Among the many disruptions we've faced this year due to Covid-19 is the drastic effect it has had on our schools. All across the globe, children's school experiences have been transformed, with such important rites of passage as prom and graduation either curtailed or confined to the web.
But that didn't keep 18-year-old Riya Shah from pursuing her dreams. Shah spent her homebound hours working on new technology that helps expecting mothers manage their health remotely. "We're worried about our health and going out, but pregnant moms are worried about two lives," Shah says. "So what can we do to help them out?"
Shah's platform Fetal Life helps women navigate pregnancy in a new environment&ndas...Read more
Posted on 10/22/2020 at 12:47 PM
The abrupt transition to remote learning that has accompanied the Covid crisis is the single biggest change facing many parents and teachers as the traditional back-to-school season unfolds this year. And sadly, the strictures of remote learning are much more likely to have a negative impact on children in poverty, threatening to intensify the already glaring disparities between rich and poor students.
But as Devorah Heitner points out, there are solutions within reach. And although Heitner, the author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World, is cautious in her optimism, she also sees this crisis as an opportunity to reimagine our schools.
Read Heitner's thoug...Read more
Posted on 08/25/2020 at 01:25 PM
In the weeks since the terrible events in Minneapolis, racial tension has spiked to levels we haven't seen in decades. At times like these, it can seem that racism is irreparable, simply a feature of our existence that must be borne on society's shoulders. But this just isn't so; racism is learned behavior. It can be reversed, through education, community and compassion.
One project that has taken on this important challenge is Imaginary Walls, the feature-length documentary produced by our very own Anita Casalina, founder of Billions Rising. Anita has always been involved in filmmaking, and with this film she explores how one remarkable couple in Oakland, California has been helping people m...Read more
Posted on 06/29/2020 at 03:27 PM
It has now been nearly three months since widespread lockdowns went into effect across the world in response to the Covid virus. And though these measures have been a colossal disruption to both our lives and our economies, and many still bridle at the restrictions, two new studies show that they were anything but unnecessary. Indeed, they appear to have already saved literally millions of lives.
The studies, conducted by Imperial College London and University of California–Berkeley and published in Nature magazine, show the impact of emergency health measures across 17 different countries. According to Dr. Seth Flaxman, author of the Imperial College study, those measures have saved ov...Read more
Posted on 06/12/2020 at 01:44 PM
For the last eight years, TotalLink2 Community has worked with young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, offering a wide range of services promoting employment, independence and durable social connections. They also provide career and vocational services, including support with skill development and job placement. Based in Northbrook, Illinois, the organization's mission is to enhance their community by providing opportunities for these citizens to grow and contribute through social connection, employment and life-long education.
Sadly, the Covid pandemic has put much of this vital organization's regular programming on hold--and like many of us, they've had to pivot to th...Read more
Posted on 05/11/2020 at 01:49 PM
A summer youth camp for disabled kids that operated in upstate New York starting in the 1950's, Camp Jened was a refuge for an entire generation of special needs kids. Run by a group of what were then called hippies, the camp gave disabled kids a chance to experience all the things a "normal" kid would in summer camp.
But Camp Jened wasn't just the source of a lot of treasured memories. It also proved to be the wellspring of a landmark piece of legislation: the Americans with Civil Disabilities Act. And now, the camp has been immortalized in Crip Camp, a fascinating documentary now airing on Netflix.
A former camper himself, James Lebrecht directed the film with Nicole Newnham, with Michelle a...Read more
Posted on 04/10/2020 at 04:42 PM
When Felecia Gaston founded Performing Stars of Marin in 1990, a nonprofit art academy serving the underprivileged, she began with no budget whatsoever. “I had no idea about fundraising, writing grants, doing all the networking, filling out the 501(c)(3)s,” Gaston says.
Fast-forward 30 years, and today more than 3,000 young people have attended the program--and many have gone on to achieve at a level they never thought possible. By making classes, scholarships and other assistance accessible to families unable to afford performing arts programs, Gaston opened up a new world to kids who otherwise may have never had the chance to participate in the arts.
One excellent example is John...Read more
Posted on 03/24/2020 at 01:02 PM
As we and our families struggle to accustom ourselves to the COVID-19 pandemic and all the ways it's impacting our daily lives, it's important to remember to stay as informed as possible. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, and a new interview from Salon with Dr. Timothy Brewer, of UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health, helps sort fact from speculation.
The author points out that China's infection rate appears to be falling quickly--and that it's the way we respond to the crisis that will determine its ultimate severity. And crucially, he reminds us that compassion is part of any proper response to an outbreak of this kind. It's a timely read, and you can check it out here....Read more
Posted on 03/17/2020 at 03:15 PM
When Devin Nakano of Boise was only three years old, he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. At the time, his mother was told that the chances of her son living a successful life were "slim to none."
Miraculously, today Nakano is the founder of Y Stem and Chess, a nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by teaching at-risk kids chess, math and computer coding. Nakano has been at it since 2017, and is just getting started. “It builds critical thinking, it raises your IQ, it builds math scores," Nakano says. "It helps you communicate, it builds self-esteem, the list really goes on and on and on.”
To read more about this remarkably gifted educator, check out the recent...
Posted on 02/20/2020 at 10:05 AM
When he founded nonprofit TechnoServe just over a half-century ago, Ed Bullard espoused a point of view that was downright radical for the time. Namely, that profits and poverty abatement aren't antithetical, and that the two can actually support one another.
Of course, this perspective has become almost mainstream in today's business world. TechnoServe has expanded to 29 countries, connecting big corporations with small farmers to help them prosper and grow their businesses. And they're at the top of their game: Impact Matters, which rates nonprofits based on their impact, has rated TechnoServe as the number one nonprofit in cost effectiveness for reducing poverty.
And as TechnoServe CEO Will...Read more
Posted on 01/31/2020 at 02:30 PM