Tag Archives: causes

8 Quotes to Help Define a Hero

A hero can come in all shapes and sizes – from 91 year-old grandmothers to 7th graders standing up for healthier school lunches. Sometimes they wear costumes and uniforms, at other times they blend in right next to us and we never know they were there. They save us from burning buildings, or maybe they save us from ourselves. Heroes are the people that are selfless enough to put the needs of others before their own and they are there when we need them most. Every person picks their heroes for different reasons, but there are certain qualities that appear in many of those we look up to. Do any of these quotes describe someone you think secretly hides a cape under their day clothes?

Hero - Mr Rogers

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Maya Angelou quote

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Christopher Reeves quote

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Mike Alsford

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Bob Dylan

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Romain Rolland

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Who is your hero? Do any of these quotes describe them? Share your stories of people that save you or inspire you on a regular basis! Let us know what makes them so special to you in the comments below. 

One World: The Art of Impact with Malaria No More’s Ray Chambers

Ray Chambers There aren’t many people who have had more of a dramatic impact on the health and wellbeing of children globally than Ray Chambers. In April 2011 Ray Chambers was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine not for his career in private equity-though he had an illustrious and extremely lucrative career that is worthy of note in and of itself-but rather for his work on behalf of children in the developing world.

Chambers is the founder of the Malaria No More campaign; a campaign built on the simple idea that if children sleep under insecticide treated nets, not only are they protected from the mosquitos that carry the deadly disease but the mosquitos will die from landing on the nets and disrupt the breeding cycle.

The results of his work are significant. As he stated in his ONE WORLD conversation with Deepak: “Over the last seven years,” Ray explains, “we’ve raised over 8 billion dollars, we’ve covered 800 million people with these insecticide treated mosquito nets and the annual death rate has gone from 1.2 million to less than 500 thousand.” These are results that speak for themselves.

It is an extremely effective solution to the malaria epidemic sweeping sub Saharan Africa and it is one of the reasons that in 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon named Ray Chambers as UN Special Envoy for Malaria. In February 2013, Chambers was named Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals, a position that intersects his business career and his philanthropic endeavors.

Today, one of his most impressive accomplishments remains one of his simplest; by ensuring that children have a mosquito net costing less than $10 to produce, he and his organization Malaria No More have been able to drastically reduce the effects of Malaria on some of the most vulnerable populations in the world. An accomplishment that proves influence is not always about money or power, but rather recognizing need and meeting it head on with compassion and ingenuity.

You can watch Deepak’s full conversation with Ray here.

What Would You Do With One Second of Carefreeness?

Imagine you could let all of your worries and troubles go for one second, what would that moment look like? A french non-profit called the Mimi Foundation gave 20 cancer patients that chance a few weeks ago.

Each patient suffers from a terminal form of cancer. Many have completely lost their hair due to radiation treatments and their days are filled with dread of the next hurdle in fighting the disease. For one day they were invited to a studio to have their hair and make-up done, all while keeping their eyes closed. Then they were placed in front of a one way mirror that had a photographer on the other side. As they opened their eyes he took a photo of that first few seconds of happiness. He captured the pure joy of a carefree moment, something they so rarely get to experience in their current every day lives.

As we come to the close of our week on stress, what would your carefree moment look like? If you could choose it, where would you be? What do you think would bring you that joy? Tell us in the comments below.

Get involved: Your Holiday Mom

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I went to high school in North Carolina. Being located at the heart of the United States Bible Belt, my home state isn’t known for it’s hospitality towards the LGBTQ community. However, my last two years of high school I went to a public residential magnet school which became sort of a liberal bubble set apart from the conservative influence of our outside community. Our head of residential life actually made a promise that he’d lose his job before he ever made a student come out of the closet to their family, so besides being a place where nerds could actually live at school, it was a safe place for those teens who felt persecuted or unsafe identifying their sexuality in their home schools. Thus, we had a much more vibrant LGBTQ teen community at our school, with alliance clubs and leadership positions created specifically to create healthy dialogue for students questioning or coming to terms with their sexualities.

It created a unique experience that most southern kids don’t get to have. Of course, growing up in a “Will & Grace” era I did horrifying things like try to collect gay friends like Pokemon cards – because to my 16 year old mind having gay or lesbian friends was a novelty and I hadn’t fully figured out that people are people, no matter who they like to sleep next to at night. I am so thankful for the experience and the open mindedness it provided me going into adulthood and that I now have many great friends that just happen to be gay.

