Ian Somerhalder talks about his work with RYOT.org

Ian Somerhalder is known best for his role of Damon Salvatore on The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries, which is gearing up for its fifth season this Fall. Besides acting Ian is very involved with various charities including The IS Foundation, which aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures. He also recently got involved on the advisory board of RYOT.org, which is a website that is working to get young people to be engaged with the news. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ian again about new role and what his fans can do to help.

Mike Gencarelli: Honestly Ian, I have to ask with being an actor, activist and co-founder of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation; what do you do to balance your time?
Ian Somerhalder: It’s easy. I am energized by all the love and enthusiasm and positive energy around me. I meet amazing people every day that blow my mind with their wisdom and ideas. I believe that I become part of everyone I meet and they all become part of me – so that’s a lot of energy churning around in one body! But I do love spending time with my family – they keep me grounded and there really is no greater source of comfort than being at home.

MG: How did you get involved on the advisory board of RYOT.org?
IS: I’ve been friends with co-founders Bryn and David for years. The idea for RYOT came out of dozens of late-night conversations about the helplessness we all felt when reading the news. We wanted to find a way to make news empowering rather than depressing, so we spent a year building the site and launched it in October. It’s been amazing to watch it grow and see how many people love it and use it every day.

MG: The philosophy behind RYOT.org is that there are many ways to make a difference. How important is it for you to “make a difference”?
IS: RYOT’s founding principle is that everyone can make a difference. RYOT means “peasant” in Hindi and part of our inspiration was the MLK Jr. quote “A riot is the language of the unheard.” The way we see it, you don’t have to be rich or famous or an aid worker on the ground in Haiti or Africa to make a difference. There are ten thousand ways you can make an impact every day in your own community, or in many cases, right from your computer or phone. I try and make a difference by working on environmental issues: Supporting products that are sustainable and energy-efficient, and organizations/legislation that are working to preserve the planet. Taking action to help others is so important to our own fulfillment in life. We actually have a really great, recent article about this on RYOT.org, click here.

MG: Why do you feel that it is important for young people to be engaged with the news?
IS: This is our future we’re talking about! The more engaged we are, the better we understand other cultures and points of view, and the better our understanding, the more compassionate we are to others’ stories and struggles. Compassion is a necessity in this world, not a luxury.

MG: Tell us what your fans can do to help out with RYOT.org and ISF?
IS: We are always looking for volunteers who want to join the ISF family. We have an AMAZING team right now who work tirelessly to keep our mission moving forward and to educate the world about what we do. You can head over to http://www.isfoundation.com/get-involved to get in touch with us. You can make a HUGE impact by setting RYOT.org as your homepage. RYOT gives a portion of all revenue to non-profits so just by getting your news from RYOT and sharing stories, you’re making a difference. Last but not least, make sure to follow RYOT and ISF on social media! (@ryotnews, facebook.com/ryotnews and @is_foundation, facebook.com/isfoundation)

Executive Director Kim Klingler talks about working with the Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Kim Klingler talks is the Executive Director with the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.  Over the the last 12 years, she has worked with a variety of for profits and non profits, in a variety of industries, focusing on strategic mission, start up, product, brand and team development. Kim took out some time to chat with Media Mikes to tell us how she got started with ISF and what they have planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you take on the role of Executive Director of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation?
Kim Klingler: I was watching Ian on the Larry King Gulf Oil Spill Telethon, and was struck with Ian’s authenticity.. and wanted to connect with him to see if there were potentials to collaborate with Well World, a project I was working on with Deepak Chopra. Ian and I spoke on the phone and clicked…we felt the same way about the current state of the planet, and had the same vibe about the types of solutions we wished to see… the rest as they say is history.

MG: Tell us about the foundation’s mission and goals?
KK: Our mission statement is: “The Ian Somerhalder Foundation aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.” The underlying energy of the foundation enables our mission and vision. There are more than 650 ISF community groups world wide. ISF is more than an organization, it’s a family of people who wish to see great change for all
living beings on this planet. We thrive off of the collaborative nature of everyone from volunteers to corporate bodies. We welcome out of the box thinkers and encourage people to share their innate talents with change makers creating opportunities for the best of many worlds to come together.

MG: How has it been working with Ian to accomplish these goals?
KK: If you can believe it, I’m not asked this question often. Which is truly crazy! I’ve seen Ian inspired, happy, very sad and even angry – I’ve got all the goods! I wish people would ask this question more, because it gives me an opportunity to share a little more about him and why I’m grateful to be working towards change with him.Ian is a very creative being, in too many forms to list. He’s also exceptionally intelligent and quite strategic. If he could he would try to solve every problem, because it’s in his genuine nature to heal. He’s very sensitive to the energy in a room, and can pick up things most people miss. He’s also a naturally grateful person which makes working with him a delight. He’s one of my more favourite human beings on this planet but keeping up with him is not an easy task! Im almost convinced the man has perfected teleporation and mastered sleep deprivation!

