Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WATCH For These Teens!

Student  in WATCH program explains his team's research. 
Keep you eyes open and WATCH for these teens when it comes to marine science.  WATCH is the acronym for Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habits,"... a year-long program (that) begins in the summer and extends throughout the school year. During the three-week summer component students explore the Pajaro River Watershed, meet with local scientists and participate in inquiry-based learning. They also learn about environmental issues in their community and participate in local restoration efforts.

"During the school year, the same students that participated in the summer portion of the program develop their own projects based on an environmental topic. Students will work during the school day, after school and independently to complete their projects. They work with the Monterey Bay Aquarium staff and teachers, as well as scientists and educators from the community to complete their projects. Upon completion of the projects, students receive a scholarship and community service hours needed for graduation."

Photo: C. Coimbra Photo.  Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Symposium 2013. Pajaro High School student team research poster display "Ocean Acidification: Effects on Behavior of Echinoderms."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Seeking Wealthy African Donors for Transformation

African donors are commanding an increasingly powerful voice both on their own continent and in the charity
world, a fact that was driven home this week by the formation of the African Philanthropy Forum. The new group, a regional affiliate of the Global Philanthropy Forum, seeks to gather African donors and spur giving on the continent.

Its organizers include Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian banker; Angélique Kidjo, a Benin-born singer and Unicef Goodwill ambassador; and Manu Chandaria, a Kenyan billionaire businessman.

Some of the donors are working on policy changes that could make it easier to build foundations and nonprofits in African countries and say they want to help spur greater giving.

“There are 150 private jets in Nigeria, and there are only about four registered philanthropies,” said Wiebe Boer, a former Rockefeller Foundation official who now leads Mr. Elumelu’s philanthropy. “If we could get every one of those guys who owns a private jet to create a philanthropy, I think we could have a terrific transformation in that country.”

Source:  Philanthropy Today

Friday, April 26, 2013

Teens Encourage Youth to be Ocean Stewards

"Teens4Oceans (T4O) is a nonprofit that empowers youth to be ocean stewards through experiential education, research, technology and conservation. Inspired by ocean science, teens work together to share their passion with their community, explore the ocean in various ways and exchange ideas for how to take action to protect it.

Based in land-locked Colorado but driven by love for the ocean, T4O students share their passion with their community, explore the ocean in various ways, exchange ideas for how to protect it, and connect with students around the world.

Teens4Oceans aims to unite students with scientists and nonprofits to create global ocean awareness and to work together towards ocean conservation."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Generous Young Floridians

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Once largely ignored by charities, the under-44 crowd is now out-pacing its elders in their personal giving habits, a trend fueled by social media and volunteerism...According to new national and local data, the shift in giving comes just as charitable donations are finally showing signs of a comeback, thanks to an improved economy.

A just-released report of public nonprofits by the Community Foundation and the Orlando-based accounting firm Cross, Fernandez & Riley shows charitable giving rebounded to pre-recession levels last year.

"We're definitely seeing more optimism," said Melanie Fernandez, a founding partner of the accounting firm. "And optimism tends to make people more inclined to give."

Younger donors now account for 50 to 60 percent of individual giving, according to the report.
Among that age group, camaraderie seems to have a big influence. Millennials and Gen-Xers — those born between 1983 and 2000 — tend to share their causes with friends, who then ask them to reciprocate.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rotary Clubs Add Rotary Eco Clubs

From Rotary.org News

Eco Rotary Group Improve Community Park
Eco clubs are a new phenomenon in Rotary. Though “eco” is not an official designation, Rotary allows clubs that plan to have an environmental focus to include the word in their name. In 2010, Deepa Willingham, then governor of District 5240, decided to start such a club. She wanted her district to be the first on the West Coast to set up a nontraditional club that was more about action than meetings. “I was looking for a way to make Rotary more attractive to young people – Gen X and Gen Y – who care about the environment and who want to be involved in hands-on projects,” she says.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Puerto Rico Creates "Protected Zone" for Leatherback Turtles

Leatherback turtles, which are rated "critically endangered" on the IUCN's Red List, are finally getting a break. After a 15-year fight between developers and conservationists, Puerto Rico's government  will  create a protected zone on the island's coast to protect leatherbacks. Named the Northeast Ecological Corridor, the protected area is about 14 square kilometers (5.4 sq miles)

.This will not only help leatherback turtles, but also a huge variety of other species, as the area is home to "more than 860 different types of flora and fauna." While the developers' hotels and resorts won't be built, the area should become a great eco-tourist attraction.

