Watch the YouTube Elevator Show

We all know how tense it can get in an elevator with even one other person in there with us. This YouTube channel takes nearly absurd situations and makes its point by making us feel uneasy. From discussing serious topics like eating disorders to poking fun at rap as “elevator music“, they producers of the video shorts don’t have many taboo subjects.

One particularly amusing short has a man and a woman get on an elevator with a bespectacled schlub who seems to be extremely tired for some reason that turns out to be sort of creepy. Another spoofs annoying Bluetooth conversations to good effect.

An Ancient Elevator to a Modern Thrill Ride

At a remote monastery in the Egyptian desert, there exists, even to this day, a small box with two ropes, each connected to a pulley, running through it. People wishing to enter the monastery must pull themselves up hand-over-hand. It’s been that way since the sixth century.

In Taiwan, the Taipei 101 tower now has elevators that whiz along at almost 40 mph. Plans exist for a tower in China that will have elevators approaching 45 mph. Such elevators must be pressure-controlled to prevent vertigo-inducing ear popping as they rocket skyward.

A Home Away From Home for Families Fighting Cancer

Ronald McDonald House began in 1978 to help the families of sick children. The goal was to provide a place where the families could live while their child, or children, received treatment at area hospitals. More than 30,000 people, who arrived in fear and confusion, found hope, caring staff members and the ability to function and remain a family. Ronald McDonald House is much more a place to stay.

The organization provides transportation to and from New York for families that need its help. There are full-time tutors on staff that can provide first-rate education for both the sick children and their siblings. Ronald McDonald House also gives its inhabitants the opportunity to visit museums, attend musical and theater performances and go to sporting events throughout the tri-state area. Budding musicians can take lessons in their chosen instrument, including voice, and artists-to-be can get instruction too. Ronald McDonald House also throws birthday parties, various holiday celebrations and other camaraderie-building events designed for both children and parents.

The organization also makes psychological help available for everyone involved, whether it’s clinical psychiatry or just someone to talk to when the burden seems overwhelming. Several different faiths maintain ministry partnerships with Ronald McDonald House to provide spiritual guidance and regular worship opportunities for those who desire it. All of this is available to families for a mere $35 a day, which is roughly 12 percent of what it costs to house a family for a day.

The charity operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and it has been recognized in the past as one of the top charities in the United States. Charity Navigator, for example, awards it four out of four stars. In fact, nearly 90 percent of all donated funds go toward operations, with only 1.7 percent going to administration. Despite Ronald McDonald House’s numerous fundraising activities, they only account for 9.1 percent of incoming funds. The organization only spends $0.09 to raise $1 of donations, which is among the most efficient programs in the country.

Donors can help in many ways. Here are a few:

  • Frequent fliers can donate their collected miles.
  • People of little means can “share a night,” and defray the $35 cost for one family for one night.
  • Car owners who are upgrading can donate their car.
  • Anyone can donate nonperishable food items and clothing.
  • Anyone can collect pop tabs from soda cans, which will not only help raise funds but also contribute to a greener planet for everyone.

Donors could also attend and support any one of a dozen major fundraising events, such as masquerade balls, Skate With the Greats, which involves former New York Rangers from the NHL, large-scale fun runs, golf tournaments and much more. Well-to-do people, or any business, looking for a bigger way to help might even host their own fundraising event. There are so many ways to become involved that charitable folks need not look far to be able to help.

Brooklyn Organization Helps Boost College Graduation Rates

Bottom Line is dedicated to the premise that everyone, regardless of privilege or advantage, should be able to be successful in college. To that end, the organization helps between 3,000 and 5,000 students annually, and these efforts yield tangible results.

Of all the students they help, 78 percent graduate within six years. That might not seem like much until one considers that many of these students go part-time and work part-time to pay their own way. One student remarked that Bottom Line proved that there was someone in the world who cared about her success other than her.

Disadvantaged young people have a much tougher time getting colleges to notice and accept them. Most of the time, they don’t have anything close to the money necessary to go to college, even community college, and a lot of them don’t have the required grades either. They must spend most of their time working to help their families make ends meet. Studies become secondary in importance to just eating and having a roof over their heads. Bottom Line helps students balance their studies with their other activities and shows them the value of doing well in school despite their hardships. The organization provides one-on-one counseling by professional staff members and volunteers who are intimately familiar with the college application process.

Of course, Bottom Line cannot do everything for everyone, even if that is a dream the organization has. In reality, the organization focuses on helping students qualify for and apply to a select group of “target colleges” in New York, Massachusetts and Illinois. Many of the schools on this list are state colleges, which are more cost-effective than expensive private universities, although there are some private institutions on the list. Bottom Line partners with these schools because not only do a large percentage of the students they help choose to attend them but also because the schools themselves need help retaining students.

Bottom Line works both ends of the spectrum to achieve its impressive results. Students involved in the program are 43 percent more likely to graduate than those who are not involved. This success stems from the fact that Bottom Line continues to provide its students support throughout their college tenure. The organization specializes in helping students solve any problems that arise, such as financial aid woes, work-study issues and changing majors.

Bottom Line’s approach to helping students also serves as an example of how to build relationships and networks. By accessing all the Bottom Line has to offer, the students learn how to interact with important people in their lives. By always striving for excellence in its own doings, Bottom Line also imparts a desire in students to do the same. Perhaps most important of all, Bottom Line teaches responsibility and accountability; students who hold themselves accountable show themselves to be trustworthy to their peers, professors and prospective employers down the line. By preparing students for college, Bottom line is also preparing them for the rest of their lives.