Friday, July 31, 2015

Feel Good Friday - The Unusual Suspects Theater Company

I often perform improv on Friday nights, which makes me feel good, so for today's Feel Good Friday, I'd like to introduce you to The Unusual Suspects Theater Company in Los Angeles, California.

Their mission, found on their website, is "to empower youth in underserved and at-risk environments with the means and methods necessary to explore personal and social conflicts and develop self-esteem, communication and coping skills to make positive life choices and become productive members of the community."

Since 1993, The Unusual Suspects has worked with children between the ages of 9 and 21 who are in foster care, the juvenile justice system, gangs and/or low income communities providing a variety of theater programs. The main focus is on two consecutive 10-week workshops. The first is a playwriting workshop, which results in a staged reading by professional actors. The second is a performance workshop that readies the youth to perform the play they wrote in the previous workshop.

A review of the impact page explains that some of the changes experienced by the 300 kids who go through the program each year include improved self-esteem, communication and teamwork skills and decreased physical confrontation, drug use and gang involvement.

If you want to learn more, you can watch a segment about the program on NBC Los Angeles or a handful of other videos they have on the home page. You can support their work by donating cash or, if you live in the LA area, becoming a volunteer mentor. As always, for the latest and greatest, like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @UStheatreCo

Friday, July 24, 2015

Feel Good Friday - One Sight

One more Feel Good Friday for my mom. I took three pairs of her glasses to LensCrafters where they have a donation box for One Sight, today's profiled organization.

Over 500 million people around the world suffer from vision loss and as I learned on the OneSight website, "Since 1988, OneSight's volunteers have helped 8.5 million people in 40 countries. We won't stop until the world can see."

Their program is not just about free glasses, though those certainly are a part of it. Volunteer's with OneSight provide training to local partners (so they can provide a sustainable infrastructure) as well as comprehensive eye exams and a new pair of glasses for every patient.

They have charitable clinics all around the world, from Nicaragua to New York City, Rwanda to Richmond, VA. You can find a complete list of clinics here and read stories about people whose lives have been changed through better vision here.

I feel better knowing the donation of my mom's glasses can help another person out, especially as a person who wears glasses myself.

To see what's currently happening with OneSight, like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @OneSightOrg

Friday, July 17, 2015

Feel Good Friday - Peninsula Humane Society (PHS/SPCA)

For those of you who follow this blog regularly (and keep track) you'll know that in the 2 years and 8 months it has existed, there have only been two times I haven't posted an entry on Feel Good Friday. Once when FGF fell on my birthday and again last week, when my mother passed away.

As I deal with my grief and the logistics of shutting someone's life down, there are a few things I can feel good about. One is the support of my remaining family and my family of friends, the other is the Peninsula Humane Society (PHS/SPCA).  My mom was an animal lover all her life and she liked to do her thrift store shopping at Pick of the Litter because the proceeds benefit PHS/SPCA.

As stated in the "about us" section of their website, "PHS/SPCA is a private, independent, non-profit, and our scope of services goes beyond that of a so-called no-kill, or limited admission, facility. As an open-door shelter, PHS/SPCA accepts all animals brought to us, regardless of age, breed or size, and we've rehomed 100% of the healthy dogs and cats in our care since 2003 and promise to do this going forward."

Their programs cover just more than finding new homes for cats and dogs. They accept, treat and release 1,200 - 1,400 birds and other mammals each year and have a "feral cat package" that helps San Mateo county residents trap, spay and neuter feral cats then offers discount services for future care. Some of the more typical program offerings include: obedience classes, cruelty investigations, spay/neuter and euthanasia services. They also have volunteers who foster animals while they wait for adoption and a program that pairs dogs with limited adoption potential and minimum-security inmates who provide care and training to prepare the dogs for adoption.

But wait there's more! Pet assisted therapy where residents bring their animals to visit hospitals, rehab centers and correctional facilities,  a pet loss and grief support group,  30 days of free housing for pets of domestic violence victims, educational programs, a resource library and birthday parties on site for kids 7-12! You can get more details about these and other programs at this link.

Because of her love for animals, and a good thrift store bargain, my brother and I have decided to donate my mom's belongings to Pick of the Litter. This way she can continue to support the fantastic work being done by PHS/SPCA. To learn more about the current happenings at the organization and see videos of some animals up for adoption, visit and like their Facebook page. You can also follow them on Twitter @PeninsulaHumane.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Feel Good Friday - Wounded Warrior Project

As you get ready to celebrate Independence Day in the United States, take a Feel Good Friday moment to learn more about an organization that supports injured service members, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

Founded in 2003, the purpose of WWP, as stated on their website,  is "to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members; to help injured service members aid and assist each other; and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members."

They do this by offering 20 different programs focused on mind, body, economic empowerment and engagement. All programs are free of charge for warriors, their families and caregivers. Some examples include resources to help warriors access VA benefits, employment and educational opportunities; outdoor activities such as Project Odyssey and Soldier Ride; and the Combat Street Recovery Program.

Wounded Warrior Project has helped over 70,000 warriors to date and they are on track to help 100,000 by the year 2017. You can read about some of these individuals in the Meet A Warrior section of the website and make a donation to support the work that WWP is doing. As always, to stay in the loop like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @wwp.