Good People Doing Good Things — Rayn Boncie

Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours. – Les Brown


Today I would like to introduce you to a very special lady who has done, and is doing, some very special things to help abused and neglected children.  Her name is Rayn Boncie and I think you will fall in love with this lady … I know I did!

I will let Rayn tell you where her story began  …

“When I was 14 years-old I was placed in the foster care system. A few months later, another foster child arrived. She was also 14 and came in wearing clothing that would have fit a small nine-year-old. I remember seeing her change for bed and noticed reddish-purplish welts on her skin. Her clothing had literally injured her. I made a silent promise to her that day, that when I grew up, I would do something to help children like her and me.

I started Things of My Very Own, Inc. out of my home in 2008 in order to bridge the gap between what social service entities were able to provide and what children need. In 2010, we served 5,892 individuals. Now, we are in a 20,000 square foot building and I’m quite certain that this is going to be a record-breaking year.”

The mission of Things of My Very Own, located in Schenectady, New York, as stated on their website, is:

Things of My Very Own helps introduce children to the fundamental life skills needed to develop into stable, confident individuals with healthy levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.

Things of My Very Own, Inc. provides crisis intervention services to children impacted by extensive abuse and/or neglect. Services are also available to children who are, solely due to the lack of items necessary for sustainability, at risk of a Child Protective Services intervention. Our goal is to keep children together with non-abusive family members, and out of the foster care system, whenever possible.

rayn-1So, what do they do, exactly?  They act as a go-between among social service agencies, bridging the gap between crisis and long-term solution by providing assistance within four hours of receiving a referral, as well as providing up to seven days of emergency materials — clothing, toiletries, bedding, school supplies and access to a food pantry.

In November 2015,  Things of My Very Own, Inc. launched its Holiday Adoption Program which allows at-risk children to adopt stuffed animals that they will then care for. Volunteers were seen wearing light blue or black scrubs and stethoscopes as they walked around carrying stuffed animals being fed with baby bottles.

tomvo.jpg“Rather than just giving toys to underprivileged children, we decided to give them an experience. Children come in, fill out an application and learn a bit about the personality of each stuffed animal. There is even a birth certificate.” said Client Relations Specialist Candra Kimball.

This year, Rayn and her team of 500+ volunteers decided to try something new.  They created tags for the children in need in the community to write down what they would most like for Christmas … wishes they intend to fill as best they can.

tag-1.jpg“Every tag is connected to a child who wants to believe that someone in the world cares about their well-being. If we can show them for one moment that someone put their needs ahead of their own, maybe they will finally believe that what they have endured does not need to define who they grow up to be. For many of these children, we are the spark of hope that lights up their otherwise dark world. Many individuals and businesses have already stepped up, asking for tags; and for these children, we hope it is only the beginning.”

tag-4.jpgRayn has a Facebook page where she tells a bit of her story, and the giving doesn’t stop with Rayn and Things of my Very Own, for her Facebook followers are taking the ball and running with it …

C,S. This post prompted me to contact my daughter’s teacher. I asked if there were children in her kindergarten class that were not bringing snacks everyday. She told me yes and also said I could send in snacks for her to give these children. Made a trip to the store today and have several boxes of snacks for her to pass out to make sure every kid has a snack. Thanks for waking me up.

L.A.S. I  love this! i’m going to message my daughters teacher tomorrow!

D.M. GOOD FOR YOU,,I AM NOW CONSIDERING GOING TO THE LOCAL SCHOOL TO SEE HOW I CAN HELP,,THANK YOU,,6 YRS, US ARMY,,DISABLED VETERAN

Funny how good deeds inspire others to do their own good in the world, isn’t it?

Last year, Ms. Boncie was selected to attend the Effective Altruism Global 2016 conference in San Francisco. She was hand-picked from thousands of applicants and nominations throughout the world because she possesses the right combination of analytic thinking with altruistic motivations. Not only was she chosen to attend, but she was also awarded a scholarship.

Rayn has earned several awards and designations including but not limited to The Presidents Lifetime Achievement Award from President Obama.

I applaud this woman, the organization she founded and has dedicated her life to, as well as all those who volunteer their time and/or resources to Things of my Very Own, for they are helping so many young children in countless ways.  Thank you, Ms. Boncie for all you do!

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Good People Doing Good Things — Toyin Saraki

“If people need help in their life, you should be grateful you are in a position to help them.” – Toyin Saraki

Sakari-2Recently, a reader suggested I look into Ms. Toyin Saraki with an eye toward my ‘good people’ post.  I followed her suggestion and am so glad I did.  This is one amazing woman, and I think you will agree.

We don’t often think of those born into a wealthy royal family as being the type to give not only of their money, but also of themselves to help make the world a bit of a better place, but that is exactly what Ms. Sakari is … both royalty and a top philanthropist.

Toyin Saraki was born into the Ojora and Adele royal families of Lagos, Nigeria, as the daughter of the Yoruba aristocrat Oloye Adekunle Ojora, the Otunba of Lagos. She then obtained her L.L.B degree from the London School of Oriental and African Studies and her L.L.M (roughly equivalent to a JD in the U.S.) from King’s College London, both of the University of London. She returned to Nigeria and passed the Nigerian Bar in 1989. Royalty, wealthy, a lawyer, a privileged class, yet one thing changed the path Ms. Saraki might otherwise have taken.  She lost a child.

The year was 1992 and 25-year-old Toyin was 28 weeks pregnant with twins when she traveled from London to Nigeria on holiday.  And then she went into labour prematurely.  The first girl was alive, weighing a scant 1.2kg, or 2 pounds 10 ounces, but the second died.  She never saw her dead baby, and to this day does not know where the baby is buried.

“In our culture, we don’t really deal with grief. You don’t bury your child, so every time I go to a funeral, I am always checking to see if my child is there. One of my husband’s uncles knows but he won’t tell me. Imagine being unable to put flowers on a grave.”

To add insult to injury, Toyin felt her family and friends blamed her for the baby’s death. “I’d given them names so people blamed me because it’s bad luck to name a baby here until seven days after birth. I was made to feel like it was me.”

Nothing drives a person to action quite like having catastrophe strike, and thus began Ms. Saraki’s lifetime of philanthropy.

In 1993, the year after the death of her baby, she and a group of friends established The Lifestream Charity, which sponsors children with heart deformities to receive corrective surgeries in Israel, the U.K. and South Africa. The Lifestream also builds schools, offers scholarships to needy students, and offers disaster relief.

