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Go Inspire Go Wants to Hook Up YOUR Thanksgiving Hero

Portrait of a family saying grace before eating dinnerBravery and courage come from not dwelling on what there is to fear.

Had I known what I know today or had a glimpse into how my life has unfolded, I would have been scared of change — afraid to step up to my calling.

My dream was to be a TV reporter in a large market, report/host a show on PBS (that’s what sparked my imagination and how I learned to speak English) and the end goal… to teach at the university level.

Little did I know, my goals would be fast-tracked and met before age 30. After eight years of reporting the news, I gave it all up and through a series of “mistakes” led me to a unique career path.

When I started Go Inspire Go five years ago, I was disillusioned by my TV news reporting job and took a huge leap of faith and quit what I thought was my dream job. I wanted to use my power of storytelling and connecting people to inspire others to discover and use their power to help others.

I am humbled that one by one, an amazing global team of more than 80 volunteers has joined our movement… and the impact has rippled out from the U.S. and beyond the pond.

This past summer, Go Inspire Go successfully launched its 50/50 campaign to profile 50 everyday heroes in 50 states and we are scouring America to uncover a real life hero in your state.

We’re inviting you to join us on this next leg of our journey, to uncover 50 inspiring heroes in 50 states.

Along the way, we found The Pollination Project on Twitter. We just knew we had to cross-pollinate the amazing energy – so we joined forces to kick off our 50/50 journey to hook up a deserving everyday street-corner style hero with a supersized grant and shower him/her with lots of social media love. #WonderTwinOrgsActivate

We plan to unveil the first hero this Thanksgiving holiday so we need your help!

That’s what the true spirit of Thanksgiving is all about. We are looking for an everyday hero (or group of heroes) whose social change work is rooted in gratitude, generosity and love.

We’re excited to announce that our friends at The Pollination Project have stepped up and will give a $1,000 grant to our first Hero. The Pollination Project has had a banner first year of funding a grant each day to individual social change-makers.

Will that hero be YOU? Will it be someone you know? HELP! Here’s what we’re looking for … apply now… time is running out.

Are you our Thanksgiving Hero?

50/50 Hero perks:
• A $1,000 grant from The Pollination Project to use for your social change project
• A local and national media push to promote your grant
• A three to five minute video that highlights the person or organization and their project.
This video can be used for future grant applications or promotion on your
website for crowdfunding campaigns and other creative uses
• Widespread video distribution via The Pollination Project and Go Inspire Go’s blogs and
social media platforms
• Home page placement on The Pollination Project’s and Go Inspire Go’s websites.

We look forward to meeting you and/or your hero, sharing your story and inspiring other heroes to use their power to uplift you and your cause. We are grateful for you! #ThankYou

Take action:
1. Learn more & Apply here
2. Share your story
3. Get your friends and supporters involved: Email, tweet, Facebook away. Remember to use #SeedTheChange and #gig5050

Follow us on: Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

Girls Inc.: Changing the World Through Girl Power!

Go Inspire Go is proud to present this month’s Social Good Spotlight to raise awareness of organizations doing good in their communities in order to inspire others to take action and ultimately make real social change. For more information and to read past Social Good Spotlights, click here.

Compiled by Toan Lam and Koshi Sandrasagra

What is Girls Incorporated (Girls Inc.)?

Girls Incorporated is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire all girls to be strong (through healthy living), smart (through education) and bold (through independence). Founded in 1958, Girls Inc. offers academic enrichment activities, skill-building programs and counseling services to girls and their families.

girls+powGirls Inc. of Alameda County provides year-round academic achievement and skills-building programs, as well as counseling services to more than 7,500 girls and families.

Girls Inc. believes that generations are transformed when girls are equipped with knowledge, information and confidence. Girls ages 5-18 are engaged in a continuum of award-winning programs, developing the essential skills and tools they need for college, career and life success.

How does it work?

The process: Girls Inc. begins with teaching the foundations of literacy and they support girls developmentally with each milestone along the way. This includes focus on academic achievement, positive risk taking, health and fitness, advocacy, leadership and more. The organization is unique in that they focus on serving the whole girl and her family as well, by providing on-site mental health counseling among all of the other programs offered. Their nationally-developed programs are the result of studies conducted by the Girls Incorporated National Resource Center – the largest and most comprehensive research center on girls in the country.

