Friday, March 27, 2020

Feel Good Friday - World Health Organization

In the seven years I've been writing this Feel Good Friday blog, I've never talked about the World Health Organization (WHO). Until today.

You've seen representatives from the World Health Organization in the news sharing information and resources about the COVID-19 outbreak but just who is WHO?

WHO is the United Nations' health agency, created in 1948 to achieve better health for everyone, everywhere. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO works with 194 Member States across six regions and from more than 150 offices.

Their activities address many aspects of health care. For example, WHO staff work alongside governments and healthcare professionals on the ground fighting infectious disease, providing vaccines and ensuring access to safe water and sanitation. Other programs include: producing international reference materials and making recommendations to bring people better health, running global health campaigns on prevention of diabetes and high blood pressure, extending mental health care in 110 countries, highlighting the consequences of maltreatment of children, sexual violence and elder abuse, tracking and analyzing data in all of these areas, and responding to humanitarian emergencies. Whew! If you're looking for details, the full list of programs can be found here.

The work WHO does makes an impact. Globally, life expectancy has increased by 25 years since 1950. Smallpox has been defeated and polio is on the verge of eradication. Between 2000 and 2015, malaria deaths dropped by 60% and tuberculosis deaths by 37% because of expanded prevention, diagnosis and treatment. A current goal of WHO is "to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and well-being." All of this by 2023! Learn more about these triple billion targets in this short video.

To support the World Health Organization and their work, use the many resources on their website, celebrate World Health Day, make a donation to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and share the social media love by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @WHO. Now that you've finished reading - go wash your hands.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Feel Good Friday - COVID-19: Zoo cams and opera and art! Oh my.

With the COVID-19 outbreak now a pandemic, it's a challenge to find something to feel good about this Friday. Luckily, I'm not one to shy away from a challenge.

In today's Feel Good Friday we're going to go out while staying in. Before we get to the fun free resources, if you have questions about this outbreak, consult websites from the World Health Organization and your local government, in my case Oakland, California.

Following the advice of Mr. Rogers to "look for the helpers", I've compiled a list of arts and education organizations that are helping people deal with the stress, boredom and loneliness that comes with sheltering in place.

Zoos and Aquariums
Live streams of jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, weekday "zoo school" from Elmwood Park Zoo in Pennsylvania and round-the-clock view of giant pandas at the Smithsonian!

Opera and Theater
The Metropolitan Opera is streaming shows nightly at 7:30pm which you can watch for free up to 20 hours after the initial stream:

BroadwayHD has a streaming service with a free 7-day trial. Make the most of your 7 days by staying focused on Cats and not the panda cam:

Google has partnered with hundreds of museums to share their art collections online. Here are just a few - The British Museum, Van Gogh Museum, Uffizi Gallery, Palace of Versailles, Museo Frida Kahlo, Guggenheim... so many museums!

Exercising Mind and Body
If you're feeling compelled to make productive use of your time at home, you can take hundreds of classes from Ivy League schools to exercise your mind: free classes. Or go to this site to exercise your body:

Thanks to friends who have been sharing these links on social media. If you've found a resource not listed - add it to the comments. Enjoy! And please wash your hands.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Feel Good Friday - Kindness for Cats, Inc.

Happy Feel Good Friday the 13th! On this superstitious day, let's talk about black cats and the people who are helping them find forever homes, Kindness for Cats, Inc (KFCI).

You may not know this, but black cats have the lowest adoption and highest euthanasia rates among felines. That's why Kindness for Cats, Inc. works with Orange County Animal Services in Orlando, Florida to foster cats in their program.

Founded in 2008 by Cindy Patton, KFCI's mission is "to provide temporary nurturing homes for homeless kittens and cats and to find them loving forever homes." They also educate the public about the abandon pet overpopulation, the high rate of euthanasia at local animal shelters and promote spaying and neutering.

KFCI places cats and kittens from OCAS with foster parents to spare them from euthanasia while they wait to be adopted. Those most likely to need extra time and attention are cats that are too young to be adopted, have special needs or are sick or injured. A typical foster placement is for one month and OCAS provides assistance with food, bedding, crates and bowls.

If you live in Orlando and are in the market for a kitty, the KFCI website is a great place to look. This link lists cats and kittens currently available for adoption. Once you bring a cat into your home, their website has tons of resources on topics such as introducing a new cat to your home, whether or not to declaw your cat and what to do about feral cats in the neighborhood.

But what about all those black cats you ask? KFCI promotes their adoption with fun links like Top 10 Reasons to Adopt a Black Cat. While reasons 9 and 10 might be a stretch ("black goes with everything" and "you can always find your black cat in the snow") the number one reason is why KFCI focuses on black cats, they are "least likely to get adopted".

Depending on where you live, there are many ways you can support this work. Floridians can foster or adopt cats from KFCI. All of us can make a traditional donation, automatically donate a portion of our online shopping purchases, and share the social media love by liking the KFCI Facebook page and subscribing to their YouTube channel. Cat videos anyone?

Friday, March 6, 2020

Feel Good Friday - National Women's History Alliance

We're kicking off Women's History Month with a Feel Good Friday post about the organization that brought us Women's History Month, the National Women's History Alliance.

Founded in 1980 in Santa Rosa, California as the National Women's History Project, the NWHA is "an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to Writing Women Back into History." And yes, this group successfully lobbied Congress in 1987 to establish March as National Women's History Month!

The mission of the NWHA is "to recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by promoting information and educational materials and programs." They focus on the achievements of women past and present to inspire girls and young women with positive role models.

For example, you can learn all about the suffrage movement on the NWHA website. The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was passed by Congress in 1919 and became part of the Constitution in 1920 after being ratified by 36 states. This publication has history, pictures and links to additional resources. 

On March 28, there will be a celebration of the 100 year anniversary of women's right to vote. The theme is "Valiant Women of the Vote" and it takes place in Washington DC. Living honorees include women such as Eleanor Holmes Norton, civil rights leader, lawyer with the ACLU, and current Congressperson, and Maria Teresa Kumar, voting rights activist and CEO of Voto Latino, an organization "dedicated to registering Latinx voters and encouraging civic participation." Historical honorees include suffragists Lucy Burns, Carrie Chapman Catt and Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee. You can learn more about these honorees and all the others at this link.

While you're on the site, you can connect with speakers and performers who can help bring women's history to life at your school, company or next event. You can also test your knowledge with a quiz! Be warned, they're difficult but educational.

To help the National Women's History Alliance write women back into history, support them with a donation, a shopping spree or by sharing their message on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @officialNWHP.