November 24, 2008

Support My 'Stache

My friend Morgan is a fan of mustaches and DonorsChoose.org, so I think you should listen to what he has to say:



What does this have to do with readers of Deserted After Dark? I'm growing my mustache for the next four weeks in order to raise awareness and money for two projects here in Phoenix, that's what. Supplies For Small Fries will equip an underfunded first grade classroom in West Phoenix and set up Mrs. B's students at Fowler Elementary School for success.

Then there is Mrs. Z's students at Excelencia School who would love a multi-colored carpet to sit "Criss Cross Applesauce" on. My mom uses one of these carpets in her classroom, and I've seen firsthand what an integral role it plays in the students' day. The kids love having a square to call their own, and in the meantime learn valuable lessons about boundaries and sharing.

If neither of those project inspire you to dust off and crack open your checkbook, check out this list of other projects teachers in Phoenix would love to have funded or search for one that matches your own personal interests. Even $10 makes a big difference for kids in classrooms that desperately need big differences. Thanks in advance for your support, you're making bright futures more possible for kids like these:



Cheers,
Sam
"The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate the deserts."
C.S. Lewis

November 22, 2008

Growing A 'Stache For Cash

This is what I looked like up until a few days ago:



Yep, that's me doing my best Fidel Castro (Don't worry, Mom, the cigar isn't lit...). I grew that beard for the better part of three months. I loved it. But you know what I love even more? Funding public education. So I shaved it all off, and started over; for a cause.

That's right, a few friends and I are going to be growing Mustaches For Kids for the next four (4) weeks to raise money on behalf of DonorsChoose.org. I'm hoping that if I publicly humiliate myself by shooting for the Selleck Star, I can raise some awareness and some cash for public schools. I'm also hoping that having a mustache feels like the color blue:



Over there on the sidebar --> I have a link to the projects I am hoping to fully fund over the next grueling twenty-eight (28) days. If you don't like either of those, check out some other projects happening in Phoenix. Either way, with your checkbook and my testosterone we are going to make a big difference in the lives of these kids! Here's how I'm doing so far:


Your donation will bring a better chance for success to these students. Thanks for your support!


Cheers,
Sam
"When I went to the Olympics, I had every intention of shaving the mustache off, but I realized that I was getting so many comments about it - and everybody was talking about it - that I decided to keep it.
Mark Spitz

PS - If you want to grow with us (or just join in on the fun), we will be meeting again on December 4th to compare 'staches at The Roosevelt Tavern (816 N 3rd St) at 8PM. We'll also be practicing our Beer Foam Retention skills...

November 13, 2008

Forty-Fourth Time's The Charm

Over the weekend, Kim and I purchased plane tickets to Washington D.C. to experience the festivities of the Inaugural Address, Parade, and (fingers crossed) Ball of our 44th President. To sum it up; I am pretty stoked.

And sure, January 20th will probably be a day that I remember forever, and I'll probably talk to my kids about (don't worry, Mom - no plans for those yet). But, like many coming down from the highs of textbook rhetoric and passionate anticipation, I'm expecting some real and concrete things to start happening on January 21st. Yes, I was a proud passenger on the bandwagon of Hope and Change, but I also resonate with Benny Franklin, who said "He who lives upon hope alone will die fasting."

Lucky for me (and America), it looks as though President-elect Obama has some good policy cooking in the transition oven. Yeah, I stretched that one...

In any case, the proposed policies that (obviously) interest me most concern the Nonprofit Sector. And I can say with a decent amount of certainty that real action will be taken in this area. How? Well, when I was in DC this summer with the rest of the Nonprofit Congress gang we went up to the Hill for a day to pitch an idea called the Nonprofit Capacity Building Initiative (NCBI). Basically, the NCBI would create an equivalent of the Small Business Administration for the Nonprofit Sector. There is a great need for this because over 80% of nonprofit organizations operate with a budget of less than a million dollars, greatly reducing the chances that organizations can afford costly capacity building programs.

Long story short; we lobbied as one voice for the improved infrastructure of the Sector as a whole that day, and that exact policy is in the oven that I was talking about earlier. Check this out, from Obama's website:

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will create an agency within the Corporation for National & Community Service dedicated to building the capacity and effectiveness of the nonprofit sector.

