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Adaptive Action Sports | Champion Para-Snowboarder
Evan Strong, professional snowboard cross racer and skateboarder, started practicing focusing his attention at the age of four, and he’s been meditating ever since. He learned early that energy flows where attention goes.
When he was 17 years old, he told his mom and his sister over lunch that he was about to meet his "Great Destiny." He said that he had been given this assignment before he was born, and that it could cost him his life. He wasn’t afraid; he just needed to know they would be OK with whatever was going to happen.
This was two weeks before he was struck head-on by a drunk driver while on his motorcycle. It was a near fatal accident that ultimately cost him his left leg. Evan says his old self died on the road that day, and left him with a completely new outlook. "I didn’t come here for any personal reasons of my own. I came here to love, to serve, and to enjoy," he says. And that is what he has been doing with his life.
Evan is an eight-time World Cup Gold Medalist and current Para-Snowboard World Champion headed for the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia to represent the USA in Snowboard Cross. He feels his real work is helping others through difficult circumstances similar to his own. Evan works with Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit organization that sponsors clinics where he teaches disabled kids and adults how to mountain bike, skateboard, and maybe in the future, to rock climb. His passion is to teach and inspire others to overcome adversity through sports and to realize their highest potential, and to recognize, as he has, that "I am not the body. I am not the mind. I am something more that cannot be broken." Evan Strong's website: www.strongevan.com | Adaptive Action Sports: www.adacs.org
Institute of Noetic Sciences
On January 31, 1971, Edgar Mitchell joined Commanders Alan B. Shepard and Stuart A. Roosa on the Apollo 14 lunar mission. Piloting the lunar module back to earth, he viewed the heavens from the capsule's only window seat and experienced an epiphany. He later described it as a sudden inner knowing that the molecules of his body were the same as the molecules of everything around him, from the bodies of his fellow astronauts to the celestial bodies suspended in the vastness of space. He experienced these molecules as a harmonious and whole living system, "a universe of consciousness."
Trained as an engineer and scientist, he realized that despite science's superb technological achievements we had barely begun to probe the deepest mystery of the universe: the fact of consciousness itself. He became convinced that the uncharted territory of the human mind was the next frontier to explore, and within two years he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) for this purpose. Thanks to Dr. Mitchell's commitment to consciousness research, IONS is still going strong, broadening our knowledge of the nature and potentials of mind and consciousness and applying that knowledge to enhancing human well-being and the quality of life on the planet.
Students Rising Above
San Francisco, CA
When you hear Wendy Tokuda talk about "Students Rising Above," you can feel her energy and dedication. It began as a KRON 4 TV series of news stories, specials, and public service announcements created by news anchor Tokuda and KRON 4 Community Relations Manager Zavier Valencia. Each story featured low-income, at-risk Bay Area high school seniors overcoming tremendous obstacles. The featured students were all growing up below the federal poverty line, and all wanted to go to college. Following each report, viewers were encouraged to donate to the SRA Scholarship Fund (studentsrisingabove.org), created by Tokuda to support these kids' aspirations. She proudly proclaims that since 1998, the fund has raised more than $3.8 million. "SRA provides mentors, financial counseling, a computer, sheets and towels for the dorm, and other support normally provided by parents," says Tokuda. "Our goal is not just to give them a check bu tto help them get through college, and I'm so very pleased at our success rate."
OneChild Network & Support Inc.
Cheryl Perera is a children’s rights activist, and the Founder and President of OneChild Network & Support Inc., a nonprofit organization empowering a movement of children and youth taking action against child sex slavery. Her contributions to protect children have earned her numerous international awards and honors. Cheryl began speaking about the horrors of child sexual exploitation at age 16, after reading about it for a high school project. What she read filled her with anger, determination and resolve. She traveled to Sri Lanka in 2002, and went undercover playing the role of the decoy in a sting operation that led to the arrest of a 40 year old pedophile. She established OneChild at age 19, with the motto “one child exploited is one child too many.”
