Worldwide Movement Encouraging Positive Solutions for Life
Matthew McConaughey His passionate real-life role as a philanthropist
SUPER Foods to Eat Every day
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols >
SIMPLE ACTS OF KINDNESS Spreading Gratitude One Blue Marble at a Time
ONE WORLD ONE PEOPLE Global Health Grammy Award Winner
Ryan Bingham For the LOVE of music DISPLAY UNTIL 5/30/12
• Vinny Lecavalier • The Happiness Formula • Jill & Jim Kelly/Hunter’s Hope • Nelson Mandela
Small Ways to
A company’s success is typically gauged by annual revenues and growth. Joe Healy understands this, yet he also believes that the health, happiness and productivity of an organization’s employees are also important. With this in mind, he launched Health Team in 2010. Based in Naples, Fla., Health Team is a firm that provides benefit selection, and health and wellness services, to companies of all sizes. An innovator in the employee benefits industry, Health Team is aptly named. Not only does the company help employees choose a benefits plan that best suits their individual needs, but it also offers ongoing guidance through personal health advocates and wellness coaches to help people achieve their Improving well-being ultimate objective—overall well-being. Healy, who spent more than 20 years in the employee benefits industry, founded Health Team to make a lasting difference by motivating people to improve their well-being.
for companies and their employees By Jeff Louderback
Health Team’s website, www.healthteam.com, is an instrumental part of Healy’s mission. Through high technology and personal services, the company strives to engage a client’s employees connecting them to offerings like benefits coaching to help each person select the most appropriate plan; personal health advocates for each member; and both personal and online health, stress and wellness coaching. “Our philosophy isn’t just about doing good, it’s about doing better, and it’s about having fun along the way to accomplishing goals of being healthier and happier,” said Betsy Opyt, RD, LD/N, CDE and Health Team’s Chief Motivational Officer.
“Studies indicate that 70 percent of health care costs are preventable. Employees deserve leading-edge thinking, expert guidance, and effective tools,” Healy said. “Changing behaviors and improving lifestyles lead to
Advocacy is a key element of Health Team’s concept. “Our wellness coaches and personal health advocates, and inspirational leaders like Betsy, help members achieve their goals of leading healthier lifestyles by providing them guidance instead of leaving them to figure it out on their own,” Healy said.
To help keep members further engaged, Health Team provides every person with a highly engaging employees and reduced health personalized well-being dashboard care cost for employers.” online. Individuals can upload their workouts, challenge fellow employees, track their points and incentives, and blog about their experiences to stay motivated.
happy, healthy, high performing
“Overall well-being creates better employees, better people, and better profits,” Healy added. “When we help companies attract and retain more energized, empowered, healthy and productive people, we are fulfilling our purpose.”
For more information about Health Team, visit www.healthteam.com.
“To be a multimedia resource for sharing stories, ideas and actions that inspire, educate, motivate and provide solutions that will result in a worldwide movement of positive change.”
While many focus on the positive, we also focus on the impact of what real action can do in the world. We are motivated by a deep need to see the beauty in all things and to give back in a meaningful manner. We believe that focusing on the solutions instead of the problems will create a long-lasting impact. It is our purpose to have a positive influence with a transformative effect. It is this transformation that will enrich our lives and influence others.
uplifting or inspiring; + greater than
A forceful consequence; a strong effect
This magazine is a window to the world of uplifting consequence and inspiring effect. It is based on the idea
that the smallest action, done with positive intent, can be life altering and, much like a raindrop, can create a ripple effect of untold proportions. Our readers share our passion for the positive and know, too, that small changes can have big results. We believe people need a place to find answers to life’s challenges and to align with others who are on a path of intentional living. We give hope where there may be little and provide resources to stimulate intelligence in an uplifting manner. We are building a community of influencers that will reach beyond their own backyard in ways previously unimagined. They value caring for their inner life while demonstrating strong passion for social improvement, and they support causes, frequent businesses, purchase products and use services that are in line with these values. Join us on our quest to create a powerful resource of education, inspiration and hope. Let’s give new definition to the words “positive impact” and create a worldwide movement encouraging solutions for life!
Charity Beck • Publisher
Top left photo by: Joshua Terranova
Jen Hellmann • Publisher • Creative Director
Thank you This so much for this opportunity to issue is reach into your homes and hearts with this dedicated to magazine. This issue represents so many things: a our supporters, birthday wish come true, a collective effort to bring the positive donators, advisors to life, and yet another opportunity to see the beauty in all things. and readers! You More importantly, this magazine belongs to you – yes, you – our have helped make readers, contributors and sponsors. For you are the ones who have this dream come true. I made this possible and for that I am both eternally thankful and grateful! am truly in awe of the The difference? Thankful is a general acknowledgement of gratitude; grateful is incredible support of accepting and receiving a gift fully. I do both, humbly and sincerely. This issue so many people in our jouris truly a labor of love, and as it flies away to land in your life, I find myself living my ney to bring PIM to life, and so name to its fullest and loving every minute of it. we have listed our supporters So, what started as a wish, culminated with each of you living out your innate humaniand donators on the contributors tarianism to become a part of this magazine, demonstrating yet again that we really are in this page as a small way of showing together. Our collective goal of building a worldwide movement of positive change is illustrated our appreciation and gratitude. in this issue, as we cover a multitude of topics with an uplifting effect and reachable solutions. While creating this print issue Matthew McConaughey shares his philanthropic passion for health and children; a noted I was moved by the people that are scientist details his movement to save the ocean; and, an ice hockey icon imparts making a positive difference in their inspiration on and off the rink. We explore the impact of volunteering, the benefits of lives and the lives of others. The notion studying abroad, and the positive power of money as well as a host of other of living a life filled with simple acts of gratenlightening and inspiring topics that are impacting the way we live. itude and kindness is really the true As always, we do our utmost to present ideas and articles that essence of what this magazine is about. Whether are nonjudgmental, nonbiased and focus on solutions it’s an athlete, a young girl, movie star, author, doctor, high for our planet and our people. We have school teacher, or scientist, each person had made the commitment threaded our vision of education, inspiration, to help others and bring awareness to issues that are close to our hearts. It motivation and solutions into this issue stitch shows me that anything is possible when you put your mind and heart in the right by stitch and continue to serve with an place. That strong commitment inspires and encourages me in so many ways to be attitude of gratitude. a better mom, a better wife, daughter and friend. My eyes have also been opened to So, please join us in our movement the importance of community involvement, helping to make a difference in my own backfor focused solutions and positive yard or across the country. My love of art has taught me how important creativity is for change. Remember, although we all everyone and when I can, I volunteer at the local art center and in other places that need come here with challenges and my help. Find your passion, and it will help guide you to what you’re meant to do. lessons, our purpose is to I am honored to bring these stories to life in this issue, and hope that, through the complement each other, not visuals, you can feel the essence of the articles. Creativity has the power to commucomplicate each other’s lives. nicate and influence, with or without words, our core values, our unique identity, our The truth of that is apparent expectations and world views. By exploring creative forms and expressions, it with the publication of this allows us to bring a clear understanding to you, our readers, and enhance the print edition of Positive meaning of people, products and places, culture and imagination, as well Impact Magazine. as improvisation and inventiveness in a unique and beautiful way. A million thanks It’s truly amazing, the power the human spirit can have, and for making it when given the opportunity and inspiration, that spirit can possible. I shine! I invite you to take time for yourself, sit back, am grateful relax and enjoy this issue. Wishing you peace, infinity. happiness and health.
CONTENTS A GOOD SPORT
COVER Dr. Wallace J. Nichols Teaches The World to Live Blue The Blue Marbles Project, an environmental movement based on simple acts of gratitude and kindness
FEATURES Matthew McConaughey McConaughey talks about his love of movies, the creative process and his most passionate real-life role as a philanthropist
8. Jill & Jim Kelly Hunter’s Hope: Joy & Purpose 10. NHL Lightning: Vinny Lecavalier His off-the-ice passion helping children and their families
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 17. DON’T WAIT Project A new way of thinking to inspire living 24. Arts@Large Keeping the arts alive in public schools
ECO TRAVEL & CULTURE 28. Pure New Zealand Beckoning visitors with an abundance of eco treasures
EDUCATION Accordia Global Health A shining example for the future of healthcare in the new millennium
32. Studying Abroad Changing the lives of college students
ENVIRONMENT & ALTERNATIVE ENERGY 12
Recording Artist Ryan Bingham Interview with Grammy award-winning soul singer/songwriter
40. 10 Ways to Make a Big Difference Creative conservation 42. Turning Green Ideas into Golden Opportunities Products, services, and organizations with “world helping” missions
26. A Moment of Clarity The benefits of getting older 50. Living Treasures Nelson Mandela
IN EVERY ISSUE 3. Publishers’ Notes 5. Contributors 6. PIM Product Picks 34. Youth Writing Challenge 64. Simply Positive
44. Prolanthropy: World Class Athletes, World Class People Creative philanthropy management services for professional athletes 48. Youth Inspired Change Assisting charities that provide food, shelter and other needs of people
MIND, BODY & SPIRIT 52. The Happiness Formula On a pursuit of happiness or pleasure? 58. 6 Superfoods to Eat Every Day Dr. Joel Fuhrman M.D. Preventing chronic disease and promoting health and longevity 59. The Benefits of Volunteering Helping yourself by helping others 61. One Man’s Gift of Life Heart transplant survivor 62. Positive Power of Money Create change in your life
CONTRIBUTORS Positive Impact Publishers through support and donations
Publisher: Charity Beck Publisher/Creative Director: Jen Hellmann Managing Editor: Samantha Palmer Contributing Editors: Jeff Louderback, Dina Popper, Pamela Russ, Jean Schauer, Lindsey Shah, Julie Starke, Valerie Valentine, Autumn Kindelspire Design & Production: Jen Hellmann Director of Special Projects: Nancy Jean-Baptiste Columnists: Rachel Schaeffer, Marci Wise Contributing Writers: Geoff Bond, Lisa Bradshaw, Jenny Carless, Jeremy Christie, Mary F. Dado, Bailey Foster, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Taylor Grey, Dave Hebestreit, Ryan Hurley, Gary King, Roxana Levin, Jeff Louderback, Deb McCabe, Steve McCabe, Deb Raschella, Dan Sherman, Susan Sherman, Julie Starke, Malaka I. Thompson Youth Writing Challenge Winners: Lauren Doria Leah Heinzelman Contributing Photographers: Rosemary Chasey, Ashley T. Hughes, Vivien Killiliea, Gary Knight, Ezra Millstein, Julie A. Murphy, Neil Osborne, Joshua Terranova, Jayme Schwartz, Charles Steinberg, Jacqueline Stonas, Deb Raschella, Carlton Ward Advisory Board: Terry Aidman, Dean Akers, Charity Beck, Jen Hellmann, Anton Hopen, Charley Johnson, Steve Kramer, Mike Lemire, Charlie McCurdy, Linda Pizzuti, Deb Raschella, Wendy Rib, Paula Schroeder, Julie Starke, Amber Thompson, Terry Torok, Jim Tousignant, Peter Wild, Greg Wolfe Distribution: Curtis Circulation Company, LLC
Printed on recycled paper
Abigail Ali Amidimehr Natasha Ashwe Nancy Baptiste Chad Bathey Mary Beth Berns Big Cat Rescue John Bindeman Sara Biron Morgan Blake Shelley Blaszak Ron Borg Jan Bosserdet Jillian Bosserdet Ami Bowen Michelle Brennan Kimba Brown Lou Buccino Steve R. Burke Adam Butlein J Don Calicutt Ruben Calles Liysa Callsen Angie Cargill Richard Carlson Michelle Carolan Elisa Castelli Charlie Jeremy Christie Joe Colacino Shauna Conroy Amy Corse Amy Crockett Sheryl Crutchfield Dannie Rania Dempsey Doneene Don Dordevski Lauren Doria Heather Dreske Renee Duane Alicia Dupies Effren Jen Engling Heidi Fallis Cosima Fields Jay Fields Carrie Fortier Alan Frankel Joe Frasor The Funky Seeds Deb Gatley Geoff Dr. George Georgette Dr. Gino Victoria Giorgione Patrick Gleber Larry Goodman Heidi Goold Ann McIntosh Grams Ashley Gross Sharon Hamlin
Hannah Matt and Kim Hansen Natalie Harris Teri Hart Theresa Heese Lisa Hein Rebecca Hill Jacqueline Holems Allan Holender Yasha Horstmann Hula Bay Club Greg Hydle Lenka Imholz Innisbrook Golf Course Jaguar of Tampa Bay Ken Jenkins Danielle Jennison Joe Charley Johnson Debi Johnson Monday Johnson Julie Brandi Kamenar Patti Kamin Todd and Kiaralinda Patti van den Kieboom Heinz Kluetmeier Koo Jeff Kremer Laura Dawn Lacrosse Kelly Lane Sharon Langan Wendy LaTorre Ellen Levy Lauren Lewis Glory A. Lawson Debbie Hudson Lowry April Lufriu Jordan Maltese Christina Manca Mangroves Maggie McClellan Amber McDonald Shanna McDonald Michelle Mezrah Bryan Mobley Aimee Moore Barb Morasky Mark Morasky Kevin Mueller Clive and Robyn Palmer Samantha Palmer Amber James Parker Pam Peckham David Pelino Ashley Peterson Jacklyn Peterson Thasacorn Phothisarath Pilar Nadina Popper Mark & Ann Porreca Fran Powers
Pyke Ralph Deb & Larry Raschella Tracey Rathbone Joanna Ravaris Efren Rebugio Tammy Reeves Loren Rhodes The Rhodes Michael and Wendy Rib Doug Rickles Debbie Riley Bryan Roberts Mike Rokita Johnny & Angie Rokita Alisa Robertson Nick Rondinelli The Roosevelt TheWrapElement.com Dave Sackerson Jody Saikie Sandpearl Resort Karyn Santi Rachel Schaeffer Paula Schroeder Patrick Scwhing Lindsey Shah Xander Slort Caleb Smith Valerie Sowell Nina Sperandeo Tom Stanton Stefan Merle Tabor Stern The Stacey Stern Show Julie Starke Susie Steiner Vanessa Stella Steven Amy Graham Stigler Justin Stratman Terri Sullivan Susan Jason Tally Ashley Thomas Marion Thomson Terry Torok Jim Tousignant Ashley Tyminski Susi Varga Kendra Vehik Vicki Sam Vranish Nancy Wahl-Scheurich Jim Webb Kerry Wendelburg Shannon Whiting Amy Whittaker Eric Wittenberg Tim Wilkins Salil Wilson Marci Wise Teresa Wozniak
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A GOOD SPORT HUNTER’S HOPE
Yet by learning from their son and looking beyond themselves, the Kellys would also find grace, joy and hope.
Hunter & Jill Kelly
Joy and Purpose in the Midst of Pain By: Bailey Foster • Photos courtesy of Jill & Jim Kelly
ince their last interview with Positive Impact Magazine, Jim and Jill Kelly have not slowed down. If anything, the couple keeps finding more ways to share their story and bring hope to people around the nation. The family’s drive to make a difference all points back to one boy, a boy who, according to Jill, “never spoke a word but changed everything” – their son Hunter. As a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, Jim Kelly was known for his toughness during his tenure with the team that lasted from 1986 to 1996. He led the Bills to four Super Bowl appearances before he retired and was eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Yet, even with all his accomplishments on the football field, Jim readily professes that no one taught him more about toughness and about life than his only son. Hunter Kelly was born on Valentine’s 8
Day, also his father’s birthday, in 1997. Jim and Jill were ecstatic to welcome their first son into the world – the son that could follow in his daddy’s footsteps. Early in Hunter’s infancy, however, it became clear that something was wrong. After two false diagnoses, Hunter was eventually diagnosed with Krabbe Leukodystrophy, an inherited terminal disease that attacks the nervous system. Just months after their son’s birth, the Kellys were given the news that no parent ever wants to hear. Hunter would not live to see his second birthday. In one interview with Positive Impact, Jill spoke about the devastation the couple felt on that heart-wrenching day: “There are very few words in the English language to describe the kind of insult to the heart and the kind of overwhelming grief and despair that happens when you’re told something like that.” Through their journey with Hunter,
Jim and Jill would face enormous struggles – the suffering of their child, tension in their marriage and uncertainty in every new day. Yet by learning from their son and looking beyond themselves, the Kellys would also find grace, joy and hope. With silent courage and strength, Hunter took everyone by surprise. This incredible boy lived to be eight and a half years old. Though brief, his life spurred a miraculous transformation in the Kelly family. Forever changed by the life of their son, the Kellys became determined to share the hope they had found. When Hunter was eight months old, Jim and Jill established the Hunter’s Hope Foundation to bring this faith to other families who were suffering. Through the foundation, the Kellys are able to share the story of their son and educate the world about Krabbe Disease and other leukodystrophies. With joy radiating from her voice, Jill shared with me how the impact of Hunter’s Hope has exceeded anything they could have ever imagined. “God has clearly opened wide our opportunity to help people!” The Kellys’ passion and perseverance are far-reaching, from the Hunter James Kelly Research Institute that investigates effective treatment options for Krabbe Disease to the push for universal newborn screening, which would allow every state to test for 55 treatable diseases, including Krabbe. Through Hunter’s Hope, the Kellys continue to tirelessly pursue universal screening, traveling from state to state to meet with governors and healthcare officials. In 2008, President Bush signed the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act this bill will not be implemented on a
national basis until it receives the required funding. Since their son’s death in 2005, the Kellys have found even more ways of sharing Hunter’s incredible impact on their lives. In 2010, Jill released her inspirational and vulnerable account of their journey with Hunter, “Without a Word.” She also wrote two additional books to comfort others during difficult times – “Prayers for Those Who Grieve” and “Prayers of Hope for the Brokenhearted.” The Kellys’ young daughters have also started sharing their hearts with the world, revealing the immense joy and wisdom their brother brought to their lives. With the help of her mom and older sister, 11-year-old Camryn Kelly released her girls-only book series, “Hot Chocolate with God,” in September 2011.
