Shine Shout Out

As you know, my intention with Shine is to feature people who are giving back by doing something that they’re passionate about. Some people are taking that philosophy and incorporating it into their small businesses.  Here are three that deserve a Shine shout out.

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A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Woofs

(This one is for you Aleksandra.) Many adoption photos of shelter dogs, to put it politely, stink. They are usually taken by busy workers who don’t have much time to spend coaxing a dog to be still and “say cheese.”  The end results are blurry or through kennel bars or show dogs with the demonic bluish-gray pupils. They don’t exactly entice potential adopters to run down to the shelter.   Teresa Berg, a professional photographer in Dallas, decided to lend her considerable talent to a local daschund rescue so that the adoptable dogs look, well, adoptable. Talk about glamour shots! After Teresa got through with them, every single dog was adopted and the rescue group has experienced a 100% increase in adoptions. Now Teresa is teaching other photographers how to do the same.

In the video, I just love that the host of CBS Sunday Morning is hanging with a gorgeous pittie. 🙂 The embed feature is a little blurry, so you can also head over to YouTube to see the video: 2 minutes long.

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Life Is Sweet in Rwanda

Blue Marble is the go-to ice cream parlor in the Cobble Hill neighborhood, just a few minutes’ walk from where I live. It was started by socially- and evironmentally-conscious friends Alexis Miesen and Jennie Dundas in 2007 and quickly grew to include 3 locations in Brooklyn, including outposts in Western Mass., Summer Stage in Central Park and the US Open tennis tournament.

 Then in 2008 Jennie met Rwandan drummer and playwright Odile Gakire Katese (known as Kiki to her friends) at a theater workshop. They got to talking about the 1994 genocide and its long-term effects on the Rwandan people. Kiki told Jennie that as much as Rwandans need the basics, they also need laughter, joy and fun in their lives.  What better way to do that than open an ice cream shop in Butare? Kiki says that the ice cream shop will help remind people that life can also be sweet.

After raising $80,000 in grants and donations, Kiki and Blue Marble banded together to open Rwanda’s first ice cream shop called Inzozi Nziza (“Sweet Dreams”) in June 2010. Kiki and members of her all-woman drumming group learned the basics of running the business from Alexis, who’d traveled to Butare.  These days, with help from Jennie and Alexis, the shop enables its 11 employees to feed, clothe, and educate more than 70 family members. Eventually the Rwandan women will assume control of the shop. “And we’ll cheer them on from the sidelines,” says Alexis.

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One to One

You may have heard of Tom’s, a shoe company started with a very basic premise. For every pair you buy, they give one to a child in a developing country. There is no form to fill out. No rebate to be issued. No pledge to make on their website. They just do it (to follow the slogan of a very different shoe company).

It sounds like such a little thing. A pair of shoes. But to a kid like eight-year-old Rodrigo of Peru, who had been going to school barefoot, these shoes mean he can keep diseases and infections at bay, thereby increasing his attendance. And that’s good because Rodrigo wants to be a doctor when he grows up.

As of September 2010, Tom’s has given away more than 1,000,000 pairs of shoes. I have a pair and it’s cool to know that there’s a kid somewhere in Argentina or Haiti or Cambodia wearing the same shoes because of me.

Coming up next on SHINE: Megan has collected and delivered thousands of children’s books to places like homeless shelters, hospitals and school to kids in need. And she’s only thirteen years old.

If you or anyone you know should be featured in SHINE, please let me know: contact  {at}   jacquelincangro  DOT   com.

 

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13 comments

  1. Beautiful and inspiring, as always. Thanks for showing us Teresa’s amazing work and mission, and for sharing the word about Inzozi Nziza and Toms– what a way to start the week!

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    1. When I came across Teresa’s story, I thought of you immediately! You’re such a talented photographer. I have a feeling that you would be great doing something similar.

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    1. I’m glad this planted a little seed. You’re such a great photographer, I bet some local rescue group could put your skills to good work.

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  2. Doggie photo shoots that result in adoptions, ice cream for hope, and shoes for impoverished kids…what a great way to start the week. Thanks for telling these stories, Jackie. You’ve got my mind thinking. (I echo pearlsandprose’ thought.)

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  3. What I love about these three is that they each took what they were already doing and used those skills to help others. I’d love to hear what you come up with. 🙂

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