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By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas
This week a fashion designer built sustainable communities in Africa, a weatherman toured the country on a feel good gift giving spree, and a star-studded documentary encouraged kids to go outside and play. Here are this week’s most inspirational pop culture moments.
Doc Highlights the Lost Art of Playing Outside
“New York Street Games,” documentary narrated by Hector Elizondo, features a wide array of notables like Ray Romano, C. Everett Koop, Joe “Joey Pants” Pantoliano, Regis Philbin, and Curtis Sliwa. It takes a look at the games kids used to play out in front of their own homes.
The film tells of a world before cell phones, the internet, XBox, and PSP when kids had to find entertainment all on their own. They used pink Spaulding balls, big pieces of chalk, old broom handles, and even their own bodies to play stickball, stoopball, kick the can, Johnny on a pony, and hopscotch.
The celebs reminisce about the games they used to play on the city sidewalks. It celebrates an era when there was a sense of community in every neighborhood, streets were safe for kids, childhood obesity was a rarity, and imagination was king. As Ray Romano puts it, “You were your own Nintendo.”
The best part about the DVD? Every purchase includes a copy of the “Street Games Rulebook,” so you can relive the glory days and teach your kids the ropes behind games like boxball, slapball, and skully.
Al Roker and “The Today Show” Lend a Hand
Al Roker has been on a feel-good spree this last week. As ambassador for “The Today Show’s” Lend a Hand program, everyone’s favorite weatherman traveled the country for the sixth annual charity road trip. Roker’s crew stopped in six U.S. cities with a truck full of supplies for local organizations in need of help.
His first stop was San Francisco, California, where he handed out art supplies, computers, clothes, and more to ROCK (Real Options for City Kids). The organization helps kids develop a balanced interest in class work, afterschool activities, and outdoor adventures.
Day two marked a move to Bozeman, Montana. A sizable donation was made to Eagle Mount Center, who help special needs people of all ages by encouraging them to participate in outdoor activities. The organization was the recipient of gifts from sponsors like Frigidare, who donated appliances, and National Recreation Systems, who gave a set of bleachers with wheelchair spots and handrails.
Al visited Des Moines, Iowa next, where he announced over $650,000 in contributions to the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers. Donations came from a wide range of organizations from General Motors Foundation to Ace Hardware to Secret Deodorant.
The good will caravan made a surprise stop in Nashville, Tennessee, to aid victims of the recent floods there, before presenting dancewear and other goodies to the New Ballet School in Memphis.
The final stop was in Rye, New Hampshire where Roker presented tanks and aquariums donated by the big fish from Sea World to the smaller Seacoast Science Center, which teaches kids about the ocean. A timely topic, for sure.
“The Today Show” and its sponsors donated generously but it’s not too late for people to lend a hand of their own by visiting the websites for all of the featured charities.


Tommy Hilfiger Named MDG Global Leader
Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger has a lofty ambition – to cut severe poverty in half by 2015. Well, this is really the mission of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in support of the Millennium Promise project but Tommy’s just been named their global leader.
Admittedly, getting the first such title might not have been too hard for Tommy. After all, The Tommy Hilfiger Group is committing $2 million in funds for the initiatve. But that’s not important right now.
What matters is the fact that MDG is going to raise awareness and help build sustainable communities in sub-Saharan Africa. In a press release, Hilfiger said, “The results that I have already witnessed first-hand in the Millennium Village in Ruhiira have convinced me that launching this campaign today is the single best way we can use the power of our brand and our people to support efforts to end extreme poverty in our lifetime.”
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