Vol 'n' tell

The Official Blog of Volunteer Richmond Information Services
  • An Evening of Sensory Play

    We've been so excited by all the Neighbourhood Small Grants (NSG) Projects that have been happening in Richmond. The one put on by Stefanie Tong and Alexis Alblas however, might be the messiest project to date in the history of NSG! Here's Stefanie herself to tell you about an evening of sensory play that happened last October 21, 2014. 


    Alexis and I had the pleasure of teaching our first Sensory Workshop, made possible through the Neighbourhood Small Grants program from Vancouver Foundation, Volunteer Richmond, and Richmond Community Foundation. We were so happy to be joined by 13 families who participated in play experiences, and were fascinated to witness children immerse themselves in the sensory materials – literally!



    My phone rang at about 2:30p that afternoon, Alexis on the other end double checking all the materials we needed to gather for the evening. “I’ve got my trolly loaded up” she told me. I was in the midst of making four batches of cornstarch paint and knew that we had an evening of fun ahead of us. “We get to play in an hour” I said. During set up, that’s exactly what we did! The photo above is us manipulating our reflections, and I of course, had to stop to document the moment. Over dinner we finalized notes for the workshop and prayed that everyone coming would have a good time. We also asked God for some superpowers to help us deliver this information that had been in our hearts for the past few months.

    Our workshop began by asking parents of their first play memory. It was fascinating to hear that many had a sensory component to them and that ALL of the play memories were open ended, child led, play. We brainstormed on what the hindrances are to offering sensory play at home and collectively found solutions while sharing stories of our children. With child development being our passion, Alexis and I were thankful for the opportunity to share how sensory play can help children in their cognitive, social, language and physical development.



    Before we knew it, it was time to invite the children into the room to explore all the materials with their parents. I wish I had the time to document what was happening in the room! With 16 children ages one through eleven, we had a busy room filled with many play experiences.

    We watched children and adults:
    – manipulate light
    – explore reflections
    – poke, prick, squish, slam, toss and roll playdough
    – delicately cradle the water beads and a moment later, squish and bounce them
    – mix, pour, measure, squeeze shampoo and conditioner to create potions
    – use their hands to create paintings
    – swirl, swoosh, hold, squirt, and mix shaving cream
    – pour, scoop, and scrape sand
    – trace, scoop, and pinch salt
    – grab, mix, pick and scoop bark mulch
    – lick, bite, and smell at our tasting station (a.k.a. snacks)

    I have so many favourite moments from this evening, but the ones that stood out were hearing the children say “this is so much fun” and “look! look at me!” to their parents and being able to see parents play along side their children. And what excited me most, was that no one was worried about making a mess! More photos of our evening can be found on our Facebook page. We are less that two weeks away from presenting the Educator version of this workshop. Looking forward to seeing more messes remnants of play.Alexis and I had the pleasure of teaching our first Sensory Workshop, made possible through the Neighbourhood Small Grants program from Vancouver Foundation, Volunteer Richmond and Richmond Community Foundation. We were so happy to be joined by 13 families who participated in play experiences, and were fascinated to witness children immerse themselves in the sensory materials – literally!

    My phone rang at about 2:30p that afternoon, Alexis on the other end double checking all the materials we needed to gather for the evening. “I’ve got my trolly loaded up” she told me. I was in the midst of making four batches of cornstarch paint and knew that we had an evening of fun ahead of us. “We get to play in an hour” I said. During set up, that’s exactly what we did! The photo above is us manipulating our reflections, and I of course, had to stop to document the moment. Over dinner we finalized notes for the workshop and prayed that everyone coming would have a good time. We also asked God for some superpowers to help us deliver this information that had been in our hearts for the past few months.

    Our workshop began by asking parents of their first play memory. It was fascinating to hear that many had a sensory component to them and that ALL of the play memories were open ended, child led, play. We brainstormed on what the hindrances are to offering sensory play at home and collectively found solutions while sharing stories of our children. With child development being our passion, Alexis and I were thankful for the opportunity to share how sensory play can help children in their cognitive, social, language and physical development.

    Before we knew it, it was time to invite the children into the room to explore all the materials with their parents. I wish I had the time to document what was happening in the room! With 16 children ages one through eleven, we had a busy room filled with many play experiences.

