News We Can Still Be Encouraged By / No. 3

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While our political climate continues to brew anger and confusion, we are here to help draw you back to the eye of the storm and remind you that despite our current situation, there are people amongst us bringing us hope by doing good. In some wonderful way, “doing good” always has a way of bringing clarity.

As much as we yearn to, we cannot instantaneously pause social and political havoc. What we can do is alter our focus. We won’t lose sight of our convictions or ignore our hearts’ empathetic pulls; we will, however, adopt the fortitude of Van Gogh who wrote to his younger brother in a letter, “There is peace, even in the storm.” A man of great internal torment wrote that, and that same man created unparalleled art. His focus brought him clarity amid trouble, and more importantly, allowed him to contribute beauty to an often hurting world. What simple truth for us to hold fast to today.

These four things are particularly artful, and we can’t think of any “good” better than that which is done with the special touch of people’s unique eyes. Scanning the headlines, it is refreshing to note the artistic beauty so inherent in helping others.

1. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Celebrates The International Day of the Girl (10/11)

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife and right-hand woman to Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, opened the Toronto Stock Exchange in celebration of the International Day of the Girl. In doing so, she supported three philanthropic organizations, G(irls)20, FitSpirit/Fillactive and Plan International Canada, calling for political and business sectors to boost their investments to keep girls in school, encourage active lifestyles, and create leadership roles in their communities and countries.

She stated, “We still have a lot of work to do…Investing in girls is a key step in the fight for gender equality. It also gives us the opportunity to recognize that gender equality is not an issue faced by just half of the population, but by all.”

For more on this story, read here

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2. Design Project Focuses on American Poverty (9/30)

The exhibition “By the People: Designing a Better America,” opened Sept. 30 at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York City. Carrying the slogan, “design can be a force for justice,” the exposition features 60 projects that use design to solve urgent problems at the local level.

Show curator and the museum’s director of socially responsible design, Cynthia Smith, decided on this exhibition from a host of 300 others, after she spent two years traveling the U.S. and witnessing communities’ various solutions to the challenges of poverty. Smith shared that she was intentional in including a diversity of projects, from a range of places and strategies. The truth strung throughout them all is that they were formed by the people they are determined to serve.

In Tucson, Arizona, where thousands of children are raised by grandparents, there is a housing and community center catered to non-traditional families, complete with eye level peepholes in doors for children and people using wheelchairs. In Detroit, Michigan, Rebel Nell sells jewelry made of colorful, polished paint pieces that have fallen off of graffiti and murals, employing homeless women with the work. The University California, San Diego is designing the Cross-Border Community Station, with connected locations in the Los Laureles Canyon, Tijuana, Mexico, home to an informal settlement of 85,000 people, and in San Ysidro, California, to restore knowledge exchange between the communities and the university. With 57 more projects featured in the exhibit, it appears that this is a great mark of a modern intersection: social justice and art.

For more on this story, read here

In some wonderful way, ‘doing good’ always has a way of bringing clarity.

3. Airbnb Users Offer Refuge To Hurricane Matthew Evacuees (10/04)

At the beginning of this month, Airbnb shared a disaster response tool, which allows users who live in safe zones in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to list their vacant homes and rooms for free for those seeking refuge from the Category 3 storm. The company is also emailing hosts in affected areas and gathering what help they can. The favored site launched this charitable tool after Superstorm Sandy hit New York in 2012. Since that year, thousands of hosts have offered their homes to survivors of various disasters, including the Louisiana floods and the Paris attacks.

For more on this story, read here

4. Rare Brazilian Ballet Dancer Changes the Lives of Girls in her Neighborhood (10/04)

Raised in Alemão, Brazil, Tuany Nascimento unusually started dancing classical ballet as a child. Despite never dancing professionally, Nascimento has continued to practice ballet in her spare time. The girls in her neighborhood began watching her, and so in 2012 she launched Na Ponta dos Pés ? or the “On Tip Toes” project ? a public ballet class for girls ages four to 15 years old. She now teaches 40 girls.

The wonderful thing about this is the fact that it came as a surprise to Nascimento. She states, “I didn’t wake up wanting to have a social project. It just happened in a very simple way.” Filmmakers Ayelet Vardi and André Lion saw the beauty in her story, and made a short film about her project just in time for World Ballet Day this month. In the film, she shares, “I try to show [the girls] that they can have much more than this. Growing up is beautiful and they don’t have to limit themselves. They have to try and achieve what is beyond.”

For more on this story, read here

What have you been encouraged by lately? Share something good with us in the comments below!

Images via Monica Outcalt

A student of English and psychology at the University of San Diego, Lauren is constantly learning about the human heart’s journey through life in story and study. Her personal goal is to grow to be a wise child, set free and emboldened with courage; and her friends and family, the joy of words, the unifying ability of a meal, laughter over everything, and the wild nature of the outdoors and the unknown consistently push her in that good direction.

2 COMMENTS
  • Dollie April 24, 2017

    Most help articles on the web are inaccurate or inocnereht. Not this!

  • Hannah October 27, 2016

    This is such a relevant post given the current international political climate that we are experiencing right now. Lauren, thank you for sharing! International Day of the Girl was one of our favorite holidays so far, and it’s incredibly empowering to see how so many multinational figureheads came together to celebrate it as well. No matter the darkest of situations, there is always something to give gratitude for. The Van Gogh quote is so relevant. Thank you for a great article!
    Cheers!
    Hannah
    http://www.newsmacarons.com

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