August Coffee Chat — Outlook Nebraska, Inc.

23 Aug

For our August 19 Coffee Chat at No More Empty Cups, we were joined in conversation by Lisa Kelly, Enrichment Programs Director,  and Doug Wampler, Program Facilitator, from Outlook Nebraska, Inc. ONI is a non-profit with a staff of 74, 46 of whom are legally blind, that pursues a mission “to positively impact everyone who is blind or visually impaired” primarily by providing employment. Other programs include “social activities, education, technology and adaptive aids training, and health and wellness programs” designed to serve and integrate the blind and visually impaired into the larger community.

Doug Wampler and his service dog, and Lisa Kelly from Outlook Nebraska, Inc.

Doug Wampler and his service dog, and Lisa Kelly from Outlook Nebraska, Inc.

To achieve their employment mission, ONI has built a manufacturing business that creates 100% recycled content toilet paper and paper towels that are sold to government and institutions. Thanks to the Wagner-O’Day Act of 1938, the Federal government is required to purchase products manufactured by people who are blind, when possible. This creates a market for nonprofits that employ people who are blind. The organization maximizes employment by minimizing automation. As Kelly pointed out, “Where other manufacturers have a machine, we have a person.” Continue reading

Tips to Enjoy the Walking Commute

20 Aug

This summer marks one year of walking to work. That doesn’t mean occasionally walking to work, or even mostly walking to work. I’m talking about walking to work, every single day, rain or shine. I’m like a postal carrier, only I’m not weighed down with junk mail.


I did not plan on this, or make any kind of resolution. I had already been walking most days, driving only when I ran late or when it rained, or when apathy seeped in and worked its black magic. Then, last summer, it became my default. I could leave twenty minutes early to avoid a coming storm, or I could drive in it. I left early. In the winter, it was easier to put on boots than clean off my car.

Many people see these choices as daunting. It’s only after really walking regularly that one can truly experience and enjoy the practicality in it.

If you’re familiar with Mode Shift’s work, then you’re already familiar with all the reasons to leave your car at home: it saves money for you, saves money for the city, and leaves both you and your neighborhood healthier by promoting physical activity and reducing pollution. Continue reading

Coffee Chat with Keep Kids Alive Drive 25

18 Jul


Tom Everson, Executive Director of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25, intentionally uses the phrase “traffic incident” rather than “traffic accident.” He chooses “incident” over “accident” because 94% of traffic-related deaths are attributed to behavior.

At the June Coffee Chat, Tom shared that the main objective of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 (KKAD25) is to make streets safer for everyone, starting in neighborhoods. KKAD25 implements their mission by educating and engaging the public on road safety. Perhaps their most well-known approach to this objective is their catchy and important safety signs distributed around the world.  Continue reading