Links in Alphabetical Order:
This collection of links is offered as ideas for inspiration, hope, enlightenment, curiosity and food for thought. I do not necessarily endorse any of these organizations personally, but offer them here as possibilities to explore. Please use your own discretion. If you know if a website that you think would be a good addition to this list, please contact me.
L'Arche International (Added January 2009)
An Inclusive Community for People with Intellectual Disabilities, founded by humanitarian Jean Vanier. Website available in English, French and Spanish. I had the delight to hear Mr. Vanier speak last year and found him to be a truly beautiful human being. He has a way of sharing about his work that is deceptively quiet and profoundly moving. The tender blade of grass that pushes its way through the pavement, past resistance, cynicism and walls. His work and the love behind it reached right into my core.
Befrienders Worldwide (Added January 2009)
The Befrienders offer help to those who are suicidal or in distress.
Beliefnet (Added January 2009)
A Campaign for Forgiveness Research (Added May 2007)
I happened across this website and was very impressed and inspired by its material and its whole purpose. The site is the Internet home of an organization that funds and supports scientific research into the effects and implications of forgiveness, on individual, societal and global levels. In their own words: "We offer this place to learn about scientific research into forgiveness, to share your own forgiveness experiences, or to be inspired by others." There is some very inspirational material here that is also very down-to-earth. You can also learn about dozens of research projects going on that explore the impact of forgiveness – and the lack of it.
Change Your World (Added January 2009)
Reduce car traffic - Walk! Ride a bike! Take public transit! A UK movement happening in the first week of July each year.
"Don't Laugh At Me" (Added March 2007)
There are a number of amazing websites, organisations and initiatives emerging in response to a very frightening worldwide pattern of bullying, humiliation and disrespect. As an example, the Columbine shootings that shocked us in 1999 are now seen as a tragic example of what can happen when bullying is unrelenting and unchallenged. Sadly, events like this are becoming increasingly common. We often hear about this kind of tragedy especially in relation to our young people, but it is something that is present in many forms, in many places, and involving people from many walks of life.
One of most moving initiatives that has responded to this issue was inspired by a song, "Don't Laugh At Me," written by Steve Seskin & Allen Shamblin and sung by the famous folk group, Peter Paul & Mary (PP&M). Below are a couple of links where you can learn more about the "Don't Laugh At Me" movement. You can also listen to the song online and read the lyrics, as well as download this and other PP&M songs in MP3 format.
Free Hugs Campaign (Added January 2009)
Juan Mann began something extraordinary in Sydney Australia that has become a worldwide movement - giving a free hug to anyone who wants one! He appeared on Oprah in 2006 and in 2007 launched a website to inspire and help others carry on the work. He recently made his e-book "The Illustrated Guide to Free Hugs" available as a free download from his site. He advises to check with your local laws before starting a campaign of your own.
How You Can Change the World (Added January 2009)
Inspiration, ideas and thoughtful suggestions to change the world.
Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (Added March 2007)
This is an organisation that seeks to understand and heal the damaging effects of humiliation and the absence of human dignity. Founded by Evelin G. Lindner, Ph.D., this organisation began as a group of concerned academics. It has since grown in many ways, including numerous "intervention" projects designed to prevent and address problems that stem from humiliation. The articles and insights found on this site can sometimes be a bit academic, yet are frequently profound and universal. Their principles can be understood and applied in a group context (e.g., societal) or mapped onto individual and personal experiences. In their own words: "We are first and foremost a global network of people with the aim of raising awareness and creating framings and visions that promote equal dignity for all. ...We are committed to reducing - and ultimately help eliminating - destructive disrespect and humiliating practices all over the world. Our work is inspired by universal values such as humility, mutual respect, caring and compassion, and a sense of shared planetary rights and responsibilities."
The Hunger Site (Added January 2009)
Make this your home page! Click on ads and the proceeds go to fund humanitarian projects concerning world hunger, breast cancer, child health, literacy, rainforest preservation, animal rescue and more. All you give is a click!