    We watched children and adults:
    – manipulate light
    – explore reflections
    – poke, prick, squish, slam, toss and roll playdough
    – delicately cradle the water beads and a moment later, squish and bounce them
    – mix, pour, measure, squeeze shampoo and conditioner to create potions
    – use their hands to create paintings
    – swirl, swoosh, hold, squirt, and mix shaving cream
    – pour, scoop, and scrape sand
    – trace, scoop, and pinch salt
    – grab, mix, pick and scoop bark mulch
    – lick, bite, and smell at our tasting station (a.k.a. snacks)

    I have so many favourite moments from this evening, but the ones that stood out were hearing the children say “this is so much fun” and “look! look at me!” to their parents and being able to see parents play along side their children. And what excited me most, was that no one was worried about making a mess! More photos of our evening can be found on our Facebook page. We are less that two weeks away from presenting the Educator version of this workshop. Looking forward to seeing more messes remnants of play.


    Originally posted on ece mom.


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  • Non-Profit Video Picks: October 2014

    If you're feeling nostalgic for October, then have we got the thing for you. Here's a belated Non-Profit Video Picks in case you want to #TB to pumpkin month. Stories by blogger Ray Wang.


    Kiva: Funding the World's Entrepreneurial Ambition, One Micro-Transaction at a Time


    Kiva is an online micro-loan platform which connects lenders to borrowers. A farmer in Mongolian can go on Kiva to request a micro-loan so he can purchase organic fertilizer for his farm. A lender can go on the platform to make the loan. In the last decade, Kiva has crowd-funded over 1 million loans totalling almost 500 million dollars.


    Kiva’s success didn’t happen overnight or by accident. In this video, Premal Shah, President at Kiva, shares how Kiva has leveraged the adoption of the Internet and mobile devices to achieve success.



    The Pros and Cons of Starting a Non-Profit (Video Link)


    Contrary to popular belief, a non-profit organization can make a profit. A non-profit organization can sell products or services to generate revenue and use the income to make a social impact. Leila Janah, Founder and CEO of Samasource, a non-profit social business that gives digital work to impoverished people around the globe, shares how her organization uses and will continue to use business tactics to generate profit and use the profit to make a difference in the world.


    Finding Her Way in the Golden City | GOOD Cities Project | San Francisco



    The GOOD Cities Project is designed to explore how different cities or communities have shaped some of our favorite thought leaders, artists, and writers’ views on life. As a part of the project, GOOD has embarked on an adventurous journey with Caterina Fake, a co-founder of photo-sharing site Flickr, to learn how the city of San Francisco and its creative culture and rich history have helped her define her dream of becoming a tech entrepreneur.

    Let us know how the city of Richmond has influenced your life at @VolunteerRmd!



    According to Forbes, only 24% of U.S. IT professionals are female. This alarming low number of females in the IT industry limits the potential growth of the technology industry. According to Intel vice president Bernadette Andrietti, “Women offer a fresh perspective on pro


    According to com/sites/leoking/2014/03/08/women-in-technology-a-brightening-outlook/" data-mce-href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/leoking/2014/03/08/women-in-technology-a-brightening-outlook/" style="color: #1b8be0; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Forbes, only 24% of U.S. IT professionals are female. This alarming low number of females in the IT industry limits the potential growth of the technology industry. According to Intel vice president Bernadette Andrietti, “Women offer a fresh perspective on product design, ways of working, risk-taking and many other aspects of business.”


    To inspire more females to enter the technology industry, established female engineers such as Kelly Ellis, Software Engineer at Google, and Shannon Spanhake, Deputy Innovation Officer for the City of San Francisco, share their motivation for entering the technology industry. They also share their thoughts on possible social solutions and products that can be developed if women are encouraged to pursue careers in technology.

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  • The Wide World of Volunteerism: October 2014

    So who here misses turkey dinner and Halloween costume fun? For those of you who are not ready for the holiday season, here's a belated Wide World of Volunteerism to bring back October. Story from blogger Ray Wang.

