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Posts Tagged ‘future’

It’s funny how fast time goes by. It seems like just yesterday that I was unemployed and embarking on my year-long journey of giving $10 away to strangers. For those of you who have followed this adventure in giving you know for me it wasn’t about the money. Sure I needed the money and it might have been foolish to give away $3,650 while being out of work, but it was about something larger. It was about community. It was about kindness. It was about hope. And it was about the stories – the stories of a community of strangers that allowed me into their lives.

But it was also about time and how we choose to spend it. I discovered that we control very few things in our hectic lives but in the end we have the most control over our time and how we spend it. Last year I chose to spend my time volunteering at least once per week with a different organization. You can read about this amazing year of service here.

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That’s me in the middle with my brother and sister-in-law at a recent volunteer outing for http://www.yachad-dc.org!

But what now? Many people have written to me asking what I will do for 2012. Well, there are lots of things in the works…most of them are much less public than the endeavors of the previous two years. Here’s a look at what is keeping me busy in 2012.

Spending time with loved ones – Life is too short. I know that sounds very cliché but it’s true. Don’t forget to stop your busy life to spend time with those you care about. In the end, that’s what it’s all about.

Giving away stuff – I have too much stuff. Others need stuff. There seems to be a simple solution to both of these problems and I will give away one item per day. I’m not writing about this journey – not yet at (more…)

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-Blog post by Reed Sandridge of Washington, D.C.

Before I share this blog entry with you, I want to wish my father a very happy birthday today – he turns 71! I love you dad!

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Bikes parked at the WABA Bike Valet

When I visit a city I try to see it by foot or bike. Not only is it an environmentally friendly form of transportation, it slows you down enough that you see the details that you often miss while zooming by in a car or tour bus. I also do this in my home city of Washington, D.C. where you can discover new elements of our nation’s capital every day if you take the time to absorb your surroundings.

Every two years the U.S. Department of Energy challenges collegiate teams from around the world to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. They call it the Solar Decathlon and hold it on the National Mall – which for those of you not familiar with D.C. is not a shopping mall but a large open green area that is home to many of our national monuments.

IMG_3987.jpgThe event featured a free bike valet – which is simply a secure place where you can drop your bicycle off while you visit the Solar Decathlon. This allows you not to worry about carrying a lock or removing items such as seats, wheels, bags, etc. that could be easily stolen. The whole process is really fast too. You just roll up and give them your bike and they give you a ticket to claim it later.

I spent the morning volunteering at the bike valet. Operated by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), hundreds of visitors took advantage of this free service. You might recall that I helped WABA out earlier this year at Bike D.C.  Volunteering was a blast and I also enjoyed checking out a few of the energy-efficient homes. I didn’t have a lot of free time away from the bike valet so I mostly appreciated the homes from the outside but did get the chance to tour the one built by the University of Tennessee which won 8th place – winners are judged on their abilities to effectively address affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. I later went online and checked the others out and really liked the home built by the New Zealand team.  It came in 3rd place! The overall winner was right from my backyard here: The University of Maryland.

Illustration of the home built by the team from New Zealand. (photo: http://www.solardecathlon.gov)

Click here to see my photos from the event.

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Blog post by Reed from Washington, DC

Today is Earth Day and I can’t think of a more appropriate volunteer resource today than the Earth Day Network (EDN) website.  They have an entire list of events happening all around the United States and even some international countries as well.  Punch in your zip code and start browsing for events near you.  They need a lot of volunteers.  And remember, there are still plenty of events happening after today!

Earth Day started on this day back in 1970 when 20 million Americans brought the environmental concerns of our Earth to the streets in protest.  Check out this news footage from 1970! These efforts along with those of conservation pioneers like my employer, World Wildlife Fund, served as a catalyst for future conservation efforts and legislation around the world.

More than 1 billion people are expected to participate in Earth Day activities this year according to EDN, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

While you’re on EDN’s website, check out the section called A Billion Acts of Green®.  This is their initiative to collect over one billion commitments for a greener world from average Joes like us as well as organizations.  They hope to reach their goal before the global Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.

Tomorrow’s environment is far too important to ignore and we owe future generations the very same benefits of the rich biodiversity that we enjoy today.  What will you do to help?

Keep a look out in the coming weeks for my blog post about my volunteer project for Earth Day!