Pretty cool, huh? And that's not all the new Executive Branch has in store for us. Increased size and scope of federally funded service programs such as AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, encouraging young people to enlist in these programs as part of a service-learning experience, and leveraging public and private investment to "incorporate higher levels of competition, innovation, and accountability" in the Sector.

So, I guess I can be fairly confident that January 21st will bring about some real change. Until then, I'll be figuring out where the heck to sleep in a city not built for 1.5 million extra people...

Cheers,
Sam
"Sanity may be madness but the maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be."
Don Quixote

November 12, 2008

ASU In The NYT

The Arizona State University chapter of American Humanics was featured in the New York Times on Monday, in an article highlighting the growing number of nonprofit management courses and degree programs across the country. A small excerpt:

The do-good desires of [Korbi] Adams and many members of her “Gen Y” cohort have sparked a surge in nonprofit management and leadership courses at colleges and universities, building on the example of the American Humanics certification program. More than 230 colleges and universities across the United States offer courses in those areas, up from 179 a decade ago, a 2007 study at Seton Hall University found.

Last year, Arizona State created the first named undergraduate degree in nonprofit management. About 100 students are enrolled in the program, with the first graduates expected in 2011.

Read the whole thing here. Feels good to have a little national exposure every now and then.

Cheers,
Sam
"Without publicity, there can be no public support."
Benjamin Disraeli

The Gentle Art Of Hearing

Looks like Simon & Garfunkel have some philosophical competition.

This short film, called "Mankind Is No Island" was shot completely on a cellphone by Jason van Genderen, and won top prize at the world's largest short-film festival, Tropfest. Get some tissue handy:



Cheers,
Sam
"I am a rock, I am an island /And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries."
Simon & Garfunkel

November 11, 2008

Sisters In The City Of Brotherly Love

Check this out:

If we stand, as I believe we do, at a moment of profound rethinking about the American social compact, then the values of mutual concern and shared responsibility that unite us must be central to the discussion. We must use our voice — the organized expression of what we collectively call the independent sector, a voice founded on the values and aspirations that are embedded in the work we do.

This is just a little taste of Diana Aviv's remarks yesterday at the Independent Sector Conference. Make sure to stop by Rosetta's, Heather's, and Katya's blogs to read some more amazing things happening in Philly. By the way, those three ladies are part of a large contingency at the conference of Next Generation Leaders. Let's hear it for the future!

Cheers,
Sam
"As millions of people enter the public square for the first time or return after a long absence, heeding a loud national call for hope and unity, our organizations should be there to embrace them"
Diana Aviv

Moonwalking Bears & 21 Changes

A few months ago, I posted a video from some folks across the pond at Transport for London called, "Do The Test." The video cleverly displayed that it is very easy to get distracted while driving, and completely miss bicyclists on the road. Last week, I stumbled across the fantastic sequel (thanks, Osocio). Enjoy:



Both videos were produced by WCRS, a London-based firm that also boasts BMW, Mini, and Ferror Rocher as clients. Below is the original "Awareness Test." Now, go forth and start seeing bicycles!



Cheers,
Sam
"When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race."
H.G. Wells

November 5, 2008

A Defining Moment Of Change Or: How Arizona Still Doesn't Get It

Yesterday was a great day for our nation.

But for Arizona, it's a different story.

At a time when Americans are looking forward with expectant hope for change, I'm stuck in a state that hopes and expects nothing to change.

At a time when Americans are looking beyond traditional societal barriers towards inclusion, I'm stuck in a state that writes discriminating legislation into our Constitution.

At a time when Americans are looking for creative solutions to complex problems, I'm stuck in a state that elected a hate-mongering sheriff to his 5th term.

At a time when Americans are looking for transparency and accountability from our elected officials, I'm stuck in a state that did not elect one new person to a board of supervisors embattled in controversy and corruption.

Forget red, blue, or purple. I'm living in state blackened with disparaging hate and a sincere lack of any human emotion.

I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to move or run for office.


Cheers,
Sam
"If there is anyone out there that still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, that still wonders if the dream of our Founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy; tonight is your answer."
Barack Obama