Join @Sept11Memorial Today in Honoring the 12th Anniversary of 9/11

Today’s .ORG highlight is in honor of the 12th Anniversary of 9/11.

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The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (www.911memorial.org), located at the site of the World Trade Center, is a tribute to the (nearly 3,000) victims that lost their lives during the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, as well as those who were killed in the WTC bombing in February 1993.

About the design:

In 2003, an international competition was held to find a design for the new 9/11 Memorial. In total, there were 5,201 submissions across 63 different countries. Below is an excerpt from statement of the winners of the design competition, Michael Arad and Peter Walker, who had submitted their idea of “Reflecting Absence”:

This memorial proposes a space that resonates with the feelings of loss and absence that were generated by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the taking of thousands of lives on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. It is located in a field of trees that is interrupted by two large voids containing recessed pools. The pools are set within the footprints of the Twin Towers. A cascade of water that describes the perimeter of each square feeds the pools with a continuous stream. They are large voids, open and visible reminders of the absence.

The surface of the memorial plaza is punctuated by the linear rhythms of rows of deciduous trees, forming informal clusters, clearings and groves. This surface consists of a composition of stone pavers, plantings and low ground cover. Through its annual cycle of rebirth, the living park extends and deepens the experience of the memorial.

Surrounding the pools on bronze parapets are the names. The enormity of this space and the multitude of names underscore the vast scope of the destruction. Standing there at the water’s edge, looking at a pool of water that is flowing away into an abyss, a visitor to the site can sense that what is beyond this parapet edge is inaccessible.

The memorial plaza is designed to be a mediating space; it belongs both to the city and to the memorial. Located at street level to allow for its integration into the fabric of the city, the plaza encourages the use of this space by New Yorkers on a daily basis. The memorial grounds will not be isolated from the rest of the city; they will be a living part of it.

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After nearly a decade of looking at photos of what once was, we can now proudly look at this Memorial and Museum as a positive stepping-stone forward.

The Public Interest Registry team would like to send its condolences to all of those who have lost friends, family members, or colleagues during 2001 and1993, as well as the firemen, policemen, and response units that worked relentlessly to save others. Today we honor them, we will never forget.

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For more information about the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, please visit www.911memorial.org.

 

#dotORG Highlight: Everybody + POOL (@PluspoolNY) to Make First Swim in NYC’s East River in over 100 Years Possible!

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New York City is not only the most populous city in the United States, but it is truly a global power city, having an incredible impact upon culture, media, art, fashion, technology, education, and entertainment. People from all over the world travel to visit and experience the Big Apple — for the views and leisure trips, to get a taste of the cultural groups that line each crevice of every borough, to pursue professional opportunities, and to see if they can make it in the famously competitive city.

However, New York City has one strange shortcoming—NYC’s inhabitants are unable to swim in the waters that almost completely surround the city.

Simple Idea: Instead of trying to clean an entire river, what if you started by just cleaning a small piece of it?  And what if you could change how New Yorkers see their rivers, just by giving them a chance to swim in it?

Three years ago, friends Dong, Archie and Jeff proposed the + POOL — a floating pool for people to swim in, that would act as a water filter for the East river.

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They have since been working with leading engineering firms, design offices, architectural and environmental organizations, as well as city and state private organizations that have stakes on the water, to further develop a plan to clean the river and enable New Yorkers to swim in the water for the very first time in over 100 years.

So, how would the filtration system work?

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The layered filtration system in the + POOL is designed to clean up to half a million gallons of river water every single day, eliminating bacteria and contaminants incrementally to ensure that the water meets both city and state standards, and is suitable for people to swim in. There will be no chemicals or additives used, just natural river water.

Who is this pool for? EVERYONE!

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+ POOL is designed as four pools in one: a Kids’ pool, Sports pool, Lap pool and Lounge pool. Each can be used independently, combined to form an Olympic-length pool or opened completely into a 9,000 square foot pool for play. Its simple and iconic shape will mark the return to clean rivers in New York City.

