Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive…” ~Howard Washington Thurman

sunset-690756_1280

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman

You’re searching. Somehow, even though you have a great life, you feel like something is missing.

 

What is it?

 

Your investment job is fine. You have a nice apartment, a fine girlfriend and a dog. Maybe you’re a mom whose kids have just gone off to school, and you have some time to yourself. Maybe you’re a student. You’ve got straight As, you’re playing soccer, and things are going along.

 

Yet something doesn’t feel quite right.

 

You’ve seen signs around for “Stand up to Cancer” and you wonder: should you join this cause?
Stand-Up-To-Cancer
When your heart isn’t quite full, giving back is the way to go. But you should find the right way. Listen to your heart……
Is it animals?

 

panda .jpg

 

The Earth?
orange-184838_1280.jpg

 

Saving a child in Haiti from poverty?
Haiti Chalk.jpg
Helping an elephant?

 

Elephant.jpg
Whatever you do, give with your heart for the right reasons. That’s the best way to serve the world. Don’t follow a sign; follow the signal in your heart.

 

 
Howard Washington Thurman (November 18, 1899 – April 10, 1981) was an influential African American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. He played a leading role in many social justice movements and organizations of the twentieth century and was one of the leading religious figures of twentieth-century America. Thurman’s theology of radical nonviolence influenced and shaped a generation of civil rights activists and he was a key mentor to leaders within the movement such as Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thurman served as dean of Rankin Chapel at Howard University from 1932 to 1944 and as dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University from 1953 to 1965. He was always interested in intersections of race and religion as shown through his journey to India. Here, he interacted with many Asian students and conversed with Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists. In 1944 he co-founded, along with Alfred Fisk, the first major interracial, interdenominational church in the United States. 

 

 

Nonprofit Leadership Podcast with Rob Harter

I had the pleasure of speaking with nonprofit executive, Rob Harter about the vital role that nonprofits play in our communities. We also discussed the traits of a healthy nonprofit and a healthy nonprofit leader. Together, we explored the biggest challenges facing the nonprofit sector today. Enjoy!

Human Trafficking

Lately, you may have heard a lot about human trafficking.  Human trafficking is stealing children away from their families who then are often used in the sex trade, and wrecks their lives. They grow up in terror, and are left with only one option to survive.

photo-1469398718052-b9d13df0d7c9.jpg

Here are some other little known stats:

  • School life expectancy is 9 years. 
  • Child labor among children ages 5-14 is 16%.
  • More than 12.3 million people worldwide are enslaved and forced into labor, bonded labor, child labor, sexual servitude and involuntary servitude at any given time.

photo-1449627359760-18dc1b942934.jpg

In some places, modern-day slavery is still a common practice. Let’s take a look at an example: Mauritania.  It’s a country made up of desserts and nomads. According to the Global Slavery Index, slaves constitute a higher proportion of the population. More than 150,000 people are enslaved in Mauritania, or 4% of the population.

You probably haven’t visited the country or know much about it. Now you know something, so you must do something.”

photo-1459183885421-5cc683b8dbba.jpg

Stop slavery.

(https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook)

Background on sex trafficking:

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, in which human beings are controlled and exploited for profit. “Sex trafficking” is a modern term. It was coined during the second wave of the women’s movement in the 1980s, when female activists started protesting the exploitation of women and girls in prostitution and pornography. Perpetrators use force, fraud, or coercion to manipulate and establish control over individuals. According to the International Labor Organization, human trafficking generates $150 billion in illegal profits each year. The two most commonly known forms of human trafficking are sexual exploitation and forced labor. Any instance in which an individual engages in a commercial sex acts (such as prostitution) as the result of force, fraud, or coercion is considered sex trafficking. Sex trafficking also includes the commercial sexual exploitation of children or minors. Some examples include factories, “sweatshops,” fields, brothels, “massage” parlors, online escort services, on street corners, as child soldiers, or in private homes. The most common industries associated with the trafficking in persons include: agriculture, construction, garment and textile manufacturing, catering and restaurants, domestic work, entertainment, and the sex industry.

Mauritania:

Mauritania is a country in Western North Africa. It is the eleventh largest country in Africa, and about 90% of its land is in the Sahara. The country’s capital and largest city is Nouakchott, which is home to 3.5 million people. About 20% of the population live on less than $1.25 a day, and the country suffers from human rights issues including slavery and child labor. Mauritania was one of the last countries to pass a law abolishing slavery and despite this, slavery is very present with more than 90,000 slaves.

In the Middle Ages Mauritania was the cradle of the Almoravid movement, which spread Islam throughout the region and for a while controlled the Islamic part of Spain. European traders began to show interest in Mauritania in the 15th century. Mauritania is rich in mineral resources, especially iron and ore. France gained control of the coastal region in 1817, and in 1904 a formal French protectorate was extended over the territory.

Culturally, Mauritania is a special mix. The population is almost equally divided between Moors of Arab-Berber descent and black Africans, and this striking cultural combination is part of its appeal. The Southern part of the country is filled with friendly people, and they are very welcoming, if a little unused to tourists.

