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Interview:Leon Logothetis, Netlfix, The Kindness Diaries
Leon Logothetis is a global adventurer, motivational speaker & philanthropist. It wasn’t always that way. He used to be a broker in the city of London where he felt uninspired and chronically depressed. He gave it all up for a life on the road. This radical life change was inspired by the inspirational movie The Motorcycle Diaries.
Leon has visited more than 100 countries and traveled to every continent. As host of the Netflix series, The Kindness Diaries, Leon circumnavigated the globe on his vintage yellow motorbike ‘Kindness One’, giving life-changing gifts along the way to unsuspecting good Samaritans. All of this whilst relying on the kindness of strangers. He recently returned from filming the second season of The Kindness Diaries in which he traveled from Alaska to Argentina circumnavigated the globe ion his vintage yellow VW Beetle, Kindness Two, changing lives one mile at a time. The third season is coming out and watch for his documentary to be released in 2020. https://leonlogothetis.com/
His books, Amazing Adventures of a Nobody: The Kindness Diaries; Live, Love and Explore:Discover The Way Of The Traveler, a Roadmap To The Life You Were Meant To Live published by Readers Digest, are in stores now. His new book, Go Be Kind, was released 3/26/19.
See more of Leon's adventures on FB and Instagram @KindnessGuy and his website: https:/leonlogthetis.com
Interview: Dr. Donna Beegle, Communication Across Barriers
Coming from a family of migrant workers, Donna Beegle, knew what it was to be poor. But through a series of amazing events, she went on to get a bachelors and masters degrees and a Ph. D. In the interview, she credited a lot of people who help her and I'm sure that is very true, but her drive and determination made her the force she is today speaking up for those in poverty.
Dr. Donna Beegle's company, Communication Across Barriers, helps people to understand what creates poverty and what we need to do about it. She created Poverty Institute, a hands on 2 day poverty institute for educators, health, justice, social service professionals and community members to better understand poverty and to gain tools to make a difference. Dr. Beegle also created Poverty Coaching Institutes to train coaches to conducting workshops for breaking poverty barriers and improving communication and relationships and providing system wide approaches for improving outcomes for families who live in the war zone of poverty. Her books and details can be found: www.combarriers.com
Interview: Katie Blomquist, Going Places
When she was a teacher, Katie Blomquist became aware that her students in disadvantaged areas didn't have bikes. She equated a child owning a bicycle with bringing joy into their lives. And, she also realized that for kids in abusive situations the bike was also a means of escaping family trauma. And, it was something that was theirs alone.
She found someone to make the bicycles and found people to contribute the money to pay for them. Her bike project caught the attention of national media and Going Places was born.
Now they also supply Halloween costumes because that is a time of joy and wonder for kids. Katie has made a difference for so many kids and now adults who are on the front lines with Surprises which can be hot coffee to an overworked teacher or medical personnel. And, more things are planned to bring joy, one of the essential parts of life.
Interview: Julian Starks, Visions of The World
Julian Starks is a photographer, documentary filmmaker, actor, director. When he became aware of the plight of wild animals and the fact that actually most of them are in danger of extinction he created Visions of The World, a not for profit working with Peta to help wild animals. His first book, Life Behind Bars, filled with photographs that are both powerful and beautiful brings poignantly to our awareness what is happening to our wild animals.
Over the past few years , Julian has been traveling across the United States photographing animals in various zoos and sanctuaries living in places that try to replicate their natural environment so they are no longer threatened. Julian says, "My dream, thus mission in life, is to travel the world and photograph beautiful, vibrant animals in all places and circumstances free and confined. Julian is also known for his documentary, Journey to Sundance" which he hosted, produced and directed. He aptly describes himself and as "a visual storyteller."
Interview: Emily McDaid, Common Ground
Emily McDaid is a studnt at Medford High School in Medford, Massachusetts. And, she is a partof the Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibiity program there. It was through that program that she became aware that there were whole populations of students who were not meeting and interacting with one another.