Spotlight on Major Accomplishments (to name just a few!):

  • 100 percent of Girls Inc. seniors graduate from high school (compared to less than 60 percent of their peers) and in the last five years, 98.2 percent of seniors have enrolled in college (most of whom are the first in their families to do so).
  • More than 1,500 girls across the country have participated in technology and literacy curricula initially developed by Girls Inc. of Alameda County.
  • Named by the Clinton Global Initiative as one of the 13 programs that “will improve the lives of girls and women around the world.”
  • Received the United Nation’s East Bay’s 6th Annual Global Citizen Award

Personal Victories:

  • In Spring 2012, Arooj Haq, who was an active participant in Girls Inc. programs from early elementary school though high school graduation, was inducted into Alameda County’s Women’s Hall of Fame for her work in public health and advocating for human rights. In Girls Inc. Arooj, at 17, promoted nutrition, smart choices and healthy relationships to her high school peers, and helped run her school’s annual blood drive. The daughter of two Pakistani immigrants, Arooj has long aspired to be a nurse. A recent trip to the Middle East caused her to expand her aspirations, however. Her goal now is to one day open a charity helping women in her parents’ native country. As a young Muslim woman, Arooj has had some negative experiences due to others’ ignorance and stereotyping. The experiences only bolster her determination to be a positive role model and to redefine cultural assumptions. She now attends U.C. Santa Barbara!
  • Two Eureka! Teen Achievement Program high school participants were invited to the 2012 White House Science Fair based on their solar bus design and met President Barack Obama.

The New Girls Inc. Simpson Center for Girls

Girls Inc. of Alameda County has unveiled new headquarters to become the region’s first and only resource center for girls. The new center is located at 510 16th St in Downtown Oakland, and will effectively allow Girls Inc. to respond to the increasing demand for their critical programs.

The genius of the design for the center is not just that it revitalizes a historic building, but that it began with Girls Inc. participants!

Girls from the Eureka! Teen Achievement Program met with Berkeley-based Anne Phillips Architecture and spearheaded the project – getting regular project updates, providing design input and ideas to create a green, sustainable facility and making key decisions on efficient fixtures and design.

The end result is a flexible design concept that will support expanded programs and services, including:
  • Learning and education – Expanded space for high school girls to build skills in leadership, advocacy and peer education.
  • Physical and mental health – a vibrant health and wellness center and teaching kitchen, with a focus on cooking, nutrition, a yoga center and the Pathways Center for counseling.
  • Academic Achievement and Enrichment – Early learning, tutoring, college prep and career guidance, a library, study areas and Internet café.

Take Action:

In the media era where young women are bombarded with conflicting messages and values (think The Notorious B.I.G. singing about “Nasty Girl” and reality TV stars and pop idols making sex tapes to get famous) – there is a very real need to give young women a sense of pride, self-worth and purpose. Girls Inc. is providing a very real service in communities that need it; giving young girls the building blocks to create their futures, rather than having a future thrust upon them through poverty and a lack of education or opportunity.

Get involved by joining the Girls Inc. strong, smart & bold campaign and help them change the world: one girl, one family, one community at a time.

Become a volunteer, join our Girls Inc. Friends & Family and donate, become a Women of Impact member or partner with Girls Inc.!

There are so many opportunities to help us change the world, one girl at a time. Get involved!

The Spiritual Journey of Crowd-funding

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 4.59.02 PMEveryday I wake up and count my blessings. I’m grateful to have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, and most importantly, I am breathing. This month there was additional energy swirling around me and Go Inspire Go (GIG).

As many of you know, Go Inspire Go embarked on our 50/50 crowd funding journey 36 days ago. We’re on a quest to uncover 50 everyday heroes in 50 states. We are about 85% of the way to our $25,000 goal with just 4 days to go!

Over a year ago, my board members Marcia and Connie planted the seed about crowd-funding and waited for me to say ‘GO’. We chose Indiegogo for our 50/50 campaign.

With more than 40+ volunteers on this campaign, I confidently assumed, “we got this.” Connie, our campaign cheerleader organized and managed us with spreadsheets galore. We were ready!

IMG_8242Pre-planning meetings included: generating buzz with social media, examining case studies, e-mail outreach to schools, artists nonprofit organizations, design elements which included a handful of technical/design friends who helped with the title animation and logo for our video. And of course, many iterations of our campaign video. This took more than 100 hours to produce.

No one could predict what happened after we launched… One of our volunteer’s grandmother passed away. She rushed to Los Angeles to plan the funeral. Another volunteer spontaneously collapsed in the bathroom, slamming her face into a metal shelf as she became unconscious and another volunteer had two surgeries followed by her apartment flooding.

What was going on?!