But in 2003 she gained a new platform, a new voice.  Her husband became the leader of Kwara State, Nigeria, and Toyin was now the First Lady of the state. One of the first things she did was to lead a movement for every citizen in Kwara to have access to education and healthcare and founded the Kwara Wellbeing Trust.

One of the first things Ms. Saraki noticed when she and her husband moved to Kwara was that not only were babies dying at a high rate, but mothers were dying in child birth an even higher rate.  So she began watching very closely, and in her first year there … “I realised there were so many women who were ‘unlucky’. When I went to I counted 1,000 births, and 200 [women] had died.”    Saraki then went to meet the health minister and thus began her crusade.

On a trip to London, she came across the red books healthcare workers give pregnant women to record their children’s immunisations and other data. “I realised we needed this in Nigeria,” she explains. She tracked down the makers and had thousands printed to take back to Nigeria.

In her effort to find ways to prevent so many deaths, Saraki first focused on doctors. “Eventually, I thought ‘why am I struggling with these doctors?’ Midwives are the ones that are with these women and they’re not so hoity-toity that they won’t listen. It’s an alliance.”

And then came her most lasting achievement, her widest outreach, her legacy, if you will.  But I would like to let Ms. Saraki tell you a bit about it in her own words:

In 2004, I realised that the silence on the inadequate maternal health system in Nigeria and Africa could not continue, and it had to change. This is when I founded the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.  It was actually my own traumatic experience in my home country Nigeria, where I lost my own child; which made me fully aware of the challenges and deficits every mother was experiencing, every day, every birth – be it unsanitised and old equipment to cold and unwelcoming health workers.

I had always understood that many Nigerians suffered from lack of education and opportunity, but this inequality was most pronounced in childbirth.  Every aspect of the process – from medical staff access to availability of resources to even basic cleanliness – is impacted upon by regional and national standards.  The trauma of losing a child opened my eyes to how few options were available for Nigerians. For all to learn, to be vocationally skilled and to be employed. All of this is dependent on various social factors, including class, geography, and gender. Women and girls unequivocally face the greatest challenges and barriers to education, work and rights in Nigeria and across Africa.

We advocate for improved health, education and individual empowerment across Africa through a multi-layered strategy of research, advocacy, policy development, education, community engagement and private-public sector partnerships.

Toyin-Barack

Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, Toyin Saraki

Ms. Sakari and Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) do so many things, and Ms. Sakari is so involved with not only her own organization, but many others also, that I could write a short book here, but time and space being limited, let me just summarize a few of her most important accomplishments.

Through the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, which achieved consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Welfare Office in 2015, and working with high-level partners that include the UN and the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health, Saraki has demonstrated leadership on the UN Secretary General’s Every Woman, Every Child initiative and continues a focused advocacy on the post-2015 agenda. A committed grant maker, this year Mrs Saraki launched the Alaafia Universal Health Coverage Fund which bestows 5000 health insurance access grants annually to pregnant women, newborns, children under 5, adolescent girls and aged citizens in Kwara State.

Saraki is the global ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives, Newborn champion for Save the Children Nigeria, board chair of the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria, Goodwill Ambassador of the Olave Baden-Powell Society and board members of the Global Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence and The Africa Justice Foundation. Her Foundation WBFA works in line with the Saving One Million Lives, the MDG Health Alliance and the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria.Global Philanthropy Forum

I am exhausted just from reading about all she does and has accomplished. I cannot possibly do her justice in this post, cannot begin to give her enough credit for all that she has accomplished, for all that she has given.

Saraki launched the Mamacare clinics two years ago and has educated more than 200,000 mothers about birth and children’s health. Subjects such as drugs, domestic violence and savings are discussed too. “By the time a woman’s done eight months of Mamacare classes she’s got a new worldview.” The results are remarkable: they haven’t lost a Mamacare mother yet. “I’ve seen triplets – born at 24 weeks – all survive. We did kangaroo care, with the mother, the grandma and the aunt.”

Sakari-4In the early days, Saraki most often paid when a mother needed hospitalization or a Caesarean, and sometimes she still does. Recently she was called by one of her midwives at 2:00 a.m. the night before a flight to London. A mother was having triplets and didn’t have money for a Caesarean. So, Toyin headed to Abuja General Hospital. “I didn’t even know the name of the mum! I said, ‘Is there a Mamacare Mum here?’ A woman popped out of bed and said, ‘It’s me!’ By the time I landed in London at 3pm she’d had the babies — a boy and two girls. Gorgeous children!” Not only that but they found her husband, who’d lost his job, new work with a senator: “We’ve turned into an employment agency too!”

 

Saraki says how much she loves her work. “I know this isn’t sexy work – and I’m not saving the world, but one mother at a time. They are living. They are actually living. For me, that’s fulfilling.”

Sakari-3.jpg

Good People Doing Good Things — CNN’s 2017 Heroes

This week starts the CNN contest for ‘CNN Heroes of 2017’, and I thought it would be fun to look at these … all good people doing good things.  If you wish, you can even participate in the vote up until Tuesday, December 12th.  There are ten of these finalists, and I know of at least one who I will write an entire post about, for I have already begun it.  So, I thought I would bring you a few this week, and a few more next week, so you will know a bit about them, in case you wish to vote.

Many of these good people are doing small things, but as I told my daughter last night, it may be only a drop in the bucket, but after a time, the drops fill the bucket to overflowing.  Let us take a look, shall we?


Lakhani

Samir Lakhani

In 2014, Samir Lakhani was attending the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) when he spent time volunteering in a Cambodian village.

“I remember quite vividly a mother bathing her newborn in a basin filled with laundry powder and water. It’s an image I’ll never get out of my mind.”

According to UNICEF, one in five deaths of children under five years of age are due to disease caused by poor hygiene.  Why is soap such a rarity in these villages?  First, many people have to choose between food for their children or soap.  Which would you choose?  Second, most merchants no longer even stock soap, because nobody can afford to buy it.

One night when Samir returned to his hotel after a long day of volunteer work, he spotted the small bar of soap in the bathroom, and a thought came to him.  Those are mostly thrown away after one or two uses … what if they could be recycled and provided to the poor in the villages?  And so this young man decided to do something wonderful.  He established a non-profit, Eco-Soap Bank:

Eco-soapEco-Soap Bank is a humanitarian and environmental non-profit organization working to save, sanitize, and supply recycled hotel soap for the developing world. Our work has three objectives:

  1. Contribute a highly cost-effective hygiene product to improve health.
  2. Significantly reduce the waste generated by the hotel industry.
  3. Provide livelihoods and free education to disadvantaged women with no other reliable source of income.