Emily saw that the children with disabilities were especially excluded and as a result, the remainder of the students were also missing out interacting with them. That was when she conceived of Common Ground an inclusion project so that no one group of students is ever left out or isolated from all the others. This program has far reaching implications in that it teaches everyone touched by it that all humans are united in their humanity.
Interview: Jennifer Goodrich, CEO, Pivot
Pivot helps youth from 12-24 years old with housing, food, medical needs, job training, social skills and everything which a child needs. Jennifer has expanded their services and has now had several tiny houses built with more on the way. She is constantly expanding and responding to whatever is needed by anyone.
Pivot has also made sure that there are places where a child can learn about Pivot from stores, fire department as well as social services. In other words, she is doing everything to meet the need. There is also a teen board which interacts with the kids in need so there is peer support. She is intent on empowering children, not punishing them for acting out, a response which has had great results. Those in need are accorded respect and support all the way through and several have returned to check in and update Jennifer and the staff.
Interview: Michael H. Ballard,Resiliency For Life
Things that could be tragic often lead us to discoveries that not only change our life but the lives of many others. That's exactly what happened when Michael was diagnosed with cancer not once but three times. In stead of giving up or giving in, he decided he would find a way to not only cope but change his experience. However, it all came to a head when his young daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he found a way to change her experience as well. By the way, both Michael and his daughter are just fine.
Interview: Rich Trotta, Michael Skorker, Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility
Rich Trotta had a professor who taught education was much more than academics. That idea stuck with him but he wasn't sure what to do with it until he listened to a tape on a long drive back from DC. It was on emotional intelligence. Rich thought that schools teach cognitive development but not moral or character development. At that moment the two concepts came together and he knew what he wanted to bring to education. Finally, in 2013 it all culminated in the establishing of The Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility, bringing together both cognitive education and emotional intelligence and giving students something valuable they can take forward into their lives as adults who contributed to society and the world.
The mission of the Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility is to develop responsibie leader/citizens who will
be positive contributers to society and will work to comabat import aosical issues and becomes leaders in our society. Over the past four years, over 1,500 students have particpated in CCSR mini-courses, clubs and activities, and mosst importantly, in communiity projects. At each school there is a CCSR advisor who guides students in the development of Project Based Learning acrivities, individually or in small groups of 2 or 3 students. The students select a project they believe will help others and make the community a better palce to live.
In our interview today have Rich Trotta, founder, Michael Skorker, advisor and several of the students discussing their projects.
Interview: Ferial Pearson, The Secret Kindness Agents
.Moved by the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, Ferial wondered if a simple act of kindness could change a life. She thought of the school where she taught and the students she guided every day and wondered, what would happen if we started secretly carrying out small acts of kindness in school?
The idea behind Secret Kindness Agents, which Pearson details in her TEDx Talk and in a book she has written about the program, is both simple and profound: to perform an anonymous act of kindness every day and, thereby, spread kindness throughout the community. Anonymity is a key element of the program, as it shifts the focus from the self to others and thus allows the “agents” of kindness to remove themselves from the equation—in effect, to become selfless, which is the DNA of kindness.
Ferial Pearson, a native of Nairobi, Kenya, is a national award-winning high school teacher and college instructor. For her dedicated work in education and human rights, she has earned the National Education Association’s Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights in 2012, and the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network’s Educator of the Year Respect Award in 2011. She is an Instructor and Instructional Coach in the Teacher Education Department at the University of Nebraska Omaha
Interview: Ian Thomson, Ocean Crusaders, Australia
Looking into the eyes of a sea turtle that had died from ingesting a plastic bag, started Ian Thomson on a quest to clean up the oceans. It turned his attention away from sailing races and into starting a non-profit cleaning waterways and the ocean in Australia. His mission includes educating children and the need for cleaning up plastic pollution.
