wouldn't you love it if . . .


teens had some compassion?

Well, here’s a story about some teens who really did manage to think about how they’d feel in someone else’s shoes.

An average teen who lives in Ravenscroft in the North Carolina Appalachian Mountains, Krissi Fajgenbaum has helped thousands of low-income teens to look and feel their best. She got the inspiration after watching a documentary about the poverty and unemployment in the nearby community of Robbinsville.

“In tenth grade I watched Diane Sawyer’s “20/20” documentary on children of the Appalachians and the poverty in which they live. I was devastated to learn that this kind of poverty exists right here in NC, only five hours away from where I live, and was compelled to start Teens 2 Teens,” says Fajgenbaum.

The organization takes donations of used clothing from teens. The clothes are sorted and cleaned by teens. The shop, called Krissi’s Kloset, is run by teens. “All teenagers have the same wants and needs no matter who they are or where they come from,” says Krissi. “Teens want to feel good about themselves. They want to feel self confident and they want to fit in. By offering teens in need gently used clothing, they can feel good about themselves at school and feel more confident and comfortable when they go on class trips and college visits.” And so, the teens in need are allowed to shop for free. That’s right, the clothes and shoes are FREE.

Krissi is now in college,  a freshman biomedical engineering major at UNC Chapel Hill and a Robertson Scholar – you might think she would be busy pledging a sorority, or trying out for teams or drama, or just studying hard. But, busy as she is, she still makes time to work with Teens 2 Teens, providing those in need with a sustainable way to receive clothing, shoes, and accessories that have been gently used by others. And, in July 2010, Teens 2 Teens partnered with Communities In Schools of North Carolina in an effort to reach and provide clothing to at risk teens in the Appalachians. Our first joint effort  is a shop for free boutique in Bryson City which is centrally located in the Appalachian Mountain Region of NC. This boutique, also called Krissi’s Kloset, will provide clothes and shoes to  needy teens in eight counties in the NC Appalachians.

As pointed out on the website, most high schools have a community service requirement. Also, most colleges look very favorably upon an effort that meets a local need but does not garner lots of attention. They’d rather see someone work to combat a problem that to get credit for the hours. Well, Krissi started out that way, but has not shunned the attention, and the increased donations that brings. She and Teens 2 Teens have been featured in People Magazine and Cary Magazine, on Good Morning America’s AmeriCAN segment, and as ABC 11 Person of the Week on her local station. Still, Krissi has not let her 15 minutes of fame go to her head. She urges others to

Start a chapter of Teens 2 Teens at your school. Small towns all over America have been hit especially hard by the poor economy. Unemployment is high which means many teens are going without basics such as jeans, sweaters,  coats, and shoes. Contact me to learn how to start a partnership with a school in need. I hope you will consider starting a chapter at your school

 

 

 

And according to the Donations page on the Teens 2 Teens website;

All donations are extremely appreciated and will go to needy students who desperately need them.  

 Please remember to include your name and address with your package so we can send you your tax-deduction form.

Please send your donations to:

Krissi’s Kloset

CIS of Swain County

100 Brendle Street

Bryson City, NC 28713

 or you can contact Krissi herself at krissi@teens2teens.net.

I encourage you all to donate, clothes, shoes, accessories, or money.  And to Krissi Fajgenbaum,

Rock on!

 


you could get water out of thin air?

Now, someone has. In future, you will too.

An Australian designer from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne is the winner of the 2011 James Dyson Award for his “Airdrop” – a low-cost, low-maintenance technology for farming in arid areas.  (You may remember that, James Dyson revolutionized the vacuum cleaner with his stronger vacuum pump.) Both Linacre and Swinburne University of Technology received checks for  £10,000. Dyson, said Edward Linacre’s invention “shows how simple, natural principles such as the condensation of water can be applied to good effect through skilled design and robust engineering.”

