Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (The New York Times)

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This article was updated on Sept. 4. Monday.

As the floodwaters recede, the full extent of Harvey’s toll is only beginning to emerge. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said the recovery costs might exceed those of Hurricane Katrina, which caused more than $100 billion in damage.

If you’re outside the affected area, here are options to help. (If you’re in Texas and displaced by the storm, here’s how to get help.)

Local organizations

The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, which is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

If you live in Texas, the City of Houston Emergency Operations Center has posted a list of places where you can take donations. In Dallas, officials have opened two donation centers. Additional details can be found here.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston is opening its doors at no charge this week, and offering extended hours. To donate, visit its website.

Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi are asking for donations.

The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center has posted an updated list of donor locations. Call 210-731-5590 or visit its website for more information.

Carter BloodCare covers hospitals in North, Central and East Texas. To donate, call 877-571-1000 or text DONATE4LIFE to 444-999.

To help animals, visit the Houston Humane Society or the San Antonio Humane Society. The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has set up an animal emergency response hotline (713-861-3010) and is accepting donations on its website.

The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for diapers and wipes, which can be dropped off in person or mailed to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Tex., 78238.

The United Way of Greater Houston flood relief fund will be used to help with immediate needs as well as long-term services like minor home repair. Visit its website to donate or text UWFLOOD to 41444.

The L.G.B.T.Q. Disaster Relief Fund will be used to help people “rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends checking with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasterfor a list of trusted disaster-relief organizations in Texas.

National Organizations

All Hands Volunteers will be working on damaged homes and removing debris.

The American Kidney Fund is providing emergency financial grants to dialysis patients.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations. You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.

AmeriCares takes medicine and supplies to survivors.

Catholic Charities provides food, clothing, shelter and support services to those from all religious backgrounds.

Direct Relief is shipping medicine and medical supplies to Texas, and has made its medical inventory of more than $100 million available for the Harvey relief effort.

Matthew 25: Ministriesis distributing personal care kits, cleaning products, first aid and safety kits, diapers, paper products and tarps.

Donations to the Salvation Army can be made online, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) or texting STORM to 51555.

Save the Children is delivering baby supplies, including cribs and strollers, and setting up child-friendly spaces in shelters.

Samaritan’s Purse volunteer teams are helping homeowners by cutting trees and adding tarps to roofs, among other tasks.

SBP, a national disaster recovery nonprofit, will conduct damage assessment and help residents rebuild.

AABB, which coordinates a task force to manage blood collection during disasters, put out a call for blood donations. Most in demand: those with type O-positive blood.

Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations: AABB, America’s Blood Centers, American Red Cross and Armed Services Blood Program.

Online Organizations

Airbnb is waiving service fees for those affected by the disaster and checking in between Aug. 23 and Sept. 25, and can guide users in creating a listing where their home is offered to victims free.

GoFundMe has created a page with all of its Harvey-related campaigns, including one started by the country singer Chris Young, who donated $100,000, and another created by the president and chief executive of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.

YouCaring has a fund-raising page set up by J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans with a goal of $20 million. By Monday afternoon it had raised more than $19 million.

GlobalGiving’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund supports local organizations by helping to “meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products and shelter.”

How to avoid being scammed:

Before giving money to an organization, do your research.

Charity Navigator, which identifies worthy charities, has a list of organizations responding after the storm. Its database is a good starting place to research nonprofits.

The Internal Revenue Service has search tools that reveal whether an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.

If you suspect an organization or individual is engaging in fraud, you can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.

For advice on avoiding fraudsters, read Charity Navigator’s post on how to protect yourself, and check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission.

“Be wary of charities that spring up too suddenly in response to current events and natural disasters,” the F.T.C. website says. “Even if they are legitimate, they probably don’t have the infrastructure to get the donations to the affected area or people.”

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24 Texas Rescue Photos That Are The Epitome Of Courage & Compassion After Hurricane Harvey

Tropical Storm Harvey has devastated Southeast Texas cities, and many of the photos from the epicenter of the storm are truly devastating. They depict homes completely submerged underwater, families searching for shelter, and elderly individuals suffering in drowning nursing homes.

But in the midst of this devastation, there have also been many moments of triumph. Emergency personnel and Texas residents have come together to rescue those in need, and these photos remind us that there is hope. Citizens from near and far have stepped up to assist in any way possible. Their courage and compassion inspires us all.

