Friday, September 17, 2021

Feel Good Friday - The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equality

Today’s Feel Good Friday is highlighting The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equality, aka Lilith Fund. Here’s why.

Earlier this month, a law went into effect in Texas that bans abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy and allows citizens to sue anyone involved from doctors to Uber drivers. While the Department of Justice is suing the state of Texas and seeking an injunction to temporarily block enforcement of the law, abortion clinics in Colorado and New Mexico are seeing a surge in patients from Texas. Abortion is healthcare and should be accessible without having to travel outside your state. Enter Lilith Fund.

 

Founded in 2001, Lilith Fund is the oldest abortion fund in Texas and serves people in the central and southern regions of the state (Houston, Austin, San Antonio). They “provide financial assistance and emotional support while building community spaces for people who need abortions in Texas—unapologetically, with compassion and conviction.” 

 

The main way people reach Lilith Fund is through their information hotline, which is staffed by volunteers. According to the 2020 Annual Report, last year there were 4,557 calls to the hotline and 27% of callers were funded with an average voucher of $348. That totals $452,822 offered to 1,300 clients! These clients were 72% people of color, 59% already parenting, 43% with no health insurance and 50% not working for pay.

 

Since their founding, Lilith Fund has provided grants to more than 10,000 people who otherwise would not have been able to afford a safe abortion. In addition to the financial assistance, they work to “foster a positive culture around abortion, strengthen people power, and fight for reproductive justice in and with our communities.”

 

If you want to get involved with Lilith Fund and support women in Texas you have several options. Sign up for update and action alerts, become a hotline volunteer, make a donation and amplify their work by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @lilithfund and Instagram @lilithfund.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Feel Good Friday - California Fire Foundation

Did you know September is Firefighter Appreciation Month? With firefighters in California still hard at work battling the Dixie and Caldor fires, today’s Feel Good Friday is a great time to talk about the California Fire Foundation.

Formed in 1987 by California Professional Firefighters, the California Fire Foundation “provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect.”

 

Their programs cover four main categories:

  • Community Improvement – public safety and educational resources are provided through the Firefighters On Your Side program. Materials include information on how to prepare for wildfires, how make a 5-minute evacuation plan and other helpful guidance.
  • Victim Assistance - firefighters throughout California distribute $250 gift cards to eligible victims of fire or other natural disaster as part of the Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) program. People can then use those gift cards to purchase basic necessities such as medicine, food or clothing. In 2018, more than $2.6 million in gift cards was distributed to people affected by the Camp fire.
  • Firefighters and Their Families – the Foundation supplies emergency support to departments and families of firefighters killed in the line of duty, including college scholarships for children of fallen firefighters. They also provide grants to individuals who demonstrate financial hardship so they can take the required physical and written tests needed to become a firefighter.
  • California Firefighters Memorial -   every year, at the memorial to fallen firefighters in Sacramento, the Foundation holds a ceremony to commemorate the bravery of those who lost their lives in the line of duty.  

If you want to make sure you’re prepared in the event of a fire, check out this fire safety education page. To support the California Fire Foundation and the people they support, shop for merch, make a donation and amplify their work by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @CAFireFound and Instagram @calfirefound.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Greater New Orleans Foundation

The last few Feel Good Friday blogs have been focused on disaster and crisis relief around the world. That general theme continues today with the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

 

Earlier this week, Hurricane Ida caused massive destruction when it hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. Many organizations have stepped in to help with disaster response and restoration, including the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF).

 

What began in 1923 as the Community Chest of New Orleans, GNOF is a philanthropic institution with a mission to “drive positive impact through philanthropy, leadership, and action in the Greater New Orleans Region.” They do this by connecting “donors and fundholders with causes that they’re passionate about to affect transformational change.”

 

Initiatives being run by GNOF include: 

  • Give NOLA Day, a one-day online giving event that raised $8,150,891 for 910 different organizations in 2021.
  • Impact 100, a group of over 100 local women who each donate $1,100 then pool their dollars to make a single transformative grant to a different local nonprofit every year. 
  • NOLA 360, a forum that brings together local and national experts, philanthropists, nonprofits, and community leaders to discuss challenges facing communities in the greater New Orleans area and ways to get involved in the solutions.

 

Other areas focus for GNOF include providing nonprofits with training to increase their leadership and effectivenessenvironmental work related to water management and restoration of the Gulf Coast, and a Workforce Innovations Program in which GNOF “partners with employers to provide post-hire support to their incumbents in an effort to assist with those barriers employees face that may or may not be associated with their day to day work, but that impacts their ability to effectively do their job.” 

 

In 2020, over 300 organizations received leadership and effectiveness training, 126 employee clients were served in the workforce innovations program and over $70,000 was granted from the disaster response and restoration fund.

