Tag Archives: Community

One photographer is changing the world

imgresHumans of New York is a facebook site started as a photography project by Brandon in 2010, shortly after being fired from his finance job.  Brandon started HONY to create a catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants, setting out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. Somewhere along the way, he began to interview his subjects in addition to photographing them, and alongside their portraits, would include quotes and short stories from their lives.

The facebook site now has over 11 million followers, and has recently turned a corner from an art site to creating social impact in a major way, with the photo and story of a boy named Vidal, from the HONY facebook page:

“Who’s influenced you the most in your life?”
“My principal, Ms. Lopez.”
“How has she influenced you?”
“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”

Vidal’s simple comment sent photographer Brandon to Mott Hall Bridges Academy to meet Ms. Lopez.  Which then led to learning more about the school, and what they needed from Ms. Lopez and her team.  Which led to an indiegogo campaign to send the 6th grade class to visit Harvard.  Which led to thousands of people in the comments sections of these posts and follow up posts offering to help not only the kids in this school, but the kids in neighboring schools and kids in schools around the world.

And the story isn’t done yet.  Brandon keeps taking photos of kids, teachers, administrators – hearing their stories, giving them names and voices and a platform for positive change.  And people all over the world are responding with strength and encouragement and resources and networking.  See a video here.

One photographer is changing the world.  One face, one story at a time.

Transport and purify water at the same time

The Midomo Water Purifier transports and purifies water at the same time.

A Rational Response to Homelessness

Utah is tackling the homeless problem.  Their plan is already saving taxpayer money AND is improving the economy, plus they are on track to eliminate homelessness by 2015.

Jerry the Bear helps kids with type 1 diabetes

Jerry the Bear is an interactive teaching tool for kids with type 1 diabetes. The bear needs the same thing a child does:  checking blood sugar levels, choices on what to eat, and even helping kids master their medical procedures through play.

To learn more about Jerry the Bear, click here.  If you don’t know a child with type 1 diabetes, you can still play a part in helping those who do here.

Utopia for those with Dementia

The Netherlands has a unique eldercare community built specifically for dementia patients, called Dementia Village.  Dementia Village is a safe 4 acre indoor/outdoor community where residents can enjoy the seasons, visit a restaurant, drink a cup of tea, get their hair done, go shopping, and are free to go wherever they want (within the save indoor/outdoor village with a ratio of 2 staff per resident).

This 4 acre complex is home to 23 housing units with 7 different ‘lifestyle themes’, the goal being to create a space where each resident can enjoy life and feel welcome.  On a physical level people here require fewer medications, eat better, live longer.  On a mental level they also seem to experience more joy.

Thanks to CNN’s World’s Untold Stories for this video.

Indoor forts just got a whole lot more fun

Indoor forts for kids (and adults) just got a whole lot easier – and more fun. Made from recycled cardboard, these lay flat for storage, but can be folded into lego-like blocks for easy stacking.  But the genius is the ‘mortar’ that holds the blocks together, and the easy-on roofs.  Take a look – and be a part of the kick starter program if you like what you see.

This is a possible step towards an outdoor building system for reusable small buildings as well.

Ikea leads the way in system to stabilize refugee families

Ikea is developing a prototype of refugee shelter that is easy to put together, is insulated, has a solar light so people can cook/sew/do homework when it gets dark, and other simple yet practical features.

Ikea is getting feedback from refugees to improve upon the concept before they roll out the final design.  They also plan to include a system of health care, education, and more so refugee families can not only get stabilized physically, but get all members of a family back on their feet in body/mind/spirit as quickly and respectfully as possible.

Good News Network gets a fantastic make-over

The Good News Network was started by Geri Weis-Corbley in 1997, and I’ve enjoyed the little encouraging stories sent to my email inbox for many years.  Recently the Good News Network went through a transformation, and is now a free and easily navigated news service. The insight and direction of Geri’s work and attitude are cutting edge cultural creative.  Check out more information about what she’s doing, why, the history, how you can get involved by sending in your own stories, and more here.  Now you can start and end your day with GOOD news from the Good News Network  – rated #1 on Google.

Start a Free Store for the Homeless

Wanna start a free pop-up store for the homeless?  Check out this video, which gives how-to information including downloadable posters!

Introducing The Street Store. The world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free ‘pop-up clothing store’ for the homeless, found entirely on the street and curated by you.

