Friday, May 24, 2019

Feel Good Friday - unCommon Construction

I learned about today's Feel Good Friday organization from a tour guide I had in New Orleans. For every 5-star review he receives, his boss makes a donation to the charity of his choice, unCommon Construction.

Founded in 2015 by Aaron Frumin, the motto of unCommon Construction is "Building houses. Framing character."

This non-profit provides high school students with apprenticeships in the construction industry. Every Saturday students from four schools in New Orleans meet with experienced volunteers on a construction site to build a house from start to finish. The project is over at the end of the semester when the house is complete. While working, students get both hourly pay and school internship credit. Students also earn a matching "equity award scholarship" from revenue generated from the sale of the house. This can be used for further education, industry certification or tools.

This 4-minute video gives a great overview of the program and shows interviews with students on the worksite.

Not only are students who participate in the program earning money, credit and learning a trade, they also develop leadership and other soft skills through the process of working with the volunteers and other students.

If you'd like to support the work of unCommon Construction, you've got options. Those of you who live in New Orleans can hire them for a project or volunteer on a build. No matter where you are, you can shop for swag, make a donation and show the social media love by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @uCCNOLA.


Friday, May 17, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Villalobos Rescue Center

Happy Feel Good Friday from New Orleans, Louisiana! If you've ever watched the show "... " then you're already familiar with today's organization, the Villalobos Rescue Center.

With locations in New Orleans and Assumption Parish, the Villalobos Rescue Center (VRC) is the country's largest rescue facility for pit bulls. The center is run by Tia Torres, who started it as a wolf and wolf hybrid rescue center in California in the 1990s.

While working as a youth gang counselor for the City of Los Angeles, she had a chance encounter with a very friendly pit bull at the animal shelter and petitioned animal control to release the dog to her. Tatanka was the start of the pit bull rescue.

In 1999, in partnership with Los Angeles City Animal Services, Tia formed "The Pit Bull Support Group" to help owners with spaying, neutering and training their pets and in 2006 she started employees parolees to help rehabilitate and retrain the dogs at VRC.

VRC relocated to New Orleans in 2011 due to rising costs in California and has now expanded to take in dogs of all breeds. Each month they take in 60 dogs, adopt out 30-40 and spend $280,000 to keep the center running. Adopted dogs get added to their "happy endings" alumni page of the website.

If you want to support the work of the Villalobos Rescue Center you can make a donation, sponsor an individual dog or adopt a dog. If you happen to live in, or be visiting New Orleans, you can volunteer as a dog walker, take a tour of the facility or shop for merchandise and dog treats. No matter where you are, you can like their Facebook page and watch Pit Bulls and Parolees!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Help a Mother Out

Sunday is Mother's Day, which makes Help a Mother Out a perfect organization to talk about on Feel Good Friday!

Founded in 2009, the mission of Help a Mother Out is "to improve baby and family well being by increasing access to diapers for families in need."

Why diapers? They're expensive! An average baby will go through 10,000 diapers in their early years and at a cost of $80-100 per month, that's out of reach for many low income families. Keeping a child in dirty diapers for extended periods of time can lead to health issues and without a supply of clean diapers, your child won't be allowed to attend most child care programs.

Help a Mother Out distributes diapers through a network of social service partners. This includes family resource centers, homeless and foster children services, public health departments and facilitated parent support groups. Most of these groups are in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area but there are also partners in other locations in California and one in Austin, Texas. You can see the complete list here.

In the 10 years they've been operating, Help a Mother Out has provided over 9 million diapers! This short video explains how the San Francisco Diaper Bank works. Families who qualify for CalWorks, have children under 3 years old and are SF residents can pick up six packages of diapers per month. 

Social workers report being able to provide diapers to their clients lowers their anxiety and financial stress. It also helps the social workers build trust and enables them to start discussing and offering other resources to their clients. You can read some testimonials here.

If you'd like to support the work of this organization, there are many ways to get involved. You can donate money, donate diapers, host a diaper drive or join a diaper sorting and distribution event. You can also like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @helpamotherout. Happy Mother's Day!


Friday, May 3, 2019

Feel Good Friday - MALDEF

As you prepare to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and the Mexican victory in the Battle of Puebla, take a moment to learn about today's Feel Good Friday organization, MALDEF.

MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Founded in 1968, their mission "is to protect and defend the rights of all Latinos living in the United States and the constitutional rights of all Americans."

