Thursday, December 31, 2009

Git 'er Done!

A friend sent me these pictures and their story a while back, and I have been wondering how I could use this inspirational story of giving and helping a camp for kids. I think the story is truly quite amazing! In this season of giving, I want to share a story about how a group of Canadian farmers set a world record for harvesting a 160-acre field in just ten minutes and fifteen seconds!

They used one hundred combines, and took just one swath through the field. Notice all the grain trucks ready to take the harvest once they finished.

Click on the images to make them larger:

You can learn more of the specifics on this 2006 harvest by clicking here. The link will also take you to the YouTube videos of the harvest.

I believe there are two reasons I found this story compelling:

1. I love stories of cooperation and communities coming together to accomplish extraordinary things because there were so many stories like this
when I got hurt of people in Worthington and the small towns in the surrounding area. People came together and raised a good deal of money which helped pay to put air conditioning in our house, built a ramp into the house, paid for two vans and helped pay for several other items our insurance did not cover.

2. My dad and I helped harvest the small grain at both my grandmother and uncle's farms for several years before my accident, so I have a special affinity for farmers and harvesting. I miss those special times!

To quote John, Paul, George and Ringo, "We get by with a little help from our friends!"

Have a great 2010 everyone!

I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holidays, Teenagers And Pain

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control, " ... suicide is the third leading cause of death, behind accidents and homicide, of people aged 15 to 24. Even more disturbing is the fact that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 14." You can read the report by clicking here.

Another wonderful website full of great information on the causes, warning signs, prevention and statistics of the teen suicide situation in the United States is Teen Suicide Statistics. You can get there by clicking here.

According to the CDC report, as much as seventy-five percent of young people who attempt and/or successfully commit suicide are suffering from depression.

Regarding gender differences, states, "Teen suicide statistics show differences in the ways boys and girls handle suicide. While girls think about attempted suicide about twice as much as boys, boys are actually four times more likely than girls to actually die by killing themselves."

I was in a high school that had a rash of suicides and suicide attempts, so one of the issues the principal wanted me to address was teenage suicide.

When I got home, there was an email from a student that day, who wrote in part, " ... I'm in the eighth grade and I thought that I was on earth for the wrong reasons so yes I was going to try and kill myself tonight. Your speech helped me and I just wanted to let you know that you saved at least one life today if not many more."

I understand their pain because I was there for a time after my accident. Fortunately, I was in no position to act on my feelings. I was bed-ridden with a pressure sore, and in the middle of three surgeries over a six-month period. I saw no future in my current condition and thought the best way out was to just end my life. All these years later, I am so thankful I was not able to act on my emotions at the time.

When young people today make it through their own tough times, they tell me they feel the same way.

In this holiday season of giving thanks, emotional highs and lows, and appreciating everything we have, be aware of the people around you who may be having trouble. Please take a little time, reach out and offer a friendly hand or words of encouragement. You never know how they may be accepted by the recipient.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season filled with much love, joyful times and fellowship with family and friends.

I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

'Tis The Season ...

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkuh, Happy Kwanza, and Happy, Happy to everyone else who does not celebrate any of the above! In this season of giving, I want to give you yet two more options for doing your holiday shopping. That's right, if you have not finished your shopping yet, consider Twice the Gift and Elpis Enterprises.

Twice the Gift is a great little shop located on the street level of the Crystal Court in the IDS Center in Downtown Minneapolis. If you cannot get downtown, and you want to learn about this unique seasonal store and all of the charities and products, check out their website by clicking here.

Their website states, "The 67 organizations participating in Twice the Gift represent an incredible diversity of size, mission, and area of focus. We encourage you to browse through the organizations and learn more about them. You will be sure to find an organization that supports a mission that speaks to you and to those you want to honor."

If you cannot get downtown, you can purchase a gift card online and give it to a friend or family member to help benefit your specified charity with a money gift.

And, Elpis Enterprises just happens to be one of the charities you can help by buying our products and/or a share card. I say "our products" because as many of you know, I am on the board of directors. You can learn more about Elpis and purchase our products by clicking here.

In this season of giving, let us all consider keeping at least some of our gift giving dollars right here and "Buy American!"

Let me know if you have any questions and/or comments.

Happy Holidays!



Monday, December 7, 2009

Geoffrey Canada Is Making It Happen!

Once again, 60 Minutes has run a piece I just have to share. Last night they showed us what Geoffrey Canada is doing at the Harlem Children's Zone's Promise Academy in the middle of Harlem. If you missed the show, watch what is happening:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

According to the video, the achievement gap has closed for primary school students many adults had already given up on. It is always inspiring to watch what young people can do when given the opportunity to succeed.

Now, skeptics might say, "Everybody doesn't want or need to go to college." Others say things like, "This is nothing more than a private school for black children." To see some interesting viewpoints, read the comments by clicking here. In reading the comments, it amazes me how some people can see a positive story and turn it into a negative.

I think they miss the point. As I see it, the point is about taking a negative situation and helping young people turn their lives around by giving them an opportunity to get an education to work their way out of poverty. How can that be bad?

That being said, I look forward to your comments.