December 19, 2012

Go Inspire Go's 12 Days of Inspiration

Happy Holidays from Go Inspire Go! 'Tis the season to celebrate, give and inspire those around you as we come to an end of another great year. 2012 has been an eventful year for GIG as we continue to grow, creating three times the amount of original content as last year. We wouldn't have been able to do it without our 30+ volunteers around the globe, the everyday do-gooders we feature, and folks like YOU! To thank you, we wanted to kick off the holidays with 12 Days of Inspiration!

But before we get to the deets, check out our GIG Virtual Holiday Greeting Card to show our gratitude:



Starting Dec. 13, we started counting down to Christmas by sharing one our original GIG stories each day, followed by an inspiring action item we want you to do right away.

We're asking you to share what you were inspired to do via social media.

KIND Snacks has partnered with Go Inspire Go to launch our 12 Days of Inspiration. We kicked off our 12 days of inspiration with a GIG Spark video from across the street from the Ferry Building in San Francisco, giving postcards to strangers and asking them to write a message to soliders who can't spend the holidays with their family. GaiamTV and Volunteer Match are also joining virtual forces with us to share via their social media platforms each of the 12 days.



Thanks for the love -- won't you join us?

Check GoInspireGo.com. We've counting down to Christmas by sharing our inspiring videos for 12 consecutive days on GIG's website and blog.

HOW TO TAKE ACTION:
Our goal is to see how many countries we can get to share our campaign.

1. We need you and your friends/community to download this special 12 days GIG logo and post it as your/their profile pic for 12 days.


2. Share our FB posts/tweets everyday for 12 days.

We want to see how many countries we can reach with our message.


*Day 1* Inspire to write a letter to a soldier:
GIG teams up with Kind Healthy Snacks to wish our soldiers a happy holiday and express appreciation for all that they’ve done for our country.

Call to action: Inspire to create and write a hand-written letter to a solider in the military

(Special thanks to Sirima Sataman, of Ink.Paper.Plate for helping us personalize our KIND GIG cards with her letter press. Loved pressing each
card by hand!)



*Day 2* Inspire to create a GIG Spark:
Toan and some GIGSTERS visit the BAYCAT community as the youth speak up about issues they’d like to address and the changes they’d like to see.

Video: GIG SPARK Inspires BAYCAT Youth to Be The Change



Call to action: Inspire to create a GIG Spark. Use your power and multimedia to be the change.



*Day 3* Inspire to create:
Toan sits down to create Thank You cards with founder of InkPaperPlate.com, Sirima Sataman.

Video: The Best Way to Express Gratitude



Call to action: Inspire to DIY - Get crafty and create something hand made and give it to someone: a family member, friend or stranger!



*Day 4* Inspire to smile:
Claire Lemmel goes the extra mile to fulfill her mission of making people, including strangers smile.

Video: “Going the Extra Smile”



Call to action: Inspire to create a ripple of kindness by spreading smiles and holiday cheer! Smile at a stranger.



*Day 5* Inspire to make a stand:
Psychiatrist Dr. Ron Holt travels around the world to share his inspiring and empowering story to give victims of bullying who contemplated suicide hope and inspire compassion in bullies.

Video: LGBT Bullying and Suicide: It Does Get Better



Call to action: Inspire to stand up for the truth. If you’re being bullied or have thoughts of suicide, there is hope: TheTrevorProject.



*Day 6* Inspire to rescue:
Emelinda Narvaez has spent the last 41 years of her life saving the lives of more than 10,000 dogs.

Video: “Woman saves 10,000 Dogs”



Call to action: Inspire to adopt a pet today and give the gift of friendship.



*Day 7* Inspire to be a Superhero:
With GIG's help, cancer patient, Nico Castro, 6, uses his superhero powers to help his sick friends celebrate Halloween by collecting more than 200 costumes.

Video: “6-year-old Boy with Brain Cancer Brings Halloween to Sick Kids“



Call to action: Brighten someone’s spirit this Christmas season by volunteering at your local hospital, writing a letter to a cancer patient, contributing to Make-A-Wish or sharing this story.



*Day 8* Inspire to embark on your personal journey:
Jordan Bower walked from Canada to Mexico to create personal connections and inspire people to put down their gadgets and engage in the world around them.

Video: “Make the Connection: Why One Man is Walking from Canada to Mexico”



Call to action: Inspire to start off the new year by making plans to embark in your personal journey in 2013!



