Friday, May 29, 2015

Kids With Hair Loss Visit Molting Seals

Northern elephant seal
Imagine being a child and loosing your hair, with no hope of it growing back.  When that happens it can be an autoimmune disease call alopecia.  The Children's Alopecia Project (CAP) is a nonprofit formed "To help any child in need who is living with hair loss due to all forms of alopecia. We do so by:  Building self-esteem in children living with alopecia; providing support for them and their families; raising awareness about the life-altering disease," notes the nonprofit's website.

Recently, 40 children and adults from Pennsylvania, New York, Nevada and Southern California, all members of CAP,  traveled to Central Californiato view a group of marine mammals that annually lose their fur during a molt. Volunteers from the marine mammal site, Friends of the Elephant Seal (FES) donated their time to discuss this unique marine mammal event with the CAP visitors.  According to an FES publication, the program was a hit.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Technology for Independent Living

Excerpted from the Christian Science Monitor:

Google says technology can help people with disabilities live more independently, and it is offering $20 million to help prove it.

On Tuesday, Google announced the launch of its Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities project, an initiative to fund nonprofits that use emerging technologies to help people living with disabilities become more independent. The company will donate $20 million from its nonprofit branch

The challenge is a pioneering attempt by a private company to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities, experts say.

“I think it’s a very big deal. People with disabilities rarely get a lot of attention from any sector, and Google is taking a rights-based approach to promote the inclusion of people. This is a global company focused on global solutions,” says Diana Samarasan, founding director of the Disability Rights Fund.

Many of the estimated 1 billion people living with a disability rely on others to help them perform basic day-to-day tasks. Google's aim is to help organizations that help overcome these barriers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Free Well-Being Website For Every Busy Person

Who doesn't love something great for free?  Well, at the Greater Good Science Center, they recently announced a website that anyone can access at any time and discover a dozen easy ways to become happier and more compassionate--for free!  No sign-ups.  No passwords!

"We scoured the research to identify the best exercises for developing these positive skills and collected them on a free, easy-to-use platform. From the Raisin Meditation to Goal Visualization and beyond, each of the exercises -- or "practices" -- on the site is broken down into step-by-step instructions, with references to studies suggesting why and how the practice works," the center announced in an email.

An example is "Three Good Things."   It reads:

In our day-to-day lives, it's easy to get caught up in the things that go wrong and feel like we're living under our own private rain cloud; at the same time, we tend to adapt to the good things and people in our lives, taking them for granted. As a result, we often overlook everyday beauty and goodness--a kind gesture from a stranger, say, or the warmth of our heater on a chilly morning. In the process, we frequently miss opportunities for happiness and connection.

This practice guards against those tendencies. By remembering and listing three positive things that have happened in your day--and considering what caused them--you tune into the sources of goodness in your life. It's a habit that can change the emotional tone of your life, replacing feelings of disappointment or entitlement with those of gratitude--which may be why this practice is associated with significant increases in happiness.

Visit  Greater Good in Action (GGIA) for the free series.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Oslo's "Bumble Bee Highway"

The Norwegian capital has inaugurated the world's first 'bumble bee highway', a corridor through the city pollen stations every 250 meters.

“The idea is to create a route through the city with enough feeding stations for the bumblebees all the way,” Tonje Waaktaar Gamst of the Oslo Garden Society told local paper Osloby. ”Enough food will also help the bumblebees withstand manmade environmental stress better.”

Bumblebees and other pollinating insects struggle in urban environments where there are few flowers rich in nectar, effectively starving them.

Gams and his team have placed flowerpots on rooftops and balconies along a route from east to west through the city.
...Oslo's municipality is co-operating with environmental organisations, the public, and and companies, who are asked to plant bumblebee friendly flowers on their property.

--From The Local

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fish Market Aims to Feed the Hungry

To raise awareness for the hungry and mark the 30th anniversary of Giovanni’s Fish Market in Morro Bay, Giovanni DeGarimore plans to offer free fish and chips...“My dad loved helping people in any way he could, and he passed those ethics down to me,” DeGarimore said. “Now it’s up to Giovanni’s to give back to those in need.”

...He’s encouraging individuals to bring a person or family “that might be homeless or hungry so that we can feed them” and has reached out to various homeless organizations and the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County for their help. “The trick is, ‘How do we get the hungry here?’”

