We’ve been encouraging green AOKs all April long in preparation for the main event today, when Earth Day celebrates it’s 42nd anniversary of inspiring people to environmental consciousness and raising awareness about the issues affecting our planet.
Although Earth Day may once have been dismissed as a novel new cause to rally around, it’s certainly made an impact. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act all came as a response to the outpouring of support for a sustainable, healthy environment. On an individual level, Earth Day encourages us to stop and take stock of our habits and make the small changes that add up to make an impact on all of us.
AOKers on Twitter are making their own sustainable choices. @Yems28 tweeted, “ I try to carry reusable things (cups, silverware etc.) with me, to help cut back on using one time use items.” And @johnsbernard even chooses his theme-park fun based on sustainability, tweeting, “Ride @TheJawsRide’s bio-diesel boats rather than @DisneyParks Jungle Cruise boats!”
If you’re ready to celebrate, the NY Times Green Blog has some great suggestions of ways to get in on the action. For the many of us married to our smart phones, there are apps for that, too – check out Mashable’s favorites for being green on the go. You can find your own RuMe bag or Water Bobble here and here. After all, Earth Day isn’t just about TODAY. It’s about EVERY DAY.
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We’re always on the lookout for cool new ways for the civically engaged to increase their positive social impact. Our friends at Aveeno asked if we’d share this opportunity with our awesome community of AOKers. They’re looking to fund people just like you who are making a difference in their communities so the social good can extend even further. Check out the details below and you could be the next “Active Natural!”
This year, the AVEENO(r) Brand is launching the Be An Active Natural(tm) Fund to award more than $300,000 in grants to individuals and organizations that create positive change in their communities.
Consumers can enter to win one of eight $10,000 grants that will be awarded in 2012 by creating positive change in one of the following ways:
INSPIRE – Inspiring others to see their natural and inner beauty EDUCATE – Educating about the values of an active and healthy lifestyle PRESERVE – Preserving, restoring and improving the local environment
Go to the AVEENO(r) facebook page for full program details to vote for the Active Natural who inspires you.
Please help spread the word and tweet!
Are you an AVEENO Active Natural? Are you making a difference in your community? Go to facebook.com/AVEENO to win 10K! #BAANFUND
Enter for a chance to make a difference and win 10K. Go to the AVEENO facebook page
(www.facebook.com/aveeno) & submit your story! #BAANFUND
Welp, it seems I’ve fallen in love with New Orleans all over again.
I don’t know what it is exactly about this city, but dang, it’s got heart and it has mine – and I’m thrilled to say that confidently. Basically because I feel like I know New Orleans better than most visitors even get the chance to. Bourbon Street and the French Quarter are places you should see if you get the chance, but everyone should absolutely see the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish. I don’t care if you don’t have the chance, go see it anyway!
By spending time traveling through and working in different neighborhoods, especially when that time is going toward rebuilding those areas, the place just gets under your skin more, almost as if you’re becoming part of the community instead of remaining a watchful outsider.
From volunteering experiences like this, I’ve learned how powerful and rewarding giving back to a community can be. There are few other ways out there where you can get involved, get your hands dirty, and receive a few free meals from grateful folks in the area. The connections made with people are a whole other story in themselves (they may even count as their own AOKs, from them to you).
Katrina was the biggest, most horrendous thing to happen to these people and many of them feel forgotten, and for good reason. Many neighborhoods look like a bomb went off a few weeks ago and will likely remain in such a state – it’s odd to see so many buildings literally being reclaimed by nature. When you take a freeway overpass just outside downtown New Orleans, you can see several dilapidated buildings overgrown with weeds and ivy, stretching all the way out to the telephone poles. Creepy, but most people would never know unless they’ve been there. I’ve been watching HBO’s “When the Levees Broke” documentary series by Spike Lee since my return, and I’d highly recommend to anyone interested in what happened in New Orleans six-and-a-half years ago.
One day, New Orleans, one day.3 Comments »
We finally made it!
After more than 30 hours of driving from San Diego to New Orleans, College Students for New Orleans (CSNO) arrived in the Big Easy Sunday afternoon. While the drive alone became an experience in itself, New Orleans is the real gem – here’s what we’re up to so far.
Our 17-person club is spending Spring Break rebuilding homes in New Orleans via the St. Bernard Project. An acclaimed nonprofit that’s named after and located in St. Bernard parish, a county-like district located just east of the Big Easy. St. Bernard parish’s claim to fame is it’s the only county in US history that’s been 100% destroyed by a natural disaster. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, if the hurricane’s wind didn’t damage a property, the 6-20 foot floodwaters did. The entire parish was under chemical-laden and diseased water, essentially rotting, for about two weeks. If a building didn’t collapse, it was rendered completely uninhabitable. Helping to rebuild these destroyed homes is where the St. Bernard Project comes in.
I don’t know the legal or financial details well enough to personally speak of them, but the organization is about getting people home again, even almost 7 years later (it recently had to close its wait list after it reached +130 people).
Our club has been split into two groups to rebuild two homes. My house is nearly finished so this week we’ll be drywalling the garage and painting. After that, all it needs is some flooring, bathroom and appliance installations, a good cleaning and it’ll be ready for move in. It’s very, very cool to see, and is actually nicer than I’d expected. Humbling, however, are the two empty lots on either side of the home (where two houses used to be) and the abandoned house across the street – spray paint from the search and rescue team is still next to the front door seven years later. Sometimes when we’re driving through a neighborhood it’s easy to imagine we’re in a war zone or Chernobyl.
