October 24, 2007
On Saturday October 20 Team Gaia paid a visit to Give Kids the World, a non-profit organization located in the heart of Florida that allows kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families to visit all of the attractions of central Florida, including Disney and Universal completely free to them. However, it went above and beyond just that. The actual location where the children and their families stay is an amazing attraction in itself. From the building Shaped like a Giant Cupcake, to the Castle, to the unique Villas the families stay in, and of course, the Ice Cream Palace, the Give Kids the World Village creates an amazing experience for children and their families and has 102 Villas to house families in and the ability to accommodate any need the child may have. Give Kids the World works in coordination with wish granting organizations to help children with the dream to visit the attractions that Florida has to offer as soon as possible, bringing some kids in at as short of notice as Twenty-Four hours. Henri Landwirth’s dream of giving every child the chance to enjoy the same things as everyone else was realized in 1986 when Give Kids the World was Founded. Many Major corporations ensure that Give Kids the World can continue to answer the wishes of children with life-threatening diseases and even expand their capacity to service more families. Even though major corporations play a very large role in the continued success of Give Kids the World, it couldn’t all happen without the help of the amazing volunteers. Give Kids the World fills over 1000 volunteer positions a week, naming these helpers “Angels” for the wonderful work that they are doing. These “Angels” include young children to senior citizens, from high school teenagers to the parents of children who had their wishes fulfilled at Give Kids the World and now Team Gaia has been lucky enough to spend time helping to put smiles on the faces of children who have faced such hardships at so young of an age.
Just going and volunteering at Give Kids the World was an amazing experience for me and the rest of Team Gaia, seeing kids happily running around and playing within the village with other kids who share many of the same worries and hardships as they have. Many parents described how nice it was to just get away from all of the worries and just be in a place where everyone knows what they are going through and their children can fit in and just be a normal kid. Give Kids the World arranges for all needs of the families and insures that the trip doesn’t cost them a thing so that any family with a child in need can come and have a magical week. All children who come to have their wishes filled are given a star to write their names on and give to the “Star Fairy” who places them on the ceiling of the castle. Over 70,000 shining stars cover the ceiling of the magical Castle of Miracles, organized by month and year the stars allow the children to leave a piece of themselves in the amazing village of Give Kids the World.
After many of the kids had left the village for the day to go to various amusement parks, Team Gaia was given a tour of the Park by Norma Miller, a parent whose first time visiting the park was to fill the wish of her daughter and now volunteers up to 7 days a week at the park with whatever they need. She was more than happy to give us a walking tour of the Village, despite the light rain that had fallen on the village, everything was still in full swing in doors. Norma was more than happy to share her stories of the village and hear about our stories with helping children, including our trip to Waveland, Mississippi. Norma, having been a foster parent and adopting her last foster child was very appreciative of Team Gaia’s work with the foster kids in Waveland, explaining to us that as simple of a gesture as bringing toys for their children for Christmas can mean the world when the Parents are faced with such troubling hardships.
I believe that Team Gaia as a group and us as individuals have grown stronger through this experience and I am glad that I have what I have but I still get a chance to see how the other half lives so that one day I can offer my help like Henri Landwirth and the thousands of volunteers at Give Kids the World have done.
October 15, 2007
Posted by val klavier under Uncategorized
When we, Team Gaia, produced our first episode of our “show”, we did not expect anything more than some emails and maybe a few thoughts from people we met. We have been astounded.
Our global warming piece, “Global Warming: Fact or Friction?” has been nominated for an Emmy award! The award is in the “Community Service Campaign/Broadband” sect, and is competing with pieces created by MTV/Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation/NASTD, and LifeMed Media. LifeMed media is powered by DLife.com, which is a legitimate diabetes information corporation. Both of these corporations are powered by adults, and it is astounding (to me) that we had the ability with our first episode to be thought of as somewhat of an equal.
I am simply astounded by our ability to achieve such an honor! I can’t believe someone liked our video that much– especially since it was our absolute first one ever produced.
This really excites me that people have looked at our videos, and I just can’t get over the fact that an organization that recognizes TV shows that people see everyday looked at our piece and even considered us! I am just so excited.
October 10, 2007
Posted by val klavier under Uncategorized
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Team Gaia is entering Apple Corporation’s Insomnia Film festival!
What is it? It’s a film festival where different teams of teen and college film students have 24 hours to produce a 3-minute piece. How do they monitor how much time you really use, you ask? Well basically, on October 13th at 9:00 AM Apple will release a top-secret list of special props, elements and dialogue. Once the information is posted each team can choose 3 out of the list and have the rest of the time to create a piece from it. You can prepare for it all you want, but you must use those elements.
This, we thought, sounded like a perfect task for Team Gaia’s members, considering we have a good amount of film students that attend Douglas Anderson, and we have experience with deadlines. Our core film-oriented members will be there producing this piece with others who will be Personal Assistants and Actors. While I won’t be there (being a graphics artist and all), I think it sounds like a ton of fun– I think it is almost an honor for us to be involved with this.