Remote Area Medical (RAM)
The vision for Remote Area Medical® developed in the Amazon rain forest where founder Stan Brock spent 15 years with the Wapishana Indians. He witnessed the near devastation of whole tribes by what would have been simple or minor illnesses to more advanced cultures. When he left South America to co-star in the television series, “Wild Kingdom,” he vowed to find a way to deliver basic medical aid to people in the world’s inaccessible regions. The organization was founded in 1985 and has a vast network of volunteer doctors, nurses, technicians, and veterinarians who go on expeditions at their own expense and treat hundreds of patients a day, providing general medical, surgical, eye, dental, and veterinary care. Sixty percent of the expeditions serve rural America.
Aubyn & Welland Burnside
Suitcases for Kids
Murrells Inlet, SC
Aubyn founded Suitcases for Kids in 1996 to provide foster children with some dignity and self-respect through the simple gift of a suitcase. At the age of 11, Aubyn had already written grants for the project, hired a Board of Directors, and established a large national network of volunteers who collected, cleaned and delivered suitcases, backpacks, and duffel bags to foster agencies, child welfare leagues, and children’s protective services. She also authored a 12-page starter kit, which she distributed free to individuals, and groups who wanted to form a chapter. Today, she remains the CEO of the project, though now in college and has additional volunteer commitments. She has chapters in all 50 states as well as 83 foreign countries. At the age of 12, Aubyn addressed the US Congress on the value of volunteerism.
Bread for the Journey
Santa Fe, NM
Bread for the Journey International is a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing the natural generosity of ordinary people. Through regional chapters of Bread for the Journey, they teach a simple practice of neighborhood philanthropy that can be embraced by people in a wide variety of communities. Founded by Reverend Wayne Muller, there are chapters in nineteen cities in North America. Each chapter offers a unique blend of practical assistance, funding and encouragement to help people start valuable new projects quickly and easily - without complicated grant proposals and lengthy waiting periods. As a result, countless dynamic programs are being born that heal and nourish our communities in ways that are naturally creative and responsive to local culture.
Oh Shinnah Fastwolf
Four Directions & Grandfather Coyote Center
Columbia Falls, MT
Oh Shinnah Fastwolf is a well-known Native American activist. She is an elder of much wisdom, a warrior for the people, and has been involved all her life in accepting a charge to speak and sing on behalf of the Earth and to confront fixed reality. As founder of the Four Directions, Inc., she has spoken out about the plight of Native Americans, especially the forgotten elders. She brings information on the issues of the earth and its ecology to the people she teaches. She is the director and co-founder of The Center for Grandfather Coyote with Dr. Dolores Krieger, a not-for-profit corporation through which she is able to teach health professionals from many disciplines and to help the forgotten. She continues to train students, many who are nurses, healers, teachers, and doctors in the holistic community.
Dr. Gerald G. Jampolsky
Center for Attitudinal Healing
Dr. Gerald G. Jampolsky founded the Center for Attitudinal Healing in 1975 to provide an environment in which children with cancer could receive emotional support through interaction with each other. The success of this original group led to programs for siblings, parents, and additional groups addressing general needs. Through these programs, Dr. Jampolsky developed a pioneering approach to patient support, and the first model of psycho-spiritual support. Applied through groups or one-on-one settings, he designed and integrated universal values or spiritual principles including a focus on our ability to make choices and encouraging a choice for peace of mind, compassion, being of service, forgiveness and practicing equality in all relationships. Additionally, Dr. Jampolsky pioneered and demonstrated the efficacy of the peer support model in helping people through their crises.
