Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From Seedlings to Servings

From Seedlings to Servings: 11-Year-Old Grows Tons of Veggies for the Homeless user
by Tonic, on Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:09am PDT 148

When third-grader Katie Stagliano inadvertently grew a 40-pound cabbage in her back yard, she decided to donate it to a local soup kitchen — feeding 275 homeless people in the process. Three years later, the inspired 11-year-old has grown more than 4,000pounds of veggies for the needy.

By Diane Herbst

It sounds like a sub-plot from Jack and the Beanstalk. When Katie Stagliano brought a single cabbage seedling home from school as part of a third-grade class project, the 9-year-old planted it in the soil in a tiny plot in her family's back yard. She watered and weeded appropriately. Next thing she knew, that seedling grew into a monster-sized, 40-pound cabbage.

None of her classmates' cabbages grew so large. Katie didn't even add any sort of magic fertilizers, or receive any special gardening tips from adults. "Absolutely not," her mom, Stacy, tells Tonic. The biggest known OS Cross cabbage ever — the "OS" in the name stands for "oversize" — was 55 pounds, according to Bonnie Plants (the company that provided free seedlings to Stagliano's class as part of a nationwide school gardening initiative). So this wasn't a record, but it certainly was something.

Some might call it beginner's luck, yet others might call it fate—because what Katie did next turned her story into a heartwarming tale that's touching people all over the world. Katie decided that her green-leafy pride and joy should be donated to a local soup kitchen, where it was made into meals for 275 people (with the help of some ham and rice). "I thought, 'Wow, with that one cabbage I helped feed that many people?'" says Katie, now entering sixth grade. "I could do much more than that."
So with the help of her parents, Katie started her own nonprofit, Katie's Krops, and began planting vegetable gardens specifically to feed the needy. She has six right now, including one the length of a football field at her school in her hometown of Summerville, S.C. Classmates, her family and other people in the community help plant and water, and Bonnie Plants donates seedlings. This past year, Katie took her commitment to a new level, providing soup kitchens with over 2,000 pounds of lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables. Katie and her helpers are now harvesting the spring planting, and another 1,200 pounds will be donated by October.

"She just walks in like a proud little girl with her treasures in her arm," says Sue Hanshaw, CEO of Tricounty Family Ministries, the soup kitchen in Charleston, S.C., where Katie first brought her 40-pound crucifer. "I love what she exudes, caring for others. It's made a big impact on a lot of people."

Says Elois Mackey, 49, a formerly homeless mother of two who has received a weekly vegetable delivery from Katie since September: "She is showing that you can help other people no matter how young you are. I love the vegetables she brings."

Read more inspiring stories on Tonic.

Katie is a well-spoken 11-year-old who juggles the life of a school child with that of a world-changer. Swim practice, tennis matches, and studying (she has had the highest GPA of her class for the last four years) are sandwiched between daily waterings and tending. "It makes me feel good," says Katie. "I feel bad for those people who have to go to Palmetto house [a homeless shelter where she and residents recently planted a garden], but I feel good that I'm helping people."

Katie's desire to help as well as create sprouted early. "She's always been very inquisitive and wants to go above and beyond," says her mom, Stacy, 41. "It's like, 'What about this and why aren't we doing this?"

Since the age of four, Katie has placed first in competitions that include inventing a toothbrush now on sale that teaches water conservation, for the Dr. Fresh company. "When you put the toothbrush in your mouth to brush," says Katie, "it plays a rap song that says, 'Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, and you can save eight gallons of water.'"

As a third grader, upset about a local drought, Katie decided her school, Pinewood Prep, needed to conserve water. Katie wrote the headmaster over Christmas break, suggesting how the school could better conserve. Soon after, the high school's advanced placement environmental studies teacher called to meet with her and work on a water conservation project. Katie's suggestions for rain barrels to catch water and other ideas were soon implemented throughout the school. "As a parent, I am so moved," says Stacy. "I say to her, 'I hope some day when you are a parent, you have a kid who is as amazing as you so you can see it from a mom's perspective.'"

Much of the thanks goes to Stacy and Katie's devoted group of helpers, including her 7-year-old brother, John Michael, who has toiled in two of the gardens to plan pumpkin patches.

Since February of last year, master gardener Lisa Turocy has not only sat shoulder to shoulder with Katie planting and giving advice, she's transformed her entire front yard into a garden with 600 seedlings. "If I can help her change the world," says Turocy, "that's awesome."

