Friday, November 28, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Giving Tuesday

Happy day after Thanksgiving! Many know today as "Black Friday" and spend their morning running  from store to store to get the super bargains. For me it's still a Feel Good Friday and here's why - Giving Tuesday!

In 2012, 92nd Street Y in New York (92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association) joined forces with the United Nations Foundation to create Giving Tuesday, "inspired by the core Jewish value of tikkun olam, 'repairing the world'."

The day is meant to counterbalance Black Friday and Cyber Monday's focus on consuming and celebrate the holiday season by giving. Although this is only the third year, the idea is catching on and now over 10,000 organizations worldwide participate. Non-profits create unique goals, corporations double employee matches, individuals find ways to give what they have whether that's money or time. Last year the city of Baltimore set a goal of becoming the most generous city in the United States and raised 5.7 million dollars in one day!

Not sure how you can get involved? There's an entire tools page with case studies on giving, tool kits, ideas, examples and videos. You've got the whole weekend to figure something out!

This campaing has a huge social media focus so while you're coming up with your Giving Tuesday goal, be sure to like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @GivingTues. Once you've got a plan, let the world know by using #GivingTuesday in your posts. The best part of this is you don't have to get up early or stand in line to participate. Now that's a tradition I can support!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Global Sisters

You've heard that sisterhood is powerful. Heck, you may have even said it! Today Feel Good Friday is taking a quick trip Down Under to learn about the power of Global Sisters.

As stated on their website, "Global Sisters is a unique online platform and e-marketplace which provides a 'start to finish' approach in assisting socioeconomically disadvantaged women in Australia to develop an income stream via micro business or social enterprise."

The goal of the organization is "financial independence for female micro-entrepreneurs." This will be achieved by having an online marketplace where women can sell their creations as well as to providing business advice and micro loans to fund these women.

Those of you in Australia can become Big Sisters and support the women in the program by taking their photos, helping them tell their stories or providing business advice. The rest of us can help out by bookmarking the shopping page, currently under construction, or liking their Facebook page, which has the latest and greatest news. Sisters really are doing it for themselves!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Global Women's Water Initiative: Update

It has been my goal to share a new inspirational story every Feel Good Friday and I've been doing it since November 30, 2012.

Today I'm going highlight an organization I first told you about in August of 2013, the Global Women's Water Initiative. Think of this as less of a repeat and more of an update. For those of you who are recent followers and/or don't keep meticulous track of this blog, you can find the original post here.

Rose Wamalwa
In brief, GWWI trains women in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to bring sustainable water solutions to their communities. Women in these countries can spend up to 8 hours a day fetching water and doing water related chores. If the water is not clean or good sanitation and hygiene practices are not followed, people in these communities suffer from preventable water borne diseases. The women involved in the GWWI program become water, sanitation and hygiene technicians, trainers and entrepreneurs. More details can be found on their website or by watching the Inspiration Safari video interview with GWWI Executive Director, Gemma Bulos. (That's new since the original post!)

Godliver Businge
Last night two of the trainers from East Africa spoke in detail about the impact their work has. Rose talked about a clinic in Kenya that could not deliver babies because they had no clean water, forcing pregnant women to walk miles to the next village to have their babies. After women trained by GWWI built two rain  water harvesting tanks, the clinic has delivered over 30 babies and the government has taken notice and provided the clinic with additional support.

Godliver told the story of a woman who spent 25 years as a commercial sex worker to support herself and her two children after her husband left her. Inspired by the training she received through GWWI, she's now a skilled mason and respected member of her community, hired to work on local water projects. In fact, 70% of the women who have participated in this program have increased their personal income.

If you're still not convinced what an awesome program this is, watch this video of the women involved with GWWI. You can keep this work going by making a donation and/or sharing this story on social media. Like the Facebook page follow them on Twitter @womenwater and do what you can to help this ripple spread!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Guardian Princesses

Tired of watching and reading about the princess who waits for the prince to come save her? Worried about the impact that will have on a youngster in your life? Well then you'll love today's Feel Good Friday the Guardian Princesses!

I first learned about them through this Upworthy article. The summary provided on their IndieGoGo campaign page explains, "The Guardian Princesses are new super heroines who work together to protect the people and the planet.  They are a group of racially and cuturally diverse leaders who model compassion and intelligence, as well as the power of knowledge and collective action. Our stories transform the cultural meaning of the princess from a damsel-in-distress to brave heroines providing better role models for all children." You go, girls!

The Guardian Princesses were the idea of UC Riverside Professor, Shetsu Sigematsu, who was concerned about the effect the princess culture was having on her young daughter with it's focus on external beauty and the need to be rescued rather than take charge of a situation. She decided she couldn't fight the power of the princess so she wrote new stories. Not only do these princesses offer fabulous role models for young girls, but the stories also meet the Common Core requirements for all you teachers in the house.

The first three books are out, you can order them here, and there is an IndieGoGo campaign underway to launch a book for the next princess, Ten Ten, Guardian of the Skies. She's "the first ever gender independent East Asian super heroine." What's not to love?

You can learn more by listening to an NPR story from last year and stay current by liking their Facebook page or following them on Twitter @GPgeneration1

Last, there's a music video you can watch and get stuck in your head in case there's any other princess song you need to let go.