However, we still live in a world where that kind of attitude isn’t adopted by everyone. And the other day when I was scrolling through my own blog dashboard I was reminded that there are thousands of kids out there who don’t have a home or school to go to that encourages, and embraces, them to be who they are. Each year we hear of teens who feel so outcasted and lonely because they’re LGBTQ that they self-harm or worse – take their lives. The pressure and depression over this can get even worse around the holiday time when these young people don’t feel safe or welcome in their own homes.

Then I discovered “Your Holiday Mom” – an outreach effort by moms and supportive LGBTQ allies from the internet who are trying to give those teens something to make them feel warm this holiday season. The virtual support group collects letters from moms and allies alike from the internet with messages of love, acceptance and hope and publishes them for anyone struggling this holiday season around family members or friends who don’t support them. The letters each remind the reader that they are loved and they have the place in more progressive hearts, so they’ll know someone is thinking about them and caring about them during the season.

I love this idea because it’s a small thing that can mean the world to someone in trouble. Sometimes charity or giving isn’t always about dollar bills, but opening our hearts to help others. Last year the campaign posted over 40,000 letters. This is the second year and they hope to get even more. Will you help? Here are the submission guidelines. Tell a stranger that you love them this holiday season and you could save someone’s life.

From Intent.com: Why Wait

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So the month of December is officially the month of “Why Wait” here at Intent.

In our newsletter last week, we wrote that there is nothing special about January 1.

Nothing magical will happen to you at the stroke of midnight of 2014 that will magically give you the empowerment or will power you never felt like you had in 2013. If you want to make a change, if you want to take a step out courageously, then there’s no need to wait for January 1. You can and should do that today!

Needing some inspiration?
Here are some of Intent users that could use our support:

So here are some questions to ask yourself-

1. If you could have any life, no limits, what would it look like?
In the brainstorming process for ANYTHING, it’s important to let yourself imagine everything as a possibility- large or small. Don’t try and edit yourself while in the brainstorming process. It only slows you down. Instead let yourself think outlandishly. Imagine yourself as an astronaut. Imagine yourself only needing to sleep 3 hours a day. Whatever life you could dream of, give yourself unlimited freedom for a short amount of time to really push the limits in picturing it.

2. What has to come? What has to go?
After you decide whether or not it’s practical (ie- “I want to be Harry Potter. Like, real Harry Potter. I want a magic wand and an archnemesis with no nose), then ask yourself what things would have to enter your life to make it a reality. Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make some of those things realities? If so, move forward. If not, cross those things off the list. The things you’re passionate about are going to be worth your time and energy. By the same token, some things are going to have to go. You’ve always wanted to paint, but your evening are filled up with every activity but that. If you love those other activities, that is one thing. That might require you use a little bit of calendar rotation. But, if your calendar is filled up with things that you are less than jazzed about, start taking steps to pull back and slowly phase out of them. How do you know which things you don’t love? They’re normally the things that make you say “Tonight I have [insert activity]. UGH.”

3. Set some big goals.
In the past I’ve talked about how we give ourselves small goals so we don’t fail. You want to get in shape so you set a goal of going to the gym once a week. That’s not bad, right? You’re currently going to the gym zero times a week, so that’s 100% improvement, right? Wrong. What happens when the day you picked gets slammed with a last minute meeting? What happens if you get sick that day? I say, with life changing goals, aim high. Say you’re going to the gym 5 times a week. If you end up missing one or two or three of those days, you’re still getting greater motivation to get up and out the door. You’re still going to see results of 3 days working out versus just 1. And I say that’s worth the effort.

So what are you waiting on?
What is the life you’re dreaming of?
Why wait?

UNICEF’s I Believe in Zero to Save Children from Preventable Disease

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 8.50.25 AMMy Conversation with Caryl Stern, President US Fund for UNICEF When I was in college, I wrote my senior thesis on the Convention of the Rights of the Child.  I no longer know where that document is or even remember the details of that in-depth study that consumed my last year of college.  What has stayed with me forever, however, is the belief that children have the right to live, to be protected from abuse and exploitation, and deserve basic human rights.  I was also always inspired by the work of UNICEF, and for my first book, 100 Promises To My Baby, I donated 10% of my proceeds to their programs for children affected by HIV and AIDS. Thus, when I had the opportunity to hear Caryl Stern speak about her new book, I Believe In Zero, I was already convinced of her intent that no child should die from preventable causes.

Currently 18,000 children die every day of preventable causes – from things like unsafe drinking water, malnutrition, and lack of access to immunizations.  This is truly unacceptable, and we, as a global citizens, should not think it is ok. I have met many people doing incredible work for others, but Caryl Stern truly impacted me in a way few others have.  In fact, I was so moved by her book that I decided to buy several dozen books to gift to my daughter’s classmates.