Locals Linda and Bob Baker, golf professionals with 41 acres of farmland set along a rutted dirt road on the outskirts of Summerville, gave Katie some acreage for a garden. Bob lugged his John Deer tractor to Katie's school to till the soil, and taught Katie how to drive the machine. Says Bob: "It makes you feel so good to see someone that young with that amount of compassion, step in there and really make a difference."

Since she started, Katie has been contacted by schools and parents as far away as South Africa looking for advice on planting gardens of their own, specifically to help needy individuals in their communities. And Katie’s story has inspired supporters to donate to Katie’s Krops to help her buy irrigation equipment, fertilizer and other supplies for her six gardens.

As one of Katie's best friends told Tonic, most kids their age mainly like to watch TV and play on computers; they don't like to do what Katie does. Another friend, Anna Semar, 11, who was inspired by Katie to grow her own vegetable garden, says: "If there were more people like Katie the world would be a better place."


Jatuh dari Lantai 16 Tidak Mati

Bocah Sakti
Jatuh dari Lantai 16, Tidak Mati
Senin, 26 Juli 2010 | 14:38 WIB

WELLINGTON, KOMPAS.com — Seorang remaja laki-laki berusia 15 tahun selamat dengan luka ringan setelah terjatuh dari balkon apartemen keluarganya setinggi 16 lantai ke lantai beton.

Koran The New Zealand Herald melaporkan, Senin (26/7/2010), seorang remaja yang tidak disebutkan namanya tersebut melayang jatuh dari balkon lantai 16 setinggi sekitar 50 meter.

Menurut saksi mata, remaja tersebut meluncur cepat dan kemudian menembus atap tempat parkir. Setelah itu meluncur ke bawah, sebelum akhirnya mencapai lantai beton.

"Anak itu meluncur cepat sekali. Sebelum kemudian terhempas di atas atap dan menghilang ke bawah," kata penghuni lain setelah melihat anak yang jatuh itu melewati jendelanya.

Surat kabar tersebut menyebutkan, para ahli medis heran bagaimana remaja tersebut bisa selamat. Sebab, menurut perhitungan medis, hanya beberapa orang yang selamat bila terjatuh lebih dari lima lantai.

Menurut laporan The New Zealand Herald, saat ini remaja tersebut dalam keadaan stabil. Ia dirawat di sebuah rumah sakit di Auckland.

"Anak itu menderita luka ringan pergelangan tangan, tulang rusuk patah, luka kaki, dan sejumlah luka dalam," katanya.

"Tuhan mungkin telah melindunginya. Ia dijaga malaikat, itu pasti," kata Kaa Wehi, penjaga rumah, yang bekerja di gedung saat peristiwa itu terjadi.

Sumber: http://internasional.kompas.com/read/2010/07/26/14382261/Jatuh.Dari.Lantai.16..Tidak.Mati-3

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mengapa Tidak Puasa?

Mengapa Tidak Puasa?

Alwi Alatas

Kemarin petang, sekitar pukul 18.00, cuaca di daerah Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur, sangat cerah (waktu Maghrib di KL sekitar pukul 19.30). Saya memarkir kendaraan di tepi jalan, kemudian menyeberang dan menghampiri kios (kedai) kecil tempat penjual burger. Saya memang bermaksud membeli dua potong burger untuk berbuka puasa hari itu.

Saat tiba di depan kios burger dan menyebutkan pesanan, saya dapati kedua anak muda yang berjualan burger itu tengah makan es krim. Yang satu segera meletakkan es krim yang ada di tangannya dan menyiapkan pesanan saya, sementara kawannya tetap duduk di tempatnya dan menghabiskan es krim yang ada di tangannya.

Tiba-tiba saya jadi merasa sangat kesal. Mengapa kedua ana muda ini tidak berpuasa? Padahal waktu berbuka tidak lama lagi. Saya perhatikan wajah mereka. Mereka memang orang-orang Melayu, bukan orang Cina atau India. Mereka tentu Muslim. Tapi kenapa tidak puasa?

Saya perhatikan pedagang burger yang sedang duduk dan menjilat es krimnya itu. Dia cuek saja, tak perduli dengan pandangan sebal saya. Sudah diperhatikan seperti itu, masih saja tetap makan, tidak merasa malu sama sekali. Saya jadi kehilangan selera dan hampir-hampir membatalkan pesanan. Tapi daging burger sudah mulai dipanaskan. Jadi saya terpaksa diam saja.