benefits disadvantaged and disabled youth in Western New York through grant money to local children’s ministries, including the one closest to his heart – Hunter’s Hope. So after all the Kellys have endured, what motivates them to keep pursuing so many causes and commitments? As I listened to Jill, her words spoke loud and clear for the entire family. “My motivation is to honor God,” she explained without hesitation. “He has blessed us in extraordinary ways, and I know Jim would say the same.” Though Hunter is gone, his determination, strength and hope linger in the hearts and souls of his loved ones. In eight fleeting years of life, this amazing child revealed what the Kellys have come to understand and share with others – there is always joy to be found, always a purpose in the midst of pain. In life, Hunter transformed his family. In death, he left a legacy that will last forever. It’s impossible to witness the Kellys’ awe-inspiring sense of hope and not want to take part in their positive impact. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get involved with what this amazing family is doing. Visit www. huntershope.org to The Kelly Family from left: Camryn, Jill, Hunter, Jim & Erin learn about what diseases are included Both Camryn and her 15-year-old in your state’s newborn screening, then sister Erin share their insights on the seek out your state legislature and let book’s interactive website, your voice be heard. Hunter’s Hope also www.hotchocolatewithgod.com. thrives on the donations of people “We’ve been amazed at the response across the world. we’re getting,” Jill said as she told me Track Positive Impact’s support for about the project. In fact, the response the Kellys and Hunter’s Hope. Visit our from young girls has been so strong that website to read “Jim Kelly: Former NFL the Kellys have submitted two more Quarterback & Hunter’s Hope.” You can books to the series. also hear a live interview with Jill Kelly Jim’s experience as Hunter’s father by downloading episode eight of has planted an unquenchable desire to Positive Impact Magazine Radio. n help other children as well. He established the Kelly for Kids Foundation in 1986, before Hunter was born. Jim’s continued work with the organization
More about Universal Newborn Screening A simple heel prick “could have saved his life. ” – Jacque Waggoner, Hunter’s Hope CEO & Hunter’s Grandmother
The push for universal newborn screening is one of the driving forces behind Hunter’s Hope. It’s easy to see why, considering that Hunter’s life could have been spared had he been tested for Krabbe Disease at birth. Just like Hunter, thousands of children die or face lifealtering disabilities because they were not diagnosed as infants with one of 55 treatable diseases. A single heel prick is all that’s needed to test for each of these diseases and save the lives of countless children. Unfortunately, many states do not screen for every disease, resulting in more stories like Hunter’s each year. This is why the Kellys continue to fight for legislation that will allow every state to screen newborns for the maximum number of diseases. This simple test can often be the difference between life and death. You can help with the Kellys’ pursuit for universal newborn screening. Visit www. huntershope.org to learn the number of diseases screened for in your state. Then contact your state legislature if screening is not available for all 55 diseases. You can also download helpful talking points, a sample email or a letter template on the Hunter’s Hope website. Help spread the message of Hunter’s Hope, and give an improved chance at life to newborns around the nation!
IN EVERY ISSUE I CONTRIBUTORS
A legacy to remember Vinny in the hallway of the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at All Children’s Hospital.
Longtime Lightning center Vinny Lecavalier’s off-the-ice passion is helping children with cancer and their families By: Jeff Louderback
n 1998, Quebec native Vinny Lecavalier was selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL Entry Draft. That alone would load a heap of pressure on any 18-year-old who had not played a second above the junior leagues. Expectations of greatness magnified, though, when then-new Lightning owner Art Williams proclaimed that Lecavalier would become “the Michael Jordan of hockey.” Now in his 13th season – all with the Lightning – Lecavalier has long since justified Tampa Bay’s initial investment in him. The 31-year-old center has earned an abundance of accolades – including numerous NHL All-Star Game appearances, a Stanley Cup, an Olympic Gold Medal, a World Cup Gold Medal and the Mark Messier Leadership Award. Likely bound for the NHL Hall of Fame, Lecavalier holds a host of franchise scoring records, and in 2007, he received the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer with 52 goals. Still, the humble and affable Lecavalier will quickly tell you that any amount of pressure he has encountered and every milestone he has achieved on the ice 10
pales in comparison to the significance of what the children and their families are tackling at the All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. It is here, on the seventh floor, where the 28,000-square-foot Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center strives to give hope to courageous children and their families who are fighting for survival. The Vinny Lecavalier Foundation donated $3 million for the center’s construction. “Being successful on the ice is something that every NHL player focuses on every game, but the life-and-death battles these children and families face puts everything in perspective,” said Lecavalier. With his wife, Caroline, he has a daughter Victoria (born in 2010) and a son, Gabriel (born Oct. 18, 2011). “Before I had children, I had compassion for children who are battling a serious illness. Compassion has grown even stronger now that I am a father,” he said. “I can only imagine how challenging it would be as a parent to have a child being treated for something as serious as cancer or a blood disorder,” he added. Opened in 2010, the center is the
most monumental project to date by Lecavalier’s foundation, which is committed to helping children and families battling pediatric cancer and blood disorders, and to funding medical research, programming and pediatric patient care. The center occupies the seventh floor of the new All Children’s Hospital and features 28 individual patient rooms, capable of caring for pediatric cancer and blood disorder patients as well as those receiving blood or marrow transplants. There are in-room accommodations for parents to stay overnight with their children. A HEPA filtration positive pressure airflow system allows immunosuppressed patients to move freely throughout the center instead of being restricted to their rooms. In 2011, the center projected it would perform 50 bone marrow transplants, see 125 new patients and treat 4,000 kids on an outpatient basis. Lecavalier became involved in charitable efforts when he was a rookie in 1998. When he decided to create his foundation, which debuted in 2005, Lecavalier sought a cause on which to focus. “We wanted the foundation to devote
A GOOD SPORT all of its attention to one cause, and it was tough to find one particular cause because so many are worthwhile,” Lecavalier said. “When we met the children who are fighting cancer and their families, they were in small rooms and we envisioned something better,” he said. “It is important for the children and the families to be as comfortable as possible so they can fully concentrate on treating the cancer,” he added. One particular visit with a three-yearold boy and his family reinforced in Lecavalier the importance of his foundation’s mission and the services provided at the center. “The boy’s name is Will, and the first time I met him, he was scheduled to start his treatment the next day,” Lecavalier recalled. “It was in December, and he had a smile on his face as Christmas gifts were handed out,” he said. “He had no clue about how tough it would be for him over the following months, but his family did,” he added. “I could see the tears in their eyes, treasuring the moment while also realizing the uncertainty of the weeks and months ahead.” Lecavalier recognizes that, as a professional athlete, he is a role model who has the attention of adoring young hockey fans. He understands that, in the high-tech age where everyone has a cell phone ready to snap a photo of an athlete behaving badly, it is important that he conduct himself properly off the ice. Growing up in Quebec, his hockey hero was Detroit Red Wings standout, NHL Hall of Famer and current Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman. Lecavalier hopes young hockey fans view him the way he looked at Yzerman. “I admired him not only for what he did on the ice and who he was in life. As a player, he was a positive role model to a lot of us,” Lecavalier said. “Before he became our GM, I knew he was respected around the league as a person, and now that I know him, he is every bit the person I imagined he would be.” “He made an impact on my life as a kid, and I strive to do the same for kids who look up to me,” Lecavalier added. After recording 52 goals and 108 points during the 2006-2007 season and capturing the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, Lecavalier saw his numbers drop over the next four seasons. Shoulder and wrist injuries contributed to his struggles.
There were rumblings that Lecavalier’s days in Tampa Bay could be reaching an end, then Jeff Vinik bought the Lightning and turned around the team’s fortunes, and Lecavalier is healthy again and still an instrumental part of a club that reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season. He is grateful to remain with the only team he has known in his NHL career, especially since his parents, his sister and her children live in the Tampa Bay area. Lecavalier’s father, Yvon, is a retired firefighter who attends all of the Lightning home games. Marriage, fatherhood and the presence of close family members have made one of hockey’s all-time greats a changed man. “Earlier in my career, I loved the excitement of traveling from city to city. Now I look forward to the end of every road trip so I can return home and see my wife and kids, and look up in the crowd and see my parents,” Lecavalier said. “We’ve had some ups and downs here. Still, when you win a (Stanley) Cup and are in one place for 13 years, it’s special to put on a Lightning jersey and be part of everything.”
At several home games each season, Lecavalier hosts the families of children with cancer in his VIP suite. It is an extension of his passion to make a difference illustrated by his foundation and the center. “When the kids and their families come to the games, they are able to forget about the challenges they are facing for a little bit, and they have smiles on their faces,” Lecavalier said. n
It is all part of my “ desire to make a lasting and favorable difference, as a professional athlete and as a human being.
For more information about The Vinny Lecavalier Foundation and the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, visit www.vinny4.com.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
After the interview, we took a walk with Ryan on the beach and he showed us a thing or two on his guitar.
SERVANT’S Critically Acclaimed Recording Artist
RYAN BINGHAM Mixes Country, Rock & Blues From the Soul By: Taylor Grey Photography: Ashley Hughes
It’s a sunny, cloudless November afternoon in Malibu, California, with a chill that only presents itself in the shade. My photographer and I have been down by the ocean surveying potential areas to shoot the interview subject while we wait for his arrival, and she is insisting we hold hands for safety as we sprint across the four lanes of Pacific Coast Highway back to our meeting point — The Reel Inn, a beachside fish market and restaurant. As the white gravel parking lot provides a reassuring grit beneath our soles, I am suddenly flushed from narrowly escaping a steady stream of speeding cars that didn’t seem at all concerned about our well-being. That is when a classic, tan Volkswagen bus pulls up, right on time. continued on next page
IN EVERY ISSUE I CONTRIBUTORS
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Ryan Bingham is easily identifiable as he emerges from the driver’s side, dressed unassumingly in a denim collared shirt, brown corduroys, Chuck Taylor All-Stars and his trademark scruff. He is calm, cool and quick to smile. His wife, Anna Axster, steps out of the van first, leading with a handshake and introductions. There is a laid-back easiness about them that is immediately likeable, a first impression reinforced moments later as we walk inside. “I can’t tell whether I’m hot or cold today,” Axster mentions as Bingham holds the door, while I nonchalantly wipe beads of sweat from my forehead, hoping neither of them notice. We grab a picnic table in a shaded area on the back porch, where only a 10-foot fence strewn with painted fish cut from scrap wood separates us from traffic rushing down the PCH and an undeveloped piece of land that Bingham confesses to have explored recently by four-wheeler. Once fish tacos and Coronas are 14
ordered, he opens up about his transition from Texas bullrider to critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and his hopes to make a positive impact through opportunities arising from his fame. “I was basically homeless for a while, just lived on the road playing music, traveling around in a 15-passenger van,” Bingham admits. Recalling a time in Memphis when he didn’t have enough money for a hotel, Bingham asks, “What’s that hotel there, the one with the ducks?” “The Peabody.” “Yeah,” Bingham smiles, “Someone from the label had to get us a room. We have a lot of memories in that van.” One of those memories involves another hotel, mice and Mississippi. “We played in this run-down hotel bar,” he says, going on to describe the marquee announcing his misspelled name and underneath the promise of Mice Races. “We didn’t know what to think.” He and his band’s most literal suspicions were confirmed when mice were
let loose on an indoor track, racing with numbers attached to their backs, and providing all sorts of too-easy puns applicable to the music business. He breaks into a good-natured laugh. “They were the main event and we were the sideshow.” To say things have changed quite a bit since those days would be a massive understatement. In the past couple of years, the 30-year-old released his third album, “Junky Star,” on Lost Highway Records with his band The Dead Horses and won critical acclaim for co-writing the soundtrack for the movie “Crazy Heart” with T Bone Burnett, a veteran music producer who has been behind some of the best-selling albums in history. The film’s theme song, “The Weary Kind,” earned Bingham an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and Critics’ Choice Award for Best Song in 2010. In 2011, he took home a Grammy for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.
FEATURE I ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Even in many artists’ wildest dreams, it is hard to fathom beating living legends Paul McCartney and U2 for an award. But that was exactly what happened at the Golden Globes. “It was a little bit intimidating,” Bingham confesses. By the look on his face you can tell it’s a feat he still has yet to wrap his head around. “I kind of felt like I was in the wrong place at the right time.”
Days Gone By
Bingham first picked up the guitar as a 17-year-old bullrider. “I started playing at rodeos, making up songs as we drove down the road or sitting around after,” he says. Cultivated on the backs of tailgates, his alternative country sound is rooted in healthy rock and blues soil, featuring soulful stories his gravely rasp was made to tell. The result is authentic Americana, back-to-basics comfort – like slipping into a broken-in pair of Levis. Rolling Stone described his voice as sounding “like Steve Earle’s dad,” while others have likened him to a young Tom Waits. In an industry that likes to label artists by comparing one to another, Bingham is humble about his ability to stay an original.
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“The songwriting I’ve gotten into has really been a lot by accident. I think a lot of [being original] comes from not really knowing how to play,” Bingham says with a smile. “When I learned how to play guitar, this guy showed me an old mariachi song, and that was really the only song I knew for a year. I got so sick of playing it, I just started making up songs,” he says. “I got a book that had a bunch of chords in it, so I just learned these guitar chords on my own and tried to put them together without any knowledge of structure or anything like that,” he adds. “I think a lot of it is by accident. Just by listening and watching too. I like to listen to a lot of old blues and country and a lot of rock and roll, like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. Just kind of watch, listen and learn.” Watch, listen and learn is an approach that has proven useful more than once. In
the early days of his career, he played in Luckenbach, a small Texas town between San Antonio and Austin that was immortalized by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings in a song of the same name. Some of the biggest names in the Texas country scene have appeared there, artists like Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett and Pat Green, despite having an official population of three and becoming a ghost town since its Zip Code was retired in the early 1970s. Luckenbach attracts all sorts of interesting personalities, characters Bingham met and was later able to channel when penning the theme for Jeff Bridges’ character, Otis “Bad” Blake, in “Crazy Heart.” “[Luckenbach] was basically just a little dance hall and a post office,” he recalls. “During the week they’d have campfires, and guys sit around and sing songs. There was a guy from that area named Greg Gorman who was an incredible songwriter…hanging out around him and those guys inspired [“The Weary Kind”].” Getting away from living the grittier lyrics he’s written, however, is something Bingham credits Axster with, along with the motivation to be a better person. “She’s been the biggest positive impact in my life. In Texas, I was running
wild and crazy,” he says. “When I met my wife, I settled down and started looking to the future instead of looking at the stuff behind me.” The couple has been together five years, married two, and is now settled in Topanga Canyon, an area nestled in the hills east of Malibu and Santa Monica. Theirs has been a happy collaboration, personally and professionally. “I really get an honest opinion from her,” he says with a laugh. “She’s always real supportive and encouraging,” adding how when he’s tossed something he’s written aside thinking it’s no good, she’s been known to dig it out later and say, ‘Why don’t you play that again? I liked that.’ Axster, who has a Masters of Arts in Filmmaking from London Film School, directed many of his videos, including “Southside of Heaven,” “Bread and Water,” “Country Roads,” “Dylan’s Hard Rain” and “Depression.” During our photo shoot, as Bingham strums his Dobro guitar, she happily steps in to provide assistance, angling the white bounce like a seasoned pro. Bingham, who played the Farm Aid festival in 2009, says he is inspired by artists with something to say. “Bob Marley, Dylan and Woody Guthrie are songwriters who had so much more to them than just music,” Bingham says about a path he is eager to emulate now that he is able to catch his breath after a whirlwind two years. “Now it feels like you have the time, more than anything, to give back and volunteer. It seems like before you’re always blowin’ and goin’and workin’. Either you’re on the road or playing a gig or in the studio,” he adds. “This is the first time I’ve had in a long time to take some time off, write some songs and look into helping others more than just looking to what we’re doing with the band.” For two of the foundations he is involved with, writing songs and helping others go hand in hand. He has donated vinyl and concert tickets to The Gram Parsons Foundation, benefitting artists with addiction recovery needs, and is currently working out dates to play a benefit. The second is Stand Up for Kids, a national foundation dedicated to ending the cycle of youth homelessness. Last November, Bingham put on a show for
the Venice Beach chapter, where some of the kids are street musicians, that don’t have much of an opportunity to perform. “I thought of doing a live show and recording them, so they could start making money for themselves and sell their music — use their art and their music to make a living,” he says. It was an endeavor that proved more difficult than he initially thought. “I met a couple of kids who were pretty intimidated by the event, because a lot of them don’t want to accept any kind of charity. I tried to talk to them, tell them this was something that wasn’t really charity; it was something they were doing on their own,” Bingham says. “It’s their music, a way to support themselves.” He looks forward to the day he can get them in the studio. “It was hard getting them to play live,” he says. “A couple of them got up and played a few songs and were really good. It’s something in the works I hope we can do in the future.” Since living on the West Coast, Bingham has taken up surfing, a hobby that lead to involvement with the Surfrider Foundation, an environmentally conscientious organization purposed with protecting the enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches. He has some big ideas currently being negotiated that will raise money and awareness for the cause, that can’t be made public yet. Let’s just say that if all goes as planned, he’ll be back in the recording studio soon. With all these plans, Bingham’s first stretch of time off in years seems quite full. “There is so much more out there,” he says. “Definitely so many ways to make a difference.” n To learn more about Ryan Bingham and his music, find him online at www.binghammusic.com.
