All posts tagged Friday:

January 15, 2009 | Comment

Building on the success of the first “Sport for a Better World Competition”, Nike and Ashoka’s Changemakers join forces once again to launch “GameChangers: Change the Game for Women in Sport”.



January 02, 2009 | Comment

We made it! 

I wanted to share Kurt Perschke’s new Red Ball Project: Chicago page.  Aside from its excellent design, there are videos of the Red Ball’s long stay in Chi-town this summer, as well as its travels to Sydney, Australia and, er, Portland.  Check it out.


What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!

December 19, 2008 | 2 comments

The cough had rattled my chest for two months.  I’d been working part-time at a family homeless shelter, interacting with struggling single mothers and two parent families with runny nosed kids in tow.  Meth, crack and alcohol habits were common, bad luck was universal, it’d have to be to end up on the floor, on a pad, in a cold, tiled church gym. 

My shift was four in the afternoon until ten at night.  I’d call volunteers to make sure that we’d have a hot meal for that night’s guests.  I’d call volunteers who would come and play with and supervise the children while their parents rested. The adults needed to unwind from a hard day of walking, panhandling, or just staying warm on the streets.  I’d call volunteers to make sure we had two overnight monitors who would sleep in the gym with the shelter guests.  When we didn’t have, couldn’t find a monitor, I would spend the night. 

The winter of 2004-05 was tough; the numerous sub-freezing nights, with ice storms and late night departures for tardy public transportation did me in.  I was constantly working on or getting over a raging cold or fever.  And then, it really hit me.  The gentle sound of maracas fluttering in my lungs when I would hack and cough refused to go away.  One month turned into two then three.  Finally, I went to the doctor.  Bronchitis.  Meds.  Late night, sheet soaking sweats and insomnia.  I was terrified I had something else, something fatal. 

The other backdrop to that winter was finances.  Portland had always been stingy for me when it came to work.  Too few jobs and too much competition spelled hard financial times.  As my body shuddered and crumbled that winter, so did my spirits. 

A friend of mine mentioned a few months before this particular day, that she did public relations work for some guy she thought I should meet, thought I had something in common with.  He was an author and a public speaker.  So what?  Okay, fine, maybe I should meet him one day, but one day wasn’t soon enough for me.  And it was the farthest thing from my mind in late January/early February of 2005.  I was broke.  I was a train wreck.  I couldn’t pay the rent and I thought I was dying.  Little did I know, I was.

I woke up one morning dead.  I was done.  On fire, the last blaze before the complete flame out.  Rage, at my lot in life and at God poured out of me like kerosene. I began speaking to God like I would a cab driver who had run me back up on the curb, cursing, defaming, demanding that God show me a sign.  SHOW ME A SIGN.  NOW!!!  This was at nine in the morning.

At noon, my phone rang. It was my friend, Nikki.  “Do you remember that guy I was telling you about, Kevin?  Well, he needs a personal assistant…” The rest of the call was a blur.  God answers fast, I thought.

I met the Katalyst a week or two later, as his travel schedule kept him very busy.  We began our work together, first mundane tasks like shipping out “dream bands” to people who’d seen him speak.  Later, because he’d remembered my interest in video, he granted me the opportunity of a lifetime: to travel with him, to Philly and San Francisco, later, to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tokyo and Paris, observing, shooting and editing video, experiencing the life of a Katalyst. Experiencing the finest kind of life, a life that I wanted.

There’s a great line that I read somewhere: “once you’ve lived in Paris, you’re unable to live anywhere else, including Paris…”  I think there’s a lot of truth in that about Paris and about working with Kevin as well.  How can you ever get used to the life mundane, the nine-to-five, after you’ve been transported to another dimension? 

Dreaming helps.  Actually, dreaming is essential and perhaps that is why it can be difficult to maintain in circumstances that actually deliver what you are looking for: they require LOTS of dreaming and faith and nurturing and dreaming and faith and… 

If there’s one thing that I can take to the bank from my time with Kevin, its that dreaming -  outrageously, outlandishly - can create reality.  All you have to do is continue to bring your attention to your desire - with great discipline, dedication, responsibility and motivation.  And whose life sums that bit of insight up better?!

Thanks KC and all the best to you & the Fam in ‘09!!

Lubangakene aka Julian J.


What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!

