Storytelling

Coffee Shop for a Cause in Philly

lisamichell@taffets

We’ve just posted our latest story in our series of inspiring Rally fundraising campaigns on Yahoo! Shine. This week we meet Lisa Miccolis, the founder and president of the non-profit the Monkey and the Elephant. Behind the whimsical name lies a serious story about how a former foster kid in South Africa inspired Lisa to launch an organization to help young adults who have aged out of the foster-care system in Philadelphia.

For Lisa Miccolis the path to working with former foster kids in Philadelphia began with safari animals…and coffee.

Lisa, the founder and president of the non-profit organization and coffee shop the Monkey and the Elephant, got the name from a secret code she started using several years ago, after a trip to South Africa. In October 2008, bringing little more than her clothes and her camera, she visited a friend who had been living in Cape Town and owned a bakery there.

Lisa hung out at her friend’s bakeshop, chatting with workers and customers and eventually connecting with Homestead Projects for Street Children, a local non-profit that works to get boys off the streets of Cape Town. Homestead thought her photography skills might be useful, so she agreed to meet with the staff and the boys living at its shelter.

“I went to the orphanage and saw a young man sitting at a desk with a journal and a pen,” Lisa recalled. “The staff told me, ‘Oh, that’s Ephraim. He’s writing his life story,'” a life story that soon became enmeshed with hers.

Find out the meaning behind the Monkey and the Elephant passcode, and the mission of the Monkey and the Elephant cafe, at “This Week’s Rally for Good: Coffee for a Cause in the City of Brotherly Love.”

Church Community Rallies Around a Young Leader

A&S_cover

SHARRIA AND ANDREW WESTPHAL ON THEIR WEDDING DAY.

The newest excerpt from our collaboration with Yahoo! Shine is here. This week’s featured Rally campaign is especially powerful: A young man at the beginning of his life as a husband and graduate school student has learned he has a Stage IV brain tumor, so his family is raising money to help take care of him and his wife.

This past summer was hardly a slow season for Andrew Westphal. In June the 26-year-old finished an 18-month preaching mentorship at the church his family has attended for years. He married his best friend from college at the end of July. Six weeks later he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, upending his expectations for his marriage, for graduate school, and for his development as a church leader.

You can learn more about Andrew Westphal’s story at “This Week’s Rally for Good: Seeking a Cure Through Medicine, Love, and Faith.”

What’s on the Menu: Love & Vegetables, Pay What You Can

Avril & Keith L&V

AVRIL JOHNNIDIS AND KEITH KALMANOWICZ/PHOTO COURTESY OF LOVE & VEGETABLES VIA FACEBOOK

This story originally appeared in The Huffington Post‘s Impact section.

In January 2012 chef Keith Kalmanowicz ended up feeding a vegan dinner to his neighbors because of some broken bicycles.

He recently had returned from a volunteer trip to a farm in Costa Rica to move to Earth-N-Us Farm in Miami. He wanted to use the skills he learned on vacation to continue working and cooking close to the land. He also landed a full-time job preparing and wrangling fresh, local ingredients for a well-regarded locavore restaurant.

When Kalmanowicz was at the farm, he’d often see Matrice Jackson, the unofficial director of Earth-N-Us, teaching young people how to repair their bikes. Sometimes they’d come around to soak up nature and escape the violence and poverty in Little Haiti, the low-income-but-gentrifying neighborhood surrounding the farm.

Living on the farm opened up Kalmanowicz to what he calls a “message of altruism” that he wanted to help spread. It became clear how he might do that early one weekend morning.

(more…)

1 Mom, 1 Treadmill, 100 Miles, 24 Hours

RunEMZfornewsletter

We have another excerpt from our series on Yahoo! Shine featuring Rally.org crowdfunding campaigns that we love. This post tells the story of a marathoner who has taken to running a full 24 hours, on a treadmill, to raise money and awareness for the causes that mean the most to her. Tomorrow night in San Francisco, she’ll be running for an educational non-profit that serves students and teachers in India.

Emily Toia is a 36-year-old mom from Arizona. This week she’ll attempt to do what few of us have done before: run 100 miles in 24 hours on a treadmill in the middle of San Francisco’s busiest neighborhood. And if that weren’t enough, she’ll do it all for a charity benefitting children’s education. This won’t be the first time Emily—who goes by the nickname Emz—pulls a treadmill all-nighter for a good cause.

