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Thread: Ideas for Projects

  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Ideas for Projects

    Just wanted to start a sticky where folks could post ideas for Engaged Projects / Global Day of Service. Please keep in mind those who by virtue of circumstance, or for whatever reason, would like to volunteer online from their homes - ideas in this area are particularly welcome!

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 07-22-2012 at 02:56 AM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Here's are two opportunities where all that is required is a laptop:

    Amnesty International’s Freedom Writers program chooses three human rights cases each month that deserve your attention. The site gives you information and a sample letter with an address. If you support a particular cause, you can print and send the letter that Amnesty provides, or write your own. If you don’t see anything that moves you, check back each month for updates.

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/c...rs-appeal-case

    United Nations Online Volunteer website: opportunities to volunteer online in various UN/NGO/nonprofit subject areas and geographies. I have just started kicking around this website. Lots of good leads here.

    http://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en/index.html

    Gassho,
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 07-22-2012 at 03:44 AM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  3. #3
    Here's a great one that Dokan had listed in his family's "Metta in Motion" list for those wanting/needing to volunteer out of their homes:

    http://www.ebuddies.org/

    "e-Buddies is an e-mail pen pal program that pairs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in one-to-one e-mail friendships with peer volunteers who do not have intellectual or developmental disabilities."
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  4. #4
    Kaishin, I'm ALL over that one. Thank you for showing me this!
    _/\_
    Jigetsu

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    I had never heard of this Kaishin. What a great concept and piece to add to ones practice. Thank you.

    Gassho,
    Chris

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    Here's a great one that Dokan had listed in his family's "Metta in Motion" list for those wanting/needing to volunteer out of their homes:

    http://www.ebuddies.org/

    "e-Buddies is an e-mail pen pal program that pairs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in one-to-one e-mail friendships with peer volunteers who do not have intellectual or developmental disabilities."

  6. #6
    Just a heads up, there is a $50 membership fee for eBuddies.
    _/\_
    Jigetsu

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Paying an upfront fee may not be possible or desirable for some individuals, but the idea of engaging in correspondence with others is a great idea! I have also been looking at Prison Dharma Network and letter writing exchanges with inmates. San Francisco Zen Center and Austin Zen Center have well-established pen pal programs with institutions in their own states. I'm looking into finding ways that Treeleafers can do this from home..... they also have a book program where one can send books on meditation to inmates... another good idea.... have a look at the link below.....

    http://www.prisondharmanetwork.org/

    I am certain that many countries in the UK and Europe may have similar writing programs for those who are incarcerated.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  8. #8
    I am planning on spending more time at my local hardware co-op. We take in old computers, refurbish what we can, responsibly recycle what we can't, and give computers to non-profits, the under privileged, and volunteers. We are loosely affiliated with the Free Geek project (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Geek)

    The co-op I go to is http://richmondcomputes.org/

    Full Disclosure: I am part of the Governance Board && the longest active member.

    There are projects like this in many cities around the world, just find a local nerd and ask
    --Washu
    和 Harmony
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    "Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body" George Carlin Roshi

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Hi all!

    This is a small list of things I do and some new ideas that might give you a little something to do if you aren't able to donate money.

    I post this because sometimes financial issues arise and we shell ourselves inside our problems and we tend to forget there still needs to fulfill in the world.

    Anyway here it goes:

    • Teach something you know. This is something I've done for a long time now. I dislike teaching... but people say I'm good at it, so I do it. These days I teach English to kids whose parent's can't afford an English School. My English is not perfect, but passing on what I know is better than not speak English at all.
    • Give work and knowledge. If you do something on your work that can benefit people, do so. I am a web designer and have a web hosting service, so I thought of hosting and designing websites for non-profits, writers and activists.
    • Prepare meals for those in need. There is a saying here that goes "When there's more people to feed, put more water to the beans".
    • Do something for a public place. Not much to say here. Dokan is the living example of this. I do this for the park I go running.
    • Never forget the elder. We tend to ignore them, but small things like talking are big for people that have been forgotten.


    This is a small list, but it will grow... as soon as I finish waking up.
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Justin,
    Thank you - you raise some ideas for projects I hadn't thought of - very neat! Asking local geeks and "those in the know" may yield lots of information regarding local needs and projects....

