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Plastic pollution is a growing problem in our oceans, and an issue that doesn't get nearly enough attention. Plastics are known to cause problems for numerous marine animals, including sea turtles, seals and seabirds to name just a few. Worse yet, aquatic microorganisms mistake plastic particles for food. It’s estimated that approximately 700 different marine species are threatened with extinction due to plastic waste.

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Unemployment continues to be a vexing problem in the United States, and this week we're happy to learn of an impressive organization that is helping to reverse that trend. Downtown Streets Team (DST) has created a work experience program for people experiencing homelessness, and so far they've helped 755 people in the Bay Area find jobs, while transitioning 100 people out of homelessness. For the whole story, see the City of San Rafael's blog here.

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Haiti, an independent island state in the Caribbean with a population of nearly 11 million, has been beset by more than its share of natural disasters: they've been hit by floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, and in 2016 Hurricane Matthew decimated farms in Southern Haiti.

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Women On The Block will be held at Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn this Mother's Day, May 13th

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Like many foster children, Johna Rivers has had a difficult path. Placed in foster care at the age of 9, she remained there until she reached adulthood. It's a recipe for struggle: according to a recent study, up to 25% of foster children go on to become homeless.

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According to Charity: Water, around 40% of Kenya’s population drinks and bathes with unclean water, from sources like rivers, ponds, and shallow boreholes. It's a big problem, and unfortunately one of the easiest ways to treat contaminated water–boiling it over a wood fire–is itself an environmental hazard.

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Karim Abouelnaga grew up poor with six siblings in a single-parent household, in a Queens neighborhood where his public high school had an abysmal 55 percent graduation rate. Nevertheless, he persevered and beat the odds, going on to graduate from Cornell. Today with his startup Practice Makes Perfect, he helps other inner-city kids to overcome the achievement gap, and find their own success.

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Photo: Aubrey Devin

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Janet Lipsey, Board President for Billions Rising Foundation, recently traveled once again to Uganda. While there, Janet took time to visit Andrew Gabula, and the Joy Orphanage that he operates in Kamuli. Since 2013, Billions Rising Foundation has supported Andrew in his efforts to build a self-sustaining farm that supports his school and the many children who reside at his orphanage. We've seen the incredible progress he has made, and continue to support his mission.

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Andrew Gabula has operated the Joy Orphanage for over 14 years.

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