“DON’T WAIT ” Inspiring People to Live ®
By: Lisa Bradshaw • Photography: Jacqueline Stonas
Lisa Bradshaw and her son Hunter, her inspiration for her new book Big Shoes: A Young Widowed Mother’s Memoir
ne day, when I was eight years old, I climbed to the top of a pine tree in front of our neighbor’s house. I do not know where the rest of the kids from the neighborhood were that day, but I remember being bored, silent and curious. I remember feeling that I was being told there was something I was to do with my life. Something told me I had chosen to be born - and I chose birth while knowing my fate was a life that would be arduous and equally rewarding. Sixteen years later, I was diagnosed with cancer. It was devastating. In time, I understood the balance. I learned to accept what had come from it. Using my voice to help other people better cope with their own cancer journey made sense to me. Eight years after that, when my husband, Wesley, died, I was too paralyzed with grief to even contemplate this way of thinking. I believed I would never find a balance between what had been
lost and what could be gained from the experience. In the months after Wesley’s death, I searched for understanding, and I had many questions. How was I going to live the rest of my life without Wesley? How was I going to be enough for my son, Hunter? How was I going to find greatness in the heap of sadness piled high around and inside of me? Everything in the months following Wesley’s death focused on filling the gap he left behind – in everyday life and in the wounded heart of our little boy, who was now my fatherless son. As I considered Wesley’s presence in my life, I felt his absence. Then I pondered whether I was missing something in the enormity of my grief, something that would only be my own once I was willing and able to accept his departure. Had I forgotten about that day in the tree when I was eight years old? Had I forgotten that I chose to be born? Had I forgotten that I knew there would be strife and yet there continued on next page positiveimpactmagazine.com
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was also the promise of balance? It was in this moment of agony and reflection that I began to experience clarity. The only path I had in front of me was to find my way through the grief - and to bring my son Hunter with me. There had to be an enormous reason for Wesley not to be alive, and it was up to me to discover what that was, even if it took my lifetime to do it. I knew I was blessed to understand I was gifted with my own purpose; although, it was still painful to understand my purpose could only exist if Wesley did not. As much as I had resisted writing our story, I knew it was necessary as a writer,
that for many people, it has been a lesson in the difference between what we want and what we truly need in this life. I wondered what all of us are waiting for when it comes to healing ourselves and rebuilding our lives. How could we change or expand our thinking in simple ways that could affect our outcome? How could we begin to do what we often wait too long to do? Then, with clarity, it came to me. I was moved to create a project that would propel people to stop waiting and start living. Within days, The DON’T WAIT Project®, a nonprofit organization, was founded and its purpose defined.
Lisa Bradshaw and her son Hunter
a mother and a widow. It was a struggle to write Wesley’s name in the past tense. After weeks of wrestling with the sadness that parts of the book might bring to others, I woke from a deep sleep early one morning with an idea how readers could take the emotions evoked by them and do something with their reactions. In the early hours that morning, I wondered about the things we put off in our lives, assuming there is always tomorrow. I thought about how some people faced with tragedy manage to rebuild their lives and become better than they would have been without the experience. I thought about the people in our country who are losing their jobs and being forced out of their homes, realizing 18
The DON’T WAIT Project means different things to different people. It can be as simple as a new way of thinking, a new approach to what we already know. Through one simple statement, we can revisit people, places, things, dreams and ideas that have long been forgotten. For me, I am advocating for organ donation registry. While 90 percent of the U.S. population supports organ donation, only 30 percent of people are registered. We are not trying to change anyone’s mind who does not agree with or believe in organ donation. We are encouraging the people who do support it to commit and register to be a donor. For someone else, The DON’T WAIT Project is about fixing a broken marriage,
volunteering at a local food bank, or making an overdue visit to the doctor. The DON’T WAIT Project is not just about the serious side of life. It is also about doing the things we put off that bring us joy and allow us to get through the responsibilities and burdens life sometimes brings. It is about creating the balance we need in life. How many times have you told yourself you want to take your family on a much-needed vacation, away from the stress and the worry of everyday life? How many times have you thought about calling an old friend, put it off, and still have not made that phone call? How many things in your life are you leaving undone, putting off until tomorrow yet tomorrow never comes? We spend so much of our lives focusing on what we do not have that we are blinded by the inadequacies to see the gifts that are our own. I am as guilty of it as anyone. I’ve fallen down so many times that I questioned why I should bother getting back up again. The truth is, getting up makes us stronger. Maybe you will live to be 100 years old. Maybe you’ll live to see your children have children. Maybe you will die in your sleep holding the hands of those you love. That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? It could happen, nothing is guaranteed. Consider, from where you are right now, what’s your DON’T WAIT? And if you don’t have one, not a single one, because you are living the exact life you know you are supposed to be living, every minute of every day, please share with the rest of us how you do it, because you can change the world. I mean that. If you are like me, flawed with shortcomings, not always living the life only you were meant to live, or even knowing what that life is, then DON’T WAIT. The message is not to suggest you live each day as if it were your last. If you do this, then you will not go to work, you would probably keep your kids home from school and your life would likely become immersed in distractions. Instead, live each day as if it is your first. Be flawed and uncertain, while being a glorious work in progress. n For more information or to share your story and help inspire others, visit www.dontwaitproject.org or become a friend on Facebook.
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FEATURE I ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
When the kids share “ their own thoughts in the gratitude circle, Lisa, it’s amazing. My favorite thing is the gratitude circle.
~ Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey Helping Kids to Make Good Choices By Lisa Bradshaw • Photos courtesy of j.k. livin
When actors are renowned for their on-screen talent and their track record of choosing scripts wisely, they tend to draw wider audiences. Those actors who pour themselves into charitable work off the big and small screens are also easy to embrace. The word philanthropist was coined 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece and, by today’s definition, now takes many forms. Matthew McConaughey’s version of philanthropy is defined by filling a need of today’s youth based on his own interpretation of what is, for some, a last chance at making a good choice. McConaughey recently took time to share his thoughts about movies and the creative process, and detailed one of his most passionate real-life roles which is, by all definitions, that of a timeless philanthropist. LB: I respect your work as an actor, and I am a supporter of your films. What stands out most to me about you is the way you have chosen to give back and how you decided on where you would focus your efforts. You have been very deliberate in how and who the foundation affects. MM: The j.k. livin foundation is an afterschool program in Title I schools, 20
which are the lower income schools. We formed a curriculum – it’s two hours, for high students after school, voluntary, and the kids come to get exercise, learn about nutrition on a budget, then gather around and share a gratitude circle before they leave. We also have monthly quotes that are good analogies that help them with making healthy choices through the things they are experiencing. LB: What made you decide to help high school students? MM: The reason we ended up in high schools is because I, like many people, was looking for a place to start a foundation and put my efforts. There are millions of great ideas, but what I had to settle down on, and it took quite a few years to decide, is I said, “Kids. Okay, I want to help kids. Now what age?” I thought back about my own life, and I started looking at kids today, and I asked myself, “What’s that age when you are at the crossroads?” Meaning, you are just about to become an adult, but you are still sort of under the advisory of your parents and teachers and principals, and you are not necessarily called an adult yet but you are gaining independence. That’s why I settled on high school students, because it just became obvious
to me that this is the age when many of these kids might be at risk, or whether they are at risk or not, it’s down to the last couple years when a kid can make a bad decision and still get a second chance. LB: You felt like it was the best age to make a difference before adulthood. MM: Exactly. After you turn 18, you don’t get as many of those second chances, so we focused on these kids because we thought, “Okay, you’re about to become an adult. The consequences are going to be real as soon as you turn 18 and get out of school, so if you’re not on the right track, you’ve got a little bit of time to get on it. If you’re on the right track, let’s keep it up.” LB: The program has grown from just a few schools to a few dozen in a short time. MM: The curriculum is working. Now we’re now in 14 schools in California (8), Texas (5) and Louisiana (1). If it keeps working, which we hope it will do, our plan is to implement this curriculum in more Title I schools around the nation that need it. LB: The thing that I love about this program is how it relates to many facets of life. I lost my husband when I was 32 and our son was only five. I was so afraid of how I was going to teach my son all
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Okay, you’re about to become an adult. The “ consequences are going to be real as soon as you turn 18 and get out of school, so if you’re not on the right track, you’ve got a little bit of time to get on it. If you’re on the right track, let’s keep it up.
the things his dad would have taught him, so I bought a book about how to tie a slip knot, how to rig a fishing pole, and how to fly a kite because I didn’t know how this wonderful boy was going to get to be who he is supposed to be without his dad on the planet. I learned over time that it wasn’t just myself I had to rely on - it was my community, my peers, my friends, my friends’ husbands, his teachers, his principal. And so I like that idea that while some of these kids are not necessarily getting what they need at home, this is a place for them to get what they need – knowledge about healthy living that would otherwise be lost. MM: It’s so true. The kids are getting information. Simple things like nutrition on a budget. How can you spend less
than you would on a bag of burgers at a fast food joint and do something with a bag of rice and some vegetables? And the kids are now taking these ideas home to their own families and practicing it. A lot of the kids’ attendance rate is better at school. Some grades are going up. LB: They can adapt what they are learning to their own lives, to fit their own needs. MM: That’s right. And you know, when we talk about exercise, a lot of these kids have different goals. We have them set their own goals. It’s not about being on the cover of a magazine. For some of them, it’s about wanting to fit in that prom dress and the prom is a month away. They figure out, “Boy, if I just lost
Students of the j.k. livin foundation after school program attend a movie premiere with Matthew McConaughey and his fiancee Camila Alves, both actively involved in the implementation and growth of the foundation.
ten pounds, I could do it.” A little goal like that maybe. Kids are making sports teams that they couldn’t make the year before. Confidence is higher. They are also coming back saying they have less stress because they are able to break a sweat, and they had never done that before. They say that before they came to this after school program they were hanging out with the wrong crowd. They started coming here, and they are coming back. And they’re starting to tell their friends about it. LB: The website is jklivinfoundation. org, and when I watched a video on the website, I was impressed with one girl who said she just started drinking more water and started jogging to lose weight and be a healthier person. MM: Yeah. Yeah. It’s exciting stuff. continued on next page positiveimpactmagazine.com
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LB: These are things that they are taking home, and they are things that they just didn’t know to do. They’d never been taught to drink water for good health. MM: Well, sometimes, it’s such a simple thing like that! Maybe they were just grabbing a soda pop that’s high in sugar because they were thirsty. They didn’t know any better. And now we say, “You know what, grab a water instead. Your body needs more water. It’s two-thirds water anyway.” And they never thought of that. LB: My dad always said he wasn’t worried about my brother and me in school and the choices we were making, he was more worried about the kid sitting in front of or behind us in class or out on the playground who wasn’t getting the guidance that’s needed at home. Tell us about the mental and emotional strength the kids are gaining from the program. How much has that had an impact on their lives? MM: I’m still pleasantly surprised to hear during the gratitude circle the very simple things they are sincerely thankful for. I hear it repeatedly each year. They tell us they’re just really glad that somebody they didn’t know personally, a group of people they didn’t know, came here and decided to take their time, put their efforts and their money into giving them a place to go. They say, “Why did y’all do this? You didn’t have to do that. Somebody is helping me out? And it’s not to their benefit, it’s to my benefit?” At first, they have a hard time believing it because it’s the first time that’s happened to a lot of them. LB: You only have them for a short time after school each week, what words of encouragement do you try to send
MM: It’s just not cool. It’s like opening up your diary or something. So we went a couple months, and I wondered how to break through the silence. So then one time when we gathered in our circle I said, “Man, I’ve got a party coming up this weekend. We’ve got some friends coming over, and we’re going to cook and have a good time. I’m thankful for a party this weekend with my friends.” LB: Brilliant. MM: So I threw a very fun thing out there that wasn’t precious or heavy and all of a sudden, it helped the kids say, “Man, I’m thankful Halloween is coming because I’m gonna get candy.” Or “I’m thankful I got a kiss from my girlfriend last week,” and all the kids started laughing and understood that you can be thankful for something that’s not serious. You can be thankful for laughing at something today. Then they all started to really open up and share different things, and what they shared let the others students know that, “Hey, I’m in the same boat as you. I’m concerned about the same thing in my life, too. I thought it was only me, now I know it’s not just me.” They started to become a team. Matthew McConaughey and several students of the jk livin after school program attend a baseball game at Dodger’s stadium. LB: You’re passionate about these kids gratitude circle, Lisa, it’s amazing. My and their own possibilities in life. favorite thing is the gratitude circle. MM: We’re off to a good start. We’ve LB: What is the gratitude circle? been doing this for a few years now, and MM: The first time, we had them all it feels pretty solid. The infrastructure is sit down in a circle and said, “All right, there, and we’re starting to see results. n now we’re all going to say what we’re thankful for.” All the kids mumbled and For more information about j.k. livin, whispered and had little to say and were visit www.jklivinfoundation.org. so shy. Then it became evident that to say you’re thankful for something in high school is not cool. LB: Sad, but true. them away with each time they leave? MM: We have thoughts for the month, and it’s as simple as sayings like, “Remain curious.” “Don’t be afraid to fail.” “You’ve got to shoot to score.” “Watch how much you gossip.” Little things like that. I try to share advice I’ve learned through my practical living, along with the life choices of a lot of people who I respect, and we all agree that these are the kinds of things that helped us remain happy, remain healthy, and get through harder times. And when the kids share their own thoughts in the
As a mom, I know how important it is for children to have positive role models; someone to lead them in the right direction and make them feel as special as they are. It was all about giving everyone in that room a confidence boost—we can all use one of those every now and then, myself included! Everyone left that day with the biggest smile on their face, and that’s the most important thing. Camila Alves
Camila Alves, Matthew McConaughey’s fiancee and partner in life and in the j.k. livin foundation, often participates in the after school program. Seen here, young women from the program receive tips about proper skin care and makeup application. Photo by: Vivien Killilea
ARTS@LARGE Strives to Keep the Arts Alive in Milwaukee Schools
By: Ryan Hurley • Photography: Jen Hellmann
According to the National Endowment of the Arts, a national study that rigorously evaluated art programming in three U.S. cities found that these programs decreased involvement in delinquent behavior, increased academic achievement and improved youth’s attitude about themselves and their future. Despite these and many other similar findings, schools across the country are struggling to keep the arts alive. Arts@ Large (A@L) in Milwaukee, WI believes that every young person should have the freedom to explore the arts. The organization is partnering with schools in a unique model of arts education. A collaboration spearheaded in 2001 by Milwaukee Public Schools, A@L became an independent nonprofit organization in 2005. It works with a variety of community partners to increase access to the arts for all students while promoting the importance of schools hiring full-time art and music specialists. A@L and Milwaukee Public Schools are working together to ensure that the arts-integration programming is meeting academic standards. The goal is to empower schools to use the arts for enhancing the academic curriculum and building of a creative atmosphere.
The academic connection is essential, A@L believes, because most teachers have limited time for creative exploration due to mandates to focus on other areas. The A@L model is simple but unique. Schools apply for inclusion in the program. Once they are accepted, A@L builds a team of teachers, administrators, specialists, afterschool providers, parents and students that represent the diversity of the school community. This team works closely with an A@L program coordinator to develop a comprehensive artsintegrated program. Program planning typically begins by identifying a big idea or theme that the team feels is significant to the school community. This theme, chosen by the team, varies from school to school and can range from anti-bullying to environmental science. Once the big idea is chosen, schools begin to plan a comprehensive program centered around the theme and incorporating artist residencies, teacher trainings, field trips, and art and music supplies during the school day and after school hours. One student at an A@L alternative high school has struggled with academics for as long as his teacher can remember.
The commUNITY Project connected three Milwaukee schools through photography, architectural design and clay tile making. This collaborative piece will be on display at Milwaukee Public Schools for the community to enjoy.
He felt disconnected from his peers and distracted during class. Two years ago, A@L initiated a spoken word poetry club at his school, and this young poet immediately found his passion. Last year he was the winner of the school’s firstever poetry slam and today his G.P.A. is 2.4 (up from a 0.7 the previous year). The boy’s teacher credits the poetry club for this transformation and its ability to give him confidence and feel rooted in learning. During a recent school event, he was honored as English student of the year. Another member of the poetry club has recently been published in a national media outlet featuring the likes of Al Gore and Alice Walker. Another A@L school recently created a 50-bed community garden. This collaborative project resulted from a variety of partnerships, including two neighborhood associations that helped
Top photo: NOVA School students were given the opportunity to explore, fall in love with and feel pride for their city that is home to so many beautiful souls that deserve to have their story told. Featured above: Milwaukee Fire Dept. Engine 30.
organize community meetings to get input and determine interest. Each classroom has adopted a plot that they use during school by integrating handson experiences into their science curriculum. Instead of reading about root systems in a textbook, students have an opportunity to grow and eat their own food. Across the street, a Jewish school shares the playground area in which this garden is located. These two schools had little interaction during a typical school year, and now because both schools, along with many community members, have adopted plots, the two schools have been able to work, plant and grow side by side. Celebrating student-created artwork is an essential part of reflecting on the project and sharing the significant accomplishments with the community. A@L has always encouraged school and community celebrations. This year the organization has added a new element.
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Gallery @ Large is the brand new space in the arts-rich Walkerâ€™s Point Neighborhood of Milwaukee. Open for every city-wide gallery night, a quarterly event that attracts throngs of art enthusiasts, Gallery @ Large displays multidisciplinary, student-created artwork, and the students also curate the exhibit. The A@L program involves a threeyear partnership with each school. The organization intends to help schools build a foundation for future arts-integrated programming. Last year, A@L brought art programs to 11,743 students and 881 teachers. A@L infuses around $1 million into the local economy each year through artist contracts (109 last year), school busing and student admission along with art supplies and other arts-related expenses. This year is A@Lâ€™s 10th anniversary of working to keep the arts alive in the schools. n Learn more about A@L at www.artsatlargeinc.org. Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ ArtsAtLarge. Please send stories of successful school-based art programs through our website. We are also happy to answer any questions you may have. positiveimpactmagazine.com
A MOMENT OF CLARITY The Benefits of Getting Older (Yes, there are some!) By: Marci Wise
s I reflect on my lunch date with a girlfriend last week, my face warms with a flush of embarrassment. There we were, two middle-aged women, enthusiastically confessing our latest observances of getting older. “Last week as I walked through the grocery store, my left knee just gave out for no reason and I almost tumbled into the canned soup display,” I shared. “Well, if you think that’s bad…” my friend added, and then we proceeded to continually one-up each other with a lengthy laundry list of age-related horror stories. Still, even with all the travails, growing older does have some perks. If someone seated close by was actually listening to this sad and somewhat sordid conversation, I am sure they either laughed, rolled their eyes, or asked to change seats immediately. Yet, there was something strangely comforting about knowing that we were not alone in our experiences. We were two BFFs bonding over our burdens. And just as our pity party had reached full swing, my friend said the words that would bring clarity back to the situation. “Ah, to be 21 again!” With a faraway look in our eyes, we both were swept back in time and keenly reminded of the unsettled and unsure girls we used to be. Yes, there were fun times then and there are fun times now. With that one statement, my friend and I instantly became aware of the blessings that come with age.
