How Disaster Drills Soothe My Soul

Helping Others Makes Me Happy, Even If It Means Lying on the Floor Covered in Fake Blood

I am an insurance broker, a wife, a mother of three kids, and the guardian for my two elderly parents. In my free time, I relax and escape from my regular responsibilities by volunteering to role-play victims for disaster drills.

Last night, for example, I went to a mall in the town of Pleasanton, a suburb about 25 miles from where I live in Oakland, to role-play a victim in a six-hour active shooter drill. The scenario was that the guy robbed a bank, came into the mall, and opened …

Crowdsourcing in the Name of Science

Citizen Scientists Are Great for Data Collection and So Much More

The earthquake near Washington, D.C., five years ago in August 2011—the one that damaged the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral but had little other noticeable impact—caught me by surprise. …

How Ordinary Hungarians Stepped Up to Help Refugees

We Couldn't Remain Indifferent to State-Sponsored Inhumanity

On that first day in June, I stood in a Budapest train station with half a dozen people I didn’t know, wondering if I had the skills or stamina to …

venice beach 1960s

When Venice, California, Was Drab, Rough, and Wonderful

As a Volunteer in the War on Poverty, I Spent 1967 in the ‘Last Oceanfront Ghetto in America’

Most young women born in the 1940s were raised on the nursery rhyme indicating little girls were made of “sugar and spice and everything nice.” My childhood vision of the …