Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Taking the Initiative - Nation of Heroes

Our country's youth need to know that there's more to America than violence, selfishness and despair. Our elderly need to be reminded of the generosity and goodness that still live strong throughout our nation and our world. Everyone in between needs to know that there is something that they can do.

We especially want to let those who are being bullied to know that there is good out there while people like us are out there. Don't give up HOPE. 

What is the Initiative? 

 The official answer is in the video above, but the short answer is, we’re just a bunch of regular people trying to make the world a little better because it’s the right thing to do. We’ve got branches in 7 states (and we’re growing), a weekly radio show, and a whole lot of good ideas. We’ve been in the paper, in magazines, on several radio shows, and in the movies. We’re trying to make big changes in our communities, but we need to spread our message to a larger audience. We all joined this group for different reasons, but if you want to learn more, check out the HBO Documentary, Superheroes by Michael Barnett, which features our flagship group, the New York Initiative.

What's that? A group of people who do good deeds just for the sake of kindness?? Yup, that's us.  


What is the message? 


Simple. No one can be everywhere, doing everything to save the world, but EVERYONE can be everywhere, doing something.


What’s this film about? 


It’s about eight members of the Initiative jumping into a van or two and rolling all across the country, from California to New York, in search of people who are also making big changes in their communities, all in the name of kindness. It’s about us finding those unsung heroes and shedding light on their stories in the hopes of inspiring other people to do whatever they can do in their own communities. It's about giving hope to those who have given up.

If you've ever met anyone who's given up, you know how important a message of hope is. Suicides among the young are something that we are directly trying to change. 

It’s also about us giving back to the givers by teaching them a life skill to keep them safer, healthier and happier. We teach basic street medic skills, emergency preparedness and basic self-defense for free in our communities. We'll be teaching these skills to the heroes that we meet out on the road.

Isn't that cool? We'll all be learning something new!

We’d like you to join us on this amazing journey. There’s an urgent need for people to reach out to each other in person, and to make connections. To complete this film in a timely manner, we’re going to need your help. By donating, you’ll help to keep this idea of hope growing so that these selfless actions that aren’t getting the attention they deserve, can reach a much larger audience. You’ll be helping us to inspire others and therefore, build and empower a better community.

You can empower your community! You can inspire others! All from a single donation!

By backing Taking Initiative: Nation of Heroes, you’re becoming a part of the film. We’ve saved up part of the budget but still need a lot of help with gas, filming expenses, gas, food, gas, lodging and more gas. By helping us out, you become another member of our caravan, the 9th passenger.  So please donate. Any amount will help us to reach our goal. When you donate, we have some great gifts and we’ll keep you posted on our project as we continue making the film.

You can show this film to your friends and say, I was part of that caravan! I helped to fund this film. I AM THE 9TH PASSENGER!

A firefighter who uses his free time to raise money for medical and homeless charities, a retired dad riding 9,000 miles across America to raise awareness for anti-bullying, a doula who assists homeless women during delivery, a urban farmer who transformed a vacant block into an organic garden for his neighbors, and a senior citizen who singlehandedly cleaned up a local dumping waterway to make room for a bird sanctuary -- these are just some of the real-life heroes out there, and we're going to find them!

These amazing people are out there, not just the psychos and the obnoxious. If you want to see less of the negative and more of the positive, make that happen by donating. We'd love to make more of these hero films, but we need this one to happen first. 

Becoming the "someone" that you were hoping would come along and change things is an idea worth sharing, so please share this film on Facebook, Twitter or in a blog.

Even if you can't donate at the moment, please share this film project everywhere. 

You never know where the ripples will end!

Thank you for your support!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Finding your calling, and then some

Be regular & orderly in your life, so that you may be violent & original in your work
- Gustave Flaubert

I love that quote, always have. I am just now starting to see, however, that there is a distinction made between "life" and "work", as if the two circles don't quite link together... and I'm not sure how I feel about that. That's beside the point, however, as I am here to share with you this amazingly wonderful news:

I think I've found my calling.
(I'll give you a couple seconds to get the laughter out.)

Go ahead. Take your time.
Have you heard of the term "clicktivism"? Basically, it's the idea that one engages in activism by sharing something online - so, every time you click 'Share' on a political photo on Facebook, you are, essentially, becoming a clicktivist. You could also argue that it's an example of slacktivism, and I wouldn't necessarily try to stop you. Before my inbox is flooded with hate-mail, note that I don't see anything inherently wrong with either of the cutesy-termed categories as, really, at least something is happening. Some message is being spread... just not enough to make an actual difference.

When cheering for a cause is cooler than serving the cause.
Then there's "creative activism", where the aim is to explore and encourage creativity as a means to promote citizen activism. A lot of times, it employs the same tactics as click-and-share methods or petition signing, but never does it stop there. Some of the objectives of a creative activist (and one group, specifically), include:
* Humanitarian Outreach
* Neighborhood Crime Watch
* Urban Exploration
* Empowerment and Awareness Outreach
* Specific Operations
* Law Enforcement Support
* Environmental Outreach
* Community Emergency Response

... notice a difference?
Going back to the quote for a minute, I think I see some room for interpretation. Remember how I wasn't too sure how I felt about the distinction between "life" and "work"? I think that's a true statement, that the two things are distinctly different and separate entities... until you find your calling. Your calling is that place where your regular, orderly life collides with the violent originality of your work, forming something so uniquely balanced that the merge between "life" and "work" is made without any effort on your part. That's how I'm feeling about what I've found.

Can it sound any more New Age, hippies-are-attacking-at-dawn, hide-your-patchoulie? Probably... but, even as-is, I don't care. After having bounced around in the career field, going to school, starting a family and dropping an entire human's-size of weight, I've found something that allows me to make a difference in a way that encourages me to be myself... that challenges me to improve, constantly, and without excuses... that connects me to people across the country... and that, yeah, may let me indulge my crazy writing/social networking/self-defense/badass obsession just a wee bit.

I don't know how this will shape up, other than me being drawn in more and more. I don't know what kind of impact this will have on my children, other than knowing it WILL have an impact on my children. 

I don't know how this will frame the rest of my life, only that I'm excited to let it do just that.