Cold Weather

Cold Weather

By Bruce Gilden

Temperatures are dropping this time of year in many parts of the world, America included. And as it gets colder and colder outside, one group in particular faces new and dangerous challenges: those who are homeless.

While homelessness is a serious issue throughout the year, it becomes more pressing in the winter months. For people living on the street, colder temperatures and wet weather can pose serious risks—even when the weather doesn’t seem extreme to the general public.

This graph from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, or NOAA. According to this illustration, temperatures of 30℉ with winds of 15 miles per hour drop the wind chill temperature down to 19℉. At that temperature, frostbite can affect exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.
Fredy Holzer

Frostbite isn’t the only danger that homeless individuals face. Hypothermia can quickly set in if their body temperature drops below 90℉, which happens more quickly as wind chill increases. Wet weather can soak the limited clothing they have, further increasing the risk of hypothermia and frostbite, as well as a myriad of other health concerns.

One of the main recommendations by the NOAA in this weather involves dressing in layers and covering exposed skin. The more skin that is exposed, the greater effect that wind chill can have and the greater the risk of frostbite. But for many of our neighbors who are homeless, layering up is more complicated—they might only have the clothes on their back.

The homeless struggle to get many things they need, and inadequate clothing can have disastrous effects. In January 2018, a nationwide cold front in the United States led to a lot of worry—and even some deaths. In one week, at least twelve people passed away due to extreme cold, according to AP News. The cold isn’t just uncomfortable; it can become life-threatening.

This is a sobering reality, and one that spans different regions and even different countries. But how can ordinary citizens help?

According to the sock company Bombas, socks are the most requested item at homeless shelters. Clean, warm, and dry socks are essential to help those who are homeless stay warm and healthy. So Bombas donates a pair of socks for every pair that is purchased. Their contributions make their way into homeless shelters, food banks, and community centers throughout the United States, and then into the hands of hurting people.


Socks are only part of the solution—coats, hats, and gloves are also essential to protect people from the wind and cold. Another issue that many have brought up lately has revolved around when warming shelters open. Many communities set a certain threshold, such as 10℉, before shelters are available. Homelessness advocates have been pushing to open them sooner, as even 30℉ weather can be dangerous for people without adequate clothing.

Treat yourself (and someone who is homeless) to a pair of socks. And then check out how you can help advocate for opening shelters more quickly—and keeping our friends warm and safe this time of year.

| Written by Benjamin Hoekstra

| Visuals by Bruce Gilden, Fredy Holzer, LATimes


Seeing the Face of Homelessness

Why am I telling you his story? Well, because all too often, we judge by appearance and assume someone’s character.

Animation by JannerBros is based on a real-life interview with a homeless man Brendan who was homeless for almost 2 years. We walk past homeless people every day of our lives, without stopping to ask questions or even judging them… Well here is an opportunity to hear from a homeless man.

“You’re 3 o’clock interview is here, boss.” My assistant informed me. As I walk into the dining room, my eyes fell on him. To be candid, at first glance he looked like a thug. Very thin, scrawny even, I wondered how well he would handle the physically difficult ‘cooks’ position. His clothes were wrinkled and very worn. But what stood out the most, was how eager he was, he even offered to start working on the spot.

The interview went well. As I offered the young man, Shawn, a full-time job his face showed obvious relief. He apologized again for not wearing better clothes. I assured him it was fine. There was something about him. Perhaps it was the “mom” part of me, but he looked hungry.

I offered him a meal with an off-handed remark about how he needed to learn the restaurant menu anyway since he would be cooking. He eagerly agreed. He ate as if he truly was starving.

By Jannerbros

As we worked shifts training Shawn and gained his trust, he began to open up about his situation. He was a foster child, knew nothing of his birth parents and though he was adopted at age 11, he was treated as a live-in servant. His bed in the basement and not allowed to eat much or eat with the family, he was used for work.

As soon as he turned 18 he was kicked out. This was two weeks before his interview with me. He had nothing but what he was wearing. I asked him where he slept, his answer was “Well, I don’t really.”

