Friday, January 27, 2017

Feel Good Friday - JDRF

Today's Feel Good Friday organization is inspired by the recent passing of Mary Tyler Moore. She was a longtime supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) so I decided to learn more about their work and share that information here.

Created in 1970 as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the name has morphed over time into JDRF to emphasize the focus on research and acknowledge that type 1 diabetes affects both children and adults.

As summarized on the website, "JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our strength lies in our exclusive focus and singular influence on the worldwide effort to end T1D." Their vision is "A world without type 1 diabetes".

Information on the website explains that T1D "is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone people need to get energy from food. T1D strikes both children and adults at any age and suddenly. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. Though T1D's causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers play a role. There is currently nothing you can do to prevent it, and there is no cure."

This is why, to date, JDRF has contributed more than $2 billion to T1D research and is currently funding 50 clinical trials of potential therapies. They have 96 US locations and 6 international affiliates all with the same mission, "accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications." The JDRF website also has many online resources for people living with T1D including information, support groups and forums and care kits for children and adults.

To support the work of JDRF there are many ways to get involved. You can become an advocate or volunteer, you can participate in a local fundraising event such as a walk, bike ride or golf tournament or you can make a straight up donation.

You can also visit the Mary Tyler Moore tribute site to share your story and stay in the loop year round by liking the JDRF Facebook page and following them on Twitter @JDRF. Now go out on this Feel Good Friday and turn the world on with your smile.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Women's March on Washington

Happy Feel Good Friday from New York City!

I know Inauguration Day may not feel very good but that's exactly why I'm in New York today. I'm picking up a friend and then heading to Washington DC to support today's FGF group, the Women's March on Washington (WMW).

The election of Donald Trump has inspired people to coordinate worldwide protests on January 21, 2017 - the first day of his administration. A visit to the website of the original group, the Women's March on Washington, explains the mission of the march. 

"In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women's March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us."

Since the original march was planned, sister marches have been organized in over 600 cities around the world! You can read this Huffington Post article about marches around the world get the full list of participating domestic and international cities here. Not only will there be marches in our neighboring countries Mexico and Canada, but there will be people marching all across Europe and as far away as Australia and Japan! 

Gloria Steinem and Harry Belafonte have been named honorary chairs of the DC march and supporting partners range from groups you know like the NAACP, and Planned Parenthood and those inviting further investigation such as Black Girls Rock, Korean Resource Center and Lady Parts Justice. You can see the full list of partner organizations here.

The WMW website is a great place to go for questions about logisticsresources and the latest updates on the march. While you're there you can also make a donation and buy a t-shirt. To stay in the social media loop like the WMW Facebook page and following them on Twitter @womensmarch. 

If you're feeling discouraged by the state of affairs, I encourage you to join a march in your area, or take some other sort of positive action on the 21st. Marching in the streets in a show of solidarity (and pussyhats) helps me know I'm not alone and inspires me to further action and it just may do the same for you!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Color of Change

It's Friday again and I'm happy to know people who are involved in projects and groups making a positive difference in the world. I learned about today's Feel Good Friday organization, Color of Change from a friend.

Founded in 2005 by James Rucker and Van Jones, Color of Change "is the nation's largest online racial justice organization." As they state on their website, "we design campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward. Until justice is real."

You can get a good overview of the organization by watching this 7-minute video, or you can keep on reading. (dramatic pause) Their four main focus areas are economic justice, criminal justice, media justice and power and voice.

Campaign wins in these areas include forcing Glen Beck off the air, convincing FOX to cancel COPS and defending the Jena 6 - a group of students targeted for unfair prosecution in Louisiana. Current campaigns include petitions to demand Simon & Schuster cancel their book deal with white Supremacist Milo Yiannopolous, to call on tech companies not to help Trump build a Muslim register and to tell the Senate to vote NO on Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

You can support Color of Change's work by going to the current campaign page and signing some petitions (or starting your own), by making a donation and by staying in the social media loop by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @ColorOfChange.

Until Justice is real.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Grand Canyon Association

Happy New Year!

I was fortunate enough to spend the new year in the Grand Canyon. It was my first trip to the park and there was much more to do and see than I had time for in just two days. If you're planning a trip and want to make the most of your time, I encourage you to check out today's Feel Good Friday
organization, the Grand Canyon Association.

The National Park Service only covers baseline support for operations of the park and so, enter the GCA. As explained on their website, "the Grand Canyon Association is the official nonprofit partner of Grand Canyon National Park, raising private funds to benefit Grand Canyon National Park, operating retail shops and visitor centers within the park, and providing premier guided educational classes, hikes, and tours about the natural and cultural history of the region."

This is a great resource to help you plan your visit. I wish I knew about them before I went! They have links to maps, lodging options and activities, including guided hikes with the GCA Field Institute.  They also host art exhibits, operate many of the visitor centers and bookstores and organize volunteer activities such as vegetation rehabilitation and wildfire management activities.

If you'd like to support the work of the GCA, you can make a donation or shop online for maps, books, videos, calendars, clothing and jewelry. You can also "Adopt a Lion" by making purchases that directly support wildlife research and monitoring of three mountain lions that roam the park. I'm glad to know they are there and glad I didn't see them in person!

As always, you can stay in the social media loop by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @GrandCanyonAssn.