Boy invents the “El Paso Challenge” encouraging acts of kindness  

Boy invents the “El Paso Challenge” encouraging acts of kindness  

An 11-year-old boy from El Paso responded to the recent shooting on Aug. 3 by starting the “El Paso Challenge,” with the help of his mother. The goal of the social media campaign is to encourage people to give back and spread kindness, in order to bring about healing.

Rose Gandarilla posted a photo of her son, Ruben, on Twitter, and a picture of his plan for the El Paso Challenge. The goal: honor the people killed in their city. The idea: challenge each person in El Paso to do 20 good deeds.

Ruben jotted down a few examples such as mowing someone’s lawn, visiting a nursing home, paying for someone’s lunch or dinner, taking flowers to the hospital, or simply telling someone how great they are.

“How to convince everyone to join the El Paso challenge: Hold up posters, pass out flyers, send it to Facebook,” Ruben’s note read, as reported by CBS News. “This will show the world people from El Paso are kind and care for each other.”

Ruben’s idea was successful: In about a day, more than 1,400 people were talking about the El Paso Challenge via Twitter. Almost 3,000 people shared his mom’s Facebook post.

Ruben Gandarilla’s challenge. Photo from Rose Gandarilla’s Facebook page.

Many people on social media, from Texas and other areas, started pledging 20 random acts of kindness with the El Paso Challenge hashtag.

Ruben didn’t just challenge strangers on social media—he also shared his idea in person. When he was in Taco Bell with his mother, he came up to a group of people and explained the challenge.

“This courageous young man came up to us at Taco Bell and challenged us to make El Paso a better place, the challenge is to do 20 good deeds in memory of the 20 who were killed in the Walmart shooting,” El Paso native Chris Castaneda wrote on Facebook, sharing a photo of his group with Ruben. “I challenge you to fulfill this challenge and share this on your page to challenge others.”

Some on social media who took up the challenge decided to pledge 22 acts of kindness – one for each victim of the shooting that happened in an El Paso Walmart.

Prosecutors are initiating a civil rights hate crime investigation and domestic terrorism charges. They will seek the death penalty for the suspect.

Read the CBS News story here.

 

 

India has saved thousands of lives by increasing Sanitation Coverage from 40 to 90% in the last four years

India has saved thousands of lives by increasing Sanitation Coverage from 40 to 90% in the last four years

Over the last four years, the Indian government has made it their goal to provide sanitation for the entire nation. In those four years, thousands of lives have been saved.

Over the course of these four years, the Indian government improved public access to toilets and hygiene facilities. With this improvement, these facilities have increased India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan sanitation coverage from 40% to 90% and is set to achieve total coverage by October 2019.

This initiative has already prevented 300,000 children dying from diarrhea and protein- energy malnutrition.

Before Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the initiative back in October 2014, unsafe sanitation caused an estimate of 200 million cases of dangerous gastrointestinal problems each year.

As the numbers dissipated, the government has been celebrating their significant victory over the public health crisis.

“The credit for saving these lives goes to every Indian who was a part of this campaign,” Prime Minister said in a translated statement. “Saving the lives of the poor children is surely a great humanitarian act and the world bodies are recognizing it.”

“A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birthday in 2019.”

Company Founder surprises employees with $20 million

Company Founder surprises employees with $20 million

There wasn’t a dry eye in sight when a company founder gave his employees the surprise of a lifetime this week.

Mark Baiada, the chairman and founder of Bayada Home Health Care, a $1.4 billion private housing company in Philadelphia, announced his grand surprise over a holiday luncheon at the Belleve Hotel in Philadelphia earlier this week.

“I’m taking $20 million, dividing it up and giving it to everybody,” Baiada tearfully told the crowd. I wanted to show some gratitude to everybody for all the hard work you’ve done taking care of our clients.”

The money was given to the staff of 32,000 who received varying sums based on their length of employment. Long-time staffers were given tens of thousands of dollars and new hires received $50. Even retirees who left the company after 2010 received sums, Baiada reported to Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Those are everyday people who work hard in a low-margin service business — I’m honored to work with them,” Baiada told Yahoo Lifestyle. “I don’t go to patient’s homes much, but my employees are there everyday.”

Baiada founded the company in 1975 and in 2016 announced plans to convert his business into a nonprofit, which will open in January. “Nonprofits last longer and I don’t really need the money, so we’re going to turn it over to a newly created nonprofit that’s all mission-driven,”  Baiada told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re putting mission over money.”

Some employees already have plans for their munificence.

Nicole Green, a pediatric nurse who works with clients such as those with cerebral palsy and premature babies only worked at Bayada for three years and will use her funds toward her daughter’s college tuition.

“Everyone was in awe — we thought we were just having a holiday lunch,” Green, 48, told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Mark totally surprised us. He didn’t have to do this. I’ve only worked at Bayada a short time, but I’m a lifelong employee now.”

Baiada continued to cry tears of joy that afternoon and expressed his opinion on gratitude. “I just want to say thank you to them all,” Baiada told CBS Philly. “Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude. You look around your life and say, ‘I’m so fortunate.”





Filmaker sits with Neo-Nazis and gets the experience of a lifetime

Filmaker sits with Neo-Nazis and gets the experience of a lifetime

Emmy Award- winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan was scared for her life when she met with Neo-Nazis for the first time.

Her fear perpetuated her. As Khan filmed members of the group, some of them followed her around, threatening to kill her if she made one wrong move.

“In my mind, I was just thinking if anything happens right now, which it probably will, they could just bury me right here and nobody would ever know,” Khan said.