In the book, Caryl shares through her own personal stories the plight of children around the world, as well as potential solutions to many of these problems.  The book is hopeful, inspirational, and yet very real, at the same time. I reached out to UNICEF to see if I could interview Caryl for my book, Living With Intent, as she is someone who embodies passion and purpose in a unique way.  I was honored to have a one-on-one conversation with her about 10 days ago in NYC to talk about her book, her family, her work and her intentions.

The US Fund for UNICEF is in a non-descript office building near Wall Street in NYC.  I was escorted up to a waiting room where, while waiting to be called into her office, I watched a staff meeting in a conference room enclosed by glass walls.  The staff at UNICEF seemed multi-cultural, relatively young, and animated from the peek I had into their meetings.  After a short wait, I headed to Caryl’s office and was welcomed by her friendly staff. In the first few minutes of meeting Caryl, I knew this woman is a both a force of energy and passion, but also incredibly warm and welcoming.   Her desk was full of papers and books, not messy or particularly neat, with photos on the shelves, including those of her two sons.  A packed suitcase stood on the floor by her desk, an obvious reminder that she is a woman who lives on the road (something she talks a lot about in the book – balancing her need to travel with being a mom.)

In listening to my recorded interview with her, I realize I was really nervous, chatting for about 10 minutes about my intent before even letting to her speak!  Once she spoke, I was put at ease by her friendliness, and became totally relaxed. Caryl begins her narrative sharing two powerful personal family stories.  In 1939, her mother and uncle boarded a ship as children to escape from Austria during the Nazi invasion.  An unknown woman, whose name they will never know, made sure they boarded that ship safely to escape the horror that could have killed them.   Through her mother’s story, Caryl knows the power that even one person has to save another’s life. That same year, her grandfather boarded the SS St. Louis on a journey that became known as the Voyage of the Damned because Cuban and US authorities denied entrance to the passengers (mostly Jews) saying that they had fraudulent paperwork.

The ship was sent back to Europe, and most on board perished from Nazi persecution.  Her grandfather, one of the few survivors of that journey, taught her “what happens when the world turns its back, ignores the facts, and allows innocent people to die.” In I Believe In Zero, Caryl shares her travels to witness the plight of children around the world, and the work that UNICEF is doing to alleviate their suffering.  From the rainforests of Brazil to Mozambique, Darfur, Bangladesh, and post earthquake Haiti (just to name a few), she shares intimate moments, putting names and faces to the mothers and children whose lives seem so unjustly marred by war, famine, ecological devastation and disease.  But the power of her stories are in the details and emotions she has witnessed – from holding the hand of a woman whose child is dying of tetanus (a preventable disease) in Sierra Leone to sharing an apple with a woman in the desert during the food shortage in Kenya, just 48 hours after Caryl excitedly (and nervously) meets Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Its Caryl’s ability to make everything personal that I realize makes her so authentic and relatable.  During the talk I attended, a young boy asked her, “What is the most difficult part of your job?”  I expected her to answer with a story about witnessing famine, the death of an infant, or meeting children of war, but instead she replied that it was being separated from her two sons.  In the book, she shares the story of being at a refugee camp in Darfur, and getting a phone call from her son in NYC who needs help with his English homework.  Any mom can relate to this feeling.  As a mom, Caryl is constantly figuring out the balance of serving both her children and the world! During the interview, when I applaud Caryl’s belief the no child should die of preventable causes, she responds that her hope is that others will adopt this intent to make it a rallying cry of their own – that it is the ones who stand on her shoulders who will convince others that no child should die of preventable causes and do something about it.  As she speaks, I am reminded once again of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and how the mandates in that charter need constant re-affirmation, communication, and action.

I am inspired that there are people like Caryl Stern who are leading a global community of individuals who truly believe that we can help one another. I strongly recommend Caryl’s book, I Believe In Zero.  It is entertaining, hopeful, and a first step to educating oneself about issues affecting our children.  Caryl has generously donated profits of the book US Fund for UNICEF.  I also encourage you to check out www.unicef-usa.org to learn about the programs and important work that UNICEF is doing daily to help children around the world.

Empower Your Kids for #GivingTuesday

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.41.25 PMIt’s a quiet evening in the Gobes household.  The autumn sun sets early as the rich aroma of Barefoot Contessa’s boeuf bourguignon peaks our appetites.  With a click of the mouse, my cozy, quiet, comfort-food kitchen is suddenly infused with emotion as my family quickly transitions from hunger to contemplation to tears to determination to inspired action.

My children and I are wrapped around the sound of a news story aired by NPR online, brought to living color by Paula Bronstein’s stirring photo of a Filipino expressing his raw suffering after Typhoon Haiyan.

