While writing “Bats are Beautiful”, I developed a new found respect for bats and all they contribute to the environment. I have never had an aversion to them mind you, but I just never knew how very important they are until I delved into the research for the article “Bats are Beautiful”. Oddly, enough I suppose they are one of my personal champions because I am one of those individuals who mosquitoes will fly from miles away, attack and suck my blood until they are plump and drunk on it. It has always amazed me that if I am with a group of people outdoors, having a good time, I will be the first one bitten and also the one bitten most often. So, in actuality I owe bats so much because if they weren’t around, I would never be able to leave my home and enjoy the great outdoors, because I am a mosquito magnet.
Charity Beck and Jen Hellmann have been lifelong friends. Charity called me with an idea 2 years ago. “I’m so tired of hearing nothing but negative news broadcasts everyday, that I’m thinking of starting a magazine to promote the positive news, the good news of the world.” I of course loved the idea. “Let’s do it,” I said. About a week later Charity called to me again, “I woke up in the middle of the night with a name for our magazine – Positive Impact Magazine!” Without hesitation, I replied again, “Yes! Let’s do it”. We knew it was the right thing to do.
From the “middle of the night” name inception to the first national online and print issue, we have had many hurdles to overcome, met incredible people and had one of the most soul nurturing experiences one could have. The insightful people we have met on this journey have truly inspired us to keep moving forward. There have been many obstacles to overcome, but we have found that these challenges only make you stronger and wiser. Learning comes from challenges and has given us the confidence and ability to keep going.
We hope to inspire others who want to get out there and make something happen for themselves or for another. A dream you have, an education to continue, a chance to volunteer, or simply to live a good life. These things are all attainable.
We are so honored to be a part of the movement that is happening with the magazine, people from all over the world have subscribed, offered us incredible feedback, submitted story ideas and much more. We have found that Positive Impact Magazine is inspiring people to take action. Take a look at some of our current reader feedback.
We hope you enjoy our first online issue. We’d love to hear what additions you would like to see or learn on our new website and would welcome your ideas about making improvements so that your experience with PIM is a positive one!
Thank you to all our incredible contributors for this issue!
Founder/Editor In Chief/Publisher
With white-sand beaches, cool gulf breezes and stretches of shady parks, the Tampa Bay area is a great place to go for a stroll (or a 60-mile walk). Exotic foliage flourishes in this semi-tropical climate, producing a lush and aromatic backdrop for this incredible Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure experience.
More than 50 years ago, Wangari Maathai remembers visiting the stream next to her house in Kenya to fetch water for her mother. Maathai remembers the stream being full of life with tadpoles and clean enough to drink. Although much has changed since then, Maathai said in her 2004 Nobel Peace Prize lecture that her challenge is to restore the environment and give back to the children a world of beauty and wonder.
In Oslo, Norway, for the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies, December 2004. Photo by Ricardo Medina (www.mifotografia.com)
In 2004, Maathai, who is an environmentalist and women’s rights activist, received the Nobel Peace Prize for her outstanding work to improve the quality of life for African Women and the world. Maathai is the first Kenyan African woman to receive the prize, paving the way for other Kenyan women. It is a great honor to receive the prize because it has only been awarded 90 times to 120 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2009. Maathai was recognized because she showed selfless acts to improve the life of the African community. Maathai was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. She uses her knowledge to teach women about empowering themselves and that being a woman holds no boundaries.
Through an education program, Maathai teaches women how to find solutions to the problems they face on a daily basis. Since Kenyan women are the primary caretakers, Maathai empowers women by teaching them different ways to sustain their families. Maathai teaches women worldwide the benefits of growing, planting and sustaining their environment. Through her teachings, Maathai empowers women and gives them the opportunity to create a difference. Maathai teaches that preserving nature is part of a larger mission.
Wangari Maathai planting a tree at the Outspan Hotel, Nyeri, Kenya, to mark the launch of her autobiography, Unbowed. Photo by Wanjira Mathai
Maathai started the Green Belt Movement in 1977 under the patronage of the National Council of Women of Kenya. The Green Belt Movement teaches women ways to sustain their environment and pro-action for self-betterment. Since 1977 more than 30 million trees have been planted because it’s simple and addresses the basic needs of food and shelter.
The Green Belt Movement used trees as a way to reconcile ethnic conflicts in Kenya. The elder Kikuyu tribe members used staffs from the Thigi tree as a gesture to reconcile with disputing sides. Continuing with old traditions, the tree became a symbol of conflict resolution and peace.
“We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own – indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder,” Maathai said in her 2004 Nobel Peace Prize lecture.
Everyone around the world has the opportunity to take part in supporting the Green Belt Movement. The Global Work Party has designated October 10th as a day to celebrate climate solutions worldwide. People all over the world are signing up to plant a tree and join forces to work on climate change. Starting this year, a campaign launched by 1010global.org and 350.org is creating a proactive way to help cut carbon by 10 percent.
When times are difficult there is a tendency to focus on what is lacking. It is easy to forget that when you look for the good in a situation, you are likely to find it. Author, Taylor Grey, learned this lesson by volunteering with children diagnosed with cancer. Her experience became the source of inspiration for adventure stories that teach positive visualization. Read more>
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has!”— Margaret Meade
Growing up in a time of economic recession, foreign wars, and global warming is bound to affect your psyche. Fortunately, these obstacles are no match for humanities richest resource – the youth of our society. Student philanthropy efforts across the country are thriving; proving that the today’s young people have a strong social conscious and the desire to enact positive change.
Jesse Byers is a high school junior who participated in “Relay for Life”- a 24-hour walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The event gives participants a chance to honor those who have battled cancer, remember lost loved ones, and raise funds for the cause. He explains the satisfaction he received from the experience
“I didn’t know anyone with cancer personally, but it was still very emotional for me. It felt good to see that just one person could make a difference.”
Over one million other students are getting a chance to learn that same lesson through participating in a program called Learn and Serve America. The organization provides grants to schools, community groups and colleges allowing them to give students an active role in the betterment of society. The University of South Florida St. Petersburg is in its second year on the program and has awarded ten grants so far, totaling over $50,000. Students research the immediate needs of the community, find out what issue they want to tackle, make an evaluation and decide who gets the grant.
Charlie Justice, Assistant Director for Leadership Programs at USFSP, is encouraged by what he sees in the students who have taken part in the program. “I’ve been so impressed with how genuine they are with regards to what’s going on in the community. They see a need and want to do whatever they can. I get inspired by that.”
Student philanthropy project at USFSP - group presenting a grant award
This new generation of activists holds the power to re-shape our world. Time, energy and enthusiasm are an effective combination. In the words of author H. Jackson Brown “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength but by perseverance.”
To find out more about service-learning grants that may be available in your area, visit www.learnandserve.gov.
The first step in preparation for wealth is in your attitude toward money. You have to believe that becoming wealthy or financially secure is an absolute possibility for you! Trust that you have the knowledge and skills to make your own fortune and become the wealthy person that you’ve always dreamed of becoming. If you feel you need more confidence with your knowledge of financial matters, you can easily rectify that by doing research. Read more>
Travel broadens our perspective, makes us appreciate what we have and gives us a better understanding of the world. For Mauri, it seemed she had found her calling – the perfect opportunity to combine her love of travel and adventure with her nursing skills. But she was also struck by the lack of medical supplies at the hospital in Peru, and she was astounded at the nurses’ insistence on cleaning and re-using what would be disposed of in the U.S. “I thought of all the disposables that we throw away without thinking,” says Mauri. For her it was a life-changing event that required action. Read more>