He explained that he would go from place to place where he wouldn’t get kicked out. Bookstores, the library or even a busy fast food place. He would nap here and there and then move on if he felt like he was in the way.

I continued to be amazed by this young man. A hard worker, no doubt. He was always early and would stay as late as needed. He thrived with every bit of encouragement. And yet he had no place to live, not even a car to sleep in, as many do. It was mid winter and very cold. I asked him why he didn’t go to a homeless shelter, he said he’d tried and it was full.

He’d learned compassion from his hard life. He would regularly pull scraps from the garbage to feed to stray dogs out back when I asked him why he did that he replied with a smile, “Cause being hungry sucks!”

ourworldindata - homelessness

He pulled himself out of extreme poverty. Not everyone can do that, physical limitations or having small children can make it impossible for some. When he and I were talking about homelessness, I asked him what he thought would’ve helped him most, he said “Getting paid every day, waiting the first two weeks was so hard! ”.

Why am I telling you his story? Well, because all too often, we judge by appearance and assume someone’s character. Shawn looked like a criminal, possibly even a druggie. But his sunken cheeks were actually from going hungry for a very long time. I wonder, how many people saw him dozing off in a chair at the library or bookstore?

It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life when they have nothing. Even a kind word or sitting down to chat. And if you own a business consider adding flexibility to payroll structures, allowing daily payment for the first pay period. This could mean the end of homelessness and hunger for so many people.

One thing Shawn said has always stuck with me “I don’t have all the answers, but being kind is always a good choice.”

| Written by Tricia Elliott

| Visuals by JannerBros

Check out this great multimedia story: Portraits of Homelessness

Purchasing with Purpose

Purchasing with Purpose

Changing the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.

Each year in the United States, individuals and corporations give somewhere around $400 billion to charitable causes, ranging from arts organizations to social services to religious organizations. For the ordinary person, that number seems staggering. But, according to CBS News, that represents only a small fraction—2%—of the Gross Domestic Product of the nation.

As we look around the world today, we do see ways that money has impacted the daily lives of people in our community. There are theaters where there were once abandoned warehouses, initiatives like Housing First have dramatically reduced the number of people who are living on the streets long-term, and the list goes on. But while progress has been made, the problems that remain can seem overwhelming.

While charitable giving has received increased attention in the last decade, especially with advances in communication technology, the amount Americans give has stayed relatively stagnant. Americans even report giving around 2% of their income to charity—a strange parallel to the economy as a whole.

But you care about the world around you. So how do we have a greater impact? How do we do more with our money, make a bigger difference?

Americans give roughly 2% of the nation’s GDP to charity each year. The nation as a whole produces over $19 trillion in one calendar year according to the World Bank. What if there was a way to harness even just a fraction more of that incredible amount of production to combat the deepest issues our society faces?

$400,000,000,000 yearly

Many people would love to give more to charity, but don’t have the means to donate more money out of their pocket. So how do we give more without having to give more? The answer—using our spending to make a difference.

If the average person spends $5,400 on impulse buys each year, that is an additional $5,400 that you can leverage to impact the world around them. By spending your money at companies that give back to the community, you are able to give back and get the things you need and want. One example is Warby Parker, the eyeglass store, who donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold. In the business world, Salesforce is committed to its 1-1-1 model, donating 1% of profits, 1% of employee time, and 1% of its product to charity. Or, if you happen to be walking down the freezer aisle in your grocery store, consider buying a tub of Ben&Jerry’s ice cream—the company awards more than $1.8 million a year to fund community action and change. Eating more ice cream is the kind of social investment most of us can get behind.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we look at the deep struggles the world around us faces. What can one person do in the face of such large-scale issues? Rather than giving in to despair or apathy, we can find ways to use something as commonplace as our shopping trip to invest in making a change. Together, we can help provide economic opportunity to those who are poor. We can bring those who are homeless into housing. We can protect our environment for future generations.

Together, we can change the world—one pint of ice cream at a time.

| Written by Benjamin Hoekstra

| Visuals by Billion Back Records, The World Bank

Has links to include!