November 21, 2008 | Comment


One of the sponsors of this year’s Homeless World Cup - which features the first ever “Women’s World Cup” - is an organization called Women Win.

Women Win is the first ever international women’s fund that supports sport and physical activities as instruments for social change and women’s empowerment…Women Win believes that sport is the way for women and girls to learn leadership skills, develop character, self-esteem and a sense of belonging, while at the same time discover the fun, support and power of being together.

Sport provides a social network that women often lack.

It’s by joining a team, learning to lose, win, and achieve under pressure, that she can cultivate the necessary skills to be a future leader of her community.

Be sure to track the results of the women competing in Melbourne, Australia at this year’s Homeless World Cup right here at the KCK blog. 

What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!

November 13, 2008 | Comment

From the “Tea With McNair” Blog

” i know a place

{ Preface to an exciting new series! }

...One day, on my way to recess, I found it. The magical place—my own private Narnia. It was an accident. I had been drawing in my sketch pad—having completed the filling in of the ten blanks in my Think and Do workbook calculated to drum into my brain the role of the adverb in modern culture. I was never allowed to go to recess early—no one was. Hence I drew. On this day, not having completed a particular drawing, and the story that went with it, I took my sketch pad with me as we headed for recess. No tether ball for me that day. I sketched and wrote all through recess.

  “Are you alright?” Asked the officer of the day in the noisy, frenetic playground. It was uncharacteristic of me not to join in any reindeer games.
  “I’m fine. I just need to finish this.” And then it hit me. That I said “need” instead of want. That there was something started in the classroom, a place of reason and learning, and continued to completion during our recess from reason—the mindless pursuit of play, for no real reason.
  This was my new favorite place, but could it, I wondered, be a better place than either the classroom for reason and the clash-ground for recess. Is there a place I can go, anyone can go, to do what they love and that what they love has purpose? Is there a place like that? I’d like that.
  Welcome to the place Between Reason and Recess!

So, today, I am launching a new series of exercise, playful projects, designed to push your personal creativity ever-closer to the surface, out into the light of day. It is also intended to develop tools and skills usually thought to be only for artistic expression and integrate these skills into all areas.”

And introduce new creativity exercises McNair Wilson does!  Get your camera, sketchpad, lead pencils and pad of paper warmed up and ready to follow his easy steps.

What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!


November 07, 2008 | 1 comment


Our colleague from Global Youth Partnership for Africa and Girls Kick It! fame, Anna Phillips, was recently interviewed by the folks over at Youth Noise.  Check out this excerpt: 

Youth Noise

Interview With Anna Phillips, Founder of Girls Kick It!

A few days ago, I had the chance to talk to Anna Phillips, the incredible 22-year-old founder of Girls Kick It!—a comprehensive sports program for young women in northern Uganda. Anna created Girls Kick It! with the help of Global Youth Partnership for Africa (GYPA) to empower and educate women, many of whom have been affected by war and poverty, through sports‚?¶

“Me: How did Girls Kick It! get started?

Anna: It got started because I grew up playing sports in middle school and high school. I wrestled and played rugby. I decided to major in human rights at George Washington University after traveling to Africa the summer before I started school. It was a self-designed major that allowed me a lot of flexibility in the classes I was able to take. 

Then in January 2006, I got a chance to combine my passion for sports and human rights. I went to the Global Youth Partnership for Africa’s youth summit in Uganda. GYPA brought together American and Ugandan youth leaders who were interested and passionate about HIV/AIDS, women’s issues and reconciliation. After the summit, I worked with GYPA to create a sports programs specifically for women. There were programs where women are involved, but nothing specifically for them. With the help and support of GYPA I was able to find amazing mentors and resources to create Girls Kick It! In particular, the advice of Awista Ayub, a phenomenal woman who created a girls soccer program in Afghanistan, helped me in the early planning stages. The sports for social change movement is relatively small, and everyone was willing to help and meet with me‚?¶”

The sports for social change movement may be small compared to other initiatives that seek to foment change in people’s lives.  But the use of sport as a social change agent is happening on just about every continent.  I am confident that more young people like Anna will continue to make the connection between their individual, athletic/creative talents and using those gifts in non-traditional ways that benefit other people. 


What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!