    Plasmodium knowlesi is a deadly malaria parasite which is spread from macaque monkeys to humans via mosquitos. Previously, cases of malaria in Southeast Asia were only found in adult men who worked on logging operations in the forest and got bitten by mosquitos that carried P. knowlesi. Now, cases of malaria are also showing up in children and whole families.

    To determine the cause for the spread of malaria, researchers are using a small camera-carrying drone to map out areas affected by P. knowlesi, collect information about the macaques that host the parasite, and monitor potential breeding grounds for these mosquitos. It is the hope that, with this data, researchers can find a solution to this issue.


    5 Ways Green Office Design Also Makes Workers Happier and More Productive


    Image source: Chriſtopher Chen


    Creative and sustainable office design helps businesses improve the well-being of the planet as well as that of their employees. For example, by designing a bike-friendly office and encouraging their employees to bike to work, businesses can boost their employees’ happiness, making employees less likely to get sick. That means an increase in overall efficiency -- all while reducing a business’s carbon footprint!


    Cured of Ebola, Nina Pham Anxious to See Family, Dog


    Nina Pham, a second nurse who became infected with Ebola while treating an Ebola patient, is now free of the virus after receiving several weeks of supportive care and Ebola-fighting antibodies. Her recovery is a sign of hope for those affected.






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  • Kathryn Tung at the Richmond Family Place

    The Richmond Family Place exists to help children reach their full potential - but the important work that they do supporting families would not be possible without the generous contributions of their volunteers. In this blog post, volunteer blogger Susan Young profiles longtime Family Place volunteer, Kathryn Tung.


    With our busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, volunteering can positively impact our community - it’s the glue that hold a community together. It allows individuals to share and connect with each other, thus strengthening our communities. It can also be a fulfilling experience for the volunteer.


    One of my favorite places for parents with young children is the Richmond Family Place. This is where you will meet Kathryn Tung, one of their many volunteers. For the past 6 years, Kathryn has been helping at the Saturday morning Dad and Child’s Breakfast.


    Kathryn has a background in early childhood education and loves interacting with children and parents. She found the Family Place during a site visit for her practicum. Ever since, she has contributed her time in engaging parents and their kids in active play, singing songs during circle time, and helping around the center where needed.


    She enjoys applying the skills she’s learned into her life and volunteer work. Being around children she notes is a fulfilling experience. Children and parents have different perspectives. Sometimes it takes a different approach to doing something to get your children’s attention or to accomplish a task. Kathryn listens to and shares advice with new parents. She really enjoys volunteering because it’s gratifying to helping others. She notes, “It’s rewarding to see children who often attend the Family Place acknowledge my presence and greet me with a hug”.


    Volunteering can also benefit the volunteer. Since volunteering, Kathryn joking says she she has gained more cooking, time management, and leadership skills working with other people. She strongly believes volunteering has positively affected her life in that she feels more humble and wise. Along with gaining great employable and life skills, she has also met a lot of great people. Kathryn’s advice for someone who has never volunteered before is to try it out. 



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  • Community Block Party at South Arm Park

    Nothing says "neighbourly" like the words "potato sack race" and "human pyramid". At least, that was the case at the Neighbourhood Small Grants block party put on by Stephanie Shack and Isabel Angeles last September! Here's Stephanie with a recap on the event.

     

      


    When my coworkers and I heard that there was grant money available through the Neighbourhood Small Grants program to help bring our community together, we could not miss this opportunity to apply. We wanted to help strengthen connections within a neigbourhood where the most we knew about each other were the cars we drove.


    Together, Isabel and I sat down to create an invitation list, a promotion plan to spread the word about the event with the aim of including as many people in the community as possible as guests, an event timeline to guide the day, potential volunteers to help us create a successful event, a menu, a budget and a list of activities we could organize to make the day memorable. We put our plan into an online grant application and were approved to host a community block party.
     



    After finding the location (South Arm Park), we created an event page on Facebook and handed out event flyers to local businesses and community centres. The event took place on a bright sunny day, September 20th. All guests were given names tags when they arrived. The hot dog BBQ became a full-fledged spread as guests arrived with their own food contributions of popsicles, cupcakes, fruit trays and veggie trays. 


