Siddharth Chatterjee: Eradicate Polio

note: numerous members of the community do extraordinary work & make the world a better place. If you know someone (or are someone!) with a story to share, please contact

Siddharth Chatterjee is Chief Diplomat at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. His struggle to raise awareness about the lingering danger of polio is personal; Sid is a polio survivor with first hand knowledge of the disease.

The reduction in global polio cases is a great success, but polio infection remains at endemic levels in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. African nations of Kenya and Somalia are home to a resurgence of the disease, pockets of infection can be found where vaccination is overlooked or inaccessible. Sid warns:

“We are at the last mile of getting rid of this deadly and crippling disease. Between Bill Gates, the US Government joined by others are making a huge difference. What is missing is advocacy and encouraging all governments and partners to come together around this common goal.”

Sid believes that by eradicating polio we are setting the stage for
eradicating other diseases and public health concerns. The overall success fighting polio is an example of how global awareness and aid make a massive impact on public health. Yet more work must be done to finish off the deadly disease.

siddharthchatterjee“Collectively we can encourage positive change and impact global commons such as public health, critical for healthy nations and healthy children all over the world” Sid said in a message to Polio is preventable with vaccination, every single case is one too many.

The images atop this post shows the oral vaccine being administered in Kano, Nigeria. A single dose protects half of all recipients, and 3 doses ensures immunity in 95% of people (source).

For more information, read Sid’s Q&A about polio “We Need a Decisive Win Against Polio” or his article on CNN titled “The Promise of Vaccines

top image courtesy of the Gates Foundation

Connecting Collaborators: Kids Are Heroes & Rachel Zevita

Gabe O’Neill  is an active community member, frequently and generously engaging with others. Professionally Gabe is a consultant and social entrepreneur.

Gabe O'NeillWith his (then) 9-year-old daughter MaryMargaret, Gabe co-founded Kids Are Heroes, a non-profit that empowers, encourages and inspires children to become leaders through volunteerism and community involvement. By showcasing and supporting children who are making a difference through their selfless acts of giving, Kids Are Heroes cultivates a culture of volunteerism and social engagement.

As an active member of the community,  it’s no surprise that he attracts attention. Not too long ago, Gabe received this message in his inbox:

“If you ever need live music or an original song for one of your charities I would love to be involved. The world can use more people who actively spread goodness like you do. God Bless!” – Rachel Zevita

Some of you may remember Rachel from our Featured Content announcement, or more likely from her time as a star on American Idol. A wonderfully talented singer, Rachel reached out to volunteer her time and talent for Kids Are Heroes. Gabe was thrilled, and the rest is history.

Rachel will be performing at Kids Are Heroes day 2013 in Frederick, Maryland. The event celebrates volunteerism and kids making a difference.

Rachel will headline the event, which begins at 10am on September 14th. You can also hear a track from Rachel’s new album on her page or purchase music on bandcamp.

Rachel Zevita on

It’s both exhilarating and gratifying to see generous people connecting and collaborating – the team loves to hear these success stories.

If you have a story about connecting through, please email us directly or leave a comment below!

Uncovering Ostomy with

Guest writer Jessica Grossman is the founder of Uncover Ostomy, an online campaign focused on raising awareness towards the ostomy and defeating the negative stigma surrounding the surgery.

What do you think of when you hear the word “ostomy”?
Yeah, “ostomy.”
Have you ever even heard that word before?
Don’t worry, neither have they.

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 7.50.29 PM

An ostomy is a surgically created opening from an internal organ such as the intestines or ureters to an external point in the abdomen where waste exits the body into a special bag is worn on top.

Ok – so an ostomy has never been the most glamorous of things. In fact, it is often stigmatized in the media and by the public. Those is need of ostomy surgery often refuse to have it, fearing how others may think of them knowing that the stigma exists. As someone who was facing death head-on at only 13 years-old due to severe Crohn’s disease, however, I have quite the different opinion. My ostomy saved my life and I couldn’t be happier.

I created the online awareness campaign called Uncover Ostomy to show how grateful I am to be alive after ostomy surgery. I’ve used different social channels to bring up discussions on the topic and use my page as a hub to bring them all together. The campaign features a blog where I write about living life like everyone else; trying to build a career, having crazy romances, and even losing loved ones. It also highlights some pretty racy pictures that show that the ostomy can still be sexy.

Uncover Ostomy also wants to show that the idea of ostomy surgery doesn’t have to be so serious. We actually launched a pretty funny new video where you can see first hand how few people actually understand the surgery and it’s necessity. And, there’s an iguana. Watch, laugh, enjoy, and please share it with everyone you know.

I’ve met some amazing people and have had some incredible experiences related to ostomy surgery all because of my page. I was even flown to Italy to be a keynote speaker at a conference from an organization who found me through it! Check out a few more pages raising Ostomy awareness.

Happy Movember!

This November from here on out known as Movember. Movember is the global men’s health charity that encourages men to grow and women to support the moustache for 30 days to raise awareness and funds for men’s health – specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. We’ve created Team to help support men’s health.

A handful of other people on the platform already support Movember!

So join, donate, and help spread awareness.

Be sure to add ‘movember‘ as a tag so others can find you. If you update your page for Movember please comment!

One day #withoutshoes wrap-up

Thanks to all who participated in the TOMS One Day Without Shoes campaign. Just on we had hundreds of people update their background image to help raise awareness for kids.

We also saw dozens of tweets with the #withoutshoes hashtag, pointing to pages and blog posts. This means there were tens of thousands of pageviews spreading the word over the three week campaign!

We were happy to do our part to raise awareness for this campaign. And the AOL blog has the story of the entire company’s efforts:

By the end of the campaign, we had some stats to be proud of that we want to share.  In total, we reached:

  • More than 1.2 million people on Twitter.
  • Around 20,000 people through, where more than 600 people changed their profile to a special TOMS background.
  • Millions through the TOMS messaging on MapQuest and on AOL Mail.
  • Nearly 200,000 people who visited the TOMS page on AOL Impact.
  • Hundreds of employees took part in events all across our offices and shared the news via Twitter.

Going shoeless for kids with and TOMS

There are a couple images you can choose to support TOMS One Day Without Shoes on your page. The great part is adding your own story. Maura believes that one person can make a different and does so with her page.

Continue Reading

TOMS One Day Without Shoes

On April 10, 2012 thousands of people around the globe will be taking off their shoes, to raise awareness on the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life. AOL Impact and are kicking off our effort this week, with a goal of reaching more than 100,000 people by April 10.

There are a few ways you can help:

  • Update your background to one of the two TOMS images in the Gallery.
  • Add your own personal shoeless background.
  • Tag your page #withoutshoes and link to TOMS.
  • Tweet links to the campaign and your page with the hashtag #withoutshoes.
  • Finally, go shoeless on April 10th to spread the word!

But there’s more! To thank those who have taken action, AOL will be awarding 100 $50 TOMS gift cards to random winners. Learn more about your chance to win.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve updated your background. We’ll be promoting and sharing those pages in the coming weeks.

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