Category Archives: Project 365

Geoffrey Canada Knows How To Save Education

And Geoffrey Canada knows how to save children and parents and communities.

I’ve written about Mr. Canada before – one of my Project 365 heroes.  But I think this man, his Harlem Project and the incredible success he has had with rescuing children, educating them and sending them off to college deserves to be revisited.

Perhaps it’s because I just finished Canada’s book – Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence.

If you want to know how to save our children, how to make our schools better, how to change, grow and heal our communities, read Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence. Then get out of your chair, get in your car or on your bike or even on your skates, go to the nearest school, step inside and volunteer to help change the children’s worlds.

Geoffrey Canada is the man behind the Harlem Project. His mind, his drive, his desire to help children, parents and the community made the Harlem project a reality. And Geoffrey Canada knows his audience; he lived in abject poverty, the son of a single mom in a neighborhood where value was assigned based on how well you fought.

Geoffrey Canada’s approach points the way to saving all the children who live in neighborhoods owned and operated by drug dealers, drug users, robbers, muggers, burglars and rapists — killers of every description. My take on his core thesis is you cannot change children who live in these communities just by working inside the 4 walls of a school; you MUST change the community, reach out to the parents, help them where they are so they can reach out and change their own worlds, one step at a time, one day at a time.

Working in one of these schools in one of these neighborhoods, I see  “throw away” children every day.  On a good day, these kids are raising themselves; on a bad day, they are being turned into mules, snitches and sometimes, enforcers.

I could stay home.  I could turn a blind eye.  I could be one of millions of people who sit at their table every morning and bemoan the ignorance, the violence the destruction being wrought in our communities and schools.

I won’t.  I get up and go to work in one of these schools every day.  I reach out to touch these wonderful middle school and high school children, talk to them. offer them   If I can make a difference in the life of just one child, I have done a good job.

So to everyone who thinks this is someone else’s problem, here’s my advice. This holiday season, give a gift that cannot be bought in any store.  Get up. Go to a troubled school.  See how you can help!

These children did nothing wrong but to have the misfortune of being born poor.  They don’t deserve to die – physically, emotionally or mentally.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under arm wresting, Book Reviews, Death & Dying, Education, Gifts, Inspiring People, Life & Death, Politics, Project 365

On the Path To Self Knowledge with Oprah & Deepak Chopra

In Oprah’s 21 day Desire & Destiny meditation series Oprah and Deepak ask us to answer three, simple questions:

Who am I?

What do I want?

How can I serve?

Small, aren’t they?  But I think they are the toughest questions you can ask and answer.

Each question is part of one week’s exploration.  Each builds on the other and helps you to slowly but surely understand who you really are without all the noise that people, life and even you, yourself, have heaped on the small, brave spark that waits for each of us to listen, again.

As I wrote in my previous blog post, one of the biggest things I have learned about myself is that what I really want (Day 8) is to live from my heart in peace and joy.  Today, I learned something I knew, we all know really,  but tend to forget.

In this whole world, teeming with billions of people, there is only one you.

Read that again.  There is only one you, one me, one unique person.  And if we dare to follow our path up the mountain, if we follow our bliss, each of us has within us the power  to change the world.

Don’t believe it?  Nelson Mandela changed the world — from a prison cell where he lived for 27 years, this one beautiful soul reached out and broke the back of apartheid.

How about Geoffrey Canada?  His Harlem Children’s Zone rescued thousands of children and families, rebuilt a neighborhood and reformed education forever in Harlem, New York.

What about Shirley Chisholm?  She  became the first African-American woman elected to Congress.  She fought not just for her constituency but for all people in need of a better life and she won.

Take just a moment, today, to ask yourself those three questions then listen, really listen.  The universe will send you the answer and it might surprise you.

1 Comment

Filed under arm wresting, Education, Gifts, Inspiring People, Life & Death, Project 365, Religion, Work, World Changing Ideas

Shoulder Surgery No Big Deal!

I’m back…sort of.

Still one-armed and will be for about 2 months!

The  rotator cuff was torn in my right shoulder but when they opened up the site, it was the “missing tendon” that got their attention.  The surgeon showed me the arthroscopic image of the shoulder joint sans tendon.   Very interesting…

Sometime during the last 18 to 24 months, the  tendon went on vacation without me!  So my recovery and physical therapy will take a bit longer but I am totally up for that.

Now for the big story.  You know all those people I told you about who felt compelled to tell me their particular horror story about shoulder surgery?  Well, I am here to say it was no big deal.

Okay, the first 4 days were a bit of a blur – thanks to vicodin.  But wearing the Iceman 24 X 7 and taking the pain meds on time really kept me pretty comfortable.   Surgery on Tuesday and by Saturday, I was starting to wake up and pay attention.  Sure, there was some pain but it was totally manageable.

In fact, within one week of surgery, my arm hurt less than it had for over a year!  Now, 2 weeks and 3 days later, I am in physical therapy, doing my “passive exercises” and beginning to feel that I will be fine.

