Flower 4 Monday

Flower.jpeg

Just wanted to share this beautiful flower that I came across on the hiking trail yesterday. 


I have never seen a flower with pedals of pink and white candy stripes like this. 


Like a candy cane or perhaps the outfits that volunteers helping people at some hospitals wear. 


It also has these yellow buds in the center, which add to it’s eloquence.


What magnificent creations that G-d has bestowed on us to enjoy. 


Hope this is a little something to cheer up your Monday and make you even more productive this week. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Engaging and Listening

Engaging and Listening

It was unexpected that the day after I blogged about a number of change organizations attracting attention in our society, particularly from our young people, that I saw it for myself on the streets of Washington, D.C.

Yet another change organization–different from the two that I wrote about yesterday–this one called “Be The Change” with three national campaigns currently:

– Service Nation–encourages a year of national service “to tackle pressing social issues.”

– Opportunity Nation–advocates for expanded economic mobility for all young people and to “close the opportunity gap in America.”

– Got Your 6–seeks to create opportunities for veterans.

Has “change” just become cliche or are people genuinely looking for something that is missing in today’s culture, values, and norms.

These smiling people certainly seem to be excited about change.

It just makes you wonder–what is it that people are desperately missing in their lives and want en masse to change? How do we help people find that missing link and achieve real enthusiasm for what we are doing and where we are going?

As leaders, it is our duty to understand and meet the genuine needs of the people…somehow doing this on the street corner by volunteers (as hardworking and noble as it is) seems to missing the larger point of government by the people for the people.

We need more politicians engaging and more people feeling they are being listened to. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Reaching The Victims Of Disaster

I watched on TV, a congressman from Staten Island talk about the complex response to Hurricane Sandy–in particular, how people whose homes were flooded and were without power could not contact authorities for the help they desperately needed

Going on two weeks after the storm, the Congressman explained how engineers and architects were in turn going door to door to find out who needed help and what could be done–but this was slow and cumbersome. 

Today, I am reading in Bloomberg BusinessWeek (30 Oct. 2012) about an organization that “matches volunteers with people affected by disasters.”‘

Recovers.org does this by establishing local recovery sites for communities (e.g. townname.recover.org) on a subscription model.

By establishing recovery sites to manage relief efforts–without waiting for government or aid groups–recovers.org enables self-sufficiency for communities in the face of disaster.

Moreover, by working at the grassroots level and going straight to neighborhood organizations such as houses or worship or community centers to serve as site administrators–those who know their community and who needs help–Recovers aims to bypass the “redtape.”

The recovery sites they establish, include features for:

– Searchable volunteer database that matches skills of volunteers to needs in the community

– Disaster Dashboard that aids in information sharing between victims and responders

– Donation mechanism where 100% goes directly to the areas affected, rather than to a relief organization

Recovers is the brainchild of someone whose own home was destroyed in a tornado in 2011, and who understands the logistical chaos that can ensue without proper recovery coordination on the ground!

I like the idea of this community Recovery portal for coordinating relief efforts through volunteers and donations, and see this as complementary to the formal FEMA DisasterAssistance.gov site for applying for various forms of assistance and checking claims.

Still though, the fundamental problem exists when you have no power–you can’t logon to recover.org or disasterassistance.gov–you are still cut-off and in need of help. So it looks like we are back to the drawing board on this one again.

As a vision for the future, we need the ability to establish to remote wireless charging generally-speaking for all, but specifically for communities struck by disaster, so they can call out for help and we can actually hear them and provide a timely respond!  😉