...“I also want to be an example to other business owners, and encourage them to do something similar,” DeGarimore said, adding “This could be way bigger than me.”

...Asked how much this will cost the restaurant, DeGarimore estimated about $5,000 if 1,000 people show up, more if he gives away additional meals.

“I’ve been blessed in my life, and I want to give back in a big way. … Someday I might need to be fed, and someone might remember the day I gave away fish and chips.”

--From SLO Tribune

Friday, May 22, 2015

Opinion: True Quality of Life

C. Coimbra photo
Today’s post comes in the form of an opinion from observation.

The voices are loud that attack those persons who appear to have a deep love for the planet and the life that it harbors.  At times is seems that anger and hostility is the alpha force to the right way of living. But here at The Daily Prism, we believe the alpha force to living is embodied by the gentle souls who care deeply about the true quality of life.

A true quality of life begins with inner peace within us.  This is not an easy point to reach.  Life tosses frustration into our faces like pigs digging for grub in a sty.  This means that even those who seek balance and peace are daily confronted with challenges that give us an opportunity to learn more about our inner workings.  There are many times when we fail that challenge.  But the difference between those who seek that inner sanctuary and those who rail against peace is the ability to get back on to that peace train and try again.  This does not mean that he or she is a hypocrite.  It means that we are each learning what we can in the best way that we can.

Like day and night, life and death, there are two sides to every thing.  There is no one path.  There is no one way. We traverse mountains and valleys to see and experience this place called Earth.  The only constant is interconnection.  This is where we discover our personal way to finding peace within, and this is where we, as humans possessing this thing called a soul, spread well-being.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Neurochemistry and Compassion Meet

C. Coimbra photo
The impulse to connect with others is both a natural response to stress and a source of resilience.

When we help others, or ​focus on our bigger-than-self goals, it changes our neurochemistry and physical stress response from one of fear and overwhelm to the biology of hope and courage.

Kelly McGonigal will explore new scientific insights into both why compassion is an instinct that helps us thrive in the face of adversity, and how social connection can reduce burnout, increase our well-being, and support meaning and growth during times of stress and change.

Her talk will draw from her latest book, The Upside of Stress, a controversial and groundbreaking new book that overturns long-held beliefs about stress. It's the first book to bring together cutting-edge discoveries on the correlation between resilience—the human capacity for stress-related growth—and mindset, the power of beliefs to shape reality.

McGonigal’s TED talk on the subject has already received more than 6 million views. Her message resonates with people who know they can’t eliminate the stress in their lives and want to learn to take advantage of it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Funds Earmarked for Ivory Coast Efforts

Jacobs Foundation
The Jacobs Foundation announced a $52 million commitment over seven years to support education, women’s empowerment, and community development in Ivory Coast cocoa-farming communities. Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities, a partnership with the private-sector effort CocoaAction, will work to accelerate sustainable growth and economic change for cocoa farmers. The program, announced at the Clinton Global Initiative Middle East & Africa meeting last week, aims to reach more than 200,000 people by 2022.

--From Philanthropy Today

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Trash for Medical Services

A doctor in Indonesia recently came up with an idea that can help to provide healthcare to the needy and put a dent in garbage pollution as well.

Dr. Gamal Albinsaid recognized that many people in his country had severe health problems with no insurance, and no money to pay for medicine or medical care. He also noticed that many rural villages nearby were filled with garbage.

Thinking on how to solve both problems, Gamal eventually decided that he would provide free health care to people who turned in their garbage.

“You have people who can’t go to the hospital because they don’t have money. So I started thinking, if you don’t have money, what do you have?” Gamal said.

“There’s garbage everywhere on the ground. So we decided to use garbage as a financial resource,” he continued.

He then created a company called Garbage Clinical Insurance which collects the trash that is given to him by his patients and then sells it to recycling companies. The money earned from the recycled garbage is then used to pay for medicine and health care for the people who turned in the trash.

So far, this program has helped thousands of people get access to healthcare that they would not have had otherwise. In 2013, Gamal won a €50,000 prize at the Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Awards.

