A volunteer and 30-year resident of Rockaway Park, in the Queens borough of New York, warms up at an outreach center. Volunteers stayed into the night last Wednesday to help those who couldn't leave the devastated area in the wake of Sandy.


Even though I live in Tucson, the land of dull but ideal weather, Hurricane Sandy affected my life. Many relatives and friends suffered greatly. I will never again complain about the heat or endless blue skies.

One of the things that impressed me was how people living in places devastated by the storm came together to help each other. Homes were offered for shelter and showers. Food was shared. Kindness, empathy and willingness to help permeated the environment. Political differences were set aside.

In many cases nature's worst brought out the best.

Now that Sandy has passed, wouldn't it be refreshing to continue living in a society where connecting and helping each other is the norm, not the aberration? While I was having these thoughts, a couple of amazing projects were brought to my attention.

A friend told me that the Vatican issued a statement calling on people to "Help Change the World." People are being encouraged to work to create a more peaceful home. The statement asks individuals to lead in creating positive change in our world, rather than waiting for others to initiate the transformation for us.

The second initiative is a mobilization of artists and musicians in 97 countries to establish a Global Arts Renaissance. On Dec. 20 these folks will inspire each of us to participate in "A Big Project" to help change life for the better.

What a wonderful concept! These talented people will use song, dance, paintings, murals, sculpture and many other types of media to share their vision for a better world. The hope is that this art and music will inspire people all around the globe to engage in self-reflection by focusing on what is possible if each of us takes responsibility to become the person we want to be as opposed to the person we are so used to being.

In all regions of the world, from the U.S. and the U.K. to Egypt and China, many people believe that individuals hold the key to enhancing life - if we keep relying on governments to create the changes we want, we'll be waiting a long time.

Undertakings like "A Big Project" are working to bring these individuals together to do something toward this goal. I'm excited to see what is possible.

If you know an artist, performer or musician who wants to use his/her talent to make the world a better place, tell that person to check out "A Big Project" at www.abigproject.org online. His/her artistic work will be shared with more than a half-million people in every part of the world through social media, television, newspapers and radio.

Non-artistic types can also contribute to this big event. Go to the same website and click on the button to answer four questions about what you think a better world could look like.

Your answers will be analyzed by project leaders to see how they line up with other people from around the world. My guess is we probably have more in common than most of us realize.

Why not take part in this global renaissance? It has been my experience that a long walk starts with one step.

I realize I may be opening myself to criticism by promoting this project, but harsh words do not squelch my belief that negativity can be replaced with positive action. There will always be cynics. But I hope that those of you who believe we can create a better world will speak up and participate.

On StarNet: Read recent columns by Alexis Powers at azstarnet.com/alexispowers

Email Alexis Powers at northwest@azstarnet.com