Big News: QI Group Join United Nations Initiative

The United Nations Global Compact Network is the world’s largest sustainability program for the corporate world, which has gained a major new member in the form of our multi level marketing company, the QI Group. I have been discussing the impact the program could have on both the Qi Group and the world as a whole with Yahoo Finance. At the 2015 CSR Summit in Singapore, we pledged to follow the ten principles of sustainability and human rights the United Nations program has highlighted as an important part of the future of business and global sustainability.

Respect and the rights of the individual play an important role in the UNGC Network, which looks to make sure each company pledged to the initiative will work within the programs the United Nations has created. There are other parts to the UNGC program, which include a pledge to create an environmentally sustainable future for their organizations. I believe the QI Group has already been working to secure many of the rights for labor groups and in environmental sustainability that the UNGC calls for, which include our installation of solar arrays at our company locations.

By signing up to the UNGC Network principles, we continue to move towards greater corporate transparency which is designed to reduce the levels of corruption in international business. By increasing transparency in the international business world, we are looking to create a fairer world for the present and future generations of the world.

Respect and the rights of the individual play an important role in my approach of leadership. It is my personal mission to treat each and every employee in the same respectful manner, creating a healthy corporate culture and a happy team here at Qi Group.

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Hope for the Homeless

A decade ago we would rarely hear about the homeless crisis, except in times of holiday charity. Times have changed though and we see more and more about the homeless crisis in news and social media. There is a vast amount of information that comes through our computer, tablet, television and cell phone screens. There are moments in which we will feel a flutter in our heart for a snippet that has caught our attention as we continue to scroll through happenings and events.

There are people who decide to act on those flutters, open their hearts enough to take action and make a difference in someones life. ABC news recently reported on a man in California, named Elvis Summers. He met Irene McGee and learned her story of a decade of homelessness. Elvis took it upon himself to perform an act of kindness and with just five hundred dollars built her a tiny home shelter. He has since started a foundation to continue helping the homeless.

Other times people are compelled to live in acts of kindness following a tragedy. In 1991, a man named Arnold Abbot started the Love Thy Neighbor Fund, Inc in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida following the death of his beloved wife. His mission was to feed and help the homeless. In 2014, Arnolds face became familiar in many households, after the city passed an ordinance that made it illegal to feed the homeless. Arnold showed his commitment to his cause after several arrests, as reported by CNN. The story of the actions of one kind man that touched many hearts, became a media storm and amidst the public outcry, charges were dropped against Arnold and his mission continued.

These two men and the many others like them, are no different than you and I. However, they chose to make a difference in the lives of another. People such as this are rewarded with the gratitude of humanity. If each of us could choose to make a positive impact on just one persons life each week, within a year humanity within society would be thriving in the way it was meant to- together.

Weekend Good News Wrap Up

On a recent web surfing binge I came across an article that I found to be on the
more uplifting side of things. That is not something we get much lately. Positive
is not so common on the internet so I took notice. It is about harnessing the
healing properties of the ocean and being more connected to nature in the same
breath.

Natural healing is something that is becoming increasingly popular in the Western
Culture where before it was relegated to “monks” and “hippie folk.” The science
behind the theory however is sound. It is a real and tangible connection that we
share with the ocean and the rest of nature as well.

Much has been said on this topic lately but this article was about the ocean
specifically and how it can be of benefit to our well being.
“Adam Royal” is the man that started the project. Trained in psychology and a
therapist as well, he maintains that it all stems from his quiet meditation sessions
by the ocean that opened him to the awesome healing power of it all.

I found this to be a refreshing take on the entire concept of the way we heal
ourselves and using nature to do it.

In an unrelated article “Asia Pulp and Paper” is partnering with the “Deltares”
company in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. The peatlands of Indonesia are a
crucial part of the plan to help the national reduction of emissions by 26% by the
year 2020. By retiring many commercial plantations they look to free roughly 7,000
hectares by their target date. This is a first ever for the nation and a welcome
change that will benefit the land.

This is just another great thing that we humans are doing for each other on a
daily basis around the globe.

On that note yet another great thing happening is the action Canada’s officials are
taking when it comes to the Syrian Crisis. There is a movement going on and Canada’s
Mayors are a the forefront. One of them being the Mayor of Toronto John Tory.
He has and is speaking with counterparts from all areas there to get in touch with
citizens who are willing to privately sponsor a refugee or a family if they are
so inclined. Great news for anybody in Syria right now who gets the aid that they
so desperately need.