For a long moment we four are suspended in stillness as we connect with his suffering.  His tears flow through our eyes as we watch the computer screen in silence.

I break the hush and spend a few minutes talking about what it means to be human.  This man is a stranger.  He is thousands of miles away, but his pain is as familiar to us as our own breath.

My youngest children are 9, 7, and 5.  They know suffering, or at least they think they do.  Their low points are dredged up by missing sneakers on gym day, by two green brussel sprouts on a dinner plate.  But their imaginations are fertile and their capacity for compassion is immense.  They examine the man’s expression and begin to list emotions he might be feeling.  They, too, feel those things.  They connect the dots.  He’s just like us.

“How can you help him?” I ask.

“We can send him blankets!” suggests one.

“He’s not cold, he’s wearing short sleeves,” says the other.  “How about pillows?”

“How can we get the pillows to him?”

Maybe the best way to help him from so far away is to raise money.  He can use it to import what he needs,” I suggest.

“Can we color him a picture, Mommy?” my little one requests.

“You bet, babe.”

My 9 year-old seems to be experiencing a paradigm shift.  She picks up the house phone and begins to dial with great urgency.  She’s recruiting her besties to lead a fundraising effort – a good old fashioned coin collection.  Empty your piggy banks, fellow third graders!  The people of the Philippines need our pocket change!  She disappears into her bedroom, chittering quickly, hashing out details and coordinating collection locations.

My 7 year-old has settled back into her book Big Nate, but upon absorbing her big sister’s charitable enthusiasm, she ditches the read and picks up a marker.  “How do you spell typhoon?”  She churns out several posters as I type emails to friends soliciting support for the children’s mission.

My 5 year-old is on the edge.  He’s constructing cannons out of Tinker Toys and monitoring the commotion cautiously.  “Mommy,” he ventures, “Can I ask Jack and Billy to give quarters to that man?”  I respond in the affirmative and hear his barely audible, “Yessssss.”  He continues to quietly play with his cannons.

“Can you believe that a 5 year-old boy like you can do something important like this?  You have the power to help a grown man feel better.  You’re like a superhero.  What do you think about that, buddy?”

“Good,” he mutters, not lifting his head.  But I can see past his long bangs that he’s smiling.  The enthusiasm for this project is contagious.

Big sister returns to the kitchen, placing the cordless on my desk.  The plan is a go.  The  primary players are enlisted.  We decide to collect change until Thanksgiving and have a coin counting party on #GivingTuesday.  They’re excited to be part of such a special day.

Dinner is hot and it’s time to eat.  I take a moment to reflect.  In the time it took a pot of stew to boil, my children adopted a cause and took action.  I’m reminded of a quote by Seneca, “It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste of a lot of it.”  No wasted time here.  Giddy-up.

Give what you can, how you can, where you can.  And be sure to give your all on #GivingTuesday.

NSFW: Punk Band Uses Porn to Protest Westboro Baptist Church

Warning: This video contains graphic content that may not be appropriate for the workplace or young children.

The Westboro Baptist Church is famous for protesting the funerals of soldiers killed in action, terrorist victims or other noteworthy people to say that those deaths are God’s penance for rampant homosexuality. The goal is to enrage those trying to bury their loved ones to the point of physical violence so they assault any of the protestors – and then the Westboro Baptist Church sues. Pretty despicable, right?

Many have come up with creative ways to deal with these monsters – from blockading the protestors from their intended funerals or buying the house across the street and painting it with rainbow colors – but a California punk band called Get Shot! may have come up with the most outrageous way to protest the WBC.

They filmed their bassist masturbating on the front lawn of the church headquarters. (Video is below. Warning again: Graphic)

“The Phelps family and Westboro Baptist Church are ridiculous and do nothing except spread hate and cause controversy,” Laura Lush, the girl in question said in a press release put out by the band.

Get Shot! has been known for other headline grabbing press stunts according to the comments of the Gawker article. But you have to admit it’s a creative, if totally twisted, way to get back at WBC for their hate speech tactics. Obviously the band will benefit with more clicks to their website, and maybe even sell a few CDs, but does it do anything to WBC itself? Does it make us feel any better that this happened?

It’s at least a little funny for those with a crude sense of humor (and there’s nothing wrong with that) but the stunt feels almost like dropping down to the WBC level. Maybe you make a few of them uncomfortable, but does any change come from that discomfort or do they just re-up their efforts? The best way for us to rise about the hatred spewed by the WBC is to rise above them, to show love for one another and be the better example. If we stoop to their level just to grab headlines – are we really any better?