A dandelion seedhead. When we were children we called them “flower clocks.” You blow the seeds off until they’ve all gone and you count the number of blows and that tells you the time. For most of my childhood it was twenty-seven o’clock...
Gary Knight, “Seedflower” November 23, 2011 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
You finally can enjoy the finer things in life Having already worked your way up the ladder and achieved a certain amount of stability, many people find they finally are in a position to relax a little and have some fun. Time, money and freedom are the gifts of age. For this reason, many men and women are scheduling adventure trips. They are doing all the things they never could do when the kids were home and money was tight: traveling to exotic locales, white-water rafting, skydiving and even visiting a dude ranch are some common choices. Life really can begin at 40 – if you will pull yourself out of the work-a-day rut and get creative!
You know yourself better By the time you hit middle age, you have been down enough roads to have a pretty good idea of what you want – and what you do not want. That is immensely helpful in creating the life you desire. While it is nice to have options in life, you can be much more effective when you know where you are going and why.
Your body speaks louder Although some might not think of this as a benefit, receiving clearer communication about what agrees with you – and what does not – is the key to designing your own customized plan for optimum health. When you are younger, people tell you what you should and should not do; when you are older, your body does it. Okay, so we cannot eat a whole pizza in one sitting anymore (not that I ever did) or overindulge in libations at happy hour without feeling the consequences – yet we still can have fun, albeit in smaller, gentler portions. Just think of it as nature’s way of ensuring that we have both quality and quantity of life.
You find wisdom You cannot get old without learning some important lessons. With each experience, we grow and evolve into a more authentic representation of our true selves. Those old influences of peer pressure and keeping up with the status quo begin to lose their effect on us – and we stumble upon deeper insights into the ways of the world. Despite all our struggles and hardships, we begin to see that there really are no mistakes, just opportunities for clearer understanding.
You discover the joy of sharing A definite satisfaction exists in seeing joy in someone’s face; and it allows us to feel warmth, contentment and gratitude, too. Once we do not have to worry so much about getting, we naturally shift to giving. It feels great to help another person, guide someone to success or impart the wisdom of our hard-earned lessons. In fact, giving to others is good for us, too. Benefits include a “helper’s high,” improved emotional well-being and possibly even a strengthening effect on the immune system. Sharing yourself is truly the gift that keeps on giving. You learn that hindsight is 20/20 – Finally, and probably most importantly, having some life experience gives us the benefit of hindsight. Looking back, it is easy to see that so many of those things that you worried about never happened – and they sum up to a huge amount of wasted time and energy. Imagine what you might have accomplished if you had put that effort toward something productive! That one nugget of knowledge alone is like the prize at the end of the fight. So, lay down the boxing gloves, wave the white flag and surrender to all the great things that still are on the horizon – most of all, get out there and enjoy every moment! n
ECO TRAVEL & CULTURE
Pure Vibrant New Zealand Beckons Visitors with an Abundance of Eco Treasures By: Deb McCabe, Steve McCabe and Jeremy Christie • Photography: Charity Beck
Aotearoa “the land of the long white cloud” and the Maori name for New Zealand, conjures images of green, rolling hills under a sparkling blue sky. The youngest country on the planet may well be the closest an eco-tourist can get to heaven on earth. In New Zealand, breathtaking vistas are visible at almost every turn, with white-peaked mountains to the south, green forests to the north, golden sandy beaches to the east, and blue ocean waters to the west. New Zealanders are deeply connected to their environment 28
and feel a profound responsibility to care for their magnificent land. There is a compelling history behind the spirit of New Zealanders. The Maori ancestors, who arrived less than 1,000 years ago, were one with the land. They call the land Papatuanuku, or Earth Mother – one who gives many blessings to all her children. They believe Papatuanuku gives birth to all things and provides the physical and spiritual basis for life. These beliefs have been passed down through the generations and are still held today.
What is New Zealand all about? New Zealanders are zealous about green awareness in their everyday lives. Even in the cities, vegetable gardens are the rule, not the exception, and chooks laying the freshest of free-range eggs are a common sight. Rainwater tanks are a way of life for New Zealand’s large rural population. Like many eco-minded Kiwis, the folks at Owhanake Bay Estate allow you to experience life at its eco-conscious and Greg Mortenson with Sitara “Star” school children in Afghanistan.
What makes an eco-tourist? An interest in the local flora and fauna, as well as the intent to have a minimal environmental impact. Responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment and help to improve the well-being of local people, while roving positive experiences for both visitors and hosts. What it doesn’t have to mean is roughing it, camping out, or getting dirty, although all of those things can be a part of eco-tourism. The best thing to do is to travel with good intentions wherever you go!
The Remarkables mountain range overlooking Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown
eco-friendly best. All plastic, glass and tins are recycled, and all food waste is put into the compost and later used in the gardens. New Zealand is a country defined as much by its land as by its people. At 103,000 square miles, it is almost exactly the same size as Colorado. The entire country has only four and a half million people, with sheep outnumbering them 20 to 1. New Zealand has two official languages, English and Maori. The Maori culture plays a big part in the New Zealand way of life. It is one of the country’s great qualities that both the native Maori culture and that of their British settlers
are both valued equally. Throughout the country, you can see examples of this. Although 98 percent of the population speaks English compared to less than five percent fluently speaking Maori, the two languages are often seen and heard side by side. Along with the country’s highest mountain (Mt. Cook/Aoraki), New Zealand’s town and city names range from the very British (Christchurch, Dunedin) to the Maori names (Whangarei or Kohimarama), including the Guinness Book of World Records’ longest place name – Taumatawhakatangihanga-koauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu. Although it’s only a small country,
New Zealand is most definitely not a nation of followers. It was the first country that gave women the right to vote. It was also the birthplace of Ernest Rutherford, first person to split the atom, and to Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to scale Mt. Everest. Kiwis seem to have a sense of adventure built into their DNA, and this can be seen all over the country as both locals and tourists test their courage and bravery at any number of extreme sports. Bungee jumping, canyon swinging, jet boating, white-water rafting, zorbing, caving and luging are just a few examples of the fun you can have. New Zealand is composed of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. The North Island is home to Auckland, which was once New Zealand’s capital and is still its largest city. While Auckland is sprawling by New Zealand standards – a third of the population lives here – it maintains a small-city vibe. Imagine being dropped into a world class city with charming boutiques, cafés with alfresco patrons sipping some of the world’s best coffee, art galleries, sushi bars and eclectic five-star restaurants. Auckland is known as the “City of Sails,” due to its harbor of crystal-clear blue water dotted with sailing vessels that glisten in the southern sun. continued on next page positiveimpactmagazine.com
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A view of Auckland City
Auckland’s volcanic history is apparent as you scan the landscape. The city is built on a volcanic field, adorned with around 50 volcanic cones. Mt. Victoria overlooks Devonport on the North Shore. Rangitoto is the volcanic island that rises from Auckland’s harbor. One Tree Hill,
Sheep grazing near Queenstown
made famous by U2’s song of the same name, features the beautiful suburb of One Tree Hill around its base. Mount Eden is the highest natural point in the city. If you visit Mt. Eden, the views of Auckland are astonishing from the 600-foot summit of the highest volcano, also known as Maungawhau, “the hill of the whau tree.” Don’t climb down into the volcanic crater. It is Te Ipu Kai a Mataaho (the Food Bowl of Mataaho, the god of things hidden in the ground) and is highly tapu, or sacred. Walk down Queen Street to the commercial heart of the city and enjoy world class shopping and restaurants offering cuisines from across the globe. In downtown Auckland, you will see the ferry terminal, constructed in
1912 from local sandstone and Coromandel granite. Board the Waiheke Island Hopper ferry and leave Auckland behind. In the distance you can spot the Sky Tower, the Harbor Bridge, the naval base at Devonport on the North Shore and the volcanic cone of Rangitoto. Waiheke Island -- just a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland -- is an island paradise of beautiful beaches, vineyards, olive groves, native bush and laid-back seaside villages. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, a great way to explore Waiheke is by kayak. It will get you in touch with natives such as the delightful blue penguin and beautiful heron, black shags, oyster catchers, wrybills and dotterels. Dotterels are an endangered bird species found only in New Zealand. The South Island, about a third larger than the North Island, has only a quarter of the country’s total population. Much of the South Island is as wild and untamed as it was before the Maori and the Pakeha – the Maori name for the British settlers – arrived there. The South Island, or the “Mainland” as the locals call it, is the New Zealand of tourism books and picture-postcards. Deep sounds cut through snow-capped mountains like Aoraki/Mt. Cook and steep-sided fiords (the Kiwis don’t spell it fjord like the rest of the world). New Zealand is a country full of contrasts. You can go to Auckland city and be in a modern metropolis with
skyscrapers, then drive 25 minutes to the Waitakere ranges, a chain of hills covered in native forest and inhabited by snails, glow worms and long-tailed bats. You can swim at the world-renowned Mt. Maunganui beach and then take a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Mt. Ruapehu and the Whakapapa ski field amid one of New Zealand’s winter wonderlands. Most of New Zealand’s west coast beaches have black sand, due to its high metal content, while the east coast beaches have traditional white sand. It’s with good reason that Sir Peter Jackson, a Kiwi himself, chose New Zealand as the home of the hobbits in the “Lord of the Rings” movies. Hobbiton has been lovingly created in Matamata, in the bucolic heart of the North Island, while Mount Doom was played by Ruapehu and Ngaruhoe, a pair of active volcanoes in the North Island’s Central Plateau. Back in Auckland, there is much to do for the eco-tourist on Waiheke Island. Those interested in gardening might find themselves at Giverny Gardens. Here you’ll find organic seasonal produce and heirloom variety vegetables, with a focus on permaculture and the preservation of species that are often neglected in mainstream commercial agriculture. Giverny, like much of New Zealand, benefits from the country’s commitment to clean power. There is a coal-fired power station in Huntly, half an hour north of Hamilton in the North Island. Increasingly, New Zealand is realizing that coal-fired power stations need additional coal, and this means traumatic scarring of the land. In the meantime, the natural resources of Aotearoa are being put to work. Already New Zealand generates more than half its power through hydroelectric stations. Much of the remaining need is met by geothermal power. Drive from Rotorua, with its bubbling mud pools and geysers, to Taupo, on the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake, and you’ll see plumes of steam billowing up from pipelines along the side of the road, feeding the generating stations that tap into the volcanic heat that lies very close to the surface in New Zealand. For the foodie eco-tourist, a trip to
Kennedy Point Organic Vineyard is a special treat. Using no chemical fertilizers or sprays, the vineyards are tended using only organic and biodynamic methods. It’s a fantastic place to sample local wines, olive oil and honey. Their seasonal lunch menus include local oysters, vegetarian selections, New Zealand cheeses and the Kennedy Point olive oil. The manuka honey is also a
New Zealand specialty, endowed with healing properties, and infused with pollen from the manuka tree to create a honey that is deliciously sweet to eat. Perhaps the most eco-friendly thing you can do is just relax on the beach and watch the sunset. New Zealand’s beautiful summertime weather and burgeoning flora are an intense reminder that you don’t need to leave the comforts of the
city behind to find the beauty of nature. You don’t need to look very far to find that New Zealand offers a lifestyle that is at once very modern and very in tune with the natural environment. It is a haven for residents and tourists alike, and one that is not likely to disappoint, regardless of your length of stay. n
Maori Culture The Maori, the original settlers of New Zealand who now share the land with the Pakeha, the white New Zealanders of British descent who form the majority of New Zealand’s tiny population, associate their various tribes with the regions they traditionally inhabit. When visiting New Zealand, you may find yourself at a marae, the traditional Maori meeting house. There you will meet members of the local iwi, or tribe, on Waiheke Island. As a visitor, you will be invited to share your whakapapa, the story of your heritage. A whakapapa locates you in your land, and so it is customary to tell the name of your mountain, your river
and your waka--the ancestral canoe on which your people came to Aotearoa. It’s okay just to say it was an Air New Zealand Boeing! Be sure to have a waiata, a song about your home, ready. While only about a fifth of New Zealand’s 4-million population are Maori, their culture is an important part of the life of New Zealand. Since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, a document considered by many to be the founding document, New Zealand has been a bicultural country, and this embracing of Maori culture has been enshrined in law, with Te Reo Maori having protection under law as an official
Top: A distant view of the Southern Alps Mountain Range Bottom: Carved Maori Meeting House in Rotorua, New Zealand • ©iStockphoto.com/gmw
language. Maori culture is much more than a historical curiosity to be kept in a museum and trotted out for parades and ceremonies; it is a rich, vibrant strand in the tapestry of life in New Zealand. A visitor to New Zealand will be welcomed with the hospitality that is a hallmark of all Kiwis, whether they are Maori or Pakeha.
Study Abroad Programs
Changing The Lives of College Students By: Roxana Levine
Every year, Americans travel to different corners of the world to discover new places, to view famous historical sites, and to embark on personal pilgrimages. However, to truly experience a different culture, there is nothing more meaningful than spending quality time in another country. Participating in a study abroad program provides students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a new culture, to develop invaluable linguistic skills, and to gain a better understanding of their own culture as well as themselves. Historically, study abroad programs involved a small percentage of American college students who would study for a summer, a semester, or a year, mostly in Western countries. Nowadays, students understand the importance of being prepared for a global society in which knowledge of language and culture is paramount to success.
Left: View of Cuenca, Ecuador, South America ÂŠiStockphoto/Elena Kalistratova Middle: Various Doors From Cuenca, Ecuador ÂŠiStockphoto/traveler1116 Right: Roxana with a group of students in Ingapirca Ecuador during her July 2011 trip
Living and studying in a foreign country, acquiring another language, and negotiating in a different culture could truly set a student apart when embarking on a new career. This experience of a lifetime is not only an academic enrichment, it is also an amazing opportunity for profound personal growth.
One of the components of studying abroad is the interaction between students and those of other cultures, languages, educational systems and lifestyles. It is this interaction that provides a tremendous impact for those students who have participated in these programs. Angela Faiola discovered the opportunity to study abroad while taking a college Spanish class with her daughter Anna. They agreed that this program would be a great opportunity for them to fulfill many of the requirements they needed to pursue a degree in education. Reflecting on the program after seven years, she says, “These experiences changed both of our lives COMPLETELY!” She reminisces it as “a total awakening of all our senses to the Spanish culture, traditions, history, language, architecture, art and food.” Angela believes that the learning process came easily because all the content of the curriculum was “FELT AND LIVED.” Elise Aiello was a freshman in college when she was presented with the opportunity to participate in a Spanish immersion program in Cuenca, Ecuador. She remembers thinking, “I don’t care what the country is like; my parents and I will be on separate continents!” Little did she know that living in a foreign country with a host family would change the way she treated the people she loved. Before leaving, she knew only basic information about her host family and she was nervous about what they would be like. “As soon as I met them and saw the way they interacted with each other, I felt their warmth and understood the importance of the family bond in Latin America.” While in Cuenca, Elise realized that the strong and healthy relationships she experienced while living abroad touched her heart and made her deeply miss her own family. She now reflects,
“When I returned to the U.S. and saw my parents in the airport, it was unlike any experience I’ve ever had. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, and I gave them big hugs, which is something I probably wouldn’t have done so openly before.” Stephen Doherty, an early college student, found it “a complete cultural awakening to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain.” He was only 17 last summer when he decided to participate in a language immersion program. One of his main goals was to enhance his language skills. He believes that the things he saw and experienced, and the relationships he made, are going to be with him for the rest of his life. He has been able “to fully witness all the splendor and radiant colors that this world is truly made of.” He adds,
This program helped “ me to understand others and even gain enough perspective to understand myself in ways I had never even thought existed.
Many of these programs help the students gain self-confidence after realizing their own potential to learn new communication skills while being completely immersed in a foreign language and culture. The knowledge they acquire in all areas of their lives has imbued them with a sense of global citizenry. There is an extra dimension to their international competency which, in the current global economy, is demanded of graduating students. As Angela Faiola concludes at the end of all her emails: “Lo que en los libros no está, la vida te enseñará.” What you cannot find in books, LIFE will teach you. n For more information on study abroad programs visit: www.goabroad.com www.worldendeavors.com www.studyabroad.com www.experiencegla.com
The Sound of Inspiration By: Leah Heinzelman Age 17, Churchill Highschool, Livonia, MI • Teacher: Dave Hebestreit
Maybe it is something about the sound of inspiration – like the cadence of keys on a keyboard or the steady scratching of a pencil or a pen, etching thought onto paper. Or perhaps it is the feeling writing emits – its unlocking fashion, opening doors and revealing the emotions I and others keep within, releasing reason poured onto paper like some gooey thick resin, filling up the cracks in walls. Whatever keeps me attached to these words or the paper on which I write them is unknown, though present, as I continue to set life on white canvas using only a black ink pen. It is within the creative composition – the alteration of plain white paper that allows me to find the reconstruction of the words contained by empty space and the life they surround as well. These words represent my life. The existence I live is very simple, as it should be in a person’s younger years. It merely revolves around school, sports, family and writing. My passion for writing started nine years ago with a story of a lion named Pedro and his love for Jolly Ranchers. Silly as it seems now, I have kept that paper as a reminder of how far I have come and how far I may go. It still seems to influence me to this day only because it is as though the words came from another writer, perhaps a former self, who I look to for guidance and progression. I tend to look to many other writers and authors for guidance. Some are famous while others are not. I tend to become more attached to writers in my life – those who can read and speak to
my writing with voices of their own and those who I have found in this classroom. Officially, we are in a class called creative writing. We no longer consider ourselves a class, though. Instead, we are a tribe – a naturally forming group in which people of similar thoughts and similar interests join together. At one time, I thought I was alone in my desire to write as much as possible. There are many others in my class who share the same passion. We have fallen in love with words. In this classroom, my writing has blossomed. I nurture it like a mother does her child. I hope that one day my writing will be great, and will be seen and loved by eyes unknown. Now that the day draws nearer that my writing will have a wider audience, I think about the teachers who have inspired me to write. Since I consider creative writing more than a class, I consider our teacher more than a typical teacher. Creative writing is where I gain knowledge and experience that will benefit me outside of these school walls, unlike math. Our teacher is a writer, and he uses his experience to help us learn how to write. I learn from him and listen closely because he is an older and more experienced writer. He encourages me to focus on writing and not worry about whether or not it is good enough. I am not intimidated by putting the thoughts in my head onto paper. Writing is breathing, filling my lungs for a moment until I exhale and place letters, words and sentences on paper. Writing remains a constant in my life and gives me hope, even when hope seems to hide.
