Project Taillight

Project Taillight seeks to connect low-income residents with proactive headlight, taillight, license plate light, and/or turn signal repair services for free. Students of the Columbus State Automotive Technology program provide labor for this innovative public safety and crime prevention program. Because non-violent crimes are more often linked to poverty and lack of opportunity, this program reduces the need for residents and police to interact over minor violations.

Photo retrieved from columbusunderground.com

The goal of the program is to reduce minor traffic violations, allowing police to focus on more violent crime, while also reducing the number of times residents are pulled over along the side of the road for non-violent crimes. Additionally, it is a way for Columbus State students to give back to the community.

Some repairs have proven greater than the students can manage, but they work to coordinate assistance. They have interactions with the residents and learn how to provide customer service. The program has a $50,000 budget and also received a $25,000 contribution from the Columbus Department of Public Safety general fund. They hope to grow and expand.

For more information, please click here.

Story shared by Leslie Hatch Gail, USA

Middleton’s Village to Village: Making “Junkers” Run Again

Eliot Middleton donated his first vehicle in January of 2020. Since then, he has given away 90 more to people that need cars. Eliot worked on the cars during his off days and donated his first car to a mother of a disabled child who needed the car for regular hospital visits. According to Eliot, the woman decided to pay it forward. She got a job, bought a new car, and will donate the car given to her by Eliot back to him.

Photo retrieved from goodlivingguide.com

In November of 2020, a foundation was started called Middleton’s Village to Village. The foundation is run via the foundations’ Facebook page with support from friends and family.

A lesson that learned from Eliot’s story is that good deeds inspire more good deeds.

For more information, please click here.

Story shared by Tressa Greer, USA

21 Days of Peace: Pilot Program to Deter Crime

A grieving Minneapolis community is asking for information that will lead to the gunmen who killed two children and seriously injured another. KG Wilson’s 6-year-old granddaughter, Aniya Allen, was the last of the three children shot in the head and the first to die. KG Wilson is on his bullhorn and passing out flyers, looking for justice and closure for his family and the others impacted by gun violence in the community. Nine-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith took her last breath Thursday night. Ladavionne Garrett Jr. was shot 29 days ago and is still fighting to recover.

Photo retrieved from minnesota.cbslocal.com

21 Days of Peace” officially kicks off Friday night. Church and community members are combining efforts to patrol high-crime areas to be a presence, as well as to offer resources for those in need.

A community that has issues with poverty and oppression are able to mobilize for a common cause and able to gain support or organizations.

For more information, please click here.

Story shared by, MoDena Stinette, USA

Liberating Lawns: Addressing systemic oppression in the food system

Cheyenne Sundance is a 23-year-old advocate for urban farming. Sundance began Growing in the Margins so that people like her affected by the systemic oppression in the food system can grow their own food. In 2019, Sundance began a 12-week free mentorship program that trains low-income urban youth in the art of urban agriculture. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Sundance launched the Liberating Lawns to address food insecurity within Toronto. Liberating Lawns matches individuals who want to grow food but lack space with people with gardens to spare.

Photo retrieved from OptimistDaily.com

Many people enrolled in the mentorship program so that the initial plot behind the church was no longer enough. As a result, Sundance’s initiative took over a greenhouse within the city, a year-round urban farm. It is hoped that farming education given to the youth will be a seed of revolution that will address that oppression within the food system.

This initiative addressed the inequities in the food system by mentoring urban youth in urban agriculture and also by linking those interested in urban farming but without space, with those with space to spare.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Million Gardens Movement: Plant a Garden For Every Household Living in a Food Desert

The million gardens movement is a charitable and educational initiative that hopes to combat food insecurity and malnutrition. Begun by Kimbal Musk, the movement hopes to accomplish this goal by putting a garden in every household. The little green gardens are ready to use, they come with a customized growing plan and online lessons and activities to support the growth of relevant at-home vegetable and fruit gardens. A donation of ten dollars enables the movement to put these gardens in homes and in classrooms.

Photo retrieved from MillionGardensMovement.org

5,000 gardens have already been distributed. The community is engaged by either donating ten dollars to give a garden to a family, those already gardening sign up to join the movement, or read and contribute to the blog and tell other gardeners about it.

