New regular feature: Inspiring stories of the week

I would like to implement a regular feature here, perhaps weekly. I often post inspiring articles on my Dream Into Change Facebook page. But, of course, Facebook shows them to very few followers; and besides, you may not be drawn to following me there. So, once a week or so I will plan to aggregate those stories/links and post them here (in the style of Bikeportland.org’s “Monday Roundup,” from which I often enjoy culling such tidbits).

Let’s take a look at what I’ve discovered this past week:

  • First, a story about volunteers in a Maryland prison who teach inmates how to knit. Among other things, the inmates make winter hats for people in the community who otherwise might not be able to afford them. This sort of endeavor is close to my heart, as I am just winding down a very fulfilling year of teaching Nonviolent Communication to violent offenders at the Oregon State Penitentiary. I know that volunteers of all stripes, and activities across a broad spectrum, can really help to turn around the lives of people who have made tragic mistakes and who want to learn new skills and begin to contribute to others, so I love reading about initiatives like this one.
  • In a somewhat related story, the BBC reported on a remarkable occurrence: “For the first time in living memory,” New York City recently experienced 24 hours without a single report of violent crime. Having grown up in the 1980s, hearing endless horror stories about New York, this is amazing to me. It gives me great hope of a future in which people will learn new ways of meeting their own needs without harming others.
  • New York is also becoming well known for transportation innovation, such as bicycling infrastructure; and I just found this intriguing article about some scientists at Stony Brook University who have found a way to harvest electricity from the vibrations of railroad trains. Awesome!
  • Finally, the Portland Tribune published a story about a church undergoing a major transition and having its members choose to shelter homeless people in their buildings and grow food for hungry people in a community garden. Personally, I am not religious, but I am very interested in learning about ways that people of faith – especially in mainline Protestant denominations whose membership numbers are dwindling as their congregations age – are finding creative ways to fulfill important community needs as a positive, concrete expression of their religious beliefs.

I hope you’ll enjoy this weekly feature! Feel free to share (constructive, please) comments on any of the articles, or to send me “news tips” of other items you may find. I’m especially interested in learning about, and sharing, stories of people doing innovative things to support the greater good, especially in regard to my four main areas of focus: 1) veganism and compassion toward animals; 2) sustainable energy and transportation; 3) Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and restorative justice; and 4) touch- and sex-positive culture.

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