‘Big Idea’ Category Archive



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The Leapyear Project

2012 is a Leap Year. What risk will you take to change your life, your community, or your world for the better? This is the question that Victor Saad asked himself and is now asking the world!

We’re taking part and hope you will too.

Step 1: Choose your Leap (leapyearproject.org/leap)

Step 2: Tell your story online (cowbird.com + tag all social media updates with #lyproject)

Step 3: Invite a friend to join you.

Allow whatever inhibitions, fears or doubts that have kept you from asking these questions completely disappear. Let’s take leaps. We love Victor and we love what is happening with his project. People all over the world are taking action. When it’s all said and done there will be some beautiful stories to be shared.

Twitter: @lyproject
Facebook: /leapyearproject
Website: leapyearproject.org

Posted in Big Idea, Get Involved, Video | 1 Comment »

This year for your birthday you are asking for goats. Please explain.

My friends and I at Give a Goat have started a new way of enabling people to get involved with our work. It’s called “Go”, and it lets anyone create a project around an event, goal, or idea and raise support to buy goats for needy families. It’s launch fell right around my birthday, so I decided to lend my special day to its inauguration. Basically what I’m asking people to do is to give $24 for my 24 birthday instead of giving me a present. This money will go to buy goats for needy families. I’m hoping to raise $2,400 which will give about 20 goats and start an entire village on the path to self-sufficiency.

How does a guy living in Oklahoma become connected to work happening in the Philippines?

Man our world has shrunk. I actually went to college with a native Filipino whose family had been working to help the poor from their native country get out of poverty. We spent a ton of time together dreaming, praying, brainstorming. He kept talking about how his Dad was giving goats to people in the Philippines and it was lifting them out of poverty. It wasn’t long before I was on board with him and we formed the non-profit Give a Goat around an organic idea born in the Philippines.

Do you have a favorite success story?

There are so many to choose from and I heard about four more just today. But my favorite would have to be about my friend Ronald. Ronald worked at a roadside stand selling food in the metropolitan area of Cebu. His family lived about three hours away from his work so he only came home once a month to visit his wife and child, as well as drop off the $1 a day he was making. One night after midnight he was working his stand, and there was a shooting. The man who was shot came and crouched behind Ronald’s booth for safety. This was a giant wake up call to Ronald. He came home and decided he was going to find a better way to provide for his family. Around that time, Give a Goat was looking for new raisers in his area and he decided he wanted to try his hand at goat raising. That was three years ago. Today Ronald has 80 goats, a thriving vegetable garden, a water filtration system, and happy children who are attending school. He has been so successful that he is now passing his knowledge and goats to his neighbors, telling them how to get out of poverty and start a new life. Ronald also moonlights as Give a Goat’s key veterinarian.

In addition to your work with Give a Goat you are also a poet. What role do you feel artists play in bringing about change?

Artists don’t just play a role in bringing about change, they are the most vital conduit for change. Artists teach us to dream in color, reimagine our world, and ask questions with new words. As French author Albert Camus put it, “In a world such as this, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.” Artists, poets, musicians, and the like stand on the opposite side of corruption, oppression, and greed. It is hard to imagine myself among these ranks, but I’m trying my best. As a artist, in particular as a poet, I try to reclaim truth by showing it in a foreign light. We get so used to our paradigms and routines that even words like war, famine, and murder loose their bite. I try to grab overlooked ideas, peoples, and causes and pull them into new light where people can see their truth. And any time I can be a voice for the voiceless and give noise to previously deaf ears, I consider it an honor.

What advice would you give to anyone reading this who might be a ‘recovering slacktivist’? What steps can they take to actively pursue creating real change and not just being a consumer?

They can do just that. Stop being a consumer and go create real change. Look at your life. What are you good at, passionate about, connected to? What makes you cry, yell, or giggle? Those are the things you were created to meld yourself to. Find that cause or that mission. And once you know what you want to do, even if it is just a small inkling of a feeling, start engaging in conversations. That is how change takes place. Over cups of coffee and plates of food. Talk to your friends and family about what you are wanting to do, find people who are already working in those fields and render your services, find people effected by the problem and hear their stories and find out how they want and need to be helped. What we often misunderstand is that we don’t need an organization, non-profit, or mission trip to change our world. There are people, living, struggling, dying people across our streets and around our world. I spoke with a struggling family that I met here in the Philippines on Facebook today. They can’t feed their children, but a family in their village has internet and we are plotting a change for her community. Talk to people. Dream. And then go do it!

In addition to getting you goats for your birthday, how else can we get involved with Give a Goat?

I would encourage everyone, if giving goats to needy families sounds even a bit interesting, to go to www.go.giveagoatnow.com and start a project that can change a person’s life.