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+ POOL by the numbers:
Pool Dimensions: 164′ (l) x 164′ (w) x 5′ (d). Each arm is 32′ (or four lanes) wide.
Pool Area: 9,300 sf
Pool Volume: 285,000 gallons
Deck Dimensions: 205′ (l) x 205′ (w) x 8′ (d)
Deck Area: 14,700 sf
Water Turnover Period: Every 6 hrs (2 hrs at Kids’ pool)
Water Turnover Rate: 707 gpm (259 gpm at Kids’ pool)
Max Daily Turnover Volume: 694,000 gallons/day

Crazy Idea: + POOL is driven by the supporters, backers and collaborators that want to see the pool in the river.  What if the pool was broken down into bite-size chunks and everybody had the opportunity to have a tangible and measurable impact on building the pool?

+ POOL, including the deck, walls and floor, will be made up of 70,000 tiles. If every single tile is purchased, the entire $15 million construction budget of + POOL will be funded from front to back. Get one for yourself, for your mom, for your girlfriend or boyfriend, with an image of your dog or your favorite Gucci Mane quote. This is an opportunity for EVERYONE to make their lasting mark on a new landmark in New York City.

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Check out the tile pricing options and associated perks of each purchase here.

+ POOL (www.pluspool.org) is a truly innovative #dotORG with an exciting mission: to clean New York City’s rivers and enable the city dwellers to swim in them for the first time in over 100 years. It’s a beautiful thing to see the power of a #dotORG organize people for a cause; in this case the cause will go beyond technological advances by creating a positive environmental footprint in a global power city. Who knows, maybe this initiative will prompt additional power cities and alternative ones throughout the world to follow suit. We can’t wait to see the development of the + POOL between now and 2016!

 

#TaliasLegacy

This week we wanted to recognize and honor the story of a 13-year-old girl who devoted her short time on this earth to supporting children and families who live with cancer, while battling cancer herself.

Talia Joy Castellano was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue. This is the most common form of cancer found in childhood and infancy. A short time later she found out that she also had Leukemia, a cancer of the blood or bone marrow which causes almost one-third of all cancer deaths in children and adolescents younger than 15 years old. Battling two cancers at once is almost unheard of.

Following the diagnosis, Talia started spending more time with Tammy DeLaRosa, a cancer survivor and close family friend. DeLaRosa shared in an interview, “I have drawers and cabinets and stuff full of makeup, and she just started going through them and pulling them out, and then she asked me if I would put makeup on her and so I did.

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Talia began experimenting with makeup after losing her hair to chemotherapy treatments. She created her own tutorials and posted them to YouTube. One of her videos earned more than 8 million views, and her channel (GMA News) gained more than 750,000 followers. “I love and adore makeup, using it as my wig and having so much self-confidence to go out to the grocery store without a wig,” she says in one of her videos, “It’s just amazing.” What seemed even more amazing was Talia’s positive attitude despite the circumstances, truly evoking her middle name, Joy.

The YouTube make up guru had mentioned in a video once that she dreamt of meeting Ellen Degeneres. The TV host caught wind of this and turned Talia’s dream into reality when she invited Talia to appear on “The Ellen Show” in September 2012.  She said, “I am inspired by people like yourself. I think there are a lot of people who go through a lot of struggling situations, and despite what the doctors have said and the cancer you’re going through, how do you stay so positive?” she asked.

Referring to Ellen’s character Dory in Finding Nemo, Talia responded, “When people ask me that, what do you want me to do, be depressed? I mean a little fishy told me, ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!’

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Ellen, a Cover Girl representative herself, made Talia an honorary Cover Girl and presented her with her own portrait. The makeup brand was awed by Talia’s story and also awarded her a makeup table and $20,000.

Of all the positive messages that Talia video-blogged online, the one that resonates with the Public Interest Registry team most is the idea of leaving impactful footprints on the world and being a part of something bigger. This little giant certainly did that.
Talia’s favorite charity was the Base Camp Childeren’s Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit #dotORG that serves 200 families that are fighting cancer daily. With her footprint in mind, Talia launched a fundraising campaign called “Bring Hope Home” to raise $125,000 so that the local charity in Orlando, FL would be able to buy an office condo to create a permanent home for their programs.

