Category: A Helping Hand


SOSbarnebyerNorge SOSbarnebyerNorge

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Published on Feb 19, 2014

For English, choose English on the captions icon in media player.
What would you do if you saw a freezing child?
We set up a hidden camera and placed Johannes at a bus stop, in Oslo, Norway. This is what happened.

The film is made to raise awareness of the situation for children in Syria, and to raise funds to SOS Children’s Villages is their winter-campaign. Children in Syria are freezing and you can help by dontating. For more information: http://www.sos-barnebyer.no/Mayday/Syria

NORSK: En test utført av SOS-barnebyer bekrefter at det er mye hjertevarme blant folk i Norge. Nå håper vi at engasjementet også når fram til barn i Syria. Bidra du også send SMS SOS til 2160 / http://www.sos-barnebyer.no/Mayday/Syria

SOS-barnebyer i Syria deler ut tusenvis av varme jakker og pledd til barn på flukt, og samtidig mobiliseres givere i Norge for å kunne hjelpe flere barn gjennom givernettverket SOS MAYDAY.

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Would YOU offer to help a child freezing in the street? Hidden cameras capture reactions of people faced with dilemma… and what they did will warm your heart

  • An 11-year-old boy was filmed as he struggled against the cold without a coat in Oslo
  • But the kindness of those who saw his heartbreaking situation and handed him their clothing is inspiring
  • It was a stunt for a charity helping freezing Syrian children who are fleeing the civil war

By Sam Webb

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A boy shivers in the harsh Oslo winter, pathetically wrapping his arms around himself on a bus stop bench. He isn’t wearing a coat and temperatures in the Norwegian capital regularly plunge to -10C during winter.

A heartbreaking scene, but the actions of the ordinary people who witnessed the plight of 11 year old Johannes Lønnestad Flaaten is both joyous and inspiring.

A young blonde woman who sat next to the boy and notices him rubbing his arms. She immediately asks him: ‘Don’t you have a jacket?’

 

This 11 year old boy was filmed as he sat shivering without a coat at a bus stop in Oslo, Norway. The actions of people who saw his discomfort will bring a smile to even the most jaded souls

This 11 year old boy was filmed as he sat shivering without a coat at a bus stop in Oslo, Norway. The actions of people who saw his discomfort will bring a smile to even the most jaded souls

Caring: This young woman asks him why he has no coat in such cold weather. He replies that it was stolen

Caring: This young woman asks him why he has no coat in such cold weather. He replies that it was stolen

Warm heart: She takes off her own jacket and wraps it around the freezing boy

Warm heart: She takes off her own jacket and wraps it around the freezing boy

No, someone stole it,’ he replies. She questions him and discovers he was on a school trip and was told to meet his teacher at the bus stop. She asks him the name of his school and where he’s from as she selflessly drapes her own coat around his shoulders.

Later, another older woman at first gives him her scarf, then wraps him in her large padded jacket.

Johanne’s predicament was a hidden camera experiment by Norwegian charity SOS Children’s Village as part of their winter campaign to gather donations to send much-needed coats and blankets to help Syrian children get through the winter. Many of the refugees have left their homes without winter clothing.

Throughout the day, more and more people offered Johannes their gloves and even the coats off their backs as they waited for their bus. One man even sat shivering in his t-shirt so Johanne could be wrapped up in his warm coat.

Sacrifice: This man endured the savage temperature in just a T-shirt so the boy could get warm

Sacrifice: This man endured the savage temperature in just a T-shirt so the boy could get warm

Read More Here

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Kenny Thompson paid the negative lunch balance fo over 60 kids at the school where he mentors and tutors.

Courtesy of Kenny Thompson
Kenny Thompson paid the negative lunch balance fo over 60 kids at the school where he mentors and tutors.

As a tutor and mentor at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Houston for over 10 years, Kenny Thompson has taken pride in helping out kids. So on Monday, when he found out that over 60 students at his school were eating cold sandwiches for lunch because of overdue funds on their accounts, he decided to pay off the negative balance. All $465 of it.

“It was the best money I ever spent,” Thompson, 52, told TODAY.com. “It was the best gift I ever gave myself. I went into my car and screamed.”

He didn’t realize how widespread the lunch account problem was until he learned that a Utah school had thrown away the lunches of students with negative balances at the end of January. That’s when he decided to look into the issue in his own community.

He found out that some students whose parents hadn’t paid were eating cold cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, instead of hot, hearty fare. And others avoided the lunch line altogether, preferring not to eat rather than face the embarrassment of not being able to afford the same lunch in front of their peers. Many of these students were already on reduced lunch, which costs just 40 cents a day.

“It was horrifying, it broke my heart,” he said. “These are elementary kids. They’re not bankers, and not responsible for the financial issues in the household.”

His wife, a teacher at Valley Oaks, encouraged him to follow through on the idea, but warned him that he wouldn’t be able to buy the new pair of Doc Martens he’d wanted. That was quite all right with Thompson.

“My work boots are still good,” he said with a chuckle.

Houston residents heard about Thompson’s generosity when his story aired on a local news station, NBC affiliate KPRC, on Wednesday.