Download open-source files and host your own Street Store on www.thestreetstore.org

Follow on Twitter @TheStreetStore and on Facebook.com/thestreetstoreorg 

Accessible Adventures for those with limited mobility

Vacations are fun!  Even if  you’re in a wheelchair or have limited mobility.  Accessible Adventures is a new video series, hosted by former radio host John Williams, that SHOWS accessible vacation spots featuring wheelchair and limited mobility people having fun in the Northwest!  Also check out the blog to see Jim Martinson skiing Crystal Mountain on a mono ski. Here’s a video with John Williams telling more about this timely idea:

High School Students Work To Clean The Air

 

April2014Final(1)Be blown away by youth that demonstrate a passion for restoring the health of the environment! The April 26th Sharing Ideas event, features the Roosevelt High School Science Club, a group of students determined to counteract pollution in Portland, Oregon. These local youth are experimenting with planters that recycle polluted air into clean air and testing of air quality surrounding Roosevelt High School. They have been invited to Washington, D.C. later this year to present their findings.

Sharing Ideas events raise awareness of local grassroots efforts throughout Portland Oregon that strengthen community. Project presenters share the inspiration that launched their idea, how it moved into action, where they are today, and their hope for the future.

Everyone is invited. RSVP suggested online or by phone at 503.546.7499. Refreshments will be provided. Childcare (9 and under), transportation, and interpretation are provided upon request, with 48 hours advanced notice.

When: Saturday, April 26th, from 11 AM to 1 PM

Where: Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205.

Who: You! Bring your friends and family to this free event and discover pathways to new possibilities!

 

What if our healthcare system kept us healthy?

Rebecca Onie asks audacious questions: What if waiting rooms were a place to improve daily health care? What if doctors could prescribe food, housing and heat in the winter? Here’s a Ted Talk that gives concrete information to create a healthcare system that actually keeps us healthy.

Tennessee considers funding free community college for all High School Grads

Tennessee is considering using lottery money to fully fund community college and technical school for all high school grads. Since cost is the biggest hurdle to getting a higher education, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is on the right track to make higher education truly attainable – without all the hoops. Read more here.

Free wood chips help local small business, local landfills, and homeowners

IMG_2450What do you do if you’re a small tree chipping company and you don’t want to spend your money on dumping fees? What do you do if you’re a city planner trying to keep your landfills from filling up so fast?  What do you do if you’re a homeowner who wants to do some sustainable and frugal landscaping pathways?

IMG_2441A new website in Portland Oregon solves this three way problem with chipdrop.  You open an account and give your address, and whatever local tree chipping company has a load of chips they need to dump, they drive it to your house and dump it free in whatever location you mention. It helps the tree chipping companies because otherwise they’d have to pay dump fees. It helps the homeowner because you get free wood chips delivered to your door. It helps the city because it doesn’t get it’s landfills full of woodchips. Everybody wins.

We took advantage of this new service and created front and backyard pathways!  Our load, we were told, was mostly douglas fir, so the whole yard smells wonderful, and it’s safe for our backyard free range chickens.

Kids cars turned into mobility devices

Dr. Cole Galloway is turning kids toy cars into mobility devices and physical therapy for young children. This is making a lot of people happy – especially the little kids who get to drive the cool cars.

Learn more about the University of Delaware Go Baby Go! program here.

Read more about this on Upworthy here.

Are Bronies changing the face of masculinity?

Are the qualities of friendship, fun, working together, inclusiveness, and kindness ONLY male traits; female traits; or are they human traits?

These hero’s are making the world a happier, kinder, more inclusive place; creating 3D men (instead of men chained in a 2D world box of destruction, disfunction, and distance).

Self Cleaning Fish Aquarium

This self cleaning Beta Fish aquarium uses no batteries, filters, or fuss. Using physics alone, the clean water you put in flushes the dirty water out.  You can then use the wastewater to fertilize your plants.  The tanks are made in the US and won Best New Aquatic Product at the Global Pet Expo 2013.

Learn more at The Grommet.

Fight Crime with a Fashionable Hair Clip

first_sign_clip-3The First Sign Hair Clip was designed by Rachel Emanuele as a tool to protect women from violent crime.  The clip can attach to hair or even a purse strap, and then detects through algorithm  if you are being attacked (it knows the difference between a violent attack, a bump on the head, or jogging for instance).  It also has a panic button you can push in case of danger as well.  The included app collects data as evidence such as where you are, records your conversation, notifies authorities that a crime is being committed, and sends out a verbal message saying you have been located and help is on the way (thus possibly scaring away the attacker so no more harm is done, but also gathering information about him for prosecution).

Here’s the background story

You can reserve a clip for yourself or a loved one, and bring this hair clip to market through your contributions to this  Indigogo account.

