Fifth Donation, The Villages

So this is actually my second post this week because I’m trying to get back on schedule, woops! We’ve left Texas and are now hopping on up to Indiana. You may begin to see a theme with my donations and the audiences I target. I am very supportive of organizations that support children and teens that allow them an opportunity for a safe environment, access to quality education, and the opportunity to express themselves through creative outlets that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at our next org! The Villages is Indiana’s largest not-for-profit child and family services agency, their main focus being on foster care and adoption. First established in 1978 by an endowment, the agency opened its first home in 1980. Since then it’s grown exponentially to more than 20 offices strategically placed throughout Indiana.

As I mentioned, they focus primarily on foster care and adoption, but dang do they have a laundry list of other incredible programs! Their programming focuses on providing education for parents and children to improve relationships. Healthy Families, for example, strengthens the relationship between parent and child at the very beginning, providing education to parents on how to be the most effective parents to their child(ren).

Be on the lookout in your own state for orgs like these, and for our highlight next week!

Fourth Donation, Denton County Friends of the Family

Sorry for the late blog post everyone, the holidays really threw me for a loop! Can you believe, we’re now on our fourth donation? I’ve circled back to Texas, with a truly incredible organization that partners extensively with my grad school, the University of North Texas.

Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) “is dedicated to providing compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence, while partnering with our community to promote safety, healing, and prevention.” It is the “sole provider in Denton County of shelter and free outreach services to those who have been affected by relationship violence and/or sexual assault.”

DCFOF has a 24-hour crisis line, a physical outreach office and shelter space, and a thrift store where “proceeds from community shoppers benefit our agency’€™s extensive and comprehensive services.”

As I mentioned, they have a great partnership with UNT. They happily provide resources, education, and programming for any students or offices that ask.

Consider donating to your local shelter, they provide a much-needed service to so many families trying to get out of bad situations. Not only do they provide shelter, but they provide education and resources to their communities. I’m especially partial to organizations that also work with local campuses to provide education, support, and relief to those students and employees!

I’ll be posting a new highlight next week. If you know of any orgs that you’d like me to highlight or have any requests for a cause to research, let me know!

Second Highlight, Blood Donation

Hey everyone! So this highlight will be a little bit different from my first. You may have guessed from the post title that this will be about blood donation, which any of you can participate in, in any state! I know that giving blood makes some people feel squeamish, but hear me out, I feel you.

The reason that I am highlighting this particular cause is because it’s something that I do regularly, and it terrifies me. I began donating blood when the tragedy in Orlando occurred earlier this year, and after finding out I’m O+, I now go every 8 or so weeks.

Here’s the thing, though, every single time I donate I come incredibly close to throwing up and passing out, I have to have someone to talk to throughout the entire process, and it’s vital that I have a Sprite at the ready. During my most recent visit, the tubing carrying the blood to the pack touched my hand at one point and it took everything in me to not run out of the room screaming. In fact, I was just sent a “Thank You” email from the Indiana Blood Center where they said, “The pint (or so) of blood you just donated weighed roughly a pound.” I read that and closed my email as fast as I possibly could! You got a pound of blood from me? No, thank you!

I thought it would get better the more I’ve given, but it hasn’t, and yet I still do it. As an O+ blood type, I’m capable of giving to O+, A+, B+, and AB+ blood types. That’s a lot of dang people I’m able to directly impact! I tell you this to say, that sometimes helping others and doing the right thing can be scary. It can challenge you in different ways.

Just because you’re scared, doesn’t mean you’re not helping others. I challenge everyone to face a fear and help someone else.

Third Donation, Son of a Saint

Hey, everyone! So we’ve covered Texas, Indiana, and now we’ve come to Louisiana. My org for Louisiana is Son of a Saint, with an office in Metairie, LA and serving young men from New Orleans.

With my third donation, I specifically wanted to concentrate on something serving people in New Orleans. As I mentioned in my Giving Tuesday post I got my B.A. at the University of New Orleans and, as a result, the city holds a very special place in my heart. I learned about Son of a Saint through a Facebook friend of mine from undergrad. He is heavily involved as a mentor and posts often about the things his mentees accomplish, so it piqued my interest!