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Source: bustle.com

College Girl Gives Up Free Time to Show Special Needs Kids That They Can Dance

The Chance to Dance troupe of Lexington, Kentucky is made up entirely of kids and adults with special needs. The troupe is led by the University of Kentucky College of Education student Jenna Lyon. The youth had originally started the free dance program when she was still in high school four years ago – but has continued to keep the group together despite her life changes and college pursuits. After watching this clip of the kids and their beloved teacher, it is not hard to understand why.

“Chance to Dance was founded on the platform that our student’s families would not have to pay for classes or costumes because we did not want expenses to keep anyone from participating in our program,” says Lyon. “In addition to the medical bills, child care and therapies that our families have to pay for for their children, we did not want A Chance to Dance to be added as another expense… Our students have shown me that they are just like any other person and are capable of accomplishing anything regardless of their disability. Some of our students might need a little extra help or guidance, but I have watched their determination and resilience help them achieve anything they set their mind to.”

Watch Video Here

Source: goodnewsnetwork.org

Thought for the Day

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” ―Barack Obama 

Youth Risks His Life to Crawl After Suicidal Woman and Talk Her Down

beam27n-1-webPhoto by Michal Klein

A situation that could have ended in tragedy took an inspiring turn last weekend when a Good Samaritan risked his own life to comfort a suicidal woman and talk her down from the edge. The woman was first spotted on Saturday afternoon crawling across a section of beams in the Broadway and Lafayette subway station. The beams, which were roughly 20 feet above the subway floor, made for a dangerous drop.

38-year-old pedestrian Michal Klein saw the woman and – though she was not sure whether the climber was suicidal or not – became concerned for her safety. Klein then saw a young man start crawling across the beams to where the woman was sitting. When the youth finally reached the woman, he sat next to her, put his arm around her shoulder, and started talking to her quietly.

Touched by the heartwarming display of kindness, Klein snapped a photo of the two strangers perched on the beams. The young man stayed with the woman until emergency personnel arrived and cleared the area. Eventually, the man and woman came down from the beams and the woman was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

It’s these moments that remind us of the power we hold in our humanity towards one another. No matter who we are, even amongst our differences and our own life paths, we can cross into another’s world and help guide one another away from each chosen ledge.

Source: McKinley Corbley

The Collective Project: Robert Downey Jr. Delivers a Real Bionic Arm

Robert Downey Jr. and Albert Manero, a Collective Project student who founded Limbitless, surprised a very special child with a new bionic 3D printed arm at no cost to the family. To learn more about Albert and the Collective Project visit https://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2015/02/18/the-collective-project-changing-the-world-with-bionic-arms-for-kids/.

Orphaned Raccoon Rescued by Family with Dogs Thinks She’s A Dog, Too

Last year, Nassau, Bahamas resident Rosie Kemp found a baby raccoon that had fallen out of a tree. The mother was nowhere to be found, so Kemp and her daughter Laura Young decided to adopt the little bandit and named her “Pumpkin.” She’s definitely a family member now!

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Source: http://www.boredpanda.com

Unexpected Support Given to Disabled Basketball Player Stuns Crowd

A powerful moment at a high school basketball match took the internet by storm and has resurfaced recently, warming hearts around the globe. Mitchell Marcus, a team manager for Coronado High’s basketball team in El Paso, Texas, who also happens to have a developmental disability, suited up at word of his coach to enter the game as thanks for all his hard work and inspiration. As the crowd chanted his name, Marcus’ teammates tried to set him up for easy baskets. After missing a number of wide open shots he started to get discouraged. All hope for a basket appeared lost, until rival player Jonathon Montanez inbounded the ball near Coronado High’s net. Montanez yelled Marcus’ name to get his attention, then gave him a soft bounce pass. Mitchell caught the ball, dribbled, turned around and sank a layup as the crowd went wild. Fans stormed the court and hoisted Marcus onto their shoulders. “I think I’ll cry about it for the rest of my life,” Marcus’ mom said.

Watch the video footage here.

Brené Brown on Empathy (A Beautiful Illustration)

Think Like a Gamer

“When times are tough, doing what you’d do in a game — powering up, finding allies, and beating the bad guys — is a supremely powerful response.” – Jane McGonnical

I recently read Jane McGonical’s article, It’s Time to Think Like a Gamer, and found her study to be a simple yet insightful look into the mind of a gamer and how the lessons we learn while playing our favorite video games can also be a guideline for success in our real-world adventures and challenges.

Jane’s basic outline:

1. Be willing to play.

 Be willing to engage wholeheartedly with difficult obstacles and look at stressful life events as challenges, not threats. In games we do this as we Accept the Challenge to Play. Every game starts with a challenge. Whether it’s to solve a puzzle, or rescue a princess.

