Tag Archives: Project 365

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.

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

Project 365 – Growing Is Good For The Soul

As an organic gardener, it’s tough for me to separate myself from the deep emotions that working with soil, in the early morning sun brings to my small corner of this vast planet.  If I were a betting woman (never started because my Dad said if you can’t afford to lose it; don’t), I would say that every gardener feels the same way.

Gardeners know that growing plants is therapeutic whether you’re growing vegetables, flowers or herbs.  At the end of a long winter, warm soil, warm sun and the wonderful, rich aroma of earth just waiting for seeds or seedlings can lift the spirits of many.

Growing is good for the soul.

What makes growing even more fulfilling is when it’s coupled with programs that bring the joy, the peace and the satisfaction of bringing seeds to life — programs like The Growing Center in Frederick, Pennsylvania.

The Growing Center offers horticultural therapy programs that  focus on youth at risk, the physically and mentally challenged and senior citizens.  Using gardening as a healing element, the Center also helps people whose lived have been disrupted by illness or injury.

Programs are designed to improve participants’ abilities to do tasks and help them cope with the changes that have occurred sometimes unexpectedly in their lives.  The Growing Center also offers horticultural stress relief workshops once a month for people who just need a break.  And what better place to get it.

The Healing Garden at the Growing Center, a four-acre bit of heaven adjacent to the greenhouses, is a riot of color and scent from spring to fall.  The gazebo offers a peaceful spot for just closing your eyes and relaxing.  The pond, benches and shaded areas add to the pleasure and peace that people who come to the Center can enjoy.

Aside from its horticultural therapy programs and The Healing Garden, The Growing Center has also developed ten acres of its land  into community gardening plots offered to anyone in the community who would like to grow vegetables for themselves.  There is only one requirement – gardeners must give any surplus to a local food bank or others in need.

No fees are charged for the horticultural therapy sessions.  Most of the funding comes from donations and from membership fees.  And the Growing Center is a mostly volunteer organization.  It grew out of the life experience of its founder and current Executive Directory, Linda M. Boyer, and her husband David who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1992.

Surgery left him in a wheel chair, one side of his body paralyzed.  Costs for his care drained the Boyer’s bank accounts and almost led to the loss of their farm.  Neighbors helped raise funds, saving the farm from foreclosure and their generosity led the Boyers to start this non-profit organization.  Once they started, they never slowed down or looked back.

The Boyers and their neighbors are another example of people working  every single day to help change the lives of others.

 

 

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

Project 365 – Mosquitoes In January

It’s way too cold out right now to be thinking about mosquitoes.  Well, at least it’s too cold for most of us to even consider this summer pest.

But not for Ray Chambers.

Chambers is the co-founder of Malaria No More, a non-profit with one mission – eradicate malaria by 2015.

That’s a pretty big task especially considering that every 45 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria. But Chambers, who has devoted his life to this cause is working tirelessly to rid the world of this preventable and treatable disease.

If you look at the numbers, you’ll see that it won’t be easy.  Every year:

  1. 247 million people contract malaria.
  2. Close to a million of those who contract malaria die.
  3. 91% of the cases are in Africa.
  4. 85% of them are children under the age of 5.

Surprisingly, there are a number of new cases of malaria in the United States every year, virtually all of which were acquired outside of the US.  A lower risk stateside but a much higher risk for anyone traveling to countries where malaria is experiencing a resurgence.  The growing resistance to anti-malarial drugs is also a cause for concern.

Ending deaths from malaria requires an investment in prevention, diagnosis and treatment.  The arsenal of weapons used in this battle include bed nets, spraying, diagnostic tests and medicines. A vaccine is now in development to prevent malaria in the future.  All of these require financial support.

To get enough support to eradicate malaria, this modern-day plague also requires visibility.

And visibility is something Chambers is pretty good at.  He is currently the  global ambassador for Population Services International (PSI), the world’s largest distributor of anti malaria mosquito nets.

PSI credits the support of groups like Malaria No More for providing the resources needed to send out 120 million nets, nets that have saved  more than a million lives and prevented 100 million malaria cases.

Chambers is also the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, another avenue for visibility. And his organization, Malaria No More, is part of the global Roll Back Malaria Partnership.

Co-founded by the World Health Organization, the Roll Back Malaria partnership offers a  global framework to implement coordinated action against malaria.

