Miami Vignettes are very short stories about interesting aspects of life in South Florida that RISE NEWS finds in the community while reporting on other things. Sometimes little stories can have a big impact. Share yours with us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you never miss our most important Miami stories.
6 year old Milan and 3 year old Sascha Saravia love their huge stuffed Woolly Mammoth.
They were given it and another huge toy dinosaur as a gift from a family friend a few years ago.
But they decided to give it away to one of their favorite places, Brockway Memorial Library in Miami Shores so that other kids can enjoy seeing it too.
Brenda Holsing, the Youth Services Librarian at Brockway said that the mammoth has been a hit with the scores of children who see it each day since it was donated a few months ago.
Their dad Adrian Saravia said that the decision to give away the mammoth was a joint venture between the two boys.
“They visit the library at least three times a week and it’s a place that they enjoy a lot,” Adrian said. “And it just seemed like a nice thing to share with other kids.”
The boys are in the library’s summer camp program and also attend a monthly science program there during the regular school year.
So they spend a lot of time in the small, community run library.
“We feel very safe and comfortable and feel that they’re in a nice environment where they can meet people in the community,” Adrian said. “We’re very lucky to have a library so close and to have such a good group of people who care for the kids.”
Adrian said that the boys intend to eventually donate their giant toy brontosaurus to the library too.
——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——
RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital TV news network. Sign up for our awesome email newsletter to make sure you never miss a story!
Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to email@example.com.
What Do You Think?
About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
You Might also like
Campbell Erickson is a connector of young people.
Campbell Erickson is resourceful.
Campbell Erickson embodies entrepreneurialism.
Campbell Erickson is 16 years old.
Last summer, Erickson sent out a call to action to fellow Austin, TX teenagers who follow him on his Instagram account. The call was for people who wanted to make an impact and to change a particular narrative around the nascent nation of South Sudan.
But this isn’t just about Erickson. In response to his call, six Austin based teenagers, attending different high schools and varying in age have come together to start a project they call “A Youth Mind.”
“‘A Youth Mind’ comes from the idea that literally the minds of youth, I feel personally, aren’t recognized as much as they should be this day and age, especially when it comes to documentation and recognition of places, people and culture,” Erickson said. “The mind of a kid who is growing up is so open and so creative.”
But that’s just the name. It was the end goal of changing the conversation around different parts of the world that attracted the others to the project.
“Ignorance, to me, is my greatest fear. If you have resources and have things available to you, you have to choose to be ignorant. If you can choose to understand people and choose just to know things, why would you choose not too? Team member, Sophia Alami-Nassif, 17, said.
“People think you’re doing this cute little project. It made me want to work harder to make people understand. To almost prove to people we are not that little kid project.”
The goal of A Youth Mind is to combat ignorance through education. Through an Indiegogo campaign that raised $1,700, the A Youth Mind team is set to purchase disposable cameras that they will send through their NGO Austin-based partner, Lone Star-Africa Works, to South Sudan.
Once the cameras make it to the young people in South Sudan communities, they will use the cameras to shoot raw footage of their homes, their schools, their families and their friends.
Then they will send the photos back to Austin to the A Youth Mind team. The goal will be to distribute the photos as print books made through a platform called Weeva that will be sold to buy more cameras. The photos will also be distributed to various traditional and social media channels for maximum exposure.
After South Sudan, the team’s hope is to expand to other countries.
“We want to increase awareness using the raw image of a country like South Sudan instead of the Western media taking the photo.” Erickson said. “The final goal is to create an exchange between communities because we want young people all over the world to grow up with this awareness of other young people, this awareness of other cultures, of other places.”
As young people trying to combat ignorance in other young people, the A Youth Mind team is receiving a different kind of education outside of traditional schooling.
This project is not a school project. It is not a charity. It is a global humanitarian partnership started by young people who are passionate and want to remain engaged with the world.