*Day 9* Inspire to help the youth create a change:
Through an aluminum can drive and letter writing campaign, Phoebe Russell, then 5, sparked a movement by inspiring her classmates and her community to raise over $3,000 for the San Francisco Food Bank. She enabled the S.F. Food Bank to dole out more than 17,800 meals! Our GIG video helped her multiply her message many times over. More than 150,000 meals served in her San Francisco community so far!

Video: “Kindergartener Inspires 150K + Meals Pt. 1”



Call to action: Inspire to spread the holiday spirit by donating or volunteering at your local food bank.



*Day 10* Inspire education: Student Video + GIG Video creates movement, sends 32 Kids to School in Haiti
Julian Cohen, then a high school student in New Jersey, wanted to help Rev. Lemaire Alerte reach his goal of building the first high school in the reverend's hometown of Grande Saline, Haiti. Rev. Alerte was $20,000 short of his $80,000 goal to finish construction.

Little did Cohen know, he would start a movement across the nation. The result: 32 kids would be sent to school in Haiti thanks to his video posted by Go Inspire Go.

Watch how high school students in San Jose, Calif., were inspired to orchestrate goodness and be inspired to do a kind thing for a teacher or organization that aims to educate the community.

Video: “Student Video Sends 32 Kids to School in Haiti. Pt. 3”



Call to action: Inspire to give what you can to support an educational cause. Money is good, but if you don’t have the funds, give your time and volunteer.



*Day 11* Inspire to move and be present:
Nationally-renowned yoga instructor Kim Shand was born with a birth defect. The prognosis was grim. See how yoga saved her life and how she is giving back. It’ll make you rethink yoga and rethink what’s going on in your life.

Video: “Rethink Yoga. Rethink You”



Call to action: Inspire to start the New Year re-energized! Start off physically and mentally strong, by engaging in activities that allows your body to reach its greatest potential. Kim is giving away as much free yoga as possible on her YouTube channel. More info: RethinkYoga.com



*Day 12* Inspire to give:
GIG’s most popular story so far. Meet Jorge Muñoz, school bus driver by day, and Angel in Queens, N.Y., by night. For more than nine years, Jorge has spent half his salary buying groceries and cooking, packaging and delivering home-cooked meals to 150+ people every night. More than 202,800 viewers watched and shared and many used their power to help. You must watch both videos!

Video: A Real Life "Angel" in Queens, New York Pt. 1



Video: "Surprise" Angel In Queens Follow-Up Pt. 2



Call to action: Inspire to lend a helping hand by helping Jorge provide warm meals this Christmas season. Visit www.anangelinqueens.org to see how you can help.



*Go Inspire Go is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), run entirely by Toan Lam and more than 30 volunteers around the world. For more inspiring stories, please check out our YouTube Channel. Here’s just a glimpse of our IMPACT. It’s because of viewers like you and your generous donations that enable us to bring you these original, authentic stories. If you can, please make a donation or if you cannot, there are other ways to help. Share our message and videos.

Bless you and our every day street corner-style heroes and organizations -- the true heroes who are helping elevate humanity.

Happy holidays,
Toan Lam and Go Inspire Go Team

December 9, 2012

GIG Social Good Spotlight: Family Giving Tree


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: Family Giving Tree – Making Holiday Wishes Come True 

Compiled by Marcia Estarija Silva


What is the Family Giving Tree?
The Family Giving Tree is a nonprofit organization based in Milpitas, Calif. that gives children living in poverty hope and joy by putting a smile on their faces. Jennifer Cullenbine, founder, and her staff call themselves elves and they work with more than 300 social services agencies and schools around the San Francisco Bay Area.  Every year, the Family Giving Tree reaches out to homeless shelters, community centers, rehabilitation houses, schools and various nonprofit organizations to get the names and wishes of the children that they serve.  In addition to its Holiday Wish Drive, the Family Giving Tree also provides backpacks filled with school supplies to children in need during the back-to-school season. Support in the business community is strong; companies such as SanDisk, Nvidia, Cisco, and Intel like how the Family Giving Tree makes them feel truly connected to the children benefitting from their volunteer time and donations.  Since its start in 1990, 991,516 wishes have been fulfilled and this year alone, 7,000 volunteers will work in the Family Giving Tree’s warehouse.

Jennifer Cullenbine, Founder and Queen Elf, with a volunteer

What inspires the Family Giving Tree to do this work?
The Family Giving Tree believes in developing “a world where every child is made to feel like a valuable part of their community through a shared belief in the power of giving.” The story of how the Family Giving Tree came to be is well documented. The organization began in 1990 as a San Jose State University MBA class project, when Jennifer Cullenbine and Todd Yoshida were tasked with “[creating] a program that adds value to someone else's life." They established the Family Giving Tree with the hope of being able to provide holiday gifts to 300 children in East Palo Alto.