Asked what inspired him to create water from air, Linacre said,

The effects of climate change on Australia are accelerating at an alarming rate. . .  the worst drought in a century, lasting 12 years and resulting in irreversible damage to ecosystems, widespread wildlife decline and catastrophic bushfire conditions. Agriculture suffered record losses. An alarming figure of 1 rancher/farmer a week was taking their own life, as years of drought resulted in failed crops, mounting debt and decaying towns. . . The southwest corner of the country has experienced its driest year to date. Scientific projections indicate as temperatures continue to increase so too will the severity, frequency and duration of droughts worldwide.

 

While there are various atmospheric water harvesting technologies that exist today, most are high-tech and expensive  – out of reach for most small farmers. And so, Linacre’s invention, which “is a low-tech, self sufficient solar powered solution; the pipe construction was born through investigations into the principles of air-flow. . . other elements include the turbine – designed to maximize air intake, to operate freely in high wind and switch to battery power in low wind.” So, farmers can use the Airdrop under almost any conditions, and without spending money for the energy to run it. The solar pump uses natural, free energy – the same energy used to grow the crops.

Linacre explained how it works on the Dyson Awards Winner Page,

Moisture is harvested out of the air to irrigate crops by an efficient system that produces large amounts of condensation. A turbine intake drives air underground through a network of piping that rapidly cools the air to the temperature of the soil where it reaches 100% humidity and produces water. The water is then stored in an underground tank and pumped through to the roots of crops via sub surface drip irrigation hosing. The Airdrop system also includes an LCD screen that displays tank water levels, pressure strength, solar battery life and system health.

 

For those like me who are low-tech ourselves, that means taking air and cooling it in pipe networks until the water comes out of it.Farmers can install and maintain the unit themselves. Linacre’s prototype, installed in his “mum’s backyard,” made about 1 liter of water each day. This proves that the concept works, and the award will hopefully allow creation of a commercial model for farm use, since that was Linacre’s goal. Could this finally be a way for farmers to have water for their crops without any boundary or waterway issues and without drought concerns?

All across Australia farmers are waiting with baited breath. And I am waiting, hoping for it to be available in drought stricken areas all over the world. Meanwhile, I say to Edward Linacre of Australia,

Rock on!



teenagers could find something useful to do? part 2

I saw a headline just briefly as I clicked past the news feed. By the time I got back, the link was gone. But, I went to the laregest search engine and wrote in what I thought the headline said, “High School Students Build A Farmer’s Market In A Food Desert.” Turns out I have a pretty darn good memory, because that exact headline appeared and I read the whole story this time.

The folks in Bertie County, North Carolina are apparently just like the rest of us – “largely obese .” I would not have intended, and do not intend, the pun! Anyhow, it’s an agricultural county, which you would think means that they have access to lots of high quality, farm-fresh produce. Except they don’t. Because Bertie County grows tobacco, cotton, peanuts, and soy that are sent away. So, two teachers,  Emily Pilloton and  Matthew Miller led a class of high school students in designing and building a  farmer’s market . Their program is called Studio H, which the website describes as:

  a different kind of classroom. Studio H is a public high school “design/build” curriculum that sparks rural community development through real-world, built projects. Over the course of one calendar year, students earn high school and college credit, and are paid a summer wage to build the community project they have spent the year designing and prototyping. We design, build, and transform.

So, in this case, the students combined their design and building skills with the solution to a community problem: no access to fresh grown fruits and vegetables. The idea for the farmer’s market pavilion came from both the students and the local community. “It was something the town wanted,” explains Pilloton. The pavilion is the third project from Studio H students, and their first large-scale project.

And, because the idea came from the students and their community, the teachers noticed that the kids were more dedicated to the project. When asked about plans for next year, Emily Pilloton said that she wants the idea to come from the students, so that they can “find something that they’re going to be passionate about.”

Teenagers who would otherwise be bored all summer, high school and college credits, wages, a farmer’s market and dedication.

Rock on!