The situation in East Africa is volatile. Drought threatens more than 12 million with starvation, and thousands wander the land in search of food, water, and basic aid. The Hand Up 4 East Africa project was formed in response to the dry, dimming conditions, and the hurt that ensues.
 
On the weekend of September 9, Hand Up 4 East Africa will traverse the state of Michigan. Covering the 168 miles from Holland to Detroit, they walk to raise $10,000 for relief and development work in East Africa.

Hand Up 4 East Africa walks to demonstates the severity of the situation, that many are forced to journey unimaginable distances, while sick and hungry, in a measure to save their lives. Funds raised will go to Mercy Corps, an international aid agency, to support ongoing relief and sustained food security in the region.

Mercy Corps communications director Joy Portella warns, “Things won’t get better in the coming months leading up to the hoped-for fall rains. If we...don’t act now, the vice will keep tightening, and families will get squeezed dry.” East Africans are wandering after water. Their livestock (their livelihood) is suffering just as much as they are, and it only compounds the situation. Many women take on the now common title “drought widow” as their husbands depart with their herds in search of food and water. Not only are resources frail and failing, but families too are deteriorating in a time when the support of kin is vital. Families are seeking respite, but doing so divided and without promise of reunion.

In order to raise awareness and much needed funds, Hand Up 4 East Africa will walk the distance that many starving and frail East Africans are walking to survive. Our walk pales in comparison to the excruciating passage trekked in the heat of shadeless plains, while sick and hungry. Though we could never truly imagine what it would be like to make a journey to save our lives, we walk in solidarity, and walk for relief and future security.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Hand-Up-4-EAfrica/201530226571779?sk=wall
http://twitter.com/HandUp4EAfrica
http://handup4eafrica.blogspot.com/
http://www.mercycorps.org/fundraising/handup4eastafrica

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If you would like more information regarding this fundraising campaign please contact Hand Up for East Africa at handup4eafrica@gmail.com or Jessica at (586) 907-4658.

Duck, dive and dodge for Detroit!

The sponsors and founders of “Dodgeball in the D” invite Metro Detroiters of all ages, ethnicities and zip codes to come together to positively showcase Detroit by participating in a world record-breaking dodgeball game. Presented by the Dodge brand, organizers expect “Dodgeball in the D” and surrounding family festival activities to draw more than 5,000 people to historic Belle Isle Park in Detroit on Saturday, August 20, 2011.

The dodgeball game begins at 1 p.m. on Belle Isle with other family-friendly activities running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to all “Dodgeball in the D” events is free and includes giveaways and food samples from sponsors, while supplies last. Those wishing to participate in the world record-breaking game itself must register in advance at http://www.DodgeballintheD.com. Additional volunteers and sponsors are still needed. Information on these opportunities also is available at http://www.DodgeballintheD.com.

“‘Dodgeball in the D’ is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be part of history and do something great for Detroit,” said Justin Jacobs, 28, who created “Dodgeball in the D” with fellow Detroiter Marlowe Stoudamire, 34. “‘Locally, we know Detroit is a great place to live, work, and play, but across the country, not enough people are aware of the opportunities Detroit has to offer, socially and professionally.”

In addition to the game, “Dodgeball in the D” will feature free food, entertainment, information and more for Metro Detroiters of all ages. Activities are divided into five “Xperience” zones: After-School Programs, Non-Profit, Health & Wellness, Family Fun and Sports. Joining the Dodge brand in sponsoring the event are regional business anchors Henry Ford Health System, Crain’s Detroit Business, Health Alliance Plan (HAP) and the Detroit Red Wings.

“‘Dodgeball in the D’ will show the world the very best of Detroit, not just that we know how to have fun, but that we can work together to achieve great things, regardless of age, ethnicity or religion,” Stoudamire said. “We want to smash the current record and bring some positive attention to Detroit. To do it, we need more sponsors, more volunteers and more players. From local barbershops to executive boardrooms, we’re asking all Metro Detroiters to step up and help us make it happen.”

“Dodgeball in the D” is a collaborative effort of several Detroit nonprofit and community organizations led by Detroit Harmonie, ComePlayDetroit, The Youth Connection and Unlimited Xperiences Detroit. Stoudamire is founder of Unlimited Xperiences Detroit. Jacobs is founder of ComePlayDetroit. The event will be held in conjunction with the Youth Connection’s 10th Annual After-School Fair.

All activities are free and include: Detroit Red Wings interactive fan experience, Henry Ford Health System career experience, appearance by NHRA Funny Car Racer and Detroit native Brian Olatunji, inflatables, Detroit Fire Department fire truck, caricatures, video games, face painting, health screenings, live DJ, youth sports clinics and demonstrations, singing and dancing demonstrations and more.

The dodgeball game will feature two teams constructed of players of all ages, with younger children facing opponents of similar ages to avoid injuries. In case of an emergency, medical services will be available on site. Organizers will document the game according to the standards of Guinness World Records and submit the attempt to Guinness auditors for world-record consideration.

Follow “Dodgeball in the D” on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DodgeballintheD.
Photo from Detroit Soup
Raphael Bemporad
Fast Company

A social movement is underway in downtown Detroit. Each month, 100 or so individuals pay $5 for admission to a loft, where they eat a dinner of organic soup (and other foods) prepared by volunteers. Diners share ideas and connections, hear presentations from artists who are working on projects aimed at improving the city, and then vote on which project will receive proceeds from the evening's dinner. Detroit SOUP organizers call the gathering "a democratic experiment in micro-funding," but it’s much more than that: It’s an example of the power of co-creativity, and it represents the way forward for organizations that want to remain relevant and reach consumers in an authentic way.