He empowers children by organizing them into clean-up crews, giving them the direct experience of putting knowledge into practice to make a difference. His foundation is growing and he now has branched out to Fiji.
an says, "I am passionate about educating people of the issues our oceans face so founded Ocean Crusaders as a tool to do this. It morphed into an online education program for young children and we now have an additional focus on beach and waterway cleaning in SE Queensland. Every day we have a choice of what we buy and choosing items in plastic is taking it's toll on our oceans. What you do today will effect tomorrow so make a choice to say no to as much plastic as you can, reuse it if you have to use it and recycle it when done. Clean Oceans make us all winners!!!!
Interview: Cleo Scot Brown, History Matters Institute
This is Cleo’s experience: At seven, she was in the car with her father when he was shot for trying to get the right to vote. At nine, she was watching her father pull up Klan crosses from the end of the road to their home. At ten, she was hiding while her older brothers and sisters did target practice in order to defend the house if the family was attacked at night.
At 11, she was helping adults learn how to pass the multi-part citizenship test required to register to vote. She got to become a little human guinea pig in a school integration experiment at age 12, an experience that proved to be more traumatic than the constant threat of being killed. And then at 17, she was off to experience the black power movement at the predominately Black Grambling State University and at 21, affirmative action quotas and some racial healing at General Motors in Anderson, Indiana. Hers and her father’s direct personal experiences, combined with a lack of bitterness and anger, provide the rare but necessary combination that moves people to introspection and action.
"The purpose of my talks & my writing: Using history to create insight and introspection that leads to change. My primary focus areas are race relations and voting. What needs to change to make this a more equitable culture, especially in the South in the United States? This hugely impacts Charleston, South Carolina as the first port of entry for slaves taken from Africa. Many have said that the healing must take place in Charleston for that very reason. How can we wake people up to prejudicial laws and cultural norms that exclude African Americans or view them as less than which is woven into the very fabric of the culture.
Cleo is the author of Racelology 101 and Witness To The Truth , published by the University of South Carolina Press. "Witness to the Truth" was Ouachita Parish Library's 2008 Summer Read selection and an Essence.com best seller. Raceology 101 is the 2018 1st Place Winner in the Federation of Press Women's Non-Fiction category. Celo is Race Relations Strategist and founder of the History Matters Institute.
Interview: Abeer Seikaly, Jordan, Designing Woven Huts for Refugees
Abeer Seikaly is a young Jordanian architect, artist, designer and cultural producer recognize internationally and has been featured on several global and local media platformst becuase of her innovation, "Weaving a Home" that was shortlisted for the 2012 Lexus Design Award. Abeer created the woven houses in response to the current and increasing refugee crisis and want to proved a shelter that would provide protection from the elements but also be a place of well-being by its design and use of fabric.
According to Abeer, architecture is not about the building itself but more about getting into it and experienceing its "metaphysical nature with time." Disaster shelters have been made from a wide range of materials, but Abeer turned to solar-absorbing fabric as her choice of materials thus creating woven shelters powerd by the sun. These were inspired because of her family's history which included the nomadic life of the Bedouin. These shelters can be folded and taken to new locations to help refugees in many areas of the world. To test whether her woven huts would provide shelter under extreme weather, Abeer took on up on Mt. Everest and spent the night. The hut kept her warm enought to survive and it also kept out snow and fierce wind of the mountain. In this case it meanst that those who shelter in the woven huts well be safe from severe weather whether it is snow and freezing temperatures or desert heat and sand. Because the structrues are made of wool, the natural lanolin protects against damp, rain, snow, heat and stops even sand from blowing into it. The design also keeps it at a constant temperature and a shaded interior. They are the perfect blend of safety, practicality and beautiy. Abeer spoke about well-being as being essential even for those in extreme circumstances.
Interview: Luke Mickelson, Sleep In Heavenly Peace
When Luke, who was a VP in a company, and if fact was going to buy the company, learned that a child in his community was sleeping on the floor because she had no bed, It shook him. He had never known such a thing was possible. He decided to get his church group to build a bed and take it to the little girl. This was the beginning moment of Sleep In Heavenly Peace.