“I actually believe in this. We are receiving validation from the feedback we are getting, and I don’t necessarily feel like you always get that in school,” Alami-Nassif said. “I feel like you are just expected to show up and do a task. The thing about this project is that it focuses on humanity, and I think school is really lacking that.”
The experience in entrepreneurial leadership and global awareness that the team is gaining cannot be quantified in a grade.
Nor can the ‘real world’ aspect be quantified, which was apparent when the team found themselves representing A Youth Mind at a booth at SXSW Eco in October in Austin, TX.
“It was humbling. It was a step into reality,” Ori Green, 16, said. “It wasn’t necessarily condescending, but you could see how being a kid and trying to start something like this, you get those natural ‘arts and crafts’ kind of feels to it. People think you’re doing this cute little project. It made me want to work harder to make people understand. To almost prove to people we are not that little kid project.”
Some SXSW Eco conference-goers did understand. Using a whiteboard, dry erase markers and a goal to spark conversation, the A Youth Mind team engaged conference participants by asking them to write the first word that came to mind when they think of Africa.
“We were going for stereotypes and things you think of when don’t really think of Africa. But we got so many amazing ideas and people’s thoughts,” Joshua Tsang, 16, said.
SXSW Eco was a pivotal reality check for the team.
“Afterward, I had to take a step back and think, ‘Woah, this is kind of actually going somewhere big.’ It was the first real deep breath of actuality for this,” Green said.
While the future looks bright for A Youth Mind, the project is not without its challenges. But with true entrepreneurial resourcefulness and dogged determination, the A Youth Mind team is accepting challenges in stride.
“One challenge is how do we get cameras through customs in South Sudan? We have a solution and this is working with churches over there to help get the cameras through.” Erickson said.
Flexibility, determination and a collaborative team will get the first round of photos back from South Sudan in the early part of 2016.
The goal is for the first book to be published by the summer of 2016.
“Our plan is to execute this first project and see what went good and what went bad and how we can make it better,” Green said. “How can we do it cheaper, more efficiently. Then after we do that we have a world of options. Literally.”
Photo Credits: Submitted.Post Views: 118
What Do You Think?
By Staff Report
As Halloween fast approaches, people all across the US are gearing up to be their spookiest. But not all spooky places are created equal in America as a new study by WalletHub clearly indicates.
By using a detailed set of 16 metrics, WalletHub compared 100 of the most populated cities in the US to see which ones were the best and worst for Halloween 2015.
The consumer website, and their team of experts then focused on three main dimensions of comparison to come up with their list: 1) Safety & Surroundings, 2) Parties & Activities and 3) Halloween Weather.
NYC and Jersey City earn high marks on the list because of safety and the cheaper party scene, while St. Petersburg, FL gets very low marks in the same areas.
Best Places For Halloween 2015
10) Plano, TX
9) Chandler, AZ
8) Garland, TX
7) Santa Ana, CA
6) Irving, TX
5) Larredo, TX
4) Gilbert, AZ
3) Newark, NJ
2) Jersey City, NJ
1) New York, NY
Worst Places For Halloween 2015
10) Houston, TX
9) Nashville, TN
8) Indianapolis, IN
7) Charlotte, NC
6) Baton Rouge, LA
5) Oakland, CA
4) Winston-Salem, NC
3) Detroit, MI
2) Memphis, TN
1) St. Petersburg, FL
Do you agree with the list? Is your city the best place to celebrate Halloween in America? Let us know in the comments below.
Read more from the study.Source: WalletHub
Cover Photo Credit: Cristian Iohan Ştefănescu/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 39
What Do You Think?
By Jacob Kaye
It is common knowledge that the Russian government attempted to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The success of that interference is, and may always be, up for debate.
The same can be said for understanding the true nature of their motivations behind these actions.
On January 6, 2017, The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified report, assessing Russian activities and intentions in the most recent U.S. presidential election.
The twenty-three page report, created in union by The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA), makes several, high confidence claims about Russia’s – and the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin’s – motivations and intentions behind their actions.