This initiative will provide fresh vegetables and vegies for families living in food deserts. Families will be empowered to grow and tend their fresh food. Besides, families also learn about different spaces within their homes that can house vegetable gardens.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Google-backed drones drop library books so kids in Virginia can do their summer reading

Kelly Passek, a librarian at Montgomery County School District in VA, came up with the idea of having drones deliver library books to encourage more kids to read from the safety of their homes. Passek could receive the book orders from the children, find the books from different libraries, package them, and deliver them to the Wing facility for the drones to deliver them.

Photo retrieved from washingtonpost.com

Wing library book delivery was/is available to nearly 600 students within Christiansburg, VA, which makes it possible for the students to get free reading materials.

This innovation kept alive the interest to read by making available the reading materials during the lockdown. It was also hoped that the innovation of drone-delivered books would instill the desire to read in more kids.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here or at msergon@my.nl.edu

Avivo opens Avivo Village the nation’s first indoor tiny home community for individuals experiencing homelessness

Avivo Village, an indoor community of 100 secure, private dwellings or “tiny houses” created to provide shelter to individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, opened in Minneapolis’ North Loop Neighborhood on March 8, 2021. Avivo Village was created as a COVID-era means to shelter individuals in a socially distant, dignified way. Residents will have access to Avivo’s unique combination of recovery services, mental health services, and career education and employment services.

In December, a preliminary opening of Avivo Village provided indoor housing for 16 initial residents — many of whom have since found housing while working with Avivo’s housing case managers. As of April 16, nearly 70 residents were housed in Avivo Village’s tiny home community.

Picture retrieved from Freethink

One major inequity in Minnesota’s homeless community is a disproportionate number of Native Americans experiencing homelessness compared to Minnesota’s population as a whole (11% in 2019 of surveyed homeless via hmismn.org compared to 1.4% of MN population via Census.gov in 2019). Avivo Village was created in partnership with the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and the state of Minnesota – but also with a strong partnership between Avivo and the White Earth Nation and the Red Lake Nation, to ensure a welcoming community.

Story submitted by Aaron Shaffer, United States of America

More info here or at aaron.shaffer@avivomn.org

Chicago Couple Cancelled Their Wedding But Used $5,000 Catering Deposit To Feed People in need

Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis of Chicago had to cancel their big wedding because of COVID-19, but their cancellation uplifted the needy. This happened after the couple asked if the caterer could convert their wedding food into donated thanksgiving dinners for those in need. Consequently, 200 thanksgiving meals were served to Threshold clients, who are individuals with mental health and substance use challenges.

Thresholds’ clients had a thanksgiving meal. The CEO of Threshold said the donation was truly needed because their clients were not likely to have a thanksgiving meal in 2020 due to financial constraints brought upon by the pandemic. The donated food uplifted the clients’ spirits, warmed the givers’ hearts and enhanced the community spirit.

There are creative ways of giving, even and especially during challenging times.

Illustration: Elena Scotti/The Guardian

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here

Moving Company Helps Victims of Domestic Violence Leave Abusive Homes at no cost

College Hunks is a hauling company that in 2020 began free haulings services to people fleeing domestic abuse situations. Since the recent launch of this program, College Hunks has completed 100 moves for those fleeing unsafe conditions in both U.S. and Canada. The company saw this need as a priority because they said the lockdown mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic exposed individuals to increased abuse. The procedure of how to apply for this service is outlined on College & Hunks website.

There were 100 individuals moved from an abusive situation to safety and no cost to them. Humans have endless creative ideas for meeting their myriad challenges- new and old.

Picture retrieved from Good News Network

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here

New Jersey Teens Take Matters into Their Own Hands to Help First Responders and Small

Two teenagers,16-year-old Drew and 13-year-old Heather Paglia created a GoFund to help local businesses and health care workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The idea was to raise money to help small businesses and healthcare heroes. Since they created the crowdfunding page, the teens have raised $2,250 and they still hope to reach their goal of $20,000.

One hospital was able to purchase gift cards to give to those being released from the hospital to provide food and make sure they stay at home.

This story brings an important lesson on creative ways to support local businesses.

Picture by Cindy Paglia, retrieved from Good News Network

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

More info here or at msergon@my.nl.edu