I recently had the good fortune to get to know Jessica and Alicia Arinella, thanks to an introduction by my friend Newell, who knew that I would want to be acquainted with two people whose picture could have been in the “Be a Leader” chapter of my book.  In the following interview, Jessica Arinella explains what they are doing, and more important, “what you can do.”

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David: What is WYCD?

Jessica: WYCD (What You Can Do) is a series of one minute videos that show viewers what to do about various social or environmental issues if they only have one minute of time. Our issues span a wide range: global warming, animal cruelty, troop support, domestic violence, hunger and human trafficking just to name a few.  If you visit our website at whatyoucando.com, you’ll most likely find an issue that appeals to you. What You Can Do fills the gap between learning about these issues and motivating someone to take action.

David: Why did you start WYCD?

Jessica: I created WYCD out of a two-fold catalyst in my life. The first came when I lost my mother to cancer — and as anyone who has lost someone close to them knows, it is profoundly shattering experience. I found myself trying to reassess what I wanted from my life, where I fit in my world, and how to relate to the world around me. During this time I was watching a lot of documentaries (strange I know!) and I found that when watching I would be overcome with something that I like to refer to as ISD, an Impending Sense of Doom. It got so bad that I would leave the room, shut the door, and start reading US magazine.

One day, while reading an article on Brangelina, it hit me: documentaries are wonderful at illuminating a problem, but they don’t always tell you how to fix it. Someone should really do something about that. And then it hit me! I have access to one of the best producers in NYC — Alicia Arinella. AND she’s my sister, so it would be really hard for her to say no to me.  Maybe I can do something! I approached Alicia with the idea, she said yes, and WYCD was born.

David: What are your plans for 2012?

Jessica: What You Can Do is now in its third year. We premiered on PBS affiliate WLIW here in the New York area and have gone on to create a library of close to 300 videos. We are working with close to 100 experts and Not for Profit organizations. We recently re-launched our videos on WLIW and expanded within the PBS affiliate WNET to their additional markets in New York and New Jersey.

This year we are working hard to develop and expand the one minute movement by creating new videos and exploring the idea of collective change by holding challenges with our fans. For example, together we were able to save over 2,000 gallons of water in just five days, and helped to donate 500 mammograms to women in need.

We are also working to create a vlog called The Unstoppable Minute that will enable us to show you the behind the scenes workings of WYCD, as well as spotlight organizations and initiatives we know are making a difference so our fans can easily get involved.

Please join us at facebook.com/whatyoucando or look for us at whatyoucando.com — we would love to have you on board!

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What are some things you can think of that you can do? Join the conversation with your comments…

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