"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."
-- Ray Bradbury
|May 21, 2013|
DID YOU KNOW young people are creating their own social ventures?
Many young people are inspired to make change in their communities and schools but lack the resources to make it happen. Youth Venture is committed to giving 12- to 20-year-olds access to seed money, materials, workshops, and technical support to lead their own social enterprises. New Venture teams have organized and launched everything from teen-based television news programs to middle-school hockey leagues to their own non-profits encouraging youth community involvement.
To find out more information or submit a Youth Venture application, visit Youth Venture.
Families with seriously ill children at Tokyo's National Okura Hospital now have a new place to call "home." A four-story Ronald McDonald House recently opened its doors and welcomed families who want to stay near their sick children rather than travel back and forth to their homes, often hundreds of miles away. With 18 bedrooms, a family room, children's playroom, and modern kitchen facility, the Donald McDonald House (as it is called in Japan) is an example of the country's growing non-profit movement. Ronald McDonald Houses are in 19 countries and provide more than 5,000 bedrooms for families worldwide.
For more information, visit the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Faced with making decisions about abused and neglected children's lives without sufficient information, one Seattle judge conceived of the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak in court for the best interests of such children. Today, more than 900 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs are in operation, and 52,000 women and men from all backgrounds and lifestyles are serving as CASA volunteers. No legal expertise is required, simply a commitment to helping one child. CASA volunteers are vital, as they may be the only constant the child knows as s/he moves through the labyrinth of the child welfare system.
For more information, visit CASA.
Paramedics For Children, an all-volunteer international charity dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world, has established the first rescue squad in Copan Ruinas, Honduras. More than 180 people in the village volunteered to take a training course so that the effort could be run locally. Recently, 86 people in the group graduated and now take an average of 10 calls per week caring for sick and malnourished children. Volunteers report that Paramedics for Children is creating community cohesiveness not seen since the devastating Hurricane Mitch.
Childhelp USA Tennessee recently launched the new Mobile Children's Advocacy Center, which will bring investigative interviews, medical examinations, therapy, and an increased community awareness of child abuse and educational services to rural Tennessee. By providing one-stop multi-disciplinary services, the mobile center will reduce the time, trauma, and number of investigative interviews the children and families will undergo. Founded in 1959, Childhelp USA is one of the oldest and largest national nonprofits dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse.
KaBOOM!, a playground-building charity, teamed up with Computer Associates International, Inc., and local community groups in the United Kingdom and the United States to build "7 Playgrounds in 7 Days" in communities that lacked safe, accessible, well-designed places for children to play. This project will benefit more than 4,000 children.
With the help of kids nationwide, ClassroomsCare, a Scholastic Book Clubs literacy campaign, is donating one million books to needy children. For each class that registers and reads 100 books by December 14, 2001, Scholastic Book Clubs will donate 100 books to either Save the Children, First Book, the Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation, or Reading Is Fundamental.
Approximately 25 middle-school children spent the summer at the forefront of an effort to revitalize the historic Blackwell neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia, by creating an "art wall," heralding the opening of a new park. The community is undergoing a dramatic transformation through the HOPE VI Revitalization Program. Working under the guidance of professional artists, the children participated in the nationally recognized six-week HOPE VI Blackwell Children's Summer Arts Program 2001. The materials for this wall were funded by an event hosted by Richmond firefighters.
A 19-year-old pilot landed back at his home airport in Long Beach, California, on Thursday morning, August 9, 2001, after accomplishing a feat of flying kids by himself in all 50 of the United States. Kevin Gustafson flew solo in a small airplane more than 14,000 miles this summer to show other children what the freedom of flying is all about. He calls his mission, "Kid Flights Across the USA."
DID YOU KNOW the Timberland Company launched a youth service corps within its headquarters?