Today, the organization has four recycling centers across the country, providing jobs to 35 local women. The used bars are sanitized and remolded into new bars or melted down into liquid soap. So far, more than 650,000 people have benefited from the group’s soap and hygiene education.

“What I love most is that we are killing three birds with one stone. We are keeping waste out of landfills, employing locals and spreading soap all over the country.”


Jennifer Maddox-2

Officer Jennifer Maddox

Almost daily we hear and read of the violence in Chicago. Last year was Chicago’s deadliest in nearly two decades, with 762 homicides. Think about that one a minute … more than two per day, on average. Parkway Gardens on the south side is one of the hardest hit neighborhoods.  Enter Jennifer Maddox, a Chicago police officer who saw a need and got down to the business of filling that need.

“We are in a state of emergency here. The shooting, the killing. Five-, six-, seven-year-olds—they’re losing people that they love and care about. A lot of our young people are fearful to even come outside.”

Maddox started a non-profit called Future Ties, that provides a safe haven for more than 100 children in grades K-5 to learn, grow and succeed. Her ultimate goal is to reach all 1,200 children that live in the complex. Maddox has even taken a second job to help fund the efforts from her own pocket.  But Future Ties does not only provide free after school day care, they actually work with the children in various areas of learning, and recently Jennifer introduced some lessons on ‘conflict resolution’ …

Jennifer Maddox-1.jpg

Jennifer Maddox (center)

“I brought conflict resolution into the program because I felt that we needed to address how they relate to each other in conflict. That’s where a lot of the violence in their community stems from. They need to understand that it’s not okay to hurt someone, even though that’s what they see happening around them. They need to understand that there are other ways to communicate and relate to one another.

I want the children to make the best out of their lives. The things that are happening across our city—it’s very unfair for our young people. I do what I do because I enjoy it and I believe in their potential. I look at their faces every day, and they give me hope.”

You might find this article from the February 22 in the Chicago Sun-Times interesting.


Two people who are adding drops to that bucket every day, doing their part to help instead of harm.  My hat is off to these two, and the lessons they can teach us all: that it doesn’t take a lot of money or time to help others, to help make the world just a little be better place.

 

Good People Doing Good Things — Youth Serving America (YSA)

Having spent the last two days buried deep in the rabbit hole, and after yesterday’s attack in New York, I was having a hard time pulling myself out of the ol’ rabbit hole last night.  But it was Tuesday night, today is Wednesday, and I felt committed to bring my friends, my faithful readers, news of good people on Wednesday.  I had to leave part of me in the rabbit hole as guarantee that I would return, rather like collateral, but I finally made my way out for a few short hours to tell you about a wonderful organization that is doing good itself, but teaching others to do good also.

Earlier in October, I wrote a post about young people reaching out to others with kindness, compassion and caring.  Some of those stories came from Youth Serving America (YSA).  A bit about what they do from their website.

Founded in 1986, YSA supports a global culture of engaged children and youth committed to a lifetime of meaningful service, learning, and leadership. With half the world’s population under age 25, our mission is to help all young people find their voice, take action, and make an impact on vital community issues. Starting in 2016, YSA will focus all our assets and outcomes on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

YSA was founded and led by Roger Landrum and Frank Slobig for its first 10 years, with help from the Ford Foundation. Both of these men have spent years doing good things and I could do an entire post about each of them.  Landrum, a world-renowned award-winning photographer, began by serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa. Slobig has dedicated his lifetime to working with youth, and in addition, he and his wife currently “feed the hungry to the tune of 60,000 meals a year, and clothe and provide regular food distribution to 1000 families in need.”

The activities of YSA fall into four main categories:

  • Activate – Large-scale mobilization campaigns, such as Global Youth Service Day and Semester of Service
  • Fund – Grant Opportunities of approximately $1 million annually. YSA Grants are available to youth, educators, and organizations around the world for youth-led service projects
  • Train – YSA Learning Center, a new YSA initiative that equips youth and their adult mentors with high-quality, high-impact service and service-learning programs
  • Recognize – Awards that recognize exceptional youth and the adults who are champions of youth voice

They work with youth, educators, families and communities to inspire, motivate and teach young people to engage in a lifetime of giving to others.

YSA-2In September, they launched a new initiative called Be Fearless, Be Kind, the goal being to inspire and empower kids to have the compassion, empathy and courage to stand up for others and be inclusive throughout their lives. Sounds to me like a great way to end schoolyard bullying!  They don’t pull any punches, either.  This year they are encouraging teachers to talk about the hatred in America and even about the events in Charlottesville in August, and they provide toolkits and training information to help teachers do so.

But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding, so let’s look at some of the young people who are a part of YSA …

Mai Griffith is 16 years old and lives in Mission Viejo, California.  Her first philanthropic deed was early in life, when she set up a lemonade stand and donated the profits to the Marines, but she didn’t stop there …

Griffith

Mai Griffith

“Mai finds a purpose in making sick orphans smile or changing a bandage for a sick person in need. Therefore, she decided to bring awareness to her friends and community about the people of Ghana by having fundraisers and tents at the local farmers market and reaching out to companies. She has even been able to contact a representative for Johnson & Johnson in Dubai UAE to get the test strips for the glucometers she had donated.

Last summer, Mai started her own nonprofit organization the Hearts for Hearts Foundation and, although she tried to do all the work on her own, she realized that she needed help from her peers and relatives. She understands that working with a team is more powerful than working by herself.

Her plan is to volunteer in developing countries every summer because she believes that traveling will give her the opportunity to spread the word about countries that people in her community are not familiar with. Traveling will also help her contact local hospitals to see what they need and find donors to acquire and collect medical supplies for them to use.”

Christopher Suggs of Kinston, North Carolina, may be only 16 years old, but he has frankly done more in the name of peace and goodwill than most of us who have lived for decades. Kinston is a city notorious for its violent crime …

Suggs

Christopher Suggs

“When he was 14 years old, he decided that he wanted to take control of the situation and create a safe and peaceful environment for his fellow citizens. Chris is the founder of Kinston Teens – a youth-led organization that amplifies the voices of Kinston youth and provides them with a platform for civic engagement and community service opportunities. He believes that if youth realize their fullest potential, they will be able to create a strong and powerful community.