 

 

 

 

A Landless Country…

There are 60 million refugees and displaced people in the world. That would be the population of the 11th largest country.

But it is stateless, landless, lawless, unsupported.  “This country” doesn’t exist.desert-736096_960_720.jpg

We must have courage to help people one by one until this country of people has a true home.

Aikido Has No End

Aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba, was born in 1883 in the fishing and farming village of Tanabe, Japan. He was the only surviving son of a prosperous father and cultured mother who considered him their gift from heaven. His premature birth hindered his physical development; even when he was fully grown, he was little more than 5 feet tall.
His father, Yoroku Ueshiba, became concerned about the boy’s small and weak physique and encouraged him to engage in sumo wrestling, swimming and running. As the youth progressed in the sports, he began to realize his physical potential.
Other than mathematics and physics, classroom studies held little interest for the young Morihei Ueshiba. Morihei Ueshiba was a restless spirit in his younger days, charging from one occupation to the next, performing his duties easily but finding no interest in them. At the age of 18, he was drawn to the martial arts, and until his death, the arts continued to delight and nourish him.  Morihei Ueshiba quit his first and second jobs because they were too confining. When he became politically involved in helping local fishermen fight an oppressive new law, his councilman father lost patience. He gave his son some money and told him to find a career that suited him.
shutterstock93611164.jpg
In 1936 Morihei Ueshiba renamed his art aiki budo, and in 1942 he emerged with a mature, modified art—now officially called aikido. The new name is a combination of separate ideas: ai means harmony, ki means spirit or energy, and do means discipline.
In his classes, Morihei Ueshiba discouraged his students from mimicking his movements and forms. Instead, he wanted them to practice a form so many times that it became part of their being. “Learn and forget,” he would say. “Make the technique a part of your body before you move on.”
Through aikido, Morihei Ueshiba developed extraordinary self-defense skills. He could take down and pin opponents of much greater size. He could throw a dozen men simultaneously. He ordered his students to ambush him from eight directions and easily manipulated them to his advantage while his feet stayed within a circle barely encompassing them.
 “Aikido has no end,” he said before he died. “There’s just the beginning and further growth.” The founder of aikido may have passed on, but his art continues to thrive around the world.

osensei_similing-1000x288

Morihei Ueshiba was born December 14, 1883. Ueshiba was a martial artist and founder of the Japanese martial art of aikido; he is often referred to as “the founder” or “Great Teacher”. Aikido is a synthesis of Ueshiba’s martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Ueshiba’s goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.

Ueshiba developed aikido primarily during the late 1920s through the 1930s through the synthesis of the older martial arts that he had studied. From the end of the war until the 1960s, he worked to promote aikido throughout Japan and abroad. In his classes, Morihei Ueshiba discouraged his students from mimicking his movements and forms. Instead, he wanted them to practice a form so many times that it became part of their being. “Learn and forget,” he would say. “Make the technique a part of your body before you move on.” Ueshiba regularly practiced other spiritual and religious rites as well, and viewed his studies of aikido as part of this spiritual training. He died of cancer of the liver in 1969, he was 86. “Aikido has no end,” he said before he died. “There’s just the beginning and further growth.” The founder of aikido may have passed on, but his art continues to thrive around the world.

What Children in Syria Think About

syria

Here is a heartfelt letter from children in Syria. This is what they think about.
We are children from Syria; some of us came to Lebanon two years ago, and others came three or four years ago.
We suffer from many problems; one of them is being beaten by others. For example, in the school, we are beaten by Lebanese students. In the streets, we are beaten as well and some people make fun of us. A friend and his brother are sometimes beaten by the owner of the house where they live.
We also suffer from big economic problems. For instance, there is someone in the group whose brothers sell tissues in the street to bring money to help their parents. But sometimes Lebanese children steal the tissues from them or the money they gained from the selling. Some children cannot register at the school due to economic conditions and others because they lack legal papers. 
Despite all this, we still have dreams. Our dreams are like the dreams of all other children. We hope that no one will beat us on the road, in the neighborhood, at school, or at home. We hope that no one will speak to us in a bad way, and we would like to be treated by the Lebanese and the Syrians in a good way.
In Syria, we used to live in a house, and we live now in a tent. We wish to go back to our homes and our country, and that the war is over and that our parents can find a job to work just like any other parents. 
We also dream that the truth will come to light in order to go back to Syria and all the problems will be over. Coming back to Syria is like the re-entry to paradise. 
All of us have dreams for the future:
– I dream to become a football player and help people through sports (Ahmad)
– I dream to be a doctor in the future (Haitham)
– I dream to be a professor (Muhannad)
– I also dream to become a teacher (Fatima)
– I would love to become a police officer to help people (Wael)
– I would love to become president in order to help everyone (Madiha)
Finally, we want to thank you for all your efforts and your concern about us. Thanks you for coming here and helping us, and we wish if you can make all our dreams come true. We would like that this message could reach all decision-makers in the world in order to help us in achieving our dreams. 
-Noah, Mouhanned, Thanaa, Doha, Wael, Hiba, Fatima, Madiha, Ahmad, Saleh, Haitham, Ahmad