Awake News!

Uplifting stories to inspire and kindle consciousness.  Reminders of the power we have to reflect our oneness with each other and with all life.

In this Issue:

  • Changing the World One Love Note at a Time
  • Orangutan Granted Rights of Personhood
  • Lily Yeh: Art for Social Transformation
  • From Rwandan Garbage Dump To Harvard


Changing the World One Love Note at a Time

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.”
— Rumi

1Weber2What began as a fun love note for her kids, has turned into a passion for finding, documenting, installing and sharing love notes.

Shannon Weber is on a mission to change the world - one love note at a time. What started out as a love note to her kids became a passion for sharing love notes throughout her city. By herself, or with kids and friends in tow, Shannon "love bombs" wherever she can to "get love, give love." Her dream? To sprinkle the world with love notes.

Shannon Weber is a San Francisco-based ephemeral artist on a mission to change the world one love note at a time. She creates public displays of affection: painted love notes covertly hung on fences and live love note writing experiences where a public art piece is created from participants’ customized love notes. Shannon is captivated by catching people’s eye or heart in transition and feeling for brief seconds the innate connection, the web of commonality between us. On her website,, she 1Weber1posts about her adventures documenting signs of love, installing public art love notes, and reflecting on life’s loves.

Shannon is the director of HIVE a hub of positive sexual and reproductive health based at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. She is also  an ordained minister, a commissioned altarista for Dia de los Muertos/The Marigold Project, selected as a Maker Faire 2014 participant, presented at TEDx Encinitas 2014, an Awesome Foundation grantee, and had an art installation at Burning Man Center Cafe 2014.

Enjoy this short video clip of Shannon in her passion of changing the world one love note at a time. She invites you to join her!



Lily Yeh: Art for Social Transformation

lily_yehMeet Lily Yeh, founder of the internationally acclaimed "Barefoot Artists."lily3

Formed in 2002, Barefoot Artists employs a unique methodology for using the arts as a tool for community building and personal transformation. The former executive director of the extremely successful Village of Arts and Humanities in Philadelphia, Lily Yeh now works internationally on projects in places that include Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Ecuador, and China. Barefoot Artists aims to train and empower local residents, organize communities, and take action for a more compassionate, just, and sustainable future.

Barefoot Artists is a volunteer organization with few encumbrances of staff and overhead. Lily Yeh raises funds for specific projects that pair volunteer expertise with local people to improve environments, and to advance health, education, and economic development. When funds aLily2re raised for a project, a call for volunteers is held and some paid staff are organized.

During the project process, participants learn Barefoot Artists methodology on community building and economic developmenLily1t through art. She aims to inspire participants so that they will take the initiative to start their own projects, bring other volunteers, find new funding sources and discover other opportunities to serve communities in need. She intends for the various programs initiated by volunteers to become multifaceted and interconnected in order to better serve communities.

Visit their Projects pages to learn more about Barefoot Artists work throughout the world. And check out this trailer for the newly released documentary on Lily Yeh and her work: The Barefoot Artist.



From Rwandan Garbage Dump To Harvard

justus1After 2-year old Justus' parents vanished during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, he lived in a stripped-out car in the Kigali City Dump, surviving on food scraps thrown out by nearby restaurants and hotels. Amid that stench was the buffet he ate from every day. His home was a stripped out, tireless car, in which he slept on and under pieces of cardboard. The car had no windows, but provided some protection from the rain and the equatorial sun, and the pigs that competed with Justus for Clarefood.

One day Clare Effiong, a visitor from the U.S., was driving through Rwandan dirt roads in a taxi cab, looking for ways to "do good." Her intuition told her to pull over when she saw a group of children, including Justus, on the side of the road. After learning that Justus wanted to go to school, Clare found him a place to stay and paid for his schooling.

When Clare pulled Justus from the city garbage dump, he spoke only Kinyarwanda. When he graduated from high school, he spoke five languagesjustus2. But languages were not his focus. He had become a brilliant math and chemistry student and was selected to join 30 students (out of 1,200+ applicants) in the Bridge2Rwanda ( Scholars Program that prepares Rwanda's most gifted and promising students to successfully compete for international scholarships. Justus obsessively studied SAT and TOEFL test prep, English, research and writing, leadership, entrepreneurship, and discipleship, and received B2R's guidance in applying to colleges and universities in the United States. Justus was a brilliant student and eventually earned admission into Harvard University.

justus3Today, Justus believes passionately that "What has been done for him, he must now do for others...Self-affirmation requires him to pay it forward.

Justus says, "As I continue on my own wandering journey, I want to be like Clare and know when to tell the taxi driver 'Stop!' I want the necessary discernment and courage to respond to the opportunity before me — and to act."

To read more of Justus' story and many other great articles and positive news can be read at the wonderful free website,

Background image by Dan Dhruva Baumbach