Son of a Saint “exists to enhance the lives of fatherless boys through mentorship, emotional support, development of life skills, exposure to constructive experiences and formation of positive, lasting peer-to-peer relationships.” What a fantastic and life-changing cause for these young guys! They’re able to provide everything from counseling to tutoring, you can learn more about the amazing opportunities and support they’re able to offer here.

I won’t actually say much about the organization because they have a tear-jerker of a video that I want to share with you instead. Be sure to have your tissues ready!

Next week be on the look out for my highlight post!

Giving Tuesday

I run a blog about donating, you didn’t think I’d miss out on Giving Tuesday, did you?

My donation for Giving Tuesday is going to things that have impacted me personally and, quite literally, changed my life. I’m talking about the University of New Orleans (specifically the Department of Fine Arts), the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation, and Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation.

I got my B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans (UNO), and while I don’t have a job creating  art now, the skills I’ve learned stick with me today. One of the most important being how to give and receive valuable criticism and feedback. Because of this, I was never afraid to seek out the best when writing papers in grad school, constantly asking others for their criticism on my papers, or taking a heavy hand with my comments on others’ papers that they’d have me proofread for them. It also made me unafraid to speak up when I feel something could be done better. All because I know it’s for the best, it’s to make me better and it’s to make others better. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that not everybody has had this opportunity.

As many of you know, funding for higher education in the state of Louisiana is less than desirable. I would say this impacts only a certain type of university, but really it’s kicking everyone’s butt. My alma mater has a commitment to the people of New Orleans, and to the state of Louisiana. It’s given so much to me, that I can only feel proud to give back. It’s not a lot, just my standard $10, but every little bit helps.

I joined the Delta Nu Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha in the Fall of 2008 at UNO. Without joining this organization, my time at UNO would not have been as enriching as it was. I met “my people” in Delta Nu. Now, 8 years later, I’m being invited to weddings, standing as a bridesmaid, planning spontaneous trips, and sharing laughs, life updates, and weird stories with those people. I’m also volunteering as an officer advisor and a traveling facilitator to provide the support and enrichment to collegians that were provided to me.

ZTA’s Foundation supports their philanthropic efforts, scholarships for its members, and educational programming. I’m proud to give my $10 to help my collegiate and alumnae sisters around the country.

While I am not a sister of Alpha Gamma Delta, they gave me my first job out of grad school! How can I not appreciate that? I feel like every day I hear about or connect to someone new that the Alpha Gam Foundation has impacted, and as someone who directly works with the funding provided to the Foundation, I am incredibly proud to donate this Giving Tuesday.

Consider making your Giving Tuesday personal like I have, what has inspired you? Help them inspire others. If nothing immediately comes to mind, think of those you love in your life and the causes and organizations that they support. Consider a donation in their name this Giving Tuesday!

Second Donation, Indiana Youth Group

Given the political climate, I hope all of you were able to spend time with your families yesterday and come out of it relatively unscathed! I’m sure that all of you were on the edge of your seats to find out who I would donate to next, well I’ve chosen the Indiana Youth Group located in Indianapolis, IN.

I knew I wanted to make a donation in support of the LGBTQ community but was specifically interested in LGBTQ youth. I first looked at the Indianapolis organization Indy Pride, which puts on some great city-wide events and educational programming throughout the year, but its focus is on adults in the LGBTQ community. (If you’re interested in supporting Indy Pride, though, it’s only $20 to become a member for the year!)

The Indiana Youth Group “creates safe spaces, provides wellness programming, and educates LGBTQ youth and the community.” They even have a physical building with space for the kids and teens to hang out in! Because of the space they offer, they’re able to provide a variety of programs for the kids and offer a variety of opportunities for people to volunteer. Here is a list of the programs they offer, you have everything from yoga to once-a-month dinner and movie nights. You can find out more information about volunteering here, which ranges from assisting in the programming they put on to being a tutor!

One of the coolest things is that there are a lot of ways to support them. In Indianapolis, you can get a specialty license plate and you can even set your Kroger rewards card up to support them every time you shop. Something I’d like to point out is that there are a wide variety of organizations and schools you can support with your Kroger rewards card. Even if you’re not in Indianapolis, check and see what’s available in your area.