Read More Here

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Like most parents of a premature baby, Erin Cox suddenly found herself in a whirl of doctors, machines and incubators when her daughter came into the world.

Evalee was born two months early, not long after Cox’s water broke without any warning 30 weeks into her pregnancy. When the baby was delivered via Cesarean section at a Kansas City hospital last June, she weighed just 4 pounds.

mom and baby

Courtesy Jessica Strom Photography
Erin Cox holds her daughter Evalee at the neonatal intensive care unit of a Kansas City hospital last summer.

“She was very tiny. I mean, you walk around in the beginning holding her and it’s like holding a bag of cotton balls,” Cox, 33, told TODAY Moms.

“When you go back and look at the pictures, it’s like, oh, my gosh. What a journey. How amazing is this that she was that little and that she had to be so strong.”

The pictures, tender portraits taken during Evalee’s three-week stay in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, came courtesy of Jessica Strom, a Kansas City photographer who has made it her mission to provide free photo sessions to local families of preemies.

"A quiet moment of love and comfort for baby Haven as she rests in her Isoloette"

Courtesy Jessica Strom Photography
Baby Haven, photographed in the NICU by Jessica Strom.

Various organizations have started similar efforts in recent years, including Preemie Prints, a Texas nonprofit that has about 60 volunteer NICU photographers in more than a dozen states, and Capturing Hopes Photography, which has 21 volunteers in Winston Salem, N.C. Most NICUs allow photography as long as no flash is used, said Sherri Crum, assistant director of Preemie Prints.

It’s a service that may touch many families: One out of every eight babies is born prematurely in the U.S., according to the CDC. The agency doesn’t track how many are admitted to the NICU.

Strom, who makes a living taking maternity, birth, and newborn photos, said it’s her way to give back to families who must leave their babies in the care of the NICU, which veterans like Cox simply refer to as “Nick-U.”

See photos of tiny babies that photographer Jessica Strom takes free of charge.

Strom calls the tiny patients warriors.

“It’s an amazing experience to be able to see what these little babies have to go through,” Strom said. “It’s awe-inspiring. The human body is just so amazing.”

“By the time I see them, they’re stable and they’ve already come so far from where they started… it’s just a really exciting time and I think the parents are relieved to be somewhat normal.”

That chance to be “normal” is as precious as the images themselves for the parents, who watch other couples take their babies home right away. Strom knows the pictures she takes allow these weary moms and dads to show off baby photos just like everybody else and give them a break from the day-to-day hospital routine.

Read More Here

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Jan. 31, 2014 at 6:57 PM ET

This post was first published on Glennon Doyle Melton’s blog, Momasteryon Jan. 30. In less than a day it was shared more than 1 million times. We wanted to share it with you.

A few weeks ago, I went into Chase’s class for tutoring.

I’d emailed Chase’s teacher one evening and said, “Chase keeps telling me that this stuff you’re sending home is math – but I’m not sure I believe him. Help, please.” She emailed right back and said, “No problem! I can tutor Chase after school anytime.” And I said, “No, not him. Me. He gets it. Help me.” And that’s how I ended up standing at a chalkboard in an empty fifth grade classroom staring at rows of shapes that Chase’s teacher kept referring to as “numbers.”

Author Glennon Doyle Melton with her family; her conversation with her son's teacher sparked this post.

Little Moon Photography
Author Glennon Doyle Melton with her family; her conversation with her son’s teacher sparked this post.

I stood a little shakily at the chalkboard while Chase’s teacher sat behind me, perched on her desk, using a soothing voice to try to help me understand the “new way we teach long division.” Luckily for me, I didn’t have to unlearn much because I never really understood the “old way we taught long division.” It took me a solid hour to complete one problem, but l could tell that Chase’s teacher liked me anyway. She used to work with NASA, so obviously we have a whole lot in common.

Afterwards, we sat for a few minutes and talked about teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility it is. We agreed that subjects like math and reading are the least important things that are learned in a classroom. We talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger community – and we discussed our mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals who are Kind and Brave above all.

And then she told me this.

Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?

Who doesn’t even know who to request?

Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?

Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down — right away — who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

Read More Here

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Business Insider

Jan. 29, 2014, 3:50 PM

Amid all the snow-related nonsense going down in Atlanta, people are showing immense compassion on a local Facebook group, SnowedOutAtlanta.

People are using the group, created by Georgia resident Michelle Sollicito, to post their locations, asking for help for themselves or their loved ones. The most tragic stories involve diabetics, the elderly, and families with young children, especially infants. Some people can’t even get in touch with their families.

Aside from calls for help, offers of assistance are also being publicized. People with large vehicles are selflessly posting their contact information to retrieve those stranded or bring supplies. Members are also opening up their homes for shelter.

The posts are getting shares, tons of likes, and comments offering prayers and hope. The group — at 41,000 members and counting — is getting almost too big to help.

Here are just a few of the amazing posts:

1. Eric Morissey: “Hey people on Interstate 20 westbound at McDaniel Street Exit 55 — it’s lunch time! I am packing up now with 16 lunches, and ~3 gallons of water, and some cups and plates too. Who’s hungry? Send me the deets!”