    The food was a hit followed by the most memorable part of the day - the games. During set up, we noticed that the balls for the ladder ball game were tangled. Two members of the community came over to help untangle the game and chat about their summer. There were enough kids in attendance that we broke the group into four teams to take part in a relay race that included cup stacking, three legged race, along with some games we borrowed including tug of war, ladder ball, and a potato sack race. The race ended with a pinata and medals for the top team. 

    At one point, a part of the ladder ball game was stuck in the tree. The kids had to work together to figure out how to retrieve it and ended up creating a plan that had them physically relying on each other to solve their problem. They created a human pyramid to retrieve the ball!
     

    Families were still chatting as we packed up the event at the end. In the week following the BBQ, we received some feedback by email from people who attended and have included some excerpts below:
     

    "Great event put on today. It was so nice to see a group of diverse personalities mix it up! I personally enjoyed the throwback years of potato sack races! That was priceless."

    "Thank you for a great day. I think everyone had a great time and bonded quite nicely together."

     

     

     


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  • Hot Ink for Girls: Creativity in Safe Spaces

    The Richmond Women's Resource Centre (RWRC) (our neighbour tenants in the Richmond Caring Place) have so many great programs, one of which is the Hot Ink program for teens. A lover of creative writing herself, volunteer blogger Lillian Liao spoke with the RWRC, Hot Ink founder Anita Law, and past participant Alexandra Tse to find out why this program means so much to young girls who are discovering their potential.



    At the end of each Hot Ink year, the participants compile their best work into zines, which are available for purchase at the Richmond Women's Resource Centre


    In January of 2008, the Hot Ink program began its first chapter. Six years later, the program has only began to write its story.


    Based out of the Richmond Women’s Resource Center, Hot Ink is a writing program aimed at helping teenage girls feel comfortable with expressing themselves through writing. This program runs parallel to the school year, providing a way for students to explore writing outside of the school setting by attending weekly sessions of Hot Ink. The sessions are structured around learning different writing skills, styles, and forms. In these sessions, a facilitator will guide the participants through a series of writing workshops that involve guest speakers, field trips, writing lessons, and writing exercises.


    Before any good story there is a prologue in which ideas can begin to take root. The vision for Hot Ink first came to founder Anita Law when she was given a financial grant and the opportunity to work with a NGO by starting a community project. A long time lover of creative writing, Anita decided to combine her passion for writing and her desire to contribute to the local community into a program that fulfilled the community’s need of having a safe space for young girls.


    “At that time I was taking a lot of classes with components of women and gender studies. I was learning about the concept of ‘safe spaces’ for minorities and vulnerable populations, and I thought a class focused on teenage girls would be perfect,” Anita says.


    Using her previous experience working with youth in high schools and teaching English to immigrant women, Anita was well prepared to transfer her ideas into a classroom setting. With the help of several high school teachers, the Hot Ink program began to take shape with the aim of achieving one specific goal:


    “The goal is to give girls confidence in their own ability to express themselves - to give them the confidence not only to do what they already know, but to grow and develop.” Anita says.

    This goal of fostering self-confidence within young girls resonated with the Richmond Women’s Resource Center, allowing the Hot Ink program to find a permanent home.

    “Our goal at the the women’s center is to provide a supportive environment in which women are able to achieve their potential. Hot Ink lines up well with the broader goals of the women’s center by providing a safe place for young women to develop confidence and self-esteem,” says RWRC coordinator, Florence Yau.


    Beyond just providing a safe environment, the Hot Ink program also provides a creative setting in which participants can write their own stories. Past participant Alexandra Tse recalls her time in the program as an unique, enlightening, and joyful experience.


    “All the participants happened to be very talented writers and we were very supportive of each other,” Alex says, “It was amazing to benefit from the creative energy that comes from sharing with and working within a group. I didn't have writer's block at Hot Ink.”


    This creative energy allows participants to foster a sense of community in which they can grow individually as a writer. The delicate balance between the individual and the communal resonated with participants, who found themselves forming connections with fellow participants - all while getting to know themselves better as writers.


    “One of the most rewarding parts of the program was to feel like I could be a writer. It gave me confidence in my own writing,” Alex says, “As a group, we produced a lot of writing to be proud of. I also made a lot of good friends. We all still keep in touch today.”


