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7 days ago · by · 0 comments

Climate Action Pathways for Schools

Climate Action Pathways for Schools, or CAPS, a nonprofit that aims to help high school students become more environmentally aware while simultaneously lowering their school’s carbon footprint and earning wages. CAPS is part of a growing trend to prepare young people for green jobs of the future before they graduate high school.

Like similar programs in Missouri, Illinois, Maine, Mississippi and New York City, CAPS is using the career-technical education, or CTE, model. CAPS started in part because a local solar engineer, Bill Kelly, wanted to share his expertise with students in the school district’s career-technical education program.

Kirk Anne Taylor, who has a deep background in education and nonprofit management, joined last year as executive director with a vision to expand the model beyond just solar power. CAPS students are trained for school-year and summer internships that teach them about the environment and how to lower the carbon footprint in school buildings and the larger community.

CAPS participants give presentations, educating fellow students about climate change and green jobs. They also work with farmers to get local food in the cafeterias but their most specialized and skilled task is completing detailed energy audits of each building in the district and continuously monitoring performance. CAPS programs across the country are small but the curriculum helps students address big problems and seek out opportunities to correct them.

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1 week ago · by · 0 comments

Michigan Woman is Hailed As A Hero For Saving Autistic Boy From Drowning

A Michigan woman is being hailed a hero after she rescued a 4-year-old autistic boy who jumped into a lake. Jessica Bauer and the boy’s Grandma saw him fall in and Bauer immediately ran into the water to save him. A ring camera that captured the amazing rescue went viral. The boy is doing fine and his grateful mother says Jessica is an angel from above.

In the video, the little boy is seen running in the backyard and then straight into the water where he struggles before disappearing underneath the surface of the water. Bauer and the boy’s grandmother come into the frame and Bauer, who has a three-year-old of her own, immediately tosses her phone over her shoulder and plunges into the water to pull him out.

Bauer posted a video of herself fully soaked as she removes water logged shoes saying she thinks she just saved a little boy’s life. She admits she was overcome with emotion after the rescue as the gravity of the situation set in. Bauer said was at home when she heard her neighbor screaming, “He’s in the water!” Jessica ran outside where she saw a four-year-old boy in the lake. Bauer said the sight of the little boy drowning was frightening but her instincts kicked in and she just jumped in to save him, despite not knowing how to swim.

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1 week ago · by · 0 comments

Beyonce Donates $100K In Scholarships

During her visit to Detroit, Michigan, Beyonce blessed 10 students from the Detroit School for Digital Technology with scholarships through her BeyGood Foundation, a nonprofit organization.
She donated $100,000 in scholarship funds as part of her Renaissance Scholars Program. In a statement, the foundation said the contribution is to support the Detroit school for its education style while trying to elevate its students to better opportunities.

BeyGood said “To continue Mrs. Carter’s history of support for student education, we introduce the RENAISSANCE Scholars. Education has always been a focus pillar for Mrs. Carter. After announcing her highly anticipated RENAISSANCE World Tour, she committed $1M to support education through the RENAISSANCE Scholars program to impact 10 Colleges/ Universities worldwide, where 100 students will receive $10,000 scholarships.”

Along with DSDT, BeyGood donated to Prairie View A&M University in Texas, Jackson State University in Mississippi, Alabama State University, Grambling State University in Louisiana, Institut Français de la Mode in France, and there is also a plan to donate to a college in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Through her foundation, Beyonce is also by offering $10K grants to small businesses and entrepreneurs needing funding due to economic inequalities. BeyGood and the National Minority Supplier Development Council are partners in supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners. 100 Black entrepreneurs will be selected to attend the Black Parade Route luncheons; 1,000 small businesses will be provided with grant opportunities and business sustainability support services, and $100,000 in grants provided per city for small business relief.

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2 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne Johnson Create The People’s Fund of Maui

In the aftermath of the Maui wildfires, Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have created a special welfare fund that will provide those directly injured or whose property was damaged by the fires with $1,200 per month out of their own pockets. Together they created The People’s Fund of Maui, which armed with $10 million in aid money donated by the two celebrities, will ensure those in need are reached directly.

Maui residents and community leaders were consulted by Winfrey and Johnson who hoped to ensure that neither time nor money was wasted in getting aid directly to those who need it. Winfrey said “The main thing I’ve been hearing is their concern about how to move forward under the immense financial burden. The community has come together in so many wonderful ways, and my intention is to support those impacted as they determine what rebuilding looks like for them.”

Multiple GoFundMe efforts across the country and other private charities and non-profits managed to raise tens of millions of dollars for the victims of the Upcounty and Lahaina fires. Around 2,200 structures have been damaged or destroyed with losses at almost $6 Billion.

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2 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Tunnel to Towers Foundation 5K

Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a Staten Island, New York, nonprofit provides mortgage-free homes to Gold Star families and families of fallen first responders with young children. It also builds specially adapted smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders.

