Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

How many slaves do you have working for you?

According to Slavery Footprint, I have 25 slaves worldwide working to fuel my lifestyle. Here’s some general insights:

  • 1.4 million children have been forced to work in Uzbek cotton fields. There are fewer children in the entire New York City public school system.
  • Every day tens of thousands of American women buy makeup. Every day tens of thousands of Indian children mine mica, which is the little sparklies in the makeup.
  • More than 200,000 children are forced to work in India’s carpet belt of Uttar Pradesh. That makes it a pretty large operation, considering Honda, Sony, Procter & Gamble, and Boeing each have fewer employees.
  • Bonded labor is used for much of Southeast Asia’s shrimping industry, which supplies more shrimp to the U.S. than any other country. Laborers work up to 20-hour days to peel 40 pounds of shrimp. Those who attempt to escape are under constant threat of violence or sexual assault.
  • Rubies are believed to be Burma’s second largest export after teak wood, and are commonly mined using forced labor. Mines are controlled by either the government or the army, who oversee workers in terrible conditions for little or no pay.

Fortunately, Call + Response campaign does not leave us mouths agape with no course of action. In an interview with CNN (part of CNN’s Freedom Project), one of the leaders of campaign Justin Dylan said:

“…what we didn’t want to do is create another calculator that only spits out bad news. What I believe is that people carry around stories and not necessarily statistics. So with Slavery Footprint we actually wanted to be able to tell you the story of your life and how it fits in with the globalized economy.”

Their “take action” step is to download their app, ask others to take the survey to assess their lives based on the supply chain of common items. As people spread the word, they also provide an opportunity for consumers to directly ask companies if they know the full chain of their materials and suppliers. This push for companies and consumers taking responsibility for products and the inspirational, personal platform are well worth the time.

Check out Dan Rivers’ piece following a simple gadget from Cambodia to Malaysia to London via the hands of a girl who just wants to go home:



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I stumbled across this video of a keynote address talking about the importance of storytelling and how good storytelling connects people with people and not people with abstract concepts, nonprofit jargon or mission statements. This speech was given five years ago, but his input is (and arguably will always be) relevant to inspiring our communities and getting them on board with causes we deeply care about and why. Just watch the first five minutes and you’ll know what I mean.

You can learn more about Andy Goodman on his website: http://www.agoodmanonline.com.


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As cleaning efforts continue in Joplin, many Columbia residents volunteered their Saturdays to travel to the southwest Missouri town to aid in the cleanup. Columbia For Joplin was organized by members of local rotary clubs to give Columbia residents a one-day opportunity to travel to Joplin as an organized group to help Americorps with debris cleanup. More than 700 Columbia residents rode busses and traveled separately this past Saturday.

In a release from Columbia For Joplin, Columbia Sunrise Southwest Rotary member and event organizer, Neil Riley said, “This is a way to connect. It’s one thing to write a check, it’s another thing to get involved personally.”

According to Americorps, over 50,000 people from all over the country have volunteered with them in Joplin since the May 22 tornado.

Vermont Residents Stepping Up To Aid In Irene Relief

Volunteers in Vermont are doing everything from cleaning up damaged homes, business and roadways to harvesting vegetables, according to an article from the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press. Because of floodwaters potentially contaminating crops, some crops had to be harvested earlier.

Also according to the article, farmers were using Twitter to ask for help for harvesting the crops. Many volunteers say requests for help on Twitter and responded to the requests.

The American Red Cross and Vermont Red Cross have deployed 250 volunteers so far. Americorps will most likely follow right along. Because of a new volunteer term, they have only sent five volunteers but according to the article, they plan on sending more than 100 more.

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“I think there’s a revolution going on – an economic one, a technical one and a social one. And the heart of it is that for the first time in 150 years, an individual has leverage. An individual can reach way outside what they used to think they could do.” – Seth Godin

Since my freshman or sophomore year in college (2006/2007), I’ve attended a leadership conference called the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. But because I’m busy developing this entrepreneurial venture through my master’s program at the Missouri School of Journalism, I was unable to make it this year. I did, however, come across an AWESOME pre-Summit interview.