“They think they don’t pay anything for the insurance—they just give garbage. So it persuades the community. And we’re encouraging poor people to pay with their own resources. Some people want to use this idea for education. So people can modify the system to solve different problems,” Gamal said.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Kind Acts--the Best Gifts

Acts of kindness may be the best gift we can give to each other.  Business kept me from posting yesterday, but several acts of kindness occurred during the day.  My gratitude to the kind people who are volunteering and donating to a personal project of mine, a string of yard sales to benefit the hit women and children in earthquake damaged rural Nepal.

You can contact me if your would like to host a yard sale.

And in other random kind acts, in a letter to the editor in our local paper a man writes: "I found a couple of guys cleaning up the cup-de-sac and putting refuse in their truck...(they) go around the area cleaning up wherever it's needed.  They live here, and they don't like what they see."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Linking Disadvantaged Students to Elite Colleges

May 13, 2015 12:47 p.m. ET

Excerpted from The Wall Street Journal

...A group of Silicon Valley’s top venture capitalists have been quietly pouring resources into an education nonprofit that boosts the number of low-income students at the nation’s top colleges.

Part of their interest, they say, is to help build a deeper talent pool for American corporations, especially in jobs requiring training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, so-called STEM skills.

The investors, who include LinkedIn Corp. co-founder Reid Hoffman, have contributed financial and advisory support to QuestBridge, conceived in 2003 to connect disadvantaged students with elite colleges that pay a recruiting fee for the services.

The service has spread to 35 mostly private colleges, including Stanford University and Yale University, and helps place about 2,000 low-income students from an applicant pool that now tops 10,000 a year—one of the largest such programs in the country.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pope Francis Chats Peace

Outspoken Pope Francis is taking on the arms industry, lashing out at the "industry of death" — and condemning those who "live off war."

The remarks came Monday in response to a question from one of the 7,000 teachers, parents and children participating in an audience with the Pontiff, ANSA reports.

"This is serious," Francis said. "Some powerful people make their living with the production of arms. It's the industry of death."

According to the Catholic Herald, the audience was part of an Italian initiative called The Peace Factory at the Vatican, and his condemnation of the arms industry came in answer to a question from an Egyptian boy who asked why some powerful people do not help schools.

The Pope said the question should be, "Why do many powerful people not want peace? Because they live off war: the arms industry," he said, charging the industry arms all sides in a conflict.

"When we see that everything revolves around money — the economic system revolves around money and not around the person, men and women, but money — so much is sacrificed and war is waged in order to defend the money."

The Catholic Herald reports the Pope's speech, which focused on forgiveness, stopping injustice and ending greed, also noted: "The devil comes in through the wallet."

Read Latest Breaking News from 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Music Program Uplifts Students

Believe in Music, founded by Kenny Liner of The Bridge, is a Living Classrooms program operating at our POWER House facility and Youth Development Center in the Eastside Children's Target Investment Zone. The program aims to uplift underprivileged Baltimore City students academically, culturally, and spiritually, while promoting self-expression and community awareness through music education. Through the program, students will foster a deep connection with music in their own lives, and gain the tools to be able express their culture, struggles, and triumphs through music. It is our hope that students will come away from the program seeing music as a way to uplift themselves as well as their community.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Community Giving Day Busts Records

By Eden Stiffman

From Philanthropy Today

The largest community giving day in history just broke its own record.

Organizations participating in the second year of Give Local America, held May 5-6, raised $68.5 million over about 24 hours, 29 percent more than last year’s inaugural event. More than 9,000 nonprofits participated, building on the growing trend of local giving days, which harness the support of community foundations and local United Way branches to encourage giving to local nonprofits.

As with other giving days, the event cultivated new donors: 35 percent of donors indicated it was their first gift to a particular charity.

Human services groups received 28 percent of the donations, followed by education and then arts and culture groups, which received 19 percent and 16 percent respectively.

"We are truly amazed at the generous spirit of individuals and communities across America," said Lori Finch, vice president of community foundations at Kimbia, the software company that started the event and built the crowdfunding platform many of the participating foundations use.

Seattle Finishes First

For the second year in a row, the Seattle Foundation raised the most: $16.3 million for over 1,700 local nonprofits. The community saw a 16 percent increase in individual donors and an 18 percent increase in individual gifts.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Essay Series On 'Unconscious Racial Biases' Begins

From Ferguson to Baltimore, police departments have been facing accusations of racial bias. Protesters, politicians, and the media all have something to say--and so does science. Studies suggest that the issue is complicated, and poorly understood.