You know that saying, all things come in 3’s. Not true. I got a call from my cousin in Michigan, who told me her mom passed way from lung cancer. Coincidentally, I got another a call from a close childhood friend, who told me her mom (whom I consider family) was battling the late stage of lung cancer too. Whaaat? I. Need. Time. To. Process…
I had a campaign to run, videos to shoot and blogs push out. Throw into the mix six classes to teach and grading.

You know the saying, “challenges are here to teach you something?” Even though I always try to look for the silver lining, I’ve spent all month wondering what this was supposed to teach me. Just a glimmer, please?

IMG_3474Today, I got it.

For me, the GIG campaign goal was to raise awareness, consciousness and inspire action. It ended up being much more – this has been a spiritual journey. If you look at my gratitude journal, you’ll see that a constant theme or mantra is “I feel supported.”

This platform allowed my team and me to create and organize a movement and to encourage everyone I care for to use their power, in any way, to help make their community a better place. As long as I have the support of my team and viewers like you I can continue supporting the community heroes we feature. I’ve been working tirelessly with a team of 60-80 volunteers for the past 4 years on pieces of the puzzle: production of videos and blogs, design elements, and searching for ways to make this a sustainable long lasting, impactful vessel that serves people like you.

But this is why we do what we do:

 People like Michael Fullam, a 50/50 donor who recently reached out to tell me that GIG has helped him feel hopeful in a time of hopelessness – this on the heels of his mother’s recent death.


 People like Ron Holt, a GIG hero, who is on a crusade to inspire equality around the world through his unique research about the biology of sexuality and his message of authenticity. People have reached out to Ron telling him they’re glad to have come across the video and hear his message because it saved their lives. Another viewer came out to Ron and for the first time came to terms and accepted with an authentic self.

A viewer wrote to Ron:

My name is (removed) I am a young gay male (17), I have not been at any of your conferences, but I did see your video on youtube, and would like to personally thank you! I wish someone like you came and told me that being gay is okay alot sooner then I found out. I told my mother I was gay at 15 and I have been living alone since then working full time all because I was gay something so small can really change the way people view you! So thank you very much for helping and educating other on this problem of gay hate I really do appreciate it!

And people like YOU, who email, comment and share our content.

This is just the tip of the impact we’ve created. I could have never imaged when I started this little idea in 2009. Our videos and blogs show the world that YOU can make a difference both big and small. We just want you to GO … get inspired … and GO do it!


 There’s nothing more gratifying than being able to give someone the gift of awareness of their own power and ability to give back. Simply put JOY. 


Every minute we have in the day is a opportunity for us to share our gift of joy.

It seemed that every time a barrier was presented to us, there was an invisible ladder, a rope, a helping hand. Just like miracles, we don’t always see them, but I know we feel them – if we are present (and focus on our breath).

Miracles during this 50/50 journey:

1. We are more than 85% away from our goal. We have 4 days left. Please donate and share like crazy!

2. More people have joined our campaign, we started with about 10 and now we have 40+ volunteers

3. Wize Commerce will donate $5,000 to our campaign and are developing a Corporate Challenge from local companies to donate and inspire volunteerism amongst their team

4. Pollination Project will give our first hero featured a $1,000 seed grant

5. Despite all that has happened to our team, we are still breathing

For those of you who have donated, reached out to your network to share our message and all the social media followers that have liked us, we wish there was a ‘LOVE’ button for you all.

And to my amazing team, THANK YOU for all the hard work and love and for pushing me to be a better person and leader!

P.S. Want to learn more about our journey leading up to this 50/50 campaign? Check out our special 50/50 blog posts!

Go Inspire Go: Why YOUth Matter

Zararwadi SmileIf I could choose one quote that defines the ethos of our youth today, it would be, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” Simple but sweet words carefully crafted by my favorite poet, Dr. Maya Angelou.

This is a bold statement, I know, but hear me out.

Before I was invited to develop curriculum at the Academy of Art’s (AAU) Multimedia Department and the University of San Francisco, I too believed that many young folks were apathetic, entitled and not in touch with reality.

Boy, was I wrong. Or as my students would say, “You got moded.”

Reality Check #1: A few years ago, I was given the rare opportunity to build and teach a high school summer bridge program at AAU. I thought that my students would be excited to execute the final I had prepared. “You are going to create a short video on ‘hot spots’ in San Francisco. It could be a cool place to hang out, shop or eat.” I instructed in a sure tone of voice. I thought hands down, students would be stoked.

Instead, hands eagerly went up. The questions they asked changed the trajectory of my stereotypes toward the youth.