Their court cases and public policy advocacy focuses on five areas: education, employment, immigrants' rights, voting rights and access to justice.

This work involves desegregating public schools, ending discrimination in hiring and promotion practices, eliminating barriers that prevent immigrants from achieving full integration into society, and fighting for voting rights and equal rights. MALDEF is also leading litigation, advocacy and education to prevent the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Whew!

In addition to details on all their court cases, the website also has a resource page with links to a scholarship guide, leadership programs, projects with partner organizations and publications you can download.

If you want to support the work of MALDEF and live in Chicago you can attend the 50th Anniversary Gala on June 7th. For those of us who don't, you can make a donation here. Everyone can help spread the word and show the social media love by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @MALDEF. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Feel Good Friday - SERVE

After watching the news from Sri Lanka about the bombings on Easter, I went looking for something positive happening in the country that I could highlight on Feel Good Friday. That's when I found SERVE.

SERVE, which stands for Socio-Economic, Ecological, Religious, Virtuous Empowerment is "a non-profit organization established in 1999 working with and for the rights of children and families" in ten districts in Sri Lanka.

SERVE partners with social workers to support community development through self-help groups for women and programs for children. Their approach focuses on social empowerment (community problem solving), economic empowerment (forming groups to save money that can be loaned to members), and political empowerment (solving neighborhood issues). You see them in action in this short video.

Current projects include running children's centers to provide homework help, computer classes and art classes; supporting women in prison with skill development, income generation activities and reintegration assistance; and providing karate and life skill lessons to adolescent girls to help them develop self-discipline and confidence.

If you want to support the work that SERVE is doing, they welcome volunteers to help in the classroom with English, computer, arts and music instruction or professionals who can help with teacher training, IT support and social work. Donations are also accepted and you can keep current with SERVE by liking their Facebook page.

If you'd like to make a donation to help the victims of the bombings in Sri Lanka, you'll find resources and options at this link.


Friday, April 19, 2019

Feel Good Friday - World Monuments Fund

As is sometimes the case, my Feel Good Friday inspiration today came from bad news that happened earlier in the week. This time it was the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. It made me wonder if there was an organization dedicated to protecting monuments and historic places and it turns out there is - the World Monuments Fund.

Founded in 1965, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) is a private nonprofit "dedicated to saving the world's most treasured places". They do this by working with "local partners around the globe to provide financial and technical support for preservation, restoration, and long-term stewardship". Since their founding over 50 years ago, the WMF has raised 300 million dollars, trained or employed over 1000 people and conserved over 600 sites!

Not only do they respond to sites damaged by earthquakes, floods and wars, they also have several proactive programs. That includes World Monuments Watch, a global nomination-based program that uses cultural heritage conservation to empower communities. For example training Syrian refugees in Jordan as stone masons so they can rebuild monuments destroyed during the war in Syria. Learn more in this short video.

In addition to training craftspeople in restoration, the WMF works with communities to build economic, technical and governmental infrastructure to protect and preserve historic sites. If you want to learn more you can check this link and read about their featured projects.

You can support the work of the World Monuments Fund by traveling with them, making a donation, liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @WorldMonuments. If you'd like to direct your donation to the restoration of Notre Dame, you can do that here.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Feel Good Friday - The GroundTruth Project

I'm always on the lookout for good news to share on this blog. A recent story on the PBS News Hour led me to today's Feel Good Friday organization, the GroundTruth Project.

Based in Boston, the GroundTruth Project, as explained on their Facebook page, "provides in-depth reporting on social justice issues while training a new generation of global correspondents in the digital age."

Since their founding in 2012, they have provided more than 150 fellowships to early-career journalists who are on the ground reporting on social justice issues.

Stories focus on public health, the environment, religion, humanitarian crises and human rights. The PBS report I saw was about survivors of the Rwandan genocide who have turned to photography to document their country's resilience 25 years after the massacre. Click this link to view the story.

All GroundTruth fellows receive journalism security training, funding for reporting time and expenses, and editorial mentorship. Their work, which can be in print, photography, film or radio, is published on the GroundTruth Project website and through editorial partnerships with major news outlets. You can view all the special reports here.

To support the work of the GroundTruth Project, you can make a donation. To keep current with what they're doing you can sign up for one of their newsletters and connect with them on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @GroundTruth.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Legal Services for Children

A friend of mine sits on the Board of Directors for the organization Legal Services for Children. When I learned more about their work, I decided they were a perfect candidate for Feel Good Friday.