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Talia wanted to leave her legacy at the BASE Camp office by creating Talia’s room — “a destination where girls can come when they’re feeling down, a place where they can come to get pretty…filled with make-up, nail polish, pretty dresses, jewelry and shoes!” (BaseCamp)

Please help BASE Camp fulfill Talia’s Legacy with your donation.

Last week, on July 16th, Talia unfortunately lost her battle to cancer, but she continues to win over all of our hearts. Just a few days before she passed, Talia posted her 74-item bucket list to her official Facebook fan page. This list included to-do’s like “leave my handprint in wet cement,” “send a message in a bottle,” “help a newbie with cancer,” and “jump in a pool of jello.”

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Talia’s supporters are now honoring her life by completing all of the items on her list and sending in photos to with the hashtag #TaliasBucketList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We would like to send our deepest condolences to Talia’s family and friends. Thank you for helping this bright young girl share her light and energy with the rest of the world. Her legacy will continue to live on.

CEO Brian Cute on Computerwoche: A Facebook for NGOs

Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry, recently sat down with Simon Hülsbömer of Computerwoche.de in Germany to discuss the 1400+ new generic top level domains (gTLDs) coming to the Internet. Public Interest Registry is the longstanding operator of the .ORG domain database, one of the original TLDs, and will soon be offering two new exclusive domain extensions, .NGO and .ONG, for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as 4 international domain names (IDNs) in Cyrillic, Hindi, and two Chinese scripts.

Key points from the interview:

  • Since Public Interest Registry already operates the .ORG domain, we are excited to give a voice and a platform to the NGO community.
  •  Our decision to apply for .NGO was based on three goals: to support NGOs, give the NGO community an identity of its own, and build a verification process required to obtain .NGO/.ONG.
  • The verification process will be a challenge, but can be managed with support of the community (national registration lists, relevant authorization documents etc.).
  • Public Interest Registry’s internal benchmark for .NGO registrations is one million.
  • Each NGO has to decide which domain extension is the best fit for their organization.
  • The .NGO/.ONG domains will also offer a directory and the option to set up a profile page (“a Facebook for NGOs”).
  • The .NGO directory will help to increase readiness to donate, as it enables searching for specific organizations.
  • The website is the most important tool for NGOs to create visibility as it is under their own control – unlike Facebook or Twitter or other social media platforms.
  • A growing number of companies will use different domains for different purposes, e.g. a .ORG domain for their CSR activities.

See the interview (in English) below:

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Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry
Photo: Public Interest Registry

CW: The gTLD approval process is like a cliffhanger. At what stage is it currently?

CUTE: ICANN would like to begin with their release by the end of September. We at PIR have applied for four IDNs and expect that this can go live in the fourth quarter of 2013. Since our applications for .NGO and .ONG had higher numbers in ICANN’s draw, they were placed a little later in the series for approval and launch. About 20 top-level domains are to be released each week, so we expect the start of the launch phase of .NGO/.ONG to begin toward the middle of next year.

CW: How many gTLDs have been approved by ICANN?

CUTE: A total of 1,400 (at 1930 applications ). 663 of them are brand-based and applied by their respective rights holders, for example, .BMW. 400 are generic, such as .Hotels, .Aero, or .Jobs. 84 entries have a social or charitable purpose – we fall in this category. Then there are the IDNs and TLDs for specific geographic regions or cities.

CW: Why did you choose to apply for .NGO/.ONG?

CUTE: With the .ORG domains, we give a non-commercial community a voice and a platform. When we were thinking about whether we should apply for new TLDs, it came to the question of where we would have the best opportunities. The main argument, on the part of users for a domain, is its own identity. Precisely for this reason, .NGO was on the wish list; we wanted to distinguish non-governmental organizations from the crowd and help them create their own identity. The counterpart to .NGO is .ONG, which is the acronym used in Romance languages, so with both extensions the entire globe is covered.