Kinston Teens is the first violence prevention effort that is based on a youth-inclusion model in the area. Since the start of the organization, young people in Kinston have been actively involved in serving their local community. Chris strives to make his community safer by providing youth with community service opportunities, as an alternative to violent activity. Some of the initiatives he has started include beautification projects, voter registration drives, mentoring programs for elementary and middle school students, and youth leadership seminars. According to the Kinston Department of Public Safety and Kinston Police Department, the youth-driven criminal activity significantly decreased in 2015 and 2016. Having witnessed these major changes, youth and all the other residents have taken an active role in improving the life of the city.

Apart from being active at Kinston Teens, Chris serves on several state and local advisory committees and participates in local TV shows where he shares his experience in youth empowerment. Chris’s initiatives are great examples of how engaging young people in important policy decisions can benefit safe community building. Chris has been awarded the Youth of the Year prize by the NC Gang Investigator’s Association for serving as a role model for his peers and providing positive alternatives for young people through community service.”

Then there are the Carr sisters, Bridget (11), Charlotte (9) and Lucy (8) from Wyckoff, New Jersey.  They looked high and low for volunteer activities that they could participate in together, but to no avail …

Carr.jpg

The Carr Sisters

“They then saw a tweet from one of their favorite soccer players, Raquel Rodriguez of Sky Blue FC and the Costa Rica national team about an incredible organization called Soccer Without Borders (SWB). With some help from their father, they decided to join the SWB’s Ambassador program and they started a Greater Goals fundraiser focused on SWB’s programs for girls in Granada, Nicaragua and Kampala, Uganda.

The Carr sisters wanted to focus on helping girls who do not have the same opportunities they have every day, such as getting an education, playing, joining sports teams, eating healthy, and overall having the social, educational, and economic support children need in order to overcome obstacles and achieve personal goals.

Bridget, Charlotte, and Lucy set up social media accounts to spread the word about SWB’s work and sent many emails and messages to local soccer clubs, media members, and professional soccer players. Their club, World Class FC, made a $500 donation to the campaign. Several other people from the club also made personal donations. They also teamed up with another non-profit, called Positive Tracks, whose motto is “Youth + Athletics + Philanthropy = The New Awesome.”

The girls have worked very hard to engage other young soccer players, both at a local level and via social media. Their hope is that kids like them across the country will be inspired to start their own Greater Goals campaign for SWB or give back in some other ways.”

If the proof is in the pudding, I would say this is one amazing batch of pudding, and YSA is doing a fantastic job of helping to create that pudding.  This organization is certainly worthy of being   featured in today’s “good people” post, and I would also like to give thumbs up to founders Roger Landrum and Frank Slobig, as well as all the young people who are engaged in helping to make this world a little bit better, one act of kindness at a time.

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Good People Doing Good Things – Ben & Chris

Hello Friends!!!  As I do every Wednesday, I went in search of good people who are doing good things, and I think your hearts will go out to these people … I know mine certainly did.


Ben-Carpenter-3Meet Ben Carpenter.  Ben, age 33, is a single gay man living in Shepley, West Yorkshire.  What makes Ben unique?  He has adopted four very special children, children with special needs, and provides them with a wonderfully loving home.

Ben began his journey some eleven years ago, in 2006, but it took him four years before he was able to convince the authorities that he was serious about adopting and could be a good dad. “I only ever wanted one child when I started on the process of adoption,” says Ben.  But fate had other ideas …

Ben-Carpenter-4Each of the children has special needs: 10-year-old Jack is autistic and has autism-related OCD. Ruby, 7, has Pierre Robin syndrome, a visual impairment, scoliosis and limited use of her arms as a result of missing radius bones. Lily, Ruby’s 5-year-old biological half-sister, is deaf and uses British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate. The most recently adopted, 2-year-old Joseph, has Down syndrome and uses a colostomy bag.

“All my children have the, ‘I have a disability. So what?’ attitude,” he says. They enjoy what he feels is a normal family life on the Huddersfield, United Kingdom, farm they share with resident rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks and peacocks.

“As of yesterday, the weather was lovely. They were playing in the garden from morning ’till night,” he says. “Our life is so complete. They’re complete with me and I’m complete with them, really,” he says. While he fields the question “How do you manage?” quite often, Benjamin says it’s just what he’s meant to do — and so far, the kids have been relatively easy.

Ben-Carpenter-2“I’ve been very lucky. I may get it when they become teenagers. Obviously they will have their own demons when they get older with their adoption.”

All the kids are learning to communicate with Ruby. Benjamin is teaching them Makaton, a simplified form of sign language, in lieu of BSL. Ruby’s difficulty moving her arms prevents her from forming the signs, so the sisters have learned to communicate in other ways.

“They do it through facial gestures and body language. It’s quite fascinating to see, really, when they’re together,” Benjamin says.

In fact, Ruby has learned to do many things independently without the use of her arms. Whatever the challenge, Benjamin resists the urge to do it for her, instead talking her through doing it on her own.

“She’s learned to adapt, so she’ll use her legs or she’ll use her mouth or chin to do it,” he says.

Ben works part-time as a teacher of British Sign Language, and also volunteers his time working to educate other would-be adoptive parents.

Recently Ben and the kids appeared on a morning show in the UK … watch this short (37 seconds) heartwarming clip 

My hat is off to Ben Carpenter for having the courage, the heart, and the compassion to take in these very special children and give them every bit of his love.  Isn’t it wonderful to find people like him in this world?


I am tired of hearing the criticism of NFL players who are using their broad platforms to make a statement about racial injustice.  I fully support those players and find it a shame that they are being attacked, even by the leader of the nation.  As with any group of people, there are some good individuals and some not-so-good.  But today I would like to highlight one who is beyond just good.  Allow me, please, to introduce Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long.

Chris-LongI will let Chris tell you in his own words what he is doing …

“I’m playing the entire 2017 NFL season without collecting income because I believe that education is the best gateway to a better tomorrow for EVERYONE in America,” Long wrote on Pledge It. “I’m encouraging fans, businesses and every person with a desire to join in my pursuit of equal education opportunities for all students to make their own pledge. My goal is that through this campaign my donation will be doubled by those inspired to join the effort — because together we can accomplish more.”

Yep, you heard the man.  He has already given up his first six game checks to provide two scholarships for students in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. He will be using his next ten to launch the “Pledge 10 for Tomorrow” campaign. On the Pledge 10 website, Long has written …

“CALLING ALL EAGLES FANS

I have had an amazing opportunity to play 10 years of NFL football. I want to give back to the communities who were part of that journey. The city of Philadelphia and Eagles fans have taken me in, supported me and made me and my family feel at home, now I am excited to invest back in the community with you.”