One student raised her hand and said, “My mom was so excited that you were teaching us because she follows Go Inspire Go (my nonprofit) on social media.” Another student said, “Yeah my friends follow you on Twitter in Sweden.” A third student said her friends who live in the Midwest follow our stories. Their collective wish: “Can we do our video on a story for GIG and if it’s good enough, would you post it?” My heart skipped a beat. Chills ran from head to my feet.

I was taken aback.

Julian Cohen, a high school junior from Jersey City, N.J., saw an article in his local newspaper about a reverend who wanted to build a high school in Grande Saline, Haiti, following the devastating earthquake in 2010. Cohen was sad that there was no high school in Grande Saline and was inspired to make a video to engage action. This led to two youth movements that eventually sent 32 kids to school for one year in Haiti.

This led me to create a GIG program called GIG Spark, Lesson on Compassion. Students think about a problem and how they could be part of the solution. They create a short 90 second video and send it to us to multiply their message.

Reality Check #2: I’m exited to announce that Go Inspire Go partnered up with The Bayview Hunter’s Point YMCA, YouTube, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation and National Youth Radio to create GIG Sparks with youth at the Bayview Hunter’s Point YMCA. They wanted to make videos that inspire compassion, change and a shift in perspective.

If you watch the local media here in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’d think that this area is only known for its crime, violence and destitution. I found that there was so much hope for the youth living in this area of the City.

Photo Courtesy: Oscar Nilsson/ Interview with Betty Sells-Asberry, YMCA Teen Services Director

When I spent an afternoon training six of these young YMCA change makers, I was filled with pride. Kier Wilson, Tajae Hill, and Jonkia Davis were amazingly inspiring. They were so proud to call the Bayview Hunter’s Point their home, but were deeply saddened their neighborhood is viewed as “the ghetto.” They wanted to do something to change the negative perception of their community.

Thank you to YouTube and the Mayor’s office for inviting us to share our “GIG Spark” as an innovative, organized and fun way to inspire the YMCA kids to accomplish this mission.

* This video was created by four of my students at AAU — youth — who asked to come along on the shoot. Thanks Oscar Nilsson, Marcus Pettersson, Eva Broman, and Hugo Albrektsson for your great work!

Reality Check #3: At the University of San Francisco, my alma mater, I was asked to design and teach a Blogging for Social Change course. On the first day, I asked students, “What is your passion?”

With optimism and determination, one student said, “I want people to get out of their bubble and do something to help the people in their community.”

‘Nuff said! Amen to that.

As a kid, I felt insignificant. I thought I didn’t matter. I didn’t feel like I had a voice. What would a Chinese immigrant boy, growing up in a rough South Sacramento neighborhood, say of any importance? Why would anyone care?

I wonder how many youth feel like that today. What if adults took a moment to listen to the youngsters in their lives and hear them out. With a little guidance, support and inspiration, we too could be a part of inspiring a new generation of people who teach what they learn and give what they get!

* * *

Take Action:
* Check out “I LOVE Bayview” on Improve SF!
* Share their stories on social media and by word of mouth.
* Volunteer at your local YMCA

Follow us on: Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

Photo credit: Flickr

Why It’s Important to Enjoy the Art Around Us

If I were to ask you, “What subject matter in school is deemed most important?” What would your answer be? Math, science or art?

Sunny Blossom (Toan Lam)

Art? Doing this for a living was never even an option in my household — it was a taboo subject. “Be a doctor, lawyer or engineer,” my parents would ingrain in my brain. In my parents’ eyes, the definition of success were those professions, in that order: doctor, lawyer, then engineer. I chose the fourth – failure (in the eyes of my immigrant parents, journalism seemed like failure).

Power Light (Toan Lam)

Reading and writing, my passions, were not as revered as mathematics and science. I would read everything out loud. In the shower, I would read shampoo bottles – “Rinse, lather, repeat.” I remember what brought me joy was acting out the characters while reading my favorite childhood books. It’s no coincidence that I became a journalist, founder of Go Inspire Go (we use the art of storytelling to inspire action) and college instructor.

Rainbow Drops Coit Tower & Telegraph Hill (Toan Lam)

That’s why this GIG Spark, produced by high school student Aaron Long resonated with me on many levels, personally, professionally and even spiritually.

Through Aaron’s GIG Spark, he wants to inspire us to look around and enjoy the art around us in San Francisco. Don’t live there? No problem; Aaron wants you to look around and enjoy a tree, some street art or something that catches your eye.