The Harsh Reality of Homelessness

The Harsh Reality of Homelessness

Worry became my new mindset. Sleeplessness became normal. I had to protect and provide for 4 small children in a situation that soon became a trap.

By John Conn

It was late summer, 2009, I could hardly believe what was happening. It changed my world so quickly, I didn’t see it coming. Homeless. Simultaneously facing job loss and my lease not being renewed, I was scurrying for housing and employment at the same time, it left me in shock.

Like most Americans, I had assumed the myriad of charities and agencies would be there to help. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I soon learned that faith-based charities required you to attend church and addiction counseling in order to receive housing assistance. And non-religious charities were unable to help due to lack of funding.

By Mary Ellen Mar

Suddenly I was living in a tent at a campground for $10 a night, with my 4 small children. I struggled to plaster on a smile and attempt to convince my oldest daughter that we were “on vacation”, even at age 6 she could see right through the lie. How would I convince the campground manager?

I learned within a week that we were not alone. There were 3 other families pretending to be “on vacation” as well. One even had to commute 15 miles twice a day to keep their kids in school. They had been there 4 months.

Worry became my new mindset. Sleeplessness became normal. I had to protect and provide for 4 small children in a situation that soon became a trap. My choices were to violate my conscience and place my children into Sunday school classes which would teach them things that I did not believe in while being asked to take addiction classes. I had never had any addictions stronger than coffee, but that didn’t matter to them.

By Mary Ellen Mar

This proved harder than I’d ever thought possible. $10 a night meant $300 a month. And the campground was far from town. This meant more money to drive to grocery stores and job interviews. Trips were frequent due to lack of refrigeration. A huge portion of our food stamps went to buying ice for the ice chest. Cooking over a fire was easy enough, but gathering enough wood to cook, clean and wash clothes was time-consuming. I soon saw that this was a money pit. How could I maintain AND pull us out at the same time?

The truth is, I couldn’t. What happened for us was a former client called out of the blue and she happened to manage an apartment complex and allowed us to live rent-free for 2 months, which was all I needed to get back on my feet.

By Banksy

What this experience taught me was that our nation has a big problem when people can be out on the streets and nearly destitute so quickly. There truly are a lot of charities that take donations and offer “help” and they do great work in some cases. But what I saw firsthand is that there are very few who will offer assistance and allow you to keep your personal integrity and dignity. No one should be forcefully separated from their children to take an 8-week course on “overcoming addiction” when they have never even tried drugs. No one who is nonreligious or of a different faith should be forced to attend a religious service that they disagree with in order to have a roof over their babies heads. Ethical assistance of the homeless population should always seek to preserve the dignity and autonomy of those receiving assistance.

Thankfully, I am not the only one who has seen this problem. In 2014 a nonprofit organization was founded to meet the exact types of needs my family faced 5 years before. provides job training and placement as well as apartments to people just like us, and they currently boast a 93% success rate of participants not re-entering homelessness services. That is definitely great news to people looking for a hand up instead of a hand out.

| Written by Tricia Elliott

| Visuals by John Conn, Joseph Gudgeon, , Mary Ellen Mar

Nation Alliance to End Homelessness


Solution Based Journalism

The Importance of Independent Journalist Storytellers to publish stories that present a problem and offer solutions.

by Eddie Law

Social media has changed how we consume the news. Networks such as Facebook and Twitter place enormous amounts of information in the hands of journalists and consumers alike. These online platforms and the proliferation of smartphones let anyone break news stories, complete with text, pictures, and videos, regardless of their ideologies of professional background. There is so much media that storytellers can cover any global event from afar.

Arirang Mass Games in North Korea by Brendyn Zachary

In this new world, journalists take on the role of a content curator. It is their responsibility to go through the data available and present the best information based on quality and relevance. Providing links to their original sources while offering contest and analysis.

by Steve Helber

However, this “information overload” came with a cost. While journalist no longer need to leave the office to cover the news, they have also become lazier as content became more available. Mainstream media now exists solely to tell stories that get people to watch their advertisers. They are no longer concerned with helping people make a difference.