"I don't want to see a child in California go without," Cullenbine explained in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle from 2001. "I don't want to see a company in California not provide gifts for children. If there's a company out there having lavish Christmas parties and not supporting children, shame on them."

Bolstered by the success of the first year, Jennifer decided to keep on going and grow the organization.

"It's awesome. I think it's because people are starting to really believe in the idea of not giving gifts to each other and helping children with their money and everyone is aware of how many kids there are that need help," Cullenbine said in a story that aired on KGO-TV in 2009.

A family volunteers at the warehouse

How can GIGSTERS get involved and help the Family Giving Tree?
  1. Fulfill a child’s wish - Select a wish from the Virtual Giving Tree and let the elves do the shopping for you. 
  2. Become an elf – Click here to find out how you can volunteer and help ensure that all wishes are realized.
  3. Donate – Give a one time or recurring monetary donation; click here for more info.
Magical Memories by the Family Giving Tree


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.

Follow us on: LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook

December 7, 2012

GIG Spark: HELP Rcoz Give the Gift of Hygiene and be Green

Do you ever wonder what happens to your partially used soap bars after leaving your hotel?

I've always thought it was such a waste that I only use half the bar or mini-bottle of shampoo, conditioner and body wash. I take them home, then they sit in a zip-lock bag and get old. I always feel guilty for throwing them out.

So when I heard about 17-year-old Raghav Rajvanshy's nonprofit organization, Rcoz, I had to share. His mission: to collect and re-purpose partially bars of soap from hotels and send them to underprivileged communities who do not have access to basic hygiene and sanitation.

Photos: Shekhar Rajvanshy

When Raghav was 14-years-old, he traveled to India and stayed at a hotel across from the slums. It didn't make sense that the people living in extreme poverty, didn't have access to basic hygiene and sanitation while many hotel guests were throwing away bottles of partially used soap.

His heart sank when he saw the poor people using ash and sand to wash their hands.

His research revealed the dirty truth. Thousands of hotels throw away millions of pounds of soap daily. Most of the bottles of partially used soap end up in land fills, further contaminating the ground water.

Check out Raghav's GIG Spark (Lesson on Compassion) submission.

* Special thanks to GIG Volunteer Akina Chargalauf who was so inspired by Rcoz's mission, she shot and edited this on her iPhone.

Gigster: Raghav Rajvanshy
Where: Fremont, Calif.
Spark: Don't be wasteful. Be thoughtful and environmentally aware. Join forces with Rcoz to give the gift of hygiene.



His goal is to inspire you to join forces with Rcoz and do a small act -- what you can do -- to help him provide basic hygiene and sanitation to those in need; to promote social and environmentally responsible practices in the hospitality industry while involving youth and community to help him educate people through his educational campaign to prevent the spread of infection and diseases.

Action always starts with awareness. Like many of us, Raghav witnessed waste, people in need and during a trip to Yosemite National Park, he realized the nature's natural gifts. It made sense for him to do his part to clean up communities in need and the environment. What can YOU do? It all starts with one small act. Go Raghav Go!


How the GIG Spark experience inspired Raghav:
"The GIG Spark experience really had a deep impact on me. I wasn't aware that there are so many other people trying and succeeding in making a difference in the world through simple ideas. One of the things about the GIG videos that surprised me is the variety of issues they cover, trying to solve everything from global warming to world hunger. All of these people truly inspire me every day and motivate me to work harder and harder towards my own goal of promoting global hygiene and improving the environment. I see GIG Spark as a great virtual community of youngsters who can learn and take inspiration from each other to help shape the future of our world in a very positive way."

Holiday Help Needed!

Take action:

1. This holiday, Rcoz will collect and distribute care packages to the homeless in San Francisco, San Jose and Berkeley. They're collecting unused travel-sized toiletries, tooth and toothpaste from your dentist. NOTE: Deadline for this holiday distribution is 12/12/12. Other donations are accepted all-year long.

2. Donate/contribute what you can: Rcoz needs funding and volunteers to:
-Establish relationships with the hospitality industry
-Collect, rebatch and deliver soap

For more information on how you can take action e-mail: info@rcoz.org

3. Spread the word: Share this video! We hope this video inspires you to be thoughtful this holiday season and use your power to help others.

About GIG Spark:

GIG Spark was developed to create compassion through the exercise of brainstorming, problem solving and experiencing the joy of using your power to help others.

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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