Posts tagged ‘Volunteering’

May 5, 2011

Do something

Via Google

Since I was a child, my mother always told me to change the world. Alright, maybe she didn’t quite put it that way. Instead, she would always say: “if you don’t like it, then do something about it.” Well mom, it stuck. I heard you all those years ago and I still hear you now. Loud and clear. And you thought I wasn’t listening. You thought I threw your advice out like the stale milk you used to pour down the sink. You should never ever have worried. I know it’s what mothers do but come on now……I’m your son.

No one understands that fact better than you. When I started keeping a blog about how we all could make the world a better place, I was channeling you. When I tell any of my students to stand up for what is right, it is your voice that I hear. The recycling idea, the Catalyst idea, soccer for the kids at Minnie Street……you, you and yup……you. Perhaps it was the fact that you were always so generous, thinking of everyone else and yourself last. Or that you single-handedly fought to bring our family to the United States, all five of us. It definitely could have been that you never let failure define you. You achieved a Ph.D. with 4 kids and a husband, kept trying your hand in entrepreneurship despite some false starts and rebounded from tragedy after tragedy.

With mothers’ day quickly approaching, you’re on my mind. Then again like I already pointed out, you’ve been on my mind all along. I am going to do something thoughtful for you on Sunday but my biggest way of paying you the respect you deserve is by continuing to take your advice and “do something” about what’s wrong. After all, I am your son.

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August 13, 2010

Rio 2010 Homeless World Cup

Jacked from Homeless World Cup site

I love soccer. It is one of my favorite things to watch and I thoroughly enjoy watching the World Cup. The idea that every four years, people around the world get together, plop down in front of a television set and watch the same spectacle always amazes me. There is truly nothing like the World Cup. Battles have actually come to a stand still as warring factions agree to take a break to go watch a match or two. That’s how powerful soccer can be and that power is now being turned towards fighting homelessness?

Yes, you read that right. Doing some reading, I stumbled upon this article on former College soccer star Lisa Wrightsman, who is now homeless. She had succumbed to addiction and ended up finding herself in a very bad place. She checked into a shelter to find a job and get her life back together but was also recruited to play for the soccer team there.

While I was excited to read about the positive changes she was making, what caught my attention was the tournament she was playing in; The Street Soccer USA Cup.

This was not the style of free-form street soccer played in many places around the world. Instead, it was an Americanized version, a fast-paced four-on-four game with referees ensuring adherence to rules and walls confining play on a 52-by-72-foot field, the goals being 12 feet wide and 4 feet high.

Apparently, “About 200 players came from teen shelters, refugee resource centers and recovery houses from across the country, as well as one team from St. Petersburg, Russia. The Russian team won the title, beating a team from San Francisco in the final, 6-1.” I also couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw there was indeed a World Cup which would be going down in September in Rio. 64 nations will be participating and I for one will be keeping a close eye on the proceedings. More to come but for now I’ll leave you with this….

August 10, 2010

The Compton Initiative

This fall, NBC is going to debut a new show called “School Pride”
The show will focus on communities coming together to make a difference by volunteering to help beautify and rebuild schools in the community. This show will have the power of NBC behind it and will be broadcast nationally. However, long before the cameras arrived, the Compton Initiative had been doing something similar. Infact, the Compton Initiative will be one of NBC’s partners on this project.

I have been fortunate to be a part of this movement for close to a year now and have been meaning to write about it but never got around to it. What exactly is it then? According to their website justdogood.org,

In 2005 a church in Paramount had a vision of seeing healing come to its neighboring city of Compton.

The name of that Church was Immanuel Reformed, and before moving on to Compton, they had successfully done something similar in Paramount. Their goal was to take back the city of Compton by hosting work days where select houses, schools and/ or lots, are cleaned, repainted etc. The idea was that Compton could be known as something else besides just a poverty stricken, high crime area and that a new city could be reborn out of their efforts.

The church I attend caught wind of the idea last year and got involved. This was how I came to become a part of this “Initiative”. Since the first work day in 2006, 80,457 volunteer hours have been logged on 316 worksites (not counting the last work day in July). Some more stats; in 2006, there were 550 volunteers, 22 worksites and 3 work days. Last year, there were 2500 volunteers, 100 sites and 4 work days.

This is a great example of what can happen when common people decide to just do good. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, please look into being a part of the work yet to be done. Meanwhile, those out of range can get involved in other ways. Visit justdogood.org for more information on how to get plugged in.

June 6, 2009

A Letter to the Baby Boomers from my Generation

Dear Baby Boomers,

We would like to take the time to thank you for all that you have done for my generation. You gave us the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr., Women’s Rights, Hippies etc. You taught us a lot of lessons that no doubt will be useful for years to come. Lessons like “All you need is love…..” and you spoke out for the downtrodden. Which is why it saddens me to say this; with all due respect, you’ve lost your way.

Where did it all go wrong? When did you become fine with being the same establishment that you loathed all those years? Was it too much self love or were all those things fake? Is this who you really are or did you just get fat off the nicest piece of the pie?

It certainly appears that way when you consider the huge National debt that we have right now and the current state of the economy. I find it ironic that while you were spending and mismanaging the money, you never once thought of us. Now all of a sudden your big bubble has burst and now you don’t want to pass on “this huge debt to our children”. A little too late for that isn’t it?

Well don’t worry, we’ll be just fine. We are going to change things and they will be for the better. We still remember those lessons and we know that money isn’t everything. We still remember that what made America great was not her government, rather it was her people. People who were willing to sacrifice and to share. People who were willing to give and yes, to love. So while you argue over policy, we’ll still be here. Look up the statistics, we are mentoring people younger than us more than ever before and we are taking up causes like you used to a long time ago. When Katrina happened, we were there to help and we’ll continue to go where we are needed.

There is a revolution coming and it won’t be legislated. You won’t be able to call it “Socialism” or “Capitalism” or put it in a box. We are going to change the world and we are going to do it by affecting one person at a time.

So thank you for the final lesson you have taught us. Greed and selfishness never pays. Money comes and goes but people remain.