 

If you’d like to help the Greater New Orleans Foundation support the people of Louisiana and  provide recovery efforts in response to Hurricane Ida, the best way to do that is with a donation. You can also amplify their message by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @GNOFoundation and Instagram @gnofoundation.


If you’re looking for more organizations currently providing assistance in Louisiana, check out the Feel Good Friday blogs on World Central Kitchen and Project Hope.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Feel Good Friday - International Refugee Assistance Project

No matter your thoughts on the situation in Afghanistan, there are thousands of Afghan refugees who can use some help. That’s why today’s Feel Good Friday is focused on the International Refugee Assistance Project

Founded in 2010, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is “the legal advocacy organization for refugees and displaced people in need of a safe place to call home.” 

From offices in New York, Washington D.C., Amman, Lebanon, and Berlin, IRAP organizes both lawyers and law students to “develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders.” 

Work focused on the people of Afghanistan is being prioritized and includes providing legal resources for Afghans, petitioning the State Department for the immediate evacuation of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants, and encouraging people to take action such as signing this petition and contacting your elected officials to encourage them to bring as many people to safety as possible.

The other areas of focus for IRAP include: family reunification, helping clients navigate private sponsorshippathways for refugees, protecting the integrity of the US asylum system, expanding legal protections for climate displaced people, and protecting and expanding U.S. refugee resettlement.

 As they explain in their 2020 Annual Report, in the last 11 years, IRAP has:

  • Provided legal aid to more than 30,000 individuals
  • Assisted more than 14,000 people through our artificial-intelligence-powered chatbot, which helps individuals navigate refugee resettlement and visa options
  • Led the passage of 12 provisions of bipartisan U.S. congressional legislation, opening and improving pathways to safety for over 173,620 people
  • Leveraged the courts in cases that could maintain pathways to safety for more than 339,000 individuals 

If you’d like to support IRAP and the people they support, there are several ways to do so. In addition to the actions listed for Afghan refugees, you can also make a donation and help other people learn about IRAP by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @IRAP and Instagram @refugeeassistance.

If you’re looking for more organizations that support refugees. Check out these previous Feel Good Friday blogs on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Rescue Committee.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Project HOPE

In times like this when there is so much going on in the world it’s easy to get overwhelmed. My goal with the Feel Good Friday blog is to stay focused on the positive so today, we’re going to learn about Project HOPE and their response to the recent earthquake in Haiti.
 
On August 14, Haiti was struck by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Over 2,000 people have died and 500,000 need humanitarian assistance. “Project HOPE’s Emergency Response Team is on the ground in the Sud department, delivering critical medicines and medical supplies, including bandages, sutures, and antibiotics, to health facilities in Les Cayes and the surrounding area.”

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is “a global health and humanitarian relief organization that places power in the hands of health care workers to save lives across the globe.” They have both global and local staff comprised of technical experts and medical volunteers who work in over 100 countries to build the capacity of the health workforce in communities that need it most.
 
Their work encompasses several different areas including: Global Health SecurityHealth EquityInfectious Diseases, Training Health Care WorkersMaternal, Neonatal & Child HealthNoncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) and Health Affairs. Two programs I’m going to highlight are their responses to disasters and COVID-19.
 
When there is a natural disaster or health crisis, Project HOPE deploys staff and volunteers to provide medical support and works with local health facilities to distribute medicine and relief supplies. This is what their teams in Haiti are doing now. They also stay in the location to train health care workers, provide emergency preparedness training and help health systems rebuild. In 2020, Project HOPE helped 170,000 people affected by natural disasters and humanitarian crises.
 
In response to COVID-19, “Project HOPE has delivered over 17.5 million pieces of PPE and over 5,000 pieces of medical equipment, hygiene, and sanitation supplies, trained more than 116,000 health workers and frontline personnel, and reached more than 150 countries worldwide, including the U.S.”

In 2020, Project HOPE helped 1.4 million people through their global health programs and donated $56.2 million in essential equipment, medicines, and medical supplies. To support them in this work there are several ways to get involved. If you have a health care background you can volunteer. You can also help fund their programs with a donation and raise awareness of their work by liking their Facebook page and following them on Instagram and Twitter @projecthopeorg. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Oakland Zoo

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting Oakland Zoo with my nieces so today’s Feel Good Friday is a great time to find out more about this nonprofit organization.


Founded in 1922 by naturalist Henry A. Snow, Oakland Zoo is now managed by the Conservation Society of California and focuses on “connecting people, animals and the natural world to inspire conservation and wonder.”

