September 24, 2012

GIG Spark: Use Your Voice to Uplift Others, Guaranteed Smile

Warning: this will make you smile! Thank you to 14-year-old Mini Rasekhy from Singapore for sending us this GIG Spark when she was in San Francisco this summer.

Sometimes it's the simplest things in life that bring you joy. Mini wanted to use her voice to make others feel better -- and ultimately smile. Many people tell me they want to do something to make someone's life better, but don't know how -- well take it from Mini, who loves to sing. She took to the streets of San Francisco with her Mom (thanks for capturing this on video, Mrs. Rasekhy) to bring music to your ears, a smile to your face and joy to your heart. You can see how authentic the reactions were. I especially love the surprise from the gentleman at the end of the video:

Gigster: Mini Rasekhy, 14
Where: San Francisco
Spark: Sing to Each Other (Use your voice or power to brighten someone's day)

GIG Spark was created to create compassion through the exercise of brainstorming, problem solving, witnessing and experiencing the joy of using your power to help others. Mini sent us this testimony about what the experience meant to her:
"Making my GIG Spark video helped me realize that there are always people who aren't having the best days, and just a nice little gesture can turn their day around and lift their mood. Of course going out to film was a bit awkward at first because I was singing to people I didn't even know, but I kept in mind that what I was doing for them was a good thing. Everyone's positive reactions gave me the courage to go out and sing more! As I said in my video, I think singing to someone can make their day. I know for a fact that it's made my life amazing."
In true GIG spirit, Mini is using her power to make someone else's life better. Way to go Mini!

The empowerment continued last Friday in San Rafael, Calif. I was invited to present GIG Spark, Lesson on Compassion (with my good friend and Wonder Mom, Kala Shah) to 500 students at Sun Valley Elementary School. (Of course our cameras were rolling during this presentation. Please follow our blog and stay tuned for this video.)

I was honored and excited to inspire these children to "discover their power and use it to help others" as a part of a "Community Heroes" assembly. How cool is that?! They were captivated for the whole 30 minutes. I wonder what impact and ripples this presentation will make on these kids -- and likewise how the ripples, like Mini will be changed by her GIG Spark.

I showed this video as an example of how easy it is to use your natural abilities to give back. The kids laughed and smiled when the man started to sing back to Mini. Talk about paying it forward and rippling out her original intention to use her voice to make someone's day brighter.

Don't have the gift of song? Not to fret. Think about what you're naturally good at and what you enjoy doing -- and think about how to use it to be of service to others. And pull out your video camera or cell phone to capture a GIG Spark for the world to see.

We hope this video inspires you to use your voice to help others in the next 24 hours.


1. Think about how you can use your voice for good. You don't literally have to sing to each other; you can use your voice and platform to rally for something you believe in.

2. Music education is important, but music is being cut out of programs across the US. VH1 Save the Music is just one program that "helps develop long-term, sustainable instrumental music programs that provide children with equal access to music education regardless of their financial situation." Contact this foundation to see how you can help.

3. After watching a GIG video about Rev. Lemaire Alerte, who wanted to build a high school in Grande Saline, Haiti, band students at Willow Glen banded together and orchestrated a winter benefit concert to send kids to his school. My students activated their storytelling, shooting and editing skills to create this PSA. This ultimately sent 32 kids to school in Haiti. Again, you don't have to sing or if you're musically off-key (like me), think about how you can use your voice for good.  And take action!

About Go Inspire Go (GIG):

GIG is about inspiring small actions that ripple out to meaningful changes. As we've experienced, the ripples continue to billow out, one story, one person, one act at a time.

FEELING INSPIRED? Make your own GIG SPARK and share with us. We may share it with the world.

As part of GIG's mission to inspire our viewers to discover their power, we developed GIG Spark: A Lesson on Compassion. The goal is to spark action in everyone that witnesses your good deed. We want you to identify a problem in your community and be the change by capturing your action in a short 1-1:30 minute video. Use your passion and creativity to produce a GIG Spark and inspire viewers with your story! What can YOU do?

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September 18, 2012

GIG Social Good Spotlight: Store to Door

Go Inspire Go is proud to present this month’s Social Good Spotlight, to raise awareness of organizations doing good in their communities in order to inspire others to take action and ultimately make real social change.  For more information and to read past Social Good Spotlights, click here.