Water Cloud Reflections/Aquatic Park (Toan Lam)

How did he do this? In a creative way, of course! Find out how he inspired folks in his community to be present and enjoy the art around them through this GIG Spark (Lesson on Compassion) submission. His goal is to inspire you to notice (and enjoy) the art that surrounds you.

Gigster: Aaron Long
Where: San Francisco
Spark: Notice the Art Around You

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkixQoxFAuw]

Like many GIG Spark videos, this seems fun on the surface and it is. But on a deeper level, being creative isn’t nurtured in our society. I recently discovered this TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. Specifically, he speaks about the importance of creating an educational system that nurtures creativity. This TED video is full of inspirational gems.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY]

I often wonder what I would be doing had I not pursued my passion work. One thing’s for sure – if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be as fulfilled and full of joy. Special thanks to Aaron for being aware and inspiring presence in this adventure we call life.

City Dew Drops (Toan Lam)

Take action:
1. Stop wherever you are. Look around and take a deep breath. Enjoy one thing around you.
2. Get creative. Like to bake or paint? Do it, then give it away to someone in need. Small things like this make anyone’s day.
3. Nurture the artistic talents in a child’s life.

We hope this video inspires you to be present and enjoy the art around you — and use your power to help others. I’ve been practicing enjoying the art around me by taking pictures on my Go Inspire Go Instagram account. I always snap cool scenes and things that inspire me because I want to share it with our viewers (tagged with an inspirational message).

Be You Naturally (Toan Lam)

Note: Thanks to Mom: who turned over a new leaf and supports endeavors — because she feels my passion for GIG. Also, I know (and feel) that my father, who on his death bed told me, “You’re wasting your life, you need to quit that reporting stuff and become a doctor,” has had a change of heart and is somewhere above, looking down and smiling at me. Smiling because I followed my heart and chose to redefine his definition of “failure.” Thanks to my parents for taking the risk — to uproot their successful lives — so my siblings and I could redefine the American Dream. No. 4 ain’t so bad!

Bay City Chain Scape (Toan Lam)

GIG Spark was developed to create compassion through the exercise of brainstorming, problem solving and experiencing the joy of using your power to help others. Rachel shares her thoughts about what this particular experience meant to her:

“Something GIG Spark taught me? Don’t stop yourself from doing something just because you think it’s not going to change anything. Whether what you do is monumental or small, whether it affects a million people or just one person, what’s important is that you did something. It’s human nature to resist change, but at least you presented a chance to plant a seed of change in someone’s mind.”

Copollalights (Toan Lam)

About Go Inspire Go (GIG):

GIG is about inspiring small actions that ripple out to meaningful changes. As we’ve experienced, the ripples continue to billow out, one story, one person, one act at a time.

FEELING INSPIRED? Make your own GIG Spark and share with us. We may share it with the world.

As part of GIG’s mission to inspire our viewers to discover their power, we developed GIG Spark: A Lesson on Compassion. The goal is to spark action in everyone that witnesses your good deed. We want you to identify a problem in your community and be the change by capturing your action in a short 1-1:30 minute video. Use your passion and creativity to produce a GIG Spark and inspire viewers with your story!

What can YOU do?

Follow us on: Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

12 Inspiring Stories of 2012 and Beyond (VIDEOS)

Happy Holidays from Go Inspire Go! ‘Tis the season to celebrate, give and inspire those around you as we come to an end of another great year. 2012 has been an eventful year for GIG as we continue to grow, creating three times the amount of original content as last year. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without our 30+ volunteers around the globe, the everyday do-gooders we feature, and folks like YOU! To thank you, we wanted to kick off the holidays with 12 Days of Inspiration!

But before we get to the deets, check out our GIG Virtual Holiday Greeting Card to show our gratitude:

Starting Dec. 13, we started counting down to Christmas by sharing one our original GIG stories each day, followed by an inspiring action item we want you to do right away.

We’re asking you to share what you were inspired to do via social media.

KIND Snacks has partnered with Go Inspire Go to launch our 12 Days of Inspiration. We kicked off our 12 days of inspiration with a GIG Spark video from across the street from the Ferry Building in San Francisco, giving postcards to strangers and asking them to write a message to soliders who can’t spend the holidays with their family. GaiamTV and Volunteer Match are also joining virtual forces with us to share via their social media platforms each of the 12 days.

Thanks for the love — won’t you join us?

Check GoInspireGo.com. We’ve counting down to Christmas by sharing our inspiring videos for 12 consecutive days on GIG’s website and blog.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:
Our goal is to see how many countries we can get to share our campaign.

1. We need you and your friends/community to download this special 12 days GIG logo and post it as your/their profile pic for 12 days.

