Friday, October 26, 2018

Feel Good Friday - Election Protection

The midterms are coming, the midterms are coming! Feel Good Friday celebrates with a profile of Election Protection.

As explained on their website, "the national, nonpartisan Election Protection coalition works year-round to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count. Made up of more than 100 local, state and national partners, Election Protection uses a wide range of tools and activities to protect, advance and defend the right to vote."

Established 2001 by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Election Protection provides information and assistance to people in all 50 states. Their resource page links you to partner organizations that can help you find information on registering to vote in person, getting to the polls, voting absentee or helping other people do all of those things.

Election Protection also works with their partners to identify and remove barriers to voting. If you're looking for inspiration you can read people's voting stories and share your own. When you're on the website you can look up resources by state and if you have questions when you're out and about you can call the Election Protection hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE or (866) 687-8683.

The services Election Protection provides are offered to voters year-round, regardless of political party and voting choices. You can support the work they do by making a donationvolunteering and spreading the word by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @866OURVOTE.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Feel Good Friday - One Green Planet

If you've read about the recent UN report on climate change, you know we all need to do our part for the environment. That's why today's Feel Good Friday organization is One Green Planet.

One Green Planet is "your online guide to making conscious choices that help people, animals and the planet." As they explain on their website, their goal "is to help create a world where we eat delicious food and use amazing products that provide us with maximum benefit and have minimum impact on the planet."

Co-founded by Nil Zacharias and Preeta Sinha, this publishing platform has over 6 million unique visitors every month. Content focuses on sustainable food, animal welfare issues, environmental protection, natural health and cruelty-free/green living. This is the place to go if you want to know how to recycle your clothes, how to bake vegan pumpkin pie, and why sloth bears are the cutest.

Their two current campaigns are #EatForThePlanet and #CrushPlastic. Eat for the Planet is a book that advocates a plant-based diet as a way to minimize the impact of climate change. You can find plenty of vegan recipes on the One Green Planet website. They're sorted by meal type, seasons and holidays to help you find what you're looking for.

Crush Plastic provides tips on how to take action in our daily lives to eliminate plastic waste. Only 22% of the 300 million tons of plastic produced around the globe every year gets recycled and 50% of sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs. We can all help reduce the amount of plastic going into the oceans by bringing our reusable bags, coffee cups and water bottles with us when we go out. Lesser used tips include switching to bar soap, using mason jars for food storage and avoiding microbeads in face and body wash.

You can keep up with all the news and tips by subscribing to the newsletter, downloading the food monster app and staying in the social media loop by liking the Facebook page and following them on Twitter @OneGreenPlanet.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Feel Good Friday - She's the First

Yesterday was the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child so for today's Feel Good Friday, I'm going to profile an organization that's helping girls around the world, She's the First.

Founded in 2009 by Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt as an effort to get Millennials to support girls' education, She's the First "fights gender inequality through education. We support girls who will be first in their families to graduate from high school and train students everywhere to be global leaders." You can watch this 4 minute profile of the founders on the Today Show and get a great overview of their program here.

The organization focuses on girls because two-thirds of the world's illiterate adults are women, each year 15 million girls are married before they turn 18, and education for girls is still an exception rather than the norm in many places worldwide. As they go on to explain on their website, an educated girl "earns up to 20% more as an adult with each additional year of schooling, is less likely to marry early... and has fewer, healthier children."

She's the First partners with local organizations to provide scholarships for girls to reach graduation, as well as providing them with after-school programs and mentors to help guide their progress. There is also a global leadership curriculum for STF scholars and girls on campus chapters around the world.

With 200 campus chapters and 1,100 scholars, the impact of She's the First is widespread. A few of their successes include: a girl in Gambia who takes photos of her classmates, charges a small fee and is saving this money to go to college and support her dream of being a photographer; a girl in India who graduated high school and hopes to become a software engineer instead of work in a rock quarry; and Tizita Hagare from Ethiopia who starred in Angelina Jolie's movie Difret. You can visit this page to read more scholar stories and watch additional videos.

If you'd like to help She's the First support girls around the world you can shop for merch, start a campus chapter, make a donation and share the social media love by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @shesthefirst.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Feel Good Friday - TechWomen

Last week, Autodesk hosted opening day for the TechWomen emerging leaders program. I had the opportunity to be a part of it and want to share the work of the organization and my experience in today's Feel Good Friday.

As explained on their website, "TechWomen empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities." You can watch this video for a good overview of the program.

An initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the first program took place in 2001 with 37 women participating. This year's group includes 100 women from 20 different countries.

The women will participate in project-based mentorships at Bay Area companies, attend professional development workshops and networking events and wrap up the five-week program in Washington D.C. During their time in the Bay Area, they'll also have a cultural mentor who will take them to local attractions, cultural events and community service opportunities.

The women I met last Friday came from a variety of countries and worked in different STEM fields. When I asked one woman what she thought of her day at Autodesk, she said she felt "like Alice in Wonderland". I also met a woman from Kyrgyzstan who was shocked when I told her I had been to her country and was able to have a very short exchange with her in Krygyz.

All the women will return to their countries when the program is finished to share what they've learned and start projects of their own. You can click this interactive map to see how participants from previous years are affecting positive change in their communities.

If you like what TechWomen is doing, there are many ways to get involved. You can become a mentor, convince your company to host an event or show your support by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @TechWomen.