While it is important to inform people of what is happening in the world around them, the constant negativity can bring down people’s spirits making them depressed, powerless, and apathetic. Beyond the content of these stories, most mainstream journalists will not fact-check the content they use. These situations leave many new stories fake, misleading, and otherwise poorly presented. Fortunately, there is a better way by providing solutions to the problems of the world. Instead of showing the world’s problems, journalists can tell stories about people making a difference.

by Joseph Eid

The most informative and valuable stories do not need to come from a traditional journalist either. A blogger, photographer, or tweeter have easily filled that role. As more and more people start getting their news from independent journalist, these raw stories will make a difference in the world. They will help people find the information they need to know while showing how they can help improve the situation.

by Joseph Guyler Delva

Written posts, photos essays or video docs. These stories can be as simple as showing someone surviving a disaster. Pictures such as the following photo of a student still alive under a collapsed school after an earthquake in 2008 gave people hope. It is stories like these that make you feel that you could make a difference. You just have to go out and offer a helping hand.

by Q. Sakamaki

Positive news stories can be anything and not just natural disasters. All that is needed is a different perspective than the usual mainstream reporting, providing either a complementary view or an alternative in some cases. The following photo of a guy with a guy gold sign during a financial crisis shows us that we can still laugh when faced with crippling financial and personal problems.

Disasters strike the world daily. Bad things do happen to good people. However, reporting on these things do not need to bring us down. Stories and photos from independent journalists can offer new insights on how we as people can do something to improve the situation and make the world a better place.

| Written by Robert Stukowski

| Visuals by Eddie Law, Brendyn Zachary, Steve Helber, Joseph Guyler Delva, Q. Sakamaki,

Rise of Ethical Investing

Finance once was criticized as soulless. Ethical investing startup companies want to change that taking into account carbon footprint, gender equity, association with weapons production, and hundreds of other factors.

Finance once was criticized as soulless. Ethical investing startup companies want to change that taking into account carbon footprint, gender equity, association with weapons production, and hundreds of other factors.

The Rise of Ethical Investing

Finance once was criticized as soulless. Ethical investing startups want to change that.

Morry Brown had what so many young finance graduates wanted: he was an associate at Goldman-Sachs. His career was set. A steady ramp of promotions leading to Rolexes and BMWs was his for the taking. But Morry wasn’t satisfied. What good was he doing for the world as a spreadsheet monkey? And so he quit, to found a company that merged investment with ethics: EarnWell.

EarnWell’s mission was remarkably simple: to create a portfolio of the 100 most ethical S&P 500 for the socially active casual investor. They took into account carbon footprint, gender equity, association with weapons production, and hundreds of other factors. Over 90% of the ‘EarnWell 100’ earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate responsibility, and the carbon footprint of the portfolio is 80% lower than the S&P.

Other opportunities for socially responsible investing have begun to crop up everywhere. Recently, industry heavyweight Pacific Life launched Swell investing, with portfolios in renewable energy companies, researched-focused biotechnology firms working towards disease eradication, and zero-waste business.


This comes at a time where new research has shown corporate leadership that responsibility isn’t just good PR — but profitable. If more companies put ethics before short-term gains, social activists — and investors — might just see the change they want.

Read more about how doing the right thing is just as profitable.

Apps and Platforms


EarnWell is a responsible investing app for people who care what their money supports. We make it simple to invest in companies that care about diversity, environmental sustainability, and human equality.

Swell Investing

Swell is an impact investing platform that helps you invest in high-growth companies solving global challenges.


Robinhood believes that the financial system should work for the rest of us, not just the wealthy. Robinhood lets you invest in the stock market for free, directly from your phone or desktop.

| Written by Dante Vaisbort

| Visuals by Swell, Robinhood,


The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.

The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.

