocacy campaigns, or
fundraising efforts we work collectively to spread the word through
social media and blogging."
Hundreds of organizations shine on our globe that stand for peace. Each group represents a movement of thousands, of millions, of billions of humans who rise above the shrill screams and work to bring peace in so many different ways.
It's easy to let faith fade when conflict arises. Faith offers inner strength that grows impermeable. When we hear the haters shout, shout back in a whisper and grow peace in your heart. The flower holds more beauty than any sharp thorn could ever cause pain.