The foundation was established in December 2001 in honor of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter who died during 9/11, is committed to eradicating veteran homelessness and ensuring Americans never forget the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The charitable organization raises funds through many efforts including the Tunnel to Towers Pittsburgh 5K run and walk. In it’s third year, the 5K will begin at 8 a.m. Sep. 9 at Canon-McMillan Stadium, 1 N. Jefferson Ave., Canonsburg.

About 500 local participants collectively raised $106,000 in 2022. The fundraiser is one of more than 80 events in the foundation’s National Run, Walk and Climb Series, all planned by volunteers. This year’s event will include displays and interactions with the FBI, state police, Navy and local first responders, and entertainment for the second year.

Kim Sheehan, a 53-year-old mother of three from Washington County knows first hand how important the fundraising is after her husband, Tim, died at 50 from a heart attack in February 2021 while on duty as California Borough’s police chief. She got back on her feet with the help of a monetary gift from the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Grateful to the charitable organization for its assistance, Sheehan and her children are participating in the 5K. The Sheehans began participating in 2021 with a small team of family, friends and firefighters. The team has been growing ever since in hopes to help ease the financial burden for other families of fallen heroes.

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3 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Off Duty Officer Rescues Swimmer While Hiking

A group of swimmers at Fundy National Park in New Brunswick are grateful a group of hikers came upon them and helped rescue their friend. The group of hikers included an off-duty police officer, Bruce Lake. Lake was exploring the Laverty Falls area with his wife and friends when one of Lake’s friends said that a woman out in the water appeared to be exhausted and might need some help.

The group watched the woman disappear under the foam of the waterfall after making a short-lived attempt to return to shore. Lake said “She was stuck between these two little waterfalls. She immediately went underneath and then came back up again right near the rock and then grabbed the rock and held on. So she was obviously a little scared.”

After the woman disappeared a second time, but wasn’t remerging, Lake made his move, jumping into the water and swimming to the rock to help. Reaching the rock, the water was deeper than he expected, and the rescue plan devolved to essentially waving his arms and legs about to see if he could touch her. When his hand brushed her arm, he grabbed her and began swimming her back to her friends.

“I pushed her toward the shore. Her friend got her arm and then I lost touch with her… I was getting sucked back into the exact same spot and only for her to turn around, and she reached her arm and I actually grabbed her arm and we got pulled out together” Lake said. While Lake says he just did what anyone would do, Lake’s wife Bernadette says it’s exactly the sort of man he is to risk his life for a complete stranger.

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3 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Custom Homes Built for Veterans

Across the country, soldiers who have lost limbs from the wars in the Middle East are receiving mortgage-free homes as a small measure of gratitude and honor for their sacrifices. The Gary Sinise Foundation has provided 80 mortgage-free homes to veterans who have lost physical capacity in some form or another. While the process isn’t fast, it’s certainly very rewarding to see maimed veterans receive custom built homes. The homes are built to be fully accessible to each soldier’s disability.

In DeForest, Wisconsin, a medically-retired former Sergeant Tory Honda was recently given the keys to a new mortgage-free home. In March, Sergeant Honda and his family learned that a coalition made up of Operation Finally Home, Tim O’Brien Homes, and the Structural Building Components Association had secured a new home for their family in the Bear Tree Farms area of DeForest. Honda said “It means so much to me. Perspective? I can’t even put that into words. I’m just grateful, and I hope I deserve every bit of it. I feel like I don’t, but I really hope I do. I hope I can live up to the standards that everybody looks forward to.”

For another soldier, retired Army Sergeant Shane Parsons, the gesture was even more grand.
Wheelchair-bound after losing both legs and suffering a traumatic brain injury, the Gary Sinise Foundation built a smart, 100% accessible home for the man, his wife Jennifer, and their two sons Owen and Emmett. His wife Jennifer said “In the living situations we’ve had, he could only really live through 70 to 80% of the house, it was about as much as he could access. Even though he’s already a wonderful dad, it’s going to allow him to be more hands-on, and be able to participate more where before he wasn’t able to.”

Building custom homes for injured veterans is just one of the many programs of the Gary Sinise Foundation. Sinise had supported America’s service members since the 80’s, supporting local Vietnam veterans groups in the Chicago area. After his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the landmark film Forrest Gump formed an enduring connection with servicemen and women throughout the military community, Sinise forged a tireless journey of giving back by founding the nonprofit 29 years ago.

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4 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Pilot On Vacation Flies Stranded Passengers Out of Maui

Stories of people stepping up in times of disasters remind us their are heroes among us. One such story is that of Vince Eckelkamp, a Denver man and a line training manager at United Airlines. Eckelkamp booked a family vacation to Hawaii and never imagined that he would be the one flying the plane back home.