Ray Chambers is part of a partnership that’s fighting to wipe malaria off the face of our planet; he is also a man on a mission to do just that.  That’s why he is on my list of 365 people and organizations that are changing the world.

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Project 365 – Teach A Person To FIsh

What is that old saying, “Give  a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.”

I think that’s why I find what Heifer International does every day, across the globe, to be world changing.  And yes, I have written about this organization before but when there are so many lives changed, so many communities lifted out of poverty, I cannot ignore them.

Heifer International deserves all the attention it gets.  Why?

You can read all about the organization.  Or, if you’re into short stories, watch this brief video clip to find out.  (Heifer has been doing this so long and so well, it can explain how it works in exactly 1 minute.)

So, this organization doesn’t arrive with boxes of food and measuring cups.  They arrive with livestock – goats, cattle, water buffalo, chickens, ducks, even bees.  And they don’t just drop the animals off and drive away.

Heifer works with the community, creating a development plan, choosing recipients carefully and providing all the training needed including animal husbandry, water quality and ecologically sound agricultural practices.

People who receive livestock are also expected to raise crops needed to feed their animals, to become self-supporting. And all recipients become donors – passing on offspring to other members in the community or village. The objective is  to help feed hungry people but also, to create sustainable growth.  (They’ve got a short video about this, too.)

Heifer is truly teaching men and women to fish.

Started in 1939 by a relief worker named Dan West, Heifer International has helped more than 12 million families and a total of 62 million men, women and children.  One man’s simple idea –giving families a source of food rather than short-term relief — hasn’t changed since he took the first shipment of cattle to Puerto Rico in 1944.  It is alive and helping people in 128 countries around the world including the United States.

That’s why I love this organization, I support them instead of typical relief organizations and, yes, I write about them.  But they are literally changing the world.  For as little as $20.00 you can buy a flock of chicks or ducklings and start changing the world, too.

If you know any  other people in your town or city who are helping others, please send me the name of the group and any info you want to share and I will do the rest.

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Project 365 – Neighbors Helping Neighbors

In the heart of Oxford, Pennsylvania there is a place that offers a lifeline to people in need.

Neighborhood Services Center (NSC) is a small operation with a small staff but the service that it provides is big, especially to people living and working in this rural area and especially in the current economic times.

Founded in 1971, NSC doesn’t have counselors on staff; it doesn’t offer typical social service programs.  What NSC offers is far more valuable.  It offers connections – links between people who need services and people who provide them.

According to its website, this privately run, non-profit is still focused on its original goal of assisting people to achieve health, wholeness and stability in their lives by:

  • Establishing a link between people who want to reach out to help others.
  • Offering people with questions, problems or emergency needs a place to explore options and/or find answers.
  • Providing space for county agencies and community programs to deliver services directly to people.

People who come to NSC for help can also receive emergency assistance services like food, clothing, rent and utility assistance.

NSC relies on funding from 4 other regional agencies — United Way of Southern Chester County, Chester County’s Department of Human Services, the Health and Welfare Foundation of Southern Chester County and the Oxford Area Civic Association.  It also relies heavily on volunteers who put in thousands of hours a year to ensure help is available when and where it’s needed.

NSC is not sexy.  It’s not going to make headlines nor is it going to be featured on national television.  But it is going to continue its 40 year tradition of providing help, advice and resources to the people who live in and near its office.

From my chair, this agency and the people behind it belong on the list of 365 people who are helping to change the world.

Know any other people in your town or city who are helping others?  Send me the name of the group and any info you want to share and I will do the rest.

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Project 365: The Man Who Is Teaching The World

You gotta love this guy.  He’s literally a genius at math and science.  But he’s also a man who reached out to help his own cousin navigate these terrifying subjects.  Now, Salman Khan helps millions and millions of people learn, online at Kahn Academy.

And the topic list is amazing, ranging from Algebra (pretty much the subject that started the whole thing) to Venture Capitalism.  In between, users can learn about art, history, economics, information technology and health and wellness.  In fact, Kahn Academy now boasts more than 2700 video lessons that are offered free of charge to anyone who wants to watch and learn from them.

How did this happen?