What do you think of the stunt? Was it a good idea or a cheap shot at attention? Tell us in the comments below!

VOD: Amy Poehler’s Emotional Speech About Helping Orphans

“Close your eyes,” Amy Poehler says during her Variety Power of Women speech. Then she asks the audience to imagine their children, or themselves as children and think of the things that made them feel warm, safe and okay.

Poehler was giving the speech in celebration of her work with the Worldwide Orphan Foundation, the non-profit founded by Dr. Jane Aronson to raise awareness and help the millions of orphans around the world. The Variety honor comes after Poehler teamed up with Mad Men’s Jon Hamm to host an “Emmy Losers” party that raised over $30,000 for WWO.

“There are children in this world who have nothing,” Poehler continues, her voice starting to break, “So who are we to be in this room and to be living this life without helping them?”

Amy Poehler is already a winner of the great human being award for her comedy and work for women’s rights. This speech puts her on another level thought. It is not only motivation to care about orphaned children less unfortunate than us, but she encourages everyone to use their privileges to help others. “It’s great for your skin, and makes your ass smaller,” she jokes (speaking to the Hollywood crowd of course). It’s a message we can all take home and put into practice.

What causes are close to your heart like the WWO is for Amy? Who do you plan to help today? Share in the comments below!

Bringing Music Back to the Kids Through High School Nation

89d94678302311e39d8022000a1fa9ec_7Imagine you’re back in high school trying to make it through 3rd period history without falling asleep. How awesome would it be if a giant truck rolled into the parking lot and unloaded all the makings of a music festival onto the front lawn? That’s what High School Nation, a non-profit organization that works to promote and fund music and art programs in schools, is doing for high school and middle school students around the country. By bringing live music to campus and giving kids a free concert with the help of generous sponsors, High School Nation hopes to inspire students to pick an instrument and express themselves in creative ways.

Intent recently chatted with lead singer of the band STAMPS – who are currently on their third HSN tour – Ren Patrick about the organization, how they got involved and what it means to her to make sure music programs and the arts stay alive in public schools.

Intent: What is High School Nation and how did STAMPS get involved? 

Ren: High School Nation is an organization that is promoting arts and music in schools all across the country. It’s really cool and important to us because I was so involved in choir growing up, since middle school. Basically, it’s a charity tour with a ton of sponsors – like Ernie Ball, Guitar Center, and Monster – all of those donate their products and money. All of that is given to each school.

We got involved with that through the person that created High School Nation. His name is Jimmy Cantillon. We went on tour with his brother who is in a  band called Tommy and the High Pilots. They heard our music and said “Wow, you guys would be great for this demographic because it’s all – it’s touring high schools all across the country.” It’s just really cool organization.

 Intent: What is a typical day on an HSN tour like when you get to the school? 

Ren: It’s basically a festival type thing. you go in and there’s a tent all set up. There’s an Ernie Ball stage – which is what they use at Warped Tour. All the sponsors have their own thing they are representing. All the kids come out and we play a show. It’s basically a crazy, madness sea of children and it’s amazing.

Intent: What do you guys think is your favorite part of performing for HSN? 

Ren: Sometimes at the show you can really connect to a kid. They’ll come up to you afterwards [or] they’ll be hanging around the merch table. They get really real with you, and say something that’s really hard for them to say. Sometimes they will come up to us and confess their depression or that the cut themselves or they’ve been having a terrible week, but [then] they say, “You guys just made my week,” or “Now I have a new favorite band and something to look forward to.” It breaks my heart but it makes me really happy that we can make them happy. To be able to make their day in any way is really special to us.

Intent: What difference do you think it makes when kids are exposed to the arts early on? 

Ren: I think it makes a huge difference. There are so many talented kids that have no idea they are talented yet. For a lot of people it takes something like band or choir or orchestra to realize what they are good at. You won’t know you’re good at guitar unless you start playing guitar. They have so much potential and it’s sad to see a talent like that go to waste. It would be sad to see programs like that disappear.

Photo credit: High School Nation snapwidget

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High School Nation continues it’s fall Tour at the following cities

Oct. 9 – Newark, NJ
Oct. 10 – Trention, NJ
Oct. 11 – Atlantic City, NJ
Oct. 14 – Baltimore, MD
Oct. 15 – Washington, DC
Oct. 16 – Virginia Beach, VA
Oct. 17 – Raleigh, NC
Oct. 18 – Charlotte, NC

STAMPS was recently recognized as a BMI indie spotlight artist. They have a self-titled EP which you can listen to on their website. They are currently in the process of recording a follow-up and will continue producing a new record at the end of the High School Nation tour so stay tuned for that!

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