Established in 1975 and based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the mission of Legal Services for Children (LSC) is to provide "free representation to children and youth who require legal assistance to stabilize their lives and realize their full potential."

They take a client-oriented, holistic approach that uses both legal advocacy and social work services to help children and youth (up to 21 years old) in three major areas:
  • Safety and stability at home - assistance with the guardianship process and representing children in foster care cases
  • Success in school - help with enrollments for students that are homeless, undocumented or in foster care; representation at expulsion hearings; and assistance filing complaints
  • Freedom from deportation and detention - free legal screenings and advice about legal options, as well as representation in immigration cases
The impact of LSC is impressive. In 2017 they served 1,443 youth in 25 different languages and held 100 outreach and training community events. Victories included helping their clients secure permanent residence, asylum, employment authorization and legal guardianship as well as getting deportation proceedings terminated and school expulsions cancelled. You can read more metrics and watch stories about individual clients here.

If you're an attorney who wants to help and has time to volunteer, you can apply to become an LSC Pro Bono Attorney. You'll receive training, support and access to an online resource library. The rest of us can make a donation and show our support on social media by liking the Legal Services for Children Facebook page.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Plastic Soup Foundation

This week the European Parliament voted to ban single-use plastics! That inspired today's post on the Plastic Soup Foundation.

Preventing plastic pollution is a favorite Feel Good Friday topic and the Plastic Soup Foundation (PSF) has been working on this problem since their founding in 2011. Based in Amsterdam, the mission of PSF is, "no plastic waste in our water!"

To achieve this mission, PSF focuses on raising awareness of the problem, running educational programs in schools and promoting solutions which will keep plastic out of the oceans in the first place. They use humor to get their points across as demonstrated in this mock commercial for plastic soup. A clever way to explain how 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the oceans every year and is lethal for many marine animals. Not so funny anymore, is it?

They are running several active campaigns including asking consumers to stop using personal care products with microbeads; organizing trash hunts where people pick up, identify, register and dispose of trash; and developing a Plastic Footprint, a standardized way for corporations to measure their use of plastics. You can read about all their campaigns here.

There are a variety of ways you can support the work of the Plastic Soup Foundation, including making a donationshopping for sustainable, durable products and downloading the My Little Plastic Footprint app to learn more about the problem and get inspired to reduce your personal plastic footprint. Want more people to know about the Plastic Soup Foundation? Like their Facebook page (best if you speak Dutch) and follow them on Twitter @plasticsoupfoun.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Feel Good Friday - United Farm Workers of America

My neighborhood in Oakland is celebrating Cesar Chavez day tomorrow, which is why today's Feel Good Friday is all about the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

You may know the UFW because you remember striking farm workers in the '60s and '70s, the fasts of Cesar Chavez or because you boycotted grapes in support of farm worker rights. Younger people may recognize the UFW slogan ¡Si Se Puede!, which President Obama translated to English and used in his campaigns, Yes We Can!

Founded in 1962 by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and Gilbert Padilla, the United Farm Workers of America is "the nation's first enduring and largest farm workers union" with the vision of "working for a safe and just food supply". There are four pillars supporting their vision:
  • Integrity: Doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
  • Si Se Puede Attitude: A personal and organizational spirit that promotes confidence, courage, hard work, and the belief that we can do the impossible.
  • Dignity: Recognizing and respecting the inherent worth of all people.
  • Innovation: The active pursuit of new ideas.
As they've done since the beginning, the UFW champions legislative and regulatory reforms for farm workers. Current campaigns focus on issues such as: immigration, with a bill to provide a path to earn lawful permanent residence; overtime, so that farm workers are paid time and a half after 8 hours work; reforming the unsafe labor practices of the largest dairy that supplies milk to Starbucks; and a voter registration drive. 

If you want to take action on any of these issues or learn about additional campaigns, you can click this link and fill out a short form to contact your congressperson. 

Other ways to support the UFW are to make a donation, shop for merch and spread the word on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @UFWupdates. 

¡Si Se Puede!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Ruhama

It's Feel Good Friday, St. Patrick's Day is coming up this weekend and it's still Women's History Month, so I searched for an organization in Ireland that works with women and found Ruhama.