From: TreeHugger

Monday, April 22, 2013

Non-Violence Dominates YouTube Content

Researchers at Indiana University determined, after reviewing about 2400 You Tube videos that
  • Among user-generated amateur videos, only about 7% contained violence. Content uploaded by professionals featuring their own outlet’s media featured violence 23% of the time, while mainstream media (MSM) that was uploaded by amateurs featured violence 24% of the time.
  • The researchers note the following about the relative lack of violence on YouTube: “In the case of user-created videos (which contained the least amount of violence), the paucity of violence could be due to either a lack of interest in creating such content or to the higher production skills necessary to create violent scenes…. However, even when users were uploading content directly from MSM sources they were overwhelmingly choosing nonviolent content to upload.”

Resource:  The Journalist's Resource

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sandy Hook Parents Create Research Foundation

From Philanthropy Today

The parents of a girl killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting have started a research foundation to explore the brain origins of violent behavior, The Hartford Courant reports.

The Avielle Foundation is named for Avielle Richman, one of 20 first-graders killed in the Dec. 14 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Her parents, Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel, are both scientists. On Monday the foundation announced that its three-member advisory board will consist of experts in psychiatry and neuroscience from Yale and Duke Universities and the National Institutes of Health.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Students Raise Funds for Ethiopian Safe-Water Project

From the San Luis Obispo Tribune

Fourteen classes at Harloe Elementary raised $400 to donate to... San Luis Obispo-based Lifewater International.

(The goal) is to raise $10,000 for Lifewater’s work in Ethiopia. On Monday...Los Ranchos Elementary School in San Luis Obispo...students had raised $1,116.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

More Kindness in Boston Than Bombs

When we (in America) experience the works of those who have no love for humanity, as in yesterday's bombing attack in Boston, it becomes a challenge to find the good that we know exists.  Yes, the bomber(s) unmercifully murdered innocents  including an eight-year-old boy, and seriously injured other children.  May that person or persons face the greater good due them.  Yes, mission accomplished for taking the news of the day while attacking innocents.  STILL, when one watches the film that captures the immediate aftermath, persons of every stripe rushed in to the combat zone to help, with no fear for themselves.

That said, the Atlantic Wire at the time of this post headlined:  Stories of Kindness After the Bombing. The story begins:  In all the horror in Boston Monday, there are also heartening stories about how kindness emerged from tragedy: people on Twitter urging others to note the people who run towards the explosions, not a way from them, to help; stories of heroism from runners; journalists who ran the marathon, springing into action to cover the story; the first responders. As we remember to be good to one another in the face of this event, here are some of those initial reports.

The Daily Prism suggests reading the referenced news report.

More Links About This Army For Good:





Monday, April 15, 2013

50 Ways to Stay United and Give Back

From Georgetown University

Alumnus Mark Svensson (C’12) and his wife Ismini Svensson are traveling across the United States to perform “50 Acts of Giving Back.”

“We decided to establish StayUNITED because we believe that as human beings, what we have in common is more important than our differences," said Mark Svensson.

 StayUNITED is a non-profit organization with the mission to improve the quality of life in local communities and empower individuals worldwide.

 The organization promotes the importance of serving others by “fostering partnerships, conducting charitable initiatives, and implementing volunteer opportunities."


 "What we have in common is more important than our differences. All our actions, no matter how seemingly insignificant, influence the progress of our world. Every kindness, every moment of empathy and compassion, every act of true sharing, elevates humanity's potential," reads the website, StayUNITED. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Simple Gestures, Acts of Kindness Make a Difference

A church bulletin inspired a couple of Georgia (USA) women to challenge each other to create "Help. I Need Work" bags to hand out to those persons often seen on busy street corners holding a sign asking for help.

 Each bag contains food, juice, money and a note that reads: 

I wish you well.   I hope you find what you need.You are deeply loved and cared for and you are a gift to the world.

The note also includes the  address of a few homeless shelters and places where they can find help.

