Monday, September 24, 2012

Paralyzed Haitian Earthquake Victim To Race in Paralympics

Beating the Odds: Paralyzed Haitian Earthquake Victim To Race in Paralympics | Sports on GOOD

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti left Leon Gaisili paralyzed from the waist down, making an already difficult life even more difficult for Leon, his wife and his eight children (eight!).

The Walkabout Foundation heard about this and gave him a wheelchair so that he could get out of his hospital bed and start rebuilding his life. And this year Gaisili participated in the 2012 London Paralympics.

The Walkabout Foundation is continuing it mission of getting sturdy, low-cost wheelchairs to the people who need them most. Read more about it here.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Father and Son Save 120 From Hurricane Isaac Floods

People Are Awesome: Father and Son Save 120 From Hurricane Isaac Floods | New Orleans on GOOD

In Plaquemines Parish, LA, Hurricane Isaac's floodwaters came up so fast that emergency crews couldn't get in to evacuate the parish's residents. So Jesse Shaffer, Sr. and his son went around in a boat and rescued people from their homes, sometimes hacking away at barriers and braving stiff winds to rescue trapped and stranded people. In all, they rescued 120 people from the flood.

Now that the waters are beginning to subside, they're guiding people back to their homes.

Says one of the people they rescued:

"This man here, Jesse, I called him and said my son and grandson were trapped, and he said 'I'm on my way,'" said Mary Williams, 66, who couldn't enter her home on Saturday because the water still was too high. "Him, he needs to go to the President. He needs to be a national hero."
And here's a short video of Jesse Jr. on the roof of a house during Isaac.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hopscotch Detroit: Community Building With Miles Long Pop-up Playground

Hopscotch Detroit: Community Building With Miles Long Pop-up Playground | Community on GOOD

A nonprofit called Hopscotch Detroit plans on bringing together people from all over Detroit today to create the world's largest hopscotch course. In a city that's had its share of hard hits in the past couple of decades, the organization hopes that this will bring people together in the spirit of fun and community.

Also planned are several large chalkboard murals, and all the chalk has been donated by a local office supply company.

Ajooni Sethi, one of the organizers, is optimistic about the event's turnout.

“Positive, exciting, and inspiring things are brewing and alive in Detroit,” Sethi says. “We all share common ground. Sometimes we just need to draw on it to realize the fact."

Friday, September 21, 2012

17-Year Old Builds Heart Monitor for the Developing World

17-year-old Catherine Wong from New Jersey found a problem (crucially-needed hear monitoring equipment is often too expensive for people in the developing world) and then created a solution using off-the-shelf electronics.

Not only is this new electrocardiogram machine amazing, but it's also able to send results wirelessly to a cell phone and then to a diagnosing physician, which means that it also solves the problem of physicians not being able to travel to all the patients who need them.

And Catherine isn't done.

"I'm going to keep going on this project, making it smaller, cheaper, more durable," she said. Her dream: to actually get it working for patients in developing countries. "That's who I aimed the project at, and that's who I'm working for."
(original article via GOOD)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Honors Student Goes from Homeless to Harvard

(Original post via GOOD)

(Photo by flickr user mararie)

David Boone was a ggood student. He was motivated, got good grades, and planned on going to college. One little problem, though: he became homeless at the age of 14.

A school nurse and his principal found out about this and took him in, and this fall he'll be attending Harvard University as a freshman. This just goes to show how a good mentor and someone seeing a person's potential can change that person's life.

"My principal had given me Ron Suskind’s book A Hope in the Unseen about Cedric Jennings' journey from the inner city to the Ivy League," writes Boone. "That story gave me the courage not only to apply to college, but also to aim for academically rigorous schools."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Global Day of Play

Almost exactly a year ago, a kid named Caine got bored at his dad's auto shop and made an arcade out of a bunch of cardboard boxes. A guy who needed a part for his car stopped by and saw Caine's arcade, and became its first customer. The guy also happened to be a filmmaker, and he made a little documentary about Caine and his arcade:

The Kickstarter campaign generated over $200,000 for Caine's college fund.

And then it kept going. Caine and the filmmaker issued a challenge to kids everywhere, urging them to get out and make things and innovate.
So a year later, there's a nonprofit dedicated to encouraging kids to innovate and learn and explore, and an associated Global Day of Play, when everybody all over the world can create and play and learn, just like Caine.

Pretty neat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DNC Move Means 8000 Pounds Of Food For Charity

A disappointment for 65,000 people in North Caolina turned into a massive good fortune for the homeless after the Democratic National Convention changed locations. Originally supposed to be held at the Bank Of America Staduim, the venue was changed after concerns arose due to bad weather. This left the stadium with over 8,000 pounds of pre-prepared food created by chef Jon Morey and the kitchen staff of Delaware North Inc. The meals were intended for everyone from the stadium ticket holders to the highest of VIP suites and every care had been put into the menu which included pecan-fried chicken, baked orzo, fresh crudités, three-bean bake, fresh-cut fruit, short rib cobbler, and much more.

After the sudden switch in location, it was decided to give the food to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, where it would be redistributed to food banks and soup kitchens all over Charlotte, N.C.