GIG SOCIAL GOOD SPOTLIGHT: Store to Door – Delivering Groceries and Friendship to Seniors

Compiled by Marcia Estarija Silva

What is Store to Door?
Store to Door is a nonprofit organization that provides personalized, low-cost grocery shopping and delivery services to seniors and people with disabilities. Established in 1989, over 200 volunteers fill and deliver more than 7,000 orders annually in the Portland and Beaverton communities in Oregon.  Besides providing a reliable and inexpensive service, Store to Door’s volunteers and staff reduce clients’ isolation by building relationships through weekly phone calls and visits.  Store to Door was honored by Portland Monthly Magazine and the Oregon Community Foundation as a nonprofit organization “whose extraordinary acts of service have raised the quality of lives in Portland” and received the Volunteer Innovation Award from Hands On Greater Portland and the Portland Trail Blazers.  

What inspires Store to Door to do this work?
Store to Door was modeled on a similar program in Minnesota. In the early 1980s, Dr. David Berger formed a nonprofit corporation that conducted research on community and social welfare issues and found that there was a group of elderly persons who could live independently but could not do their own grocery shopping because of various health and mobility issues. Unable to get other agencies to start a reasonably priced grocery delivery service for this group of people, Dr. Berger, along with colleague Judy Madaj, decided to do it themselves. In 1984 in south Minneapolis, Store to Door was born, and its work inspired the creation of the Portland organization five years later.

Store to Door is more than a grocery delivery service; it is a “friend at the door” that aims to make life easier for its clients and their families.  As the elderly continue to be the fastest growing segment of our population, family members often feel stressed about prioritizing an aging parent, their work, their children, and their own needs. Store to Door is able to relieve these caregivers of at least one time-consuming task, as well as provide assurance that their loved ones are being contacted and visited regularly.

How can GIGSTERS get involved and help Store to Door?
- Volunteer - Volunteers are the backbone of Store to Door’s service. Ranging from teens to people in their 90s, they all have a desire to assist neighbors who need a little extra help. All it takes is a couple of hours a week to either take orders, shop or deliver.
- Donate – Your donation will help make Store to Door accessible to everyone who needs its services.
- Events – Support Store to Door by checking out its events 
- Like Store to Door’s page on Facebook - Keep in touch and get the latest news from Store to Door.

Store to the Door - Heart of the Community Award 2007
[Video produced by Ralph Cunningham and the Portland Trail Blazers]

Find more Social Good Spotlights here. If you know of an organization that you think should be featured, please help us forward their stories to inspire the world and contact us.

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September 7, 2012

8-Year-Old Starts Lemonade Stand for Freedom; Raises $50K in Two Months

There’s a sweet twist to this lemonade stand story that will quench your thirst to take a stand to help elevate your community and humanity. Take a sip and read on….

Photo: Toan Lam

Sometimes the best life lessons can be learned from kids.  Kids like Miss Vivienne Harr of Fairfax, Calif. Vivie, as she likes to be called, is a personality-full-cup-runneth-over, 8-year-old philanthropy phenom who set up a lemonade stand – or what I like to call Lemonade Stand 2.0.

Vivie was inspired to take a stand against slavery after seeing an installation on slavery by Lisa Kristine, a photographer who captured these authentic, haunting, gut-wrenching snapshots of modern-day slaves around the world. Vivie was particularly moved by this picture of two Nepalese children carrying huge rocks on their backs.

Photo: Lisa Kristine

The family cried in disbelief. They went home and researched slavery and human trafficking.

Vivie was inspired to take action. Watch how she quickly garnered tens of thousands of supporters from the local and worldwide community and raised more than $50,000 dollars in just under two months.

Vivie's project went viral after Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times op-ed columnist, tweeted about @vivienneharr and #MAKEASTAND LEMONADE. She's also been featured on many media outlets including the BBC, Yahoo and is slated to appear on Jeff Probst's talk show, which debuts on Sept. 10.

All the business acumen that Vivie had was selling lemonade. She took a stand and did something – selling lemonade was in her power to be a voice for the voiceless.

Rain or shine, Vivie plans to set up shop and sell her organic, free trade, made-with-love lemonade every day until they raise $150,000 to free 500 slaves.

All of the proceeds will go to NOT FOR SALE, a nonprofit organization that re-abolishes slavery around the world. Won’t you join her and make a stand?

L to R: Toan Lam, Alexandra "Mom" Harr, Vivienne Harr, Jen Schumacher.
Photo: Toan Lam

Vivie isn't stopping at her $150,000 goal. She's working with investors to bottle her #MAKEASTAND LEMONADE ... stay tuned!

Meanwhile, I’m going to focus on seeing things through a child’s lens more often. Sweet. Cheers!

Take Action:

1. Make A Stand: Contribute to her campaign on Fundly!

2. Make A Stand: Learn More About Slavery

3. Make A Stand: Use YOUR Power to Stand for What YOU Believe In!

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