ONE ACT OF KINDNESS NO MATTER HOW BIG OR SMALL CAN HAVE A RIPPLE EFFECT AND ONCE YOU EXPERIENCE HELPING OTHERS ITS ADDICTIVE!
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
BE THE CHANGE. MAKE IT HAPPEN.
The Major of Positivityville
January 28, 2018
Carlos Garcia is a natural born leader and a man of action. He has an infectious energy and people just want to be around him. Quite simply he's the man. Just reading his list of extracurricular activities from Chairing my Leadership Florida class to his leadership positions with the Orange Bowl, the Chamber of Commerce, or his philanthropic pursuits could make someone tired. We should just call him the Mayor. Yet he does all of it plus has a successful career and is a devoted family man. Now he's tackling what may be his biggest challenge yet. After experiencing some trouble focusing his vision in the summer he went to see a number of doctors and had a battery of tests to figure out what was going on. Although initially no problem was found and he was told it might just be hypertension eventually he was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma grade 3 tumor in the stem of his brain. As only Carlos could do he added some levity to the diagnosis: "Grade 3 is better than grade 4. But the location of the tumor is in a very sensitive area that controls motor skills, vision, hearing, and memory. No Bueno." No Bueno, maybe but no way Carlos was giving up. He travelled the country learning about his affliction and looking for the best possible treatment options. Simultaneously, he changed his diet and focused on being positive and the sentiment that this was God's way of calling him to service.
Somehow with all this going on Carlos used his diagnosis as a rallying cry to bring people together. "I believe I am being asked to help those that have afflictions like cancer to help then gain positivity and perspective." He started by inviting people over to his home for a prayer session. While he and his family are grounded in the Christian faith he welcomed people of all faiths so that people could just come together no matter their beliefs. Because he truly believed in the power of positivity. In a message to our Leadership Florida Class he said: "I am positive that all will end up being something positive for me and my family and all of my friends. Whatever that ends up being I don’t know but I do know it will be positive."
Reading Carlos' updates and the conversations I've had with him brought to mind the quote "when the going gets tough the tough get going." I couldn't remember it immediately and when I Googled it I came across this interesting result: 5 Inspirational Quotes for When the Going Gets Tough. All of these quotes bring to mind Carlos. I'm reading these quotes in search of inspiration he's living them, in possession of positivity. Life's synchronicity (meaningful coincidences as introduced by Carl Jung and expanded on by the likes of Deepak Chopra) is wondrous. We were in the final stages of launching The Positivity Project and here was Carlos living its principles. "All I ask for is positivity!! I ask for positive vibes and intentions in whatever form they come. I am extremely fortunate to have so many good friends and family that have shared some amazing stories and positive intentions with me." Ask and you shall receive, Carlos. Those prayer sessions that he initially thought might bring 20-30 people to his home have grown exponentially. The last one before he heads off to Texas to have his surgery and start his treatment over the next couple of months brought 250 people to his home! The power of positivity. Thank you Carlos for showing us the way. You will forever be the Mayor of Positivityville to me and our collective thoughts, prayers and "positive vibes" are coming your way.
PNN - MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY OF SERVICE
UPenn PhD Sociologist Teaching Kids Science in Free Time
January 15, 2018
Good Samaritan, community leader, teacher, environmentalist, sounds like someone who is doing positive things in the world, right? That's just what Matt Holtman does in his free time as the leader of the Stream Science Club in Radnor, Pennsylvania.
As the Chairman of Radnor Township's Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), a voluntary position, Matt took it upon himself to lead the charge in applying for a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) grant focused on teaching grade school kids about local stream conservation. He credits his role on the EAC with helping him develop a community of educators, environmentalists and concerned citizens who helped him develop the concept and curriculum.
Little did he know how much pent up demand there was for such a program. After receiving over 100 requests to join the program he had to enlist the help of 7 high school interns just to accommodate the 40 students that are currently in the program. Originally, it was intended to be a one-year program but Matt hopes now that he has been able to buy some basic equipment (microscopes, measurement tools, etc.) that he may be able to stretch the $3,000 grant that was awarded to allow him to continue the program beyond the initial time frame.
When asked why a University of Pennsylvania Sociology PhD, who is now a data scientist, decided to teach stream science to kids Matt said he just wanted to "go out and try something." He said it's rewarding to think that maybe for one or two kids their experience in the Stream Science Club may "be the spark that inspires them to change the world" and as an added bonus he has been able to share something he has developed a passion for with his own kids, Laila (8) and Ben (12) who have been helpers and participants in the program.
He has been surprised at the feedback he has received from the parents of the participants, although the concepts are fairly advanced, parents report the kids do understand some of the basic scientific concepts and that they talk about what they did even after they get home. With his can-do attitude it comes as no surprise to the Positivity Project team that Matt is having an impact far beyond his initial goal and just seeing the reaction of the kids as they perform experiments is proof enough of the power of even one person and the inherit good of the human spirit.
"See the light in others. And treat them as if that's all you see."
- Dr. Wayne Dyer
Partnering with City Year Miami for their Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on January 15, 2018. The school-wide murals & repainting project was a fun-filled volunteer experience in the historic Overtown neighborhood.
The City Year non profit organization focuses on the the gap that stands between students and their potential. They believe "education has the power to help every student reach his or her potential. However, in high-poverty communities there are external factors and obstacles students are faced with every day that can interfere with their ability to both get to school and show up ready and able to learn. Yet, these are the students who need a bit of extra, individualized support. However, there’s a gap between the kind of help they need and the support the schools are designed to provide."
Joining 130 other family volunteers with the Project Home non-profit organization, we worked together to provide 600 turkey dinners to Project Home clients in North Philadelphia. Entire families including young children worked together with high energy and enthusiasm, breaking previous speed records for packing Thanksgiving grocery boxes. This is what Thanksgiving is all about, being thankful for what you have and using what you have to help others. Nothing could bring more joy than watching little children get into the spirit of giving - rushing to fill boxes of food so everyone could have a Thanksgiving meal.
The Little Lighthouse Foundation is a Nonprofit Corporation who assists children and their families in South Florida who struggle with educational, financial, and medical hardships.
The Little Lighthouse Foundation’s ("LLF") 7th annual Holiday Toy Drive & Party took place at Jungle Island on Saturday, December 17th. Over 150 volunteers distributed over 3,000 presents to over 1,000 children and their families from Children's Home Society (Miami), Children's Home Society (Broward), Miami Children's Initiative, Lotus House, Miami Bridge, YWCA Miami, Interamerican Preschool, Gratigny Elementary School, Communities In Schools, Family Resource Center, Our Kids, Overtown Youth Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Special Olympics Florida.
We partnered up with the Little Lighthouse Foundation to cook dinners for families in need at Ronald McDonald House in Miami.
Every volunteer contributes a portion of the meal served. We arrive to the Ronald McDonald House and travel upstairs to the kitchen where meals are prepared and distributed to families. Children love preparing the cookies and helping make dinner but their favorite part of their night in service is playing games and karaoke with the other children they meet. It is more than providing a dinner, it is truly a heartwarming experience.
Once an announcement alerts the families that “dinner is served”, volunteers spend time distributing meals, entertaining attendees, and participating in activities with children.