2. Share our FB posts/tweets everyday for 12 days.

We want to see how many countries we can reach with our message.

*Day 1* Inspire to write a letter to a soldier:
GIG teams up with Kind Healthy Snacks to wish our soldiers a happy holiday and express appreciation for all that they’ve done for our country.

Call to action: Inspire to create and write a hand-written letter to a solider in the military

(Special thanks to Sirima Sataman, of Ink.Paper.Plate for helping us personalize our KIND GIG cards with her letter press. Loved pressing each
card by hand!)


*Day 2* Inspire to create a GIG Spark:
Toan and some GIGSTERS visit the BAYCAT community as the youth speak up about issues they’d like to address and the changes they’d like to see.

Video: GIG SPARK Inspires BAYCAT Youth to Be The Change

Call to action: Inspire to create a GIG Spark. Use your power and multimedia to be the change.


*Day 3* Inspire to create:
Toan sits down to create Thank You cards with founder of InkPaperPlate.com, Sirima Sataman.

Video: The Best Way to Express Gratitude

Call to action: Inspire to DIY – Get crafty and create something hand made and give it to someone: a family member, friend or stranger!


*Day 4* Inspire to smile:
Claire Lemmel goes the extra mile to fulfill her mission of making people, including strangers smile.

Video: “Going the Extra Smile”

Call to action: Inspire to create a ripple of kindness by spreading smiles and holiday cheer! Smile at a stranger.


*Day 5* Inspire to make a stand:
Psychiatrist Dr. Ron Holt travels around the world to share his inspiring and empowering story to give victims of bullying who contemplated suicide hope and inspire compassion in bullies.

Video: LGBT Bullying and Suicide: It Does Get Better

Call to action: Inspire to stand up for the truth. If you’re being bullied or have thoughts of suicide, there is hope: TheTrevorProject.


*Day 6* Inspire to rescue:
Emelinda Narvaez has spent the last 41 years of her life saving the lives of more than 10,000 dogs.

Video: “Woman saves 10,000 Dogs”

Call to action: Inspire to adopt a pet today and give the gift of friendship.


*Day 7* Inspire to be a Superhero:
With GIG’s help, cancer patient, Nico Castro, 6, uses his superhero powers to help his sick friends celebrate Halloween by collecting more than 200 costumes.

Video: “6-year-old Boy with Brain Cancer Brings Halloween to Sick Kids”

Call to action: Brighten someone’s spirit this Christmas season by volunteering at your local hospital, writing a letter to a cancer patient, contributing to Make-A-Wish or sharing this story.


*Day 8* Inspire to embark on your personal journey:
Jordan Bower walked from Canada to Mexico to create personal connections and inspire people to put down their gadgets and engage in the world around them.

Video: “Make the Connection: Why One Man is Walking from Canada to Mexico”

Call to action: Inspire to start off the new year by making plans to embark in your
personal journey in 2013!


*Day 9* Inspire to help the youth create a change:
Through an aluminum can drive and letter writing campaign, Phoebe Russell, then 5, sparked a movement by inspiring her classmates and her community to raise over $3,000 for the San Francisco Food Bank. She enabled the S.F. Food Bank to dole out more than 17,800 meals! Our GIG video helped her multiply her message many times over. More than 150,000 meals served in her San Francisco community so far!

Video: “Kindergartener Inspires 150K + Meals Pt. 1”

Call to action: Inspire to spread the holiday spirit by donating or volunteering at your local food bank.


*Day 10* Inspire education: Student Video + GIG Video creates movement, sends 32 Kids to School in Haiti
Julian Cohen, then a high school student in New Jersey, wanted to help Rev. Lemaire Alerte reach his goal of building the first high school in the reverend’s hometown of Grande Saline, Haiti. Rev. Alerte was $20,000 short of his $80,000 goal to finish construction.

Little did Cohen know, he would start a movement across the nation. The result: 32 kids would be sent to school in Haiti thanks to his video posted by Go Inspire Go.

Watch how high school students in San Jose, Calif., were inspired to orchestrate goodness and be inspired to do a kind thing for a teacher or organization that aims to educate the community.

Video: “Student Video Sends 32 Kids to School in Haiti. Pt. 3”

Call to action: Inspire to give what you can to support an educational cause. Money is good, but if you don’t have the funds, give your time and volunteer.


*Day 11* Inspire to move and be present:
Nationally-renowned yoga instructor Kim Shand was born with a birth defect. The prognosis was grim. See how yoga saved her life and how she is giving back. It’ll make you rethink yoga and rethink what’s going on in your life.