One of the women making these bags said, "Here's the thing. It's easy to get overwhelmed and see only the big things that need to be done, usually by an organization then look to them for a solution. Many times the simplest gestures done by an individual is what is needed most. We never know what a soul has in store for itself. We never know when what we say or do will change the life of a someone. The simplest acts of kindness are often the most meaningful and valuable. That's why people practice random acts of kindness. You just never know."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Muslim Women Counter Xenophopia

Activist Muslim women in The Netherlands took a negative campaign of intolerant and offensive statements and turned it to a positive campaign, "So You Think You Know Muslim Women?" to end negative stereotypes, according to the Open Society Foundation website.

Al Nisa  is a volunteer organization for Muslim women and girls, and instituted the positive image campaign. The campaign began using a hateful comment about Muslim society and women and turned it into an Al Nisa poster that communicates integration and diversity in The Netherlands.

About 6% of the population in The Netherlands is Muslim.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Volunteers Rehab, Release 52 Sea Turtles

 From the Florida Times-Union:

The 52 sea turtles that flippered themselves into the surf Sunday at Little Talbot Island took an incredible journey from near death in New England to new beginnings in Northeast Florida.

After being rescued along the Massachusetts coast last November and December before they froze to death, the sea turtles were nursed back to health and then released from the beach of Little Talbot Island, the coastal state park in Jacksonville.

Massachusetts resident Michelle Koch decided on the spur of the moment to travel to Florida and watch the release. She’s been volunteering for the past 12 years to help find and save the cold-stunned turtles when they “barely have a heartbeat.” Sunday was her first time to see them released.

She stood barefoot in the surf and watch them make their halting progress back to the sea.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “It’s great to see the whole circle from start to finish.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

10,000 Volunteers Sign up for Adopt-A-Beach Program

Adopt-a-Beach™ , an arm of the Alliance for the Great Lakes is the "...premier volunteer program, with some 10,000 participants ranging from individuals and families to schools and businesses. More than just a beach sweep, Adopt-a-Beach™ teams conduct litter removal and monitoring and complete a beach health assessment that includes science-based observation and testing. The teams collect information and enter it into our Adopt-a-Beach™ online system, where it is used to educate the public, share with local beach authorities and improve beaches," writes the website

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Technology for Civil Rights Workers

The BBC reports:

A hi-tech bracelet could soon be helping civil rights and aid workers at risk of being kidnapped or killed.

When triggered, the personal alarm uses phone and sat-nav technology to warn that its wearer is in danger.
Warnings are sent in the form of messages to Facebook and Twitter to rally support and ensure people do not disappear without trace.

The first bracelets are being given out this week and funding is being sought to make many more.
The bracelets have been developed by the Civil Rights Defenders campaign group in a bid to help workers in war zones and other areas of conflict.

read more... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22038012

Monday, April 8, 2013

Change the World in One-Minute

The award winning website, What You Can Do offers viewers a game board screen that encourages visitors to pick a subject from Animals to Women's Issues, click the square and watch a video that will show simple things you can do to help, improve or change a local to international issue.

The YouTube Channel, What You Can Do is another menu of how every person can help change the world for the greater good.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Growing Urban Forests

One tree at a time.  That's how one nonprofit, Add A Tree,  figures to build more urban forests.

We believe that by taking one tree, and adding a tree, and adding a tree, that we can end up making a whole lot of difference.  This is because trees provide a range of critical life-supporting environmental services such as creating oxygen, air and soil cleansing, shading and cooling, habitat creation, and storm water management.  Moreover, there is increasingly hard data on the important role urban trees play in stress alleviation, the reduction of crime and general community building/sense of place.  In a nutshell, what trees provide us are critical building blocks for creating healthy, livable cities, note the website.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cool It With Plants

A California based environmental nonprofit, One Cool Earth has a simple mission, "Create a peaceful, abundant planet with a healthy environment for all through planting."

From the website: "We believe that the real planting takes place when ideas and youth connect–are educated, inspired, and empowered to take charge of their futures. Our programs focus as much on people as on plants as we work with hundreds of students at over a dozen schools in San Luis Obispo county. The Liberty High School GreenWorks plant nursery provides year-round outdoor experience, job training and service learning projects for at-risk students. Many other schools host smaller oak nurseries with similar activities."

