Community

Participation Nation
6:33 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Books Behind Bars In Needham, Mass.

Elizabeth Jane Handel of A Book from Mom.
Courtesy of ABFM

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 9:22 am

In 2004, I started a project called A Book from Mom that provides incarcerated mothers with brand new children's books to give as gifts to their children during prison visits.

A Book from Mom helps strengthen the parent-child bond while a mother is away, seeks to increase literacy in both mother and child, and helps ease the tension of prison visits.

In its nine years, the project has placed more than 20,000 brand new books on prison shelves in Massachusetts and has inspired someone else to expand the program to a women's prison in Arizona.

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Participation Nation
3:33 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Honoring Elders In Green Bay, Wis.

From the Women Over 90 project.
Courtesy of Kara Counard

When Kara Counard staged a photography exhibit at the ARTgarage in Green Bay this summer, she interviewed and photographed 33 subjects — women from the ages of 89-100 years old. She called it the Women Over 90 Project.

To give more volume to the exhibit, Kara brought in a group of fifth grade girls. The young people visited a nursing home and interviewed and photographed women in their 90s.

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Participation Nation
11:33 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Screening Hearts In Philadelphia, Pa.

Phyllis and Darren Sudman, founders of Simon's Fund.
Courtesy of Simon's Fund

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 10:32 am

Phyllis and Darren Sudman started Simon's Fund in 2005, after their 3-month-old son Simon died in his sleep. They learned later that Simon had an undetected silent heart condition.

Today, Simon's Fund provides free heart screenings to children throughout the Philadelphia area to prevent other families from experiencing the same tragedy.

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Participation Nation
6:03 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Loving Dogs In Toms River, N.J.

Alice and Simon.
Courtesy of CVCJ

When a doglover gets to an age when she can't care for a dog anymore, it can be a huge loss.

Since 2009, Simon, a Golden Retriever and his owner, Pat, have been visiting Alice — who is 94 years old and legally blind — in her home near Toms River.

For years, Alice enjoyed the companionship of a dog. Now because of health problems, she cannot. So every week she looks forward to her visits with Pat and Simon, who are part of the Caregiver Canines program.

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Participation Nation
4:03 pm
Sun August 26, 2012

High Fiving In Truckee, Calif.

Roy Tuscany on the slopes.
Courtesy of HFF

In 2006, Roy Tuscany was an up-and-coming professional skier, solely focused on his burgeoning career. Then a fall during training left Roy paralyzed from the waist down.

As a young athlete, Roy had to depend on the community to help him through his recovery — to walk and even ski again. It was that connection with generous people that led Roy to start the High Fives Foundation, dedicated to helping injured athletes get back on their boards, skis and wheels.

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Participation Nation
12:03 pm
Sun August 26, 2012

Happier Bottoms In Kansas City, Mo.

Kerry Rodriguez and her three sons organized a diaper drive for HappyBottoms at their church.
Courtesy of HappyBottoms

Babies need diapers. But it's not always easy for low-income families who might have to choose between buying diapers or paying bills. Federal assistance programs do not pay for diapers, so if parents can't afford them, babies sit in soiled diapers. That's unhealthy, and it leads to fussier babies — which stresses out parents even more.

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Participation Nation
5:25 am
Sun August 26, 2012

Clean And Green In Fort Wayne, Ind.

Stephen J. Bailey is cleaning up his city.
Courtesy of Fort Wayne's Downtown Improvement District.

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 9:13 am

My friend Stephen J. Bailey is a strong voice for the revitalization of downtown Fort Wayne. He oversees social media and web development for the Downtown Improvement District. He enjoys running and whenever he runs through downtown or the West Central area, he takes a bag with him so he can pick up trash as he goes.

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Participation Nation
12:03 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Art Of Mentoring In Minneapolis

Preparing a wall for a mural.
Courtesy of MPTA

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 10:33 am

Cross the Mississippi River on Saint Paul's Marshall Avenue and it morphs into Minneapolis' Lake Street — a colorful kaleidoscope of cultures.

As Lake Street's collection of murals grows, so does its sense of safety, beauty and community — thanks to groups of artist-activists.

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Participation Nation
6:03 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Handlebar Help In Rochester, N.Y.

Dan Lill of R Community Bikes.
Courtesy of RCB

R Community Bikes is a grassroots organization in Rochester that repairs and gives away bikes to people in need.

The vision and tireless work of Dan Lill has helped this group grow from a seasonal bike clinic in a soup kitchen parking lot — with two would-be bike mechanics — to a full fledged nonprofit with 50-60 active volunteer bike mechanics and a 6,000 square foot shop-and-warehouse that provides free repairs to the entire population.

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Participation Nation
5:33 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Guerrilla Gardening In Provo City, Utah

An urban garden at City Hall.
Courtesy of Provo City Hall

For four years now several of our city planners here in Provo City have been growing a garden in their spare time.

Did I mention that they're growing the garden on the steps of City Hall?

The planners were inspired by the guerrilla gardening concept — planting vegetables in underused public spaces — and also wanted to show that you don't need a lot of space to grow your own food.

They donate the produce, including potatoes, carrots and squash, to the local food bank.

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