Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Popular Beatles’ lyric or popular morning greeting?
While some of us may not exactly waltz into the office in a high pitched cheer exclaiming “Good Day Sunshine,” I’m sure the staff and volunteers at Project Sunshine have incorporated this mantra into their daily regimen. After all, their rays of sunshine have illuminated the lives of patients facing endless bouts of blood tests and CAT Scans during a hospital stay.
Clad in their bright yellow tees, Project Sunshine volunteers plant an extra kick of fun along the bedsides of patients in hospitals around the world. From surgi-dolls and access-to-wellness programs to painting halls and party time activities, Project Sunshiners “donate their time to create” activities and materials for innovative programming.
In the company of some 10,000 worldwide Project Sunshine volunteers and their programs, fear and anxiety often subside for a brief respite amid routine hospital procedures, “restoring a crucial sense of normalcy to the pediatric healthcare environment.”
As such, volunteers are able to instill “courage and coping skills necessary to confront” future diagnoses and procedures.
It is clear that Project Sunshine’s volunteers play a large part in the organization’s success. One of their biggest volunteer bases resides on college campuses, where various universities have formed partnerships with local hospitals, bridging the gap between two transient communities; college students and hospital patients.
From May 3- 11 2010, Project Sunshine brought their fundraising/awareness building events to the streets of New York City. With the support of Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg, highlights of Project Sunshine’s annual week of service featured Yankees stars reading baseball themed stories at Mount Sinai Hospital, a golden glow at the Empire State Building, and sunshine inspired items from various luxury vendors around NYC.
Illuminate your own community.
“Let the Sun Shine in!”
Please visit projectshine.org for more information.
(Project Sunshine engages hospital patients in educational and recreational activities.)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Or for that matter, Paint the Town Color.
Such is the story of Bernie and Ed Massey— 2 brothers who used their social entrepreneurship and artistic skills to create Portraits of Hope. By engaging both the young and the old, along with the healthy and the ill, Portraits of Hope is using “art and poignant visual imagery for large-scale projects of social consequence.”
Originally constructed to benefit the growth and development of seriously ill children, tens of thousands of individuals from all walks of life have been involved in producing, collaborating, and painting spectacular public art installations.
From moving vehicles to stationary buildings, Portraits of Hope has caught the world in color. Their colorful floral and geometric designs have not only brightened up California’s lifeguard stations or New York City’s taxi fleet, but have also enriched the lives of children and adults, “many who may be coping with adversity or serious illness.”
Whether their painters are found in hospitals, schools, or empty warehouses, Portraits of Hope challenges its participants to discuss “current affairs, civic issues, individual and social responsibilities, goals and achievement, decision-making, and— the power of teamwork.” Discussions are immediately put into action through the group collaboration involved in creating such vibrant public works of art.
Take the hospital.
Perhaps the most unique setting to paint a public work of art.
And possibly the most significant.
From smaller individual projects to larger public art installations, Portraits of Hope colors hospital walls with a taste of the outside world. Painting sessions in the hospital, however, do not teach typical Painting 101 techniques.
Adaptations have been made.
Bedside visits, “telescope paint brushes for children and adults in wheelchairs or attached to IVs; shoe brushes (U.S. Patent) for children and adults with injured upper limbs or who cannot manipulate a brush with their hands; and flavored mouth brushes for those with limited or no movement in their arms and legs” have been designed so that everyone, no matter their disposition, can add more color to their life.
The success of such large projects relies on the individual, no matter the ability.
Such is Portraits of Hope’s message for life.
Please visit portraitsofhope.org for more information.
(Portraits of Hope engages children and adults in community collaboration and artistic celebration.)
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This post, however, will not discuss climate change goals or reforestation. Instead, it will highlight Goods4Good, a non-profit that addresses the environment from a unique perspective by creating excellence out of excess.