That's why Greater Good is launching a new series to shed light on the role of unconscious racial biases across the criminal justice system. Editor in Chief Jason Marsh kicks off the series with an essay covering the scientific evidence of those biases, raising the question: How can we reduce their harmful, often tragic effects?

The rest of the essays will address that question with practical, research-based ideas. This week, Jeremy Adam Smith reports on new research suggesting how racial bias in law enforcement may have its roots in the educational system, and he offers solutions for addressing how these biases hurt kids as they grow to adulthood.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

4 Ways to Help Nepal

1) Points of Light’s disaster services team is engaged with U.S.-based partners to support their volunteer recruitment activities through All for Good. You can register your interest to volunteer by visiting and creating a volunteer account or selecting a specific disaster project and registering through the host site. It’s important to remember that individuals should never self-deploy, as the situation is still critical and travel is extremely difficult throughout much of the affected area.

2) generationOn, the youth activation division of Points of Light, offers resources to help parents talk to their kids about disasters. They have also partnered with Save the Children to offer project ideas your kids can use to help kids in Nepal. Learn more here.

3) Three current and former Civic Accelerator ventures – WomenLEAD Nepal, Accountability Lab and tinyGive – are on the front lines, helping with the Nepal earthquake relief efforts. Learn about what they're doing to help rebuild communities and how you can support their efforts.

4) Donate to help Points of Light and HandsOn Network affiliates support the mobilization of volunteers in ongoing response and recovery efforts.

Monday, May 4, 2015

PUSHing For Sustainable Housing

In 2004, after graduating from Harvard Law School (where he cofounded the Harvard Living Wage Campaign) and working as an organizer for the Service Employees International Union, Aaron Bartley returned to Buffalo, NY, his hometown, to become a community organizer. Many of Bartley’s friends thought that his idea was na├»ve and quixotic. After all, Buffalo was the quintessential Rust Belt city, devastated by a dramatic half-century loss of blue-collar jobs and population.

Within less than a decade, however, Bartley’s vision has become at least a partial reality. People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH), the group he co-founded with Eric Walker, now has an enviable track record of winning victories that have improved the lives of low-income people on the west side, a diverse neighborhood with a poverty rate of 45 percent and a per capita income of $6,650 that includes blacks and Latinos, as well as one of the nation’s largest communities of refugees resettled from Burma, Somalia and Sudan. PUSH has built a solid core of grass-roots leaders prepared to contest for both political and economic power.

“PUSH isn’t just about making noise,” said Mark Sommer, a Buffalo News reporter who has covered the organization. “It’s about having concrete goals and winning victories for people.”

PUSH organizes residents around issues and projects that improve housing conditions and living wage job opportunities, including the establishment of a Green Development Zone that combines cutting-edge green construction practices, green jobs training and community organizing around high-impact sustainable economic initiatives.

Among its recent successes are two state-level community development programs. The Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative dramatically expands access to residential weatherization. Its Green Jobs/Green NY program is projected to create 30,000 such jobs over the next few years. Fueled by the 38-year-old Bartley’s vision, PUSH is also creating an urban land trust to acquire abandoned properties and redevelop them as low-income limited-equity cooperative apartments.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Sad Ending to Mt. Everest Peace Expedition

Mt. Everest Expedition for Global Peace and Friendship Struck Down at Base Camp

The Daily Prism is pleased to hear from the mountaineer, Phurba Thile Sherpa today.  Unfortunately, the news of his peace expedition up Mt. Everest is tragic.  We had assumed that his team made it to Camp 1 prior to the April 25 earthquake-fueled avalanches on Mt. Everest.  But it appears from his post that his team were at Base Camp when the avalanche struck.

I am back in Kathmandu safely from Everest Base Camp. I am well and physical fit. We lost 5 members of our Expedition team and several injured. 4 of them are severely injured. We are taking care of injured people in hospital.

I am very sorry for late update. I couldn't update my status because I lost all  my equipments, laptop, camera, phone and everything was lost. I was on the way to Kathmandu and communication was very hard. I was busy for managing transportation to injured people. We lost all our equipments and everything on the avalanche. The cost of all the lost equipments is not yet calculated.


