Friday, March 31, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Canadian Women's Foundation

I'm in Montreal, it's the last day of Women's History Month and it's Feel Good Friday. So who are we going to talk about today? The Canadian Women's Foundation!

As explained on the website, "we specialize in helping women and girls move out of violence, out of poverty and into confidence and leadership." The organization was founded in 1991 by Nancy Ruth Jackman and Susan Woods who were concerned that only 2% of philanthropic donations went to organizations that benefit women and girls. Since that time, the Canadian Women's Foundation has invested more than $40 million to over 1,200 community programs.

Currently they provide support to 450 women's shelters and 84 community programs across the country which directly benefit 30,000 women and girls each year! You can read details and impacts here or check out the summary below. The work of the Canadian Women's Foundation is focused in three areas:
  1. Stopping violence by funding emergency shelters, helping women and girls to escape from sex traffickers and investing in school-based violence prevention programs for both boys and girls.
  2. Ending poverty by funding programs that teach women a skilled trade, start a small business or get work experience.
  3. Empowering girls by funding programs that allow at-risk girls to "explore science and technology, play sports, learn to think critically, or take on leadership, in a supportive all-girl environment."
For those of you with two minutes and some Kleenex, watch this video titled, "What's possible in a world that's #GirlPowered?"

If you're ready to give, the Canadian Women's Foundation is ready to receive. If you're still not sure why you should take action, here are the top 20 reasons and some more inspiring videos.

As always, stay in the loop by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @cdnwomenfdn. No passport required.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

It's Feel Good Friday and time to celebrate another group that focuses on civil liberties. Today, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties organization, established in 1994 with the vision to "be a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding." Their national headquarters are in Washington DC and they have regional chapters in 20 states, with the first one established in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Their mission, as explained on the website, is "to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding." They do this through a focus on media relations, government relations, education and advocacy.

Specific examples of this work include advocating on behalf of Muslims and others who have experienced religious discrimination and hate crimes, monitoring legislation and government activities that affect Muslims, sponsoring voter registration drives, condemning terrorism and all acts of violence against civilians, organizing training seminars and ensuring that an accurate portrayal of Islam and Muslims is presented to the American public. Whew! You can see a great example of how the Muslim community is supporting the Jewish community in this one minute video.

You can contribute to the work being done by CAIR in the usual ways - making a donation, volunteering your time and showing your support on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @CAIRNational. You can also do something very empowering and unique.

Visit the CAIR site, #RegisterMeFirst, and show your opposition to a Muslim registry by adding yourself to a map of the USA and pledging to register in solidarity.  Share THAT on Twitter.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Network Ireland

Question. Do you think I can find a way to combine St. Patrick's Day, Women's History Month and Feel Good Friday? Of course I can, otherwise I wouldn't have asked the question!

Today's Feel Good Friday group is Network Ireland, "a progressive, dynamic organisation supporting the professional and personal development of women."

They've been in operation since 1993 and now have 11 branches across Ireland and close to 700 members. The goals of the organization can be summed up by the following three statements from their website. "Leading the way for ambitious and enterprising women. Supporting the professional and personal growth of women since 1983. Collaborating with government, private and non-profit sectors to help women succeed."

Network Ireland has a calendar of events across the branches that includes mixers and networking opportunities, a speaker series and workshops on topics such as building confidence, overcoming obstacles and dressing for success.

If anyone reading this blog is a professional woman in Ireland, you can join the organization and become a member. The rest of us can stay aware of the good work Network Ireland is doing by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @Network_Ireland! Erin go Bragh!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Feel Good Friday - International Ocean Film Festival

Happy Feel Good Friday! Today I'm going to talk about the International Ocean Film Festival. Why? Because it's happening right now.

The International Ocean Film Festival (IOFF) is a nonprofit organization, "dedicated to using film as a medium to increase public awareness of the environmental, social, and cultural importance of marine ecosystems and foster a spirit of ocean stewardship." They've been doing this for the last 14 years by producing an annual film festival full of ocean-themed films that they hope "inspires people to appreciate and care for the ocean by revealing its wonders through independent films."

The event is taking place in San Francisco now and runs through Sunday. You can watch the trailer for the festival here. If you live in the area, you can check out the schedule of films. They're also hosting four panel discussions which are open to the public and free to attend: Women in the Ocean, Sanctuary for Sharks, Plastic Pollution Solutions and How Technology Will Save the Ocean. 

IOFF also produces a Free Student Education Program which "presents film screenings for students and Q&A sessions with filmmakers, marine scientists, and industry experts." They will screen 11 films from the festival and a selection of the student competition films. Their vision is that more students are exposed to both environmental issues and documentary film.

You can support this vision with a donation or by volunteering your time. If you don't live in the area, you can still follow their work by visiting their Vimeo channel, liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @oceanfilmfest

Friday, March 3, 2017

Feel Good Friday - A Mighty Girl

We're kicking of the first Feel Good Friday of Women's History Month with a shoutout to A Mighty Girl!

While this is not a non-profit organization like the vast majority of subjects profiled on this blog, they have a very Feel Good Friday message to share. So who exactly is this mighty girl and what is her message you ask? Let's turn to their website for answers.

"A Mighty Girl is the world's largest collection of books, toys, movies and music for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls, and of course, for girls themselves!"

It's a great resource if you're looking for empowering and inspirational gifts for the young ladies in your lives. I've come to this site in the past to find books for my nieces and I know I'll visit again in the future.

The site was founded by Carolyn Danckaert and Aaron Smith as a labor of love to help people find books, toys, music and movies that would support and celebrate girls. As they explain, "Girls do not have to be relegated to the role of sidekick or damsel in distress; they can be the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure." Their goal is that the products you can find on their site "will help a new generation of girls to grow and pursue whatever dreams they choose - to truly be Mighty Girls!"

Not only do they curate wish lists for young girls, they also have resources on parenting. You can help defray the costs of them maintaining this site by following the Amazon link when purchasing products from the site (so they get a small commission), by making recommendations for items to include in their lists or by giving a straight up donation.

Spreading the word is also helpful. I follow their Facebook page, where they share tons of interesting stories about women and girls you may or may not have heard of. You can also follow them on Twitter @amightygirl and kick start this month with some inspiration of the "sisterhood is powerful" variety.