Friday, May 26, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Memorial Day Flowers Foundation

Happy almost Memorial Day! Many of you are looking forward to a three-day weekend and a chance to get together with family and friends - I know I am. Since this is also Feel Good Friday, I want to call attention to an organization that focuses on remembering our veterans, The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation.

As they explain on their website, "The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation works with families, organizations, and businesses to make floral tributes to those who bravely served our country." The process is simple. Individuals and corporations make donations to purchase flowers and then on Memorial Day weekend, "at designated cemeteries, volunteers place roses at headstones and hand out flowers to visitors and veterans."

There are 17 locations participating this year, including national cemeteries in ArlingtonHouston and Jacksonville. You can watch last year's 300 volunteers at Arlington in action here. This year, the goal is to cover 160,000 of the 280,00 graves.

For those of you in the Bay Area, the San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio is one of the participating locations. The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation provided 2,000 sponsored roses last year. In 2017 the coverage goal is 15,000 of the 25,000 veterans' graves. You can click this link to donate money or to volunteer (next year) to place flowers on the graves. It seems they've already got enough volunteers in SF this weekend!

To get on the list for 2018 and stay in the loop year round, like The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @MemorialFlowers. Now go enjoy your weekend and barbecue something delicious!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Zooniverse

Today's Feel Good Friday story is all about Zooniverse!

As summarized on their website, "Zooniverse is the world's largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers - hundreds of thousands of people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers." I learned about them yesterday when I volunteered to count penguins with some coworkers.

Scientific data collection can be too much of a good thing. "With the help of Zooniverse volunteers, researchers can analyze their information more quickly and accurately than would otherwise be possible, saving time and resources, advancing the ability of computers to do the same tasks, and leading to faster progress and understanding of the world, getting to exciting results more quickly." That's right, you're advancing scientific discovery and artificial intelligence, all while clicking on adorable pictures of penguins. The results can be found in the many Zooniverse publications.

Zooniverse is a partnership between organizations in the UK, such as the University of Oxford and organizations in the US, including the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and the University of Minnesota. For the educators among you, visit ZooTeach, a website where teachers share lesson plans and resources that compliment Zooniverse's projects.

What projects, you ask? There are a wide variety focused in the areas of nature, space, literature, medicine, arts, climate and more! Some of the projects that sound interesting to me (in addition to the penguins) are counting flowers for bees, training an algorithm to recognize plastic trash on the beach, annotating and tagging diaries from WWI and characterizing bat calls.

If you'd like to get more involved you can read about all the projects here, pick your favorites and then volunteer from the comfort of home or your neighborhood cafe. To stay in the loop with new projects as they are added to the mix, like the Zooniverse Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @the_zooniverse

Friday, May 12, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Stemettes

Happy Feel Good Friday from London, home of Stemettes!

Based on their name, you won't be surprised to learn that "Stemettes is an award-winning social
enterprise working across the UK & Ireland and beyond to inspire and support young women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers (known collectively as STEM)."

Since 2013, over 14,000 girls have attended free events and workshops throughout the UK and Ireland. Events include "STEM in a Day" school trips to partner companies like Accenture and Salesforce, coding hackathons at companies like Oracle and Merrill Lynch, and panel discussions for girls to meet women and men in the industry. Check out the video from their 2016 panel event here to see what the girls had to say about it.

The mission of the Stemettes organization is "to inspire the next generation of females into STEM fields..." and the stories written by the young Stemettes on this blog prove they are well on their way.

You can financially support them with a purchase of a Stemette t-shirt or tote bag and morally support them by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @Stemettes!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Biblioteca Los Mangos

Feliz Feel Good Friday! It's Cinco de Mayo so we're going to highlight an organization in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Biblioteca Los Mangos!

The website is written in Spanish but with the help of some online translation, here's what I can tell you. Biblioteca Los Mangos is a library and cultural center in Puerto Vallarta that has been offering free cultural courses and workshops for children, adolescents and adults since 1996

Their mission is to ensure that people in the community have access to high quality general-interest information and technologies so they may use them to learn, grow and develop. The vision is to promote the habit of reading as well as preserve cultural traditions within the community. Biblioteca Los Mangos has over 30,000 books in Spanish and English and offers 4,500 individual services per month.

Their spring cultural classes include ballet and folk dancing, singing, yoga, art history and manga drawing! They also have an ongoing program called APAPACHO. It's for parents with children 2-3 years old and focuses on nourishing their creative and mental development.

Last, there is a local market on Saturdays located in front of the library where you can buy fruits, vegetables, baked goods, clothing jewelry and crafts. All while enjoying live music and entertainment! If you're planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta you can visit in person. If not, you can visit via this video and stay in the loop by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @BibliotecaPVR. Adios!