 

It will come as no surprise that Oakland Zoo is full of animals. You can visit over 850 native and exotic animals at the zoo or spend some time on their YouTube Channel learning all about the residents. Oakland Zoo not only cares for the animals, but also the local community. They offer free and discounted education programs to schools, support other non-profits, host holiday parties for local charities, and offer free and discounted admission to underserved community members.  

 

Oakland Zoo’s education programs include training Teen Wild Guides to be interpreters in the Children’s Zoo, overnight ZooFari experiences for the community, and visits with the zoo’s Education Animal Ambassadors to name a few. While some of these programs are currently on hold, you can still connect with Zoo@Home and take a virtual field trip, Zoom with the animal ambassadors or tune in to hear zookeepers share animal anecdotes.

 

Finally, Oakland Zoo is actively involved with many researchers and organizations dedicated to various conservation projects around the world. You can use this map to find the zoo’s wildlife conservation partners and learn more about their work. And click this link to see how Oakland Zoo exemplifies sustainability through their actions around composting, solar power, the Green CafĂ© and more!

 

If you want to support all the work being done by Oakland Zoo to “inspire conservation and wonder”, there are many ways to do so. Bay Area locals can volunteer or become a zoo member. No matter where you live you can make a donation and share the work of Oakland Zoo on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @oakzoo and

Instagram #oaklandzoo.

  

Friday, August 6, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Crayon Collection

Did you know August is Crayon Collection Month? Yet another reason to keep up with Feel Good Friday as we delve into the details of Crayon Collection.

Founded in 2009 by Sheila Michail Morovati and based in Los Angeles, the mission of Crayon Collection is “to inspire a commitment to environmental consciousness and the infusion of art education in underfunded schools.” This 2-minute video gives a great overview of the organization.
 

One of their major programs is crayon recycling. Have you ever wondered what happens to the crayons that restaurants provide to kids to keep them busy? They get thrown away. And we’re talking about 150 million crayons a year! Meanwhile, teachers are spending their own money to provide supplies for underfunded schools. How can we connect these groups? Enter Crayon Collection.

 

In their own words, “Through our Crayon Recycling Program, we establish partnerships with national restaurant and hotel chains that distribute free crayons to children when they dine. Instead of throwing these crayons away after each meal, we establish a collection process for each location and ensure these gently used crayons are donated to a local school in need.” In addition, preschools and elementary schools throughout the country hold crayon drives then donate the crayons to neighboring schools. 

 

That leads us to the Color Kindness Program, which encourages children who have collected crayons to group a rainbow of 10-12 crayons into a bag and include a hand-written note of positivity. As Crayon Collection explains, “this gentle expression of care goes a long way and is a source of joy for both recipient and writer.”

 

Another focus of Crayon Collection is arts education. A partnership with The Getty Museum, provides studio sessions for children from kindergarten to 5th grade, while volunteer artists working through the Boys and Girls Club provide after school art education programming.

 

Finally, Crayon Collection has launched a new venture called Habits of Waste which encourages people to rethink wasteful behavior and change their habits. That will require its own FGF post.

 

Since their founding in 2009, Crayon Collection has collected and donated over 20 million crayons! If you’d like to be part of this success, there are many ways to get involved. You can volunteer to run a crayon drive, teach an art program, and of course, make a donation. As always, help amplify the work Crayon Collection is doing by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @CrayonCollectio and Instagram@crayoncollection. 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Special Olympics

Watching the Olympics in Tokyo this week made me think of Special Olympics. Although I’ve posted over 450 Feel Good Friday blogs, I’ve never written about Special Olympics – until today.

Many of you may be familiar with Special Olympics, an organization that began in 1960 when Eunice Kennedy Shriver hosted a camp for children with intellectual disabilities in her backyard called Camp Shriver. The first Special Olympics Games were held in Chicago in 1968 and in the 50+ years since, 5,755,056 athletes have participated in 114,888 competitions across 200 countries!
 
The mission of Special Olympics is “to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.” You can watch a great summary of all their work in this 3-minute video, Changing the World Through Sport.
 
In addition to the high-profile sports competitions such as the 2022 World Winter Games which will be hosted in Russia, Special Olympics Unified Sports teams join people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to promote social inclusion through shared training and competition experiences. There are also several programs focused on developing Leadership skills for the athletes. 
 
Because people with intellectual disabilities die on average 16 years sooner than the general population, Special Olympics Inclusive Health programs focus on providing people with intellectual disabilities access quality health care and opportunities that promote fitness and wellness. You can work on your own fitness goals with the exercise videos in the School of Strength.
 