Want to give Dave a goat for his birthday? Go!
Experience his poetry and more: here

Posted in Artist Interviews, Big Idea, Inspiration, Interviews | 3 Comments »

Could Facebook save someone’s life? Karthik Naralasetty thinks so.

He created socialblood.org, a social media platform to help address the blood shortage crisis by connecting blood donors and recipients of the same type through Facebook.

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Karthik Naralasetty, 22 years old. I used to study computer science at the Rutgers University in New Jersey. I dropped out of college in 2009 to start my own technology start-up redcode Informatics. Socialblood.org is a product of redcode.

What’s the story behind socialblood?

Not so long ago, I saw this request by one of my connections on Facebook seeking for a B+ donor for his dad who was undergoing heart surgery. Surprisingly after two hours he posted back saying ‘Thanks to Facebook, we found a donor for my dad!’

This made me think deeply on how I could use Facebook as a platform to solve the issue of finding blood donors when in emergency.

So I went ahead and launched 8 Facebook groups for 8 blood groups and opened it for the general public and clubbed them up on a website and called it socialblood.org. Through the Socialblood website, citizens of India are asked to join a selection of eight different Facebook Blood Groups.

So then I invited my friends to visit the website and asked them to select their blood type and join as a member/donor. Which, surprisingly, most of them did!

Soon we had around 200 members in all groups combined and requests from users started coming in. The numbers started growing from then on. Now we have around 1500 members all together who are actively sharing information and responding to emergencies. We are also proud to say we saved the life of a three year old kid who was in need of blood.

What do you think it is about SocialBlood that has helped it catch on?
Our project is unique because no one has ever tried the equation of leveraging social networks for emergencies.There are hundreds of website online today who are connecting blood donors to blood seekers but there is none who has utilized social networks like Face book to its fullest and we did it! And we are really proud of that!

Who funds the project?

Socialblood is a self sustaining because we have zero cost involved to run the initiative. The whole platform is based on Facebook framework so it’s very very easy to scale the project. Currently we are working on a location based model with couple of engineers from Czech Republic and taking this initiative global, So now we are looking for raising funds for the project as we have to buy server space to manage the amount of requests.

What’s the mission of the project?
We just want to build a global platform where every human being on the planet who wants to donate blood and help save other human being should be able to! Our broader vison would be to make the world a more compassionate place to live in. I want to see people helping other people without giving it a second thought.

What kinds of challenges do you currently face?
The biggest challenge we have right now is fighting the stigma associated with donating blood.When you talk about India, we have so many ethnic groups in the country and every group or community have their own fears. Some feel donating blood will make them too weak. Some feel the process transmits deadly diseases like HIV. So, right now we are working out partnerships with RedCross India to launch an awareness campaign across the country that will address these basic issues.

Many people would look at you and say, “I could never do that.” What do you say to them?

Socialblood was started with one member, now we grew up to 1500 hundred of them in less than 4 months. Everything starts small. Don’t go to people and ask, give me 100 million dollars..I am gonna solve a problem….go and ask for a dollar and start with one person at a time …Then go to more people and say…I am gonna do it for 10 more people and 10 more people…soon you end up supporting hundreds of them..let’s say in a period of 1 year. Every person who has done something like this has started small….right? Its important to remember that. I am sure Apple started off by selling one PC. Everyone started small. The problems with our generation is that we live in a society where everything is big, right? Like somebody sold this company for 2 billion dollars…and some company is worth 50 billion…then you think, “Oh I am just starting up and I need to, at least, raise a million bucks to start with or else I am nobody.” All you have to do is just take that first step. Make that first phone call and you are on you way. If you do good stuff, money comes to you..let’s be clear on that.

Facebook.com/socialblood

Posted in Big Idea, Interviews, Voices in Stereo | No Comments »

Two men. Two mustaches. One mission.

Alex and Mark have been traveling all over the U.S. in a groovy 1971 Winnegego with the mission of spreading the word about MANA Nutrition. We made sure they routed through our neighborhood. Here’s what happened:

MANA envisions a nourished world. They have developed a brilliant RUTF (Ready to Use Therapeutic Food) specially designed to treat children diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition.

Through the RUTF they are bringing children back to life. Check out this powerful photo:

That’s Dominique, in pain and malnourished, just before starting the MANA treatments. He weighed 4.7 kg. In March 2011, after 6 weeks of MANA he weighed in at 6.9 kg.

This is changing lives.

You can see why two guys would go to such great lengths to make sure people heard about this, right? We had a great time hanging out and helping them along their journey. One of our friends, Jud Davis, even loaded Alex and Mark up with plenty of 8-tracks for the road.

Follow their adventures and more (including what 8 tracks they’re listening to) via the links below.