2. Power-Ups

Power-Ups are bonus items that give you more strength, power or extra life. A real-world power-up is any positive action you can take, easily, that creates a quick moment of pleasure, strength, courage, or connection for you. Collecting a power-up simply means identifying it as something you want to try and then using it in your daily life. For example: What physical activity energizes you? What reliably inspires you when you read or watch it? Is there a place or space you can get to easily that brings you comfort? Who is the best person to get in touch with when you need a pick-me-up? Eventually you may build up a super collection of power-ups. The bigger your collection, the more control you’ll have every day to feel better.

3. Bad Guys

Bad guys are used in video games as obstacles that force us to be creative and clever. Bad guys in everyday life work in the same way – they make things tougher on us. But they also help us develop skills and strategies that ultimately make us smarter, stronger and faster. This is not just a feel-good sentiment. It is a validated, scientific finding. To become happier and healthier, we need psychological flexibility – the courage to face things that are hard for you. “It doesn’t matter in any given moment, or even three times in a row, if the bad guys overwhelm you, or if you back away,” says Todd Kashdan, professor of psychology and senior scientist at the at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University.” But if you look two or three weeks in a row, and there’s a willingness to approach those stressful things, and to absorb some of the stress and discomfort that comes with it – that’s true psychological flexibility.”

Identifying the bad guys: What habit do you want to break? What makes you nervous or uncomfortable? What zaps your energy? What thoughts or feelings run through your mind and make you question your goals or abilities? What has a doctor or therapist recommended you do less of or avoid? Just identifying them is a step toward your win.

4. Go for the Win

Always hold out the possibility of a positive outcome. Learn the skill of benefiting. Be aware of good outcomes that can come even from stress or challenges. Extremely positive results can arise when you least expect it, even in the most daunting circumstances.

Today’s Spotlight: John Gottman (The Einstein of Love)

“Mostly, all you can do in love is repair how you screw up.” – John Gottman

John Gottman might be the world’s most calculating romantic. Love is a form of energy, he insists, and by expressing the dynamics of human relationships in mathematical terms, he aims to save more of them.

World renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction, John Gottman has conducted 40 years of breakthrough research with thousands of couples. His work on marriage and parenting have earned him numerous major awards. Dr. Gottman was one of the Top 10 Most Influential Therapists of the past quarter-century by the Psychotherapy Networker. He is the author of 190 published academic articles and author or co-author of 40 books, including the bestselling  What Makes Love LastThe Relationship CureWhy Marriages Succeed or Fail; and Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child, among many others. Together, he and his wife have founded the Gottman Institute in Seattle, where they teach their findings to therapists and also ordinary couples seeking aide.

At the University of Washington, Gottman founded the “Love Lab.” He recruited 130 demographically representative newlyweds to spend 24 hours there being monitored and observed. Gottman was interested in how they build intimacy when they are just hanging out together. Gottman pored over the videotapes and noticed that partners regularly issue bids, gambits of some sort that invite conversation, laughter or some response. When, six years later, he contacted the former newlyweds, 17 percent were no longer married. Looking again at the videotapes, he discovered that, among those who divorced, partners had responded to only 33 percent of their spouse’s bids, while those who stayed married were turning toward their partner’s bids 86 percent of the time, building up a reservoir of positive emotions that disposed them kindly to each other in times of conflict.

In Principia Amoris, Gottman has polished the insights gleaned from decades of research and expressed them both in words and different equations. He spent more than 15 years with mathematician and biologist James Murray converting the findings into quantifiable variables, then creating equations showing how the variables interact to drive marriages toward hell or a state of grace. Trying to understand love is like trying to understand the weather, Gottman urges: It’s complex, but essentially full of the kind of patterns that mathematicians can interpret.

The Gottmans have developed an intervention for couples dealing with varying struggles; from fights veering into violence, dealing with affairs, one partner with PTSD and/or addiction. “The relationship is potentially the greatest source of healing,” he says. “We think we have the technology to help with that.” But at the end of the day, is he the ultimate spoiler, reducing romance to a bunch of equations? His response to this claim: “Does understanding the way a star works eliminate the awe we feel when we look at the night sky? Or does the knowledge add to the majesty of the night?”

Source: Psychology Today

How to Become Batman

The blind using sonar for sight.