    Kyonin,
    My youngest son and I volunteer every Saturday afternoon at the local Hunger Prevention Program/Food Bank by contributing food items and spending an hour or two helping to put together boxes of food for drop-off to folks who are homebound. I am going to add a few hours every other week delivering food packages to homes. Visiting and conversing with folks who are homebound is a lot of fun and lends support to those who are lonely.... your ideas are helping me think about what I do....

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  11. #11
    I don't know if this qualifies, seems like it should, but: animal shelters. Don't forget our animal friends out there we're sharing the world with. At many shelters you can volunteer to do simple things like walk the dogs, even just play with them; many humane society shelters also give on the option of fostering animals and helping to socialize them with either people or other animals.

  12. #12
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Thank you for mentioning this alan.r. It is a very important effort. Most animal shelters and rescue organizations have been struggling along with all humans in this poor economy.

    Gassho,
    Chris

  13. #13
    Treeleaf Unsui Daido's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    Paying an upfront fee may not be possible or desirable for some individuals, but the idea of engaging in correspondence with others is a great idea! I have also been looking at Prison Dharma Network and letter writing exchanges with inmates. San Francisco Zen Center and Austin Zen Center have well-established pen pal programs with institutions in their own states. I'm looking into finding ways that Treeleafers can do this from home..... they also have a book program where one can send books on meditation to inmates.Gassho
    Yugen
    This seems like a good program worthy of Treeleaf and our bohdisattva path. On the other side while helping those who have made bad decisions we may also want to consider helping those who have made good ones and in some cases ultimate ones like C.O.P.S (Concerns of Police survivors) which is a charity that helps the families that have lost a loved one who has died in the line of duty. Many organizations, especially related to law enforcements often hold charity events such as 10k races, golf tournaments or even a "send in your recycled cell phone" program in which all the proceeds go to the families. Maybe some of these programs would meet treeleaf's charity requirements and could be considered. I am sure our tech savvy members would have old electronics and this option could be considered for any charity of our sangha's choosing.

    Gassho,

    Daido


  14. #14
    For those in the US, here is a directory of food banks:

    http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  15. #15
    I volunteer for a great program called Cops for Cancer here on the Vancouver Island (http://www.cancer.ca). It is also across Canada for us Canucks.

    Gassho
    Michael
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  16. #16
    Hi there - I've been thinking about projects that Treeleaf members who are housebound might be able to engage in - that isn't laptop/computer focused.

    All charities need money and most have regular events - bazars/table top sales/raffles etc where they raise money.

    Making items/donating items is one way to contribute. Art/craft based projects are a great way to support charities. Lots of charities encourage people to have tea parties at home to raise money - providing leaflets and collection boxes. Perhaps have a tea party and a sale at the same time.

    Another scheme (based in the UK but would think this is an international venture) is 'the box scheme'. This is run byu the Rotary Club \in the UK). The boxes are distributed to be filled with items suitable for young children (toys) teenagers (Toiletry items) adults, etc. It's possible to make the filling of the boxes very personal, (For example, knit a scarf rather than buy one, decorate items, etc). The UK venture distributes thousands of boxes to orphanages, care homes etc in the Baltic states. For some children, this will be the first time they have received a present, or toy.

    I find it sobering to be reminded that a bar of soap, or tube of toothpaste is precious for some people who have so little compared to myself.

    I am going to pay for any items from a thrift box - as a reminder to myself not to be wasteful - just small reminders - like do I really need an extra fan on in the house - do I really need to send that text, or phone from the mobile when I can make a free landline call.

    This would also be a good project to involve friends/family in. See how many volunteers can be organised to fill boxes.

    Gassho

    Willow

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Hello all,
    Please have a look at this article on CNN.... a marvelous concept started in Florida.... many ideas contained within.... you may find it of help. I wonder if we can organize a similar effort?

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/05/us/cnn...x.html?eref=ft

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  18. #18
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    I'm currently working on several community projects for the same village. Just today we formally launched a feeding program for the local elementary school, which targets 55 malnourished schoolchildren between the ages of 5 and 12 who have been identified as "severely wasted". Yes, that was the term the principal used. Not undernourished, not underweight - severely wasted. I'll put up a video one of these days.