Interfaith Alliance (Added January 2009)
A US organisation dedicated to religious freedom, democracy and the boundary between church and state. From their About Us: "The Interfaith Alliance is equally committed to protecting the integrity of both religion and democracy in America. We champion religious freedom by respecting individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism and build common ground."
Lamp Community (Added May 2009)
This is a community in Los Angeles, USA, that provides permanent housing services to people living with severe mental illness who are homeless. It is featured in The Soloist, a 2008 movie based on the true story of Nathaniel Ayers, a talented musician who was homeless for many years due to schizophrenia. The Lamp Community appears to be just one community in one city at the time of this writing, but its model, policies, strategies, attitudes and services are remarkable for their dignity, respect and success - an impressive 85% of the people housed by Lamp remain housed permanently. With the publicity it has received from the movie, perhaps it will inspire other similar communities around the world.
MCCT - Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (Added June 2009)
If you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person, or if you hold a vision of a gay-positive world that welcomes and embraces LGBT people, MCC Toronto offers a spiritual home. All are enthusiastically welcomed, including heterosexual people. In addition to their downtown Toronto church, services are also webcast live every Sunday at 11:00 AM (North American Eastern Time). Archives of past services are also available to view on their website. MCCT is principally Christian, although it is very open-minded and often draws on the wisdom of other faiths. Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes has been a tireless leader in championing LGBT rights, and was a central figure in the movement that led to same-sex marriage becoming legal in Canada. He and MCC Toronto continue to challenge prejudice and seek justice wherever there is inequality in all areas of human rights.
ONE (Added January 2009)
ONE is an advocacy and campaigning organization supported by more than 2 million people and growing, from all walks of life all around the world, uniting as one against extreme poverty and its effects around the world.
Partnership for a Drug-Free America (Added January 2009)
A US organisation dedicated to providing information, answers, guidance, tips and stories for parents regarding drug prevention, drug abuse, drug intervention, drug treatment and recovery.
Playing For Change (Added January 2009)
Mark Johnson has been working on a major project to get people all over the world to sing together - without having to travel! Bringing people together through music promotes and builds peace. Besides checking out his website, you can also view the interview that PBS journalist Bill Moyer did with Mark here. Have Kleenex ready.
Solar Aid (Added January 2009)
Fighting Climate Change and Global Poverty Around the World through solar energy.
Standing Women (Added January 2009)
Who would think that simply by standing together in silence for 5 minutes we could save the world? It's deceptively simple and becoming a worldwide movement with a multi-lingual website. How? It gets people talking and thinking. It brings an intention into the Universe. And it's growing in numbers. It takes place on one day in May at a specific time. Check out their website and blog for the date of the next day to stand with women all over the world.
We Are What We Do (Added January 2009)
Small Actions x Lots of People = Big Change! Changing the world one small action at a time. From the authors of the book "Teach Your Granny to Text & Other Ways to Change the World." Ideas galore for movers and shakers of all ages.
Where the Hell is Matt? (Added January 2009)
Matt brings the world together by dancing - everywhere! He dances alone, with animals, with people, with everything and everyone who will join him. No formal steps necessary - just move your body and have fun! He and his girlfriend have recorded his adventures, and a video of this can be seen on his website. He even includes his birth data in his FAQ - thanks Matt!! (27-Sep-1976, 2:30 AM, Norwalk, Connecticut, USA)
Worldwide Community Grid (Added January 2009)
Can your computer can spare a bit of CPU usage? Donate your unused computer nanoseconds to help fight AIDS or Cancer, feed the world, discover new drugs and advance the scientific knowledgebase. From their website: "World Community Grid is making technology available only to public and not-for-profit organizations to use in humanitarian research that might otherwise not be completed due to the high cost of the computer infrastructure required in the absence of a public grid. As part of our commitment to advancing human welfare, all results will be in the public domain and made public to the global research community."
YES! (Added January 2009)
YES! Helping visionary young leaders build a better world.