Friday, February 26, 2016

Feel Good Friday - Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (again)

I’ve written over 100 of these Feel Good Friday posts and, with the exception of the AAA Tipsy Tow New Year’s Eve reminder, I haven’t had to repeat myself. Why? There are thousands of groups doing work to make the world a better place and it will be a long time before I run out of organizations to profile. However, I'm repeating myself today because people keep shooting each other!

On October 9, 2015 I featured the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Despite all their efforts, gun violence in the US is still a problem so I’m posting this story again in hopes we can all find a way to get involved.

In the almost 3 years I've been writing these Feel Good Friday posts, there have been a number of mass shootings in the United States, including the most recent at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. So today we're going to focus on an organization with the goal of "cutting gun deaths in half by 2025", Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

You may remember Jim Brady, Assistant to the President. He was shot and paralyzed during an assassination attempt on Ronald Regan in 1981. It wasn't until 1993, the Brady Bill, which required a five-day waiting period and background checks on handgun purchases, was signed into law by President Clinton.

Today the Brady Campaign is "the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence." Their mission, as stated on the website, "is to create a safer America for all of us that will lead to a dramatic reduction in gun deaths and injuries." You can go there to read shocking statistics on gun violence.A few highlights are below:

Every day, 89 people die from gun violence: 
    • 31 are murdered
    • 55 kill themselves
    • 2 are killed unintentionally
    • 1 is killed by police intervention
    • 1 intent unknown.
Every day, an additional 208 people are shot and survive.

In order to reduce these numbers, the Brady Campaign focuses on policy and legal changes, as well as a public awareness campaign. They ensure that all of their programs and efforts have an opportunity for impact, that no one else is doing similar work and that the actions fit into their core values. You can read their full list of solutions here or watch a 16 minute video Pathology of Gun Violence, which explains their strategy in great detail.
Support the work of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence by visiting their take action page, liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @Bradybuzz. Enough is enough.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Feel Good Friday - Sustainia

Ready to get some bang for your buck? Me too, so today's Feel Good Friday is more than just two for one, it's hundreds for one!

Sustainia is a think tank and consultancy founded in 2012 by Scandinavia's largest independent think thank, Monday Morning. They are headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. "That's nice", you say, "but what are they thinking about?" As they explain on their website, "We identify readily available sustainability solutions across the world and demonstrate their potential impacts and benefits in our work with cities, companies and communities."

They believe that seeing some inspiring examples of how to live sustainably is more motivating than watching a polar bear trapped on a melting piece of ice floating in the arctic. I must say, focusing on the positive is the Inspiration Safari way!

As part of their efforts to spread the good word, they publish a series of guides to sustainable solutions for cities, transportation, energy systems, fashion, food, health and education. Each year they create a guide to the Sustainia 100 and a committee led by Arnold Schwarzenegger declares an award winner for the year! (I am as surprised by this as you are.)

The winner for 2105, chosen by the committee ,was the Chennai Street Design Project, a group designed to address safety concerns and air pollution in the city of Chennai. The Community Award winner for 2015, chosen by the Sustainia online community, was the Plastic Bank, an organization featured on Feel Good Friday, March 20, 2015!

If you want more than a weekly dose of inspiration, you can check out their solutions page, submit an idea for the 2016 Sustainia 100 or just keep in the loop by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @Sustainia. Thanks for being awesome, Denmark!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Feel Good Friday - American Heart Association

Valentine's Day is this Sunday and hearts are on my mind, both the chocolate and the beating varieties. That's why today's Feel Good Friday is all about the American Heart Association!

You may know about them from their CPR classes, fundraising walks or heart-healthy cookbooks. Public health education is just part of what they do. As stated on their website, "our mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. That single purpose drives all we do."

There's a good reason for their focus. Heart disease is the number one killer of people in the world.

The American Heart Association is working to change those statistics. Some history from the website  explains they are "the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Founded by six cardiologists in 1924, our organization now includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters. We fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide critical tools and information to save and improve lives.

If you haven't been tempted to click the website link yet, do it. It's full of information on healthy living for adults and kids, it also includes resources for researchers, caregivers and educators.
Since heart attacks kill more women each year than all cancers combined, there's a special site called Go Red For Women. And for those of you who prefer to get your education in a fun manner, go to YouTube and watch short videos about CPR with Ken Jeong and heart attacks with Elizabeth Banks!

All of this public education is fantastic and, as I mentioned before, that's only part of it. The AHA also funds cardiovascular research, including 13 Nobel Prize winners, trains health care professionals and sets scientific treatment guidelines.

My Valentine's gift to you is to list out the Simple 7 ways to lower your risk of a heart attack, no link clicking required (unless you want more details): get active, control cholesterol, eat better, manage blood pressure, lose weight, reduce blood sugar, and stop smoking.

To get tips like this and stay current with all the news, like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @American_Heart and @GoRedForWomen

Now go out and enjoy those chocolate hearts! Just not too many.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Feel Good Friday - Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)

You probably know February is Black History Month but do you know who founded it? Well, happy Feel Good Friday, you're about to find out!

ASALH is the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Their mission, as explained on the website is "to promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture to the global community."

They've been doing it since the organization was established in 1915 by Carter G. Woodson. He's known as the "Father of Black History" because it was his idea to publicly recognize African American achievements back in 1926! What began as a weeklong celebration 90 years ago became a monthlong event in 1976.

In addition to setting the annual theme for Black History Month, creating a resource package and hosting an annual convention and luncheon, ALASH is active year round. They manage a professional speaker's bureau, promote local history projects and produce a variety of educational publications including the Journal of African American History and the Black History Bulletin, which is designed as a resource for teachers.

To stay in touch with ASALH all 12 months of the year, like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @ASALH.