    EDIT: Okay, here's the video. Hope this works.
    https://plus.google.com/115913884288929529587/videos

    Also, for this saturday we're going to relaunch the reading program that I helped start two years ago. Now I just need to look for volunteer readers to read to the kids. We're also gonna be planting in the school's vegetable patch by the end of the month. Hopefully, the harvest will be enough to supplement the feeding program. Then there's the livelihood assistance that I hope will help the parents of the kids as well as the other residents to earn a decent living.
    Last edited by pinoybuddhist; 08-06-2012 at 06:28 AM.

  19. #19
    Hey Rafael,

    Lovely. Very rewarding to see tangible results I would imagine. Is this part of a program or just a local effort?

    Thanks for sharing,

    Gassho,

    Dokan
    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
    ~Anas Nin

  20. #20
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    It's a joint effort involving the school, the parent-teacher association, the resort I work in (it's located right in the village and the school is just across the street), and the foundation that my dad helped to set up a long time ago. Dad actually started a feeding program in that village around 2004, using funds from the foundation and (knowing him) most probably his own wallet. Stuff happened however, and by the time he died last year, he was the last remaining member of the original board of trustees. The micro-lending program, which was one of its major sources of revenues, had already been stopped years before because the people couldn't pay the loans - after dad's death both feeding and reading programs for the kids were stopped as well. Anyway, my brother and I are going to bring the org back to life.

  21. #21
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    For the GDS, I'm thinking of volunteering to teach some basic yoga poses (for free) for our local community up in the mountain (the one I mentioned in the posts above). I'm not a yoga "master" (there goes that M word again!) or even a licensed teacher. I just know a few basic stuff like surya namaskar A and B, moon salutation, some balance poses, and the corpse pose. And that's all I intend to do - just show them the stuff that I've learned from videos, books, and the occasional yoga class. What do you guys think? Any yogis/yoginis here with some suggestions?

  22. #22
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Some really great projects appear to be taking shape.

    I've also been working on my project the last few weeks and things are looking really promising. We have an alternative high school adjacent to my office that I used to teach at years ago. The students at this school haven't been successful in traditional classrooms and many already have criminal records and broken homes, so this school is designed to meet the special needs of these teens. Several years ago, I played a bit of chess and during that time I got to know a gentlemen who had created an organization that uses chess, martial arts and hip-hop music to illustrate the power that our decisions have. So to tie the whole thing together I'm in the process of implementing a chess program at the high school that will be followed-up some time in October or November by an on-site chess tournament put on by the Hip Hop Chess Federation. My goal is to get chess into the classrooms on a daily basis at our alternative high school. Once this is done, I'd really like to work on getting a chess program into at least one elementary school and have been working a little on getting those materials as well.

    This is something that I've wanted to do for a few years now, but only now am putting the energy into.

    Here's a picture from an event last weekend in the Bay Area here put on by the Hip Hop Chess Federation called "Rock The Bells". Those who follow hip-hop might recognize RZA from Wu-Tang Clan on the left.
    RZA and Hector playing chess at Rock The Bells.jpg

    Gassho,
    Chris

  23. #23
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinoybuddhist View Post
    For the GDS, I'm thinking of volunteering to teach some basic yoga poses (for free) for our local community up in the mountain (the one I mentioned in the posts above). I'm not a yoga "master" (there goes that M word again!) or even a licensed teacher. I just know a few basic stuff like surya namaskar A and B, moon salutation, some balance poses, and the corpse pose. And that's all I intend to do - just show them the stuff that I've learned from videos, books, and the occasional yoga class. What do you guys think? Any yogis/yoginis here with some suggestions?

    Great idea! Maybe add a some supine poses after the balance poses to balance out the body and to prepare them for shavasana.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  24. #24
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by christhatischris View Post
    Some really great projects appear to be taking shape.

    I've also been working on my project the last few weeks and things are looking really promising. We have an alternative high school adjacent to my office that I used to teach at years ago. The students at this school haven't been successful in traditional classrooms and many already have criminal records and broken homes, so this school is designed to meet the special needs of these teens. Several years ago, I played a bit of chess and during that time I got to know a gentlemen who had created an organization that uses chess, martial arts and hip-hop music to illustrate the power that our decisions have. So to tie the whole thing together I'm in the process of implementing a chess program at the high school that will be followed-up some time in October or November by an on-site chess tournament put on by the Hip Hop Chess Federation. My goal is to get chess into the classrooms on a daily basis at our alternative high school. Once this is done, I'd really like to work on getting a chess program into at least one elementary school and have been working a little on getting those materials as well.

