Sanitation Entrepreneur Takes on War and Climate

Last fall we had the pleasure of speaking with entrepreneur Bara Wahbeh, Co-founder and CTO of Akyas Sanitation, from his home in Amman, Jordan.

Bara Wahbeh on the urgent need for sanitation

Wahbeh, with his team of four, created a sustainable toilet system after Wahbeh worked in Izmir, Turkey. For many months he witnessed thousands of displaced Syrian people live in make-shift camps around the city. With no access to food, healthcare, education or work opportunities, he witnessed thousands spiral into unimaginable poverty. To hear his inspired story, please watch the origin story below.

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Link Ensemble Wows the Wedding Crowd

Full disclosure, the Link Ensemble Vocalist, Madeline Jentsch, is my niece. But we still wholeheartedly endorse and recommend these wildly talented artists. Rounding out the trio are Madeline’s life partner, Phillip Goist, Cello, and his identical twin brother, David Goist, Violin.

They are alumni of the prestigious and rigorous, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, (CCM), undergraduate and graduate programs.

During the pandemic when orchestras and opera houses shuttered their doors, these talented entrepreneurs took matters into their own hands and started performing online at churches, weddings, holiday parties, whatever the occasion, they were game. Now that they can perform live, and are on the road again, they have become so popular they are booking events almost two years from now. We got lucky and captured this song on our phone at Madeline’s brother, Max’s, wedding to his wife, Maggie.

To learn more, check out The Link Ensemble.

The Genius of New York City

Or how to change your bad mood by celebrating the creativity of your fellow NYC travelers.

Moussa, Columbus Circle, New York City

It was that type of morning.

The meditation, coffee and two-three mile run wasn’t working.

The existential dread of work, life, city, was still there.

Until.

Crossing the street in a sea of black town cars ferrying the fancy from the east side to the west side, and vice versa, there in his #pedicab splendor, is Moussa, from #Senegal.

The morning dread evaporates as we laugh with each other.

#newyorkcity#newyork

Afghan Chronicles: Day Five, A School Gets A Library

Today was one of the days of shooting that will go down as one of one of the most fulfilling days of not only shooting, but most fulfilling days, period. When working on a project, there is a process.

First, it’s the idea, something is here, a story, I am not sure what it is, but I can’t stop thinking about it, and I begin to shoot. Then the doubt sets in, what am I doing? Am I wasting my time and everyone else’s? And then there is the inevitable magic moment, and it always happens, where it all clicks. The hard work pays off and the moment arrives where you think, there is no other place or task that I would rather be doing than what I am doing at this moment. It is a moment of grace and flow, and when it happens, I feel extremely grateful. It motivates me when I am not feeling the “flow.” The memory and pursuit of these moments get me out of bed in the morning.

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A Tech Education Solution Combats Mass Incarceration

Aedan Macdonald, a “special needs” student for 11 of his 12 years of primary school hated his early, middle and high school education. It was not until he was incarcerated that he discovered his love for learning. While still incarcerated, he did so well in his studies that he was accepted to the School of General Studies at Columbia University .

While a Columbia student, Macdonald founded and became program manager for Justice Through Code, a program supported by Columbia’s Center for Justice and the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School.

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Street Kids, A Retrospective: Tiffany and Nate #Black #Queer #Homeless #Trans Survive in #NYC

For Gay Pride this year we reexamine Tiffany and Nate.  They are black, homeless, queer and trans and have survived on the streets of New York City for years. 

As race riots engulf our nation it is important to look at basic human needs of shelter, education, healthcare, and so much more, that often elude this population. Until we address the systemic racism baked into every institution in our country, we will never move forward.

We post two seasons that consist of twenty six, 60-second video segments on certain aspects of their life. 

Warning, this is an unvarnished look into their lives with language and topics that might not be for everyone.

Season One: Tiffany and Nate, LGBTQ and Homeless on the NYC Streets
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Small Business In the Time of COVID-19

Image of Yael Alkalay, Courtesy of Small Bevy

Like millions of Americans, especially New Yorkers, no one in their wildest imagination could fathom that New York City would shut down to all non-essential workers on March 13.

Millions of New Yorker City dwellers have survived 9/11, various financial crises, black outs, the AIDS crisis, but the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have a far-reaching and uncertain path of destruction that has the globe reeling.

Yael Alkalay, CEO & Founder, red flower, and Scott Kruger, COO & CFO, red flower talk with us on their thriving organic beauty and wellness business before mid March and after, and the steps they continue to take to survive in our brave new world.

Listen below on what life was like before and after mid March and how the Harlem-Columbia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided a much-needed lifeline to red flower.

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