Despite her fear and distrust and dislike from the neo-Nazis, she wanted to know why men could hate so much.

“I decided to pick up my camera and go and see if I could sit down with people who feel this intense dislike, or even hatred, towards people like me,” Khan told Peace News.

The question of why men could hate so much, inspired her to release her film “White Right: meeting the Enemy.”

“For me it’s about primarily getting in touch with our common humanity,” Khan told Peace News. “To see if it’s possible for us to break down the prejudices that exist between groups.”

Her first interview was with Ken Parker, a member of the National Socialist Movement, the biggest white supremacist organization in America.

Parker’s bare torso was adorned with a swastika tattoo on the right of his chest and a Klan tattoo on the left.

Khan asked him, “Does it matter to you that I think what you are doing is wrong?” 

Parker answered with a “no” and became increasingly frustrated and nervous as the questions rolled on. He admitted he was “not responsible for other people’s feelings.” 

Khan went on to describe the experience. First describing it as awkward without the anticipated context of angry mobs shouting — but then conveyed  a dynamic shift. She continued to be a listening ear.

Overtime, Khan interviewed other white supermarkets and neo-nazis, trying to figure out their motivations.

She figured out that most of the hate stemmed from the stories of their past rooted in abandonment, not fitting in, hopelessness, shame and humiliation, and longing to belong.

“They’re rejected for various reasons in other aspects of their lives,” she explained. “So whether it is feeling rejected by women, or by the job market, by society at large, or feeling as if you don’t measure up, not feeling good enough, shame, feeling humiliated, feeling emasculated.”

Khan added on stating that while there are hate groups — a lot of their actions are driven by love — a love for fellow members of the group who have given them a sense of family and a sense of purpose.

After Khan interviewed Parker and others like him, she felt a sense of liberation.

“It reminded me that they are just people, they are just human beings,” she said. “I have spent my entire life being stereotyped, I am not going to turn around and do that to somebody else.”

The Norwegian born filmmaker, who now resides in the UK recently earned an International Emmy award for her film and was previously nominated for BAFTA awards. Her film was released to Netflix in June and is streaming in America and the UK.

Parker eventually became touched by Khan’s actions. So touched, he removed all his hateful tattoos and renounced his membership in these organizations.

“He turned his back on the entire community,” Khan said. “He left them behind based on a principle he no longer wants to subscribe to.”

Overall, in reflecting on her documentary, Khan realized her project’s main aspect. 

“We all have the capacity to effect change,” she said. “Just being human beings with each other, threatening each other with respect and dignity. You know how we feel when someone smiles at us or says something nice, it makes us feel great. The same if someone gives us a dirty look, it shifts how we feel.”



A Millenial Rescues a Famous Missing Pup

A Millenial Rescues a Famous Missing Pup

There have been several alerts right after a Youtube-famous-kiteboarding dog went missing from his family last week.

16-year-old Cameroon Maramendies began posting videos of Zeus, a seven-year-old Jack Russell Terrier kateboarding.

Maramendies, a kiteboarder who will compete for team USA in the 2020 Olympics was at a Kiteboarding event in St.Petersburg, Florida when his dog was kidnapped by an older gentleman in a gray Sedan.

Zeus accompanied the family to the event, but stayed behind in the car. When the family returned from the competition, Zeus was already gone.

The family contacted police, hired a pet detective and even offered a $3,500 reward for the return of Zeus; no questions asked. The family simply wanted their dog back.

Maramendies was overcome with worry until an individual helped out.

This individual was Miguel Camacho, an electrian’s apprentice who was studying in West Tampa Park, when he heard about the missing Jack Terrier.

During his study break, a friend of his shared the missing dog article on Facebook. Sparked by curiosity, he read through the article. Seconds later he saw the missing dog.

“I was sitting there reading the article,” Camacho told Tampa Bay Times. “The guy pulls up, gets out of the car, grabs the dog, and I’m thinking ‘man this looks just like that dog.”

After seeing the man in the gray Sedan get out — he snapped a picture of the pup and sent it to Maramendies’ phone, which was listed in a newspaper. The Olympian responded quickly, claiming the dog with the familiar black spots over his eyes, was Zeus.

Camacho did not know whether the man was armed or dangerous and police were not allowed to intervene unless the owner was present.

Maramendies asked Camacho if he could keep an eye on Zeus and his supposed abductor. Camacho heard the despair in the families voices.

Camacho only wanted to help the Maramendies family in any way he could.

When Camacho saw the abductor leave, he got into his car and followed the gray Sedan for a few miles. The abductor stopped, got out of the car and questioned why Camacho was following him.

“I believe the dog isn’t yours,” Camacho told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m on the phone with his owner right now.”

Camacho then walked to the gray Sedan and shouted “Zesus.” The Jack Terrier jumped and ran to him. Later that afternoon, Camacho brought the dog to the car and left the scene. He then met with the Maramendies family in the Westshore Plaza parking lot.

Camacho learned about the reward when he met the family. He picked up the reward money and told Tampa Bay Times as to how he was going to spend the money.

“I have two kids,” he said. “I’m gonna do some Christmas shopping for them and put the rest in their savings accounts.”

Helen Trotman, Maramendies’ mom, was grateful for Camacho’s heroic and kind-hearted act.

“We are feeling completely exhausted, yet elated, and we are still pinching ourselves to see if we are dreaming,” Helen Trotman told Tampa Bay Times. “We are so fortunate Miguel was there and was willing to put himself into a possible dangerous situation to get their dog back.”