Create a global trust

After these considerations, we had about 18 months of workshops organized – in Africa, Central America, India. We wanted our own idea of ​​the web identity for NGOs at the grassroots level, so to speak, at the grassroot test. The feedback was positive – particularly in the southern hemisphere, where non-governmental organizations have a very strong self-image. In addition, we asked for an admission for the new domain extensions – which means a verification process that is used to ensure that only NGOs may apply for these TLDs. That aspect has also found wide support. Finally, it has been often shown that current events such as the tsunami a few years ago bear a number of companies with fraudulent intentions that call themselves NGOs, collect donations and disappear from the scene.

In short, there are three key factors that drove us to ensure the purely moral support of NGOs to give the community an identity and establish a verification process for these organizations.

CW: A formal verification for NGOs is an honorable thing. But how will this be possible?

CUTE: It will be a challenge. But we already have examples of other TLDs where it has worked. These include .hotel; in order to apply for such a domain, you must appear in an official hotel directory that is managed by a global central governing body. For NGOs, there is no such association as of yet, but at least in some countries national lists of registered organizations do exist, which we can aggregate. In regions without such lists, it is important to identify the documents that confirm that someone has a legitimate NGO status – be it business reports, tax returns or best practices. This will vary from country to country. We will have to consider the origin of the enrollee, any relevant documents to examine, and then decide whether to release the registration or not. Again, we rely on the help of the community: the NGOs need to tell us which of the references in which regions are legitimate.

Most like a million

CW: Which orders of magnitude we are talking about? How many NGOs would be interested in this?

CUTE: Worldwide, there are about ten million NGOs . On our website, these NGOs can submit a letter of intent to domain name registration, or expression of interest (EOI). So far, 700 organizations have submitted their interest. How many are there really? I do not know, but our workshops have received positive feedback and I am very optimistic. We are convinced that our idea will be a success. The critical mass of a successful domain registrar is one million registrations; this is the only internal benchmark we have. I think that we will get there.

CW: Large NGOs have been present in other domains such as .org. How will .NGO compare?

CUTE: There are now ten million registered .ORG domains, mostly in the United States and Europe. The greatest potential for .NGO domains will be in the southern hemisphere — in India, Africa, Central and South America, Asia. A common question in our workshops was whether someone should secure both the .NGO domain and a .ORG domain. We have left the question unanswered as each NGO has to make the choice themselves. The .ORG domain has a good reputation and is already well known, so it might be worth keeping in addition to the .NGO/.ONG extensions. The .NGO addresses, however, will only be available to a limited, select group. With a NGO address directory available, NGOs will be able to create their own profile page and communicate not only with each other, but also with donors and potential business partners. It will act as a “Facebook for NGOs”, so to speak, where the organizations can also raise money.

Donations increases

We see often large online donations to nonprofit organizations. In the U.S., for example, an average of 93 dollars per donor is contributed. Imagine what an African NGO could do with only five of these donations. With a central NGO directory, we will give donors the opportunity to search for organizations by name, region and cause, thus making them feel more confident and happy about supporting a specific group.

CW: Is a website with its own domain in the era of the social web at all necessary?

CUTE: It’s all about visibility, especially for NGOs. A home website is still the premier tool to use. Facebook and Twitter are great – but these platforms are controlled by a third party that I cannot control myself.

Brand management

CW: What do companies need to do to protect their brands?

CUTE: First, they should register their trademarks in the “Trademark Clearinghouse” (TCH), a service offered by ICANN that helps companies protect their brand. A second option is the “Uniform Rapid Suspension” system (URS), whereby any illegally registered domains by third parties can immediately be removed from the network at the rightful trademark owner’s request. We at Public Interest Registry have established more technical processes and a separate department that enforces the rights of trademark owners. However, I recommend all businesses to observe exactly what new extensions are registered and where they might have interest. This saves unnecessary legal disputes. Maintain your brand with vision!

CW: What is the best branding strategy?