As I mentioned, Khan started tutoring a young cousin remotely in 2004 after learning that she was struggling with math. They lived pretty far away from each other so Kahn decided to use the Internet and create some videos to help her.  Soon other relatives were asking him for help.  When he posted a series of lessons on YouTube, they went viral, and donors like Bill Gates offered to help him expand his efforts.

And Khan did just that!

Today, the academy has more than 250,000 YouTube subscribers and his videos have a total of 108, 697,000 upload views.  Khan Academy is the second most subscribed to non profit organization on YouTube.

This former hedge fund analyst quit his day job a few years ago to focus on teaching.  Now, he posts short video lessons to his site, khanacademy.org—where kids in dozens of countries learn about everything from Hubble’s Law to the French Revolution and get a chance to reinforce what they’ve seen with practice exercises designed for every level.

And Khan Academy isn’t just for kids.  Coaches and teachers who use this tool can access all of their students’ data. Summary data for the whole class is online as is data that allows teachers to dive into a particular student’s profile to figure out exactly which topics are problematic.  Again, it’s all free.

Running this enterprise is a lot of work and up until 2010, Khan was dipping into his own savings to help foot the bill.  Why do it?  Khan says he wants to provide extra help that kids  may not be getting at public schools like the ones he attended near New Orleans.  But he also wants to reach kids who don’t have access to schools, at all.

With $2 million from Google, Khan, who now has a small team (check out Ben Kamens who leads interns at Khan Academy) is translating his videos into languages like Mandarin, Hindi, and Spanish, broadening the base and extending the reach of his organization beyond the limitations of the English language.

For a  lifelong learner like me, Khan Academy is a bit like a candy shop – full of lovely things to learn and all of them free for the asking.  And I am not alone.  A whole lot of people are watching and learning using a teaching tool developed by one man to help one young girl.

Sal Kahn is helping millions of children and he is changing the world.  If you want to learn more about Sal and his mission, check out these FAQ’s or see what Oprah had to say about him in the October issue of her magazine.

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Project 365 – The Lowcountry Orphan Relief

Low Country, in South Carolina, is one of the most beautiful areas along the East coast.  It’s also a popular vacation spot with a rich history and some of the finest golf courses and resorts in the South.  It’s a place that makes you think of warm breezes and beautiful beaches.

It’s also home to a small but rapidly growing non profit that is focused on providing clothing and support to orphans – The Lowcountry Orphan Relief.

Orphans, in this country?  You don’t hear a whole lot about them, perhaps because the number of children orphaned in the United States in 2010, according to UNICEF, was  low – 2100.

That’s not a big number when compared to the more than 2 million children that are orphaned every year in Africa or the 31,000 orphaned in India last year according to UNICEF’s comprehensive report entitled The State of the World’s Children 2011.

So, why write about an organization named Lowcountry Orphan Relief (LOR)?

Simple.  This small but dedicated group of people doesn’t just help orphans; it helps abused and neglected children, too.   If you look at those numbers, you’ll understand why their work is even more important.

In 2010, there were more than 700,000 verified incidents of child abuse in this country, 85% of which involved either neglect or physical abuse.

The Lowcountry Orphan Relief is catching and caring for children in and around Charleston, as fast as they can.  Founded in 2003 by a woman whose job it was to speak for children caught in the court system, this organization provides clothing, toiletries, books and school supplies within 48 hours of a child’s removal from his or her home.

Two statistics define this mostly volunteer group that makes up Lowcountry Relief:

  1. They have clothed more than 10,000 needy children since 2008.
  2. 90% of all income given to this group is used to provide for the children’s needs.

LOR has also built libraries at emergency shelters and group homes in the tri-county area and continues to attract support of its neighbors and neighboring businesses in its quest to meet its mission statement:
…to provide services and aid to meet the meet the needs of abandoned, abused and neglected children in the Lowcountry and specifically intervene where government aid ends.

That’s why Lowcountry Orphan Relief is on my list of 365 organizations and people who are changing the world.  If you want to learn more about this wonderful organization, check out this article:  Guardian Angel.

My thanks to fellow WordPress blogger Andy who nominated Lowcountry Orphan Relief and whose posts make me grin.

If you have a group or a person who you think belongs in the list of world-changing people, please share it with me.  I will do the rest!

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Filed under Inspiring People, Life & Death, Project 365, Religion, World Changing Ideas