MG: How did ISF get involved with Best Friends Animal Society’s Strut Your Mutt?
KK: We are huge fans of Best Friends it was just natural to get involved withthis awesome project. We all work virtually, and I love the way I can work in tandem with people all over the world but there is something to be said about connecting in person. It renews that human connection all social animals crave, so having the opportunity to walk with and power up with people who care in person was to hard to resist!

MG: What can people do to get involved even if that can’t attend?
KK: If you can’t be in Lafayette, LA on September 22nd, you can still Strut Your Mutt by becoming a “virtual” member of the ISF Dog Pack. Every ISF Dog Pack member creates their own personal SYM page, sets there own fundraising goal and raises funds via sponsors like family and friends. For the virtual walkers, we are encouraging them to set aside a day and take their pet on a special walk. Then share their walk with their sponsors and others on the SYM Facebook page through pictures and a story.

MG: What does ISF have planned next after this event?
KK: We have a stack of to do’s a bunch of creative directions and a whole lot of work ahead of us! We are VERY excited about moving forward with the Animal Sancturary and it’s bully program- keep your eyes posted!


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Ian Somerhalder talks about his foundation and “The Vampire Diaries”

Ian Somerhalder is known best for his television roles on shows like “Lost” and “The Vampire Diaries”.  Ian also spends a lot of his time working with his foundation, Ian Somerhalder Foundation or ISF.  The foundation is participating Best Friends Animal Society’s annual Strut Your Mutt event at Park Sans Souci in Lafayette, Louisiana this year.  Media Mikes had a chance to ask Ian a few questions about his foundation and also about returning to season 4 of “The Vampire Diaries”.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us what made your start your foundation, ISF, and how did you come up with the mission of promoting love and interconnectedness?
Ian Somerhalder: After witnessing the devastation of the Oil spill in the Gulf, I had find a way to utilize my voice to make a change. I was not alone. I witnessed the compassion from others, equally as grief stricken, unite in determination. People of all ages gathered together to make a difference. I soon realized the immediate need for a platform for these amazing people to come together to have their voices heard. This launched the IS Foundation. As we come together more and more from all ages and walks of life, we celebrate our shared passions as well as our differences. With an understanding of the ultimate interconnectedness of the universe, we emphasize the unique strengths in all the different voices that make up the ISF Family.

MG: Tell us about your participation in the Best Friends Animal Society’s annual Strut Your Mutt eventat Park Sans Souci in Lafayette, Louisiana?
IS: ISF has long been a fan and supporter of Best Friends Animal Society and their mission of “No More Homeless Pets”. As we developed the idea for our Animal Sanctuary, we were looking for opportunities to spread the word and raise funds for this ambitious project. The “Strut Your Mutt” event in my home state is a great opportunity to get out and do just that alongside some amazing people and animals. We hope you join us and participate in this fantastic event!

MG: How can people help that cannot attend the event?
IS: Understandably, not everyone will be able to attend. By spreading the work of ISF, especially our plans to build a sustainable animal sanctuary, you are still participating! We are tremendously grateful for donations from ISF family members who want to see this dream come true. If just 1,000 people donated $10 a month for a year, we could achieve our goal!

MG: How do find time to focus on your charity along with starring in the hit CW show “The Vampire Diaries”?
IS: Although it can appear overwhelming at times, it’s necessary. We all lead busy lives, but to see the changes we want for this world we have to make time to stay active with our ideas and continue to collaborate. We can’t do it alone. I wouldn’t be able to accomplish nearly as much as I do without the incredible ISF family. Together our voices weave a tapestry that serves as support for our array of initiatives. ISF has an amazing Executive Director, Kim Klingler, who brings a tremendous amount of passion and knowledge to the table. We are also fortunate to have talented and driven volunteers who commit countless hours contributing their time on projects, content for the website, event planning and much more.

MG: How is filming going so far for the upcoming 4th season?
IS: Great! Coming back for a new season is always reminiscent of the first day of school. The cast and crew are incredibly close, so rekindling bonds and positive energy encompasses the set. And from what we’ve seen so far, this season is bound to be excellent. Things are going to be very interesting for Damon…so I hope you stay tuned to see…

MG: What do you have planned next for ISF and where can people find out more information?
IS: ISF is currently working on several projects and initiatives. We are planning our very own Vampire Diaries Convention to be hosted in Canada early next year. We are also working on a youth development conference to held next year as well. To see information about any of our current projects like the Animal Sanctuary, you can visit isfoundation.com and follow us on twitter and facebook.