He looked into it further and found there were other children in the same situation. HIs group began to build and deliver beds to those children. The beds didn't just provide a place to sleep for these children. It was something that was meant just for them, their very own built especially for them by a stranger who cared about them. It made them feel special and it empowered them. And, by the way, the child is the only one allowed to sleep in the bed provided. Luke first gave up his boat, his time and his vacations in order to build more beds. As he heard about children outside his community in the same situation, he said that his community was every community and he began to assemble teams in other cities to build beds. It kept growing He had a choice to make and he gave up his lucrative job to devote himself to what became Sleep In Heavenly Peace, full time. As people heard about Sleep In Heavenly Peace they wanted to help and be a part of it. There are now over 190 chapters and it's still growing.
Interview: Marshall Saunders, The Citizens Climate Lobby
“After I had given just a few talks about the climate, I realized that the actions I was suggesting to my listeners to take, while essential, were not a match for the problem. I realized that anything they intended to do would be swamped by what the government did or did not do. I realized that ordinary people like me would have to organize, educate ourselves, give up our hopelessness and powerlessness, and gain the skills to be effective with our government.”
And that is exactly what he did when he founded The Citizen's Climate Lobby with over 551 groups all over the world. Their purpose is to involve people in the issue that faces all of us across party lines and across countries. This is a planetary issue of survival. As Marshall states: We must stop putting carbon, greenhouse gasses, into our atmosphere and we must do it right now. There is now a bill before Congress, thanks to Marshall's and all of the members of The Citizen's Climate Lobby. The lobby's efforts are being endorsed by media, corporations, unions and concerned citizens. People are paying attention as they come together in the varous chapters. This is a further example that change is a grassroots effort and people are finally beginning to realize that it is all too real and together we must do something about it.
Interview: SQuire Rushnell, Godwinks
SQuire's (Yes, the Q is capitalized) journey from ABC Television executive on Good Morning American and Schoolhouse Rock plus after school specials and more than 75 awards to creating a new word and concept, Godwink, which is now included in dictionaries. It all started when SQuire realized that some coincidences were much more than that, that's when he created the term, Godwink meaning "an astonishing experience from divine origin.:
He is author of New York Times bestselling, Godwink books and the new Godwink Christmas Stories,with now over one and one-half million books in print and the creator and executive producer of A Godwink Christmas for Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. His Godwink Gathering page on Facebook has 277, 000 fans and still growing. And he and his wife, Louise Ann Durant are frequent speakers. But beyond that SQuire gives people a place to connect to share and affirm their experiences that connect all humans. It helps us see that even in the midst of the worst things something good can happen. Thus giving us the courage to persevere. Louise's Godwinkers is a FB page where people can come to ask for support and prayers when going through difficult times. The response is amazing and often over 100 people respond to a request. Together they bring hope and encouragment when people need it the most.
Interview: Elizabeth Cain, Unity Ecco Newsletter
Elizabeth Cain is Ministry Coordinator for Unity Church, Charleston, South Carolina. One Sunday she gave a talk on re-connecting to our planet, Earth. It touched people deeply and they responded by asking what they could do to help. It also energized Elizabeth to go farther. She started an organic garden which feeds the homeless weekly. Everything now used for gatherings at Unity is recyclable plus there is a place to compost. Bee hives have been set up and the Ecco Newsletter was born.
The purpose of the Ecco Newsletter is to offer specific things people can be do to stop polluting the planet, there are stories from around the world about efforts in other countries and inspiring leaders and is filled with new green products and services for all to use. At first it went only to members of Unity but now others are requesting to be on its mailing list which is growing weekly. It's amazing what one talk by a determined woman can do! Keep updated with Elizabeth who is now setting up planting of trees to help reduce carbon emissions by subscribing to the Unity Ecco Newsletter. Her mission is to start projects at Unity Church of NorthCharleston and then spread them to the community at large and she si doing just that in every evolving projects. Join the Unity Ecco Newsletter to keep up, be inspired and find what you can do to help.