Am I being careful? You bet.  The sling is off about 6 hours a day (twice a day for 3 hours each) but ONLY inside the house.  I do go out to get the mail but even  with two arms and two legs and in good weather, our driveway makes it an adventure.  One-armed, it’s more like climbing a mountain!   shoulder surgery and the driveway.

Still, I am glad to be on the mend.  And glad to be back in my office, at my desk, hacking away at the keyboard!

9 Comments

Filed under Education, Healthcare, Project 365

Shoulder Surgery Sidelining This Writer

Tomorrow the rotator cuff and tendons in my right shoulder are undergoing a bit of surgical repair.

I’m pretty sure that a couple of good landings off my horse helped to do the damage but I have ignored it until my right arm is slowly but surely starting not to work very well.  So, off to the O.R. we go!

As soon as people learn I am having rotator cuff surgery, they feel compelled to tell me just how bad it will be and how excruciatingly painful.  It’s a bit like the horror stories people share with you when they find out you’re pregnant.  Who really needs to know that labor can last 36 hours, that heads can be huge and having babies can cause so much pain?

But tell they do.  So, I am facing surgery with fear in my heart and sneakers on my feet.  Wonder how far I can run in a day?

Anyway, I will be sidelined for a couple of weeks, doing one armed living and wishing I had stayed on the horse instead of sailing over him!

I hope to be back in mid to late March.  Until then, I’ll be reading(my favorite Olympic sport) and thinking but not writing.  But I will be back!

8 Comments

Filed under Education, Healthcare, Project 365

Project 365: “Fearless” Quilt Honors Rosa Parks

I am old enough to remember the courage of Rosa Parks and her quiet, considered grace.  I am old enough to remember the fight for desegregation and for civil rights.

I can praise the men and women and children who helped liberate our country from an unimaginable constraint based solely on color.  I cannot imagine having the skill and talent to create this wonderful tribute to Ms. Parks and all the doors she opened for all of us on that bus ride she took in December of 1955.

Thanks Craft Gossip for sharing this amazing work of art.

“Fearless” quilt honors Rosa Parks · Quilting | CraftGossip.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Inspiring People, Project 365, World Changing Ideas

Project 365 – Margaret Roach & Fedco Founder Talk Seeds

Of all the people whose gardening wisdom I follow, here are two that I most admire and trust.

Margaret Roach is the author of two books I proudly own – A Way to Garden: A Hands-On Primer for Every Season which I have had for years and and And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road.

Both books are about gardening — the former of plants and trees, the latter of a human being.  Both remain on my coffee table, in view and in reach.  Both steady my nerves, wipe some of the stress off my soul and help me come back to ground.

C.R. Lawn’s name is new to me but his work in organic gardening and market growing is not.  C.R. Lawn is the man behind Fedco Seeds.  If you are an organic gardener, you know this company.

Fedco Seeds has been selling organic, non-GMO seeds for more than 30 years.  As a cooperative, “profit is not our primary goal,” according to their site.  Sure, they sell seeds, but what Fedco is really in the business of doing is cooperatively finding, growing, and sharing seeds, trees and knowledge with gardeners around the globe..

Margaret Roach was generous enough to share her interview with this legend of organic gardening; I wanted to share it with you as these two are among the 365 people and organizations who, I believe, are changing the world.  Enjoy!

giveaway: vegetable-garden tips from c.r. lawn — A Way to Garden.

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Gardening, Inspiring People, Project 365, World Changing Ideas

Project 365 – Square Foot Gardening For Food

Anyone who has ever gardened has heard the expression, “square foot gardening.”

It’s a modified version of “raised-bed intensive,” an old technique that is supposed to create a highly controlled space where dense planting produces greater yields.

Some of us (me included) have employed some of the methods to get the greatest amount of food out of the smallest patch of dirt.  And some, like the Square Foot Gardening Foundation, have taken the concept of maximum yield from small space to the nth degree.

They’re good at it too and should be.  The founder of this organization is Mel Bartholomew — PBS host, author and gardener himself.

Bartholomew has been nominated twice for inclusion Cambridge Who’s Who for this gardening method.  He simplified this gardening technique and made it easy for total beginners and seasoned gardeners to use successfully.  And his books and videos made this method of gardening readily available to anyone, anywhere.

Bartholomew could have stopped with fame and international accolades but he didn’t.  That’s why I’m writing about him.  He took his interest in  big yields from small patches and created The Square Foot Gardening Foundation.

The foundation’s purpose?  To end world hunger.

Square foot gardening is the method this group of dedicated people use to teach families how to grow healthy food and improve their diets.  The foundation also teaches classes and supports local community gardens. And it trains certified teachers who then support NGO (non-governmental) projects overseas.

The Square Foot Gardening Foundation is teaching folks to grow their own food all around the world. That’s why they are on the list of 365 organizations and the people behind them who are helping to save the world.

My thanks to Michele McCarty for suggesting this group.  Michele, who is a member of the Linked In group, Grow Girls Grow Organic,  is also training with Square Foot Gardening Foundation to become a certified teacher and she is the owner/President of Wonder Wormin Vermicomposting Systems.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, Inspiring People, Life & Death, Project 365, Saving Money, World Changing Ideas