Video: “Rethink Yoga. Rethink You”

Call to action: Inspire to start the New Year re-energized! Start off physically and
mentally strong, by engaging in activities that allows your body to reach its greatest potential. Kim is giving away as much free yoga as possible on her YouTube channel. More info: RethinkYoga.com


*Day 12* Inspire to give:
GIG’s most popular story so far. Meet Jorge Muñoz, school bus driver by day, and Angel in Queens, N.Y., by night. For more than nine years, Jorge has spent half his salary buying groceries and cooking, packaging and delivering home-cooked meals to 150+ people every night. More than 202,800 viewers watched and shared and many used their power to help. You must watch both videos!

Video: A Real Life “Angel” in Queens, New York Pt. 1

Video: “Surprise” Angel In Queens Follow-Up Pt. 2

Call to action: Inspire to lend a helping hand by helping Jorge provide warm meals this Christmas season. Visit www.anangelinqueens.org to see how you can help.


*Go Inspire Go is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), run entirely by Toan Lam and more than 30 volunteers around the world. For more inspiring stories, please check out our YouTube Channel. Here’s just a glimpse of our IMPACT. It’s because of viewers like you and your generous donations that enable us to bring you these original, authentic stories. If you can, please make a donation or if you cannot, there are other ways to help. Share our message and videos.

Bless you and our every day street corner-style heroes and organizations — the true heroes who are helping elevate humanity.

Happy holidays,
Toan Lam and Go Inspire Go Team

12 Days of Inspiration: Inspire to Smile (Day 4)

Today is Day 4 of the GIG 12 Days of Inspiration Campaign. Starting Dec. 13, we started counting down to Christmas by sharing one inspiring story each day, followed by an action item you can take to make the world a better place. You can read more about the series here


gig12daysofinspirationlogo-2*Day 4* Inspire to smile:

Claire Lemmel goes the extra mile to fulfill her mission of making people, including strangers smile.

Video: “Going the Extra Smile”

Call to action: Inspire to create a ripple of kindness by spreading smiles and holiday cheer! Smile at a stranger.

*****

Past Posts in the Campaign: 

Day 1: Write a Letter to a Soldier

Day 2: Inspire Youth

Day 3: The Best Way to Express Gratitude

 

12 Days of Inspiration: Inspire Youth (Day 2)

Today is Day 2 of the GIG 12 Days of Inspiration Campaign. Starting Dec. 13, we started counting down to Christmas by sharing one inspiring story each day, followed by an action item you can take to make the world a better place. You can read more about the series here

*gig12daysofinspirationlogo-2Day 2* Inspire to create a GIG Spark:

In this video, Toan and some Gigsters visit the BAYCAT community as the youth speak up about issues they’d like to address and the changes they’d like to see.

Call to action: Inspire to create a GIG Spark. Use your power and multimedia to be the change.

12 Days of Inspiration in Your Community

Happy Holidays from Go Inspire Go! ‘Tis the season to celebrate, give and inspire those around you as we come to an end of another great year. 2012 has been an eventful year for GIG as we continue to grow, creating three times the amount of original content as last year. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without our 30+ volunteers around the globe, the everyday do-gooders we feature, and folks like YOU! To thank you, we wanted to kick off the holidays with 12 Days of Inspiration!

But before we get to the deets, check out our GIG Virtual Holiday Greeting Card to show our gratitude:

Starting today, 11/13, we will be counting down to Christmas by sharing one our original GIG stories each day, followed by an inspiring action item we want you to do right away.

We’re asking you to share what you were inspired to do via social media.

KIND Snacks has partnered with Go Inspire Go to launch our 12 Days of Inspiration. We kicked off our 12 days of inspiration with a GIG Spark video from across the street from the Ferry Building in San Francisco, giving postcards to strangers and asking them to write a message to soliders who can’t spend the holidays with their family, and in true GIG fashion, we created this video for you.

Intent, GaiamTV and Volunteer Match are also joining virtual forces with us to share via their social media platforms each of the 12 days. We need your help to spead cheer and inspiration in your community.

Thanks for the love — won’t you join us?

Check GoInspireGo.com starting Thursday, Dec. 13! We’re counting down to Christmas by sharing our inspiring videos for 12 consecutive days on GIG’s website and blog.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:

Our goal is to see how many countries we can get to share our campaign.

1. We need you and your friends/community to download this special 12 days GIG logo and post it as your/their profile pic for 12 days.

2. Share our FB posts/tweets everyday for 12 days.

We want to see how many countries we can reach with our message.