The Eckelkamp family was heading out of Maui on August 8, when chaos ensued because of the wildfires burning through Maui. Their flight was initially scheduled to leave on time at 8 p.m. but after several delays it was canceled, leaving them stranded at the airport. Eckelkamp explained that flight attendants couldn’t make it to the airport because of the fires and the airline was unable to track them down due to poor connection.

The flight was rescheduled to noon the next day and the Eckelcamp family along with other passengers on the plane were forced to spend the night at the airport as there were no hotel rooms available. High winds had knocked out power to most of the island so, as it turned out, that the airport was one of the safer places on the island with power, running water and food.

Eckelkamp said he knew the pilot who was scheduled to fly the plane the next day, so he texted him to let him know that he can step in if needed. Eckelkamp explained that due to limited flights and the crisis, the entire situation was a logistical nightmare. The next morning, the flight again was delayed from noon to 3:30 p.m. and Eckelkamp, once again, let his teammates know that he was available, should the need arise.

And soon enough, his colleague reached out and asked if he would still be willing to fly the plane to San Francisco. Fortunately, Eckelkamp had his license with him along with his earpiece and flashlight – everything that he needed to fly safely. However, he did not have his uniform and needed approval from the flight office duty manager to fly out of uniform. Around 330 passengers were expected to fly on the 737, which usually does not fly between Honolulu and Maui.

Eckelkamp has received praise from his colleagues, friends and family but he modestly said “I just did a small piece. The locals are the real heroes. What they were going through, and now what they have to rebuild for their families and homes and everything else. I mean, it’s just, it’s a lot for them.”

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4 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Apple Inc Affordable Housing Partnership

In 2019, Apple Inc pledged to direct $2.5 billion toward affordable housing in California. Now, $1.5 billion has been spent and the project has created thousands of housing units across the city and county. The funding has been targeted, strategic, and effective, thanks to a plan to plug critical gaps in existing housing projects.

Kristina Raspe, Apple’s vice president of worldwide real estate and facilities said “We really look for projects and programs where not only do we have a deep impact, but we actually see the impact fairly quickly. That’s why we’ve chosen to focus on funding projects that need that last tranche of funding in order to be built, as opposed to projects that are still in the conceptual phase.”

They partnered with affordable housing non-profits like Housing Trust Silicon Valley, which provided Apple with lists of apartment and housing units that already went through planning and approval, but which hit last-minute snags. Apple then invested to get the buildings completed. Apple’s housing fund was able to get a 94-unit apartment building called the Villas at 4th Street in San Jose’s Japantown completed and open for chronically-unhoused senior citizens. Housing Trust Silicon Valley has also managed to secure the completion of another 82-unit building in San Jose on 333 Page Street, and a 30-unit building in the nearby city of Pittsburgh.

In the Bay Area, Destination Home, another of Apple’s partners, have been able to secure funds to build thousands of “extremely-affordable” homes in the county, as well as provide limited financial support to 24,000 people at the highest risk of losing their homes. In the Bay Area, Destination: Home, another of Apple’s partners, have been able to secure some of the fund’s money to build thousands of “extremely-affordable” homes in the county, as well as provide limited financial support to 24,000 people at the highest risk of losing their homes.

CEO Tim Cook created the corporate fund to advance affordable housing projects in the city of San Jose four years ago, citing a profound civic duty to the city. Since 2012, the California median home price has soared nearly 75% to $550,800, while the average rent for a vacant apartment is $2,293.

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Texas HVAC Company Donates Unit To Woman Without AC For Nearly A Month

An 84 year old woman in Tyler, TX went without air conditioning for nearly a month. Sybil Templeton’s AC stopped working and her home warranty company estimated a new unit would cost $8,000, a bill she could pay upfront and submit for reimbursement. Living on a budget and unable to bring her three dogs to a shelter with her, she stayed in her home for four days.

Templeton filled ziplock bags with ice and would place them on her neck and chest to get relief from the 90 degree heat inside her home of 33 years. But when the Texas temps rose into the triple digits she knew she couldn’t withstand the heat any longer. When her friend Chad Atchley heard that she was going through this horrible situation, he told her to pack a bag and bring everyone.

“When I picked her up she could barely walk, she was dehydrated. It hurt me to see her like that. She’s my friend of 27 years and to see her go from healthy to nothing in four days is not right,” said Atchley. Templeton stayed with her friend for three weeks as they tried to come to a solution with the home warranty company to no avail.

Todd Green, owner of a local HVAC company, East Texas Refrigeration, heard about the dire situation he called KETK News to figure out a way to get Templeton back in her home. Green made the call Wednesday morning and by noon that day, he had workers there installing a new unit for free. Templeton says she is grateful for all of the calls to help her out and thanks everyone involved during her situation. “I just couldn’t believe it. You know you hear of stuff like, you don’t expect anything like that to ever happen to you. I couldn’t stop crying. I really couldn’t stop crying,” said Templeton.

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