CUTE: It is common for companies to register a number of different domain extensions for their brand when they are looking to build their presence online. Many of our new customers are actually part of a Corporate Social Responsibility program; in addition to their .com-presence, they utilize a non-commercial .ORG site for their foundation or to carry out charitable causes outside of their commercial work. A good example of this is the Japanese carmaker Hyundai, which started its non-profit children’s cancer research “Hope on Wheels” on a .ORG page that makes no reference to the carmakers’ commercial products. I expect to see many more examples like this in the near future when the new gTLDs come.

**This interview has been translated from German to English.**

Original Source by Simon Hülsbömer of Computerwoche.de

Litterati: Crowdsource-Cleaning the Planet

Jeff Kirschner came up with the idea for the “Litterati” movement after his young daughter spotted a piece of litter floating in a river near his home in Northern California. “Daddy, that doesn’t go there,” she said.

Feeling the need to create a movement to stop the world’s littering habit, Jeff came up with the idea to take a picture of litter he found and post the photo to Instagram, using the hashtag #Litterati. He began encouraging people across the world to share pictures on Instagram of litter they found before disposing of the trash. Using the #Litterati hashtag, picking up trash became a social – and oftentimes artistic – activity.

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A @Litterati Instagram photo

It was not hard to find others eager to help rid their communities of mindless litter. With “Litterati” quickly growing, Jeff started to organize tagged #Litterati photos from all over the world into a “Digital Landfill” on http://www.Litterati.org.

Using Instagram’s geo-tagging and time-stamp features, Jeff could also track where and at what time the pieces of litter were found. He built a map on Litterati.org showing all of the locations across the world in which participants are finding and picking up litter, using the #Litterati hashtag. In addition to the litter map, the Litterati website also presents statistics of litter data for public viewing. Currently, 13,059 pieces of trash have been picked up around the world by Litterati participants – and that number is quickly growing.

Jeff has big plans for how he uses all of this Litterati data:

“I believe Litterati is in a position to create a level of environmental awareness that touches millions of lives,” he writes in an email. “Litterati will be able to work with local government, helping city officials understand more about where trash is emerging, and which brands are the most commonly littered.  We’ll collaborate with brands to help them better understand the lifecycle of their product packaging, so that they can move towards earth-friendly designs. Whether it’s a young child, a government official, or high-powered executive, our goal is to inspire people to take ownership of the [litter] problem.”

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One of Litterati’s maps of litter collection

Public Interest Registry chose to spotlight Litterati.org because we love the way Jeff is using his dotORG to help solve our world-wide littering problem. Litterati’s core values of integrity, collaboration, and simplicity resonate with our own, and we fully support Jeff’s use of the Internet to reach other people across the world interested in cleaning up the Earth.

Imagine the impact we could make if every single person in the world disposed of just one piece of litter. In Jeff’s words, “Global collaboration is paramount towards reaching a litter-free world. Individually, we can make a difference. Together, we can make an impact.”

Visit www.litterati.org to view Litterati’s impact so far. Use the hashtag #Litterati on Instagram to join the Litterati movement! You can also follow @Litterati on Instagram and Twitter.

Back to the Future, Making an Impact on the Way.

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Today marks the 28th anniversary of Back to the Future’s theatrical release in 1985. For nearly two decades, the critically acclaimed, science-fiction comedy film has delighted audiences with its memorable cast, musical score, iconic references, and of course, the DeLorean time machine.  Ronald Reagan even quoted the movie in his State of the Union Address when he said, “Roads…where we’re going, we don’t need roads”. The legacy of BTTF will surely live on for generations to come.

Today is not only a day to celebrate Back to the Future’s release and cultural impact, but it is also an opportunity to highlight the notable efforts of a foundation that was created by Marty McFly’s real-life counterpart, Michael J. Fox.

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Fox was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 1991. Although this news was not made public for another 7 years, he has since committed himself to Parkinson’s research through his organization, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which he founded in 2000. In its campaign to pinpoint the cause of Parkinson’s and uncover a cure within our lifetime, the Michael J. Fox Foundation has become the leading Parkinson’s fundraiser in the US, putting over $140M into research (The Guardian).