How I Maintain A Healthy Body And Active Mind

Amongst friends and family, I am well known for my love for exercise regimes, literature, apps that enhance health and wellness and my vegetarian diet. Being a staunch advocate of all matters related to wellness, and holistic health I do various exercises including cycling, swimming and yoga. I incorporate kettle bells and “rip:360” into weekly workouts because they contribute immensely to my strength and flexibility. When I’m is riding, I use MapMyRide, an app that has a training log that records pace, duration, speed, elevation as well as the calories burned.

To me, yoga is not just an exercise routine, it is a way of life, and he lives and teaches it. I am a yoga master at the School of Meditation and Yoga in Singapore, and I continue to learn about it everyday. I am also very fond of reading books that talk about improving yoga. One such book is the Anatomy of Yoga: An Instructors Guide To Improving Your Poses written by Abigail Ellsworth. In the book, there are visual references that are well detailed to help anyone understand the basics of yoga, the right way to breathe as well as the correct way to position the spine.

Meditation is also an imperative element of yoga. I use SoundCloud to upload and share his chants and mantras. I also use Luminosity, a web-based game that is designed to work all aspects of the brain scientifically. The fun-based games on the application can be played on any device, and I utilize 15 minutes of my time to play the game every day.

As a leader, I implement tactics that inspire my colleagues to be hardworking, talented, versatile and dynamic. I have tremendous respect for other people and believe that everyone can do extraordinary things if provided with the opportunity. My leadership style may be different, but it’s my preference to  consult and engage others.

I am also a staunch believer in spirituality which has helped me understand and appreciate mankind even more. I like to be an example of a person who leads a healthy lifestyle and use the same to influence and make others better at what they do.

See the Business Wire recap about my feature in asPire here

Former Homeless Man Gets $500,000 Worth of Dental Surgery for Free

There is nothing better than seeing someone turn their life around. Everyday, life knocks people down, sometimes it seems as if it is impossible to get back up, but stories like Davis Harvis inspire others to keep fighting. Davis Harvis is a man that has come a long way in life, and now he spends his time giving back to the community and feeding the homeless. Having a big heart is what has gotten Davis through some of the most difficult times in his life, but now he has a big smile to match.

Just five years ago, Davis was sleeping in the back of his truck. When Davis was homeless, he had many missing and decaying teeth because his situation made it impossible for him to have regular dental work done to prevent damage. After years working for the soup kitchen, Davis was happy to finally have steady work, and get back on his feet. Everyday Davis showed up to read to serve the community, the only thing missing was his smile. Even after finally making it off the streets, Davis still had a constant reminder of just how hard he once had it.

According to a recent article on Huffington Post, Davis is now a senior warehouse manager at the SoupMobile, the nonprofit feeds 200,000 meals to people in need every year in Dallas, Texas. With a fresh start, and an amazing job, Davis still was held back because of his lack of dental hygiene but that was about to change. Dentist Lee Fitzgerald, stepped in to finally give Davis the smile and confidence he deserves. After being approached by the founder of SoupMobile, Lee could not be happier to help. In the end the dentist performed $50,000 worth of dental surgery for Davis at not cost.

Now that Davis has had dental implant surgery, he is able to smile, and show the world just has happy he truly is. The loving dentist that helped Davis achieve his “million dollar smile,” insists that he feels honored to do something for a man that has helped do many others.

“I am touched by the heart of a man who comes from a place where he had so little yet has given himself so much.” Fitzgerald shared on Facebook.

It is hard not to get chocked up when you reflect on all of the love there still is in a world, that sometimes seems heartless. Davis started out with nothing and now he has a life of memories and good intentions.

India’s Red Brigade Has Some Men Seeing Red!

The Red Brigade of India, a valiant group of young Indian women who have been victims of rape (something unfortunately heavily prevalent, tolerated and accepted in countries like India) are using their voices and tenacity to take a stand against harassment and violence toward women in their country. They are fearless and proudly sport their uniforms of red (symbolizing danger) and black (representing protest), boldly making their presence known.

“Power Girls,” a short documentary by Jayisha Patel, examines the strides these women are taking toward equality in India by following the courageous group. They are truly an inspiration. Here’s an entire country where women have been pushed around by their peers, the authorities, their government, and their families. They are told to stay quiet and more often than not, the victims of these barbaric attacks are shamed and blamed. Sometimes for being out after dark. Other times for what they wear.

