Friday, March 23, 2018

Feel Good Friday - PolitiFact

In September of 2015, a presidential debate inspired me to profile Current events and cries of fake news made me want to find other groups fact checking journalism. Today's Feel Good Friday brings you PolitiFact.

As explained on their website, "Fact-checking journalism is the heart of PolitiFact. Our core principles are independence, transparency, fairness, thorough reporting and clear writing. The reason we publish is to give citizens the information they need to govern themselves in a democracy." Amen.

The organization began in 2007 as an election year project of the Tampa Bay Times. You may be familiar with their Truth-O-Meter, which they use to rate political statements on a six-point scale ranging from True to Pants On Fire. A quick visit to their homepage shows you the most recently fact checked statements.

They focus on significant statements with verifiable facts that seem misleading or sound wrong. You can email to suggest a fact check of your own. The journalists that do the fact checking "avoid the public expression of political opinion" and all stories include links to sources.

With national and global editions as well as meters to track the presidential promises of both Trump and Obama, PolitiFact is a one-stop-shop for all the times you read something online and think, "really?".

If you want to support PolitiFact, you can join their Truth Squad and keep up with them on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @PolitiFact.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Feel Good Friday - Women for Women International

This month Feel Good Friday continues to celebrate organizations that work with women. Today, we turn our attention to Women for Women International.

As explained on their Facebook page, Women for Women International (WfWI) is "helping women survivors of war and conflict rebuild their lives through a yearlong comprehensive social and economic empowerment program." You can see their work in this short introductory video.

Since 1993, WfWI has served over 450,000 women in the following 8 countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan and Northern Iraq.

Participants in the program are grouped into classes of 25 women. There they learn basic business skills and vocational skills tailored to their local markets. They are connected with local healthcare providers and given information on managing their health and the health of their families. Women also learn about their fundamental rights, the rights recognized in their countries and the importance of civic participation.

The impact for graduates of the program is measured in a variety of areas. Women report that, on average, their daily earnings have increased from $0.34 upon enrollment to $1.07 two years later.  The percentage of women who practice family planning increased from 30% to 87% and 89% of women report sharing information about their rights with other women. A more detailed breakdown of the measurements can be found here.

If you like what you see, how do you get involved? Sponsor a Sister, use your fundraising skills to become an ambassador or shop with a purpose. You can also spread the word on social media by liking the WfWI Facebook page, following them on Twitter @WomenforWomen and sharing a story of a woman who has inspired you and adding the hashtags #SheInspiresMe and #WfWI.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Feel Good Friday - Spark

Yesterday was International Women's Day and March is Women's History Month so Feel Good Friday is going to focus on organizations that support women and girls around the world! Today we start with a group that's all about "igniting global change" - Spark.

As explained on their website, "Spark is a philanthropic network of young professionals who invest to improve the lives of women around the world." Their mission is "to advance gender equality by engaging the next generation in accessible forms of philanthropy."

Established by seven women in 2004, Spark is now a network of over 11,000 men and women around the world. The people of Spark learn by doing. Members educate each other on issues impacting women and girls then research potential grantees. The next steps are crowdsourcing funds, pro bono professional services and connections for the identified organizations.

Grantees in the US include organizations with missions as varied as teaching tech skills to human trafficking survivors, providing low and no cost care to women during pregnancy and helping young people to use art to organize for human rights. On the global level they've supported a peer health exchange in Honduras, a youth alliance group in Cameroon and entrepreneurship training in Uganda.

Becoming a member of Spark can provide you with professional development and networking opportunities as well as voting rights on how funds are distributed. You can also support Spark with a donation and by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @sparksf. Sisterhood IS powerful!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Feel Good Friday - Youth Impact Hub Oakland

I like to use Feel Good Friday as a reason to explore positive projects happening in my new neighborhood. Today, Youth Impact Hub Oakland!

You can get a great overview of the program by watching the video in this KPIX article or by reading my summary below.

Youth Impact Hub Oakland was founded in 2013 with a mission "to support the leadership of low-income youth of color in creating an equitable, life-affirming economy by providing socially innovative training, collaborative co-working space and access to networks and resources." In short, an incubator for entrepreneurs.

Programs run at the Hub include a one-hour "Intro to Social Entrepreneurship" workshop that teaches participants "how to use business as a tool for positive social change", a "Passion Purpose Project" workshop focused on creating business plans, and an 18-hour "Lean Accelerator" that allows participants to test their ideas using processes such as design thinking and rapid prototyping.

The most in depth program is the Youth Hub Fellowship, "a year-long social enterprise incubation training program for low-income youth ages 18-24 to create enterprise projects that increase personal income and directly address problems in the communities." Every year, fifteen fellows are accepted and another hundred students help on the projects they create.

Since it's founding Youth Impact Hub has reached over 500 underserved young people in the Bay Area. Some of the 2017 enterprises include a DevOps team teaching IT skills to even younger people, a group connecting communities through the sharing of cultural soups, and a taxi service that will drive you home in your own car post-party. You can read more about all of the Youth Impact Hub enterprises here.

To help keep these programs going, you can volunteer to be a mentor, make a donation and show your support on social media by liking the Facebook page and following them on Twitter @YouthHUBOakland.