The Reports Are In: 1 Million More Americans Volunteered In 2008


A million more Americans took time out of their schedules to volunteer in 2008 than they did the year before even though the economy was in a downturn. A report by the government-run Corporation for National and Community Service showed that 61.8 million Americans volunteered in 2008, the largest number since 2005.

Americans spent around 8.1 billion hours of service last year, totaling an estimated donation of $162 billion in volunteer activity. The top volunteer activity was fundraising, with collecting and distributing food coming in second, general labor third and tutoring/teaching fourth.  Americans may be short on spending money these days, but they don’t appear to be short on time or compassion.

Side Note: California had the largest number of volunteers per state, with about 7.1 million in 2008.


Celebrating The Creative Genius

Edgar Mueller  – A Master of street painting uses the street as a canvas. If one looks from the right spot, its three-dimensional painting becomes the perfect illusion. He paints over large areas of urban public life and gives them a new appearance, thereby challenging the perceptions of passers-by.
edgar m


edgar m 1 

Nick Brandt, born and raised in London, studied Film and Painting at St. Martins School of Art.  He started photographing in December 2000 in East Africa, beginning the body of work that is his signature subject matter and style. He has had numerous one-man exhibitions between 2004 and 2006, including London, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Hamburg, Santa Fe, Sydney, Melbourne and San Francisco.nick bnick b 1

Elite Athletes: They’re Quick, Competitive and Nearly 40

Dara Torres

Dara Torres

Aging athletes don’t have the agility they had in their youth. Minor injuries accumulate and become major ones. And by the time they hit their mid-30s and 40s, they’re considered geriatric – that’s the conventional wisdom.  But recently, middle-aged athletes have defied the tolls of aging, returning to competition and whizzing past their junior rivals.

“Forties is the new 30s for physiological capacity,” said Scott Trappe, director of the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University. “We’re going to continue to see people do well into their 40s – no question.”

Seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong returned to the premier cycling race after three and a half years in retirement. The 37-year-old cyclist is currently ranked third in the competition.

Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie broke the world record for the fastest marathon in September at the age of 35.  Last summer in Beijing, veteran swimmer and medalist Dara Torres won three silver medals including the 50 meter freestyle. She was 41.


Dog Wet Nurse Saves Panda Cubs in China

Dog Wet Nurse Saves Panda Cubs In China

After being abandoned after birth, two red panda cubs were rescued by an unlikely surrogate- a white dog in a zoo in Taiyuan in north China’s Shanxi province. The two red panda cubs, born on June 25, are now thriving. The canine wet nurse belongs to a farmer from a nearby suburb. She is raising the two panda cubs, along with her birth pups, like they are her own.  At 3-weeks-old, the baby red panda cubs have yet to open their eyes and have doubled in length to 20 centimeters. Unlike the more well-known, bear-like giant pandas, red pandas resemble raccoons with long bushy tails. There are believed to be fewer than 2,500 adult red pandas in the world.

red panda

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Donated Cell Phones Yield Prepaid Cards For Soldiers

cell phones for soldiers

Sometimes all it takes to make a difference are a couple of determined teenagers. In April 2004, thirteen year old Brittany Bergquist and her twelve year old brother Robbie, heard a news story about a soldier in Iraq who had run up a huge phone bill calling home. They decided that something needed to be done.  These two young kids started Cell Phones for Soldiers with their piggy bank money and snack money from friends at school, with the goal of helping soldiers overseas call home.

Brittany and Robbie’s goal is to provide as many soldiers as possible with prepaid calling cards for now, with an ultimate goal of providing banks of satellite phones, video phones and VOIP communications. Through generous donations and the recycling of used cell phones from drop-off sites across the country, they have already distributed thousands of calling cards to soldiers in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Over 1.5 million phone minutes have been sent to soldiers.

For a list of drop-off sites visit

For additional information on Cell Phones for Soldiers, visit

Thought for the Day

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars…”



Young Survivor Starts Foundation for Sick Kids

Friends of Jaclyn Foundation: Gaining Insight into the Value of Life and the Power of Love

Friends of Jaclyn Foundation inspired by Jaclyn Murphy

Friends of Jaclyn Foundation inspired by Jaclyn Murphy

The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization that improves the quality of life for children suffering with pediatric brain tumors and their families. This foundation is all about love, support, and friendship.

FOJ matches a child with a college or high school sports team based on geographic location. Once the team and child have been matched, there is a ceremonial adoption. The child is surrounded by 20 or 30 new friends that rally around him or her. A deep bond is formed between the child, the child’s family and the sports team.  The relationship is a priceless gift. The gift is in the relationship; a child is gaining a loving support network and the team is gaining an insight into the value of life and the power of love.

The child becomes the guest of honor at games and receives supportive text messages, emails and phone calls. Each child that is “adopted” helps to spread knowledge and understanding for pediatric brain tumors. When the athletic community is exposed to the miraculous nature of each child and realizes the hardships that child has to endure, the community is forever changed.

Any child with a brain tumor is welcome. Any sports team that wants to adopt a child is valued. Currently there are over 50 children paired with collegiate and high school teams in 17 different sports. There are over 180 schools waiting to adopt.

The Foundation was inspired by Jaclyn Murphy, who was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor, in March 2004 when she was nine-years-old. Jaclyn’s strength and courage, relentless spirit, and joy for life are an inspiration to those who know her.

It is our goal for Jaclyn to be able to continue to touch people with her smile, her kind heart, her hope and faith that some day there will be a cure! In the meantime, it is our hope that through Jaclyn’s example, we can help to improve the lives of other children and families dealing with pediatric cancer.’

For more information about the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation visit