To Hope By: Lauren Doria Age 20, St. Petersburg College, FL
The world is full of broken people Trying to get by Every day I see these broken people Just trying to survive Blind are the fortunate Wise are the unfortunate And still the world goes round We sit back and watch Hoping something will be done What we don’t see Is that we could be the ones The ones to help the unfortunate The ones to rebuild hearts Instead, we push those burdens aside, Almost completely off the charts What if we stood together? What if we all could care? Problems would be solved Help would all be shared If we could forget about our differences And come together as one nation Then we will witness miracles Lead by hope and desperation
Positive Impact Magazine is dedicated to telling stories about people both young and old that inspire action, courage and compassion. The stories that appear in the magazine focus on artists, athletes, companies, celebrities, children and teens, musicians and unsung heroes, both rich and poor, with a global audience or an audience of one. These stories bring about change by generating positive thoughts, hope and inspiration. We hope to provide insight and imagination to the youth that are going to be our next creators and leaders to write about anything or anyone making a positive impact. Through the stories of the Youth Writing Challenge, we can all learn how to follow Ghandi’s invitation to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” For more information and registration details, visit positiveimpactmagazine.com. The winners will be published online and/or in print.
Clay Matthews, linebacker for the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers
“Winning a Super Bowl takes backbone. Finding a cure for Duchenne takes HEART.” Give generously so that Duchenne boys will have a future. Duchenne is the leading muscle disease in children – affecting one in every 3,500 boys. Most boys will not survive beyond their mid-20’s and those that do are faced with fatigue and pain and will likely need a wheelchair by age 12. In the later stages, heart and breathing muscles begin to fail. The disorder knows no ethnic, social or economic boundaries. National nonprofit CureDuchenne is working tirelessly to fund innovative research and therapies to save this generation of Duchenne boys from the devastating and lethal consequences of the disease. Your gift provides hope to the over 300,000 boys worldwide living with Duchenne. To make a donation, scan the bar code in the heart, or visit www.cureduchenne.org
Teaching the World
ENVIRONMENT & ALTERNATIVE ENERGY
to “Live Blue”
One blue marble at a time By: Julie Starke
Photo by: Neil Ever Osborne • Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, Scientist, Advocate, Communicator and Founder, The Blue Marbles Project
In 2009, scientist and activist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols was asked to speak at a conference celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of Jacques Cousteau’s birthday. Cousteau was the well-loved pioneer of oceanophilia. It was at this conference that Nichols spontaneously purchased blue marbles and handed them out to his audience on their way into the cavernous IMAX theater. At the end of his presentation, he told attendees that the marble they held represented what the Earth looks like from a million miles away – small and blue. And, he said that if we didn’t take care of “our little blue planet,” we were going to be in deep trouble.
“The marble,” he explained, “has been given to you in gratitude for the work you are doing in the world. Keep it until you find someone that inspires you, then pass it along.” With that simple message, the Blue Marbles Project, a viral movement based on simple acts of gratitude, was born. “There is something about holding a blue marble in your hand that makes you feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself,” said Sarah Kornfield, a collaborator in the Blue Marbles Project. “We’ve seen people from all parts of the globe marvel at a marble and kids adopt it as their own. It’s a powerful movement that brings a sense of meaning to both the giver and the receiver.”
An Eco-Warrior with Heart Nichols, who lives deep in the redwoods of central California – in an area also known as the Slow Coast – is a marine biologist and ocean advocate who is teaching the world what it really means to “Live Blue.” While inhabiting a space shared with mountain lions and bobcats isn’t something you would expect from a person in love with the ocean, Nichols is not your typical ocean-loving guy. Known as “J” to his friends, Nichols’ resume is adorned with a long list of academic credentials – such as renowned research associate with the California Academy of Sciences; graduate of DePauw University, Duke University and the University of Arizona; and a Fulbright Fellow. He has authored scientific papers on Students of Rooftop School in San Francisco sea turtle ecology and ocean conservashare their blue marbles around the planet under the guidance of Andi Wong, a tion; has seen his efforts featured in teacher who uses the blue marble to National Geographic, Time and Newsconnect her students with the world. week magazines; has served as a senior research scientist at the Ocean Conservancy, and as an advisor to countless students, governments and nonprofit organizations. Still, Nichols is an independent scientist in every sense of the word. He is the guy who assembled “100 Blue Angels” to support his unique work JN re ich within the scientific community, fund his ols w a f e r re , of d r to kno r i o r, t conservation efforts, and help create en as ’ is a in a wn fo meaningful conversations around all n be r c o m ‘e co and world his u things blue. in ni u at i reaso sually que a g we He terms his brand of commitve , ppr n. HI ll res o ment “LiveBlue,” and has created d e a oft ss ent e e p tra rved f ches a lifestyle around that very idea. a te or nd are imes m e gies a logic ‘ou lea Nichols believes that the mindani t of re co m ding n c t ocean connection reaches far r g h ethe eb ful mu , o w x a n beyond what tradition dictates and, , ay ity peo in c ’ but t n d of ple h to prove it, he assembled the first-ever rea lik w ting ey BlueMind summit. It was here that lov ho, si e - m i a nd e th mp e l leading neuroscientists, biologists, d eo yp ut, cea educators and creative minds met to n. consider the effects of the ocean on the brain. The event’s success has led Nichols to begin the planning for BlueMind II. To date, Nichols considers BlueMarbles.org, a grassroots movement that
promotes “random acts of ocean kindness,” his most far-reaching project. It is this expansive idea that has taken the ocean conservation message to a new high and is systematically creating a new ‘blue’ community of epidemic proportions.
Blue Marbles Are Rolling Around the Globe The Blue Marbles project has brought ocean awareness to the masses. Around a million marbles are circling the globe, sharing a message of gratitude and bringing a greater awareness one marble and one person at a time. The stories and outcomes of the simple act of sharing a blue marble have been blanketing websites, social media and the community at large. A blue marble has landed on the Jamaican team’s sled in the Alaskan Iditarod race; and Avatar filmmaker, James Cameron, will take his along as he heads to the
James Cameron with his blue marble Photo courtesy: Dr. Wallace J. Nichols
bottom of the Mariana Trench. The kids at Rooftop School in San Francisco have sent their blue marbles all over the world in small origami boxes made of old maps. A 13-year-old boy shared blue marbles at his bar mitzvah, calling it Ocean Mitzvah, starting a trend among his peers. Six thousand marbles landed at Auburn’s Lives of Commitment event in New York City, where they became the symbol for connection and compassion. As of today, three hundred marbles are on their way to Estonia where they will be distributed to conference attendees of World Cleanup 2012, a global movement involving 100 countries.
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COVER I ENVIRONMENT & ALTERNATIVE ENERGY continued from page 37
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols with his blue marble Photo by: Melissa Barnes
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols and The DePauw Marbles Group • Photo by: Matthew J. Bowen
A Decade of Blue Ahead It has become apparent that Nichols knows how to incorporate creative communication to inspire a healthy relationship with the sea. It has propelled him to become the voice for the world’s waters. His LiveBlue message is growing through the steady support of his 100 Blue Angels, his network of Blue Marbles Project givers and receivers, and the creative communication behind his BlueMind summits. It remains to be seen what this pioneer will do with the coming decade. But remember, this is the guy who founded Ocean Revolution to mentor the next generation of ocean conservation leaders; trekked from Oregon to Mexico with his family to bring attention to coastal and ocean issues; and, connected with a toxicologist and a NASA pilot, grabbed his flip video, jumped in a plane, and filmed the Gulf oil spill in order to find, and report, the truth. “It’s time for me to structure the next ten years of work, I know that the future is about gratitude, giving, and kindness. We intend to share that message with the entire world,” Nichols said. “If a blue marble helps as a reminder to live like you love the ocean, and appreciate the ocean’s beauty, abundance and mystery, then we are on a good path.” Nichols notes that because the project started with no budget, is widely 38
Harrison Ford with his blue marble Photo courtesy: Dr. Wallace J. Nichols
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols bringing the blue marble back to his alma mater DePauw University Photo by: Matthew J. Bowen
decentralized and open to everyone, there’s no conceivable way to stop it. That’s just the way he likes it. With this man’s goal of passing a blue marble through the hands of everyone on the planet, one thing is without a doubt: The gifts that this scientist brings to the world are going to speak to the heart of humanity, be centered in gratitude, and will be wrapped in blue. Of that you can be certain. n
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols and his blue marble are joined by Rio Dluzak and Fabien Cousteau at the BlueMind Summit, June 2011, California Academy of Science. Photo courtesy: Dr. Wallace J. Nichols
To get involved with the Blue Marbles Project or to get quantities of your own to share, please visit: www.bluemarbles.org or visit the Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/1bluemarble This article is part of a series by Julie Starke, entitled “Different by Nature.”
BlueMind Summit explores the brain’s relationship with the ocean Why do we seek respite at the ocean’s shore? Why are the words “ocean view” the most valuable in real estate? Why do the sound, smell, touch and taste of the sea set our souls at ease? These were among the questions explored as leaders in neuroscience and ocean exploration converged at the California Academy of Sciences for the first-ever BlueMind Summit last June. BlueMind - the brainchild of Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a noted sea turtle biologist, ocean advocate and research associate at the California Academy of Sciences – was designed to bring together neuroscientists, ocean scientists, experts in technology forecasting, photographers, explorers, writers and ocean advocates to help define an emerging field that unites neuroscience, ocean exploration and stewardship. It provided the first opportunity for participants to engage in this dialogue and to shape a new era of scientific understanding of the ocean and its great emotional power. “Humans have a deep connection to the sea that drives many of our decisions – from what seafood we eat and where we live, to how we vacation and relax,” said Dr. Nichols. “However, that connection is poorly studied and is a tricky territory of discussion among scientists and policy makers. So, I decided it was time to bring the mind and ocean together. The result is BlueMind. Understanding the connection between neuroscience and the ocean may shed new light on the best use of our brains to evolve our relationship to our ocean planet.” With ongoing threats to the ocean intensifying, many scientists agree there is an urgent need to focus on solutions. Nichols and his team believe that new insights may emerge as we gain a better understanding of our brain’s relationship with the world’s oceans. BlueMind provided a platform for leaders to discuss, debate and better understand these interconnections and the interrelated state of the “brain on ocean,” and will support further exploration of the implications for ocean and human health. Nichols is in the process of organizing BlueMind II. Stay tuned! positiveimpactmagazine.com
IN EVERY ISSUE I CONTRIBUTORS
10 small ways to make a BIG difference By: Marci Wise • Photography: Carlton Ward
Sunset at Panther Key: In Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, beside several protected areas, you are surrounded by nature in all directions as far as the eye can see.
onsidering the challenging times we are living in and the depressing stories in the news, there are some days we would all rather stay in bed with the covers pulled over our heads. Instead of feeling defeated at the state of our world, why not become empowered? We can each make little changes that will have a huge impact on the environment. Here are some practical, everyday things that even the busiest person can do to make the world a better place: 40
1. Remember to recycle Although most of us are familiar with the recycling basics of plastic, aluminum and glass, you can take your recycling to a whole new level by thinking bigger. Break down boxes, start your own compost heap, or brainstorm new ways to reuse old things. One woman found a very creative way to recycle her old CDs by placing votive candles in the middle and using them as reflective candleholders! While that might not fit
your own unique sense of style, challenge yourself to find fun and useful ways to reuse.
2. Adopt a pet Instead of going to commercial pet stores that may support “puppy mills,” adopt from a local animal shelter. Not only will you get a wonderful companion at a much more affordable price, but you’ll have a larger selection of animals to choose from, and most are already vaccinated and sterilized.
ENVIRONMENT & ALTERNATIVE ENERGY Most importantly, you’ll be helping to give a lovely and worthwhile animal a much needed home. Since many shelters euthanize due to pet overpopulation, you’ll literally be saving a life – and it’s hard to think of anything more important than that.
3. Plant a tree Trees are the gatekeepers of the air that we breathe. They help to absorb carbon dioxide and replenish our oxygen. What’s more, they shade our homes, bear fruit and offer us the stressrelieving effects of nature. By simply planting a tree, you’re making the world a better place for yourself – and for the birds, animals and insects that will call it home.
4. Support eco-conscious businesses The effects of deforestation are one of the biggest threats to our world right now – and you have the power to make a difference with your wallet! To protect forests, look for wood and paper products carrying the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification label, which ensures that they’ve been harvested following strict environmental guidelines.
5. Clean up the land and avoid littering Make it your goal to leave every place you visit cleaner than you found it. Not only is trash unsightly, but it can also present a danger to animals. Even in land-locked areas, waste can find its way to the sea. Every year, countless birds, turtles and sea mammals are injured by garbage that’s made its way to the ocean. Protecting these sea animals is easy – simply pick up trash wherever you are.
con·ser·va·tion: a careful preservation and protection of something; especially planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.
6. Conserve water Water is needed by every living thing to survive – yet it’s a limited resource and one that we shouldn’t take for granted. Did you know that a simple leaky faucet can waste 100 gallons a day? Or that you use about five gallons of water if you leave the water running while brushing your teeth? Find ways to save water where you can – it will be worth the effort.
7. Protect local wildlife Make your backyard an animal sanctuary by putting up birdhouses, planting butterfly bushes, and feeding squirrels. Creating a healthy habitat for critters is easy! Simply providing food, water and shelter will make your patch of land the country club of the wild.
8. Buy food that’s grown and harvested in responsible ways When you’re racing down the aisles of your favorite grocery store, you’re probably not thinking about where the food comes from, how it’s grown, and how it gets to your local store – it pays to be informed. More and more people are realizing the benefits of buying organic fruits and produce. You can support the local economy by buying items that are in season and locally grown. A little research on your part can ensure that your foods are grown and harvested in ways that protect animals, habitats and people.
9. Use garden-friendly bugs – such as ladybugs – instead of pesticides Why not let nature do the dirty work in your garden? Mealy bugs, lacewings, ladybugs and nonstinging wasps are all bugs that prey on other insects – and they’re a lot friendlier than traditional pesticides! These helpful insects are available at your local gardening store and can be tailor ordered to combat harmful pests – the natural way. Give it a try!
10. Learn all you can about our earth – and share the knowledge In the words of Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.” Make it your mission to learn all you can about this amazing world that we live in – and then use your enthusiasm to inspire others. By making a few simple changes, we can change the world in wonderful ways. So get creative and make your positive impact! n Visit: positiveimpactmagazine.com for more information on the environment and alternative energy.
– Merriam-Webster Dictionary
ENVIRONMENT & ALTERNATIVE ENERGY
nonprofit turns green ideas Into Golden Opportunities By: Susan Sherman
Alan Tratner, International Director of Green2Gold, and Lielle Arad, Global Director of Public Affairs for FD3 & Environmental Education Group, travel the world as a team, helping to bring balance to the planet.
nspired by television footage of a family stranded on a mountaintop after an earthquake, builder and inventor Michael Conner sketched some ideas on a paper napkin in 2005. Today, Life Cube inflatable shelters/ emergency kits are available for disaster relief, military operations and civilian emergency preparedness. Life Cube serves as a complete shelter that inflates in 90 seconds. It includes heat, solar power, food, water, communication tools, and emergency supplies and can be used as a semipermanent home for a family if necessary. The process from paper sketch and a dream to a real product was fostered by Green2Gold, a nonprofit organization that serves as an incubator for fledgling products, services and organizations with “world helping” missions. Founded by Alan Tratner, Green2Gold provides would-be green-preneurs with the expertise and know-how to develop ideas, secure funding, license trademarks, manufacture and market products, and write business plans. These elements help bring an idea to reality. With Green2Gold, Tratner and a team of volunteers – including author Kent Carruso and musical entertainers b4Neptune – incorporate a holistic approach to fostering socially and environmentally responsible worldwide development with solutions to today’s problems. They work with a wide range of concepts, from cosmetics, toys and games to food and beverage products to energy and transportation innovations. Green2Gold also facilitates the creation of public benefit nonprofits, helping them establish successful fundraising campaigns so they can effectively carry out their missions.