The guy above with the cool glasses, wearing a men’s suit accompanied by socks made for 12-year-old girls (he explains this in the video) is Seth Godin — best selling author and “America’s Greatest Marketer,” according to American Way Magazine. One of his most popular books, is Purple Cow — a book about “remarkable products and services.” You might have heard of it. If not, go ahead and look it up.

The video above is a four-minute’ish clip of an interview with Seth just hours before he hops on the Summit stage for his half-hour talk, with 142 slides — all images, no text. You’ve gotta watch the clip, but here’s another stand-out quote from the marketing guru:

“It’s about you deciding what important, because if you’ve got the means of production – the laptop, the access to the world – and you wanna stand up and lead, you can. I guess my goal – my job – is to help people understand that they can pick themselves. They don’t need to wait to get picked.”  

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So, I recently came across this article from Mental Floss — “Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix” — and found it pretty cool. It’s called “Whiz Kids” and outlines several of the most influential inventions from youngsters.

After developing the ear warming devices at age 15, Chester Greenwood got a patent for his "ear-mufflers" when he was just 18-years-old.

Not sure about you, but I had no clue that such widely-used inventions like earmuffs, braille and the currently in-development algae mobile were the inventions of teenagers. It cheesy to say, but it really does seem that you’re never too young to shape generations and change the world, for good.

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There has been a lot going on in the world this past week with nonprofits. The food crisis and drought in east Africa continues to make headlines. Closer to home, Joplin continues its efforts in rebuilding. With these stories and others, there are some great inspirational stories and opportunities to give back. Below are a few that caught our eyes.

  1. The Case Foundation just announced its “Give Back While Going Back To School” foundation. Case is partnering with five nonprofits dedicated to providing opportunities for communities to support education. Case will be awarding the nonprofit with the most votes $10,000. The way you can get involved is by “liking” Case on Facebook and voting for your nonprofit of choice. You can also get involved with one of the five partnered nonprofits to give school supplies, donations or mentor students.
  2. Heifer International just announced how easy it is to give the gift of a cow. In many countries, families rely on one cow to give them essential milk products on a daily basis. Additionally, healthy female cows can reproduce once a year. The calf is given to another family, so your gift multiplies. You can contribute by giving the gift of a heifer or a share of a heifer.
  3. Volunteers of America have been involved in mentoring programs in jails across America. Their work in the Norfork County jail in Massachusetts was highlighted this week by the Dedham Transcript. Community members are given opportunities to meet weekly with prisoners getting ready to re-enter society. The mentors meet with the prisoners during the five months leading up to their release and the year after their release. The work they are doing is truly inspiring.

There are obviously so many more inspiring stories going on in the world right now. If you know of any or are living any, let us know! Have a great week!

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Restoring Lives

Imagine investing your entire life’s work toward finding the right opportunity to travel to what you’ve heard as “the land of opportunity.” Then imagine someone offering you your dream job and a chance to start over. But just as you breathe your first breath of a new life, you are told you owe an impossible amount of money and the only way you can pay it back is by prostituting yourself in streets you don’t know, in a country where you don’t know the language.

This story has been told over and over again by foreign-born women that were sex trafficked in New York City through the passageway of Lady Liberty.

Restore NYC is an organization that provides aftercare for women that were brought into this country by sex traffickers in NYC. They have a safe home for these women as they seek counseling, jobs, skills training and learn English.

Surprisingly, when Restore NYC opened up its safehouse in 2010, they were the first of its kind in New York City, which has record with the CIA as being an entry point for traffickers since 1999, according to a Wall Street Journal article about Restore NYC.

You may remember in me mentioning them in my last blog post. Restore NYC founder Faith Huckel is a top 25 finalist for this year’s Classy Awards out of over 2,000 candidates for the Young Nonprofit Leader of the year category.

In situations like this, it is hard to tell the entire story. Some victims are not ready to tell all, there’s no way for most of the information to be verified and to tell the story visually is near impossible when also trying to protect her identity. But in all the videos I’ve seen of Restore NYC, they find a way to tell her story compellingly using a little more imagination.

So without further ado, I invite you to watch the story of Lisa; a woman who didn’t know where to turn, but then found hope and inspiration even out of the darkest of circumstances, a reality that is too often true.

Restore Survivor Lisa from greg wong on Vimeo.

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