About to embark upon her maiden voyage to Malawi (with the UN- her employer at the time), Melissa Kushner decided to bring some supplies to the orphans of Malawi. Thanks to her friends’ help, she provided a new set of clothing (the first set for most) for orphans in Malawi from the almost 2 tons of excess clothing and toys from Toys R’ Us and The Children’s Place.
Seeing the smiles and understanding the appreciation of the community in Malawi, Melissa continued to collect and ship tons and tons of supplies across the Atlantic.
Eventually, her excess shipments formed an organization now known as Goods4Good.
These donations are not merely airdrops.
Months, even years, are devoted to connecting and understanding the needs of Goods4Good’s recipient communities. Such a model ensures that the abundant waste of goods collected on this side of the ocean will be used most efficiently thousands of miles away.
Partnerships with companies, governments, organizations, and individuals are crucial to Good4Good’s work on both sides of the operation.
Goods4Good has discovered that in working and empowering local communities and organizations, their excess goods will be used to the max. For example: instead of merely supplying uniforms for students in Malawi, one of Goods4Good’s most profound impacts on the community was supplying fabric to make the uniforms. Sewing skills were thus mastered by the Malawi community, introducing a new sustainable trade to the area.
While most donations are given to communities in Malawi, Goods4Good has extended its network to other developing nations as well. “Since 2006…over 120 tons of essential goods [have been delivered] to over 510,000 vulnerable children in Malawi, Liberia and Haiti.”
Melissa and the team at Goods4Good are creating a new norm. They are putting an environmental conscious on excess.
One’s waste is indeed another’s treasure.
Please visit goods4good.org for more information.
(Goods4Good turns excess into necessity.)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
As the social media guru for LIVESTRONG, Brooke McMillan ensures that people around the world are indeed living strong. A small group of individuals, coupled with a cycling champ, and a myriad of yellow rubber bracelets started the campaign to LIVESTRONG. Using his remarkable athletic abilities and unbreakable will to survive cancer’s death threat, Lance Armstrong became the poster boy in the global fight against cancer.
From black tie fundraisers to spandex bike-a-thons, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, now known as LIVESTRONG, succeeded in raising awareness, funds, and support for those suffering from cancer. With a 7 time Tour-de-France winner leading the campaign, LIVESTRONG even has McCain and Obama naming “3 specific things they would do to fight the disease.”
Many cancer patients and survivors are awed by Lance Armstrong’s determined will power.
He is after all a celebrated sensation on the bike.
But he is also the guy next door—the guy who shared your hospital room in the oncology ward just a few years ago.
Based on a model of bringing services and comfort to individuals affected by cancer, LIVESTRONG thrives on its personal relationship both with its supporters and with its clients.
Brooke brought these ideas into action.
She was LIVESTRONG’s “first ‘SurvivorCare’ employee… answering questions about cancer and doing case management for people that needed assistance.”
Through its one-on-one “SurvivorCare” support and its partnership with various organizations, LIVESTRONG’s work extends beyond the hospital wall.
In 2008, staff at LIVESTRONG “went to New Orleans to work for Habitat for Humanity and to assist cancer survivors that had been affected by hurricane Katrina. We built on 4 houses as a team- including Lance. We met the partner organizations that received our grant funding that we provided to help people with cancer displaced by the storm.” Such global, national, and individual connections contribute to LIVESTRONG’s growth, support, and strength.
This fall, “the LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Center in Austin, Texas” will open to assist patients, survivors and loved ones deal with the emotional, physical and practical affects of cancer. Located in the Eastside of Austin, a typically underserved section of the Austin community, the center “will provide direct one-on-one counseling, help people figure out how to pay for treatment, talk with them about how to take care of their bodies during and after treatment and more. No facility like this exists in the city and there are very few navigation centers in the United States.”
My choice of living?
I would Live Strong.
Thanks Brooke for teaching us what it means to wear the LIVESTRONG wristband (A belated thanks to Kerala last week for taking us on a playful tour of KaBOOM!’s playgrounds)!
Please visit livestrong.org for more information.
(LIVESTRONG strives to improve the lives of those affected by cancer.)