Giving isn’t new to Long. Six years ago, while playing for the St. Louis Rams, Long and then-teammate William Hayes founded the Waterboys initiative for building clean water wells in African communities, which earned him the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

“My wife and I have been passionate about education being a gateway for upward mobility and equality. I think we can all agree that equity in education can help affect change that we all want to see in this country.”

Two thumbs up to this very giving, very caring NFL player.  He, like so many others, is using his voice, his platform and his hard-earned money to do good things in this world.  Thank you, Chris Long!


And now, while I usually try to do three or more, I must cut this short, as I got a late start and am hoping to get in bed before 5:00 a.m. this morning.  Take heart, dear friends, for whatever bad news we see this week, we must remember that there are still a lot of good people doing good things out there.

Good People Doing Good Things … Little Things Mean A Lot

I started today’s good people post about a single person, Mama Rosie, who is doing wonderful things.  But, she is doing so many wonderful things, and having such an impact, that I quickly realized I would not be able to finish it in time, so I switched gears (another symptom of my bouncy mind) and decided to write about multiple good people doing good things.  I went in search, and I found these …


I had never heard of the band Midnight Oil, but of course daughter Chris had … she knows every band that has existed since the beginning of time (and refers to my music as “bad taste”).  Anyway, the band Midnight Oil, an Australian band dating back to the 1970s,  is giving a concert in Fremantle, Australia on 29 October.  According to the band’s lead singer, Peter Garrett, every single cent will go to support marine protection organizations, charities that work in the areas of reef protection and climate change.

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Peter Garrett

The band has long identified with environmental causes, and Garrett himself was on the international board of Greenpeace for two years from 1993-1995.

One of the organizations the environmentally-minded band will be supporting will be the Australian Marine Conservation Society. Started in 1965, the independent charity works to create large marine national parks and sanctuaries, support sustainable fishing practices and protect threatened ocean life such as whales, sharks and seals. The organization also works to protect the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system (344,400 square kilometres), which is severely threatened by environmental pressures and climate change.

Midnight Oil typically earns up to $210,000 per concert, so their contribution is nothing to sneeze at!  Great job, guys …. and thank you!


Joseph Badame and his wife, Phyliss, were survivalists who stocked up on everything: dry food, generators, fuel, survival books, thousands of rolls of toilet paper — all to keep them alive in the event of a disaster or some other crisis. When the crisis came, however, all the food they had stockpiled would be of no use.  In 2005, Phyliss had a massive stroke that left her paralyzed, and she died after another stroke in 2013.  Joseph, then nearly 70 years of age, had quit his job years before to take care of his wife, and had eight years’ worth of medical bills. He managed for a few years, but this year he defaulted on his mortgage and could not pay his taxes, and in August received a foreclosure notice from the bank.

Joseph planned to move to a small apartment that he could afford with only his Social Security, but what to do with all this food stored in the basement of the house?  Sometimes, I think, fate steps in and brings people together for a reason.  Last month, Joseph met Victoria Barber, a local food truck owner who just happened to be taking donations to help people in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Joseph donated $100 in cash, but more importantly … he took Ms. Barber to see the food in his basement and told her he would like her to send it to the people of Puerto Rico, who needed it more than him.

Barber and her husband spent the next week raising money to transport the barrels. Badame helped, too, and wore a red T-shirt: “#PRSTRONG” it said, with a heart below it. Members of the local police department and a high school soccer team helped carry the supplies out of the basement, and the barrels were repacked so that each contained a variety of dried goods.

joseph-badameBadame said it was his own life that was saved. “I’m tired, old, depressed, feeling like I’m a failure regarding the survival thing,” he said. Then Barber “came along, gave me a shot of adrenaline. I couldn’t believe it.”

Sometimes things just happen that way.  Hats off to Joseph Badame and Victoria Barber whose ships just happened to pass one day, and together they made a difference to the good people in Puerto Rico.


jonathon drouinPro athletes have been much in the news of late.  Until recently, I thought of most pro-athletes as overpaid, greedy people, but I am learning that many of them have big hearts and generous spirits. Not a hockey fan, I had never heard of the Montreal Canadians player, Jonathan Drouin.  Drouin has partnered with the Canadiens Children’s Foundation to host less fortunate children at a Bell Centre suite for the team’s games. He is making a personal annual contribution of $165,000 that will go toward a suite that will be used to provide underprivileged children and their families an opportunity to attend games they would not otherwise be able to. And just last month, Drouin donated $500,000 to the Fondation du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), and a pledge to help raise $5 million for the hospital.

This is one athlete with a heart of gold!


It’s just a little thing, really … it didn’t cost anything except a small bit of time.  But sometimes those little things mean so much.  An unnamed 92-year-old man went to his local Bank of America in Montebello, California, to withdraw some cash from his account.  Unfortunately, his state-issued I.D. had expired and the bank teller refused to honour his request.  Perhaps confused, and definitely upset when the employees would not help him, he was told to leave, but he refused, for he needed to withdraw his cash.  So, the bank employees called the police (nice folks, eh?)  Luckily for the man, the officer who arrived on the scene was Officer Robert Josett, a man with a good heart.  Officer Josett took his time to take the man to the nearest DMV (Division of Motor Vehicles) and helped him renew his identification card.  Officer Josett then took the man back to the bank and made sure he was able to withdraw his money.  As I said, a small thing, but we can understand how much it meant to the man.  Thumbs up to one caring officer!

Josett and man


Stephen Davies was born without a lower left arm.  He spent his first decades on earth without the aid of a prosthesis, and finally, as an adult, decided to invest in one.  He was disappointed in the available designs … he wanted something ‘cool’, but they were all the same … functional, yet boring.  He posted about his experience online, where it was seen by one Drew Murray, a volunteer for a group called e-NABLE that was doing some innovative things using 3D printing to create artificial hands.  Drew offered to make a functioning arm for Stephen.  Stephen was so impressed with the results that he talked Drew into a partnership, and together they formed Team UnLimbited, an organization that makes prostheses for children free of charge.

While I do not understand this technology of using a 3D printer to create prosthetic limbs, I do understand innovation, character, and generosity, and these two men are rich in all three of those!  Just look at some of the fun ones they have made …

“We’ve done Iron Man designs, Harry Potter, Lego and Spider-Man. The key is making something the child actually wants to wear and feels is cool enough to show their friends.”