The notion that one could ever possibly have enough gall as to blame a victim after they’ve been attacked through no fault of their own, is beyond the realm of reason to most of us….. yet, here we still are.

But these girls are quickly changing that, which means, there is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel! Upon further investigation I learned that they take self defense courses, surveil the streets and protest in areas where their members were previously attacked, often confronting abusers. When they hear of new incidents, they do what they can to offer support to victims and their families as well as protest. It is reported that one girl even punched her attacker in the face, although it wasn’t clearly stated whether or not that was during or after she was attacked and joined forces with the group. Either way, I felt proud and slightly vindicated for her.

I do not condone violence and understand that momentarily harming someone physically can never undo the atrocity that was done. But the action itself is a harbinger that injustice will no longer be tolerated. It’s not unlike many instances of someone being systematically bullied, until they completely have had enough and show their antagonizer that they are no longer willing to stand for it as they pummel them to the ground. Sometimes it takes physically standing up for oneself to make one’s message clear. I applaud them. In spirit, I stand with and fight with them. All hail The Red Brigade!!

For more insight into this story, you can check out these excellent video’s on Youtube:
The Young Turks, Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur report on this:

To see the full 10 minute film by AJ+:

Little Books, Big Hearts

We open up new worlds of imagination and determination when we teach children to read. Books become stepping stones that teach empathy and all about the surrounding world. This was the case when I was an educational volunteer in Russia for a couple years. Watching a child’s face light up when reading a favorite story was life-changing for all of us American volunteers.

Even though Russia is a developed country, they still do not have the prolific choices of reading material like we do. Most Russian homes that I visited had a book shelf with a few titles arranged neatly. They often wrap their books in pretty, homemade book covers to protect their precious collection. They would not think of throwing a book around the way we do. Some of the schools and universities do offer lending privileges to students, but their library services are not nearly as comprehensive and available as those in the United States and other European nations.

I was inspired with excitement when I read an article on goodnewsnetwork.org. The article highlighted a group of college students who started a book project for the children of Haiti. These students were enrolled in a French class at Ashland, Virginia’s Randolph-Macon College. The French professor thought that writing story books in French would be good practice. Their class project included writing a creative story in French and illustrating it.

It did not stop at just being a class grade. Professor Jennifer Shotwell and her French students decided to donate these special books to school children in Haiti, where French is the predominate language. According to the article, the college group named their project “Little French Books”. Nearly one hundred books were written and illustrated to send to Haiti.

There is an extreme shortage of books on this impoverished island and very little money for parents or schools to buy any. The story books used universal themes that appeal to children, such as talking animals, royal characters, fairy tales, and other works of fantasy. The shipment of books was well received and the French class was glad to make a child’s day with the gift of reading.

Professor Shotwell had a fund-raising campaign to raise money in order to make sturdy, hardbound copies of her students’ story book. They rallied the support of the college and community and were able to raise over two thousand dollars to print hardcover books, stated the article. This year alone, the article noted that the “Little French Books” Project was able to provide new, original story books to over six hundred Haitian children. With the continued effort of the students and Professor Shotwell, this precious story will never end.

Crayons Get An Upgrade

We’ve all visited a restaurant where our kids have found a box of crayons on the table along with a page to try out their artistic skills. Have you ever wondered what happens to them when you leave? Well, that is the question that Bryan Ware had according to a recent article in Good News Network. He found out that 25 to 35 tons of crayons are left in a landfill each year and these items take quite a while to break down. As a result he came up with a great idea to collect these crayons before they hit the landfill and recycle them.

Mr. Ware started a nonprofit called “The Crayon Initiative” which not only gives the crayons a fresher look but also puts them into the hands of children who could really put them to good use in hospitals, art programs and special needs programs.

His journey began several years ago when he and his family went out to dinner and his children received crayons from the waitress. He discovered that the crayons would get thrown out and were not able to be donated anywhere because of the issue with germs. Mr. Ware invested his own money into the project, and teamed up with a physical therapist who helped to design the crayons into a triangular shape that would make it easier for special needs children.

