07 January 2008

Other bloggers: "Young people who rock"

I ran across an awesome blog today: "Young people who rock". It's so inspirational! A girl (Jen MacNeil) who tries a new thing everyday for a year, teen AIDS activists, a 11-year-old fencing champ, a guy who went to Lebanon and Iran to interview Hezbollah members at McDonald's... WOW!
Not all stories inspire me equally, of course. For example, Isha Jain, a science geek:

In the fifth grade, she started a math camp. By sixth grade, Jain was breezing through college-level work and trigonometry classes. When she was in the eighth grade, she aced advanced calculus. Her taste for science started at 9 when she created a paradigm to explain the molecular structure of candy.
Great. Respect. But, does it inspire you? Most of us are not half that talented (I am definitely not), plus, you won't turn back time. But most of all, things you achieve at such a young age really depends on how your parents raise you, how your teachers support you and things of the kind. I was always told to have good grades and never learned for my own curiosity. Don't get me wrong, I've got loads of respect for Isha, but I'm just not inspired. I can't follow her example.
Brittany and Robbie Bergquist, however, inspire me a lot. They started a thing called "cell phones for soldiers". That's how it works:
People donate their old phones to the teens. They came up with the idea to sell them to a recycler for $5 and use the money to buy calling cards. Since they started three years ago, the pair has raised more than $1 million in donations and sent 400,000 minutes to troops. They hope to increase that amount nearly tenfold in the next five years so that more soldiers can call and say, "Hey, Mom."
That's my favourite kind of help: you start with few, people contribute few, but in the end you can give so much! Plus, the kids started it at 12 and 13, they just had an awesome idea! Anyone can do that! (Just find the good idea... think!)
A similar example: Rebecca Kousky, the founder of a non-profit organization called Nest that helps women all around the world create their own security.
Nest offers micro-finance loans to women from India to Israel. Female designers and artists worldwide come to Nest for small loans to help them with their businesses typically involving the fabrication and sale of goods like jewelry, pottery or clothes. In return for the loan, the artists have the option of paying back the loan in cash or with their product which is then featured on Nest's online shopping site, buildanest.com.
Again, you give few (50$), and someone gets so much!
Another one (man, they're all great!): Matthew and Emily Leinwand, two kids collecting crayons for kids in hospitals. If kids can help so much, co can we!

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