Since 1989 Ruhama, based in Dublin, Ireland, has been working "on a national level with women affected by prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation." This short video from the CEO, Sara Benson gives you a good introduction to their work.

As explained on their website, all services are free and confidential and are offered to "women who are currently involved in on-street and off-street prostitution; women who are exiting prostitution; women who are victims of sex trafficking; and women who have a history of prostitution." Specific services include counseling, housing support, work placement, mobile street outreach and court accompaniment. You can read the full list of services here.

Ruhama also advocates a legislative framework that decriminalizes those in prostitution and works with national media to raise awareness of prostitution, sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.

When they celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2014, their records show they assisted more than 2500 women from over 60 countries!

If you live in Ireland, you can get involved with Ruhama by volunteering. No matter where you are, you can show your support by making a donation, liking the Facebook page and following them on Twitter @RuhamaAgency.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Feel Good Friday - SHE-CAN

Not only is today Feel Good Friday, it's International Women's Day. That's why we're highlighting an organization that supports women around the world, SHE-CAN.

SHE-CAN stands for "Supporting Her Education Changes A Nation". As explained on their website, the organization "empowers low-income women from countries restoring peace with the education, leadership skills and mentorship needed to become change-agents at home."

The process involves working with local partner organizations to identify young women with high potential, providing test preparation and connecting them to a team of mentors who will help the women apply for college in the U.S.  Mentors also host scholars and provide emotional and financial support.

SHE-CAN gives the scholars leadership training, career guidance and helps them secure internships so they can return to their countries as leaders, ready to make positive changes in their communities.

Currently, scholars are being identified in Cambodia and Rwanda, two countries that have experienced genocide in the not-so-distant past. You can read the stories of scholars and alumnae at this link.

The results of SHE-CAN's work are positive. Since 2011:
  • 55 low-income women have won full-ride scholarships to 23 U.S. colleges
  • 17 women have graduated and are now emerging leaders
  • 220 professionals are SHE-CAN mentors, increasing the network of support
  • $15 million in scholarship funds have been awarded
Sisterhood is powerful!

If you're interested in becoming a mentor, info sessions are happening now. You can also support the work of SHE-CAN by making a donation, and spreading the social media love by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @SHECANGlobal.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Feel Good Friday - DIY Girls

Last week we talked about an organization focused on young men so for today's Feel Good Friday, it's all about the young women and the support the get from DIY Girls.

Founded in 2011 by Luz Rivas, the mission of DIY Girls is "to increase girls' interest and success in technology, engineering and making through innovative education experiences and mentor relationships."

The reason it matters is that less than 15% of girls show an interest in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) between 4th and 8th grade, which translates into women representing less than 25% of the STEAM workforce and Latinas representing only 2% of employed scientists and engineers.

DIY Girls focuses on girls in grades 5-12 in underserved communities in the Northeast San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. 97% of girls served are Latina, 2% African American and 1% Asian-Pacific Islander. Since 2012, over 3,000 girls have participated in various DIY Girls programs.

These programs focus on electronics, coding and invention - you can read an inspiring article on a team of DIY Girls who invented a solar powered tent for the homeless here. There is also a summer camp and an active alumni group that creates a strong support network for current and past DIY Girls.

If you work with girls, you can order a club kit, which provides materials for six one-hour sessions including a paper circuit kit, art bot and interactive friendship bracelet. All of us can support the work of DIY Girls by making a donation and showing the social media love by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @DIYGirls. You go, girls!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Feel Good Friday - My Brother's Keeper Alliance

President Obama was in Oakland this week participating in the MBK Rising! summit. That's a great reason to highlight the work of My Brother's Keeper Alliance in today's Feel Good Friday.

My Brother's Keeper was launched by President Obama in 2014 as "a powerful call to action to close opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color." The MBK Alliance was launched as a nonprofit in 2015 to scale and sustain this mission and it became an initiative of the Obama Foundation in 2017.

The MBK Community Challenge, "to build safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear paths to opportunity" has been taken up by 250 communities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Communities include groups such as: Oakland's Urban Strategies Council, working on eliminating persistent poverty in the Bay Area; Boston's Mass Mentoring Partnerships, Inc., serving mentoring and youth development programs; and San Juan's Puerto Rico Community Foundation a group that makes community philanthropic investments.

MBK Alliance forms a network with these communities and provides curated funding opportunities, technical assistance, courses through MBK University and invitations to national conventions like the one that just happened in Oakland. If you weren't in attendance, you can watch the main stage event with President Obama and Steph Curry here.