Next week I’ll be highlighting another non-profit, and in 2 weeks I’ll be sharing the non-profit I donated to in Louisiana, stay tuned!

First Highlight, Limbs for Life

As I’ve mentioned, I will be donating to a non-profit in either Indiana, Texas, or Louisiana every 2 weeks. In my off weeks, though, I will be highlighting a non-profit to share with you all!

I am incredibly fortunate to have a family who supports me in pretty much everything I do, especially my mom! So for my very first highlight, I have chosen a non-profit with a focus that my mom is interested in.

Limbs for Life is located in Oklahoma City, OK and is a “global…organization dedicated to providing fully-functional prosthetic care for individuals who cannot otherwise afford it and raising awareness of the challenges facing amputees.”

They are able to help those stateside by “work[ing] with prosthetic clinics and skilled clinicians  nationwide who donate their time, labor and energy to help those in need.” To reach out globally they “[accept] gently-used prosthetics and prosthetic components from individuals who no longer need them. [T]hese used, but functional components…are able to reach hundreds of amputees in developing countries and provide them with an inexpensive prosthetic option.”

One of the cool things about Limbs for Life is that they have built a strong support system within their own community through engagement opportunities. Those engagement opportunities include the Blaze 5k which is held in partnership with the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center and Hangar Clinic, drawing about 500 runners and walkers to the Oklahoma River. They are further supported by Scott Sabolich Prosthetics, which hosts a golf tournament each fall with partners like MidFirst Bank and Chili’s.

If you’re interested in donating to Limbs for Life, click here. They provide options to donate online, by mail, and by phone! Providing someone with a properly fitting prosthetic can make such a difference in a person’s life – the gift of mobility, the self-esteem to follow their dreams, the list goes on.

If you’re interested in supporting non-profits in this vein, below I’ve included a list of some other cool orgs I found.

I’ll be sharing my second donation next week, but comment below if you know of any awesome non-profits I should add to my donations and highlights list!

First Donation, Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog. In the event you missed the sidebar of information, my name is Clare and I plan on donating $10 to a different non-profit in either Louisiana, Texas or Indiana for the foreseeable future. I have wanted to regularly donate to a non-profit, however, I kept putting it off, donating only when a natural disaster would strike or something particularly nasty was on the horizon. Like many others, I have felt a call to action post-presidential election and thought this would be a great way to learn about some organizations I had no previous knowledge of and support them, too! (Selfishly, it also means I don’t have to pick just one non-profit to support.)

So let me share with you an organization that I just found out about and became my first donation, the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, TX. Texas holds a special place in my heart as the place where I completed my Master’s degree and was truly challenged as a student and as a professional. I have some close friendships in Texas and wish I were able to visit it more often. (Plus, Whataburger honey butter chicken biscuits, am I right?)

To start off, I found the Las Americas IAC through the Department of Justice’s List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers. This site provides information for the entire United States, so if you’re interested in contributing funds to aid a particular community then you easily can!

The Las Americas IAC “provid[es] high quality legal representation to immigrants and [advocates] for human rights.” They do so by providing “low-income immigrants with a great variety of low-cost immigration services.” This includes “family-based immigration, victims of crimes services (including domestic violence and human trafficking), [and] asylum.”

But wait, that’s not all!

They also maintain two special projects, which really shows the commitment to their mission and community. Their community outreach program is entitled Las Abejas, or The Honey Bees. These are “outreach workers, or promotoras, all survivors of domestic violence or friends/relatives of survivors” who “speak out in the community about domestic violence and options for victims.” The second project is the Mexican Asylum Project. Just south of El Paso, TX is Ciudad Juárez, where thousands have been killed due to warring drug cartels. Because of this there have been many Mexican asylum seekers who are searching for relief in the United States, many of whom have received threats from cartels or criminal organizations. Las Americas IAC “is committed to the pursuit of justice and the protection of due process for Mexican nationals who have legitimate asylum claims.”

Pretty awesome organization in my book!

While I already have my next non-profit picked out, feel free to comment with any non-profits doing great work that I should add to my list! I prefer donating to non-profits in the three states I listed, but that doesn’t mean I’ll rule out any national/international organizations.