    This is something that I've wanted to do for a few years now, but only now am putting the energy into.

    Here's a picture from an event last weekend in the Bay Area here put on by the Hip Hop Chess Federation called "Rock The Bells". Those who follow hip-hop might recognize RZA from Wu-Tang Clan on the left.
    RZA and Hector playing chess at Rock The Bells.jpg

    Gassho,
    Chris
    Awesome!

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  25. #25
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    One thing I'm going to do is donate blood--the blood banks around here really need it and I haven't done it since I moved here some five years ago.

    Gassho

    Jen
    The result is not the point; it is the effort to improve ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice. --Shunryu Suzuki

  26. #26
    Wonderful ideas, thank you everyone. One thing that has come to me today for a "specific" project is visiting elderly folks and folks who are close to leaving this world.

    The reason why I say this is my granny, who has been a major role in my life, is not doing well and the day is getting closer. So I am with her now and knowing my granny is a animal lover like myself, I decided to bring my dog Bodhi into the hospital. I have to say it was amazing to see and feel all the smiles that came upon those sad faces. It made my heart sing to see the joy my little Bodhi was bringing as get got his back scratched.

    That moment my little Bodhi showed his calling and I think might be mine. So I have decided that when I get back home, I am going to get involved with the local hospital and hospice to bring Bodhi in to share the experience of just being in the moment with that cute little fur ball.

    Gassho
    Michael

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  27. #27
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Great one Michael.

    Assisted Animal Therapy is a great way to spread joy to a lot of folks that have spent way-too long in hospitals and care facilities. There are some wonderful organizations out there that will help you get your dog certified to do this. Many facilities allow only certified service animals. Delta Society which is now being called Pet Partners is a well known organization that might be able to help.

    Belly rubs for Bodhi.

    Gassho.
    Chris

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by christhatischris View Post
    Great one Michael.

    Assisted Animal Therapy is a great way to spread joy to a lot of folks that have spent way-too long in hospitals and care facilities. There are some wonderful organizations out there that will help you get your dog certified to do this. Many facilities allow only certified service animals. Delta Society which is now being called Pet Partners is a well known organization that might be able to help.

    Belly rubs for Bodhi.

    Gassho.
    Chris
    Thanks Chris ... Yes I will love into certifying Bodhi as he seems to be a natural and connected well with everyone.

    Gassho
    Michael

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  29. #29
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai View Post
    Great idea! Maybe add a some supine poses after the balance poses to balance out the body and to prepare them for shavasana.

    Gassho,
    Ekai
    Good thinking. Well, I only know the bridge pose... then there's the one where it's like a bridge pose but the hands are extended into a backbend.

  30. #30
    Blood donation is a good idea... I'm going to look for volunteer opportunities through work as well.

  31. #31
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    I'd love to give blood (I'm a type O). Problem is, I get refused because of my tattoo.

  32. #32
    Just to underline, if I may ...

    ... it would be good if the projects took all day or most of a day, not just a brief giving, maybe a day's doing you can do together with family and loved ones. Maybe put the blood donation at the end of the day ... so not too tiring!

    Really make a day of it!|

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #33
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Jundo wrote: maybe a day's doing you can do together with family and loved ones....

    There are family practices and activities that we will be talking more about on the Engaged Projects Forum in preparation for Vesak - for now what a great day it would be to plant trees, maintain and clean a trail, or pick up a park or shoreline! For Global Service I will be taking my eight-year-old son out on a day-long island clean-up on the Maine Island Trail. I really want to share with my son our most basic and important teaching - our connectedness to all sentient beings - trees, mountains, oceans, people, animals. We are all responsible for one another.

    Right now I am planning on at least two activities - one will be to spend a day volunteering at the local Hunger Prevention Program, and the other will be to participate in clean-up and maintenance activities on several islands in the midcoast Maine region.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  34. #34
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Good ideas. Thanks.
    迎 Geika

  35. #35
    Member glow's Avatar
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    I pretty much have to work out of my home, so I will be knitting warm winter scarves to donate to our local Senior Center Thrift Shop. Also will look into telephone work for our wonderful, free spay & neuter clinic for low income people & seniors. It's called S.N.A.P., I've worked a bit with them in the past, & think I'm ready to do some on-going work for them again. I will also donate a bit more money than the usual tiny bit that I can afford.