Thanks to Gizmag for this article on Impact Sensing Hair Clip Helps Fight Violent Crime.

Public urinal goes green

pplanterWhat happens when you combine bamboo plants and simple green science to create a public urinal?  The PPlanter.

The PPlanter is a simple and attractive public system that allows you to privately pee in a urinal (there are disposable women’s adapters as well), then step on a foot pedal that brings fresh water to wash your hands.  The fresh water flushes/cleans the urinal with liquids going into a holding tank.  From there, the mixed liquid is pumped into the planter/biofilter, where bamboo plants are growing in a mixture of rocks, wood chips and styrofoam. The water, nitrogen and phosphorous are used by the bamboo, while bacteria living in the growing medium break down carbohydrates and protein.

I talked to my son and he says guys would have no problem with this, but probably women wouldn’t be all that enthusiastic.  According to the Gizmag article, the test project had plenty of volunteers, but they didn’t break down how many were men/women.  Also what would you do if you ended up needing to do more than just pee – this particular invention doesn’t cover that.  But I think it’s a good start to re-imagine how to simplify waste systems.

Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

Accountability -vs- Forgiveness

Accountability has gotten a bad rap.  American culture sees accountability as a punishment, and forgiveness as a sign of a good person.

I have a different take.

Here are samples of the same conversation:  one from a forgiveness perspective, one from an accountability perspective, using the random names Mike and Jim.

Forgiveness Conversation

Mike spills the milk on the table.

Jim, upset, points out Mike’s milk is soaking into Jim’s papers!

Mike denies he spilled the milk, and/or makes excuses for why he spilled the milk:  he was tired; he was distracted; he didn’t see the milk there; it was someone else’s fault for placing the milk on the table in the first place.

Jim frantically works to keep his remaining papers dry, and in exasperation calls Mike to Get A Towel!

Mike wrings his hands crying “don’t be mad at me, it wasn’t my INTENT to spill the milk, I really AM a good person, I TRY my best, EVERYONE makes mistakes, don’t hold it against me!”

Jim gets a towel himself and cleans up the mess, sad/angry/disappointed/upset/ that Mike didn’t admit to his own mess or in any way help to clean it up.

Mike pleads “Will you forgive me?”

Accountability Conversation

Mike spills the milk on the table, and immediately says “Jim – grab your papers off the table!”  Mike quickly fetches a towel to clean up the mess.

Jim quickly picks up his papers, focusing on the most important ones.

Mike cleans up the mess, dries the table, and says “Hey man, sorry if I ruined any of your papers – is there anything I can do to make it right?”

Jim answers gratefully “I really appreciate your quick action to clean up the accident. I saved most of the papers, but a few got wet.  I’ll dry them out and check to see if I need to re-write any.  Thanks for asking though.”

Accountability brings out personal characteristics such as strength, resilience, quick thinking, problem solving, caring, helpfulness, satisfaction, self-mastery and concern.  Reactions to this caring response are trust, thankfulness, appreciation, and feeling valued.  If Mike wasn’t aware he spilled the milk, as soon as Jim brought it up, Mike would have switched into accountability mode and went straight to cleaning up the mess.  There is mutual respect and trust with an interaction where a person takes personal responsibility and accountability for accidents or hurts they have caused.  Both parties feel like winners.

Forgiveness brings out personal characteristics such as the inability to take responsibility, inflexibility, lack of empathy, neediness, denial, defensiveness, excuses, blame, guilt, and pride. Reactions are exasperation, disappointment, feeling devalued, and feeling unheard. There is a mutual mistrust and imbalance of power, where Mike feels like a victim even though Mike was the one who hurt/inconvenienced Jim. Jim is left in the uncomfortable position of being the ‘bad’ guy if he doesn’t offer forgiveness, and Mike is in the position of feeling weak. No one wins: Both feel they got the raw end of the stick. Even if Jim does say “I forgive you” to keep the peace/look ‘good’, Jim won’t trust Mike in the future since Mike doesn’t take accountability/responsibility for his actions.

In Summary

My hypothesis is, if you have to ASK for forgiveness, you probably haven’t been accountable for your actions.  Instead of asking for forgiveness, ask how you can make it right, then listen.  Better yet – be accountable in the first place – it’s empowering!  You’ll be in the position to make a positive difference, and the person you wronged/hurt will feel heard.

For everyday situations with kind caring empathic people, I think accountability should be the go-to power word, and forgiveness be an un-asked for gift given AFTER the person harmed feels heard.

Article by Barb Hughes