Tak jauh dari tempat itu, ada laki-laki lain, Melayu juga, sedang duduk dan makan sesuatu. Dia juga makan! Mengapa dia juga tidak berpuasa. Dan bukan dia saja. Seorang ibu pedagang di sebelah sana juga tidak berpuasa. Ia makan sepotong kue sambil merapikan tempat perniagaannya. Ibu itu mengenakan kerudung, tapi tak berpuasa. Hmm, mungkin saja dia memang sedang tak boleh berpuasa, karena ada halangan. Tapi anak-anak muda ini?

Beberapa kali saya melirik pemuda yang duduk agak jauh tadi dengan wajah sebal. Ia masih asyik menghabiskan makanannya. Beberapa kali pemuda itu juga melihat saya dengan tatapan aneh dan kurang suka, mungkin karena saya memperhatikan dia dengan wajah yang kurang menyenangkan. Selesai makan, pemuda itu pergi ke sepeda motornya yang terletak di dekat kios burger, lalu memeriksa giginya di kaca spion (cermin) motor itu, mungkin takut ada sisa makanan yang tersangkut di sela-sela gigi. Subhanallah, saya tambah geleng-geleng kepala. Sudah makan, sekarang tanpa malu periksa gigi segala. Hampir-hampir saya tidak sabar dan ingin menegur. Tapi saya tahan.

Setelah burger selesai dibuat, saya tanya harganya dan membayar sesuai harga yang disebutkan. Tanpa berucap apa-apa lagi … dan tanpa senyum …, saya kembali ke mobil. Setelah masuk ke dalam kendaraan, saya letakkan burger yang terbungkus rapi itu di bangku belakang. Burger yang sebelumnya begitu mengundang selera kini jadi tak menarik lagi.

Kendaraan tak langsung saya jalankan, karena masih menunggu misscall dari istri yang sedang bersilaturahim ke rumah kawannya dan akan saya jemput tak lama lagi. Sambil duduk di kursi kendaraan, saya merenungkan apa yang baru saja lihat. Saya benar-benar-benar tak habis pikir, mengapa di Malaysia, di negeri yang katanya menganut nilai-nilai Islam, ada begitu banyak orang Melayu yang tak berpuasa dan berani-beraninya makan di depan umum? Apakah kesibukan berdagang yang menjadi alasan mereka? Tapi saya tidak melihat pedagang-pedagang lain, yang ada di dekat kendaraan saya, makan.

Saya masih merasa sebal dan agak marah, karena merasa ajaran dan nilai-nilai Islam telah diabaikan oleh kaum Muslimin sendiri. Lama juga saya berada dalam keadaan seperti itu. Mengapa mereka tidak puasa? Mengapa tidak mau bersabar sedikit saja menahan diri dari makan dan minum? Apakah mereka tidak dididik agama oleh orang tua mereka? Mengapa ...?

Lalu tiba-tiba saja saya tersenyum sendiri. Saya seperti orang yang baru saja terjaga dari mimpi. Rasanya tak percaya dengan apa yang telah terlintas di dalam pikiran sejak tadi. Keterlaluan betul saya ini! Tentu saja mereka tidak berpuasa. Sekarang kan masih bulan Sya'ban, belum masuk bulan Ramadhan!

Rupanya sejak tadi tanpa sadar saya merasa kalau bulan Ramadhan sudah bermula dan semua kaum Muslimin tengah berpuasa. Allahu Akbar. Untung saja saya tidak sampai menegur para pedagang itu. Kalau saya lakukan, tentu saya sendiri yang bakal malu.

Tak lama setelah itu, saya menjalankan kendaraan untuk menjemput istri dan pulang ke rumah. Selama beberapa menit setelah itu saya masih senyum-senyum sendiri. Ah, rupanya Ramadhan sudah hampir tiba. Suasananya sudah betul-betul terasa. Ahlan wasahlan ya Ramadhan. Semoga umur kami sampai ke Ramadhan tahun ini dan dapat merasakan manisnya bulan yang penuh berkah.

Allahumma barik lana fi Sya’ban, wa balighna Ramadhan.

Kuala Lumpur,
23 July 2010