    These rewarding experiences did not come without challenges. Within the program, participants are asked to share their work with others in order to receive critiques that will better their writing skills. Alex recalls a feeling of apprehension and nervousness in opening up to the group.


    “It is a vulnerable thing to do - to share your work,” Alex says, “But the supportive environment of the group helped facilitate the sharing.”

    The anxiety that participant can feel when it comes to sharing their writing places further emphasis on the importance of having a safe environment. For founder and past facilitator, Anita, watching students overcome their apprehension of sharing their work was a highlight of her experience:


    “Having somebody feel safe enough to share something they’d just written off-the-cuff with people they’ve only had two sessions with, and seeing that trust develop as the term went on, was really special,” Anita says.

    Over the years, Hot Ink has further expanded its reach into the community. For RWRC coordinator Florence, one of the most significant changes was opening up the program to a larger age group.


    “When it first started, it was only offered to senior level students in high school. The program has since expanded to include grade 8 and 9,” Florence says, “There is a different dynamic when you bring in younger girls. We’ve been seeing a mentorship developing when mixing younger girls with senior level girls.”

    Another major change is currently taking place within the Hot Ink program. Previously, the program has always been held in high school classrooms. This year, the program will take place at the community library. Florence is looking forward to seeing how the change in setting will affect the participant experience. Looking even further into the future, Florence wishes to expand the program by connecting and collaborating with other community writing events.


    “If there is a writing competition within the community, we can encourage the participants to give it a try as a next step,” Florence says.

    In the six years the program has been running, Hot Ink, like any good story, has certainly made its mark on the community.

    “Time to time, we have returning Hot Inkers - students who have attended Hot Ink previously. They ask about when the next Hot Ink program will be,” Florence says, “Parents are now coming to ask about the program. They want to know whether there are any creative writing programs within the community.”

    For Anita, the longevity of the Hot Ink program is a sure sign of a need within the community for girls to have safe spaces to express themselves.


    “I think what happened is that I happened to hit on something that sustained the interest and addressed a need in the community,” Anita says, “When that happens, the program will find a way to keep going.”

    The story of Hot Ink is far from being finished.




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  • Giving Christmas Back: One Volunteer's Journey

    The Richmond Christmas Fund makes a difference to over 600 children every year. Every child that comes through the Christmas Fund can wake up to a treeful of presents on Christmas morning. They can go back to school in January with a joyful holiday story to tell. We're so fortunate that some of those children grow up to become Christmas Fund volunteers themselves. Anna (*name has been changed for privacy) is one such volunteer. We were immediately impressed with the eloquent and well-spoken young teenager and we asked if she would, in her own words, tell us what the Christmas Fund means to her.

    Everything can change at any given moment. There was a time when I didn't believe this. In the little world my younger self had created, change was a foreign, unfamiliar, unreachable, unknown thing. But now I realize that change is inevitable and imminent. You may wake up one morning and realize the sun is no longer a ball of fire hanging in the sky and that stars don’t actually twinkle. You'll realize how much has changed, and the distance of the winding path you took all the way to where you are now – where you stand in your mud-caked sneakers  was all determined by each and every little fragment of what I like to call Past.

    There was a point somewhere in my own past, where the Richmond Christmas Fund played a very significant role. It brought me to where I am now, what I am now, and especially, who I am now. Being a nine-year old immigrant from China, I was the perfect mixture of both curious and ignorant. My parents, having abandoned everything they’d made themselves to be, moved to Canada for the sake of my well-being, in the hopes that I would become someone better. This is something that I am grateful for beyond the boundaries of the universe. 

    But times were difficult and we had to start everything from scratch. My parents had to rebuild their lives. At the time, we weren't especially well off financially. Even as a young child I recognized this. We were always watching, saving, compromising, and to me, that was normal. And as my first Christmastime rolled around, I came to the conclusion that my family couldn’t afford to celebrate the holidays. My parents were apologetic, but I was too young to recognize this. This was where the Richmond Christmas Fund came in.

    I received a teddy bear that Christmas from the Christmas Fund. Of course, many of you might think, “It's just a small gift”, but it meant much more to me. Being new to a school, an environment, a community, a country a world, even  is exceptionally difficult. Everywhere was cold and unfamiliar. The sounds that my classmates made to communicate felt like insults – like daggers, and I am not afraid to admit that this posed as an extreme difficulty for me. 