It’s great to tell the world about the “ problems of the planet; we have always focused on the positive and sought out solutions. ~ Alan Tratner
He hopes this incubator concept will inspire others to act on their ideas and believes that “we invented ourselves into this mess and we can invent our way out of it.” Tratner’s own environmental epiphany occurred in the 1960s when he moved with his family to southern California from Detroit. He was taken aback by the smog and pollution and turned his attention to helping publish Environmental Quality magazine. He soon became involved with an environmental action group and helped organize the first Earth Day. Through Green2Gold, Tratner hopes to promote the human ability to invent things while creating better ways of living and protecting the planet. He stands behind sustainability and believes it includes ethical business and social practices as well as environmental ones. “It’s great to be successful; however, it should not be acceptable to have success at the expense of other people,” said Lielle Arad, global director of public affairs for Green2Gold’s parent organization, nonprofit FD3. With that belief in place, Tratner would particularly like to work with more innovators interested in renewable energy technologies and ideas. “Let’s face it, energy is everything,” Tratner said. “The energy binge is over. There is a fundamental change occurring, and renewable energy provides major solutions for all of humanity.” The entrepreneurial ecosystem of which Green2Gold is a part includes TECHBREW Multi-Dimensional MEGA MIXERS (networking events that connect inventors, entrepreneurs, and investors) and The Great Rescue Mother Earth World Festivals (awareness and fundraising events
that introduce inventors and innovations to the world) as well as community workshops and awareness centers. n
Businesses & Organizations Launched by Green2Gold
a passion for..
Playful Planet A company that produces interactive educational products that help children lead healthy, sustainable lives HumaniTourism A project that empowers communities to benefit directly from sustainable travel in their regions AUTSPOT Foundation An organization founded by a Green2Gold intern that teaches autism awareness and provides assistance to families affected by autism Green Tower Sustainability A nonprofit that increases sustainability and encourages environmental entrepreneurship on college campuses
For more information or to get involved in Green2Gold, visit: www.green2gold.org
design solutions. DESIGN STUDIO
EVERYDAY PEOPLE PROLANTHROPY World Class Athletes, World Class People By: Rachel Schaeffer • Photos courtesy of Prolanthropy
What happens when you combine the top athletes in professional sports with the largest and most successful provider of philanthropy management services? You get Prolanthropy, a standalone organization that merges professional athletes (hence, pro-) and managed philanthropy (hence, -lanthropy) into the go-to organization for the “good guys” in professional sports. This group knows that pro athletes don’t often have the time or knowledge to run their own charitable organizations - but they want to give back. That’s when a new team is formed – composed of the athletes and the staff at Prolanthropy. Together, they play hard to ensure that the athlete’s community comes up with a win. The athlete brings his vision to Prolanthropy, and Prolanthropy develops the idea and turns it into an executable plan. Both the athletes and the staff at Prolanthropy have big hearts. They are passionate about helping those in need in the very city where the athletes play. Prolanthropy’s all-star roster is impressive and growing. From Chicago Bears’ Charles Tillman to Houston Texans’ Owen Daniels, the folks at Prolanthropy continue to succeed in making the philanthropic dreams of many pro athletes come true. They do so with integrity, passion and a genuine respect for all involved in this win-win organization. Prolanthropy’s President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Ginn recently spoke to Positive Impact Magazine. RS: How did you get such a wonderful attitude? JG: I would love to tell you that I was born with a positive attitude, but I wasn’t. I was born to teenage parents and was immediately placed for adoption.
We were pretty low income – my dad was an autoworker and we didn’t have a lot of things. My dad worked in a job he hated for 29 years. I was 23 when my dad died just one year away from being able to retire. He never got to enjoy those things he wanted most. It hit me that life is too short to do something you hate. RS: I’m sure your dad would be very happy to know that you love what you do. JG: Growing up, looking back, if it weren’t for those two people who loved some child more than they loved themselves, my life would’ve been drastically different. I needed someone to give me a hand up – well, frankly, a hand out. That’s one of the reasons that I spend most of my time – as do all of us who work here – working on fulfilling other peoples’ philanthropic goals and dreams, but we encourage everyone here to have their own. My role model was my dad. Family was everything to him. I didn’t need to idolize anyone on TV. I had everything I needed two doors down. RS: That’s really nice! It’s almost like your whole organization is a tribute to him. JG: In some ways, it is. It really comes back to what my dad role modeled – integrity, authenticity and a genuine love of people. That’s just who he was and how I was raised. RS: What’s your background? How did you get into this? JG: I had been on the board of directors of a very successful athletes’ charity for a number of years, and that was where the genesis of the idea came from. I thought, if we are able to do this with
one, imagine what we could do with multiple! We saw the need – there are a lot of athletes that want to give back. They didn’t, though, for a number of reasons – they were smart enough not to have a foundation that they didn’t know how to manage. Sometimes they were just scared to death of what could happen, worried about how it could be sustainable or just didn’t know what they were doing. I knew we could help. RS: What was it like to start Prolanthropy? JG: It was a journey. There wasn’t really a company doing what we did. The core of our company is the people that work here. It’s not me – if it was just me, the doors would’ve closed a long time ago. I had an idea and I’ve been blessed to have people that are talented, and are driven by both purpose and passion. They continue to amaze me with how smart and capable they are. We have great people!
RS: What is your favorite part of it all? JG: When people meet our clients and their view of professional athletes is the anti-role model, they are totally blown away at how down-to-earth, unpretentious and humble these athletes are. Whether it’s corporate sponsors, donors or the people we help, they walk away and say, “I can’t believe how genuine he is!” And for me to hear our clients say how they can’t believe that this many people and companies got behind what they wanted to do to help them achieve
their goal – they’re so pleased. RS: Do you have certain standards or requirements for your clients, the athletes, in order for you to work with them? JG: Absolutely! What we’re looking for is a person who is recognizable on and off the field for what he or she does – a world class athlete who is a world class person! We look for someone who is known and respected on and off the field, someone whose cause is compelling, and
who is willing to put some time into this. My father used to say, “I can tell everything I need to know about you from two pieces of paper – your calendar and your checkbook. I see where you spend your time and I see where you spend your money – I can tell what kind of person you are.” In the world of professional sports, where many athletes are well off, writing a check is a lot easier than putting in time. We don’t manage guys that just put their name on a check and are not involved. continued on next page
A playful crowd listens to music and has a ball at the 2008 Life is good Festival in Boston, MA
Top row from left: Owen Daniels at the launch of “Owen’s Locker.” Brent Celek visiting a patient at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children during the launch of Take Flight Foundation’s signature program “Take Flight Zone.” Gary Brackett poses for a picture with child at one of IMPACT’s signature programs, Field of Dreams. Bottom row from left: Charles Tillman poses for a picture with a patient during one of the Cornerstone Foundation’s signature programs, Charles’ Locker. Shelton Quarles cuts the rope to welcome the winner of the 2011 Home Blitz to their new home. Matt Birk welcomes Baltimore students to M&T Bank Stadium as park of HIKE’s signature program, Ready, Set, Read!
continued from page 45
RS: So, do you turn people down? JG: Absolutely! We don’t work with a lot of people. RS: Having that ability to discern or filter through who is and isn’t going to be your client gives your organization a great deal of integrity and respect. JG: Life is too short to work at a job you don’t like and too short to work with people you don’t respect. RS: Tell me about Charles Tillman and his wife, Jackie, and all they went through with their baby. Did they already have an organization and then when their daughter needed a heart transplant, shifted their philanthropic focus from education to donor awareness? JG: Charles is one of the rare cases where the team brought him to us. We had a relationship with their director of personnel, and Charles was going into his second year when he expressed a desire to do something in the community. So we met Charles through the Chicago Bears. That’s the only time that has ever happened – where a team has helped us to connect with a player. Charles came from a military family. When his father retired, he became a truancy officer. Charles saw firsthand what happened when kids were absent or tardy in school. So we started his foundation with the focus on getting kids to show up to school – that is a huge problem in Chicago public schools – and started working on building his foundation. Then out of the blue, Tiana (Charles’ and Jackie’s daughter) got sick. I knew when she was diagnosed in May that we would be changing the focus of this foundation – I could tell where his heart was. Tiana needed a heart transplant. They went through so much, and were in a position where money doesn’t help – they just had to wait for a donor! And if it weren’t for the Berlin Heart, they might not have been able to wait for a donor. What Charles saw firsthand was the impact of a major medical condition on a family – he saw families who lost children, he saw families go bankrupt, he saw families split apart. He said,
“We’ve got to do something here! I’ve experienced this, I’ve lived that life.” So that was a huge launching pad for everything his foundation is doing right now. RS: Do you give the athletes ideas for their charity, or do you customize to each individual client? JG: Great question!
The first thing we do “ with a new client is to sit down and talk about where their heart is. Most of the time, something happened in their lives that has driven them to want to help others in a specific area.
RS: Who came up with the TendHER Heart events that honor mothers with children who are ill? JG: Indianapolis Colts’ Gary Brackett started the TendHER Heart Luncheon. Gary has a real compelling story: When the Colts were in the Super Bowl the first time, about six or seven years ago, USA Today ran a cover story about Gary on the cover of their sports section – I think it was called “Tempered By Tragedy.” It was about a week before the Super Bowl. Within an 18-month span, Gary lost his brother, his father and his mother. Gary’s mom meant the world to him. Gary tells the story every year. I’ve heard it about five times and it still makes me cry. His dad was a disabled veteran, so he was home. His mom worked. When Gary asked his dad, “Can I go do something?” his dad delegated to his mom and said, “Wait till your mom gets home and ask her.” So Gary would watch out the window and wait till she pulled in the driveway. And before she could get out of the car, Gary would be right there at the door asking,
Gary Brackett giving an embracing hug to a mother of a critical child at one of IMPACT’s signature programs, TendHER Heart
“Mom, can I?” She’d reply, “Maybe, just give me a minute. Give me a minute for me and then I’ll talk to you about it.” What Gary saw was that moms who have children who are ill – his brother died of leukemia – never get a minute just for themselves. So the whole premise of the TendHER Heart functions is to provide moms with a first class event where they get to take time just for them. We never envisioned the therapeutic nature of moms sitting at a table at various stages of their walk with their very ill child. In some cases, some of the moms have lost their children. The value of being able to talk to seven or eight other women who are on that same ride with you is priceless. And we never understood that. We thought that we’d just give moms a day to themselves to get dressed up and just forget about what’s at home. Our intention was to shower them with gifts and treat them like the queens that they are. When the Tillmans went through what they did, I told Jackie about what Gary had done. She said, “I lived that life, I want that program!” RS: Do you have any further vision for Prolanthropy? JG: My vision for this company is to have a client in every major U.S. sports city. We would be helping nearly 5 million people. We measure how many people are impacted by our clients’ charitable efforts. This company has already outgrown me. If it were just up to me, if it were just
based on the abilities of Jeff Ginn, this company would’ve closed years ago. Our people are really great! Our people are the backbone of this company! They are the reason that we’ve had the successes that we’ve had. I am very fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to lead these people. Without them, it doesn’t happen – and I mean that wholeheartedly.
RS: What ways can the average person get involved? JG: It’s a great question. In the world of philanthropy, it’s the three “T’s”: time, treasure and talent. Because of what we do and for whom we do it, time is never an issue. We always have more people who want to volunteer than available volunteer positions. That’s a great problem to have! What our clients need more than anything is “treasure” - treasure is what makes the world go round. It’s not just writing checks. It’s people who can look at what our client is trying to accomplish, and they may know somebody who can help us in a way that doesn’t require money. They may have access to technology that our clients may need, or a skill set that would benefit our client’s charity. We’re always open to looking at partnerships where we can expand what we’re doing. RS: Were there any unexpected surprises for you personally in creating Prolanthropy? JG: One pleasant surprise for us is the deep personal relationships that we have with our clients and their families. I can tell you without any hesitation that I would trust any of our clients with my kids. And occasionally, I’ve had to watch some of our clients’ kids. Believe me, they don’t take that lightly – their kids are their world. The trust and the personal connection we have with our clients is huge. I’m in my forties, and to watch some of our clients get married and have kids
– to grow not only as athletes, but also as husbands and fathers – that’s been something that I never would’ve expected. I have watched many of them mature. RS:Your love for what you’re doing is so obvious! I can imagine your dad smiling down on you every day! JG: I hope he is! There’s not a day when I don’t think about him and the impact he’s had on my life. RS: So often the direction our lives take is a direct result of the experience of someone we love, or our own life’s events. It seems like many of the athletes are inspired to help others who have had experiences similar to their own. JG: Yes, Shelton Quarles is a great example. Shelton grew up in a singleparent environment. He knows what it’s like to live the life of a child in a low economic single-parent house. His drive and his purpose are to help people who are in that same place. Shelton is extremely passionate, focused and driven.
We’re not defined by “ what our guys do on the field; we’re defined by what we can help our clients do off the field.
We get the opportunity to work with great people and great athletes who have gigantic hearts. n
To read Positive Impact Magazine’s exclusive interview with Shelton Quarles, one of Prolanthropy’s “good guys,” see Shelton Quarles:World Class Athlete, World Class Person at: www.positiveimpactmagazine.com Learn more about Prolanthropy’s extraordinary athletes and their remarkable programs at www.prolanthropy.net.
Young Girl Inspires the Creation of The Ladybug Foundation At the age of five, Hannah Taylor saw a homeless man foraging for food and asked her mother what he was doing. To this day, she remembers the sadness that mixed with anger because this man lived that way. Watching him through the car window, she wondered who loved him and where he was sleeping. When advised by her mother to “do something because then your heart won’t feel so sad,” Hannah approached her first-grade teacher Mrs. Hildebrand for guidance. What began with bake sales and art sales is now a thriving nonprofit known as The Ladybug Foundation. Hannah’s childhood drawing of a ladybug poised under a blue sky and a shining sun is its logo, the symbol of luck the homeless and hungry need to survive. The foundation’s mission is to spread awareness and raise funds to assist operating charitable organizations which provide food, shelter and other needs of people who are homeless and near homeless in Canada, without judgment, so they can find dignity, security, hope and refuge.
Charitable Hearts Unassuming yet contagiously enthusiastic, Hannah is the face and soul of this charitable organization driven by a team of full-time and part-time volunteers that includes her parents, Colleen and Bruce
Taylor. Hannah describes herself as the “luckiest daughter in the world” because her passion for change is supported by her family, friends at school and members of the community – even the office space is generously donated by benefactors.
Every Breath You Take Hannah has spoken in a variety of venues and motivated assorted audiences. She personally feels the tremendous impact of speaking at other schools to people her own age. She says the best part is to see the “reaction of my peers and the recognition that if they see me doing something worthwhile then they know they can, too.” Hannah’s parents don’t allow anything to get in the way of
her formal education and limit her to three speaking engagements a month; but Hannah says when you have a passion for something, “it is like breathing, it never stops.”
January 31st - National Red Scarf Day This mile-long walk set in the Canadian cold was originally organized because “people need to understand it before they can support it. We want to show the homeless we care by walking a mile in their shoes.” Clad in their signature Ladybug red scarves, towns and schools across Canada gathered to show solidarity and raise awareness. While Hannah fervently wishes there was no need for an organization like The Ladybug Foundation, she does believe she was born to care and is “doing what her heart needs her to do.” She mused about what would never have happened had her parents and her teacher Mrs. Hildebrand allowed her age to define her goals. They instead took a first grader seriously, and now this high school sophomore is bringing her cause beyond the borders of her native Canada with the launch of Ladybug USA.
Teach and Learn Inspired by The Ladybug Foundation, The Ladybug Foundation Education
< Hannah is speaking to a school in Alberta, Canada.
© Ivan Mikhaylov | Dreamstime.
By: Mary Dado • Photos courtesy of The Ladybug Foundation Inc.
Program equips educators with curriculum materials designed to empower students to make change. Now in 7,000 classrooms, Hannah feels they have made some good inroads to bringing social awareness to students from kindergarten through the twelfth grade.
Forever Friends Throughout this journey, not only has their organization changed others’ lives, Hannah and her family’s lives have been forever changed. Rick was a homeless person who became a good friend of the Taylor family. He met Hannah the day he walked up to her and said, “Thank you for caring about us.” Rick’s transition from life on the street has not been a fairytale one. It has been as full of pain as possibility. Rick did, however, become a contributing member to The Ladybug Foundation’s advisory board and lived for some time with the Taylors. Hannah said he fit right in and was just like a member of the family. One Christmas in their home, Rick shared that it was the first time he had ever decorated a tree. While there have been some obstacles to building his “normal” life, Rick is doing all right now, and Hannah’s wish is that he learns to love himself the way she does.
A Young Woman of Many Talents Hannah loves to ride horses and play basketball, and much to her sister’s chagrin, she is learning the violin. Although The Ladybug Foundation will continue its campaign of care and awareness, one of her life’s plans is to become a journalist and photographer for National Geographic magazine.
You’re Not Alone Hannah believes that poverty affects all of us, and she hopes she’s making a positive change by letting the unfortunate know they are not forgotten. At the time this article was written, Hannah was on her way to Singapore to attend the International Character & Citizenship Conference organized by the National Institute of Education. Hannah Taylor has become the change she wants to see in the world. n Top #1 - ‘Little’ Hannah in one of her first TV interviews Top #2 - Through Hannah’s efforts, The Ladybug Foundation was able to donate the funds to purchase this giant soup kettle for Agape Table in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Top #3 - Hannah with friend in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.
LittleFootprint Lighting Reducing the carbon footprint of lighting, one desk lamp at a time
By: Jenny Carless
LED lights use much less energy than
traditional light sources, generate less waste because of a much longer lifetime, and don’t contain mercury, making them much more sustainable than other types of lighting. That’s a good thing. One company, LittleFootprint™ Lighting, is on a mission to make this good thing even better, making the most sustainable task lights available. Its first product, the HeronLED Personal Task light, is an attractive, high-quality LED desk lamp made in the U.S. from recycled plastic that comes from e-waste. As CEO Nancy Wahl-Scheurich pursued the idea for making an “ultragreen” desk lamp, she became a true
believer in LED lighting’s environmental benefits and knew there was room for improvement. More recycled materials could be used in the manufacturing process. And why not manufacture in the U.S.? She established LittleFootprint Lighting to do just that. “I wanted to make an LED desk lamp that was made in the USA from recycled plastic,” says Nancy. “I also believed that making the product environmentally friendly wasn’t enough; we needed to make a good, attractive desk lamp. I hadn’t done anything like this before, but I was lucky to find wonderful people and companies to work with, and it came together.”