George Lucas Family Foundation

$1,128,455,107 to celebrate and encourage innovation in schools

Back in 2010, Bill Gates and Warran Buffet challenged their fellow wealthy Americans to give a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. One of the many individuals to accept the challenge was George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars. To help facilitate his philanthropy, Lucas combined several of his pre-existing charity groups into George Lucas Family Foundation.

While the Lucas family started giving to charity long before the Giving Pledge was a thing, they have since made it a part of their mission to promote it.

George Lucas

The Giving Pledge encourages wealthy individuals to offer up most of their wealth through philanthropy efforts and causes. It does not dictate how the money should be spent, nor does it make it an obligation. Still, 184 people from 22 different countries have already signed on to it, either as individuals or as couples, with most of the signatories pledging over $365 billion.

In 2012, Lucas sold Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company for a reported sum of $4.05 billion and so began George Lucas’ true life’s work.

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum displays his collection of illustrations and pop art, with an estimated value of more than $1 billion.

In 2005, Lucas gave US $1 million of $120 to help build the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at the National Mall in Washington D.C. to commemorate American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

$180,000,000 to USC alma mata

The largest single donation to USC and the largest gift to a film school anywhere in the world.

In 2013, Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson donated $25 million to the Chicago-based not-for-profit After School Matters

Lucas began his philanthropy in 1991 when he founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation to celebrate and encourage innovation in schools.

The Educational Foundation set out the improve how K-12 students learn and develop their knowledge, attitudes, and the skills they need to thrive in their studies, careers, and their adult lives. This included the Edutopia web portal which offered the transformational integration resources, comprehensive student assessment, integrated study, project-based learning tools, and social and emotional learning solutions required to successfully reach those goals.

Most of this aid comes in the form of multi-year grants that range from a few thousand dollars to a half-million or more. Some of the schools and instructions they helped over the years include Michigan State University, Stanford University, University of Colorado, University of Washington, and the University of Southern California (USC) Film School.

In 2005, Lucas rebranded the charity as the George Lucas Family Foundation to expand his philanthropic endeavors.

Film, Arts, and Culture

While Lucas and his wife Mellody made it clear that the focus of their philanthropy is education, they have since expanded to promote development in other related fields. Most of their arts and culture work has been preserving Lucas’s own collection of illustrations, pop art, props and movie memorabilia, which has an estimated worth of $1 billion. To achieve both, the foundation runs the Lucas Musem of Narrative Art near the USC campus. Beyond their own artifacts, the charity supports cultural institutions such as the new Smithsonian African American Museum, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Canyon Cinema Foundation, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Basic Human Services

The George Lucas Family Foundation supports several human service efforts as well, but they almost always have an education theme. The foundation already has pledged over $64 million to more than 200 organizations around the country, with a general focus on the Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles metropolitan areas.

Many of these organizations help or support:
• Childhood development and mentorship
• Medical research and outreach
• Gun control
• Cultural diversity
• Faith-based resources
• Refugee Aid
• Inner-city youth
• Environmental and wildlife initiatives

| Visuals by George Lucas Family Foundation, Peekasson,

peekasso.tumblr (dot) com | Sad Hip Hop

Good Corporations

These few forward-thinking companies are at the forefront of a new wave of environmentally aware corporations and business management. They still have a long way to go, and we should encourage their greener future developments.

Good Corporations with Active and Appropriate Environmental Policies

Good Corporations

These few forward-thinking companies are at the forefront of a new wave of environmentally aware corporations and business management. They still have a long way to go, and we should encourage their greener future developments.

Corporations once considered only their profits. Politicians and business leaders talked about environmental sustainability, but most companies did not care. At least, they did until recently. While the old corporate business stereotypes still exist, many companies now use their business intelligence for more than just their bottom line.

This does not mean that all corporations are now completely eco-friendly. There is still more work to do. Many companies continue to deplete natural resources at an alarming rate. We need to give them a clear and viable roadmap while encouraging their green sustainability efforts.

However, to do this we must know who to support. To get us started here are a few of the “good” corporations out there.