Two great men, a wonderful organization, and a bunch of happy kids!


 

And I end with a story about the City of San Diego in California.  In March, 2016, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced a “Housing Our Heroes” initiative to provide secure rental housing for 1,000 homeless veterans.  Last week, they exceeded that goal and have provided housing for 1,007 previously homeless veterans. But the city is not stopping there.  According to CEO Rick Gentry, they will be expanding the program to include other homeless people and hope to house another 1,000 by the end of the year.

For incentives, landlords received $500 for the first units they rented to a homeless veteran and $250 for each additional unit. They also received an average of $1,500 in security deposits and $100 in utility assistance per household.

San DiegoJimmie Robinson, a landlord who rents out several houses, took in seven homeless veterans in the Housing Our Heroes initiative. Robinson said the incentives were “eye-catching,” but were not the greatest motive for taking in homeless veterans.

“When you get to meet them, the satisfaction of helping people turn their lives around was more important. When you see somebody rebuilding their lives, that’s what it’s become for me, more than than the incentives.”

Wonderful job, San Diego!  I hope we see more cities taking this initiative soon.  That there are people living on the streets in this nation of plenty is unthinkable.


These are just short stories about people doing mostly small things, but every one of those things counts, each one of these people are showing compassion for their fellow man, and they are making a difference.  My hat is off to each of these fine people!

doffing-hat

Good People Doing Good Things — Today’s Youth

We hear much negativity about the youth of today.  In reality, it has always been this way, for I remember hearing my parents say they just didn’t know what the world would come to when this next generation was in charge. They shook their heads at the love beads, Beatles music and bell-bottom pants. And even I am guilty of shaking my head and sighing a deep sigh when I see a young man with the waist of his pants midway to his knees, or a young woman who seems intent on “letting it all hang out”.  But, as with most anything else, the negative examples seem to be the ones we see, the ones getting all the attention.  Today, I would like to introduce you to some young people who are truly doing good things and making our future look just a little brighter..

delgado.jpgMelanie Delgado’s parents emigrated from Peru to the U.S., determined to find greater opportunities. Her father, who owns his own painting and construction company, along with her mother, who helps with secretarial and outreach work for the company, have sacrificed for years to allow their daughter to have more than they were given. Melanie wants to honor her parents’ determination, and she is certainly doing just that.

Melanie attends the American University in Washington, D.C., where she is scheduled to graduate next year … at age 20 … with a degree in Public Health.  Her ultimate goal is to earn a medical degree and open a medical clinic in a low-income Hispanic neighborhood. During her senior year at the Academy of the Holy Cross, she had an internship at National Institute of Health (NIH), a program typically reserved for college students.  All of which is admirable, but not what earned her a slot in this Good People post.

Melanie is a consummate volunteer.  She started while still in middle school, volunteering at Ardens Court nursing home in Kensington, visiting elderly residents there who have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. “I love the people there. They’re so kind. They’ve seen me grow since I was young. I’ve grown a connection with each one of them… They call me their grandchild.”

On Saturday mornings, she volunteers as a tutor with the Latino Student Fund, teaching young children science, English and math, and helping them learn how to read. As a member of an immigrant family, she can relate to them. “When I’m working with them, when I see them catch onto a concept and just conquer it, I can see myself in their eyes.”

She also volunteers at the Next Step Public Charter school, working with immigrants who want to do everything from finish their G.E.D. to learn English. Melanie’s desire to give back centers on the needy Latino community. She knows the pressure Latino students feel to start work as soon as possible, and she wants them to know that college is possible, that they can achieve their loftiest goals. “A lot of the Latino community question themselves: Is it important to go to college? Or should I get a job? The Latino Student Fund showed me that Hispanics have the resources to go to college.”

Most recently, Melanie spent a semester working with HIV and AIDS patients in a slum in Kenya. This is a young woman whose heart is in the right place, whose energy seems to know no limits, and who is giving of herself every day.


nandalalMarco Nandalal may be only 17, but he and his brother Mario have made real differences in their community of Belcamp, Maryland. They collected books & book related “buddies” like stuffed toys, plastic animal figures, etc., and delivered them to hospitals and homeless shelters. Last Easter, they prepared Easter baskets for delivery to homeless, sick and foster children to show them that they have not been forgotten, that someone cares.  Marco’s goal is to work with like-minded youth who embrace community service as a means of building a better world for everyone. Marco realizes that each project, whether addressing literacy or hunger, empowers the youth-filled group and makes small positive changes in his community.


patel17-year-old Avni Patel of Pleasanton, California, was inspired by the stories her grandfather told her about his life and the hardships that people faced in Zambia. These stories made her aware of the tremendous need for health care in remote areas of the world. Avni discovered that the Mambalima Hospital had several volunteer orthopedic surgeons, but lacked the orthopedic instruments needed to complete essential surgeries.

Initially, Avni thought she would petition hospitals to donate their used surgical instruments, but she soon discovered that hospitals are not allowed, by law, to donate used equipment.  So Avni went on a massive fund-raising mission, contributing most of her own paycheck from her job as Pleasanton City Youth Commissioner. With teamwork and coordination among various individuals and organizations, Avni was able to raise the money to purchase and donate 96 sets of stainless steel instruments that will enable the surgeons at Mambalima Hospital to perform much-needed surgeries.


ennis.jpgJuli Ennis of Kennebunk, Maine may only be 16 years of age, but she is already doing much to help the elderly in her community. Along with two of her classmates, Juli started a community service project in 8th grade that has continued through their sophomore year in high school. They connect generations through music and provide seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s music therapy via customized playlists of their generation. Part of Juli’s mission is to help patients by triggering memories, bringing joy, and engaging people who might otherwise be completely withdrawn.

Juli and her two classmates, Jason and Colby, founded Project Playback with the goal of bridging the gap between today’s youth and seniors through music. Not only does this project help patients with dementia, but it also allows today’s youth to connect with a population and era that they may not have had a relationship with before. They visit a local nursing home 2 or 3 times a week to help them out through music. Juli is looking to enter the field of music therapy as a career and help others, as she has received such personal rewards from this project.


This is but a small sampling of young people whose compassion and humanitarianism know no bounds.  Granted, they may not be rescuing hurricane victims, building houses or adopting special needs kids, but they are, in their own way, moving mountains.  Give them time, and these kids are going to do their part to make this world a better place.