LittleFootprint Lighting’s first product is the HeronLED Personal Task Light: • First desk lamp made of recycled ABS plastic from e-waste • Uses only four watts – seven to 10 times less energy compared to conventional desk lamps • Replaceable LED bulb lasts 15 years or longer • Adjustable, ergonomic design with a five-year warranty • Warm white light, over 230 lumens, 58 lumens/watt • Steel base of lamp is made-in-U.S. steel comprised of at least 70% recycled scrap • Desk lamp and LED bulb designed and manufactured in USA The company’s goal is to decrease the overall carbon footprint of lighting, and this is accomplished in several ways: • Recycled plastic and steel require much less energy to produce than virgin materials • Reduced transportation emissions because the products are made in the U.S. • When in use, the desk lamps save energy not only because LEDs use so little of it, but also because less ambient light is needed To learn more, go to www.lfplighting.com or call (831) 401-2007. positiveimpactmagazine.com
LIVING TREASURES From Prisoner to President to Peacemaker By: Rachel Schaeffer
How can a prison number be used to create hope for the millions of people suffering from HIV/AIDS? When human rights activist Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for his efforts to end apartheid in South Africa, he was given identification number 46664 (pronounced four double six, six four) because he was the 466th prisoner to arrive in the year ’64. He was released 27 years later and went on to become South
Johannesburg, South Africa - July, 17th 2011: Mandela Poster seen here at the entrance to The Apartheid Museum, at Gold Reef City, in South Africa. Showing various portraits from his younger days until today. ©istockphoto.com/ THEGIFT777
Africa’s first black president. Since then, his prison number has become synonymous with his worldwide charity efforts and humanitarianism, including the global human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) awareness and prevention campaign – which was initiated by the Mandela Foundation.
According to Mandela,
The mission of The Mandela Foundation, established after Mandela’s retirement from office, is to contribute to the making of a just society by promoting the vision, values and work of its founder, and convening dialogue around critical social issues. According to AVERT, an international HIV and AIDS charity based in the United Kingdom, near the end of 2009, an estimated 22.5 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were living with HIV. During that same year, 1.3 million Africans died from the pandemic. Nearly 90 percent of the 16.6 million children orphaned by AIDS also live in sub-Saharan Africa. Part of the foundation’s efforts to beat the AIDS pandemic is the 46664 Bangle Project. Bangles are handcrafted bracelets engraved with Mandela’s prison number, 46664, and a laser image of Mandela’s hand. According to the Bangle website www.thebangle.com, “The Bangle Program makes a positive impact through job creation and skills training, while also promoting a message of social responsibility.” Everyone involved benefits, including the formerly unemployed, disadvantaged and HIV-positive South African people.
The Bangle Program “ makes a positive impact through job creation and skills training, while also promoting a message of social responsibility.
Mandela has streets, parks and squares all over the world named after him. He is the recipient of nearly 200 awards and honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize. Even a nuclear particle discovery bears his name. Queens, heads of state and other royalty also have knighted him in palaces and presented him with golden medals and the most highly regarded civilian prizes of their respective countries. He has been called
“The time is always right to do right.”
the leader of one of the most important revolutions of the century, an international civil rights giant and the most admired human alive.
Mandela’s Life In his early years, Mandela studied law and joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943, founding the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) within a year. In 1952, Mandela and several others built the Youth League’s Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws. Reluctantly, Mandela came to the difficult realization that nonviolence was not working. He was co-founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), formed to act as the military arm of the ANC. Mandela was arrested many times, facing charges such as treason and later sabotage, which in 1962 caused Mandela to receive a sentence of life imprisonment. Throughout his years in prison, Mandela continued to lead efforts toward freedom for all. At the time, his second wife, Winnie, was Mandela’s voice on the outside. He wrote as much as any human possibly could with difficult restrictions. In his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom,” Mandela writes, “…if they [people] can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” In a speech made while Mandela still was in prison, President Frederik Willem de Clerk declared the ANC (formerly an organization in exile) now legal, and announced his decision to release Mandela. After 27 years in prison and isolation, Mandela was released on February 11, 1990. Mandela delivered a speech in Cape Town, South Africa, on the day he was released from prison, where he said, “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve, but if need be, it is an ideal for which I am
Left: Every bangle bears the digital imprint of Mr. Nelson Mandela’s hand, echoing the 46664 message of “It’s in our hands.” Photo courtesy of Julie A. Murphy
prepared to die.” In 1993, Mandela and F.W. de Klerk jointly were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa. In a landslide victory, Mandela, at the age of 75, was elected President of South Africa. To assure white people that black domination would not become the rule, Mandela brought Afrikaners into his government. He wanted those who had oppressed him and his fellow blacks to know that the new South Africa truly would be nonracist. In 1999, Mandela stepped down as President. At a farewell banquet, Mandela assured the country he still would be at their service. “It is no easy thing to rest while millions still bear the burden of poverty and insecurity,” he said. For his 89th birthday, Mandela founded “The Elders,” who according to their website “are an independent group of eminent global leaders brought together by Mandela, that offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.” Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu are among the members of The Elders. For his worldwide humanitarian efforts, July 18, Mandela’s birthday (and anniversary), now is known as Nelson Mandela Day. Mandela made it clear that he wanted this day to be a worldwide call-to-action. On Mandela’s (most recent) 93rd birthday, he asked that all citizens dedicate 67 minutes to any form of humanitarian effort. Why 67? Mandela dedicated 67 years of his own life to achieve equity, freedom and democracy in a country that had been under white racist rule for 46 years. n To learn more, visit: www.46664.com, www.thebangle.com and www.nelsonmandela.org
MIND, BODY & SPIRIT Determining
THE HAPPINESS FORMULA By: Gary King
HT = Honesty and Truth
SW= Self Worth
The F2 in the formula stands for forgiveness; the 2 means there are 2 parts. You must forgive yourself and forgive others no matter what the situation. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, not someone else. Over the past six years, in my international presentations, I gave the following challenge to my audiences: “My perception is that everyone in this room has someone to forgive, including themselves. If that is not accurate, please raise your hand.” After making this claim to thousands of people, to date, only twenty people in total have raised their hands. Recently, I added another challenge: “Please raise your hand if you know how to forgive someone, including yourself.” No one raised their hand. Now consider being truly happy if you do not forgive. Possible?
The HT2 stands for being honest with yourself and truthful to others, no exceptions. Most people tell some form of lies. Really, there is no such thing as an inconsequential lie, and there are no white lies either. Resistance to being honest at the cause level is related to the fact that most people associate pain with honesty. Why? Because at some point in your life, you experienced pain for telling the truth. Since that negative behavior for being honest may get reinforced at other times in life, lying soon becomes easier, less painful, and eventually, quite normal. But that pain is less important than the joy that comes from truthfulness and honesty, which breeds trust and communication. It’s difficult to be truly happy when you’re not honest with yourself and truthful with others.
The SW stands for self worth. This actually means “self” worth, not “ everything else” worth. Self worth starts with understanding that nothing is more important than your character. Nothing. Consider that transitioning into the material world creates self worth. Nothing is farther from the truth. Inner strength is developed by understanding the importance of character. Imagine trying to have a fulfilling relationship when you have low self worth, are dishonest with yourself and others, and then lack forgiveness. What a stack of things! True happiness has a foundation. It is not a life-long, random choice of things that brings pleasure in the short term, with the hope that enough of these choices will bring lasting happiness and fulfillment to the power of 10. Take a moment and imagine if this simple formula were taught in schools and colleges. Maybe, just maybe, we would once again be the most powerful, respected and honored country in the world. The father of our country, George Washington, made a powerful statement: “Honesty is the best policy.” It is time to make F2HT2SW=HF to the power of 10 as important as water.
F HT SW=HF 2
onsider that for life to be firmly sustained, it must have a foundation, just like a tall building. Let’s assume that foundation, for most living things, is water. I have reached the conclusion that there is a specific formula for happiness that is as fixed as the H2O formula for water. What if a formula existed that actually provided the building blocks of happiness? We will call that formula, F2HT2SW = HF to the power of 10, which simply means that when this formula is implemented, it exponentially grows to 10 times itself, or, to put it simply, it compounds.
www. maiapparel com
Global Health Advancements:
One World One People
By Marci Wise • Photos courtesy of Accordia Global Health
Living in the modern world has many advantages. In the past, outbreaks of infectious disease, such as the Black Death, typhoid fever, cholera and malaria, wrought havoc across the globe. Today, though, some innovative organizations are reaching beyond geographical boundaries and making a positive impact on the future of healthcare for all people.
The HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Thirty years ago, the world began a battle with a mysterious new illness – the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). People were dying and no one knew why or how to help them. As a young doctor in Uganda, Alex Coutinho remembers the sadness and frustration of the scene before him. “When people die, they become faceless, and for me personally, 10 of my own relatives have died from HIV.” Since that time, 20 million people worldwide have lost their lives to the disease, with more than 1 million of these deaths in Uganda alone. While medical advancements were made in more developed countries, Africa was left with a disturbing paradox. “At first, drug prices were so horrendous that no one could afford them,” Coutinho said. “Then, when the drugs became more available, they would come into our country and sit because the doctors and nurses had never handled these drugs or treated HIV, and did not know what to do.”
An Idea Is Born
Instead of simply supplying drugs to Africa, preparations were begun to build an African-based center for excellence that would enable continuous innovation and responsiveness to the most pressing regional health concerns of the moment. It was with this bold vision that the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) was created in Uganda in 2004. If the project was done right, Africa and its people would benefit dramatically from a newfound self-reliance. In order to bring this proposal to life, the Accordia Global Health 1. Alex Coutinho, Executive Director in a meeting, on Uganda Day 2. Alex Coutinho, Executive Director 3. An IDI laboratory staff member at work 4. The Infectious Diseases Institute in Kampala, Uganda 5. IDI Prevention Care and Treatment Department is providing life-saving care for over 37,000 patients’ “friends” in Uganda
IDI outreach program at a rural clinic in Uganda • Photo by: Charles Steinberg Alex Coutinho, Executive Director in a meeting, on Uganda Day
Foundation was formed with the mission of setting up initial operations and fundraising. They found a powerful partner in Pfizer Inc., and together they made the dream a reality. Today the IDI indeed has achieved its goal of standing as an internationally recognized center for excellence. Dale Mott, the Vice President of Accordia, is proud of the accomplishment. “The work is so exciting. You just have to be on the grounds for 10 minutes to become so enthused about the lives that are being saved and the positive effect that is being achieved,” he said.
Sharing Skill Sets, Banishing Boundaries
In fact, the success of the IDI may serve as a shining example for the future of healthcare in the new millennium. “What is happening in Africa impacts what is happening around the world,” said Carol Spahn, Executive Director of Accordia.
These diseases are “ crossing borders and it is really everybody’s business now.
The power of the plan lies in the notion that it is not enough to supply money and medication. You need to teach skill sets to the people of the area, as well. Yet, the Accordia Global Health Foundation is very deliberate about not interfering or imposing anything. The organization sees its role simply as being a catalyst for the creativity, leadership and passion that is on the ground. It is a fundamentally different approach that creates a strong institutional leadership and structure capable of surviving long-term – and its beneficial attributes have not escaped the attention of lawmakers. Last year, at Accordia’s Celebration of
Partnership, Senator John Kerry praised the organization for its efforts, saying, “We are going to have to save more lives, with less money – that means we are going to have to become far more efficient and far more effective in the ways we do it – so like everything that you are doing here.”
Turning Hopelessness into Empowerment
Since opening its doors, the IDI has trained more than 6,000 healthcare workers across Africa. Dr. Coutinho now serves as the Executive Director of the IDI at Makerere University in Africa. Much has changed since those early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and he is proud to be an integral part of the initiative. “We are giving workers the skill set, and also the mind-set, because often there was hopelessness,” Coutinho said. “Now the feeling is we can fix this; we can turn it around.”
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Sky High Ambitions Flight attendant’s creation of a multivitamin for travelers leads to awareness for children in need around the globe. By: Malaka I. Thompson
welve years ago, Lisa Lent was a flight attendant who had a dream to create a nutritional supplement for those who love to travel. This initial dream ultimately led her to something far greater, the creation of Vitalah, which produces Oxylent, a multivitamin that is designed as an ideal supplement for everyday life.
Oxylent Variety Box contains a month supply of 3 delicious flavors of Adult Oxylent-- Sparkling Berries, Sparkling Mandarin, and Sparkling Blackberry Pomegranate • Photo: Rosemary Chasey
From the roots of Vitalah, Lisa was always committed to finding a special charity with which to partner. She decided that Vitamin Angels (www. vitaminangels.com) was the perfect fit. Created to help reduce child mortality worldwide by providing children under the age of five with vital nutrients, Vitamin Angels is aligned with Vitalah’s mission of bringing high-quality supplements to families everywhere. Before creating Oxylent, Lent first approached a nutraceutical company about creating a supplement for travelers. It was called “The Flight Pack,” and unfortunately for the product, it launched a week after 9/11. The timing was not right for the idea, Lent discovered. Lent continued her career as a flight attendant, and six years later she moved to Santa Cruz, Calif., and decided to
implement her idea again at the recommendation of a close friend and mentor. It was then that Vitalah was founded on principles of integrity, quality and superior formulation, and with the goal of developing a new generation of health supplement. Lent’s initial dream to create a supplement for travelers ultimately led to something far greater with Oxylent – an effervescent multivitamin drink. Oxylent has received consecutive product awards in 2009, 2010, and 2011 attributed to its great taste, unique formulation, superior quality, easy absorption, third-party testing and eco-consciousness. With every purchase of Oxylent, a portion of Vitalah’s proceeds are donated to Vitamin Angels. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to reducing child mortality worldwide by advancing availability, access and use of essential micronutrients (especially vitamin A) among at-risk populations worldwide. In 2011, Vitamin Angels will connect more than 24 million children five years old and younger with the vital nutrients they need as a foundation for good health. Sales of Oxylent also assist numerous national and local community organizations, including the American Red Cross, The Kobe Bryant Foundation, HollyRod Foundation in support of Autism and the Monterey Bay Rape Crisis Center, among others. Oxylent is available at Whole Foods, The Vitamin Shoppe and other retailers. For more information or to find a retailer that carries Oxylent, visit www.oxylent.com or call 877-OXYLENT (699.5368).
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Coutinho is eager to share Africa’s empowerment with others. Recently, a group of physicians from Nigeria visited the IDI and were inspired by what they saw. “They said, ‘We want you to give us your secret. Your people are so passionate; they love their jobs. What have you done?” Coutinho said. He believes the answer lies in IDI’s ability to bring the right people together. “If you leverage their passion and knowledge to make a difference, you just get a synergy.”
Power to the People
Of course, IDI’s most significant achievements have been with the patients. The institute makes sure that patients see themselves as an integral part of their own recovery. The emphasis is placed on healthy behavior – not the stigma that so often accompanies HIV. One patient whose life has been saved and transformed is “Jackie.” Not only has she survived her illness, she also has thrived, and uses her newfound empowerment to offer hope to others.
Accordia and IDI have “ given me the courage and confidence to talk to people and tell them that life still can go on, she said.
Referred to as “friends,” patients like Jackie take their newfound coping skills to the streets – helping to uplift the community. “It makes me proud to help others live longer and tell them that we can make a difference,” Jackie said.
A Self-Sustaining Future
Since beginning full operations, IDI has gone from 100 percent reliance on funding from Pfizer Inc. to less than 20 percent. The institute has integrated itself into the local health system, gaining the confidence of the Ugandan government, which now has become a significant
FEATURE I MIND, BODY & SPIRIT
contributor. That, combined with a diverse array of local and international partnerships, is allowing the institute to create a platform for long-term sustainability. The U.S. is the largest donor, either directly through the government or through private organizations.
â€œThe average American does not know how much good is being done on his behalf,â€? Coutinho said. Although the occurrences of infectious disease are inevitable, the way we choose to respond to these challenges is entirely up to us. Organizations such as
IDI and Accordia are laying a foundation of cooperation that serves as a bright example of what we can accomplish when we share resources and work together. This type of cooperation proves that we can build a healthy future and truly live as one people. n
IDI training session
More than 33 million people are living with HIV/ AIDS worldwide. Today, the IDI clinic provides HIV/AIDS services to over 300 patients each day, and with the support of PEPFAR and the Global Fund, the clinic treats more than 8,000 active patients and provides lifesaving antiretroviral therapy to almost 6,000 patients. In Africa, a child dies from malaria every 30 seconds. Malaria is a devastating yet treatable disease.
Accordia and ExxonMobil have partnered to establish the National Malaria Training Program to scale up malaria training activities at the national level. These efforts have been extremely effective in improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria in Uganda, Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa.
Be a Part of Positive Change
If you would like to get involved with health innovation and leadership in Africa, visit their website at www.accordiafoundation.org or call (202) 534-1200.
MIND, BODY & SPIRIT
An Acronym to Remember for a Healthier Dietary Lifestyle Greens, onions, mushrooms, berries, beans and seeds are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and it can be challenging to remember them all. This is why it is ideal to use the acronym GOMBBS.
These are the foods you should eat every day, and they should make up a significant proportion of your diet. In addition, GOMBBS are extremely effective at preventing chronic disease and promoting health and longevity.
Raw leafy greens contain only about 100 calories per pound and are packed with nutrients. Leafy greens contain substances that protect blood vessels and are associated with reduced risk of diabetes. Greens are the most nutrient-dense of all foods and an excellent tool for weight loss, since they can be consumed in virtually unlimited quantities. Greens promote healthy vision, and many belong to the cruciferous vegetable family, which contain potent anti-cancer compounds. Greens are consumed in miniscule amounts in the typical American diet. We should follow the example of our closest living relatives – chimpanzees and gorillas – who consume tens of pounds of nutrientdense green leaves every day.
Onions, along with leeks, garlic, shallots, and scallions, make up the allium family of vegetables. Along with the great flavor they lend to meals, they have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects. Allium vegetables are known for their characteristic organosulfur compounds, which slow tumor growth and kill cancer cells. Eating onions and garlic frequently is associated with reduced risk of digestive cancers. In addition, allium vegetables contain high concentrations of healthpromoting flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory effects and contribute to the cancerpreventive properties of these vegetables.