The person she credits for inspiring her to take on such an unconventional challenge? Her unconventional mother-in-law.

Find out what makes Emily run and how you can support her Rally at “This Week’s Rally for Good: Why This Mom is Running 100 Miles in 24 Hours.”

A Rescued Dog to a Veteran’s Rescue

major at work

Here’s another excerpt from our series on Yahoo! Shine featuring Rally.org crowdfunding campaigns that inspire us. Today we share the story of one veteran whose life was changed by a mutt from Stiggy’s Dogs, a non-profit that provides psychiatric service dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related health issues. 

On September 1, 2006, Terrance McGlade’s Marine battalion got hit by a roadside bomb in Ramadi, Iraq. He sustained shrapnel wounds and in the years since the attack, he’s lived with severe depression, PTSD, and a mild traumatic brain injury.

Never could he have imagined that, after getting his medical discharge in May 2012, he’d end up throwing out a ceremonial first pitch for the Cincinnati Reds and dropping the puck on the Detroit Red Wings’ home ice.

See “This Week’s Rally for Good: A Rescued Dog to the Rescue” to find out how Terrance McGlade and his service dog are doing.

Ripple Effect Images: Telling the Stories of Families and Climate Change

rippeff04

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF RIPPLE EFFECT IMAGES

Kathy Swayze has loved photography since high school and has found inspiration in the work of Annie Griffiths, one of the first women to ever shoot for National Geographic. To Swayze, some of the photojournalist’s most moving images have featured women and girls across the developing world.

Kathy Swayze has loved photography since high school and has found inspiration in the work of Annie Griffiths, one of the first women to ever shoot for National Geographic. To Swayze, some of the photojournalist’s most moving images have featured women and girls across the developing world.

By coincidence, kismet, or happenstance—whatever you want to call it—Swayze and the legendary photographer found each other and have since been working together to rally for families living in regions hard hit by climate change.

(more…)

Rallying for the Best Year of a Little Boy’s Life

fall

PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE LEE AND ERIN BENSON

This is an excerpt from the first in a series of posts on Yahoo! Shine featuring Rally.org crowdfunding campaigns that we find especially moving and inspirational. Today’s story follows the Rally to give Sam Lee a fun, memorable, cross-country adventure

Meet Sam Lee. He’s a lot like other two-year-old boys. He loves tall buildings, sharks, safari animals, and dinosaurs. He lives in South Carolina where he rules the living room from his cardboard fort, that is, when he’s not watching Curious George cartoons. But before his first birthday, Sam was diagnosed with Ollier disease, a rare skeletal disorder, and in late July, Sam’s parents, Mike Lee and Erin Benson, found out that he has a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a type of large, inoperable brain tumor that affects mostly children.

Go to “This Week’s Rally for Good: How to Give a Little Boy the Best Year of His Life” to learn the rest of Sam’s story. 

The Power of Intention: Rallying for a Yoga Teacher and Her Son

clare&john

PHOTO COURTESY OF BETH SCHLANKER/THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Just about any yoga class begins with the instructor inviting everyone to “set an intention” for their practice: Essentially, contemplating what matters most to them and directing their behavior and attitudes in a way that matches these values.

In that spirit a student then takes these principles out of the studio and into the real world. For Linda Woodside, these values have involved rallying a community to support their respected teacher in a time of crisis.

(more…)

Barn-Raising and Rebuilding from the Ashes

barnanotherdayafter

THE BARN ON JANUARY 25, 2013, ONE DAY AFTER THE FIRE/ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF NICHOL MCGRANE

When Tropical Storm Irene swept through the mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S. in August 2011, it caused especially vicious damage in villages around the Catskill Mountains.

Prattsville, N.Y., bore some of the storm’s most devastating winds and rain. Close to the town’s overflowing Schoharie Creek stood Megan Fromer and Gabe Faure-Brac’s home.

(more…)

Project Headlight Rallies for Boston Marathon Amputees

projectheadlightphoto

After two bombs ripped through the crowds at this year’s Boston Marathon, Michele Wisch knew she had to help the relief effort. She had sprung into action for other causes, such as raising $75,000 for Habitat for Humanity in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina and volunteering with Make-A-Wish. But she didn’t want to rush into just any Boston-related campaign.

“There are so many people willing to open their hearts and open their wallets,” she said. “I felt very strongly that we needed to find the right partner doing something specific, something long-term” to benefit the bombing survivors.

(more…)