This place has a long way to go, and it’s devastating because New Orleans’ should have been rebuilt years ago, and because most people think it already has been. This is why I believe it’s more important to see the Lower Ninth Ward than Bourbon Street.
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This week I’m going to rebuild hurricane-damaged houses in New Orleans with a student club at San Diego State. It’ll be my second time doing this – my first was in January 2011 when I totally fell in love with New Orleans and what the non-profit St. Bernard Project is doing there.
To give you some quick background information, the student club is called College Students for New Orleans (you might recognize us from last month’s CC Challenge on AOK) and there are 17 of us. In about two hours, we’re going to start our 30-hour drive from San Diego to New Orleans where we’ll be working with the St. Bernard Project to rebuild homes for one week, from Monday, March 26 to Friday, March 30.
I’d like to invite all of you along for the ride, where I’ll be updating this blog and my Twitter account (@MattSaltWater) throughout. I thought it’d be a great idea to AOK across 2/3 rds of the United States, and document our spring break through such a lens. Check back here for updates and pics and don’t forget to keep track of your own daily AOKs!
Now I gotta run to the airport and pick up our passenger vans!
(Can’t believe we’re going to be on the road for 30 hours. Good thing I’m a car guy…right?)No Comments »
There’s been a lot of new and exciting things going on at AOK HQ lately, one of them being our new way of allocating Cause Currency (CC).
Before, you (being the awesome AOKer you are) would simply play AOK. Ya know – you’d sign up on your iPhone or on the site, watch out for kind acts that need doing or that you witnessed, describe them, and earn CC points for a great cause when you share it with the world.
In the past, that good cause would be chosen by AOK. You remember last August when we AOKed for famine relief in Somalia? What about the $538 we earned for I Am Global Green’s climate challenge? For nearly eight months, we’ve supported some outstanding causes, but we wanted to change things up a little bit. As of last month, we introduced our new CC model!
Say you’re a big fan of the American Red Cross. What about the Livestrong Foundation? What about something a little closer to your home and heart, like a homeless shelter or orphanage? Heck, maybe you even have a struggling family member or friend that could really use some support this month. Now’s your chance to make an incredible difference in the world and their lives.
By forming a Group on AOK, you can rally your friends, family, coworkers (anyone, really) behind your own good cause. Your Group’s own personal *flashtag is created, being the same as the Group’s name, or if you’re feeling inspired, you can come up with another *flashtag to complement your Group’s mission. Every AOK done with that *flashtag will automatically count toward your mission. By doing good in the world around you, you can now support the cause you care about most!
There will be a new competition period every month, so the 1st of the month will act like one big reset button. Also, and importantly, this is a competition so there will only be one winner (we’re a game, remember?!). AOK will donate to the team with the most CC points at the end of each month, up to 100,000 point ($1,000). To keep things fresh, each *flashtag may only win once, so if you want to win again you have to start over a little (aka, just come up with a new *flashtag). If your *flashtag hasn’t won (yet) you can keep competing with the same one or create another – no sweat.
AOK is now your kind of kind.
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Any initiative that gives people the opportunity to value the small moments in their lives has my support. (It’s a little like rewarding points for sharing moments of mindfulness and acts of kindness, wouldn’t you say? Wink wink) Without further ado, your daily dose of delight:
Have you ever been surprised by or initiated a fun spin on one of your daily routines? Drop us a line in the comments section below!No Comments »
There’s a new way to play AOK this spring. We’ve developed an AOK Facebook app!
With the new AOK Facebook app for Pages, anyone can launch their own ‘game for good,’ customized with their branding and on their Facebook page. This is your chance to get in the game and activate your community!
A Game for Good on Your Facebook Page
Transport the AOK experience to your Facebook page with the click of a button. For the month of March, we’re offering this customized experience free of charge to any Group within the AOK community. For any action-oriented brand, organization, classroom, team, personal project and more, the AOK app will mobilize and incentivize your Facebook fans with customizable challenges and rewards.
All the Features You Need for Real-World Impact
-Customize the app with your logo and group description
-Promote your own brand of kindness or positive action
-Create challenges to activate your Facebook fans and followers
-Add game rewards specific to your community (there’s lots of room for creativity!)
-Use the ‘like’ button to share the best contributions with your Facebook friends
-All activity on the app is synchronized with AOK on web, mobile and Facebook
Playing AOK the “Peace is a LIFEstyle” Way
Erica Ford’s LIFEcamp organization is using AOK’s Facebook app to generate peaceful action around their “Peace is a LIFEstyle” campaign. With support from Russell Simmons and Deepak Chopra, LIFEcamp promotes positive alternatives to bullying and violence that urban youth face every day. With their fully customized, branded AOK app, they’ve created a Peace game to engage and reward their community for recording their Acts and Observations as they choose a lifestyle of peace. Check out the game on their Facebook page to see how they’re using AOK for good!
Installing the AOK Facebook App
Hit the ground running this spring and turn those good intentions into positive action with an impact. Installing the AOK Facebook app takes less than 5 minutes. Contact email@example.com for installation instructions.No Comments »