Thursday, September 9, 2010

I want to be slam-dunked smack, dab into the middle of heaven

Dwight Howard in action at the Orlando Magic v...Image via Wikipedia
Kay Kellogg has Stage 3 Multiple Myeloma an aggressive cancer that's slowly killing her.   An ex-ballet dancer, few things perk her up these days like watching Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard play basketball.

"Whenever I watch him play, he just makes me feel good inside.  He is just such a precious, wonderful kid", she says.

Few weeks ago, her daughter contacted Orlando Magic and told them about her mother's last wish: To meet Dwight Howard.  

They obliged and the 4ft-11 Kay finally met her hero, 7ft tall Dwight.    They connected right away and Dwight ended up staying for much longer than the planned 30 minutes.  

He wanted to know why he was the only one on her bucket list.    "Because some people get a choir that sings them into heaven and some people get a chariot that rolls them into heaven. Not me. I want to be slam-dunked smack, dab into the middle of heaven by Dwight Howard" was her reply.

As he was leaving, she noted that he was much taller than her.   "No," Dwight replied, "you are taller than me because your spirit lifts you up."

Class act,  Dwight.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I shook the hand of the enemy: The power of music [Video]

TrumpetImage via Wikipedia
Here is a World War 2 story that speaks to the power of music.  On a dark, rainy night,  two weeks after D-Day, Capt. Jack Leroy Tueller wanted to play his trumpet.  His Commander reminded him that there was still one German sniper left in the vicinity.

Jack thought to himself that the German sniper was probably as lonely as he was and decided to play the trumpet anyway.  He chose a German love song.  

The next morning, among the German prisoners getting ready to be shipped to England, one kept asking, "Who played that trumpet?"  When the pair finally met,  the German sniper sobbed and told Jack, "I was reminded of my fiancee and my mother.  I couldn't fire".     

To quote Jack, "He stuck out his hand and I shook the hand of the enemy.  He was no enemy.  He was scared and lonely like me.  The power of music."

Wow.  Check out Capt. Jack Leroy Tueller's interview where he plays the song.  The haunting trumpet will take you back to that dark, rainy night.

What would it take to fund every California teacher's wish list?

"Teacher Appreciation" featured phot...Image via Wikipedia
You have probably heard of   Its an online charity where public school teachers from all over the country can submit requests for mini grants.  Donors can then pick projects that interest them and can donate as little $1 (Insert a Starbucks latte reference here).   

Its a really cool idea and they allow donors to follow their favorite projects and even get updates from the class (if you donated more than $100).   

Essentially, its a site that primarily relies on small donations from mom and pop donors.  

Imagine then the shock, when DonorsChoose Founder & CEO Charles Best got a phone call asking "What would it take to fund every California teacher's wish list?"

The caller was Hilda Yao and the answer was $1.3 million.     She was representing a fund honoring the daughter of the founder of Bank of America (Claire Giannini Hoffman).  

2,233 class projects stand to benefit.  Highlights include,
  • "digital camera to replace one that still used floppy disks"
  • "$1,000 licensing rights to a software program the teacher knew worked for kids"
  • "25 netbook laptops to create a traveling computer lab for her school"
You can find the full story here.