According to the foundation’s core values, the team is 100% patient-focused, comprised of risk-takers and problem-solvers that won’t stop until a cure is found – one that will improve the lives of people living with Parkinson’s today. Fox is correct when he says: “The cures we want aren’t going to fall from the sky. We have to get ladders and climb up and get them.”

With Fox, there was a story beyond a DeLorean time machine that needed to be told. After getting a better understanding of the core values of his foundation and how they are impacting lives every day, it truly makes us happy at Public Interest Registry to see the Michael J. Fox Foundation carrying out its cause and mission on the .ORG platform.

As the longstanding operator of .ORG, it makes us proud to see individuals, groups, companies and organizations working towards improving the lives of people through this online space. It is also comforting to learn that the values of .ORGs like the Michael J. Fox Foundation are directly in sync with our own values — to build a true sense of community, ensure trust and credibility, and to help make the world a better place – both online and off.

Marty McFly would be proud to see the impact that his real-life counterpart and the Michael J. Fox foundation is making an impact on the way back to the future.

Taking Rachel’s Challenge.

“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”

These words were written by 17 year old Rachel Joy Scott shortly before her life was taken during the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

Investigations following the shooting revealed that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the gunmen, were often isolated from the rest of their peers. They had each kept journals in which they wrote about their interactions with other students and expressed their disdain. Both of the shooters were publicly classified as gifted children that had allegedly been victims of bullying for four years. This in turn has focused more attention on the link between bullying and school violence.

Did you know:

  • An estimated 1.6 million children in grades six through 10 in the United States are bullied at least once a week. — Human Rights Education Center of Utah
  • Six out of 10 American teenagers witness bullying in school once a day. — National Education Association
  •  A reported 160,000 (15% of all) students don’t show up for school each day out of fear of being bullied while at school — (Fried & Fried, 2003).
  • Every seven minutes, a child on an elementary playground is bullied (Pepler, Craig, & Roberts, 1998).

In memory of Rachel and her compassion for people, her family started Rachel’s Challenge; a series of student-empowering programs and strategies that were created based on Rachel’s writings and artwork, and whose ongoing mission is:

“to inspire, equip and empower every person to create a permanent positive culture change in their school, business and community by starting a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.”

The core component of Rachel’s Challenge is a school assembly that tells the story of Rachel Scott to inspire change among students (in elementary, middle and high schools) to treat others with respect. The results and feedback from this initiative have truly been remarkable. According to the Rachel’s Challenge research:

  • It was found in Texas that there were 90% fewer disciplinary referrals in elementary schools within the state in just a few months after any Rachel’s Challenge program was initiated.
  • A High School in Illinois experienced 84% fewer out-of-school suspensions after having initiated a Rachel’s Challenge program.
  • 78% more students indicated they would intervene in a bullying incident after seeing Rachel’s Challenge.
  •  In a recent 24 month period, Rachel’s Challenge received more than 450 emails from students who indicated they had changed their mind about taking their own life after Rachel’s Challenge made their school a better and more caring place.

We can all learn from Rachel and her chain reaction theory, which has become one of the most recognized anti-bullying initiatives. The key takeaways are:

  • Take Off Your Labels… Be Who You Really Are
  • Appropriate Affection
  • Our Words Have the Power…to Hurt or Heal
  • You are Not Alone…We Have Shared Experiences
  • Today is YOUR Chain Reaction Moment

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This week, Public Interest Registry has chosen to highlight the work of Rachel’s Challenge because this organization has successfully used their dotORG as an amazing platform to carry out their cause and mission and to help improve the lives of others. Rachel’s story is also one that anyone can relate to, and we want to be a part of the chain reaction that she has started. To date, Rachel’s message has touched more than 19 million people. Every single one of these people will help continue the legacy of making a difference in their communities.

 

If you would like to donate to Rachel’s Challenge, please click here.