If you work with an organization that supports young men of color, you can register for the MBK network at this link. All of us can promote My Brother's Keeper Alliance by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @MBK_Alliance.

Now that I've done that, I'm going to try and track Obama down to see if wants to come over for dinner.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Good News Network

I've been posting Feel Good Friday stories for over six years. Part of what makes that possible is having a set of go to resources, including today's organization, the Good News Network.

The Good News Network (GNN) has been publishing positive news stories from around the world since 1997, way more than six years! Founded by Geri Weis-Corbley, the website gets millions of page views each month.

Articles are sorted into five categories: USA, World, Inspiring, Animals and Heroes. Recent stories include: a man in Brazil turning recycled tires into animal beds; a man in Seattle who delivers roses to widows, military wives and single ladies on Valentine's day; and a farm in England where you can do yoga with alpacas. Goat yoga is so 2018.

If you want to make sure there are outlets for positive news stories, you can support the work of the Good News Network by becoming a member, and contribute to the community by sharing a story. There's also a shopping site where you can support a charity with your purchase while you get a GNN discount!

If your world could use a regular dose of "news to enthuse", like the GNN Facebook page, follow them Twitter @goodnewsnetwork and buy a copy of the Good News book! You don't have to wait until Fridays to feel good.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Fair Fight Action

If you watched Stacey Abrams' response to the State of the Union address this week, you heard her mention her organization, Fair Fight Action. What's it all about, you ask? Feel Good Friday is here to explain.

As stated on their website, Fair Fight Action's mission is "to advocate for election reform and engage in voter education and turnout to secure the voting rights of Georgians."

Why does it matter? Read stories of Georgians who showed up at their polling locations to vote and found extremely long lines that required they choose between missing work and voting, people told they were registered in a different county than the one they lived in and had been voting in, and people given provisional ballots for a variety of suspect reasons. I had heard about midterm election shenanigans in Georgia but reading so many people's individual stories is rather shocking.

Fair Fight is working to promote fair elections, voter participation and voter education. They are also raising public awareness of election reform, lobbying the Georgia state legislature and engaging in targeted voter registration and outreach programs.

If you live in Georgia and have an election day story to tell, you can share it here. If you want to support Stacey Abrams in her effort to reform elections in Georgia you can make a donation and spread the word on social media by liking their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @fairfightaction




Friday, February 1, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

If you've been following news in the U.S. this week, you know the polar vortex is causing record low temperatures in places like Chicago. That presents problems for everyone, especially the homeless. There are local groups providing support, including today's Feel Good Friday organization, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CHH).

During this week's extremely cold weather CCH has been connecting people to shelters and warming centers. Estimates from 2016 found there were 16,000 people living on the streets of Chicago and over 80,000 homeless when you count those who are "doubled up", or living in other people's homes. Over 11,000 of these people are unaccompanied youth between the ages of 14 and 24.

To address the issues around homelessness, CCH has been following the same mission since 1980: "We organize and advocate to prevent and end homelessness, because we believe housing is a human right in a just society." 

Their programs include outreach by community organizers, a Reentry Project that certifies high-performing ex-offenders and matches them with subsidized housing, a creative writing program and a Speakers Bureau comprised of 15 formerly homeless youth and adults. In 2018, they reached 3,250 people in 63 venues to discuss topics such as providing homeless families with access to affordable housing, advocating for educational rights of homeless youth and securing job training and living wage employment.

The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless also provides free legal services to over 450 clients per year and advocates statewide for programs and policies that support homeless youth and adults.

To preserve their independent voice, CCH does not accept government funding. That makes donations from supporters an important part of their ability to continue the work they do. You can become a supporter by donating here, volunteer with the #BringChicagoHome campaign if you live in Illinois and, no matter where you live, you can like the CCH Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @ChiHomeless.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Mermaids

I learned about today's Feel Good Friday organization, Mermaids, because Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently joined a gaming livestream that was raising money for the organization. You can watch that interaction here and read more about Mermaids below.

Mermaids is an organization based in the United Kingdom that provides "family and individual support for gender diverse teenagers and children". As explained on their website, "We work to raise awareness about gender nonconformity in children and young people amongst professionals and the general public. We campaign for the recognition of gender dysphoria in young people and lobby for improvements in professional services."