John Marks & Susan Collin Marks
Search for Common Ground
John Marks and Susan Collin Marks are the President and Executive Vice-President of Search for Common Ground, an international non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the way the world deals with conflict: away from adversarial approaches, toward cooperative solutions. They mobilize resources on a global level to promote a shift in consciousness away from violence towards cooperative behavior. Under their leadership, Search now has comprehensive, multi-pronged programs in West Africa, Congo, Angola, Burundi, Macedonia, Ukraine, the Middle East, Morocco, Indonesia, and the US. The organization also sponsors programs to build bridges between Islamic countries and the west and between Iran and the US. It has its own TV and radio production division, which operates in a dozen countries around the world.
Rev. Thomas Behrens
The Night Ministry
Rev. Thomas has for 25 years brought light to Chicago’s streets with compassion and hope. The Night Ministry is an organization created out of diverse religious traditions; building relationships with people of the nighttime streets that empower them to meet their own needs. Recognizing the uniqueness, dignity, and value of each person, they accept individuals as they are, in an affirming and compassionate manner. They serve the homeless, runaway youth, working poor adults, uninsured and underinsured individuals seeking medical assistance, the chronically lonely, children who are unsupervised and need a place to gather in safety and others who have “fallen through the cracks” of our social service systems.
The Cello Cries On, Inc.
Jason is now 16 years old, but he founded The Cello Cries On when he was 11. The mission of this organization is to empower and unite youth across racial, ethnic, religious, economic, social and cultural lines to work for human rights, social justice, multicultural harmony and peace. He started his humanitarian work at 9 years of age when he published a newsletter called “The Informer” for youth. Donating the profits to volunteer organizations like the American Cancer Society. Today, the newspaper is in 29 states and 19 foreign countries. It informs young people about global issues, and it inspires and motivates kids to make service to others part of their lives.
Brother David Steindl-Rast
New York, NY
Brother David is an Austrian psychologist, theologian, and author. He has given his life to the service of others. In so doing, he has unmistakably furthered the evolution of altruism: not only in the Church, not only in the west, but also in the hearts and minds of individuals in every corner of the world.
Emily is the founder and director of "Grandma's Gifts." This organization has provided more than $170,000 in goods and services to needy Appalachian children. Emily works each and every day to provide food, clothing, toys, books, and educational experiences for children living in an area of our country in which poverty is rampant and generational. Founded in 1992, "Grandma's Gifts" has placed 30,000 books into the hands of children. What makes this accomplishment truly extraordinary is that Emily is a young woman of nineteen! She founded this organization when she was only ten years old.
Global Children's Organization
Los Angeles, CA
Judith Jenya, founder and executive director of Global Children's Organization in 1992, has been working for 32 years as a teacher, social worker, family and art therapist, attorney and workshop leader in all aspects of child development, care and advocacy. GCO "restores children to childhood" by providing cross- community summer camp programs to children who live in deprived, disrupted and stressful circumstances resulting from armed conflict, war, inner-city violence, political and economic upheaval, and hatred and intolerance. GCO programs also offer members of the global community a multicultural, multiethnic and cross-generational opportunity for volunteer service. GCO camp programs are held in safe environments and include a variety of activities that include swimming, outdoor sports, music, theater, games and an extensive "Art and Healing" program. At camp, children are given the opportunity to thrive physically and heal mentally and emotional. Since 1992, GCO programs have taught more than 1,800 children how to appreciate and celebrate their differences and find non-violent solutions to conflict. The summer camps provide a place for the beginning of personal healing and the development of peace and reconciliation. Judith has three camps currently set up in Croatia, The Republic of Ireland, and the Mideast and developing a new program in Los Angeles, California for at-risk children in the region.
Visions for Prisons
Costa Mesa, CA
Visions for Prisons is the expression of Dan Millstein's personal vision of peace and is a natural extension of his own spiritual path. In 1979 he turned away from a 25-year addiction to alcohol and rugs, began a meditation practice and began to facilitate study groups. He travels nationally and internationally giving seminars in federal, state and youth prisons while training other volunteers to work his program in their community prisons. Dan tries to bring ethnic and religious factions together within the confines of individual prisons, as community models of non-violence through education and service.