“None of this food will go to waste. We contacted every shelter and soup kitchen in town and asked them how much refrigeration capacity they have and how many are they feeding. It will all be gone at the end of the day," said Kay Carter of Second Harvest. She stated that there was also enough popcorn for 70,000 people and that the excess was being sent to various community children's programs, including low-income daycare.

The donations were made possible by Delaware North and local sports team the Carolina Panthers, who play at the stadium. “It’s gratifying to know that the time, energy and effort that went into preparing the food will ultimately serve those in our community who are most in need," said Riley Fields, the Panthers' spokeman.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blind swimmer wins gold at the Paralympics

Blind swimmer Brad Snyder wins gold at the Paralympics |

Brad Snyder lost his eyesight while serving in Afghanistan, when he stepped on a bomb. However, he didn't let that stop him from being amazing, and has gone on to win a gold medal for swimming in the 2012 London Paralympics.

What an amazing guy. Be sure to click the link to the Paralympics ad campaign, too, but be sure to have some tissues ready.

Monday, September 10, 2012

8yr Old Boy Wins $1000, Then Donates It To Sick Little Girl

Wyatt Erber was recently awarded $1000 as a grand prize in a scavenger hunt put on by First Clover Leaf Bank in Edwardsville, Il. He is only eight years old. Most children would have taken the money and had a field day in a local toy store but Wyatt had only one thing in mind: how much chemotherapy would $1000 buy his two year old neighbor Cara? Cara was diagnosed in May with lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer with a 90% recovery rate provided she gets the medication and treatments needed. She has a tough two year fight ahead of her but doctors are hopeful and Wyatt's generosity has truly helped pave the way. When local group Edwardsville Neighbors in Need heard about Wyatt's gift to Cara, they matched his donation.

Cara's mother was blown away by the kindness of her neighbor. Wyatt had called her earlier in the week to talk about his gift. "He said: 'How much chemo will $1,000 buy Cara?' I'm completely floored by him. To step up and donate his winnings…is crazy," she said.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Man Causes Car Crash That Saves Four Children

It seems like a complete contridiction, causing a car accident to save lives, but that's exactly what Darrell Krushelnicki did on Aug 31st. He was exiting the Bonnie Doon parking garage in Canada when he noticed a speeding Pontiac heading straight for a crosswalk. Other motorists had stopped to allow four children to cross the street but the owner of the Pontiac was distracted on his cell phone and wasn't paying attention. When Darrell realized the car simply wasn't going to stop in time, he risked his own saftey by pulling his Hummer into the path of the speeding car. The impact did not result in fatalities and more importantly, Darrell's fast thinking actions saved all four children. Police state that the Pontiac would have killed all of them had he not been stopped.

Darrell is being hailed as a hero and a facebook page has even been erected to commend him for his bravery. His insurance company, Intact Insurance, has stated that they will not raise his rates despite the accident being his fault. "We believe that insurance is about people, not things," said Rosa Nelson, an Intact Insurance spokesperson, "We appreciate that thanks to Darrell's quick response, four children were un-harmed last week while crossing a pedestrian crosswalk."

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Man Wins Over 250,000 Canival Toys And Gives Them Away


Peter Drakos has an unusual talent. He is amazingly good at carnival games. So good in fact, that since 1972 he's won over 250,000 of them. What does he do with all of these toys? He gives them to charity. Over 50 charities have benefitted from his kindness and he revels in the smiles he brings to the faces of less fortunate children.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Muslim Mayor In Texas Proves Unity Is Possible

Texan. Muslim. Doctor. Mayor. These are words most people don't put together unless it's part of a joke but all four of them describe one man: Pakistani born Mayor Arjumand Hashmi. Hashmi isn't just a mayor, he's also a cardiologist, and a very beloved figure in the town of Paris, Texas. Paris is a small town, boasting only about 25,000 inhabitants and when Hashmi first ran for office all the usual prejudices were there to meet him. Was he a terrorist? Was he there to drive away the mostly white Christian community? Would he immediately build a mosque? Despite these bigoted concerns, he was voted into office a little over a year ago. The act was a huge blow for unity.

As soon as Hashmi was in office, he began proving his dedication and allaying people's fears. He planted rows of crepe myrtle trees around the city, visiting local businesses when he had the time to do so, and breaking up a lot of the old system of favoritism and "brother-in-law deals" that had led to corruption. The town's old regime had often seen money going to businesses simply because the owner knew someone in office and Hashmi was determined to put a stop to it. Coming from Pakistan, he had seen his homeleand also suffer from such dealings and he knew how much it could destroy a governance.

“In most of third world countries, yes, there are rules and laws and regulations. But it ends up that related people get things done,” Hashmi said. “I have lived it personally and seen why it doesn’t work."

Hashmi isn't just working as the mayor of Paris. He still works full time as a cardiologist too, rushing between surgeries and business meetings. He is also the leader of a local hospital catheterization laboratory. His days normally start at 3:30am with a prayer though he admits he doesn't always manage the five a day that he would like. He feels God will forgive him however since he is saving lives and making his city a better place to live. During his last election to office, he won by a landslide vote.