Good People Doing Good Things — Team Rubicon

His name is Jake Wood and his story started with a simple Facebook post: “I’m going to Haiti. Who’s in?” It was January 2010, and the island of Haiti had just suffered a devastating earthquake with a still-disputed death toll of between 100,000 and 315,000.

Jake had only been out of the U.S. Marine Corps for a few months, and was planning to enroll in business school when he began seeing the pictures of the devastation in Haiti and thinking how much it reminded him of similar scenes from Iraq and Afghanistan, where he had served two tours of duty.  He realized that the skills he had acquired in the service, including the ability to adapt to difficult conditions, work with limited resources and maintain security in a dangerous environment, were sorely needed. And that was when he put out the Facebook message.  Wood persuaded his college roommate, a firefighter, to join him. Within minutes of seeing Wood’s Facebook post, another friend and former Marine, William McNulty, signed on. Interest quickly snowballed, and three days later, he and seven others were in the Dominican Republic, heading into neighboring Haiti with medicine and equipment.

Over the next three weeks, more than 60 volunteers — mainly from medical or military backgrounds — followed Wood’s lead and made their way to the stricken country to join his group. They set up triage centers in camps, treating whoever they could, and helped ferry people to hospitals. Wood estimates they helped thousands of Haitians.

They called their group Team Rubicon, in reference to the phrase “crossing the Rubicon,” which means passing a point of no return. Little did they know how prophetic that name would prove to be.  All along, Wood thought of his sojourn to Haiti as a one-time event, still planning at that time to return home and start business school. But, as so often happens, life had other plans for Team Rubicon.

Rubicon-1

In the beginning …

Wood and McNulty did some thinking and talking …

“We realized we were more effective than many organizations that were down there with us. We also realized that most organizations weren’t engaging vets on their own. So we said, ‘Let’s try to improve this.'”

And that is just what they did! Team Rubicon became a nonprofit, and in the first two years the group built an army of more than 1,400 volunteers — 80% of them military veterans — who respond to disasters and help those in need. They ran 14 missions in those first two years, running triage clinics after the Chile earthquake and the flooding in Pakistan. They traveled to Sudan and Myanmar to help people caught in regional conflicts. And in 2011, they removed debris and assisted in search-and-rescue missions following tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Joplin, Missouri.

hunt-2In 2011, however, a personal tragedy caused the group to subtly change its focus.  One of the members of Team Rubicon and Wood’s best friend, Clay Hunt, committed suicide.  Hunt had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt. It was a shock to Wood, as Hunt seemed to be adjusting well. He was literally a poster boy for returning veterans, appearing in a public-service announcement for a veteran’s advocacy group. And Wood felt guilty …

“It was tremendously difficult to feel like I had let him down, knowing that we had survived two wars together but that when things were easy and it had come to peace, that I wasn’t there enough for him. That has been a very tough battle for me, dealing with that.”

hunt-1

Clay Hunt

Hunt’s death made the group realize that while the job they were doing was important, so was the way in which doing the job was helping the veterans, giving them focus, making them feel useful.  So the group changed the way it viewed itself, refocusing its own mission: Instead of being a disaster relief organization that uses veterans, Team Rubicon became a veterans’ support organization that uses disasters as opportunities for continued service.

“We’re giving them a reason to come together … and that community lasts long after the mission,” Wood said. “Right now, Team Rubicon is focused on how we can … get them involved in as many ways as possible.”

There are many, many success stories within the group, but here is one of the first …

Nicole Green served in the Air Force for four years, working as an intelligence officer in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. For her, finding Team Rubicon has been life-changing.

“When I got out of the military, it was very stressful,” she said. “You feel alone. You meet people who don’t understand your background.”

Green volunteered for the group’s first domestic mission, in Tuscaloosa. She enjoyed it so much that she helped out in Joplin less than a month later.

“I felt that I was doing something meaningful with my life again … using a lot of the same skills, but in a way that [was] constructive instead of destructive,” Green said. “And I was with other people who understood me … focused on a common goal. That was really a great feeling.”

Since its inception, Team Rubicon has grown by leaps and bounds and has participated in over 175 missions.  The team now has about 33,000 members, and in 2016 Wood lamented that there just weren’t enough natural disasters to keep them all busy.  He may feel a bit differently this year!

Remember Hurricane Harvey that hit the Houston area in August?  Team Rubicon was there with floodwater rescue teams conducting door-to-door searches in and around Houston while reconnaissance teams conducted preliminary damage assessments. One team conducted an evacuation and cleared two full neighborhoods in neighboring Beaumont.  A second rescue team conducted five evacuations, including two elderly residents and their daughter, and yet another conducted 21 rescues and evacuated 27 canines at an animal shelter.

rubicon-HarveyAnd Hurricane Irma?  Team Rubicon was there, too, with operations in Clay, Brevard, and Collier Counties, Florida. So far they have been conducting damage assessments, debris removal, muck‐outs, sawyer operations, and spontaneous volunteer management services to affected communities. This response is only the start of what will be long-term operations.

Team Rubicon expects to remain in both Texas and Florida for some time, helping residents recover from Harvey and Irma.  And then came Maria …

It took them a few days to collect the needed equipment and supplies and get there, but Team Rubicon reached San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 25th, fully three days before the U.S. even lifted the Jones Act and committed to sending aid.  Team Rubicon  has been assessing hospitals for structural damage, assessing community needs, removing debris, and helping out wherever help was needed.

My time and space are limited, but if you are interested in learning more about Jake Wood and Team Rubicon, there is an excellent article/interview by author/editor Kyle Dickman.  It is a bit lengthy, but a fascinating read.

In 2013, Mr. Wood gave a Ted Talk …

According to Team Rubicon’s website, their mission statement is …

“Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.”

Take a look at the website … I think you will be impressed. They are a class A organization, and their Board of Advisors include such notable retired Generals as Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus.

William McNulty and Jake Wood

I have the utmost admiration and respect for Mr. Wood and co-founder William McNulty for the great things they are doing.  What started as a one-shot adventure has turned into a lifetime passion. We will never know just how many people suffering from natural disasters have been helped by the volunteers of Team Rubicon, nor the number of veterans whose lives were improved, perhaps even saved, by knowing that they still have value, that they are doing good things to help others.

Good People Doing Good Things — Delayed!

This week’s Good People post has been delayed due to circumstances completely within my control.  I take this feature quite seriously, for we all need to see the ‘other side’ of the human equation, the one that we rarely see in the media these days.  However, sometimes a combination of angst and exhaustion prevent me from being able to focus. It also does not help that twice now, one or the other of the kitties has taken control of my keyboard and typed in some alien/feline language. The Good People post will appear either later today, or Thursday morning at the latest.  I apologize and ask your forgiveness.  Meanwhile … here’s a cartoon or two to make you smile.