And this post from the Mt. Everest Expedition for Global Peace and Friendship Facebook page:

on 25 April, Nepal face one of the darkest period of its history. Nepal was hit by 7.8 magnitude earthquake. It is estimated that more than 10000 lives has been lost and many more have been injured during this accident. Our Mt. Everest Expedition has been cancelled because of this earthquake. It has been confirmed, 18 people have lost their life in avalanche triggered by earthquake till now in Everest Base Camp. 

Many people are affected by this earthquake are in need of help. Our organization, Global Peace Friendship Form,Nepal is organizing program to help them. We would request all of the people to support us. 

You can help us in any possible way. Any help will be highly appreciated. If you want to support us financial this is our organization bank details:

Global Peace Friendship Form,Nepal.
Bank a/c No: 02902050250610
shift code: NIBLNPKT 
Or Contact us for more details

Friday, May 1, 2015

Tech Companies Star in Nepal Fundraising

Generosity in the form of charitable donations reported by Philanthropy Today.

By Megan O’Neil
Donors in the United States and elsewhere are sending millions of dollars to earthquake-shattered Nepal, even as organizations on the ground report difficulty delivering relief to some areas.

On Thursday, five days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the mountainous country, Nepal’s National Emergency Operation Center updated the death toll to 5,582. It reported 11,175 people injured. More than 200,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed. As many as 1.4 million people in Nepal may need food assistance.

A donate button added to Facebook news feeds has raised $10 million for International Medical Corps, spokesperson Lisa Ellis said Thursday. It was one example of technology companies seizing a starring role in fundraising efforts.

“Facebook will match every dollar donated up to $2 million,” founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a message on his Facebook wall posted on Monday. “Matching funds will be distributed to local relief and rescue organizations working to provide immediate and ongoing relief.”

Some U.S.-based nonprofits told The Chronicle that giving for the relief effort is at or ahead of that for other recent natural disasters.

As of Wednesday, the American Red Cross had received $8.8 million in donations and pledges.

By that evening, Mercy Corps had raised $2.9 million from 13,239 donors, said Christine Bragale, director of media relations. The figure is 260 percent of what the organization raised in the first four days after the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and 60 percent what it raised in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

"The overall pool of donors responding to this emergency is smaller than the pool that responded to Haiti, but they’re giving larger gifts," Ms. Bragale said.

Mercy Corps has more than 100 staff members on the ground in Nepal, where they are distributing tarps, household supplies, and other essentials.

The U.S. Fund for Unicef has collected $3.7 million for its Nepal relief efforts, according to spokesperson Susannah Masur. Four days after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, Unicef had raised more than $4.9 million.

And Fidelity Charitable said Thursday morning its donors have made grants totaling $2.7 million for relief efforts in Nepal. Last year, it made grants totaling $5.5 million during the Ebola outbreak.

Quick Response

"Our donors reacted swiftly to the news of the Nepal earthquake," Amy Danforth, president of Fidelity Charitable said in an email. "The first grant designated to the relief efforts was made on Saturday morning, and the momentum has been building since."

Catholic Relief Services has collected $2.2 million in donations from individuals and private groups, said spokeswoman Susan Walters. The organization has about 20 staff members in or en route to the country.

Donors have given $1 million to 315 Nepal-specific campaigns on Indiegogo Life, said Bre DiGiammarino, co-head of the crowdfunding website. The 13,413 individual donations — which averaged between $60 and $75 — came from people in 98 countries. The largest campaign is for the American Nepal Medical Foundation, which has raised $300,000.

By Wednesday, the American Jewish World Service had collected $730,000 in contributions. The number could top $1 million, said Andrew Martin, director of media relations for the group.

The funds for Nepal will go to five organizations on the ground, four local and one international. The Jewish group’s direct of disaster response will travel to the country this week, Mr. Martin said.

Matt Grager, director of the disaster preparedness program at San Francisco-based Give2Asia, said the nonprofit has raised more than $300,000 from corporate, foundation, and individual donors. The rate of giving is comparable to that during Typhoon Haiyan, he said.

“Every disaster is different, so it can be difficult to compare across countries and contexts,” Mr. Grager said. “But right now we are surprised by the level of interest given the fact that Nepal is small, remote, and lacks significant foreign business interests that can inspire major gifts from corporations.”