Friday, September 26, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Read Indeed

You know I love literacy projects and this Feel Good Friday I want to let you know about one that was started by an 8 year old! 

Maria Keller is an avid reader and was surprised when she learned that not all children can afford to own a book. This inspired her to start Read Indeed

As their website explains, "Her original goal was to collect and distribute 1 million books to kids in need by the time she’s 18. She accomplished this goal before the age of 13! Now she wants to distribute books to all 50 states in the U.S. and every country in the world."

She's a much more ambitious youth than I ever was. It's no surprise Maria received a Jefferson Award in March of this year. You can watch the news report about Read Indeed here to see Maria in action.

If you support the idea of children around the world having access to books you can get involved by donating either books or money or, for those of you who live in Minnesota, you can swing by the warehouse to do a little book counting, sorting and hauling.

As always, stay in the loop by liking their Facebook page, following them on Twitter @ReadIndeed or watching for an upcoming report by CNN. Read Indeed, indeed!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Feel Good Friday - GoodWeave

One of my sources for the Feel Good Friday inspiration is KarmaTube. They send weekly videos to my email (they can send them to yours too) and I wanted to share one I saw recently.

The short video, Stand with Sanju, explains the problem of child labor in the carpet industry and what GoodWeave is doing to stop it. For a more in-depth look at this campaign, read this article from Kristina Bravo at Take Part.

I found the most concise summary of their work on the GoodWeave website. "The handmade carpet industry exploits nearly 250,000 children. GoodWeave is helping to combat this problem and transform the rug industry by certifying child-labor-free rugs and by providing education and opportunities to rescued and at-risk children."

It took a coalition of businesses and NGOs to establish GoodWeave in 1994. The first carpets were exported from India to Germany and now GoodWeave operates in India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Germany, the UK and the USA.

Since those initial shipments, GoodWeave has sold 11 million carpets which has enabled them to free almost 3,600 children from looming rugs and send 11,000 children to school! Their success depends on donations and people purchasing GoodWeave certified rugs. Where can you find them? Check this page for a retailer in your city.

There are plenty more videos you can watch on their YouTube channel. Like their Facebook page  and follow them on Twitter @GoodWeave for updates on the Stand with Sanju campaign.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary

It's been a few months since Feel Good Friday focused on animals so today we're going to Thailand to learn about the Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary.

British traveler, Katherine Connor, was inspired by the courage of a young, very ill elephant named Boon Lott (survivor in Thai) when she was volunteering at an elephant hospital in Thailand. So inspired that she launched an international fundraising campaign to get him the medical treatment he needed and stayed in Thailand to help care for him. When he died, she created the Boon Lott Elephant Sanctuary in his name.

As stated on their website, "BLES strives to rescue and protect the elephants of Thailand from abuse and ultimate extinction. We provide a safe home where we focus on individual survival and growth in numbers." With the use of elephants in industry in Thailand ending in 1989, many of the mahouts (people who care for the animals) began using their elephants for illegal logging or tourist entertainment in order to feed their families and their elephants. City life, and often being pumped with drugs, reduces the elephants'  life expectancy due to stress and malnutrition.

Not only does BLES care for the animals, they also employ local mahouts to work at the sanctuary. Again from the website, "We are deeply committed to our village community and provide jobs and housing to several mahouts and their families. We encourage local participation in BLES activities and promote education about elephants and their plight as well as the environment."

Want to get directly involved supporting BLES? Take a trip to Thailand, stay at the sanctuary and work as a volunteer. With room for only 6 guests at a time, you need to plan ahead since they are currently fully booked through April, 2015!

If you're not able to visit, you can adopt an elephant for $30/month. Profiles of the sanctuary elephants can be found here. More ways to stay involved from the comfort of your own home - watch a short video of frolicking elephants here. Read a more in depth article at this Christian Science Monitor link and be sure to like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @BLESELE

Friday, September 5, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Pack for a Purpose

I'm back from Burning Man and have most of the dust out of my life! Most.

It was a good, and sometimes frustrating, time in the desert and I have ideas about how I will do things differently next time. One thing for sure, I will pack less.

For those of you who have already mastered this art and find yourselves with a bit of extra room in your suitcase every time you travel, let me introduce you to today's Feel Good Friday organization, Pack for a Purpose!

In 2009, Rebecca and Scott Rothney had the idea to use extra space in their luggage to bring supplies to a school in Botswana. They worked with their safari company to determine what supplies the school needed and Pack for a Purpose was born.

Their mission, as stated on the website, "is to positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to bring meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit." With the help of fellow travelers, more than 30,000 pounds of supplies have been brought to communities that need them.

Check the destination page to see if you'll be traveling anywhere near a Pack for a Purpose project. With partners in more than 50 countries, the odds are good!

So next time you hit the road, leave some room in your suitcase to bring supplies to your destination. Once you've made your donation, you've get room for some local souvenirs. Win-win.

Learn more by watching this introductory video and stay in the social media loop by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @PackforaPurpose.

With back to school sales in all the stores, this is a great time to start plotting your next adventure!