Saturday, May 25, 2013

Focus on Foster Youth Averts Homelessness

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:

First Place for Youth pioneered four innovative programs designed to defy negative statistics among former foster youth by providing an innovative mix of:
  • permanent housing with a graduated subsidy
  • employment training and job development
  • education assessment and support
  • transformative emotional support and community building
Over 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
  • three times less likely to be arrested
  • six times more likely to be enrolled in college
  • twice as likely to graduate from high school
  • twice as likely to be employed


Friday, May 24, 2013

"Religious people can learn to peacefully coexist around the world"

By Mike Tolson
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON —Coming 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 announced Thursday.

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.

With 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.

“Figuring 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?”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mobile Phone Technology Benefits Sanitation

From the Pacific Institute

"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."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Arctic Council Declares Peace & Stability Zone

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,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Foundation Dedicated to Search Dog Training

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."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Stewards for the Sharks

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 sanctuaries."

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ucif's Wedding--Pay It Forward

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 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.

Thank you!
-Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay It Forward

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Over Half-Million Volunteers Clean Beaches

McClatchy News reports on May 15, 2013:

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.

For more information on this story visit:


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kindness is Kool

From the Pollination Project:

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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Moms Who Blog Go For the Good

"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, BrazilUK, India, Spain, Nigeria, Singapore, Netherlands, Pakistan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, PeruJamaica, 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."

Monday, May 13, 2013

"Blessed Are the Peacemakers"

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.

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you”  Nathaniel Hawthone

From Wikipedia:



Maranaos in America

Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship

Student Peace Action Network