In September 2000, Timberland Company, known for its footwear and apparel, launched City Year New Hampshire in its offices, the first time a youth service corps has been housed inside a corporate headquarters. City Year is a national youth service organization that engages young people ages 17-24 in a full year of community service and leadership development across the country. Timberland employees lead the youth in resume-building workshops and career seminars. Additionally, employees are allowed 40 hours of company time per year to contribute to the community during regular work hours.
Starbucks Coffee Company was recently recognized for its work in providing exemplary service and assistance on behalf of crime victims. The Starbucks Memorial Fund was established in 1997 through the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and serves as a living memorial to three employees who tragically lost their lives at a Starbucks in Washington DC's Georgetown neighborhood. All net profits from the Georgetown store are donated to the Memorial Fund and are distributed in the form of grants, which support programs dedicated to violence prevention and victim assistance in metropolitan Washington. This year, eight grants worth a total of $80,000 have reached recipients such as Community Dispute Resolution Center/Center for Dispute Settlement and Women Empowered Against Violence.
On August 15, 2001, Levi's(R) launched its national anti-discrimination campaign with the help of platinum pop stars Destiny's Child who appeared at the Original Levi's(R) Store in New York City to let youth know how they can fight discrimination while doing their back-to-school shopping.
Bank of America has been honored for fulfilling a four-year commitment to America's Promise-The Alliance for Youth, a program that aims to build the character and competence of young people throughout the nation.
Cathay Pacific Airways and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) officially launched their annual Change for Good inflight fund-raising program on August 10, 2001, at a ceremony held in Cathay Pacific City, a new office complex at the Hong Kong International Airport. This year, the fund-raising period will be extended from six months to a year.
Education and Recognition
DID YOU KNOW family, community, unity, self-determination, and creativity are the principles behind the holiday, Kwanzaa?
What do you know about Kwanzaa? Two animated television shows -- one on the Disney Channel, the other on Nickelodeon -- are helping make this winter celebration of community and creativity part of the consciousness of children of all races and ethnicities.
:: Learn more about the creative ways that children are being taught about Kwanzaa.
From the superstar Williams sisters of professional tennis fame to a woman fighting for voting equity for Florida's black voters to the women of Afghanistan, the 30-year-old groundbreaking magazine has recognized its own "favorite goodthings" from the year.
Learn more on the Ms. Magazine Web site.
Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, founded in 1994 by director Steven Spielberg, has collected 51,661 video testimonies from survivors, rescuers, liberators, and other eyewitnesses. By far the largest collection of videotaped Holocaust testimonies anywhere in the world, the testimonies are in 32 languages. The Foundation believes it is the largest publicly available video database in the world, usable by scholars, teachers, students, and, eventually, the general public.
For more information, visit Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.
This year's honorees represent the best of the human spirit. Among the ideas, actions, and organizations we've recognized: a small Boston-based organization working to teach tolerance and prevent youth and school violence, humanitarians striving to improve the rights of women in Afghanistan, a New York foundation that assists low-income families of victims of the September attacks, a public television show on the arts, and even a fun way to stay connected to your friends and family. Be sure to help make the Favorite GoodThings 2001 campaign matter by supporting this year's honorees.
To learn more, please visit GoodThings.
To Noam Rosen, the founder of MideastOptimist.com, it's worth focusing on the strides being made toward lasting peace in the region instead of the flood of news to the contrary. He's also launched an extraordinary stand-up comedy show in Toronto that uses humor to bridge seemingly impassable divides.
Adventure-Ship, the first Hong Kong sailing program targeted toward youth with disabilities, provides educational and recreational training at sea while teaching kids to work cooperatively and push themselves in a supportive environment. The program connects young volunteers to kids who have special needs and lets them experience an Adventure-Ship journey together. Each year, 6,000 kids -- a third of them with physical and mental disabilities -- get the opportunity to take to the high seas.
Easter Seals recently launched AccessAbility @ Your Library, a reading initiative designed to celebrate the personal accomplishments of people with disabilities. Central to the program is a list of books recommended for children and adults by the American Library Association, all featuring characters with disabilities. The selected books tell entertaining stories about how people who happen to have a disability have accomplished their personal goals, whether it be raising a family or climbing Mt. Everest.