Human Echolocation. A surprising real thing. It’s the ability of humans to detect objects in their environment by sensing echoes from those objects. By actively creating sounds – for example, by tapping their canes, lightly stomping their foot, snapping their fingers, or making clicking noises with their mouths – people trained to orient by echolocation can interpret the sound waves reflected by nearby objects, accurately identifying their location and size. Similar in principle to active sonar and to animal echolocation, which is employed by bats, dolphins and toothed whales to find prey.

Blind from infancy due to retinal cancer, Daniel Kish learned as a young boy to judge his height while climbing trees by making rapid clicking noises and listening for their echoes off the ground. No one taught him the technique, which is now recognized as the human form of echolocation. “He just used it, without knowing that he behaved like a bat,” says Lutz Wiegrebe, a neurobiologist at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany.

Like Kish, a handful of blind echolocators worldwide have taught themselves to use clicks and echoes to navigate their surroundings with impressive ease. Kish can even ride his own bike down the street, as his daring YouTube videos show. A study of sighted people newly trained to echolocate now suggests that the secret to Kish’s skill isn’t just super sensitive ears. Instead, the entire body, neck, and head are key to “seeing” with sound, an insight that could assist blind people learning the skill.

In this powerful podcast from Invisibilia, Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel examine the surprising effect our expectations can have on the people around us. Listen to the podcast here: How To Become Batman

Source: http://www.news.sciencemag.org

Beautiful Bookstores Around the World

Polare, Maastricht, Holland

Polare, Maastricht, Holland – Transformed from a 700-year-old Catholic church to an ornate bookstore, the Polare (formerly Selexyz) is indeed a class apart. It houses a massive three story bookshelf with staircases, elevators and walkways.

Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires – A gorgeous renovated movie theater that is now home to a variety of books. It retains the 1920’s glamour using theater boxes for reading rooms, painted ceilings and crimson stage curtains.

Livraria Lello e Irmao, Porto, Portugal

Livraria Lello e Irmao, Porto, Portugal

Livraria Lello e Irmao, Porto, Portugal – The neo-gothic façade, heavily decorated walls, stained glass ceilings along with ornamented pillars has not only an enormous amount of charm, but remains a hot spot for Harry Potter fans as it was featured several times in the movie series.

Shakespeare & Company, Paris

Shakespeare & Company, Paris

Shakespeare & Company, Paris – Named after a bookstore frequented by Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce during the 1920’s, the shop on Paris’s Left Bank has become equally legendary. Opened in 1951 by the American writer George Whitman, and run by his daughter since his death in 2011, it became a gathering place for Beat Generation writers like Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Whitman allowed travelling artists and writers to lodge at the shop since its inception.

Source: http://www.lifehack.org

Thought for the Day

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure.” – Rumi

The Magic of Creativity

“What Will I Draw?” by Mary Doodles

8 Year Old Jonny Mizzone – Flint Hill Special – Sleepy Man Banjo Boys

The Most Creative Sculptures and Statues From Around the World

Expansion by Paige Bradley [New York, USA]

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Wire Fairy by Fantasy Wire [UK]

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Mustangs By Robert Glen [Las Colinas, Texas, USA]

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Break Through From Your Mold By Zenos Frudakis [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA]

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Lifelike Sculptures by Ron Mueck

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Diminish and Ascend by David McCracken [Bondi, Australia]

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Cartoon Sculpture by Neil Dawson [New Zealand]

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People Of The River By Chong Fah Cheong [Singapore]

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Les Voyageurs [Marseilles, France]

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The Bliss Project by Marco Cochrane

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Source: http://www.distractify.com

Maya Angelou Program Turns Imprisoned Teens Into ‘Scholars’

“What if the kids who needed it the most, got the best we had to offer?” 

Near Washington, DC a juvenile program for incarcerated youth has turned itself around, much like some of the inmates, thanks to poet, Maya Angelou. 60 teenagers study at the juvenile correctional center of the “Maya Angelou Academy”. Where there once were shackles and beatings, now there is emotional as well as intellectual growth for the inmates, who are called “scholars”.

Watch the NBCNews profile of this incredible program here:

Quote of the Day

“The only people with whom you should try to get even with, are those who have helped you.” 

– John E. Southard

Caring for Each Other

Trenton and Lindsay Cochran are best friends, brother and sister, support and inspiration. 10-year old Lindsay, who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, has been in a wheelchair since she was 2. Trenton understands deeply that his life would have been very different if he didn’t have a disabled younger sister.  Not only is this mature 12-year old a helper and protector, he is an advocate and ambassador for kids with disabilities. “I would take a bullet for her,” he says, as his grateful sister looks on. His compassion and dedication reminds us of the profound bond and love between siblings.

Source: http://www.karmatube.org