When the pieces are done, Apple will post them all on the internet for people to vote on, and the voting will end on November 9th. The top 25 get to have their pieces looked at by industry professionals. And if your film is a big hit with the public or the professionals, your team receives tons of great apple software and equipment worth thousands of dollars! That sounds like something our team really needs. It’s pretty much awesome.
To find out more about the Insomnia Film festival, click here.
October 1, 2007
Posted by val klavier under Uncategorized
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On September 15th we (Team Gaia) got teens from many organizations in Jacksonville, FL to get together in our studio for a Youth Dialogue Meeting. Among the groups that came there were Metro-Town, LOUD, and The Bridge. All of the groups and their leaders talked about issues that affected their daily lives in a forum. Topics touched on included duval county education and sexual education, drugs, the environment, the internet, school and teachers, and many others.
We had a large ‘meet-and-greet’ where we all talked the newcomers and learned about each other. And after the forum we all broke off into groups and talked about the issue of our choice, plus a “main issue” all of the groups decided on. The issue we all chose was education. At the end of these group discussions, each group got up and presented their views and solutions for each subject.
All in all, it was a great starter for some partnerships between active teens. It was really fun to meet all of these new people from different parts of the city. I hope that we can see all of those great people again soon!
August 27, 2007
Several countries have recently lowered their voting age to 16, including Brazil and Austria. On the other-hand Iran has recently raised theirs up to 18, bringing them to bar with America. Why, in a country where kids receive free education, do we feel that kids aren’t informed enough to vote? Children in america are now expected to do more and more, with college level classes available at young ages, kids as a majority are more and more educated at younger and younger ages, so why can’t they vote at a younger age? A large argument is that most of the 16-17 year olds won’t vote anyways, but few young people vote to begin with, so why not give the power to more kids and then more kids will be showing up to vote, just because all of the kids won’t come out to vote doesn’t mean that the few who would should be denied the privilege. In addition isn’t the whole point of democracy that the people decide? So does someone become a person when they turn 18? Is it not true that laws affect today’s youth as well as the today’s adults?
Does the government really care about kids? Or only “people” that can vote? Maybe today’s youth would be better off if they were voting for what they wanted, instead of waiting until they are too old to remember what they wanted and they only know what the government wants.
Inspired by: Sixteen Candles, but Few Blazing a Trail to the Ballot Box
July 31, 2007
Students all across the world are suffering with misinformation from terrible abstinence-only sexual education programs. These programs sometimes bring in conservative religious beliefs that prevent students from learning about what they can do to prevent different sexually transmitted diseases besides abstain or even about some forms of contraception.
The REAL (Responsible Education About Life) act is about educating teens with age-appropriate and medically accurate information that they will benefit from. The act will allow teen’s questions to be answered in the classroom without shame or fear. The act is entirely important because teens in America get about 4 million STDs altogether on average a year, 2 teens in the US are infected with HIV every hour of every day, and the racial differences regarding HIV are frighteningly disproportionate.
I think that people, in general, are inquisitive by nature and want to know about lots of things. Our schools need to stop making talking about sex so taboo. Comprehensive sex education is by far the best way for people to stay away from sexual harm.
And personally, I think that the idea of trying to teach kids that “sex is bad and unsafe” is truly just scare tactics enforced by people afraid and too uptight themselves to talk about it. Chase, a fellow member of Team Gaia, said that in his health class the teacher refused to speak about it, and that they just skipped the chapter altogether. What kind of “health” class was that teacher teaching? Because I think any “health instructor” that would ignore such a huge part of mental and physical health is an absolute travesty.
I think institutions everywhere need to step up and start really teaching sexual education, and the REAL act would be a great way to go– instead of the government pouring it’s money into ineffective abstinence-only education.
Information on the REAL act
Article on the REAL act
July 26, 2007
Scientists have found a way that might soon show the real possibility of extreme weather like the floods and heat waves being due to global warming. Huge heat waves have spread across Europe. Greece has hit 113 degrees fahrenheit, following closely behind a record-setting heat-wave in June of almost 114.8. The heat has killed 500 in Hungary, left 350,000 in Britain without running water. I think it is astounding that simply the heat is killing people. It has been frustrating for me to see people squandering around wondering “Is it Global Warming?” But hopefully these scientists, particularly Myles Allen, who hails from Oxford, (one of the most highly respected universities in the world), with all of these computer simulations, will be able to finally end the questions for skeptics around the globe.
Of course there will always be the howling from “scientists” placed in high places by oil companies, but hopefully the truth will ring out from these complex experiments. Allen claims that is simply a matter of calculating the probability. He, in particular, is running a team conducting thousands of simulations on one particular British flood. Each individual computer runs one climate simulation. Allen says that the results will be published later this year. Hundreds of scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted more and more drastic changes in the weather like floods and heat waves. The heat wave overtaking Europe that I mentioned earlier is a huge example of what the IPCC predicted. With this new technology of pointing the finger at a particular variable in one situation… I think we will be able to revolutionize the way people look at global warming research. I think that soon we will have the most concrete evidence ever presented to the public.