Friday, August 30, 2013

Feel Good Friday - Hug Nation

Perhaps a desire to get out of town has put busses on my mind. Last week we went to Michigan to learn about The Detroit Bus Company and today we're going to talk about the Hugmobile.

Those of you going to Burning Man keep your eye out for the Hugmobile -  though a giant pink RV shouldn't be that hard to find. It's the way John "Halycon" Styn gets around to spread his Hug Nation message. That message - "The world would rather hug you than hurt you."

Hug Nation is a webcast John founded with his grandfather, the extremely optimistic Reverend Caleb Shikles. Their goal was to have a weekly, world-wide virtual group hug.  Although Rev. Shikles passed away in 2007, the Hug Nation broadcasts continue and John takes his message to Burning Man every year.

You can watch an inspiring Tedx talk about gifting and gratitude on YouTube, watch their live broadcasts, and/or like the Hug Nation on Facebook to stay in the loop.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Feel Good Friday - The Detroit Bus Company

People in San Francisco use the cable car as a legitimate form of public transportation but not everyone gets to ride a landmark to work. In some cities, including Detroit, public transportation is sorely lacking.

So why is Feel Good Friday taking a road trip to Michigan? Because in 2012, with funding for the public bus system cut and plans for a streetcar line through downtown Detroit cancelled, Andy Didorosi bought a school bus, had a local graffiti artist paint it and created The Detroit Bus Company.

He started by providing fixed bus routes but the company has morphed to include city tours, charter busses and, with financial assistance from the Skillman Foundation, free rides to after school programs for students.

Not only that, they have live mobile bus tracking so you know exactly where the bus you're trying to catch is. Something larger public transit systems could use. Yeah, I'm taking to you MUNI.

You can read the full story and watch a short video at this link from the Huffington Post.

If you want to learn more about bus routes, tours or buy a t-shirt, visit The Detroit Bus Company website. As always, show your support and stay in the loop by liking them on Facebook!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Feel Good Friday - Food Recovery Network

Today's Feel Good Friday topic is food. Mmm, fooood.

Everybody loves food but not everybody has food. According to the Food Recovery Network (FRN), 1 in 6 people in the US don't know where their next meal is coming from. If they happen to live near a FRN chapter, it could be coming from a college campus. 

Food Recovery Network was founded in 2011 by Ben Simon and other students at the University of Maryland - College Park. For as much as college students eat, there is always food left over in the dining commons at the end of the night. When the students found out this food was being thrown away,  they got student groups to volunteer to collect the food and bring it to local organizations that feed the hungry.

In the beginning they were recovering 150 - 200 pounds of food per day. Now they have chapters on 21 college campuses and have collected and donated 166,354 pounds of food! What does that mean? Well, 100,000 pounds of food = 80, 261 meals and can feed 75 people 3 meals a day for a year.

This reduces food waste, feeds hungry people and reduces the emission of methane gas coming from rotting food in landfills. You can learn more about hunger, food waste and global warming here.

If you're in college, start a chapter. If you've got 3:10 minutes you can watch a video put out by the University of Maryland that shows you students packing up the food and driving it to an organization in need. As always, you can like their Facebook page to stay in the loop.

To stay in the loop with more stories like this, take a moment to like the Inspiration Safari Facebook page. I promise we'll like you back.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Feel Good Friday - Sri Lestari and Wheels for Humanity

Several months ago, Feel Good Friday celebrated the work of Habitat for Humanity. Today, we're here to spread the word about Wheels for Humanity.
UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) Wheels for Humanity began in 1995 with the delivery of 130 wheelchairs to people in Guatemala. Their mission is to provide "mobility, dignity and opportunity to people with disabilities in developing countries." Almost 20 years later, they now operate a 10,880-square-foot warehouse in North Hollywood, CA and a quick peak at their destinations map will show you they are worldwide.

Perhaps their most famous spokesperson is Sri Lestari from Central Java. Injured in a motorcycle accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down when she was 23, the loss of her mobility and independence plunged her into a deep depression and she rarely went outside her home. 

That was until she learned of the Wheels for Humanity program that modifies motorcycles to include a wheelchair platform, hand controlled stick-shift and brakes and other elements that make them possible for people in wheelchairs to drive.

After getting some financial assistance, not only did Sri get a modified motorcycle but she also became an outreach officer for Wheels and now travels the country providing support to the estimated 2 million people living with disabilities in Indonesia. Recently she drove over 750 miles from the capital, Jakarta, to Ubud on the island of Bali on a campaign to empower disabled people.

As she states in this much more detailed article in the Christian Science Monitor, "I think I am a good example. So many parents will see the positive things from me - that even if they have children with a disability, they have a brighter purpose, that hopefully their children can be like me. They can be free and independent."

Want to stay inspired by Sri's independent spirit? Follow and like her Facebook page and do the same for Wheels of Humanity.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Feel Good Friday - Gemma Bulos: Global Women's Water Initative

Have you ever talked yourself out of an idea thinking one person can't possibly make a difference? Well then, Feel Good Friday wants you to meet Gemma Bulos.

After two near death experiences, while on a silent retreat, a song came to her. A song so powerful, she gave away all her belongings and traveled the world to convince one million people to sing the song "We Rise" together with her! You can click here to have Gemma tell you the story herself.

But that's not where it ended. With the philosophy that it takes a single drop of water to start a wave, Gemma founded A Single Drop. As explained on the website, it was "a non-profit organization to raise awareness of the global water crisis using "We Rise" and the Million Voice Choir as the catalyst for action. Gemma and her ASDSW co-Founder Kevin Lee developed an innovative program that created village community-led water and sanitation organizations. ASDSW offered trainings so local communities could identify, design, plan, build and maintain their own water and sanitation solutions."

Why stop there? When you're an improviser, like Gemma is, the number one rule is to say "yes". So when it came time for A Single Drop to join forces with Crabgrass and Women's Earth Alliance, in 2007 to create the Global Women’s Water Initiative, saying yes is exactly what Gemma did. Now she's the director of the program.

As they explain on their website, "The GWWI collaborators came together because they believed that women were not properly represented in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, despite their central role as water stewards. By engaging and supporting professional local women with expertise in construction, advocacy, leadership andWASH who could train and build capacity of their local grassroots counterparts, GWWI could become a network of women technicians and educators equipped to bring sustainable solutions to their communities."

In 2012 GWWI trained 16 teams of women in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to learn and implement solutions to issues of water and sanitation.

So the next time you talk yourself out of an idea, remember you could be the drop of water to start the next wave.

Want to get more involved? The Women's Earth Alliance is having a gala in San Francisco on September 19th, "From Ripple to Wave". You can find out more about it here. And as always, you can follow GWWI on their Facebook page and Inspiration Safari on our Facebook page. We'll be meeting with Gemma this fall to find out what she's up to next.