Interview: Jamie Margolin, 17 Year Old founder Zero Hour
When she was 16 years old, Jamie Margolin organized the Climate Change Strike where young people all over the world participated, in order to wake people up to the very real and present danger of ignoring climate change. The anthem of the strike was that their generation would inherit a world that was so polluted and damaged from human actions that they would not be able to even raise healthy children when their time came and they too, would be living in a world barely habitable. That was only the beginning. Jamie then founded Zero Hour which is filled with young people who want to make this a better, healthier world for all.
"The mission of the Zero Hour movement is to center the voices of diverse youth in the conversation around climate and environmental justice. Zero Hour is a youth-led movement creating entry points, training, and resources for new young activists and organizers (and adults who support our vision) wanting to take concrete action around climate change. Together, we are a movement of unstoppable youth organizing to protect our rights and access to the natural resources and a clean, safe, and healthy environment that will ensure a livable future where we not just survive, but flourish." But as Jamie pointed out most of the members of Zero Hour are not of voting age so they need the adults aroudn them to step up and vote local and national leaders who will carry on their work and make this a healthier planet. Zero Hour has recently gone to Amazone headquarters on the West Coast to ask them to make their delivery trucks either hybrid or electric since there are now so many of them on the road daily. Zero Hour has created a Climate Strike for September 2019 and is participating in the UN event of youth for climate change.
Interview: Kate Nevin, Enough Pie
Kate was in the financial world in New York, working hard, doing well. She visited Charleston and decided to move there. She got involved with the changes going on in the Upper Peninsula, a place there is being developed but where there is a lot of low income housing and also a feeling of neighborhood and community. Kate wanted to protect that so she founded Enough Pie meaning there is Enough Pie For Everyone.
Now she plans events that bring people together using art, dance and place making. She started Awakening now a year long event bringing all sectors of Charleston and visitors to Charleston together in a unique way. such as an indigo dying project, painting murals and putting poetry in public places. Each year there is a new creative project that brings people together and creates strong communiyt and mutual unerstanding. Enough Pie offers Free Resources where they have instructions on how to do all of the great events they have done so other cities can also utilize all of their wonderful events. They are building a strong community that respects all members and gives community members and visitors a way to get to know one another through actiivites which builds bonds and breaks through differences.
Interview: Roger Montoya, Movement Arts Espanola
Roger grew up in a family that always supported his talent and he always knew he wanted to give back but wasn't sure exactly how until he had to return home because of contracting AIDS. He is someone who turns the worst of times into the best of times.
He is one of those rare individuals who is good at everything he does and also that he makes a success of everything he attemts. Some examples, at 18 he became a gymnast and competeed internationally. When modern dance interested him he began dancging at a very old age for a dancer early twenties and danced with the best modern dance companies including Jose Limon and Paul Taylor. When his illness took him back to his home in New Mexico he began to paint. Just being in the clean air of New Mexico and the joy of painting eventually healed him. He knew what the arts had done for him and he wanted that for the children of New Mexico who had so little. He started Movement Arts Espanola. His programs have change their lives and now many of them have gone on to careers and some are helping to run Moving Arts Espanola.
Interview: Earl Bridges, host PBS series, The Good Road
Although, well-known in Charleston, SC for his recently sold company, Good Done Great, Earl grew up around the countryside of Vietnam and has been an adventurer most of his life. He has now taken that sense of adventure into the wilds filming people who are giving help to those in need, but as Earl describes them - they are are not angels nor are they devils. Listen to his the story of his interview with bullets flying by his head!
Earl knows what it is to give back, which has been something that has been a focus of his life. He has coined a phrase that fits his outlook perfectly and is the tagline of his upcoming PBS Series - "PHILOSOPHY, PHILANTHROPY, AND A DASH OF THE UNEXPECTED." His series The Good Road on PBS airs Spring of 2020 and after listening to this interview you'll know that you can expect the unexpected. Guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat! He also takes us on his journey to filming the first pilot and how he got it on PBS. Another kind of adventure!
(Apologies that we were not able to get a video of this interview but that doesn't change how gripping it is!)