 

 

Good People Doing Good Things — Communities

It’s been a rough couple of weeks … 2 hurricanes slammed the continental U.S., another even stronger one devastated the archipelago of Puerto Rico.  Four major earthquakes have hit Mexico so far this month. Political upheaval and controversy reigned, not only here in the U.S. but around the globe.  We all need to look to something positive, look at those people who thumb their noses at trouble and just roll up their sleeves and get down to the business of helping others.  Today’s ‘good people’ are those who take the meaning of the word ‘community’ seriously, who believe that we are all in this together and we need to set aside differences to help one another.


hatley.pngJulius Hatley is 95-years-young, a World War II veteran, and lives alone in Ft. Worth, Texas.  At the beginning of summer, back in June, Mr. Hatley’s central air-conditioning as well as a smaller window unit both went caput, so Mr. Hatley took to sitting out on his porch most of the time, for inside the house was unbearable.  Finally, one day Mr. Hatley knew he had to do something … summer was only beginning and he was already miserable.  But what to do?  So, the only thing he could think of was to call 911, which is what he did.

“This wasn’t a regular 911 call,” according to Fort Worth Police Officer William Margolis. “It was what you’d label ‘low priority’ because we’re not AC techs.” I have to wonder if many police departments would have just written it off as a ‘no-priority’ call?  But not these guys.  Officer Margolis and his partner, Christopher Weir, after responding to a few higher priority calls that morning, went to check on Mr. Hatley. They found that he had no working air-conditioner, and at 8:30 a.m., the temperature inside his house was already 85° (F), 29.4° (C).

Now these guys were under no obligation, but out of the goodness of their hearts, they went to Home Depot to buy Mr. Hatley a window unit to replace his broken one.  And, just as these things so often do, their effort gained momentum when they explained to the staff at Home Depot what they were doing.  Staff and management pooled their available cash and contributed $150 toward the air conditioner!

Later that day, Officer Weir returned to Hatley’s home with another Ft. Worth Officer, Steven Rebrovich, and they installed the unit.  Mr. Hatley was appreciative and excited beyond words, but the story doesn’t stop there.  Once the story hit the news, the community came together in the spirit of … community!  An air conditioning company replaced his central air free of charge, and others took care of replacing his windows and re-painting his house!  Other members of the community check on Mr. Hatley and deliver groceries every week!  This, friends, is what being a community is about.  This is what being a human is all about.  Let us all give two thumbs up to Officers Weir and Margolis, certainly, but to ALL those who have come to help Mr. Hatley!  And a thumbs up to Mr. Hatley himself for his service to our nation all those years ago.


In the small eastern Turkish town of Karakocan, nobody goes hungry.  The Merkez Restaurant is just one of many in town that feeds people who need a meal, free of charge.  Mehmet Ozturk, 55, the owner of Merkez, says he always keeps at least three tables reserved for the needy, even during rush hour when his restaurant is packed.

OzturkOzturk says at least 15 people come to his restaurant every day to receive a free meal. According to residents, around 100 people eat for free each day across the whole town.  The tradition to feed the needy for free first started in the 1940s at the Merkez Restaurant, one of the first eateries in town, when the former owners started offering free meals to those in need every day. The practice was quickly picked up by other restaurants in the area. Ozturk says: “The tradition has always been here, even 70 years ago. For us it was a natural thing to do, something we learned from our elders.”

There are about five large restaurants in the quaint but surprisingly vibrant town centre, and each one honours the philanthropic tradition. Individuals receiving free food tend to be regulars, familiar faces who visit the restaurant to have at least two meals a day. Ozturk says that a large margin of the regular diners suffer from disabilities, such as mental illness, such as regular Galip who says, “The Merkez is my favourite place in town, because the food is great.“

GalipThe generosity goes beyond feeding those in need, as restaurants also offer feasts for free for the whole town on Islamic holidays including Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and throughout the holy month of Ramadan.  Again, we see what community is really about.  Hats off to the restauranteurs of Karakocan, Turkey for taking care of the less fortunate!


GothenburgAnd then there’s Gothenburg, Sweden.  Gothenburg is the 2nd largest city in Sweden, with about 600,000 residents.  The city is one of the most segregated in Europe and is dependent on the fossil industry, and yet it was voted the world’s “most sociable city.” How can that be, you ask?  Through a series of community initiatives that promote sharing and collaboration, the city is turning things around.

Just a few of these initiatives are ,,,

Collaborative Economy Gothenburg, a non-profit promoting the collaborative economy in the city through projects and events like Global Sharing Week.

Bike Kitchen, an open do-it-yourself workshop where people can repair their bikes with access to tools, space, and assistance from others. They also hold workshops where people can learn to repair bikes.

The nonprofit ridesharing movement Skjutsgruppen, where private individuals can bridge both physical distances and distances between each other as human beings by sharing vehicles.

Gothenburg-2These are just three of the twelve initiatives this community has created to overcome the obstacles the city, like any other city, faces, and I strongly urge you to take a look at the entire list … there are some terrific ideas there!  It just goes to show that when people pull together, when they put aside meaningless differences, they can do marvelous things!


Mexico first experienced an earthquake of 8.1 on September 8th, and another of 7.1 on September 19th.   The one in Oaxaca on the 8th was the strongest in living memory and the death toll quickly rose.  Rescuers were on the scene quickly, and one seven-year-old named Frida is responsible for helping find people amid the rubble.  Oh, did I happen to mention that Frida is a Labrador retriever employed by the Mexican Navy?

Frida-1.jpgWhen the second quake hit Mexico City just over a week later, Frida was once again on the job. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto formally recognised the labrador’s determination and bravery on Twitter on Friday morning …

“This is Frida. She belongs to SEMAR and has helped save 52 lives in various natural disasters at national and international levels.”

Yes, I know … the title of this post is Good People Doing Good Things … but this dog gave her all, and I think she deserves a bit of recognition also. And now, Frida has been immortalized as a piñata!

Frida-4


I hope you enjoyed today’s good people (and dog).  Isn’t it great to read about people pulling together, putting aside differences in the true spirit of ‘community’?  I think every city could take a lesson from Gothenburg, don’t you?  Until next Wednesday, my friends, lets all try to do something good for somebody this week.  Love and hugs!