Friday, July 28, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Hen Power Project

On this Feel Good Friday we're going to try and stay above the fray and tell you about a group in based in the UK called the Hen Power Project, also known as the Hensioners.

Run by Equal Arts since 2011, the Hen Power Project engages older people in "arts activities and hen-keeping to promote health and wellbeing and reduce loneliness."

The Hen Power Project, also known as Hensioners (pensioners + hens, of course) is now active in more than 40 care homes throughout Australia and has the following goals:
  • Prevents loneliness, isolation and promotes elderly health and well-being.
  • Provides seniors with socialization by meeting others while care taking their hens.
  • Encourage seniors to be creative by designing coops and purchasing hen breeds.
  • Create intergenerational exchanges by visiting schools and school children.
  • Help lift the spirits of other seniors by visiting care homes with their hens.
  • Encourage elderly to keep active and maintain fitness levels.
This Guardian article provides the origin story of Hen Power and shares some studies that show caring for hens has reduced the need for antipsychotic medication in the care homes with resident hens. If you've got 7 minutes to spare, and want to see adorable elders with adorable chickens, you can watch this video that shows the impact caring for hens has on the people in these residential communities.

If you like what you see, you can support the work of the Hen Power Project with a donation and spread the social media love by liking their Facebook Page and following them on Twitter@HenPowerProject.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Daily Table

For today's Feel Good Friday we're heading to Massachusetts to see how a former president of Trader Joe's is using his experience to run a non-profit grocery store in Boston.

Daily Table has been providing healthy, affordable food in the Dorchester neighborhood since June, 2015. What's the big deal? Some statistics from their website explain the need: 48.8 million Americans live in food insecure households, 34% of American adults over the age of 20 are obese and 80 billion pounds of food is wasted in the US each year. That's the big deal.

Doug Rauch founded Daily Table to address these issues. As they explain on their website, "At Daily Table we believe that delicious, wholesome and affordable food should be available to all. We are on a mission to help communities make great choices around food by making it easy for them to choose tasty, healthy, convenient and truly affordable meals and groceries. And we do this in a respectful manner that honors our customer, engendering dignity."

Daily Table is able to meet this mission by partnering with like minded community organizations, a variety of funders and over 50 local food suppliers.  They procure and sell "wholesome, nutritious food that is excess or overstocked from grocery stores, food suppliers, manufacturers, restaurants and growers". This is all done in a retail setting that looks (to me) a lot like Trader Joe's.

In addition to food sales, Daily Table offers free cooking classes, online recipes and guidelines on how you can buy enough food for three meals a day for an average of $45/week!

You can learn more about the organization by reading this article from the Christian Science Monitor or checking their FAQ page. Depending on where you live and what you do, you can get involved by supplying food or volunteering. And no matter where you are, you can show your support for Daily Table by making a donation and liking their Facebook page. Yum!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Kids Saving the Rainforest

Hola! I'm back from Costa Rica and I have another great organization from the country to profile on this Feel Good Friday.

Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR) was founded in 1999 by two 9 year old girls who were living in Costa Rica and wanted to save the disappearing trees in the rainforest and the squirrel monkeys (aka Titi monkeys) that live there.

As explained on the website, "The Mission of Kids Saving the Rainforest is to protect the diverse wildlife of Costa Rica's Pacific Coast by rehabilitating wildlife, conducting original scientific research, training volunteers, and promoting conservation."

Their curent projects include a wildlife rescue center, where two wildlife biologists help rehabilitate wounded, sick and abandoned animals. Their release rate for healthy animals is 55%, well above the 33% norm. Animals that are unable to be released are kept in the Wildlife Sanctuary, which will eventually have an education center to teach children about the rainforests.

Squirrel monkey in Manuel
Antonio National Park
Other programs include building monkey bridges to help the monkeys move about the rainforest without being electrocuted by high voltage wires or hit by cars, and Save the Sloths, an effort to release orphaned sloths back into the wild with GPS collars to track them and learn more about sloth conservation.

You can watch this 9:27 minute video of KSTR President, Jennifer Rice, explaining the origin story and growth of the organization, check out the 2:28 minute video that gives you a quick overview or go to the KSTR YouTube channel to watch as many videos of sloths and monkeys as you like.

If you like what you see you can support Kids Saving the Rainforest by visiting, volunteering or sponsoring a monkey bridge. I also encourage you to share their story on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @KSTRCR. Do it for the sloths! Or the monkeys! Or the kids!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Feel Good Friday - Amigos of Costa Rica

Hola, Amigos! I having an extra Feel Good Friday because I'm traveling in Costa Rica right now. Have I discovered a Costa Rican organization I'd like you to learn more about? Of course I have.

The website sums it up best. "Amigos of Costa Rica is a nonprofit organization that supports sustainable development in Costa Rica in four primary areas of focus: education, capacity-building, conservation, and science and technology." Incorporated in 2000 and based in Washington, DC, Amigos of Costa Rica is the U.S. affiliate of the Costa Rica - USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA) in Costa Rica.

They currently provide support to 43 different projects throughout the country. Some examples include:
  • Asociacion Mar a Mar - developing a coast-to-coast trail to give hikers access to entrepreneurs in rural areas
  • SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary - dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, releasing and protecting injured and orphaned wild animals
  • JumpStart Costa Rica - offering intensive 4-week English classes to help lower income students level up with their peers 
All the partners and projects have been vetted by CRUSA and "are focused on building an empowered and sustainable Costa Rica by cultivating a spirit of community participation and philanthropy." 

Whether your passion is animals, the environment or education, there is a project for you. You can become an amigo of the Amigos by making a donation, liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @AmigosCostaRica. Gracias!