    What the Richmond Christmas Fund did was make me happy. It was as simple and as momentous as that. I would finally have something to share with the class when school would begin again. This way, I made friends and I was happy. I received something from this unfamiliar environment, making it approachable. 

    I would be more courageous from then on; I would strive towards better places because I knew they existed. The Richmond Christmas Fund was how I was able to stand with my head high, my arms in the air, my eyes fierce, and my mind proud. Like the domino effect, the Richmond Christmas Fund put in that last push of events that resulted in my transforming into a new person in a new environment, ready to try new things.

    As the teddy bear I first received from the Richmond Christmas Fund still lies in the reserved spot in my pillows, I was reminded to come back, this time as a volunteer. I am here now to give back, to help spread the word about the impact and benefits of the Christmas Fund. I want to recognize the change that I went through and show to less hopeful individuals how change can happen in the right place at the right time. I want to show how organizations like the Christmas Fund can spark that change - and change you once and for all.




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  • Meeting Our Neighbours - A Block Party in Terra Nova

    The Vancouver Foundation's popular Neighbourhood Small Grants (NSG) program came to Richmond for the first time ever this September 2014. The Richmond NSG program is administered by the Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives partnership between Volunteer Richmond and the Richmond Community Foundation. Already several successful events have already taken place, with a few more to come! We were so excited to hear from one of our first events, a block party organized by Susan Parsons, Jen Tait, David Larrigan, and Caroline To. Here's guest blogger Susan Parsons herself with a few words on their "Meet Your Neighbours" gathering in Terra Nova.



    Four Block Watch Captains wanted to put together a community event to enhance community spirit and encourage better “neighbourly” relations within our small community of Hankin Drive and Musgrave Crescent in the Terra Nova area of Richmond. We chose to do a morning coffee “Meet your Neighbours” get together from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM on September 20, 2014. Coffee, tea and small snacks were to be provided and necessitated the rental of some tents, tables and a few chairs to create a site for the Block Party. We applied for and received a Small Neighbourhood Grant in order to cover our expenses.

    We approached some of our community retail outlets for their support as well and were very warmly received. Starbucks supplied coffee, tea and accessories, and gave us a 40% discount on our food purchase. Save-On Foods provided us with water and juice, and two managers even came with a Save-On tent in order to help serve the attendees.

    We also advised Block Watch about this activity and while this was not a “Block Watch” event, they supported us by sending two RCMP auxiliary officers in their patrol car to mingle with both the children and adults.


    We used our Block Watch email address list to send out our invitations, and also delivered them door to door to achieve 100% coverage. We had our invitations printed in Chinese and English due to the diverse nature of our neighbourhood. As our event was taking place on a street, we had to purchase Liability Insurance, which was an unexpected expense.

    The end result was a huge success with over 100 people attending our event. The feedback even before the event was and is very positive. Neighbours have mentioned that others are now greeting them on the street whereas in the past heads would be down, as people went their own way. We are grateful to the Vancouver Foundation Neighbourhood Small Grants Program for enabling us to hold this event. We also thank Serena Lusk for mentoring us through the steps of the event, and for securing City of Richmond traffic barriers and tents for us. We acknowledged all of the above on our invitation and at our sign in table at the event.

    A couple of stats: we had representation from 44 of 68 households on our Block Watch list (which is now up to 72 houses out of 114 houses). Hard to know the exact number of people as we didn't keep track of the numbers of children who attended, but we used just over 100 of our name tag labels (for adults)!

    Our hope is to maintain periodic contact with all neighbours, and to hold another event in 2015.




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  • The Wide World of Volunteerism: September 2014

    This month's world of volunteerism certainly is wide - here's blogger Ray Wang with stories from the African wild, factories in the developing world, and (this is a new one) an organic bread factory in the U.S.

    Gap Invests in the Women that Make Its Clothes: Improving Women's Lives and Benefitting Businesses

    Image source: GOOD


    GAP is committed to improve the lives of its female garment workers through its Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) program. The program provides females workers with education and training they need to move forward at work and in life. The training offers course such as financial literary module where female workers would learn how to manage personal finances and set long-term goals, such as starting small businesses in their free time.