These actions, as identified by the report, include cyber espionage, the leaking of data collected by Russian Intelligence, interference in state and local electoral boards, and Russian propaganda efforts.
The goals behind these actions were also laid out in the report.
“Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency,” the report reads. “We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
But while understanding these actions is important and necessary, maybe even more important, is to understand the motivations behind them.
“The motivation, if we can guess it, was just to disrupt, and to create doubts, and weaken the integrity of the process,” William Wohlforth, a Dartmouth professor who studies, among other areas, international relations and Russian foreign policy said in an interview with RISE NEWS.
Robert Jervis, the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics at Columbia University, takes a similar view.
“It was a general attempt to discredit American democracy here and abroad,” Jervis said in an interview.
These attempts are not necessarily unusual – during the Cold War, the Soviet Union engaged in similar “active measures.”
In fact, the tactics used in 2016 are eerily similar to those used throughout much of the Cold War – primarily, the spreading of false information in an attempt to delegitimize or scandalize a perceived political opponent.
Mark Kramer recently wrote about this history on WBUR’s Cognoscenti website:
“[The KGB’s] Service A, formed in the 1950s, almost immediately set to work spreading disinformation, producing forgeries, transmitting propaganda, and disrupting U.S. and Western public diplomacy.”
Some of the misinformation spread by the KGB includes rumors that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was a “gay transvestite” and that Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson were colluding to continue black suppression.
During the Cold War- now seen as a more conventional battle between capitalism and communism, all behaviors stemmed from a fairly defined ideological starting point.
But in a post-Cold War era, these ideologies have become less defined, leaving the motivations behind these active measures more mysterious.
“Now, all bets are off, they don’t need to be particularly consistent with any political ideology,” Wohlforth said. “As long as it has the potential to weaken the cohesiveness of the block of states that they perceive to be against them.”
One of the more popular speculations is that Putin saw interference in the U.S. election as payback.
Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the United States was secretly active in orchestrating the Color Revolutions of the early 2000s – a set of revolutions and protests in former Soviet republics.
Putin believes that the U.S. interfered so as to create a new geopolitical order.
Putin may also view his active measures as payback for his belief that the U.S. – and Secretary Clinton – was behind the massive protests in Moscow over his election in December 2011.
In 2014, Putin likened protests in his own country to the Color Revolutions.
“In the modern world, extremism is being used as a geopolitical instrument and for remaking spheres of influence,” Putin said in 2014. “We see what tragic consequences the wave of so-called color revolutions led to.”
By interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Putin attempted to ruin the chances of victory for his perceived nemesis, Secretary Clinton, while also attempting to avoid any chance that he may have to interact with her as President of the U.S.
Also a popular speculation about Russia’s motivation is that Putin was actively hoping to change the outcome of the election – although there is little to no evidence to support this claim.
“I suspect that by some time in the fall that was one of the objectives,” Jervis said. “But the evidence for that is much weaker.”
When polls began to show Clinton as weaker than conventionally believed, Moscow may have seen an opportunity to test the ability of their active measures.
What is interesting about this possible motivation is that there is little evidence to suggest that any time Soviet/Russian active measures favored a candidate, the candidate ended up favoring the Kremlin.
In 1968, the Soviet Union was worried that if Richard Nixon won the presidential election, Soviet-U.S. relations would suffer even more than if the Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey won.
Instead, Nixon acted somewhat favorably towards the Soviet state after being elected.
“The candidate that they often seek to undermine may not be so bad for Russian relations,” Wohlforth said.
The opposite can be said as well – it may have been easier for Secretary Clinton to act more favorably towards Russia than President Trump, who has received a mass of scrutiny for even just speaking favorably about Putin or Russia.
The true motivations behind Russia’s most recent active measures may never be known – needless to say, it is impossible to get inside the head of Putin.
Russia’s current posture towards the United States is not new – and the medium through which they acted is – and in truth, this behavior is not limited to Russia.
These actions are unlikely to stop anytime soon.
America is under siege.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: michael kooiman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 98
What Do You Think?