In an interview that aired on August 14, 2001, during "VH1 Save The Music: Report Card," a special program examining music education in the U.S., Secretary of Education Rod Paige discussed the importance of music and arts education in our classrooms.
Best Buy Co., Inc., a specialty retailer of consumer electronics, and the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC), a Houston-based knowledge management research firm, have created a computer network that will allow public school educators to share effective teaching tools and techniques. The network, currently in a pilot phase of development, was announced on June 21, 2001, and is scheduled to be finalized this fall. APQC and Best Buy are collaborating with a number of national nonprofit organizations to determine where the system could provide the most impact.
On July 31, 2001, Dell announced that it will donate up to 4,000 refurbished computer systems to school districts nationwide as part of the Dell Learn and Earn program.
The program, based on the Denver Public Schools model, uses technology training and the promise of a student-built computer to keep "at risk" middle school youth in school and focused on their grades. Dell recently donated 500 computer systems to the Denver schools in support of this program.
Teachers in Oakland, California, donated all or part of their SAT9 API award money to sponsor an ad that appeared in the August 12, 2001, San Francisco Chronicle. More than $3,400 was collected from eight school sites.
DID YOU KNOW two new books are making it easier both to live more sustainably and to buy more responsibly at the same time?
The Chinook Book and Blue Sky Guide have only just launched, but they're long overdue. Now available in Minneapolis, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, the books make great $18 gifts for anybody with half a mind to make a difference in the world. The books are full of easy-to-use, action-oriented information about living more responsibly, with answers to all the questions you ask yourself all the time: how to recycle, how to use transit, where to get hiking information, how to find environmentally sound materials for home repair. And once you get the information you need, the books are overflowing with thousands of dollars worth of valuable coupons from area businesses that care about the impact the things they sell have on the planet.
The GoodBuzz can't recommend the Chinook Book and Blue Sky Guide highly enough.
Check out the helpful Web site to get inspiration and useful ideas, no matter where you call home.
Gordon Moore, founder of computer-chip maker INTEL, and his wife Betty have recently endowed the environmental group, Conservation International, with an historic $261 million program grant, by far the largest of its kind to support environmental protection and wildlife conservation. According to board chair and CEO Peter Seligmann, it's a wonderful beginning to the group's ambitious long-range quest to stabilize the world's ecosystems over the next century. Seligmann thinks that since September, many people have come to see the earth as the interconnected place it actually is and are more committed than ever to supporting efforts that will guarantee its health.
:: Learn more about the grant and the work of Conservation International on the organization's Web site.
:: Prefer to listen to the whole story from National Public Radio's Morning Edition on the NPR Web site? Click here.
:: Learn more about how GoodThings keeps you up to speed on the best of public radio. Click here.
One North Carolina university student has taken the concept of recycling to new heights. She convinced her college that recycling her dormitory simply made good sense. Learn more about Summer Starling's amazing goodthing.
And more importantly, did you know each of this year's award winners has a unique story about how they're becoming leaders in drawing attention to and solving ecological problems in the world around them? Following in the footsteps of the late and legendary environmentalist David Brower, the six winners -- all between the ages of 13 and 22 -- were awarded the Brower Youth Award in an October 13 ceremony in Berkeley, California. The multifaceted nonprofit sponsor of the awards, Earth Island Institute, says of the winners: "Their efforts have inspired us to believe that this generation -- often portrayed by the media as clueless and self-absorbed -- has been unfairly stereotyped."
More than $1.5 million in Chesapeake Bay Program Small Watershed Grants have been awarded to 59 community-based organizations and local governments from across the Chesapeake Bay region, which includes parts of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. The Watershed Grants program supports communities in developing and implementing watershed management plans that encourage innovative, local programs improving water quality and restoring important habitats within the Chesapeake Bay basin. By promoting community-based stewardship of local lands, the program fosters greater citizen understanding of the relationship between the condition of their local watersheds and the overall health of the Bay.
The Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, and the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a nonprofit, public service organization dedicated to recycling rechargeable batteries, announced a new partnership on August 10, 2001, that integrates RBRC's recycling program into The Home Depot stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.
At a Bayside ceremony on August 7, 2001, in Maryland, EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, US Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest (R-MD), and The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Executive Director John Berry announced more than $ 1.5 million in Chesapeake Bay Program Small Watershed Grants to 59 community-led organizations and local governments from across the Bay watershed.
Grants, Scholarships & Donations
DID YOU KNOW there's a happy home for the dusty, abandoned saxophone you used in junior high band?
The Los Angeles-based Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) helps put used and long-forgotten instruments into the hands of kids who will play them. YMF's Instrument Loan Program provides hundreds of elementary school students with the tools for pursuing their musical dreams. Since 1955, YMF has been solidifying the importance of music in young lives.
Every year, the Bonner Foundation provides four-year community service scholarships to 1500 students who have high financial need and a commitment to service. The scholarship offers a different type of work/study program, one that trades volunteer hours for financial aid. It's designed to broaden the overall education students receive by engaging them in ongoing service work and helping them develop the tools and the knowledge necessary to make that work meaningful and lasting.
Call to Protect is a domestic violence prevention project that arms those in danger with wireless phones. Donated phones are refurbished and preprogrammed to call only 911 so that victims can reach help with the push of a button. Domestic violence professionals are also given phones making it easier for them to contact victims and emergency services.
The Women's Sports Foundation Scholarship Fund with the support of the Mervyn's department store has announced the winners of more than $300,000 in scholarships awarded to young female athletes. 286 recent high school graduates from 21 states were chosen for their participation in athletics, as well as their community and leadership activities. Women's Sports Foundation founder and former tennis star Billie Jean King recognized fourteen of the 286 winners at a recent benefit in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area.
On June 28, 2001, the Quantum Foundation announced that will give $400,000 to The 15th Judicial Circuit in West Palm Beach, Florida, for the One Court/One Family Project.
The project addresses overlapping jurisdiction and conflicting orders, and will identify and protect persons at risk of domestic violence. It will also reduce court costs and repeated court appearances of the families, and give judges the comprehensive information needed for appropriate legal determinations.
Mervyn's and the Women's Sports Foundation Scholarship Fund has announced the winners of more than $300,000 in scholarships awarded to young female athletes. Each of the recent 286 high school graduates from 21 states was chosen for her participation in athletics, as well as her community and leadership activities.
DID YOU KNOW doctors have developed a high-tech system to salvage donated hearts and kidneys?
New medical technology -- POPS, or portable organ preservation system -- will revolutionize the science of vital organ donation and save lives in the process.
Learn more by reading the story on ABC's Web site.
Time for a haircut? Your shaggy trimmings could provide a child stricken with cancer with wonderful dignity. At hair salons across the country, people are donating their "Locks of Love" to make life just a little better for people who have lost their hair as a result of grave illness. And as the Seattle Times newspaper suggests in a recent article, it's just one of many simple acts that can restore faith in the fundamental goodness of humanity during these trying times.
Over 8,000 people throughout the world die of AIDS everyday. Most are in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Caribbean and Asia. But UN Secretary General and Noble Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan says there have never been better opportunities to make breakthroughs in the AIDS crisis and that real change will result from the extraordinary coordinated efforts of wealthy nations, the developing world, and committed individuals. What will you do to help make the UN's Millennium Pledge to reverse the devastating spread of AIDS by 2015 a reality?
For more information, visit the World AIDS Day Web site and read Kofi Annan's inspiring editorial about the importance of the ongoing fight against AIDS in the Washington Post.
