Friday, June 28, 2019

Feel Good Friday - True Colors

Happy Feel Good Friday and Happy Pride! San Francisco celebrates with a parade on Sunday, we're celebrating with a story about True Colors today.

True Colors was founded in 1994 and is based in Connecticut. As explained on their website, they are "a non-profit organization that works with other social service agencies, schools, organizations, and within communities to ensure that the needs of sexual and gender minority youth are both recognized and competently met."

They provide cultural competency and skill-building training to over 6,000 professionals each year. Programs for youth are held in their Connecticut locations. This includes Friday night activities such as games, movies or crafts, and a six-week summer program called Queer Academy, which empowers youth to become community leaders and social justice activists.

True Colors also manages the state's only LGBTIQ mentoring program and they organize an annual conference which draws over 3,000 attendees. On top of all this, their website has an extensive list of resources to help you find reading materials, community centers and hotline numbers.

If you'd like to support the work of True Colors you can become a mentor, volunteer or make a donation. As always, stay in the know by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @TrueColorsCT. Happy Pride! Let your true colors shine.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Feel Good Friday - GRID Alternatives

Happy Summer Solstice! It's the longest day of the year and we're celebrating with an organization that's focused on solar and renewable energy, GRID Alternatives.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Oakland, California, GRID Alternatives is "working across the United States and internationally to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities." They are the nation's largest nonprofit solar installer serving families in California and beyond.

GRID targets communities impacted by underemployment, pollution and climate change. They partner with affordable housing organizations, job training groups, government agencies, municipalities, utilities, tribes and local communities to make using solar energy a win-win.

GRID provides job-seekers in the community hands-on training opportunities by teaching them to install no-cost solar for people in low-income households. They also drive renewable energy policies at the state and local levels, develop and implement shared solar projects and make electric vehicles more accessible. You can read specifics of all their programs here.

Their efforts have made a big impact: 14,561 households served; 42,054 participants trained and 930,636 greenhouse gas emissions prevented.

You can get involved with GRID Alternatives by becoming a partner, a volunteer or by making a donation. Stay in the loop by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @GRID. Let the sun shine!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Feel Good Friday - MedGlobal

I learned about MedGlobal from a friend who is currently volunteering with them in Bangladesh and decided to make them today's Feel Good Friday organization.

Founded in 2017 by physicians experienced in humanitarian medicine, MedGlobal is dedicated to "creating a world without healthcare disparity". As explained on their webiste, they do this through providing "sustainable healthcare services to the refugees, the displaced and the most vulnerable in crisis areas and low resources countries worldwide by deploying diverse short term volunteer medical missions and partnering with local organizations." They venture where many other NGOs choose not to go.

Since their founding, volunteers have donated 20,080 hours to conduct 365 operations and 69,678 patient consultations in 11 countries.

In 2018, MedGlobal sent volunteers on 84 medical missions to provide care in Yemen, Sierra Leone, Syria, Lebanon, Greece and Bangladesh. They conducted over 340 surgeries and 46,000 consultations, all while upholding their core values of diversity, cultural competence and professionalism. You can watch a short video of their 2018 impact here.

Some of the current programs include: reducing infant mortality among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh with training for birth attendants; providing healthcare to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia and running 6 medical missions in war zones in Syria to address to address the humanitarian crisis.

If you've got the necessary skills and a willingness to travel, you can volunteer on a medical team or operations and creative team. If that's not an option, you can still support the work of MedGlobal by making a donation and spreading the word on social media. Like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter @MedGlobalOrg and watch their vlog for the latest stories from the field.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Feel Good Friday - Rainbow Railroad

We're kicking off LGBTQI Pride month with a Feel Good Friday story about Rainbow Railroad.

Founded in 2006, Rainbow Railroad provides emergency travel support to help LGBTQI people escape persecution and state-sponsored violence around the world. There are 71 countries where being LGBTQI is still criminalized. Rainbow Railroad works with community leaders and partner organizations in these countries to identify people who are in danger.

Once clients are identified, Rainbow Railroad provides support which can include information on routes to safety, resources for seeking asylum, moral support, financial support and connections to settlement agencies in safe countries in North America and Europe. While the specific support varies with each situation, on average it costs $10,000 per case to help someone to safety.

At any given time there are 30-50 open cases with the current focus on helping people in Chechnya, Egypt and Jamaica. In 2018 Rainbow Railroad had 1328 requests for assistance and was able to help 198 people claim asylum in a safe country. That brings the total number of people helped since they started to over 500!

You can learn more about Rainbow Railroad by watching this 2-minute intro video, reading stories of clients, and, if you live in or are visiting New York City on June 20th, you can attend the Journey to Freedom panel and join the discussion.

If you'd like to support the work of Rainbow Railroad, you can donate money, raise funds or volunteer. As always, you can help spread the word on social media by liking their Facebook page
and following them on Twitter @RainbowRailroad.