  • George Lucas Family Foundation

    or 4% total assets
  • Publix Super Markets Charities

    or 3% total assets
  • Goldman Sachs Foundation

    or 2% total assets
  • Alcoa Foundation

    or 2% total assets
  • The Grainger Foundation Inc.

    or 2% total assets

Good Corporations

Ford Motor Company

The automobile industry is among the heaviest polluters, but at least we can trust the environment with Ford. Ford had a ten-part environmental policy in place for years. They even recycle their paint fumes as fuel for their fuel-efficient, six-speed transmission systems.

Good Corporations

Walt Disney

Disney is currently trying to reduce its direct greenhouse gas emissions down to zero. They even have a zero-waste policy at all of their facilities. Nothing they produce will ever end up in landfills, making them a leader in environmental responsibility.

Good Corporations

Fisher Investments

Fisher Investments’ Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative works to preserve California’s native Redwood forests. It does this by reducing emissions and gasses that threaten them. They have an unvarying commitment to reducing their environmental footprint.

Good Corporations


One of the first companies with a public environmental sustainability policy, Hewlett Packard aims to reduce their overall greenhouse emissions and toxic manufacturing waste with an aggressive recycling program. HP is also a leader in environmental advocacy and spreading the word about the benefits of green initiatives throughout the world.

Good Corporations

Johnson and Johnson

The Johnson and Johnson Company has spent the past 20 years making environmentally responsible personal care products. They already own a fleet of hybrid vehicles and are looking to reduce their overall waste.

Good Corporations


Nike’s green initiatives maybe one of the more noticeable ones. They highlight them directly through their advertising. They made it their mission to produce sustainable products with only environment-friendly materials and processes. Nike even takes part in the global advocacy for environmental policies for both industry and governments.

Good Corporations


EBay Eco-Initiatives is eBay’s subsidiary devoted to developing environmental sustainability. The site lets users sell and buy reused goods instead of throwing them away.

Good Corporations


Embracing environmental sustainability across the board, Starbucks only sells Fair Trade Certified and Certified organic coffee. Every new outlet must also have LED certification and be “green” before corporate will let them open their doors.

Good Corporations


Google is always on the forefront of new technologies, and their eco-business innovator is no different. They are the leader in embracing “green” business through green supply chain management and sustainability.

These few forward-thinking companies are at the forefront of a new wave of environmentally aware corporations and business management. They still have a long way to go, and we should encourage their future greener developments so that we can all become more efficient and greener over time.

| Written by Robert Stukowski

Back to Nature

Back to Nature

Written by Butterfli O’Shea

My childhood home was one mile from the nearest beach and I had a grassy backyard. My elementary school was a short walk from home, and behind the school was a chaparral ecosystem. The children in the neighborhood referred to it as a little forest, that included eucalyptus trees and a foot trail.

It was often easy, even a relief, for the adults in our lives to take us on a walking trip to the beach or a nature trail. The experiences were adventurous, happy, and peaceful. The more we learned, the more we wanted to know.

On the trail, the mint honeyed scent of eucalyptus was ever-present, the deep yellows and oranges of the California Poppy in cheerful bunches along the path, and various birds flying and floating overhead calling out to each other. Touching and feeling various plants, watching the brown and grey fence lizards scurry up and down rocks, with garden snakes not far behind.

At the beach we’d walk bare foot, feeling soft dry sand and firm wet sand, and feel the grains against our skin when wading in the waves. Seagulls about us, with curt shouts to each other, folding their wings as they landed. The falling sound of waves as they lifted-up and dropped back down. Slippery seaweed, grooves on clam shells, soft driftwood, and the turquoise rainbow inside of an abalone shell.

Certainly, we preferred to go on a nature trip than be inside a chalk dusty classroom or the nagging familiarity of our own backyards. Even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich tasted better outside. Outside we could breathe fresh, clean air.

Rise by @rsvn

Back then, being outside in our natural environment was as expected as tying the laces on our sneakers. When one child found something new, it was a discovery for us all, as our curiosity multiplied itself through sharing, and when one question and answer came along, more followed. We learned about nature, our natural environment, and ourselves. We felt free and energized. It was an unspoken growing together of child and nature, cohabitating on earth.

