Friday, September 28, 2018

Feel Good Friday - RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

Today I'm highlighting RAINN as
a response to the Kavanaugh senate hearings yesterday. It's part Feel Good Friday, part crisis intervention.

According to their website, "RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operations the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country."

During Thursday's hearings, the hotline experienced a 147% increase in calls compared to a normal weekday. If that's not enough to demonstrate why this is a necessary resource, you can read the statistics: in the United States every 98 seconds another person experiences sexual assault and only 6 of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison.

RAINN provides services in four main areas:
  • Victim services include the national hotline, a Department of Defense Safe Helpline for members of the DoD, training for companies, partner service providers and volunteers.
  • Public education includes media commentary, curated news content, an active social media presence, a speakers bureau of volunteers who can share their stories with local communities and the media and the Prevention Navigator program which helps colleges choose an appropriate sexual assault prevention program for their campus.
  • Public policy efforts at both the federal and state levels are focused on improving the criminal justice system, preventing sexual assault and ensuring justice for survivors.
  • Consulting services are provided to clients in the public, private and nonprofit sectors and include both prevention and response programs.
In addition to contacting RAINN via the hotline or a live chat, you can also view their website, which is full of resources. Whether you're looking for safety and prevention tips, help on what to do after a sexual assault or want to find out how to get involved in public policy you will find the information you need.

Since their founding in 1994, RAINN has helped more than 2.7 million people. You can see the impact their programs have by reading through and watching survivor stories here.

If you'd like to support RAINN and the work they do to support sexual assault survivors there are many ways to do so: volunteer, fundraise, donate, join the speakers bureau and spread the word on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @RAINN.

It's been a difficult week for many people and the Feel Good Friday spin on this is to know that there are people and organizations here to support you. You are not alone. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Feel Good Friday - Focus Ireland

I'm in Ireland on this rainy Feel Good Friday and so is our organization of the week, Focus Ireland.

As stated on their website, "Focus Ireland is Ireland's leading not for profit working to prevent people becoming, remaining or returning to homelessness."

Founded in Dublin in 1985 by Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy, Focus Ireland is "driven by the fundamental belief that homelessness is wrong". In the early days they provided services to young people including advice, advocacy, help with finding a home and a place for a low-cost meal.

Now services include an advice hotline and resources for people worried about losing their home, placement services for people who need a bed for the night, employment assistance, low-cost meals,
as well as housing, advice and referrals for people being released from prison.

In 2017 Focus Ireland supported over 14,500 people who were homeless or at risk, including over 1000 homeless families. You can watch short videos of people who have been helped by Focus Ireland here.

If you'd like to support the work of Focus Ireland, you can make a donation knowing that 89% of every Euro received is spent directly on services to prevent homelessness. You can also show your support by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @FocusIreland.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Feel Good Friday - Spread The Vote

There are only 52 days left before the midterm elections in the US, so on this Feel Good Friday we're going to profile Spread The Vote.

As explained on their Facebook page, Spread The Vote "fights voter suppression by helping citizens of states with Voter ID laws get the IDs they need to vote."

You can get a great overview by watching this recent report on CNN or continue reading here.

Founded in 2017 by Kat Calvin, Spread The Vote operates in 5 states with strict voter ID laws: Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Georgia and Florida. This link shows what the requirements are in all 50 states.

The problem Spread The Vote is solving is that 21 million eligible voters in the US do not have photo ID. On average IDs cost $40 and take 3-4 weeks to obtain. 57% of these voters also need to obtain a birth certificate for an additional $60.

Spread The Vote helps people obtain IDs by following a 5-step process:
  1. Create community chapters and train volunteers to become ID experts.
  2. Partner with local service organizations like shelters, food banks and free clinics.
  3. Connect volunteers with eligible voters in partner communities who need IDs.
  4. The voter-volunteer pairs work together to get all information needed to obtain an ID. Spread The Vote covers all the costs.
  5. Voters use their IDs to help find jobs, housing and of course, vote!
As elections near, Spread The Vote provides voter education and rides to the polls on election day. Volunteers across 30 chapters have obtained over 100 IDs with 200 more in the pipeline. You can click this link to see short videos of the impact getting IDs has on new voters.

If you need help getting an ID, you can fill out this short form and someone from Spread the Vote will contact you to get the process started. If you're in one of the states with an active program you can volunteer. No matter where you are, you can donate, shop and spread the word on social media by liking the Facebook page and following them on Twitter @SpreadTheVoteUS.

This is what democracy look like!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Feel Good Friday - Blue Endeavors

It's been awhile since we've talked about ocean conservation on Feel Good Friday so today we're going to profile Blue Endeavors.

The mission statement from the website explains their purpose: "Blue Endeavors is a nonprofit organization that utilizes traditional and scientific scuba diving education, community outreach, and partnerships with national and international environmental conservation organizations to foster and embolden a social movement of citizen scientists and activists in pursuit of saving our oceans."

Founded in 2012 in Alameda, California, Blue Endeavors has a full calendar of classes including free diving, open water certification and specialty scuba classes such as night diving, rescue diver and research diver.

Through training that includes both skill instruction and classes in marine biology, ocean conservation and research, they endeavor (pun totally intended) to:
  • cultivate a passion with youth for ocean conservation and discovery
  • spark an interest in marine biology, physics, physiology and engineering
  • support published marine biology research while teens participate in programs that facilitate the attainment of advanced degrees in science
  • protect and preserve sharks, endangered animals and the marine ecosystems they inhabit
Blue Endeavors also partners with organizations such as Doer Marine, Mission Blue and Conservation International to collect data and conduct research both under and above the water.

If this sounds like fun, and you live in the Bay Area, you can become a member and enroll in classes. No matter where you are, you can support Blue Endeavors by making a donation, buying a swim suit made from recycled, abandoned fishing nets or taking a more traditional path by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @BlueEndeavorsCA.