Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Red Cross Red Crescent in Chad. Photo by Daniel Cima/International Federation.

“‘I’m going to go to the big city,'” sounded familiar to actor Matt Damon. He was in Zambia walking with a young girl from a village as she collected the day’s supply of water a mile away. He had asked her what her hopes and dreams were and where she wanted to be. Damon told ABC News those are the same words he and Ben Affleck shared before their fame when they decided to take a risk and shoot for the stars.

So in 2009, Damon teamed up with environmentalist Gary White in an attempt to combine the efforts of non-profits to end water shortages and increase access to clean water. Their banner? Water.org.

A 2010 research report by the Society for Technology and Action for Rural Development said:

Only 2.53 % of earth’s water is fresh, and some two-thirds of that is locked up in glaciers and permanent snow cover. Nearly one billion people – one in eight persons in the world – lack access to safe water supply. Over 3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease; 84 % are children. 98 % occur in the developing world.

Similar alarming statistics pushed Damon to do something about it. The Zambian girl who inspired him would not have had any sort of access to her dreams without her basic needs being met. Instead of going to school, she would be too preoccupied with hunting for water. Without the proper combination of education and nutrition, she, and nearly 1 billion others will remain in absolute poverty.


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I would like to use today’s post to say happy birthday to Charity Water. After five years, Charity Water has helped more than two million people in 19 countries get clean drinking water. To celebrate, Charity Water is using their YouTube channel to say ‘thank you’ 250 times.

In honor of Charity Water’s five years, this post is going to be all about their organization. First, some facts about the worldwide water situation from Charity Water’s website.

  • 30,000 people die every week from unclean water.
  • 90 percent of those deaths are children under the age of five.
  • In Africa alone, 40 billion hours a year are spent carrying water from safe water locations to homes.
  • $28 billion is lost every year in Africa due to lack of safe water and sanitation.
  • According to the UN, one tenth of the global disease burden can be lifted with clean drinking water.

Now some quick facts about what Charity Water is doing with donations to alleviate these problems.

  • $20 can give one person clean drinking water and 100 percent of donations go directly to the field.
  • Charity Water has raised more than $40 million and funded more than 4,000 water projects around the world.
  • Charity Water projects create water options that are convenient for communities.
  • This leads to households and families being able to have water for gardens and become self-sufficient.
  • Community members are appointed as Water Committee members and are in charge of the oversight of the water.
  • Every $1 donated can return $12 in economic gains.

Charity Water is truly an organization that is making changes for people around the world. They provide great opportunities to get involved and make a difference in the world. They truly grasp and get that on the service people may be different but in reality, people are the same, same.

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Ever wonder where the money goes when you donate to various charities? If you are like me, you have. Are those organizations taking a certain percentage of the money? Are they spending it wisely, efficiently and to the best of their abilities? With the natural disasters that have taken place over the past few years (Japan tsunami, Katrina, Joplin, Irene, East Africa drought and many others) there have been multiple opportunities to donate.

One organization that you can absolutely trust to spend your money wisely is World Vision. A recent blog post from World Vision reveals a little into where donated money goes. A good round number to start with is $100. According to the post, $100 can help a tanker truck bring fresh water to a family of six for a month. For $110, a family of six will be provided with grains, beans and oil for a month. Or for $110, a family will be provided a survival kit made up of items such as a mosquito net, tarp, three blankets, two buckets, 100 water purification tablets, one kitchen set and one hygiene kit.

If you are like me (on a budget), $10 can also make a difference. According to this World Vision link, because of multiple government grants, a donation can be multiplied five times. If you and a friend donate $10 each, after the multiplication you have given a family of six a month of fresh drinking water.  For $25 you can give a family two chickens.

For more ideas an opportunities to help East Africa, go here.

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Missouri winters are bitter for me. The humidity intensifies the wind and lets the cold sink into your bones. But I’ve never had to worry about having enough clothes to combat the cold, even though sometimes I vainly complain about how a coat makes my body look. Operation Warm is a nonprofit providing coats to children in the U.S. whose parents end up making a choice between buying more food for their families or buying a coat for their ever-growing kids.

Operation Warm networks with existing community groups to distribute coats while educating the children about the environment by re-engineering their coats to be make of recyclable materials.

I share this video of this organization because of the resources they pull together: celebrity voice-over, community involvement and intimate footage of children in need that doesn’t come from being marginally concerned with this issue.

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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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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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