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sudsing Up A Cleaner World

Photos provided by WV Canada
Today's local newspaper reported that a sixth-grade student recently raised over $600 for Clean the World--a nonprofit that  is "...committed to reducing the waste created by discarded soap and shampoo products and preventing the millions of deaths caused by hygiene-related illnesses around the world," according to its mission statement.

" Clean the World accomplishes its mission by collecting, recycling, and distributing discarded soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions and gels from participating hospitality partners. Clean the World recycles guest room hygiene items at its Recycling Operations Center (ROC) and distributes them for humanitarian purposes with partnering nonprofit organizations. The items are distributed domestically and to children and families in communities around the globe."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Good Dog! Bringing Acceptance

Studies have shown that service dogs in the home reduce stress hormone levels in children with autism. Parents are reporting many other benefits of these faitful, hard-working companions as well. Here are more of the life-enhancing experiences that can be attributed to owning a companion dog
  • Calming
  • Social
  • Communication
  • Companionship
  • Independence
  • Quality of Life
Good Dog! Autism Companions! is a nonprofit group that helps families with autistic children acquire a specially trained autism companion dog. 

Last Tuesday on Autism Awareness Day, the organization's founder, also a mother of an autistic child, wrote, "... I wish all parents, especially those with children on the spectrum, to know that there is happiness to be found -- if you look for it. And there can be joy in your life -- if you look for it. After all..."

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wizards Promote Human Rights

Not only did the Harry Potter books sell like magic, and then branched into film and the whole vat of magic productions, but it also created wizards that work to make a better world.

The Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) has a unique mission statement,

The Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) is a 501c3 nonprofit that takes an outside-of-the-box approach to civic engagement by using parallels from the Harry Potter books to educate and mobilize young people across the world toward issues of literacy, equality, and human rights. Our mission is to empower our members to act like the heroes that they love by acting for a better world. By bringing together fans of blockbuster books, TV shows, movies, and YouTube celebrities we are harnessing the power of popular culture toward making our world a better place. Our goal is to make civic engagement exciting by channeling the entertainment-saturated facets of our culture toward mobilization for deep and lasting social change.

HPA has a YouTube channel that helps address current issues including "Albus Dumbledore and Hermione Granger standing up against injustice and they continue to inspire us to do the same. That’s why we started this campaign after learning about the dark side of the chocolate industry."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A 'Peace Corps' for Caregiving

The idea of a "Peace Corps for caregiving" began with a petition drive that eventually landed on We The People, a White House government site "...that allows citizens to circulate and sign petitions. When one of them attracts 100,000 signatures — a threshold raised recently after people started posting some goofy ideas — the White House has pledged to respond," according to a recent New York Times news piece.

The post on the We The People reads:

More than 60 million Americans are family caregivers. They face challenges: Health suffers. Finances suffer. Families suffer. Aging Boomers will overwhelm our caregiving resources.

Let's create a Caregiver Corps, that would marry college debt forgiveness with programs that place recent graduates with families and aging services providers. Let's bridge the generational divide that promotes ageism. Let's do it!

The NYT article writes, "...that while (the petition initiator) acknowledges that what she is advocating is a notion, not yet a real plan, she can see the outlines of your basic win-win scenario. In every community, older adults need an array of services that many can’t afford to pay for, from companionship and transportation to hands-on help with bathing and dressing.

“You could recruit recent high school and college grads and older adults and retirees,” she explained. “The carrot for the high school kids could be tuition credits for college. And for recent grads, debt forgiveness.” Older participants could receive small stipends.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Lab For Kids to Create a Future

Another Pollination Project find: 

"As a fifth grade school teacher in a public elementary school in Brandenton, Florida, Ed Hashey’s mission is to “ build an army of Urban Planners within the mindset of my students.”  Ed was a huge inspiration to us- he said that rather than retiring from his work in engineering and design, he went back to school to earn a degree in education and become a classroom teacher.  His project is to create a working energy research laboratory where students can build any scale model solution they want- such as creating plant-based bio filtration systems, methane manure digesters, portable wind generators, and much more.   TPP funds will be used for some of the supplies for the energy research laboratory."