The ORBIS flying-eye hospital is a DC-10 jet that has been converted into a self-contained teaching hospital specializing in eye care. A global humanitarian organization, ORBIS travels to developing countries to provide hands-on training, public health education, and improved access to eye care. Since 1982, ORBIS has completed more than 440 programs in 80 countries and envisions a world of quality eye care for every human being. Currently, there are 140 million cases of avoidable blindness in the world.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched a national Smoke-Free Home Pledge Initiative asking parents to make their homes smoke-free to protect their children from the serious health effects of secondhand tobacco smoke. The pledge encourages parents to "go out for their kids" until they can quit smoking. Nine to twelve million American children are exposed everyday to secondhand smoke at home, which has been linked to bronchitis, pneumonia, wheezing and coughing spells, SIDS, and asthma.
A group of 30 Rotary Club members for the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Portland, Maine, returned on October 30, from the nation of Ghana in west Africa where they assisted local Rotarians in their efforts to provide polio vaccinations to every child under the age of five. The group of volunteers administered drops of oral polio vaccine to children, assisted parents in getting their children vaccinated, transported health workers, and recruited fellow volunteers during Ghana's National Immunization Day. Eradicating polio is Rotary's top priority, and the club has sent volunteers to Ghana for almost a decade. So far this year, zero new cases of polio have been reported in the country, compared to 107 cases last year.
Thanks to the power of peer-to-peer technology, scientific research and the personal computer have become powerful allies in helping fight some of the world's most damaging diseases. The Stanford Alzheimer and Amyloidogenic Disease Research Program, with the help of an Intel Corporation Web site, allows computer users to download "screensavers" that run in the background when the computer is on, but not in active use, creating a virtual network of computers donating unused computing cycles to scientific research. Since April, more than one million PCs have joined the network, generating more computational power than the top ten supercomputers combined.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to commemorate, New York-based QVC Presents "FFANY Shoes on Sale," the Fashion Footwear Charitable Foundation's eighth annual fundraiser benefiting breast cancer research and education programs. More than 100,000 pairs of shoes from the world's top designers are being offered at half the retail price throughout October with net proceeds benefiting seven hospitals engaged in breast cancer research and awareness. This event has raised $10 million since it began, aiding in the development of a groundbreaking nationwide network of prominent breast cancer research centers.
Physicians For Peace, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Dicle University in Diyarbakir, Turkey, opened a sustainable, modern prosthetic rehabilitation and treatment center at the university on June 28, 2001. "Throughout much of the world, the amputee victims of land mines, earthquakes and crippling accidents and disease receive little or no continuing medical treatment," said Charles E. Horton, M.D., founder and chairman of Physicians For Peace. "With the opening of this new center, Turkish citizens will be able to restore thousands of amputee victims in their country to self-sufficiency and productive lives."
The Family Resource Network of Armstrong County in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, announced on July 24, 2001, that it received a Community Enrichment Award from Dominion Peoples for its Warm Welcomes Project. Under the Warm Welcomes Project, the family of every infant born at Armstrong County Memorial Hospital is provided with a laundry basket filled with baby items, educational pamphlets, a smoke detector and an informational video entitled: "I Am Your Child."
Humanitarian Aid/International Humanity
DID YOU KNOW a humanitarian worker has collected the stories of the struggling people he has helped in a new book?
A new book by humanitarian activist Harsh Mander recounts stories he collected during twenty years of working to end poverty in developing countries around the world. His London-based organization, Action Aid, has established poverty-prevention programs in thirty countries in every part of the world, and his book -- Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives -- charts the lives of many of the people in need he's encountered over the years. Mander is concerned deeply with the sense of isolation that diseases like leprosy -- still rampant in much of the world -- create in people's lives and believes in the power of storytelling to restore their humanity.
:: Learn more about Action Aid.
:: Buy a copy of Harsh Mander's book Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives.
The BBC radio program, Outlook, reports on an inspiring choir whose blind members endure shattered Chechnya's continual despair with undying hope.
Learn more by reading the story on the BBC's Web site.
Did you know the BBC's Outlook is one of this year's Favorite GoodThings honorees? Learn more.