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It looks like there is a glitch with the website today.  Instead of my usually banner of the open hand that is at the top, I have a nice picture of a foot bridge and some trees.  Not sure why that is happening.  Is anyone else seeing the footbridge picture instead of my normal banner? 

For those of you who will be participating in the Worldwide Day of Giving and sharing your stories with the world, you need to post them here.  If you have photos and video to share, you will need to do one of two things.  Either upload those on the Facebook page or write the stories here and put links to the photos/videos on a 3rd party website (such as YouTube or Flickr).  Sorry to do it this way, but there are some technical challenges that prevent uploading the pictures and videos straight into this website. 

I am so excited to hear about your giving experiences!  If you have some questions, check out the comments here that should help answer any questions you might have. 

So this morning I have an interview with DeLuca and the morning team at Q92, a Canton, OH based radio station.  I have spoken to them before and had a good time with those guys.   Later in the day I am talking with Tim Day of KG Country 99.5, a radio station in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.  I spoke with Tim about a month or so ago and he wanted to check in and see how things were going.  

Then I was thinking about going over to the ESPN Zone tonight.  I heard that they are closing tomorrow for good!  I have some game cards with like $100.  Although there is no mention of them closing on their website, I did hear it on two different news programs.  Anyway, I don’t think they are going to refund me the balance on the cards, so they need to get used.  If anyone wants to meet up tonight and help me use the rest of the credits on my card, let me know! 

Today’s entry is a very special one.  While I was in Manizales, I met with the Secretary of Education for Manizales, Dr. María Constanza Montoya Naranjo.  She is a wonderful woman who is working hard to deliver the best education possible for the students in Manizales.  One day we were talking about the Year of Giving and she suggested I give my $10 to the Mayor, Juan Manuel Llano Uribe.  I had seen him on Friday at the event with US Ambassador William Brownfield.  Anyway, she said she would give him a call and try to arrange something.  Well what do you know?  She arranged a meeting the next day! 

Mayor Juan Manuel Llano Uribe

 

I get invited into a large conference room to wait for the Mayor.  Already seated are four students and two teachers from a local school that had recently returned from a science fair in Dallas, TX.  These students had built some robots that are prototypes for larger scale versions that would be used to help in the coffee production process and they were there to demonstrate their ingenuity to the Mayor.   

 

Well, how the hell am I going to follow that act? 

Anyway, the school children leave and I get a few minutes with the Mayor.  He invites me to walk over to an adjacent room which turns out to be his office.  It’s spacious with very nice views of Manizales.  There are a couple of comfortable chairs arranged around a coffee table on one end.  He disappears for a moment and then returns.  We chat for a little while and I try to do my best to explain the Year of Giving.  I am not sure what he thought of it, but he agreed to talk with me. 

He spoke about the growth and globalization of Manizales and the expected increase of tourism to the city.  “What should a tourist be sure to see or do while they are here?” I asked.  He said that one should definitely try to see the eight different shades of green that Manizales has.  He was referring to the vast natural beauty and the stunning variety of greenery that exists there.  I was certainly doing that by staying on Roberto Gonzalo’s plantation.  He also mentioned that I should visit Nevado del Ruiz, a snow-covered volcanic peak that has been active in recent history.  The current cone was formed about 150 years ago.  Atop the mountain is a massive glacier.  The Mayor says that this is the only peak of its kind that is accessible by car.  That is impressive, not to mention that it’s at 5,135 meters, that’s more than 16,000 feet!  Well, I didn’t make it there unfortunately, but next time! 

He stressed his commitment to making Manizales a bilingual community and that they were strongly behind the educational transformation that is needed to make this shift.  There are two critical investment areas for this to be a success according to the Mayor: technology and human capital.  “It’s sowing the seeds for the future,” he said.   Here the Mayor speaks about his vision for Manizales (in Spanish). 

 

When the Mayor is not hard at work on the future of Manizales, he says that he enjoys playing golf and riding motorcycles.  I wonder if he has taken his bike up to Nevado del Ruiz.  That would be pretty spectacular! 

So what do you think the Mayor is going to do with the $10…or 20,000 pesos in this case?  That was what was on my mind throughout the entire conversation.  I circled back to the 20,000 peso note that sat in front of him and asked what he planned to do with it.  I got an answer that I have never heard before.  “I’m going to take your 20,000 pesos and give you 100,000 a year from now.”  I am not sure exactly how he plans to do this and I didn’t ask.  I just let it be.  

Mr. Mayor…I look forward to seeing you next June!

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