Friday, July 25, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Upworthy

If you're a fan of Feel Good Friday, it's quite possible you're already a fan of Upworthy.

It's a website created in 2012 by "Eli Pariser, the former executive director of, and Peter Koechley, a former managing editor of The Onion who also worked at MoveOn". (For all the details, read this early review of their site in The New York Times.)

Under the tagline "Things that matter. Pass them on." Upworthy curates video content that has more substance than most of the viral videos I get suckered into watching. The mission statement from their original launch read, "Hi, we're Upworthy, a new social media outfit with a mission: to help people find important content that is as fun to share as a FAIL video of some idiot surfing off his roof."

    If you've never seen any of their videos, this "best of" link is a good place to start. Topics include, among many others, community, diversity, environment, gender, inspirational and political posts. Their videos always have an impact and whether they make me angry or happy, I'm glad I watched.

    As a person who is also trying to get more positive, important and inspirational stories out in the world, I love to see what they offer and I'm impressed with how their cleverly written headlines make me click on videos I might not have watched otherwise. Inspiration Safari could learn a lot from Upworthy!

    To stay in the loop, like their Facebook page, subscribe to their YouTube channel or follow them on Twitter @Upworthy. I'm doing all three!

    Friday, July 18, 2014

    Feel Good Friday - Girls Who Code

    We start today's Feel Good Friday with some statistics that don't feel good. "In middle school, 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science."

    This info comes from Girls Who Code, an organization formed in New York in 2012 that works "to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities."

    During the academic year, their nationwide clubs offer computer science education and tech industry exposure to girls from 6th to 12th grade.

    For the last two summers they've operated a Summer Immersion Program. As they explain on their website, it's "seven weeks of intensive instruction in robotics, web design, and mobile development with engaging, career-focused mentorship and exposure led by the industry's top female entrepreneurs and engineers." For girls in the Bay Area, this year's programs are taking place at Intuit, Facebook, eBay, Twitter and Square to name a few.

    One of the statistics that Girls Who Code reported after the program in 2013 is that "99% of participants said they are considering pursuing a career in technology and 81% definitely intend to do so."  You go, girls!

    You can get more information in this short article from PC Mag and since they are a technology focused organization, the best way to stay in touch is by using technology! Like their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @GirlsWhoCode. I've managed to do it and I was a Sociology major!

    Friday, July 11, 2014

    Feel Good Friday - It's Not About Us

    Today's Feel Good Friday is quick, simple and fabulous.

    It's Not About Us is an organization in New Zealand focused on "finding, developing and implementing solutions that target the root causes of poverty, suffering and need."

    As explained on their website, they "research, design, develop and implement solution focused systems and process's that target underlying causes rather than consequences". They also raise funds and work "to develop turn-key systems that allow other people/groups to undertake their own autonomous missions/projects that fit with (their) vision."

    The products they've developed include a hydrobine which can bring water from a low pressure source to a water tank that can supply a village, and a fire pipe which cooks with less smoke, less wood and more heat.

    Currently, they're raising money to bring a hydrobine to Vanuatu. You can watch this video to see the installation of the first hydrobine in 2013. If you like what you see, you can support this campaign via their Facebook page.

    See? That was quick, simple and fabulous!

    Friday, July 4, 2014

    Feel Good Friday - Swords to Plowshares

    Happy Feel Good Forth of July Friday! As we celebrate the independence of the USA, I want to take some time to highlight people who defend our country and an organization that defends these veterans.  

    As explained on their website, Swords to Plowshares "is a community-based, not-for-profit veteran service organization that provides wrap-around care to more than 2,000 veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area each year. We are committed to helping veterans break through the cultural, educational, psychological and economic barriers they often face in their transition to the civilian world."

    Swords was founded in 1974 by six veterans who were concerned with the unmet needs of veterans returning from Vietnam. Early services focused on discharge upgrades, employment, training and educational assistance. 

    40 years later, Swords has programs focused on employment and training, legal services, supportive housing, health and social services, women veterans, as well as national advocacy and policy. The last update on their history page states, "Today Swords is operating with a budget of more than $8 million each year and employes over 100 employees across seven sites. With the support from foundations, corporations, state and federal grants, Swords is able to provide services to veterans from all walks of life and a variety of complex needs." Most recently, they received a $1.35 million grant from Walmart, which they will use to expand job training programs for veterans throughout California. 

    To learn more about Swords and the work they do, watch this 3 minute introductory video or attend a free play highlighting issues of women veterans. Details here. You can always like their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @vetshelpingvets. Best of all, if you're looking for workthey're hiring!

    Now get outside and grill something.