Since 1979, the Trickle Up program has improved the lives of more than 450,000 of the poorest people in the world by helping them start over 100,000 businesses. By providing small grants, Trickle Up targets those with few if any resources -- single mothers, street children, displaced people, and HIV-affected families -- and trains them to run home-based businesses. Trickle Up has benefited individuals across the globe. In Nepal alone, Trickle Up has given grants to develop 185 businesses in an area where women commonly fall into prostitution.
For more information, visit Trickle Up.
Non-profit organization Bountiful Table is helping people give thanks this year through a new and different kind of ritual in the wake of the events of September 11. Bountiful Table's Heart of America Bus Tour began on November 21 and will carry well-known artists, chefs, activists, and volunteers from Seattle, Washington, to planned stops in Missoula, Montana; Chicago, Illinois; Boston, Massachusetts; Washington DC; and, finally, in mid-December, New York City. The goal of the tour is to encourage and facilitate community and compassion among all people, of different cultures, economic circumstances, and generations. The bus will also stop at fire stations and schools in other areas as part of a strategy to celebrate diversity and build community by sharing food, transformative dialogue, and the arts.
In partnership with the Freeplay Foundation, Project Radio Rwanda aims to bring 63,000 wind-up and solar-powered radios to children who have been orphaned by the ravages of disease and war. In a country where electricity reaches only 2% of the population and a pack of AA batteries costs a week's wages, Freeplay radios make listening sustainable since they don't require an external power source. Being able to listen to a radio not only helps ease the children's isolation, but also provides information about practical issues like health care, clean water, improved farming methods, and civil rights.
A November fundraising walkathon organized by Oxfam Hong Kong will raise money for disadvantaged people in Asia and Africa. Trailwalker is an arduous, 100-km hike along the MacLehose Trail and must be completed within 48 hours. Supported by an array of companies and community organizations, the event has raised more than $120 million (Hong Kong dollars) in the last 20 years with the help of people from all over the world.
NetAid is channeling donations to humanitarian agencies that have extensive experience working with Afghan refugees in northwest Pakistan. The agencies are responding to the current crisis in Afghanistan and, in partnering with NetAid, are providing people with an opportunity to get involved. The agencies help train Afghan doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, as well as support refugees with special needs, including unaccompanied children, the elderly, the disabled, and female-headed households.
DID YOU KNOW you can volunteer in your community as a family team?
FamilyCares, a program developed by the nonprofit Child Charitable Development Association, Inc. (CCD), gives parents an online resource to learn about the importance of youth volunteerism and the ease and fun of family community involvement. The FamilyCares Web site features dozens of step-by-step projects on a variety of themes, from the holidays to helping the elderly. The site also provides, free of charge, caring activities for kids and information to help parents teach their children about social issues such as homelessness, hunger, aging and illness. The CCD is a nonprofit, multiracial organization dedicated to the development of compassion and the spirit of charity in children through hands-on activities that help those in need.
For more information, visit FamilyCares.
Boeing Employees' Credit Union is now including community service opportunities, in addition to financial experience, in its paid summer internship program. Last summer, the Credit Union's twenty interns organized a backpack and school supply drive, collecting more than 430 backpacks and a truckload of school supplies from Credit Union employees and members.
As a logical extension of Make A Difference Day (the United States' largest day of volunteerism), USA Weekend Magazine and the Points of Light Foundation have partnered with the Citizens' Scholarship Foundation of America to launch the Make A Difference Day Scholarship Fund. The Fund will provide financial support over the next two to three decades for post-secondary education for children and spouses of those killed or permanently disabled in the September 11 attacks.
A group of female executives had an opportunity to return to summer camp in 2001, this time with a very important purpose--to serve as mentors to a group of young girls just beginning to think about their futures. With growing evidence that exposure to female role models can have a significant impact on young women, Andersen partnered with Girl Scouts of Southeastern Pennsylvania (GSSP) to co-host Camp VIP, a three-day program to help teenage girls set and achieve their personal and professional goals.