October 31, 2008 | 1 comment

Interview with Mel Young, Founder and President of Homeless World Cup and Maria E Bobenrieth, Global Direcor Community Investments, Nike Inc. (On Youtube)

Stay tuned right here for updates on the preparations for this year’s Homeless World Cup in Melbourne, Australia this December.


What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!

October 17, 2008 | 1 comment

From Laugh-O-Nomics:

“There Was This Principal, See, Who Went To School‚?¶

‚?¶and he learned how to be funny.

If you think humor is just for kids, shame on you.

Where most corporate types go wrong is in assuming that humor = jokes.  Or clown noses.  Or punchlines.  Fun can come in many different shapes, forms and places.

I recently returned from a motivational seminar on humor in the workplace for the Farmington Unified School District in New Mexico. (Actually, we met in Colorado‚?¶. just a few miles from their district across the border.)  I met principals and administrators who really liked the idea of “play” at work. I was able to help them find ways to transform their corporate humor culture and their funny bones in the process. However, as usual, the best humor at work ideas came from the audience. 

During the seminar, we looked at ways humor and levity could make any environment a little lighter—resulting in better productivity, morale, and retention. And, in a academic environment where things have to be very precise and “above the line”, it means that the administrators and leaders have to be more clever and more creative in finding the balance to make work and humor mesh…”

What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!

October 10, 2008 | 1 comment

Have fun at work - it’s productive

”‚?¶Surely, creating a healthy workplace environment devoid of the usual toxic traits and personalities has got to be more complicated than simply carting to work a don’t-worry-be-happy attitude.

Not according to American psychologist Stephen Lundin, author of the perennial best-seller Fish! The 67-year-old who ended a decade on the professional development circuit in Christchurch last week claims workplace morale and corporate success will sink or swim on the attitude of employees.

Sounds simple enough, but Lundin says the scarcity of positive work environments and employees packing a good attitude would suggest we humans are not as smart as we think. “It’s simplicity on the other side of complexity,” says Lundin of his ideas on building a better workplace.‚?¶”

Read the entire article here.


The article goes on to discuss the workers at Pike Place (fish) market in Seattle, WA who are known for their non-stop humorous banter with each other and their customers, brightening up what would otherwise be a pretty dreary job.

Attitude can trump aptitude?!  According to psychologist Lundin, its as easy as these four steps: play, making someone’s day, being there, and choosing one’s attitude.

Give it a try!


What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!

October 03, 2008 | Comment


RC Port Melbourne

This is a Rotary Project where we are partnering with other community groups to participate in a highly successful international social change program—By providing most of the volunteers to run this years Homeless World Cup to be held in Federation Square & Birrarung Place—we will be creating a model for Rotary Involvement in future HWC’s. A unique opportunity for Rotarian’s, family & friends to utilise their vocations whilst participating in an exciting project that uses sport for social change.

There are one billion homeless people in our world today.  In the USA there are 3.5 million homeless people. Here each person costs society around $60,000 a year to be homeless. It costs $40,000 per year for one place in an emergency shelter in New York.

The Homeless World Cup exists to end this so we all have a home, a basic human need.  We use football as a trigger to inspire and empower people who are homeless to change their own lives. We do this firstly by creating a world-class, annual, international football tournament; and secondly, by inspiring and supporting grass roots football projects working with homeless and socially excluded people all year round…”

Follow the link to read the entire post.

It is quite apparent that all of Melbourne, Australia is mobilizing for the upcoming Homeless World Cup, December 1-7, 2008 - why even Victoria Premier John Brumby is getting in his kicks!

What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!


September 19, 2008 | Comment

You know what IT is.  From Fayth aka the Relaxocat, of the NBC5 (Chicago) Street Team:


The Red Ball is exactly that, but it stands 15 feet high, has a weight of 250 pounds, and is constructed of inflated vinyl. Not your average red ball.  It has been moved around within a number of cities in a number of countries, and in September it has been making guest appearances at locations around this city.  Among some of the previous locations are Millennium Park, the Spertus Institute, and the Grant Park underpass.  The next stop is Union Station at Jackson on Sept. 17th with other locations until the end of the month.  My friend and I (thanks for the photo, Paula!) visited the Red Ball at LaSalle and Wacker, but unfortunately I couldn’t nudge it since it was wedged up against the top of the bridge.


The RBP continues to wind its way through the streets of Chicago; follow the meandering ball here.

What’s your Red Rubber Ball?!