    Yao Ming Works to Save Africa's Elephants and Rhinos from Poaching


    Image source: Mashable 


    The 7’ 6” former NBA All-Star is using his influential power to save Africa's most vulnerable and beautiful animals: rhinos and elephants. As the middle class in China grows, more Chinese people are purchasing ivory or rhino horns to show-off their wealth. This increased demand has fuelled a major poaching crisis in Africa. To help reduce and eliminate the unethical consumption of ivory or rhino horn, Yao Ming has partnered with WildAid, a non-profit organization dedicated to stop illegal wildlife trade, to develop The End of The Wild, a film documenting the cruelties of poaching.


    Why the Best Employees at the Country's Top Organic Bread Company Are Ex-Convicts


    Image source: Fast Company

    Ronnie Elrod firmly believes that everyone deserves a second chance in life. The founder and owner of Dave’s Killer Bread, an organic bread company based in Portland, has hired roughly 100 individuals who have been behind bars to give them another shot at life. The staff members gets an opportunity to work and earn a steady income and participate in “partner enrichment programs” where they can learn about managing budgets, resolving conflicts, finding housings, and other life skills.






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  • Non-Profit Video Picks: September 2014

    In this month's Non-Profit Video Picks, blogger Ray Wang highlights two different kinds of inequalities - class and gender. Class inequalities can seem more easily noticeable, especially when it takes the form of homelessness. It may be difficult to notice gender inequality - perhaps because it seems like our society has already made so much progress in terms of women's rights. But as the videos from Google and from Emma Watson demonstrate - gender inequality is abundantly apparent for anyone who takes the time to learn about and to listen to women's experiences. 

    Women Techmakers: Make Your Passion




    According to Forbes, only 24% of U.S. IT professionals are female. This alarming low number of females in the IT industry limits the potential growth of the technology industry. According to Intel vice president Bernadette Andrietti, “Women offer a fresh perspective on product design, ways of working, risk-taking and many other aspects of business.”

    To inspire more females to enter the technology industry, established female engineers such as Kelly Ellis, Software Engineer at Google, and Shannon Spanhake, Deputy Innovation Officer for the City of San Francisco, share their motivation for entering the technology industry. They also share their thoughts on possible social solutions and products that can be developed if women are encouraged to pursue careers in technology.



    Giving to People Who Give



    In this humorous and touching video, BigDawsTv, a YouTube comedian, rewards people who give by pretending to be a homeless and returning donated money with $20 on top. BigDaws’ creative and unconventional way of sparking conversations about helping the homeless will definitely motivate others to give a hand to those in need. If you’re interested in helping homeless and low-income residents in our own community, please visit Richmond Food Bank Society.


    Emma Watson UN Speech



    As a part of the He for She campaign, Emma Watson, the British actress who was named a U.N. Women Global Goodwill ambassador earlier this year, delivers a touching speech on gender inequality, feminism, and how both women and men need to come together to end gender inequality. In her speech, Emma said:

    “I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.
    Why is the word such an uncomfortable one? I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights.”

    According to Forbes, only 24% of U.S. IT professionals are female. This alarming low number of females in the IT industry limits the potential growth of the technology industry. According to Intel vice president Bernadette Andrietti, “Women offer a fresh perspective on pro


    According to com/sites/leoking/2014/03/08/women-in-technology-a-brightening-outlook/" data-mce-href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/leoking/2014/03/08/women-in-technology-a-brightening-outlook/" style="color: #1b8be0; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: 1.7;">Forbes, only 24% of U.S. IT professionals are female. This alarming low number of females in the IT industry limits the potential growth of the technology industry. According to Intel vice president Bernadette Andrietti, “Women offer a fresh perspective on product design, ways of working, risk-taking and many other aspects of business.”


    To inspire more females to enter the technology industry, established female engineers such as Kelly Ellis, Software Engineer at Google, and Shannon Spanhake, Deputy Innovation Officer for the City of San Francisco, share their motivation for entering the technology industry. They also share their thoughts on possible social solutions and products that can be developed if women are encouraged to pursue careers in technology.

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