Camp Winnarainbow & Seva Foundation
In 1973 Wavy Gravy established Camp Winnarainbow in northern California where every summer scores of children - many from situations of poverty or homelessness (1/4 to 1/3 of the children come on scholarship) - come to the land to learn life-enhancing skills from meditation to circus-arts. Moved to action through his travels in Pakistan and Nepal, Wavy Gravy along with others, founded Seva Foundation 18 years ago, an organization dedicated to bringing locally run sight programs to Nepal, India and Tibet to counteract the spread of preventable blindness. Seva has branched out to serve other communities to provide pragmatic solutions to challenging healthcare and social issues, Wavy Gravy serves on the Board of Directors of Seva (his official title is "clown emeritus for life") and is an enthusiastic and creative fundraiser for the organization. When asked what inspires his commitment to service, Wavy joyfully responds, "It gets me high; service is a drug I can't find in the pharmaceutical closet."
Tariq Khamisa Foundation
San Diego, CA
Azim Khamisa's 20 year old only son, Tariq, was murdered by a 14 year old youth for no reason. This senseless tragedy could have escalated into an eye for and eye situation. Instead, out of his loss, Azim Khamisa extended an olive branch to the family of the perpetrator. "Their were victims at both ends of the gun" he states. In his grappling with grief he started a foundation to educated kids to stop the violence. Ples Felix is the grandfather of the youth now serving 25 years for Tariq's murder. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Khamisa Foundation and he and Azim are now close friends. The program goes into schools, enrolling parents and teachers to match funds and invest their commitment to sponsor the training. Azim says "tragedies are a part of life. They won't go away. It's how you respond to tragedy that is important."
Happy Helpers for the Homeless
Glen Burnie, MD
She began helping the homeless with her mother, Bobbi, when she was eight years old. In 1993, at the age of eleven she founded "Happy Helpers for the Homeless," a group of volunteers who provide food and smiles to those living on the streets of Baltimore and Glen Burnie, Maryland. They started by making 50 lunches but now make 600 every weekend and have helped more than 25,000 people so far. Today, at age seventeen, Amber has dedicated herself to a lifelong mission of helping others, and her goal is to wake people up to the plight of the homeless.
The Gathering Place
Thoreau, New Mexico
At the age of 38, Angela Bianco stepped away from a successful career as an emergency-room nurse in New York City and moved to New Mexico to pursue volunteer opportunities. Later she become a nun. In 1987 she founded The Gathering Place, a nonprofit organization dedicated both to showcasing the work of local Navaho artists for their personal and financial development and to providing literacy and health awareness programs for indigenous people of the area. The Gathering Place has become a model for similar rural areas,encouraging economic development, personal empowerment and community empowerment.
Trees for Life
A successful Wichita businessman who traveled all over the world, Balbir looked out the window during one flight and literally saw what he could do to help end world hunger—-replenish the earth's trees. Taking on that project full-time and with no means of financial support, his family's welfare became precarious. Yet through his efforts, trees have been planted in Guatamala, Brazil and his native India by Trees for Life volunteers. To date, more than three million people have participated in this project, planting tens of millions of trees. Other projects have grown out of Balbir's original vision including training for villagers in poor regions.
The Tibet Child Nutrition and Collaborative Health Project
Santa Cruz, CA
Nancy entered Tibet at a time when it was virtually closed to independent travelers. There she witnessed the problems of an indigenous culture being destroyed by a larger one. Alarmed at the sight of severely stunted Tibetan children and with no information as to why this was occurring, she set up the Tibet Child Nutrition and Collaborative Health Project in 1993. She was determined to discover both the root of the problem and the cure. She also has given immediate medical care to several thousand children and families in over 60 rural Tibetan villages. The project's goal is to develop and train Tibetan and Chinese health workers to head maternal and child healthcare initiatives throughout Tibet by the year 2000.