As the end of the year approaches, many of you may be sitting by the lava lamp and writing down your resolutions for the new year:
Do you plan to get back into your "skinny jeans"?
Be more plugged in to social media... or less?
Quit smoking once and for all?
Manage stress better?
Drink less alcohol?
Make more time for your family, friends, loved ones?
Finally go after that master's degree you've been putting off?
Make a barbeque recipe to rival Uncle Jack's secret sauce?
Hone on your DIY skills to become a "Mister or Miss Fix-it"?
As you reflect on the days that have passed in 2010, and set the bar high for yourself, share your plans with us.
We want to hear not only what your goals are, but what your game plan is for achieving them.
How do you plan to keep the goal in mind, and not have it dissolve at the first whiff of a hot Krispy Kreme donut?
We'd like to help.
Your project could become the focus of a CNN Newsroom segment, complete with expert advice, and planning tips to help you and those inspired by you... to succeed.
So rather than spend the next 12 months ruminating about what you didn't achieve last year... plug-in and prepare for a fresh start and share your plan with CNN Newsroom.
Jonathon Prince lives a life larger than himself, chasing a dream to make the world a little better for the less fortunate - one running stride at a time. Right now he's running, in the dead of winter, to raise money for six nonprofits. CNN Producer Annika Young recently caught up with Prince as he ran across the freezing Texas plains. Watch his inspiring story below.
“Annika, remember when you told me to keep running because it’s my passion? Well, I’m running again.” I read that text message from Jonathon Prince and thought, “Wow! Really?”
I met Jonathon, a native of Las Vegas, during his Run for Relief campaign back in 2005. He raised $20,000 for victims of Hurricane Katrina. I was impressed then. [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/11/hopeordie.computer.screen.jpg]And now that he’s on his third cross-country trek, I’m more than impressed. I’m dumbfounded. No. 1, it’s winter. No. 2, it’s winter. And No. 3, it's winter! Not to mention his latest philanthropic effort is lacking major sponsorship and a proper road crew.
He travels with two people: Mike Hansen and Andrea Batel. Mike worked in television and Andrea worked for an accounting firm. Both quit their 9-5 gigs to go on the road with Jonathon, all three of them, blankets, clothes and shoes packed tight in a little Hyundai Sonata. They often share a motel room. Right before his run in Pecos, Jonathon slept in a chair.
Yes, I had some concerns. But if I know anything about Jonathon, he can’t be deterred. If he says he’s going to do it. He does it. And I wanted to be there to see him do it. Jonathon launched the “Hope or Die” campaign earlier this year. The thought behind the concept is a choice. Hope or Die. According to Jonathon, if you’re not hoping for something you might as well be dead.
This time he’s running for six non-profit organizations: Habitat for Humanity, The Girl Effect, Water.org, Bread for Life, RAM (Remote Area Medical) and Global Greens. Jonathon kicked off his run on October 15 on the Santa Monica Pier. He’s already been through California, Arizona and New Mexico. I caught up with him in Texas. After the Lone Star State, it’s off to Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia and he’ll finish March 27 in Washington. He hopes President Obama runs the last mile with him. So do I.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/11/hopeordie.truck.on.highway.jpg][cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/11/hopeordie.three.people.jpg]
To say that Jonathon’s grandfather, mother, and two older brothers are proud of him is an understatement. But his dad thought he’d gone mad. During one of his earlier runs, his dad found Jonathon mid-run and tried to make him come home. Jonathon refused. With two runs under his belt and a third underway, his father is now a believer. I am too.
During his run in Pecos, Texas, I promised Jonathon I’d run the last two miles with him. I ran, walked, jogged and sucked in a chest full of freezing cold air. I thought, “How does he do this every day? It’s literally a marathon a day!”
He warned me being on the road is…being on the road. We’re talking cheap motels, not so great meals, and no bathrooms. I found out about the latter the hard way. Let’s just say I’m grateful for baby wipes and hand sanitizer. While we were on that last lap together he turned to me and said, “You OK, cheeks? You’re a real trooper.” I wanted to say, “No, you are” but couldn’t find my voice. The wind ate it. I started to slow up a bit and he turned again and said, “I’m not finishing this last lap without you.”
That was all the motivation I needed. Here’s a man, who never ran track a day in his life but has run across the country twice, a man who runs six days a week for other people, a man so focused, so driven, so determined. Before I knew it, we had crossed over our makeshift finish line.
I’m inspired and encouraged by Jonathon Prince. It’s not just the six nonprofit organizations that benefit from his passion, it’s people like you and me who see his drive and commitment and it motivates us to cross our own personal finish lines.
So, hope or die? Which do you choose? I choose hope.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/11/hopeordie.face.to.face.jpg][cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/11/hopeordie.hope.or.die.jpg]
–CNN Producer Annika Young
To learn more, to donate, and to support Prince's cross-country run, visit his site: www.hopeordie.org
This story drew a lot of attention - and some criticism - yesterday. Here are some excerpts from blog comments:
"Teachers aren’t psychologists or miracle workers ... So, gimme a break, and report the story even-handedly."
"These stories are tragic. Any death of a child is terrible. We are hearing one side of these stories. Remember everyone is consider Innocent until proven guilty."
"I viewed your report on the “Time-out” given to this autistic student with disgust. I have worked in classrooms with autistic and other learning disabilities. It is quite obvious you did not do your homework for this interview such as attend one or two classes that the students attend."
"I was more than a little disappointed with your dispassionate report on the case involving Toni Price. How could you not express outrage with this case? Sometimes, being an objective reporter should give way to being strong on child abuse, no matter where it comes from ... If you tell us a child has been murdered, at the very least, we’d like to know if WHY no one has been held accountable. If you don’t have the answers…GO GET THEM! That is a reporter’s job, with all due respect."
Guys, we want you to know that we always try to be even-handed and do our homework on the stories in our shows. Sometimes, behind-the-scenes stuff affects coverage in ways we didn't anticipate: a guest meant to provide the 'opposing' view cancels at the last minute, or Legal tells us we can't run a sensitive piece until more vetting's done. (BTW, the latter happened yesterday, minutes before we went to air.)
As for the last quote above, re: not enough outrage, I wish you'd been at our morning meeting! Kyra keeps her cool when she's sitting behind that anchor desk. But she's got very strong, personal feelings about this particular story - in fact, her mom is a retired Special Ed teacher.
We're going to keep pushing forward on this; this afternoon, we'll have an update on the teacher involved in the death of Toni Price's foster son, a live interview with a GAO director involved in that school abuse report, and a jaw-dropping piece from one of our Atlanta affiliates on an autistic boy's treatment. Tomorrow, we focus on all those teachers who are doing things the RIGHT way; you'll meet a South Carolina educator who started in the juvenile justice field, and now works with mentally disabled children.
Finally, anyone who wants to read the aforementioned GAO report, you can find it here. For info on seclusion and restraint laws in YOUR state, scroll to page 35.
Please do keep writing and telling us what you think about our coverage (of any story) - we welcome both cheers and constructive jeers!
Michael Jackson announced in March ten concerts in London this July. This is the first time Jackson's performed in 12 years. The concerts will take place at the 20,000-capacity O2 Arena starting July 8. He called the performances a "final curtain call".
Just in case you missed it... In honor of Michael Jackson, Tony Harris breaks out a little rendition during the commercial break. What song is he singing?
We are always getting the latest and greatest in technologies but it takes a lot of work, and a lot of training, to get them on the air.
Watch as Josh Levs and Producer Andreas Preuss demonstrate one of our newest tools, which has become very handy on our weekend shows.
Join Fredricka and Josh every weekend from the CNN Newsroom.