Friday, December 1, 2023

Feel Good Friday - AIDS United

December 1st is World AIDS Day and a good day to learn more about AIDS United.

Formed in 2011 as a merger between two organizations established in the 1980s, the mission of AIDS United is “to end the HIV epidemic in the United States.” They note on their website that the biggest obstacle to ending the HIV epidemic is a lack of health equity, which is why they focus on increasing both health equity and access to testing, prevention and treatment.

The work they do is divided into three areas. The first is capacity building for organizations working in the HIV sector. AIDS United provides community-based organizations with organizational management tools and other technical assistance so those groups can support people in their local communities.

The second area is focused on policy and advocacy. By uniting organizations from across the U.S. in their Public Policy Council, AIDS United brings people together to advocate for “the laws, policies and government programs that address health equity and increase HIV testing, prevention and treatment.”

The final area of focus is providing strategic grants to the organizations best situated to end the HIV epidemic in their communities. To date AIDS United has awarded $221 million dollars to groups working in 43 states, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Examples of programs these grants support “include, but are not limited to, syringe access, access to care, capacity-building, HIV prevention and advocacy.” You can find details on specific initiatives supported by AIDS United at this link. 

If you’d like to support AIDS United there are many ways to do so. Start by reviewing the HIV 101 section of their website to make sure you’re informed on how to prevent the transmission of HIV. Next, you can take action by contacting Congress on HIV-related policy issues or attending the advocacy event,  AIDSWatch, in March, 2024. Finally, you can help by making a donation and amplifying their work on social media. Like the AIDS United Facebook page, follow them on Instagram or TikTok, and subscribe to their YouTube channel

Friday, November 24, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Association on American Indian Affairs

November is Native American Heritage Month and today is Native American Heritage Day. A perfect time to learn about the Association on American Indian Affairs.

Headquartered in Clarksville, Maryland, the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) was founded in 1922 “to change the destructive path of federal policy from assimilation, termination and allotment, to sovereignty, self-determination and self-sufficiency.” Their mission today is “to lead the grassroots fight to protect Native Cultural Sovereignty.” 

The work of AAIA centers around their goals to “protect sovereignty, preserve culture, educate youth and build capacity.” The Cultural Sovereignty programs include work around repatriation of Indigenous land, burial belongings and cultural objects back to the original Native Nations. AAIA also provides technical assistance and training on how to use the law to protect sacred places

The Next Generation Program includes investigations into wrongful adoption practices; justice reform to address the disparate treatment of Native youth; and awarding college scholarships to students and grants to summer camps. In 2023 over 300 youth from 30 Tribes, Nations and communities attended summer camps that provided experiences to connect them with their cultures.

The final programs of AAIA focus on Becoming an Ally. There are resources on how we can all help to end the violence that disproportionally affects Indigenous Peoples and advocate to change racist mascots.

If you’d like to learn more, you can attend an AAIA event, or tune in to Red Hoop Talk, a streaming Native news and talk show. If you’re ready to support AAIA’s efforts to protect Native Cultural Sovereignty there are many ways to do so. Make a donation, join the association, and show your support on social media. Like the AAIA Facebook page, follow them on Instagram @associndianaffairs and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Feel Good Friday - SPOON

For many people in the United States, the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday means friends, family and food. It’s a good time to reflect on what you’re grateful for, and it’s also a good time to highlight an organization focused on child nutrition, SPOON.

Established in 2007 by Cindy Kaplan and Mishelle Rudzinski and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, SPOON’s mission is “to nourish children who are highly vulnerable to malnutrition by empowering their caregivers around the globe.” 

Their work is focused on children with disabilities, and those living outside of family care because these children are much more likely to experience malnutrition than their peers. SPOON approaches this issue in three ways which you can learn about in this short video or by continuing to read below. 

The first step is training for caregivers such as community health workers, nurses and social workers. Topics include nutrition, feeding and disabilities. This training has been provided across 17 countries and there are also self-paced, online courses available to help the program scale.

Once training has been completed, the caregivers can access a digital health app called Count Me In. The app includes educational content and assessment tools. It helps service providers track mealtime, growth, and anemia for children in their care and makes recommendations for intervention when needed. 

Finally, data from SPOON’s work around the world is shared with their partners and used to advocate for inclusive polices, services and investments for all children.

The impact of this work is impressive. Last year, SPOON trained 352 people in 8 countries, who worked with over 13,000 children. For children being monitored with the Count Me In app, 35% saw an improvement in growth, 40% had a drop in anemia rates, and 82% experienced improvement in rates of safe feeding positions.

If you’d like to help SPOON increase their impact around the world, there are many ways to do so. Volunteer your time, donate your money and share their message on social media. Follow SPOON on Facebook and on Instagram @spoonfoundation.