In today's atmosphere of fear and mistrust, the hurrying figure of Hashim as he heads from the city's waterplant to it's hospital for another surgery is a good sign of change.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Solar Kiosk Opens In Ethiopia

Readily available electricity is a luxury many take for granted but for many in underdeveloped parts of the world, it's a dream they couldn't have imagined. Now a German company is trying to change that. They have opened the first ever solar kiosk near Lake Langano, Ethiopia. The kiosk has solar panels along the roof that take advantage of the arid countryside and a day of charging is enough to run a refrigerator, provide lighting, run cellphones, charge car batteries, and even run a computer. Most importantly, the kiosk sells power to the local community for whom kerosene has been the only option. Kerosene is expensive and often dangerous, giving off fumes and risking injury. The hope is that the kiosks will eventually serve as a community center where locals can come watch television, movies, or buy products that they normally wouldn't have access to.

For a lot of communities it would also be their only refrigerator and could hold perishable medical supplies.The kiosk is also a provider of employment and training to locals and employees would receive training in how to maintain and operate solar products as well as training on creating a sustainable business. With the first functional SolarKiosk operating in Ethiopia, the creators are now looking for business partners and NGO's who can help bring the kiosks to other parts of the world where they are most needed.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blind Orangutan Mother Sees Babies For The First Time

In 2008, Gober, a Sumatran orangutan, was caught in the North Sumatra province after conservationists realized she had gone blind. She had taken to raiding crops for food and was under threat from local farmers so she was taken to a care facility and entered into a breeding program. In 2011, Gober gave birth to twins but she was unable to see them. Finally on Monday, doctors were able to perform catatract surgery on Gober and declared the operation a success. It was the first such eye surgery done on an orangutan in Indonesia.Doctors were forced to wait until Gober's twins were old enough to be separated from their mother for the duration of the surgery.

The proud mother was reunited with her children and was finally able to see them for the first time. She was also able to see their father, Leuser, who is tragically blind as well after farmers attacked him.

Sumatran Orangutans are critically endangered and only 6,600 still exist in the wild. Gober is a vital part of the breeding program that may bolster their numbers and once grown, her children will be released to the wild.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DC Drivers Get A Boost On Monday Mornings

For most people, Mondays are that dreaded day when the rest of the weekend has come to an abrupt end and it's back to another long day fighting traffic and sitting in front of a computer screen. Residents of Washington, DC are getting a surprising morale boost however. Four volunteers, led by 29 year old Massoud Adibpour, have taken to standing on the corner of 14th street on the Mall holding aloft signs of good will for passing motorists. The signs include "Smile", "Be Happy", "Don't be so hard on yourself", and "Honk if you love someone!"

The act has been met with a lot of enthusiasm as cars honk, bicycles ring their bells, and pedestrians give thumbs up to the display. So far, Massoud and his friends have been able to get 307 honks as their personal record. They're aiming for 350 in the future. The efforts of these cheerful volunteers isn't to be taken too lightly either. Science has suggested that for every negative experience someone has, they need approximately five good ones to make up for it, however, seeing the signs might jog feelings of good will and gratitude that will assist in setting the tone for an entire day. In other words, the people who Massoud cheers are more likely to have a better day because they're already in a positive mood.

“No one wants to go to work on Monday, so we wanted to brighten people’s day,” he said. “D.C.’s really stressed out, so I wanted to spread a little bit of happiness in the city. I think it can go pretty far.”
Want to read more about the other efforts and amazing kindness Massoud and his friends are doing? Click here.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Prisoners Work To Save Endangered Butterfly

Most people hear the word prisoner and assume the worst, after all, that person is in jail because they did something wrong for which society has said they should be punished. One prison is proving, however, that there may be hope yet for those who have found themselves behind bars. The inmates at Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women in Belfair, Washington, have embraced a movement to save the endangered Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha taylori). Working with guards and graduate students, a select group of prisoners are actively breeding the beautiful insects for release back into the wild. In a greenhouse just outside of the prison, the team works to not only continue raising the butterflies' numbers through breeding but have also conducted studies to determine which flowers it prefers to lay eggs on in the hopes that planting more such flowers will help the species bounce back from the brink.

This is all part of an initiative by the Sustainability in Prisons Project (SPP), a group that is working to utilize an untapped resource in the form of prisoners who want to help make amends and make the world a better place. The SPP treats the inmates as collaborators instead of manual labor. The inmates apply for  positions on the teams and receive training, education and a small wage. Together with the SPP, they have helped to conserve endangered butterflies, frogs, flowering plants and moss. So far 800 butterflies have been reintroduced to the wild with 3,600 more being prepped for next year.

Efforts to determine which plant the butterflies prefer show that they tend toward the golden paintbrush, a native plant of Washington, but with that plant also being threatened, the butterflies had been laying their eggs on plantain plants which are an introduced species. With this knowledge, the SPP hopes to increase efforts to save both the butterflies and the golden paintbrush.

The SPP projects also extend to other prisons where inmates are working to save prairie plants and spotted frogs.