    Thank you all for your helpful ideas. This is a great project.

    Gassho,

    Glow

  36. #36
    Member glow's Avatar
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    Sorry - should have said free spay & neuter clinic for the PETS of low income people & seniors. LOL.

    Glow

  37. #37
    Member glow's Avatar
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    Sorry - should have said free spay & neuter clinic for the PETS of low income people & seniors.

    Glow
    Last edited by glow; 09-14-2012 at 05:12 AM.

  38. #38
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    I am planning to join a work bee at my Unitarian community on the 22nd. They also need some help with the website (which I built and maintained for a few years), so will look into the code for them. The following week, they are starting a knitting project (I have no details yet, but I suppose it is for the homeless), so will join that, too.
    Other things I'd like to do on the 22nd is a good cleanup around a couple of blocks in the neighbourhood, and take new flowers and some TLC to the ghostbike memorial for Isaak. I liked the idea of blood donation, but I am not eligible in Canada.
    --- In every moment of our sitting all beings are receiving the ultimate help; they are all achieving perfect peace and perfect rest. --- Norman Fischer

  39. #39
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Nindo and Glow, These are great ideas.... please let us know how things go!

    Nindo, have you looked into the Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Fellowship? Just curious.

    Glow, thanks for sharing your project ideas. We have members who work and practice from home so this is very encouraging to them, and to all of us.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  40. #40
    Member glow's Avatar
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    Hi, I know this thread is a year old, but one great at-home project that I'm still working at is counting cancer cells on Zooniverse.com. I got the idea here at Treeleaf, & it's something anyone can do. You can do as many or as few slides as you're able to, and it's a great way to help the scientists at Oxford work on a cure for breast cancer. Zooniverse also has many other great projects that we can help with on-line & from home.

    Gassho,

    Glow

  41. #41
    Glow,

    Just looked at the website. Great idea! I shall have a go.

    Gassho,

    Simon

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by glow View Post
    Hi, I know this thread is a year old, but one great at-home project that I'm still working at is counting cancer cells on Zooniverse.com. I got the idea here at Treeleaf, & it's something anyone can do. You can do as many or as few slides as you're able to, and it's a great way to help the scientists at Oxford work on a cure for breast cancer. Zooniverse also has many other great projects that we can help with on-line & from home.

    Gassho,

    Glow
    Wonderful suggestion, Glow. Our next "Global Day of Service" is coming up, and this may be a wonderful suggestion for particularly our members who are homebound and cannot get out to volunteer.

    Thank you. Please suggest it again when the next Day of Service comes.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  43. #43
    I have just elected to undergo virtual training on this website:

    http://www.humanityroad.org/Volunteer

    It is a website where volunteers collects help save lives by collecting and confirming key information emerging from a disaster. From my understanding it is web based so may be handy for those stuck at home. If anyone is interested I am happy to let people know how good the website is once I have undergone my orientation training in November.

    another useful website is www.helpfromhome.org, which posts advertisements on a variety of different web based volunteering activities.

    Hope people find these useful.

    Gassho,

    simon.

  44. #44
    Senior Member Bunny's Avatar
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    I found some charities I want to help via the helpfromhome site-thanks!

  45. #45
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Yes, Simon thank you so much for the helpfrom home site. It is wonderful! I also found some things I would like to do.

    Gassho,
    Kelly/Jinmei

  46. #46
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    This article appeared in The Atlantic magazine - a course taught by Pete Singer at Princeton regarding "Practical Ethics." He discusses charitable donations - it is worth a read. From a Buddhist perspective, intention is an important thing - many wealthy Americans engage in charitable giving - and one can't help but wonder if this pattern would change if it were not part of a capital management / tax minimization strategy - many Americans in the working and middle classes give substantially more as a percentage of income. The question of why we contribute time and money - as well as where our contributions are most effective - is an important one. Have a look at this article as you consider the next Global Service period....! Thank you -

    Deep bows
    Yugen

    http://www.theatlantic.com/education...ors_picks=true
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  47. #47
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Thank you Yugen.

    Gassho
    Seimyo

    明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

  48. #48
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Cincinnati Ohio Area (Northern Kentucky)
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    Interesting read. Thank you.

    Gassho,


    Shugen
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

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