In recent years, crowdsourcing has become a trendy tactic for soliciting input and engaging consumers, but in reality this approach is nothing more than an open call for submissions. As an ever-expanding number of products, messages, and mediums clamor for the attention of an increasingly distrustful and time-deficient American consumer, crowdsourcing has become about as strategic as throwing a handful of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Of course, in select cases--such as voting on the next Threadless design--crowdsourcing is appropriate. But increasingly, it's a quick answer to a problem that deserves a more open-ended solution, or an excuse to outsource expertise to an unqualified or too-large crowd (a la the Doritos ad snafu).

Yesterday, businesses succeeded through industrial or technological expertise, with little need to converse with consumers. Today--thanks to fast and accessible technology for everything from photo editing to event planning--we're all creative types, and there is no such thing as a one-way conversation. Welcome to The Age of Co-Creativity.

Marketers are beginning to understand that it's no longer viable to work in a vacuum, and that seeking consumer input by casting a wide net into an anonymous pool won't suffice. And even empowering consumers to express themselves via their connection to a brand ignores the fact that today's consumers are already connected to each other through shared passions, desires, and common interests in collaboration and doing more with less.

Real co-creativity occurs when organizations reach out purposefully to a specific community in order to create an ongoing conversation that fosters feelings of impact, belonging, and brand loyalty that don’t just come from Facebook likes. This is where Detroit SOUP gets it right: the crowd, while varied, is collectively interested in local issues, art, innovation, and urban improvement.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not really. The gap between theory and practice remains wide and the reality is that, even for the most well-intentioned marketers, co-creativity is tough work that involves significant resources, time, and energy. The difference between doing it wrong and taking the time to get it right is the difference between enhancing your approach and cheapening your brand. Or, to use examples: the difference between Motrin Moms and Walmart Moms.

So, how do we make sure engagement efforts fall into the co-creativity camp instead of the crowdsourcing one? Here are four tips gleaned from BBMG’s time in the trenches:

Click HERE to read the full article!


Closing out the Chevy Rockin’ on the Riverfront concert series this year, classic rock fans can be sure that the party of the summer is yet to come.

Randy Bachman and Fred Turner are out to prove 20 years after they formed one of the rock’s legendary bands, they have something new to say. Back as a duo and still Rollin’ Along, they are reunited. They’ve been Takin’ Care of Business since 1971 and while that business may have changed, the songs endure. Sing along to hits like You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet and Let it Ride. It’s time to celebrate and this is just the band you want to party with, as the concert series draws to a close.

Bachman-Turner marks the final show of the 2011 Chevy Rockin’ on the Riverfront concert series in 2011, which has been presented in partnership with Detroit’s Classic Rock Station 94.7 WCSX-FM.

Opener The Eddie Leighton Project is set to go on at 7:30 p.m. while Bachman-Turner takes the stage at 9 p.m.

As always, admission is free and no advance tickets are necessary. Viewing space will be on a first-come, first-served basis and people are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. In addition, boaters on the Detroit River are invited to anchor near the riverfront and enjoy the view of the stage from the water.

Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will provide refreshment and food concessions at several locations on the plaza. Outside food, beverages or coolers will not be permitted. Convenient parking is available for $5 per vehicle at the GM surface lot at the intersection of St. Antoine and Atwater, adjacent to the GM Renaissance Center.

By combining her experience as a bgirl, flavor for hip hop and her background in fashion design, Christine "Ris" Tena will open the online retail shop called honeyBOOM for business August 14, 2011. honeyBOOM (www.HNYBM.com) is a retail shop that will carry vintage sportswear, bboy/bgirl gear, streetwear, accessories, art and custom pieces created by Ris.

The history behind the shop is rich in artistic influences as Ris has used her fascination with the golden era of hip hop, also known as the 80s, to serve as a concept for the store. honeyBOOM is also inspired by break dancers - also known as bboys and bgirls - and the awesome charisma and style they posses as dancers, cultural revolutionaries and fashion icons.

“This project came naturally to me because it brings together two of things that I love the most: fashion and hip hop. It's the best of both worlds,” says Ris.

HNYBM.com will consist of news, event dates, lookbooks, press coverage, bio, contact info and the clothing shop. It will take on an old school vibe that creatively helps customers to reminisce looks from the 80s and 90s. Ris herself is a dancing bgirl and grew up in the Bay Area where this cultural dance style flourished. “I was inspired to start this shop after I saw a bboy selling windbreaker jackets out of his car trunk during a regular dance practice sometime in 2007," said Ris.” “I was collecting my own personal pieces of windbreakers as I was coming across other items that I thought other people would love. I slowly started to collect vintage sportswear pieces with the intention of distributing it among the people that would appreciate it the most - my fellow hip hop peers,” she added.

To celebrate the launch of this vintage-inspired online clothing and accessories store, Ris welcomes the public to join her at the Magic Stick Rooftop for a party. It will take on a backyard party theme as a fun, unique way to kick off the grand opening of the honeyBOOM shop including a presentation of some of the pieces that will be offered for purchase on the website. The following are launch party details:


Magic Stick Rooftop Sunday, August 14
4120 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI
2pm-9pm
Free before 4pm

honeyBOOM collection presentation to begin at 4:30
$5 after 4pm (A portion of the proceeds will be donated to 5e Gallery)
DJ's spinning all vinyl records: DJ Sicari, DJ Skeez, and DJ Dez
$3 Drink specials

21+ welcome
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