Tag Archives: #WATWB

Image of Solidarity March for Immigrants and Refugees by Fibonacci Blue on Flickr.

Away From Home

My great-grandmother saw 4 sons leave their home for faraway lands never to return. The family would say no one knows what became of them. Well, I know some of what became of them. My grandfather and his brother emigrated to the US and settled in California. The two oldest sons emigrated to Australia. I have been able to piece together the outline of the lives of my grandfather and his brother. The brothers who emigrated to Australia may exist in a collection of government records, but so far I am unable to find them. The oldest went first then sent money for his younger brother to come by ship with a younger sister.  In the New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrant  passenger list of the ship it says that Thomas was 28 years old, his mother Rachel in Tipperary, and he was going to his older brother Pat in Sydney. The New South Wales, Australia, Immigration Deposit Journal states that Patrick paid toward the passage of Thomas, 25 years old,a laborer, and Catherine, 23 years old, a domestic servant. Their prior address listed in the journal as c/o my great-grandfather in Tipperary, Ireland. I hope I can find what happened to them but I may never know.

The story of immigrants is repeated over and over. People traveling away from home looking for a better life. They leave behind part of themselves and families sometimes wondering what became of them. Immigration is a major topic in the United States once again. There must be better solutions for assisting immigrants and working to improve conditions in their home countries so they are not forced to flee.

I found an article by Marisa Peñaloza of NPR ‘A Guatemalan Village Tells The Story Of  Immigration To The US’ which describes a family’s situation and what motivated a man to try to get to the US.  There are many organizations in this country and international that are working to help immigrants. I just picked one, KIND, but I leave it up to you to decide which organizations to support. KIND works to provide legal representation for children appearing in court alone, children who have entered the US alone.

Another perspective in this article, ‘The Case for Getting Rid of Borders–Completely.’

Featured image Image of Solidarity March for Immigrants and Refugees by Fibonacci Blue on Flickr. We Are The World blogfest, #WATWB cohosts for this month are: Eric Lahti , Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Peter Nena, Damyanti Biswas.

We are the World Blogfest for Positivity on Social Media


Images Of Kindness

A father a son, Jesse and David Fryburg, M.D., started an organization called ‘Envision Kindness’ to capture images of kindness that can have a positive effect on us all.  It seems like we could all use some positive news and images to counteract all the very negative news we have been exposed to. People who worked with this program found that creating photos about kindness did inspire them to carry on doing good for others. You can read about it here.

Viewing images of kindness may help us all heal.


We Are The World blog #WATWB, is a monthly blog hop to share positive news. This month’s hosts are: Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Mary Gieseand  Roshan Radhakrishnan

The idea is to spread #positivity and #light to counterbalance the #negativity and #darkness in #socialmedia

An Underground Railroad For Women Coming Out of Prison

The path of ex-prison inmates can often be a dark one. It is difficult to reintegrate into society and find people willing to give you a second chance. This month’s story is from the LA Times by Gale Holland about a woman, Susan Burton, who had been in prison 6 times in 20 years and is now dedicating herself to preventing other women from following the same path with her organization “A NewWay of Life Re-entry Project.” Her group has “thrown a lifeline to about 1,000 other women to interrupt the incarceration cycle that held her for 20 years; the project operates homes to help women leaving prison get back on their feet.”

You can read more about this remarkable woman and the work she is doing here: Turning prison past into a life’s calling

This story is part of the monthly We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB. This month’s edition is hosted by  Shilpa Garg, Simon Falk, Mary J Giese, Dan Antion,  Damyanti Biswas.

Sign up for We Are the World Blogfest!


Pink Perfection Camellia by Trish Hartmann

People Making A Difference

The title of this month’s blog for We Are The World Blogfest is from the Christian Science Monitor’s online section on people who are working to make the world a better place. I go to this site often to find stories for my monthly posts. This month I am sharing a story about a non-profit organization in San Francisco called Miracle Messages. It was founded by Kevin Adler who was inspired to create his non-profit to help homeless people make contact with family members because of his late Uncle Mark who had been homeless for 30 years. The story “He helps homeless people reconnect with loved ones through video messages,”  by Bailey Bischoff describes how he has been able to reunite 100 individuals with friends and family and helped some of them to secure stable housing. It is very touching to read some of their stories like Mr. Spires who had lost touch with his daughter when his wife moved away and had not seen her since she was 3 years old. Miracle Messages was able to locate the daughter and reunite them online.

