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.