*Day 1* Inspire to write a letter to a soldier:

GIG teams up with Kind Healthy Snacks to wish our soldiers a happy holiday and express appreciation for all that they’ve done for our country.

Call to action: Inspire to create and write a hand-written letter to a solider in the military

* Make sure to check back tomorrow for Day 2!

(Special thanks to Sirima Sataman, of Ink.Paper.Plate for helping us personalize our KIND GIG cards with her letter press. Loved pressing each card by hand!)

Giving the Gift of Hygiene to Those in Extreme Poverty

Do you ever wonder what happens to your partially used soap bars after leaving your hotel?

I’ve always thought it was such a waste that I only use half the bar or mini-bottle of shampoo, conditioner and body wash. I take them home, then they sit in a zip-lock bag and get old. I always feel guilty for throwing them out.

So when I heard about 17-year-old Raghav Rajvanshy’s nonprofit organization, Rcoz, I had to share. His mission: to collect and re-purpose partially bars of soap from hotels and send them to underprivileged communities who do not have access to basic hygiene and sanitation.

Photos: Shekhar Rajvanshy

When Raghav was 14-years-old, he traveled to India and stayed at a hotel across from the slums. It didn’t make sense that the people living in extreme poverty, didn’t have access to basic hygiene and sanitation while many hotel guests were throwing away bottles of partially used soap.

His heart sank when he saw the poor people using ash and sand to wash their hands.

His research revealed the dirty truth. Thousands of hotels throw away millions of pounds of soap daily. Most of the bottles of partially used soap end up in land fills, further contaminating the ground water.

Check out Raghav’s GIG Spark (Lesson on Compassion) submission.

* Special thanks to GIG Volunteer Akina Chargalauf who was so inspired by Rcoz’s mission, she shot and edited this on her iPhone.

Gigster: Raghav Rajvanshy
Where: Fremont, Calif.
Spark: Don’t be wasteful. Be thoughtful and environmentally aware. Join forces with Rcoz to give the gift of hygiene.

His goal is to inspire you to join forces with Rcoz and do
a small act — what you can do — to help him provide basic hygiene and
sanitation to those in need; to promote social and environmentally
responsible practices in the hospitality industry while involving youth
and community to help him educate people through his educational
campaign to prevent the spread of infection and diseases.

Action always starts with awareness. Like many of us, Raghav witnessed waste, people in need and during a trip to Yosemite National Park, he realized the nature’s natural gifts. It made sense for him to do his part to clean up communities in need and the environment. What can YOU do? It all starts with one small act. Go Raghav Go!

How the GIG Spark experience inspired Raghav:

“The GIG Spark experience really had a deep impact on me. I wasn’t aware that there are so many other people trying and succeeding in making a difference in the world through simple ideas. One of the things about the GIG videos that surprised me is the variety of issues they cover, trying to solve everything from global warming to world hunger. All of these people truly inspire me every day and motivate me to work harder and harder towards my own goal of promoting global hygiene and improving the environment. I see GIG Spark as a great virtual community of youngsters who can learn and take inspiration from each other to help shape the future of our world in a very positive way.”

Holiday Help Needed!

Take action:

1. This holiday, Rcoz will collect and distribute care packages to the homeless in San Francisco, San Jose and Berkeley. They’re collecting unused travel-sized toiletries, tooth and toothpaste from your dentist. NOTE: Deadline for this holiday distribution is 12/12/12. Other donations are accepted all-year long.

2. Donate/contribute what you can: Rcoz needs funding and volunteers to:
-Establish relationships with the hospitality industry
-Collect, rebatch and deliver soap

For more information on how you can take action e-mail: info@rcoz.org

3. Spread the word: Share this video! We hope this video inspires you to be thoughtful this holiday season and use your power to help others.

About GIG Spark:

GIG Spark was developed to create compassion through the exercise of brainstorming, problem solving and experiencing the joy of using your power to help others.

About Go Inspire Go (GIG):
GIG is about inspiring small actions that ripple out to meaningful changes. As we’ve experienced, the ripples continue to billow out, one story, one person, one act at a time.

FEELING INSPIRED? Make your own GIG SPARK and share with us. We may share it with the world.

As part of GIG’s mission to inspire our viewers to discover their power, we developed GIG Spark: A Lesson on Compassion. The goal is to spark action in everyone that witnesses your good deed. We want you to identify a problem in your community and be the change by capturing your action in a short 1-1:30 minute video. Use your passion and creativity to produce a GIG Spark and inspire viewers with your story!

What can YOU do?

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