Monday, September 19, 2011

Following a Higher Order

The young men and women of America who decide they want to serve their country don't get to choose how, where and when. They are given their orders and sent away.
Following their orders, some lose their lives.
On September 8, 2009 Marine corporal Dakota Meyer didn't follow orders meant to keep him alive. Instead he put himself in mortal danger. Five times. And saved three dozen lives.
If he had been lost before saving any of those thirty-six others, he would never be known. Like, perhaps, so many others, whether following their orders or their hearts.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Remembrance, Opportunity & Baseball

Thousands and thousands of people lost loved ones on September 11th, 2001.  Mike and Pat Williams are two of them. Their son Kevin, only 24 when he went to work on the 104th floor that day, was among many things an avid and accomplished baseball player. It has been on this foundation that Mike and Pat Williams turned their own heartache into blessings for hundreds of other people's kids.

The following is a statement Mike and Pat offer on the Kevin Williams Memorial Foundation website:

“We know how positively sports have affected our children and wish the same experience for others regardless of financial situations. We would like to hope that through Kevin’s foundation many children will be given opportunities and experiences they might never have had. We cannot think of a better way for everyone to experience Kevin’s spirit and carry out his legacy. The unimaginable tragedy of 9/11 is so senseless - this is our way of trying to make it a better world, one child at a time.”

To date, over 500 kids have attended baseball camp thanks to Mike and Pat Williams. Recently one of them earned a full college scholarship.

Kevin's legacy and spirit do indeed live on.

Monday, May 16, 2011

In the Business of Betterment

Shantanu Prakash saw the value of breathing life into lessons.
First it was bringing computers to the classroom and IT skills to the students. Then with multimedia learning materials he brought math and science to life. Soon his company was going from simply educational to fundamentally transformative.
Take a glimpse at how Mr. Prakash is changing education for the better - through business.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Reason to Run

Anton Frazile has been gearing up for his first marathon. He also wants to ride a motorcycle, and can't wait to drive a car. Not unusual for a 15-year-old.
He's going at it all as if he doesn't even know he has cerebral palsy.
Tony Espaillat ran his first marathon a few years ago and swore he'd never do it again. But the kids at the camp where he is a counselor have helped change that. Most recently, Anton gave Tony reason to overcome an appendectomy and a knee injury to run yet again.
These guys make a great team.

** Thanks to Kathy Aji for shining today's spotlight on Anton and Tony.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Giving...and giving...and giving.

In December 2009 Reed Sandridge decided to start giving $10 to someone every day, for a full year. This after losing his job. 'The concept is simple,' he says. 'Do something kind for someone.'
Yes, very simple. Not  necessarily easy.
After a year of handing out Hamiltons, getting to know the hundreds of people he came in contact with and amassing a treasure trove of experiences, Reed continued his altruistic ways as a 'Kindness Investor' and a weekly volunteer, elements of a lifestyle he shares with us on his Year of Giving blog.

**Thank you Tina Allen Kolessar for introducing Reed to us here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making Peace

Cesar Cruz is making friends, though not in the usual sense.
Through his work at Oakland's East Bay YMCA, Mr. Cruz is bringing together young men who might otherwise end up killing each other.
Gang members themselves call him a hero - and all he needs is a kitchen, some food and a little bit of history.
That and some guts, perhaps.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Breaking Down Barriers in the Desert

In 2007 Ryan Bennett ran his first marathon.
Recently he ran six of them. In five days. In the Sahara Desert.
He says it's all about "breaking down invisible barriers for yourself" - a sentiment we've all heard in one form or another, so often perhaps that it loses its meaning. That is, until we assume an endeavor, accept a challenge, that reminds us how tough we can be, no matter how harsh the environment.
But don't take it from me; my endeavors pale in comparison to what Ryan has done.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Light of Easter

On Easter weekend, there is only one spotlight.
One spotlight that shines all over the world.
On Easter Sunday 2003, Natalie Elders and her family were extraordinarily blessed.
As are all who open themselves to His light.
Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recruiting Local Resources, Helping Children Worldwide

With her first 'patient', Kenan Malkic.
 A boy in Iraq was playing with his friends when he kicked a bottle lying in the street. Not really a bottle, but a bomb, created by hateful people. In a flash he lost a leg, an arm, an eye and, it seemed, his childhood. Elissa Montanti, a woman from New York, has given these things back to him - not because she is powerful or highly-educated or wealthy, but because she cares enough to find a way.
Thanks to David Kostecki of Honolulu, Hawaii for sharing the spotlight 60 Minutes recently shined on Ms. Montanti.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Lesson in Disaster Relief (from a second grader)

'Many kids have lost homes and some have lost a parent. Many parents told us that before we went and played with them, many kids have not smiled since the disaster.' - from a message from a friend working to help rebuild a kindergarten and a community in Soma, Fukushima.

To put a price tag on rebuilding a community is impossible. People need wood and hammer and nails, yes. Food, clothing and warmth. But there is another element to recovery.

Musashi Eto, a second grader from Robert Hunter Elementary School in Flemington, New Jersey, seemed to understand this. And now he's doing something about it.

Read how a 7-year-old is helping kids on the other side of the world smile again.

Spotlighting better stars.

Spotlight Sublime comes to life inspired by a post from another blog. It would be easy enough to go on a rant about the stupidity of celebrity - an abstraction that takes form via the standards we ascribe to its attainment; the value we place on its achievement; the attention we devote to its excrement. But forget it, there's no time.

We live in a world teeming with amazing people. People with ideas. People who inspire. People turning their love, their hopes, their talents great and small into actions that are worth our attention, worth our admiration, worthy of our time and emulation.

We've only got twenty-four hours in a day for all we need to do - work, eat, play with the kids, keep up with our friends and, here and there, kick back with some ice-cream or a beer. But there are free moments too - or, for some, free hours. Let your mind go where it will. Or send it here for five minutes, meet someone to add to your day.

Because we are the ones who decide who the real celebrities are.

Coming up: A second-grader in Flemington creates a way for his classmates to connect with schoolchildren in tsunami-hit Ofunato, Japan.