Monthly Archives: July 2011

Cool Design

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Santa’s work is never over.

This is inspiring story of kindness, a simple act that can have a great impact.

Santa visits the children in a evacuee shelter in Japan.

Along with the historic win by the Japanese women’s soccer team, now Santa’s unselfish act of generosity, Japan is showing comforting signs of recuperation and restoration. We at Cali Cares strongly hope that the movement of benevolence gives promise for the future of Japan and brings a smile to the people continuing to struggle.


“Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms” – Ikkyu Sojun

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1 good thing today

This is a really good read on the modern twist of Gandhi‘s “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Take a minute to read it, then I challenge you to partake in a random act of kindness and share it on the page…

what would happen if 20+ of us did it… could we make 40+ people have a better day?

25 ways to be good for someone else.








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History repeating itself, and getting worse.

I first heard about the existence of Somalia in 1992, when I was in the 5th grade.  The reason for this was to educate young students of the devastation around the world we were not yet aware of.  I remember seeing disturbing pictures and reading articles in Time magazine about the drought and famine that hit Somalia just a year after their national government was overthrown.  Now I see that it is happening again and in worse conditions: overpopulation, bad harvesting, and a lack of humanitarian efforts partly due to the presence of al-Shabab.

With millions of refugees and disease spreading like wildfire I was pleased to see the US government stepping in and giving aid (approximately $28 million in aid). Horn of Africa drought article

As Hericlitus once said “nothing endures but change.” A big concern of mine is the UN‘s structured recovery plan.  Some things have changed since 1992, but too much has remained the same.  People are still warring and dying.  Extra precautions and strategic planning must be a top priority in order to ensure that the suffering stops.

The UN says there are 10 MILLION PEOPLE on verge of starvation… I will think about that next time I get upset at my waiter when my food takes “too long”.


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Opening up to the rest of the world

Mike and I haven’t talked for a while, we live hours from each other, so we generally communicate only when we are struck with a new idea or concept.  Today I gave him a call and asked him what he thought about opening the Cali Cares blog up to other forms of humanitarian awareness.  Apparently, he had been thinking the same thing!

So, we have decided to enter what I consider a “camel phase.” We will absorb and distribute information about humanitarian concerns (in the US and abroad) and the role that tech and culture play in how we interact with these concerns.

There is no end goal right now, we just want to get a good idea of what is going on out there.

Today I want to share this article about US aid to famine stricken Somalia, courtesy of BBC news Africa. And also this post from the Snowblog titled, “Somalia’s famine: their agony and our historic part in it.”

Crisis has gripped the Horn of Africa

There is an immediate need for intervention.  The US has agreed to intervene so long as their presence is not threatened.  Apparently, large areas of south and central Somalia are controlled by Al-Shabab, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, and recognized as a terrorist organization by the US.

Donald Steinber, deputy administrator of the US Agency for International Development, has insisted that the potential US presence is  to save lives and, “not to play a game of ‘gotcha’ with a UN agency or any other group that is brave enough to go in and provide that assistance” (courtesy of BBC).

The Snowblog has another take on this crisis, and it spans back decades, to a time when the author was a young reporter in Somalia.

The next few weeks will mean life and death for many Somalis.  Our thoughts are with them at this time.


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Congratulations Japan and a Re-Post

Hey Everyone,

Mike’s bike ride finished about a week ago and we have both started moving on to other projects.  But, I keep finding myself thinking about Cali Cares!  Today I wanted to say congratulations to the Japanese women’s soccer team for becoming World Cup champions!

It was very difficult for me to choose a side the entire game but I was glad to see Japan win.  And it was such a historic victory… They had never been to the semi-finals let alone the final, never beaten the US, they fell behind twice, and had to face the world no.1 goalie in a penalty shootout.  It reads just like a Hollywood underdog story, except it’s their reality, and a living example of their optimism and perseverance.

Now, for the re-post.  These are my thoughts on the Cali Cares journey, from start to finish, written on July 9th.

The Cali Cares campaign has nearly reached its end.  Thank you for following Mike’s ride, and if you read his last post you know that there will be one or two more turns left in this journey.

I have been thinking a lot about Cali Cares over the past week.  Today I would like to share my thoughts on what I consider to be a successful and enlightening project.

A sketch by Mike for a Cali Cares brochure. Circa April 2011.

In my eyes, Cali Cares has become more than just raising support and awareness for survivors of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.  It is a story of one man’s dedication, and a testament, that all of us are capable of doing more.

To my knowledge, before Cali Cares the farthest Mike would ride was 2 miles down to the beach and he certainly wasn’t worried about where he would stay the night.  That’s not to say he didn’t train, he did, but there were a lot more questions than answers when this voyage began.  Now he can ride 60 or more miles a day, he met some amazing people, was privileged tobreathtaking scenery, and he helped raise money for a good cause.

I have to include myself in here as well.  Before Cali Cares I had little knowledge about Japan, experience with blogs, charities, etc.. but I have come away from this project feeling educated.  Both Mike and I have found that by helping others we have ultimately helped ourselves.

For these reasons alone I feel like this project has been a success.  However, I have learned a few other things, and I feel it would be a shame not to share them with you.

A few months ago Mike came to me with this question:

“How can I show these people halfway across the world that I sincerely care about them?”

With all of the footage on the news it certainly made us feel like we live in a glass box.  But, an empowering thing happened as we explored Mike’s question… We found that while technology may have helped to construct a glass box, it also has the potential to break this box, and provide a level of support which is more human than we first realized.

To some extent technology has caused a rift in what we can do; we can observe but when we reach out our hand we hit a glass wall.  This is concerning for me because I believe we need to look out for our global neighbors. With regards to Japan, we share the Pacific Ocean, we share the same heart, we share the same faults, and we can be there for each other as our fates become “our fate.”

It’s only a matter of time before future disasters in other parts of the world affect us economically, environmentally, emotionally, etc…  But what we learned over the course of this project is that we can use websitesblogssocial media devices, and other neat things (double impact and free rice) to provide support for people outside of our physical range.  And the type of support is becoming more immediate, personalized, and sincere.

I think that Cali Cares has become an example of this.  I don’t know how many survivors have seen this blog, perhaps zero, but it is now documented that we care about you and your struggle, we love you, and we want you to love the ocean and the earth again.

Knowing that we are leaving this legacy has given us a certain satisfaction… We have answered Mike’s question.

And the future is bright with opportunity.

A little girl in Ofunato receiving a pair of socks. Courtesy of Socks for Japan.

Thanks for your support, and may you always be close to someone who cares.


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Coca Cola and Red Cross come together for change.

Imagine that you are thirsty and you want a soda, so you walk up to the soda machine and put in your $2.00.  You pick your $1.50 favorite (what is your favorite?) and after the bottle pops out you are given a choice:  keep the change or donate to the Japanese Red Cross…

For more information about this Coca Cola and Red Cross collaboration check out this site and enjoy the video of it in use.


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