Kevin Adler wants to eliminate the stigma surrounding homeless people.

“A big part of our work is reframing people who are homeless as someone’s somebody”…( Kevin Adler Christian Science Monitor)

He has a goal of reuniting 1 million people by 2023 and has a hotline set up, 800-MISS-YOU.

Miracle Messages.org for more information on this organization.

We Are The World Blogfest, #WATWB, “seeks to promote positive news. There are many an oasis of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.”

Cohosts for this month’s #WATWB: Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Peter Nena, Andrea Michaels, Damyanti Biswas.

Click on the We Are The World Blogfest link if you would like to participate.

We Are the World Blogfest








Featured image Pink Perfection Camellia by Trish Hartmann on Flickr.


What’s The Matter With Happy Endings

I like happy endings to stories. I like to have things come out right in the end. You might think I am pretty naive. That is not real life you say. It is more important and worthwhile, even great writing, to tell it like it is. I can read the newspaper if I want stories about all the bad in the world. It is satisfying to have things work out positively. It gives us hope about life and the possibility of good in the world.

Once a month I participate in the We Are The World Blogfest sharing positive stories about people making a positive impact in the world. Seems like you have to search through the news nowadays to find these stories. One source I have is Gratefulness.org. and their monthly Gratefulness News. In it, I found a post about community health workers in Kenya who bring healthcare access to impoverished and remote areas, “Meet the ‘backpack midwife’ bringing healthcare for all.” Phillips Africa is the company that developed the backpack and is  “working with local government, Philips is developing a number of community life centres to support community health workers and midwives equipped with these hi-tech backpacks.”

This story reminds me of the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS) of the 1930s, founded by Mary Breckinridge a public health nurse and midwife, in the state of Kentucky in the United States. Nurse midwives brought obstetric care to women in Appalachia by horseback, their supplies in saddlebags.

“The nurse-midwife carried all of these materials in her saddlebags because she was usually far from both her outpost center and the small FNS hospital; she had to be prepared for whatever she found. With the help of the equipment in those saddlebags, FNS nurse-midwives lost astoundingly few mothers. FNS was a great success by any measure….Kentucky, the birthplace of American nurse-midwifery, now houses Frontier Nursing University, which has provided graduate education to nurse-midwives (and more recently, nurse practitioners) since 1939. This university combines distance education and clinical work in the student’s own community to educate a significant percentage of American nurse-midwives.”-Midwives on Horseback: Saddlebags and Science

Check out the complete story by Dr. Laura Ettinger from the Smithsonian “Stories from the National Museum of American History.”

History of Frontier Nursing University with some great photos.


Mary_Breckinridge via wikimedia.org

Mary Breckinridge

Featured image ‘Crepuscular rays in Golden Gate Park’ by Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia.org

We Are The World Blogfest  #WATWB cohosts for this month are:  Shilpa Garg, Dan Antion, Simon Falk, Michelle Wallace , Mary Giese

We Are the World Blogfest



This month for the We Are The World Blogfest I am sharing a light-hearted little story I found from Smithsonian.org. We all use the little smiley face emoji with our blogs all the time. This article The Proliferation of Happiness shares a brief history of Positive Psychology and a bit about the man who invented the ‘smiley face.’

“It took only ten minutes for Harvey Ball to create the Smiley face. In 1963, the State Mutual Life Assurance Company in Worcester, Massachusetts, hired him to come up with a design that would help raise the morale of its employees.”
Harvey Ball was an artist and trained sign painter who was paid $45 for the design. The original Smiley face was not patented, but he did license one version with his World Smile Corporation in 1999. “The Corporation licenses Smileys and organizes World Smile Day World Smile Day raises money for the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation, a non-profit charitable trust that supports children’s causes. World Smile Day is held on the first Friday of October each year and is a day dedicated to “good cheer and good works”. The catch phrase for the day is “Do an act of kindness – help one person smile”.-Wikipedia.

Authentic Worchester-made smiley face, Harvey Ball.

Harvey Ball and Harvey Ball Stamp

We Are The World Blogfest, #WATWB is scheduled for the last Friday of each month and is hosted by Belinda WitzenhausenSylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein  Shilpa Garg, Eric Lahti 
Featured image ‘Beauty of love’ by Thai Jasmine on Flickr.
Sign up for We Are the World Blogfest!