Mermaids has helped thousands of people since their formation in 1995. They have a help-line you can call and they run support groups for youth and their parents. In addition, the website has tons of resources, including links to videos and articles that are designed for young people, parents, and professionals. They also provide trans-inclusive diversity training for schools, organizations and private companies.

You can see the impact Mermaids is having on young people and their families by watching this 4-minute film, #IKnowWhoIAm.

If you'd like to support their work, you don't have to stream your Donkey Kong game on Twitch. You can buy and wear some merchandise, make the traditional donation and raise awareness on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @Mermaids_Gender.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Nashipai Maasai Project

This week Kenya was in the news because of a deadly terrorist attack. While there is always bad news to report, the reason I write this Feel Good Friday blog every week is to remind us that there is always good news to report too, often from the same place. That's why today, I'm highlighting the Nashipai Maasai Project in Kenya.

Founded in 2015 by girl's education activist Selina Nkoile, the mission of the Nashipai Maasai Project is "to promote education amongst the Maasai Community so as to create a self sustainable society free from all forms of violence against women and children such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage".

You can read this One.org article about how Selina's experience receiving an education prevented her from becoming a child bride and put her on a path to create the Nashipai Maasai Project and lead rescue missions.

The project brings girls in the surrounding community to the Naningoi Girls Boarding School to receive formal education. When possible, the project pays the school fees for children from the poorest backgrounds. As of this time last year, 163 of 800 girls in the area had been rescued and Selina is determined to reach every single one.

The project is expanding to include permaculture schemes to teach the women in the community agriculture as well as income generating activities such as beadwork, tailoring and baskets.

If you're in Kenya, you can support the work of the Nashipai Maasai Project by volunteering. No matter where you are, you can always make a donation and show some social media love by liking their Facebook page.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Feel Good Friday - La Clinica

Many people prioritize their health in the new year which inspired me to highlight my neighborhood community health center, La Clinica, in today's Feel Good Friday.

La Clinica de La Raza, more commonly referred to as La Clinica, was founded in 1971 with the mission "to improve the quality of life of the diverse communities we serve by providing culturally appropriate, high quality, and accessible health care for all."

In it's early days, La Clinica was a free clinic run by volunteers "to provide greater health care access in the Latino community located in the East Bay Area of California." Today, La Clinca has expanded to 35 sites in 6 cities across Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties. Click here for a full list of locations.

Their services include those you would expect: medical, dental, vision, prenatal and postnatal care, health and nutrition education and pharmacy services to name a few. There are also more unique programs targeted to the communities in which they work.

Project New Start provides gang-related youth with tattoo removal, mentoring and social support services to help them take the first steps towards escaping gang life. De Colores is program "mobilizing young gay, bisexual men and trans women of color in the East Bay Area, ages 17-29, to shape a safer and healthier community." Community Health Education programs include youth peer education, day laborer outreach and support groups for Latina women living with HIV.

In 2017, La Clinica served 87,000 patients, 95% of whom are low-income. If you'd like to help La Clinica with their mission of health care for all, you can volunteer, donate and spread the word about the work they do by liking their Facebook page following them on Twitter @La_Clinica_

Friday, January 4, 2019

Feel Good Friday - New Year's Resolutions with the APA

It's the first Feel Good Friday of 2019! Let's talk about how to stick to your New Year's resolutions with the help of our friends at the American Psychological Association.

Since 1892, the American Psychological Association (APA) has aspired to "excel as a valuable, effective and influential organization advancing psychology as a science." As further explained on their website, they are "the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, with more than 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members."

In order to fulfill their mission of "advancing psychology to benefit society and improve people's lives" they promote research in the field, establish standards of ethics, conduct and education for clinicians, and disseminate knowledge through meetings, reports and other publications.

For the non-psychologists among us, the APA website has a number of helpful resources. There are books, for both adults and children, magazines and brochures dealing with topics such as addictions, emotional health and parenting - all of which can be found on the publications page. The psychology help center provides resources related to work and school, families and relationships, and disasters and terrorism. You can also get help choosing a psychologist and yes, sticking to your New Year's resolutions!

For those of you who read all the way to the end (or skipped ahead) here are the promised tips:
  • start small
  • change one behavior at a time
  • talk about it
  • don't beat yourself up
  • ask for support
You can read the full article at this link.

To keep up with all the latest news and resources like the APA's Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @APA.

Happy New Year!