As time passed, we became adults living varied lives. No matter what path we chose to live as adults, a great majority of us maintained our connection to nature, and many of us became its caretakers in our daily lives.

Our current youth are in more demanding circumstances than generations previous. Our youth have the lure and requirements of technology, for both leisure and school work. This has increased disconnect with our natural world and some people feel discomfort at the idea of spending time with nature. “It is increasingly normal to spend little time outside,” states a report from NatureofAmericans.org1.

The obstacles in connecting youth and communities to the outdoors are few, yet the strategies are many.

Make participating in the outdoors accessible. Many communities have gained success by encouraging various organizations working together, such as schools, parent groups, childcare centers, park agencies, and community-based organizations. Make suggestions at your child’s school, at local organizations, and with your neighbors and friends. There are a lot of great ideas in your own community, and a lot of people interested in volunteering and sharing their knowledge. Each organization or group can mention the activities in their own publications and communications, further assuring more to be informed there is something out there for them to enjoy.

Having a wide variety of outdoor activities for various interests and age groups nurtures the interest of more people, both those you are trying to get outdoors and those who would be willing to contribute their time and efforts. The activities can be traditional, such as fishing and hiking and museums, parks, gardens, zoos. They can also be non-traditional, such as drawing or writing poetry at the park. My personal favorite is the National Wildlife Federation’s Green Hour Program2. It is designed to encourage individuals and groups to adopt one hour per day for children to play and learn outdoors in nature. You can also make this a family activity.

Spending time in nature gives our youth a place to escape their stresses from our over busy and technology demanding society. When you involve other youth, it turns peer pressure into a positive, as they pay attention to a friend’s encouragement to spend more time in nature. “… youth are more likely to associate being in nature with being peaceful, free, calm, and happy than with any other characteristic.”3

“… connection to nature is not a dispensable amenity, but rather is essential to the health, economic prosperity, quality of life, and social well-being of all …”4

End Notes
1. Yale Environment 360, April 27, 2017, 1.
2. National Wildlife Federation, Connecting Kids and Nature, 1.
3. The Nature Conservancy survey, Connecting America’s Youth to Nature, 2011, 6.

| Written by Butterfli O’Shea | “Rise” By @rsvn_


Empowering Women. Period.

Empowering Women. Period.

All girls deserve the right to an informed and shameless maturity into womenhood



Every woman in the world knows what a struggle it can be to deal with menstrual hygiene. Especially when you’re out of the house – it can be a real drag to deal with in public. But imagine a world where you were unable to go about your daily life just because of your period? Imagine not having access to all of the feminine products you needed to be able to leave your house to go to work or school or even just to the grocery store.

Unfortunately, this is the reality that many girls and women face around the world. In many places, feminine products are either inaccessible or too expensive for those that need them. Many girls are kept out of school for nearly a full week every month. This hinders them in their education and ability to keep up with their classmates and their learning. Women are confined to their homes, unable to go to work and make a living because they don’t have access to the proper feminine products.

That’s where these companies come in. Days for Girls and Femme International are two companies that are striving to make a difference. These companies are donating reusable feminine products, such as washable pads and menstrual cups to girls and women in need. The handmade pads are washable and reusable for up to the three years while the menstrual cups are reusable for up to ten years! Not only are these companies providing feminine products, but they are also providing vital woman’s health education. Imagine what a difference something that seems so easy for us can make to someone in need. A little girl can confidently go to school every day now without worrying about her period. A mother can go to work to provide for her family. Think of the difference such a small gesture can make in someone’s life.

| Written by Rachel Pitre Ray @rachel_alaine

Check out the non-profits below to get involved!

PERIOD is leading the menstrual movement. We celebrate periods and provide products to those in need.

Providing tampons, pads and underwear to women and girls in need.

For The Love of Women (FLOW) is a non-profit organization providing feminine care products to females in need.

Days for Girls is changing the status quo, through quality menstrual care solutions, and health education.