Women Can Do Science

You may think I went a tad overboard this month, and I probably did, but I wanted to shine a big light on the issue of gender equity in STEM careers. I am sharing stories about women in science who have had to overcome stereotypes about their gender to pursue careers in science. I am in awe of these women who continued studying and working in spite of all the barriers in their path. Part of the problem besides outright prejudice and discrimination may be that we do not read about these women in the media as often as we read about male scientists. So I mentioned two journalists who decided to analyze and remedy the lack of gender equity in their reporting. And I included what some organizations and companies are doing to bring more women into careers in the sciences. The stories about women in science definitely demonstrate resilience of the human spirit.

Nancy Grace Roman was told women can’t be scientists. It is a good thing she didn’t listen to that opinion. Here is a short video about Dr. Roman’s story in her own words courtesy of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Katrina Jackson.

In the video Dr. Roman states that people are often not interested in how things got started. I think because we don’t read or hear stories about women in science we assume they don’t exist. Ed Yong in his Atlantic article talks about gender imbalance in science reporting. He talks about how he realized he was leaving women scientists out of his reporting and how he made the effort to remedy that. He mentions an example of his own writing in December 2015 about a conference on CRISPER, where he quotes six men and one woman which might indicate a lack of women working in the field. He writes this was:

“…all the more egregious because the CRISPR field is hardly short of excellent, prominent female scientists. Indeed, two of the technique’s pioneers, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, are women, and both of them spoke at the same conference from which I reported. And yet, if you read my piece, you could be forgiven for thinking that CRISPR was almost entirely the work of men.”-Ed Yong

If we never read about women in science, it is like they do not exist. He mentions his colleague Adrianne LaFrance who did a study with the help of a computer scientist at MIT on the proportion of women scientists she had been including in her articles and found it was much lower compared to men. She says:

“These numbers are distressing, particularly because my beats cover areas where women are already outnumbered by men—robotics, artificial intelligence, archaeology, astronomy, etc. Which means that, by failing to quote or mention very many women, I’m one of the forces actively contributing to a world in which women’s skills and accomplishments are undermined or ignored, and women are excluded.”-Adrienne LaFrance

You might argue that more women scientists do not exist or are less qualified to be quoted. Yong found this was not the case he just needed to look in the right places.

“It is getting increasingly easy to find such people. The journalist Christina Selby, writing at the Open Notebook, compiled a list of tips for diversifying sources. The journalist Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato created Diverse Sources, a searchable database of underrepresented experts in science. 500 Women Scientists, a nonprofit, created Request a Woman Scientist, a similar (and larger) database. Both can be filtered by country, specialty, and more. Several scientists have compiled lists of women in microbiology, astronomy, physics, evolution, political science, neuroscience, and more. I keep a personal list of women and people of color who work in the beats that I usually cover. And if these all fail, the most basic journalistic method always works: Ask someone. Get people in the field to suggest names.”-Yong

Women in STEM sciences at NASA, web site has profiles and links to resources for girls and boys.

Women at JPL

And you may have heard some buzz about how women don’t belong in Tech or do well in Tech. Here is a bit about that:

GE announced the goal of having 20,000 women in STEM jobs by 2020.

This video is so inspiring, it made me cry. It is about a Pakistani girl who excelled in STEM and wanted to be an engineer:

And TED Talk by Kimberly Bryant founder of Black Girls Code. Ms. Bryant wants to encourage women and girls of color to pursue careers in tech and is helping with her nonprofit:

And what if a female scientist was treated like a superhero?

We Are The World Blogfest, #WATWB, hosted by Belinda Witzenhausen, Emerald Barnes, Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Mary Giese, Michelle Wallace, Peter Nena, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Simon Falk, Susan Scott, Sylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein. We Are The World Blogfest is a monthly blog occurring the last Friday of each month dedicated to sharing positive news of the world “stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.”

*Featured Image at top of page: “Mary Van Rensselaer Buell (1893-1969), sitting in lab with microscope, reading paper” from Smithsonian Institute via Flickr. Creator/Photographer: Julian Scott Description: In 1919, Mary Van Rensselaer Buell (1893-1969) became the first woman to earn Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin. She carried on her extensive research on nutrition and physiological chemistry at University of Iowa, Johns Hopkins University, Washington University, and the University of Chicago.


We Are the World Blogfest