I decided to revisit my Awesome Stories series. The world seems to need more focus on the good that is happening around the world. My hope is that these stories will inspire more people to bring out the best in themselves and others while helping to make the world a better place for all.
Little Island NYC
This story inspires me to see a wealthy couple using their money to create a public park for people in NY to enjoy. Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg spent $260 million on this project to buy the run-down Pier 54, then design, build, and maintain Little Island as a public park. Their intention was to create a magic island floating above the Hudson River for people to come, enjoy, and smile. The couple also spent $140 previously to create High Line, a nearby public park created on an elevated rail line. A design so popular that other cities have created similar elevated parks.
While scuba diving at 16 years old, Boyan Slat was inspired to find a way to clean up the plastic waste filling up and harming our oceans. After years of hard work and fundraising, his Ocean Cleanup project has begun their moonshot goal of reducing the ocean’s plastic waste by 90%. They are working on both cleaning up the existing waste accumulated in giant pyres of plastic floating the ocean and new inflows from rivers. Boyan and his team know that ultimately we need sustainable systems that reduce or eliminate plastic waste and other pollution harming the planet. Recently, Coca Cola teamed up with them to help tackle plastic waste capture in 1000 rivers around the world.
Middleton Village to Village Foundation
Eliot Middleton is a BBQ restauranteur and mechanic with a passion to help people. While serving food to local residents in need, Eliot learned that lack of transportation was a big problem in the low country of South Carolina. He started with a goal to find and fix 5 cars to donate last year. But after being featured on a CBS program, he has been overwhelmed with donations of 80 cars and $100,000 for their Middleton Village to Village Foundation. I hope he and his sister can grow their passion into a sustainable project.
The Simple Sunflower
Eleanor Love was inspired to bring patients flowers while at medical school. Before medical school, Eleanor worked at a florist and knew the power of flowers to bring cheer and boost people’s spirits. She found a creative way to bring cheer to the patients by repurposing flowers from weddings and events. She began contacting wedding planners to see if their clients would donate the flowers after their weddings. Almost everyone said yes, and her Simple Sunflower project was born in 2019 repurposing flowers. The project has grown to 200 volunteers who have delivered over 820 bouquets to folks at the VCU Medical Center in Richmond.
May we each find ways to help our fellow travelers and the planet.