So far, over 100,000 boxes of crayons have been donated to The Crayon Initiative from around the country and 800,000 have been reshaped. Amazingly, Bryan Ware is producing these crayons in his kitchen, stirring large heated pots of crayons by hand or family members’ hands. With thousands of crayons stored in his garage, he is looking for funding to transfer from his garage to an appropriate facility. Not only is Bryan Ware doing something great for children everywhere, but he is also helping the environment by recycling. He believes that this is just the start of bigger things to come. In the meantime, anyone who wishes to donate crayons or has an interest in starting up a collection program in their community or schools can find more information at The Crayon Initiative website.

Poet Uses Her $500K Grant To Provide Caregivers With Respite

As originally reported to the Good News Network, a gifted poet chooses to share her $500,000 grant to bring joy to others. It is inspiring to see an individual utilize their talents to bring others a sense of hope. After poet Heather McHugh was awarded the Genius Grant for her writing talent, she decided she wanted to use it in a way that would benefit others. For two years she contemplated how this award would best be put to use. During this time she watched as her godchild was diagnosed with a disability. The chid’s disability would require round the clock support. When McHugh realized the importance of caregivers, she decided that she would use her grant to offer caregivers a break and a much needed source of solace. She decided to gift caregivers with a vacation to destinations such as Napa Valley, Maine and British Columbia.

Caregivers truly are unsung heroes. Being a caregiver means making constant sacrifices to care for your disabled loved one. Some cases are so extreme that people have had to set their own careers aside to provide 24 hour care. A simple trip to the grocery store can become a rigorous outing depending on the needs of a loved one. For example, an Alzheimer’s patient can become even more disoriented when they have left the familiar surroundings of their own home. A trip to the grocery store could stimulate all kinds of triggers that could lead to a number of difficult scenarios. Most people give little thought to running an errand, reading a book without being interrupted or even taking a 30 minute walk. However, these little things that most of the population takes for granted would be considered a luxury for an over-extended caregiver.

Hughes recognized that over 40 million people serve as caregivers for their loved ones. It is quite common for a caregiver to neglect their own needs in the process. Caregivers are only human; they need respite as well. With this in mind, Hughes established her CAREGIFTED foundation that provides week long vacations to caregivers. In many instances Hughes also travels with the caregivers to offer them help and assistance. Most caregivers just want time to enjoy a book, take a walk or indulge in a hobby. Time is a precious resource for caregivers, and Hughes gives them time in which they are not burdened with providing round the clock support.

By using her Genius Grant to provide respite for overworked caregivers, Hughes is using her talents and resources to inspire others. It is refreshing to see someone use their resources to serve a wonderful cause.

Twin Panda’s Birth Show US/China Diplomacy At Its Best

How exciting! The National Zoo proudly announces two new residents. Mei Xiang, a giant panda, gave birth to twin cubs on Saturday, August 21, 2015. After only confirming on Friday, August 20, 2015 that she was pregnant, zoo keepers were thrilled when her water broke Saturday afternoon. The first cub was born at 5:35pm and the second was born at 10:07 pm. Zoo officials say both cubs are doing well.

I am so proud of the breeding program at our National Zoo. Relations with China are usually quite strained. We have such differences of opinions on a variety of issues. It is wonderful to see our nations set aside their differences to work and achieve something so remarkable. Giant pandas are beautiful animals that are endangered. With only approximately 1600 pandas alive in the wild and 300 in zoos and breeding centers, any help these animals can get for survival is crucial.

The United States’ work with China in saving the giant pandas began in 1972 with Richard Nixon and his visit to China. China loaned 2 pandas to our National Zoo, Ling Ling, a female, and Hsing Hsing, a male. More recently in 2011 China and Zoo Director, Dennis Kelly signed a new Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement which extends our cooperation and commitment to conserve the species for several more years.

The program is proving to be very successful. Mei Xaing has had two cubs survive (Tai Shan male born in July 2009 and Bao Bao born in August 2013). Her births are the result of artificial insemination from pandas in China.

Americans learn a bit of customs and traditions with the birth of these cubs. The cubs are not named for 100 days, a Chinese custom. The National Zoo had a party and ceremony for the naming of Bao Bao on the panda’s 100th day.

It is great to see our nation work with China to keep these amazing animals with us. Hopefully by working together to learn how to save the pandas our relationship with China will continue to grow and prosper. Perhaps this relationship is just the beginning. Perhaps someday we can work together on other issues.

National Zoo’s twin pandas are only the 3rd set to be born at a U.S. zoo