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Archive for January 27th, 2009

Prepare to be Inspired

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

I followed a link from an inspiring video, to another inspiring video.

Bicycle-as-Tool Inspiration

The first was about coffee growers at a Co-Op in Rwanda got cargo bicycles to make their work go better. It talks about a coffee roasting business in Portland, Oregon which was involved in finding a way to make that happen.

No, it’s not charity in a traditional sense… but it was help to the farmers nonetheless. And helping the farmers in turn helped the roasting business get excellent coffee. Fascinating.

I found the bicycle/Rwanda site through Brian. He is interested in all things bicycle, or so it seems, and he came across this somehow. I loved it.

Neighborhood Kids’ Inspiration

Somehow I followed a link from that page, to another page, to another, and I found myself at a web site called TED.com The organization asks fascinating people with sharp minds and something to say, to distill a talk into a very short timeframe. I listened to the talk by Dave Eggers, a writer who does much more than just write. This particular video is 24 minutes long.


He talks about a tutoring center he was a big part of starting, in San Francisco. It is the coolest place, a place I would definitely want to hang out at if I were a kid. The front end of the building is a store selling pirate supplies… you can buy a plank or a hook or an eyepatch. And behind that is a very busy tutoring center where kids get ***One-On-One*** attention.

Many of the kids do not speak English at home so this extra attention really helps them increase their school scores, and they can’t get the same help without the center. Eggers really stresses how important personal help can be to changing a kid’s school experience.

I love how he has set it up so that if someone can only volunteer with the kids a few hours one day a month, the center makes it easy for them to do just that. One session with a kid still makes a difference for them. His program in San Francisco spawned a similar one in Brooklyn, NY and then subsequent ones in Los Angeles and now several others. The website explaining this project/concept is called Once Upon a School.

I started listening to his speech thinking I was tired. His talk energized me so much I ended the video with an adrenaline rush and the sense that I had enough energy to scrub floors or run around the block! No, I did not do either… but I felt totally awake.

The TED.com site has some talks by some amazing people. I am interested to hear the Jane Goodall speech when I get some quiet time to listen. If Mr. Eggers, a person I’d not known of before, can inspire me that much… I am eager to hear any number of the other speeches/talks available on their site. Whew! Nothing like a nice healthy dose of optimism!