Saturday, 26 February 2011

Looking for volunteer opportunities in June

Ridealist is a non-profit volunteer initiative that aims to tell compelling stories of people and organisations making a positive difference in their communities.

In 2011 we are donating our annual summer vacation to a project(s) in any location outside Hong Kong where we can offer our unique skills to help raise the profile of a deserving non-profit or grassroots organisation working with the environment, children, animals, the elderly, the disadvantaged - the choice is yours!

We can contribute up to US$1,000 toward expenses for the project.

Here's what people have been saying about Ridealist:

"Ridealist developed a video for my charity organization, Hands On Hong Kong, in 2010. It is an excellent piece of work in terms of both quality and content. It accurately captures what our organization is all about -- something that is not easy to do in just a few minutes. I'm very appreciative of the work Ridealist has done for Hands On. It's incredibly valuable for us to have this video to share with the community, including our supporters, volunteers, and current and potential sponsors.” March 1, 2011

Shaun Bernier, Hands on Hong Kong

"Chris Gelken and Shirley Han Gelken were instrumental in helping the International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) promote its non-profit animal welfare and shelter management programs in the PRC. Through Ridealist, Chris and Shirley created two pro-bono short films for ICVS to promote its free animal welfare and shelter management seminars and the ICVS/Columbia University Alumni Association animal welfare fundraising event in 2010. Ridealist provides a unique and essential service to bring awareness of the work of small start-up or non-profit organizations that would otherwise not have the funding to hire professional videographers and short-film producers of this caliber. It is without doubt that the short-films produced by Ridealist have helped to establish ICVS’ animal welfare programs internationally and to enable us to give China a voice and to act as a bridge between China and the world in improving the health and welfare for both animals and humans.

Chris is a consummate professional and is also warm, caring and kind with a great sense of humor - a real pleasure to work with. Ridealist is a great gift that has been given to us to help change and impact the world for the better and has our highest recommendation.” February 27, 2011

Mary Peng, ICVS Beijing

“We really enjoyed working with Chris and Shirley. They had only a few days to shoot but still managed to put together a great video for our organization.” September 7, 2010

Judy Shen, CAI

“Chris produced a video for our Charity organization "Giving Hand" for no fee. Excellent job in very short time. This video promoted a Donating project for Levi Strauss, the charity in charge, Beijing Huayu Education Foundation and Giving Hand.” April 20, 2010

Bobbi Fisher, Giving Hand, Chengdu

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Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Ridealist Journal - Changes are afoot!

About a month and a half ago Shirley and I enjoyed a splendid afternoon chatting with our friends from BrandOutLoud.

Judith and Mark were taking a break in Hong Kong, and we managed to catch up and share some of our experiences and ambitions.

We came away from the afternoon re-energized and just bursting with ideas!

On the agenda is a reorganization of our website. We hope to make it simpler, easier to navigate, but somewhat more informative. We frequently get asked the same questions over and over again, a clear indication that we haven’t made that information available on our website.

The new Ridealist website should give you everything you need to know about how we operate, how we choose projects, and what we expect from the folks we work with.

In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see on the Ridealist website, then shoot us an email and let us know!

Shirley has already begun working on a few designs, and they are pretty cool.

In the meantime, you can follow what we’re doing on our “official blog” at

So when will this new website be available? Ah, now that’s an excellent question.

We are concurrently working on a number of projects and it would be fair to say we are having “time management issues” - that is, to0 much to do, too few hours in the day.

But we’re getting there.

Keep up to date with our blog, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

An Appeal From Ridealist

A challenging and ongoing project for RUFG in Uganda. Requests for help from Kenya, Cameroon, India, US, HK, and China.

And we're working on "re-inventing" our main webpage and business model to make it more sustainable for the long-term.

It's a lot ground to cover for two volunteers working in their spare time, wouldn't you agree?

2011 is rapidly developing into a year that WE need to ask for help.


Through our growing number of contacts, Ridealist is now uniquely positioned to make a significant and positive impact on the lives of countless deserving individuals and grassroots groups around the globe.

Give it a moments thought.

Our - admittedly rather primitive business model - is designed to help people reach their goals, reach their potential. And it has been working.

Imagine what we could achieve with the right help,

An investment in Ridealist is an investment that spreads, that expands, that is reusable, shared, and ultimately sustainable.

But we're not holding out the begging bowl here. It isn't just about money - not to say it isn't a vitally important component.

What we're asking is that you invest your intellect, your connections, your experience.

Share with us your knowledge,

Make Ridealist -- all it can be.

Not for us, not just for you, but for all the people we have the potential to touch.

Thank you.

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New Year Message From Morning Tears

Ridealist received the following email from our friends at Morning Tears, and with their kind permission, we are delighted to pass it on.

Dear friends,

My intention of this mail is to write a sincere message. Tonight is new years eve in China. The office is quiet… Some of the morning tears kids are away with their grandparents for some days. Outside there are some fireworks.

You receive this message because the last year you have been somehow closely involved in the work of morning tears. Myself, I am very surprised by the expansion that we are realizing and the many things that we are achieving. We really start to make a difference, not only for individual children but also on political level. Those are my thoughts on optimistic days.

But sometimes I am haunted by despair that we are losing the battle. How will we ever make politicians realize that investing in children whose parents are in prison is absolutely the right thing to do? Even from a purely cold economical point of view it is worthwhile. In Europe the cost of having somebody in prison is a bit more than 100 euro a day, a lot of money. It is known that children of prisoners are in much greater risk of going to prison themselves. Giving the kids some support would save nations a lot of money. It is also known that an imprisoned parent who can maintain quality contact with his/her children can come out earlier due to good behavior. He/she is also less likely to end up in prison again. Again, the state can save! Still not one single government is really taking the destiny of the children as an issue. Even the fact that in nearly all countries the prisons are so crowded that new ones have to be build does not really alarm our statesmen… It is widely known that many prisoners also had a parent in prison. It is a never ending cycle. It can only be stopped by giving support to the children.

It is not only about economy. It is about human dignity. The pain, confusion and discrimination that individual children have to cope with are too much for a child.

One of the children that needs relief is Huahua. I send a picture of her in attachment. Her mother is in prison, her father died. She turned 10 years old last week. We asked her to do a secret wish before she blew out the candles on her birthday cake. She allowed herself to dream for a very short instant. That explains the tears in her eyes. It is for her and for the tears off the millions of children across the globe that we all work together.

I would like to thank you for the past year of your support. Myself, I praise myself happy with the great great great volunteers we have. Also, I would like to thank the children of the generation when we first started. They have grown up now and became excellent advisors. Many people gave us political support and protection. And finally our donors: without you we cannot do anything. Thank you.

Happy new year,


Koen Sevenants

General Director Morning Tears

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