In one recent Chinese study, women who ate at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms each day (which equates to about one button mushroom per day) had a 64 percent decreased risk of breast cancer. Mushrooms have anti-cancer properties, plus, mushrooms are unique in that they contain aromatase inhibitors – compounds that can block the production of estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors are thought to be largely responsible for the preventive effects of mushrooms against breast cancer. In fact, there are aromatase-inhibiting drugs on the market that are used to treat breast cancer. Regular consumption of dietary aromatase inhibitors is an excellent strategy for prevention, and it turns out that even the most commonly e a t e n mu s h ro o m s (white, cremini and portobello) have high anti-aromatase activity.
Strawberries and blackberries are true super foods linked to reduced risk of diabetes, cancers and cognitive decline. Naturally sweet and juicy, berries are low in sugar and high in nutrients – berries are some of the highest antioxidant foods in existence. Berries’ plentiful antioxidant content helps to reduce blood pressure and inflammation, prevent DNA damage that leads to cancer, and stimulate the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Berries are also an excellent food for the brain, shown to improve both motor coordination and memory.
Beans (and lentils and other legumes) act as an anti-diabetes and weight-loss food because they are digested slowly. This process of slow digestion stabilizes blood sugar, promotes satiety, and helps to prevent food cravings. Plus, beans contain soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels. Beans are unique foods because of their very high levels of fiber and resistant starch, carbohydrates that are not broken down by digestive enzymes. Fiber and resistant starch reduce the total number of calories absorbed from beans, and are fermented by intestinal bacteria into fatty acids that help to prevent colon cancer. Eating beans, peas, or lentils at least twice a week has been found to decrease colon cancer risk by 50 percent. Legume intake also provides significant protection against oral, larynx, pharynx, stomach and kidney cancers.
jefftherhino “Bok Choy” via Flickr, Creative Commons • SoraZG “Onions” via Flickr, Creative Commons • Steve Hopson “Mushrooms” via Flickr, Creative Commons angeloangelo “Strawberries & Blueberries” via Flickr, Creative Commons • cookbookman17 “Beans” via Flickr, Creative Commons • Tobias Klupfel “Sesame Seeds” via Flickr, Creative Commons
By: Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Learn more about the health benefits of GOMBBS in my new book “Super Immunity,” which discusses how to naturally strengthen the immune system against everything from the common cold to cancer. Dr. Joel Fuhrman is a New York Times best-selling author, nutritional researcher and board-certified family physician specializing in nutritional medicine. Learn more by visiting his websites at www.drfuhrman.com, www.diseaseproof.com.
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without being helped himself.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nuts and seeds are healthy fat sources that aid in the absorption of nutrients in vegetables, in addition to supplying their own spectrum of micronutrients including plant sterols, minerals and antioxidants. Countless studies have demonstrated the cardiovascular benefits of nuts, and including nuts in the diet aids in weight maintenance and diabetes prevention. The nutritional profiles of seeds are similar to nuts when it comes to healthy fats, minerals and antioxidants, and seeds are also abundant in trace minerals and higher in protein than nuts. Flax, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts are extremely rich sources of ALA, the precursor to DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that supports heart and brain health. Walnuts also protect against cardiovascular disease by improving blood pressure regulation, and may protect the aging brain against cognitive decline. Lignans, contained within flaxseeds and sesame seeds, have breast cancer-preventive properties. Sesame seeds have the greatest amount of calcium of any food in the world, and provide abundant amounts of vitamin E. Pistachio nuts and Mediterranean pine nuts have the highest plant sterol (a cholesterol-lowering substance) content of all nuts. Plus, pistachios are also rich in arginine, which helps to lower blood pressure, and pistachio consumption has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and inflammatory markers and increase blood antioxidant levels. In addition to their plant sterols, Mediterranean pine nuts boast exceptionally high protein and vitamin K content and a distinctive fatty acid (pinolenic acid) with appetite-suppressing effects. n
to Help Yourself By Helping Others By: Bailey Foster
ooking not only at famous figures throughout history and at the people I know personally, I see that Emerson’s words are irrefutably clear. A fulfilled and satisfied existence often is the result of shedding one’s natural inclination toward selfishness and serving others instead. In our fast-paced culture, it can be hard to discover resources for personal growth, stress relief and all-around emotional and mental well-being. It’s easy to get immersed in our busy schedules and forget there are more than 6 billion people around the globe with hopes and needs like ours. If we heed Emerson’s advice, we have to look no further than the local homeless shelter, literacy center, nursing home or senior living facility to find personal satisfaction. Helping others can be the true key to helping ourselves.
If you want to lift “yourself up, lift up someone else ” ~Booker T. Washington
In 2007, the Corporation of National and Community Service published a review of research on the health benefits of volunteering. They found that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates, lower occurrences of depression later in life and greater senses of self-worth. In addition to these clear benefits, volunteering was shown to provide individuals with a social network, where they were able to seek support or stress relief and develop a greater feeling of purpose and fulfillment. continued on next page
MIND, BODY & SPIRIT continued from page 59
Other studies over the years have verified the physical, emotional and mental benefits of serving. An analysis of data from the Americans’ Changing Lives survey also revealed that volunteers experience higher levels of happiness, satisfaction, self-confidence and an overall sense of control in their lives. The uplifting effects of volunteer work have been most recently evident among people who have serious difficulties of their own. According to a 2009 New York Times article, “From Ranks of Jobless, a Flood of Volunteers,” an increasing number of unemployed individuals sought ways to volunteer and find escape from their own struggles after the economic downturn. Americans’ increasing desire to serve during the past several years solidifies the fact that volunteering adds a new dimension of purpose and engagement to life. It provides motivation and a sense of achievement – a way to become a productive part of our community and our world. Mahatma Gandhi understood the fleeting nature of life, which is why his satisfaction came from serving the people around him: “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Habitat for Humanity International Photo by: Ezra Millstein
Perhaps our internal and subconscious longing to find purpose outside of our own needs and desires comes from this same realization. Our lives are not built on how much money we earn; they are built on how we treat others and the legacy we leave behind.
The only ones “ among you who will
be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.
For people who love to stay active, there are countless walks and runs that benefit good causes throughout the country, and organizations like Habitat for Humanity can always use help with local building projects. Even technology lovers can find ways to serve by creating websites for local nonprofits or charities.
~Dr. Albert Schweitzer
It’s clear that volunteer work brings joy to those being served and to those who are serving. The challenge can be finding where to volunteer when there are so many needs throughout the world, yet there are virtually endless opportunities to serve.
Following these 4 steps will help you get started:
1 First think about what you enjoy doing the most and how your talents or hobbies can meet a need in your community. Find a way to explore your personal gifts or passions and help others at the same time. Are you artistic? Get a group of friends to paint a neighborhood mural that shares a positive message; make centerpieces, cards or paintings for local nursing homes, assisted living facilities or shelters; or organize an art show and donate the proceeds to a good cause. Don’t forget to look for specific charities and nonprofits that provide an artistic outlet for volunteers as well.
2 If you are good with kids, become a tutor at a local school or volunteer at a daycare center. There are endless ways to get your own children involved in community service, too. Pick up litter at a nearby park, collect food, clothing and toys for the needy, hold a stuffed animal drive or create packages for a children’s hospital.
4 A simple Google search will bring up a multitude of service ideas that fit your specific area of interest. You can also find volunteer opportunities using websites like www.volunteermatch.org, www.dosomething.org, www.iparticipate.org. You can find many of these sites and more at www.positiveimpactmagazine.com. Once you’ve found a way to volunteer, keep an open heart and mind and be on the lookout for ways you can serve people on a daily basis. Encourage your friends and family to volunteer their time by sharing what you are doing and inviting them to be a part of it. Don’t wait for the “perfect time” to volunteer. The perfect time to serve others is always now! Seize every chance to make a difference in the world, and you might just have a positive impact on your own wellbeing, too. So in the words of Mother Teresa:
Yesterday is gone. “ Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
So as you travel the road to personal well-being, keep in mind that the fastest way to get there is to give back. Volunteering your time, effort or talents is an exercise that will prove invaluable to everyone, including the person you least expected – you. n Thoits, PA & Hewitt, LN (2001).“Volunteer work and well being.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42(2), pp 115-131.
Young Children • Adopt a grandparent • Pull weeds, pick up litter, and sweep pathways in city/county/state parks • Hold a bake sale to raise funds for community causes • Fill lunch bags with nonperishable treats for the children at a local women’s shelter • Sing or perform skits at a local nursing home • Have your school participate in a project that helps other needy children (for example, Kids in Need of Desks) Pre-Teens and Teenagers • Tutor younger students • Help organize books at your local library • Collect canned food for community food pantries/warehouses or soup kitchens • Help organize food at community food pantries/warehouses or soup kitchens • Organize a fundraiser for causes like the Red Cross – car washes, talent shows, etc. • Plant trees in your community – visit Arbor Day’s website for local projects College Students & Adults • Organize or participate in a blood drive – visit the Red Cross website or contact local blood banks • Raise funds for local museums, performing arts centers, galleries, etc. • Volunteer at an animal shelter • Collect and organize grocery coupons to distribute to local shelters • Volunteer at a nearby hospital • Help with political campaigns in which you believe Families • Visit soup kitchens and homeless shelters • Participate in community environmental projects – Clean Up the World or United Nations Environment Program • Sign up for a race that benefits a good cause, such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure • Decorate for seasonal events at nursing homes of group homes • Donate clothing, household items, etc. to organizations like the Salvation Army Visit positiveimpactmagazine.com for more info and links to volunteer.
The donation of life
Volunteer Ideas for Everyone:
The recipient of a 25-year-old woman’s heart tells his story of how organ donation allows a lasting legacy
By: David Hebestreit
A woman died, suddenly and way too young. She was only 25 years old. In the midst of the shock and grief of this loss, her loving family decided to donate all of her organs and tissue. Seldom does a day pass when I don’t think of the impact her decision had on me. I received her heart. At that time, I was 35 years old and a lifelong athlete. I was still playing soccer competitively, yet I suffered from a rare infection that attacked my heart, rendering it almost useless. If I didn’t receive a new heart, I would have died, too. The woman’s selfless act of donating her heart affected my life and thousands of other people. Every person who I meet is impacted because, without the heart, I would not be alive. Like concentric circles when a stone is thrown into a lake, the donation of organs continues to impact society long after the donor has died. In late February of 2006, I was contemplating hospice care. The next month, I was making plans to return to the soccer field. In mid-December 2005, I traveled to the Cleveland Clinic to wait for a transplant because my heart had grown so weak and inefficient that I could no longer safely live away from a hospital’s care. Even the simple act of walking was too difficult. Wondering if I would die before a new heart arrived, I waited in the hospital for almost three months. The 88-day struggle ended on March 6, 2006. My old heart was removed and the donated one was inserted into my body. In the following weeks and months, I was once again able to participate in physical activities. Today, I have long since returned to an active lifestyle. When I place my hand on my chest and hear that heart beat – my heart because of the generosity and foresight of another person – I think about the donor’s selfless act. I am blessed to have this heart, and I vow to care for it the right way. My ambition is to give this gift to the next soul that needs a healthy heart. It is 10 years younger than the rest of my body. I believe I am borrowing this heart until I am no longer here, and at that time I will donate it to prolong another person’s life. I am proud to be a registered organ donor. Around 25 of my friends and family members have also decided to give the multiple, lasting gifts of their organs and tissue. Not everyone is a candidate to be an organ donor. There are some religious beliefs that prohibit the act. However, if you are able, becoming an organ donor is one final way to keep your legacy alive along with allowing the recipient to continue to live and favorably impact the people they will meet along the way. Are you interested in becoming an organ donor? To register as a donor, you must contact your Secretary of State. It is also critical to make this desire known to immediate family members so the decision can be made when the time arrives. n Left: Dave Hebestreit in his fifth period English room Dave Hebestreit coaching his U18 girl soccer team
Money can have positive powers IF USED IN THE RIGHT WAYS By: Dan Sherman
How do you view money? Is it something you aspire to gain and control? Is it a tool for doing good in the world? Or do you feel that it’s the root of all evil, the catalyst to greed in a world gone mad? Whichever your belief, money by itself is neither good nor evil. It’s simply energy that is stored to be used, and it only becomes a force in the world depending on who is spending it and how it is used. The general consensus is that most people want more money. It appears that the accumulation of money brings freedom: when your needs are taken care of, you can then focus on pursuing your passions. As British spiritual writer Stuart Wilde puts it, “The trick to money is having some.” The question then becomes, what happens after you have enough money to take care of your needs? How can your excess money be used in a way that helps the less fortunate? The answer can be found in two movements taking hold around the world that demonstrate the positive power of money to create change in the lives of those who are in need.
economist. In 1976, during visits to the poorest regions of his country, Yunus discovered that very small loans could make a huge difference to struggling business owners. His first loan of $27 was made from his own pocket to 42 women who were making bamboo furniture. The loan resulted in the women making a profit on their furniture, and Yunus expanded the program – first by securing a government loan to do more lending, and then in 1983 by creating the Grameen Bank dedicated to microfinance. Today, the Grameen Bank has loaned billions of dollars to struggling business owners, and it has inspired similar efforts in hundreds of countries throughout the developing world as well as in industrialized nations like the U.S. In 2006, Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. The Nobel committee praised Yunus for developing microcredit into an important instrument in the struggle against poverty.
A movement designed for the poor
More recently, in the U.S. two of the world’s richest people began their own movement to use money in a positive way. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett each decided that the enormous wealth they and their peers held would best be used by charity. So they created
The first movement is called microcredit and involves giving small loans to poor people possessing no collateral. Its invention is credited to Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi
Sharing the wealth of the richest
“The Giving Pledge” and reached out to 80 members of the Forbes Magazine billionaire list, asking them to give away a majority of their wealth to charitable causes. “We’re hoping that America, which is already the most generous society on Earth, becomes even more generous over time,” said Buffett. To date, over half the billionaires contacted have agreed to sign the pledge. Each one has made a public statement on the drive’s website along with a letter explaining their decision. Based on current estimates of their wealth, the pledges total an amazing $125 billion for charitable causes. At a time when giving is down due to the recession, it’s a great boost to charities who remain central to taking care of the needs of many yet lack contributions from Americans currently unable to give. The billionaires taking the pledge are free to direct their money to causes of their choice, and the drive is not promoting one cause over another. Additionally, the pledge they are taking is not binding, although the billionaires are making a
moral commitment by publicly signing their names to letters posted on the Internet (see www.GivingPledge.org). According to the pledge, the billionaires can give during their lifetimes or after their passing. Each one has committed to giving 50% away, while some have committed to much more. Buffet, in fact, has pledged to give 99% of his wealth away, saying that 1% is enough to live on comfortably. Gates and Buffett have relied on personal phone calls and dinner meetings to convince the wealthy to give away their fortunes. “The idea is not to tell anybody when or how to do it, but at least offer what others have learned,” said Buffett. “We’ve found that when we do this at dinners, everybody goes away smarter at the end of it.”
A new way of thinking about money
The next time you look in your wallet or purse and see the cash there, remember that money is energy. There can be a tremendous amount of positive power in its use, if only we become aware. Think about what Yunus did in creating microcredit, and what Gates and Buffett have started, and consider whether you too want to turn some of your “energy” into ways to help the world today. n
Did You Know Concrete Pavers Are Good For Our Environment? By: Geoff Bond
“Hardscaping” is an unfamiliar word to most of us, even though it exists all around our homes and businesses, and in the public areas we frequent. Hardscaping is related to landscaping and is specifically the practice of creating vertical (walls) and/or horizontal (vehicular or pedestrian) outdoor hard surfacing. In the purest sense, a person can imagine how nice it would be to exist in a world where there is no hardscaping – where nothing exists except the natural bare earth in our communities and around our homes and businesses. However, if that was the case, how would we work, play, commute and grow in today’s society and not erode the Earth’s surface? The answer is, we couldn’t without hardscaping. The best hard surfaces we can build for our environment are permeable surfaces constructed of concrete pavers. As we all know, water is a vital natural resource for our planet, and water conservation and pollution control issues are major environmental concerns. Rain is the source that keeps us in supply of water, and managing storm water is critical to water conservation. Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavements (PICP) is the best hardscaping system for managing storm water runoff. These PICP systems are comprised of interlocking concrete paving stones (“pavers”) that allow water to pass around the individual units, down through open graded aggregate base layers below the pavers and then finally into the earth. Some of the benefits of hardscaping with PICPs include pollutants get filtered out of water as it travels down through the system, which is important for communities that depend on groundwater for their drinking water; storm water runoff volumes are reduced and flooding is minimized. For more information about Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement Systems, visit Flagstone Pavers Inc. at www.flagstonepavers.com or call us at 352.799.7933.
SIMPLY POSITIVE “Every now and then go away and have a little relaxation. To remain constantly at work will diminish your judgment. Go some distance away, because work will be in perspective and a lack of harmony is more readily seen.” - Leonardo DaVinci
A Beautiful Moment In Time Photo contest winner: Deb Raschella
My Red Hammock After three feet of snow and winds blowing gale force, there is nothing more beautiful or welcoming than a warm spring day in Wisconsin. This joy comes to me every spring like clockwork, and with each passing year, I feel so blessed to be able to share this special spot with my two grandkids. Just imagine the three of us packed like sardines in this hammock reading stories, laughing and just unwinding from the day’s activities. This is my true definition of joy! Someday, they’ll be too big for all of us to fit in together, but I’ll always have the wonderful memories of time spent together in my red hammock.
Be the voice for those who have no voice
Encouraging positive solutions for life worldwide. More then a resource for sharing stories and articles that provide education, possibiliti...
Published on Jan 21, 2012
Encouraging positive solutions for life worldwide. More then a resource for sharing stories and articles that provide education, possibiliti...