Blog
Twitter
ManaNutrition

Posted in Big Idea, Inspiration, Video | 2 Comments »

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Live Below The Line

If you had to live on just $1.50 per day, how would you spend it? 1.4 billion people in our world face this challenge daily, and this year thousands of Americans will be living below the line for 5 days as part of the Live Below the Line Campaign. This initiative of The Global Poverty Project is part of their work to end extreme poverty. They think it’s doable in our lifetime and after meeting them and seeing their work we’re starting to think so too.

We caught up with Jessica Mason, one of Global Poverty Project’s “road scholars”, during her recent visit to Nashville:

Find out more and join thousands around the world taking the challenge to help end extreme poverty: Live Below The Line

Posted in Awesome Causes, Big Idea | No Comments »

Caroline Ford is awesome.

She started a powerful movement of young artists in her community known as the Young Artist Alliance. The group formed last year after the earthquake in Haiti. A special showcase held by the Alliance last spring brought in over $4,000 for Haiti. This past fall they raised 3,000 cans for the American Red Cross Food Pantry. Now Caroline and crew are up to something else.

Caroline heard about The Center for Courageous Kids. It’s an amazing place that provides a special camp experience for medically fragile children and their families. Caroline told the Bowling Green Daily News,

“The founder, Elizabeth Turner Campbell, wanted to provide sick children a place to feel normal and just be a kid. I never met her but after touring the camp, that’s what made me want to do the showcase,” she said. “It gave me goosebumps. I felt like I’d met her before. She really was an extraordinary person. She really does continue to bring joy to children. Her legacy is really inspiring. You can leave something behind and make a difference.”

This Saturday Caroline and friends are putting together something extremely special: The Showcase for the Center for Courageous Kids. This special event is presented by the Young Artist Alliance and Drobocky Orthodontics.

The students have lined up sponsorships and have already raised an impressive amount. Please read: a really impressive amount. We won’t reveal the total yet, because they’re not even done yet!

It’s never easy to put on anything this massive. So we say: Caroline, you’re an inspiration. The show hasn’t even started and we applaud you. Two young artists tomorrow night will receive the Young Artist Alliance’s Young Artist of the Year Award, which is given to young performers who are using their performances, talents and abilities to help make the community and/or world a better place. That’s incredible.

Thank you, Caroline, for leading a movement of creative worldchangers and for showing people, young and old, what kind of impact we can all make.

Live in the Bowling Green, KY area? We wish we did.
The Showcase for the Center for Courageous Kids presented by the Young Artist Alliance and Drobocky Orthodontics will be at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Capitol Arts Center. Tickets are $5.

UPDATE: The final amount raised was $12,139.52. Yes, you read that right.

Posted in Awesome Causes, Big Idea | 6 Comments »

You guys are amazing. When Love Your Neighborhood launched we invited you to talk to us. We’re in the discovery phase. We’re trying to find people who are addressing big needs in their towns in unique and creative ways. You’ve sent us some incredible people and places, but we were surprised when someone sent us in the direction of our own backyard just on the other end of the state: Chattanooga, TN.

I know some great people who grew up there (Hi Rylan!). One of my favorite bands came from there (Hi Moonlight Bride!). But I have to admit to you, I never thought of the area as a booming area of creativity and vision – until now.

Meet the good people of CreateHere.

This is a non-profit that has been working to build Chattanooga’s cultural economy through arts, economic and cultural development initiatives. Last year several volunteers from CreateHere set out to survey the entire community with what would become the world’s largest community visioning survey ever: STAND.

This was no small feat. With only 20% of the responses filled out online, this survey took a lot of time and work. These guys had to hit the streets finding out what people wanted to see happen in their community. It invited everyone to pitch in and make their town better and all they had to do was answer 4 questions.

CreateHere also have a great initiative called MakeWork. This serves to provide grants to artists so they can create beautiful things in Chattanooga. Since 2008 the program has awarded $450,000 to 55 artists and artisans. They see it as an investment to the community that will stimulate cultural and economic development across Chattanooga.

Check out this from their website:

We love our city for what it is, has been and could become.
But loving a city is no small task.

They also go on to pose this challenging question: How do you love a city? And what does it mean to work for sustainable progress where you live?

Check out CreateHere and see how they’ve responded to the needs in their community to help make it an inspiring, thriving neighborhood. Chattanooga took a situation of poverty, unemployment, pollution and is working to transform it by empowering people. Get inspired.

We invite you to ask the same question they asked: How do you love a city? Share your responses below. Feel free to email us anytime: hello(at)loveinstereo.com. Let’s see what can happen when we collaborate to all make our neighborhoods better!

Posted in Big Idea, Get Involved, Love Your Neighborhood | 12 Comments »