2. Katrina R: “On our way with crackers, bananas, water and snack cakes. If you’re on 285 near 5 or 7, let us know. We’re coming to you and it’s free.”

3. Debbie Wilson Pusterino: “Just left some supplies on the median on 285 East near exit 29.”

4. “The hot chocolate guys have been identified! Dozens of you sent us photos of these guys serving hot cocoa to stranded motorists on I-75. We now know the men behind the kindness are Zach Haedt and Sam Tarquina. LIKE this! It’s a great way to say thanks to all the people doing nice things in the #GeorgiaSnow,” 11alive News wrote.

5. “GOOD SAMARITAN: Matthew Miller is on I-75 near Turner Field handing out food to stranded motorists. He packed PB&Js, cereal and hot cocoa for anyone who needs it.”“I saw on Facebook people had been out here for 18 hours…so I just thought I’d try to help out any way I could,” Miller told WSB-TV.

6. Graham Lutz: “Where am I needed? Can make it just about anywhere?”

7. Jeanne Harn: “We just walked 2 miles to I75, to pass out snacks & things in Kennesaw.. I75 south is still backed up. There were college students walking the interstate as well, handing out fruit & things. So happy to see everyone helping. We just walked 2 miles back home, will warm up, & then head out the 2 miles to I575, to help those folks.. This is my son Darwin, my daughter Faith, and husband Randall…”

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Abbotsford mulls using converted shipping containers for homeless shelters

Inside a shipping container that is being used as a homeless shelter in Campbell River. This past week, Abbotsford citizens — including a city councillor — travelled to the Island community to see how well this solution worked and determine if it could be effective for Abbotsford.

Photograph by: Pastor Art Van Holst , For The Province

An Abbotsford city councillor is hoping to import the idea of a Vancouver Island shipping container shelter to address homelessness in his own community.

Coun. Henry Braun travelled to Campbell River Tuesday to investigate the use of a 40-foot container outfitted with eight double-bunked rooms, a washroom and office for staff, as a low-barrier shelter.

“I personally think it is definitely a workable solution for Abbotsford,” Braun said.

Homelessness in Abbotsford has been in the spotlight since last summer when city staff were implicated in spreading chicken manure on a homeless camp. Problems persisted this winter with a protest camp in Jubilee Park and a court-ordered injunction.

“This has been a hot topic issue since June and our community deserves an answer on how we are going to deal with homelessness,” Braun said.

Campbell River residents said their shelter was sorely needed, as the town’s main shelter bars clients under the influence of drugs or alcohol, leaving them with nowhere to go. In 2011, two homeless men died of exposure.

Read More Here

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Today's Ideas and Actions | OurFuture.org

 

 

January 17, 2014

 

Earlier this month, Hawaii State representative Tom Bower (D) began walking the streets of his Waikiki district with a sledgehammer, and smashing shopping carts used by homeless people. “Disgusted” by the city’s chronic homelessness problem, Bower decided to take matters into his own hands — literally. He also took to rousing homeless people if he saw them sleeping at bus stops during the day.

Bower’s tactics were over the top, and so unpopular that he quickly declared “Mission accomplished,” and retired his sledgehammer. But Bower’s frustration with his city’s homelessness problem is just an extreme example of the frustration that has led cities to pass measures that effective deal with the homeless by criminalizing homelessness.

  • City council members in Columbia, South Carolina, concerned that the city was becoming a “magnet for homeless people,” passed an ordinance giving the homeless the option to either relocate or get arrested. The council later rescinded the ordinance, after backlash from police officers, city workers, and advocates.
  • Last year, Tampa, Florida — which had the most homeless people for a mid-sized city — passed an  ordinance allowing police officers to arrest anyone they saw sleeping in public, or “storing personal property in public.” The city followed up with a ban on panhandling downtown, and other locations around the city.
  • Philadelphia took a somewhat different approach, with a law banning the feeding of homeless people on city parkland. Religious groups objected to the ban, and announced that they would not obey it.
  • Raleigh, North Carolina took the step of asking religious groups to stop their longstanding practice of feeding the homeless in a downtown park on weekends. Religious leaders announced that they would risk arrest rather than stop.

This trend makes Utah’s accomplishment even more noteworthy. In eight years, Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78 percent, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015.

Read More Here

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On Monday, Microsoft said it will offer a free 16-week IT course for soldiers transitioning out of the military into civilian life—with a guaranteed job at the end of it.The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy will be based on the Microsoft IT Academy, offering the training necessary to take the next step and pursue training to become a developer, applications engineer or IT project manager. At the end of the course, Microsoft said, participants will be hired as software testers by either Microsoft or Launch Consulting, the technology consulting firm administering the program. As the program expands, those additional soldiers will be guaranteed at least a job interview.Microsoft launched a pilot implementation of the Academy at the Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) in Washington, where about 8,000 service members are expected to move out of the military into civilian life as the U.S. winds down conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Vow to Hire Heroes Act, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), allows those soldiers to begin the transition process while they’re actually employed by the military.

Read More Here

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