If you’d like to support Special Olympics athletes there are several ways to do so: become a coach, volunteer or official, make a donation, sign the inclusion pledge and share the love on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @SpecialOlympics and Instagram @specialolympics. #InclusionRevolution

Friday, July 23, 2021

Feel Good Friday - California ReLeaf

This summer in California we’ve already experienced record-breaking heatwaves and are ready for some relief. Since this is Feel Good Friday, it’s coming in the form of urban forests with California ReLeaf.

Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Sacramento, the mission of California ReLeaf is “to empower grassroots efforts and build strategic partnerships that preserve, protect and enhance California’s urban and community forests.” Why, you ask? Trees are important, especially in a drought-prone state like California. They provide shade for the landscape, reducing water needs, and help keep your home cool. They also improve air quality and reduce soil erosion. 

 

That’s why California ReLeaf promotes alliances with “community-based groups, individuals, industry, and government agencies, encouraging each to contribute to the livability of our cities and the protection of our environment by planting and caring for trees.” Two of the groups they’ve partnered with have been featured in previous FGF posts: San Francisco based Friends of the Urban Forest and Sacramento Tree Foundation.

 

California ReLeaf programs include: educational outreach and resources to teach us all about trees, Arbor Week celebrations in March, legislative advocacy to raise visibility of urban forestry, and pass-through grants for community-based organizations. California ReLeaf helps smaller organizations meet prohibitive public funding requirements and provides technical assistance to their projects.

 

Since their founding, California ReLeaf has supported “hundreds of non-governmental organizations and local municipalities in more than 820 projects that have planted and cared for nearly 200,000 trees, engaged thousands of volunteers, and leveraged more than $9 million in matching funds.”

 

If you’d like to find and support an organization focused on trees in your community, search on this map. To support California ReLeaf you can make a donation and keep in touch on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @calreleaf and Twitter @CalReLeaf.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Wonderopolis

I was wondering if there were any free summer camps that I could share in today’s Feel Good Friday and that’s what led me to Wonderopolis.


Created by the National Center for Families and Learning in 2010, Wonderopolis is “a place where natural curiosity and imagination lead to exploration and discovery in learners of all ages.” 

Start your exploration by visiting the website to review the Wonder of the Day® - an intriguing question sent in by people from around the world. Recent Wonders of the Day® that have been answered include: Who was Bessie Coleman? How does a dishwasher work? And what happened to Pompeii? For each wonder there is an explanation, a short video, a list of Wonder Words associated with the topic and a quiz to test your knowledge!


You can search through over 2000 Wonders of the Day® here or submit your own question in the Wonder Bank. Top questions get answered and you can upvote any of the 278,387 listed. Right now, there is an exciting three-way tie between: What are Macrophages? How did people learn to read words and phrases? And what is Diwali?


You may be wondering, what does any of this have to do with summer camp? One of the other programs run by Wonderopolis is Camp Wonderopolis, a “free online summer-learning destination that's full of fun, interactive STEM and literacy-building topics boosted by Maker experiments!” You can register for camps that focus on topics such as music, construction and engineering or fitness. In each camp you’ll follow learning tracks, test your knowledge and use everyday items for hands-on maker activities. Because these camps are self-guided, you can start any time.

 

There is also a network for educators called Wonder Ground which provides classroom resources, lesson plans, correlations to education standards, and real-world applications.

 

Wondering what you can do to help Wonderopolis stay engaged with the one million users that visit their website every month? Become a Wonder Funder by making a donation and help spread the word on social media by liking the Wonderopolis Facebook page and following them on Twitter @Wonderopolis and Instagram @wonderopolis. 

Friday, July 9, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Little Free Library

It’s summer, time to lie on a beach or sit in your backyard and read a book! But what if you don’t have a book to read? Today’s Feel Good Friday organization, Little Free Library, has you covered. 

Little Free Library is a neighborhood book exchange that began in Wisconsin in 2009 when Todd Bol built a model of a one room schoolhouse, put it on a post in his yard and filled it with books. The idea and the libraries spread and Little Free Library became a registered nonprofit organization in 2012. Their mission is “to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries.” Their tag line, “Take a Book. Share a Book.”

The reason the organization focuses on book access is explained on their website. “Today in the United States, more than 30 million adults cannot read or write above a third-grade level. Studies have repeatedly shown that books in the hands of children have a meaningful impact on improving literacy. The more books in or near the home, the more likely a child will learn and love to read. But two out of three children living in poverty have no books to call their own.
 
The programs run by Little Free Library to achieve their mission of book access for all include: equipping, educating and guiding volunteer stewards to establish Little Free Libraries in their communities; Read in Color, an initiative to bring diverse books to book-sharing boxes; the Impact Library Program, which has provided 1,350 no-cost Little Free Library book exchanges to communities where books are scarce; and the Action Book Club, which combines reading and community service.

If you want to find a Little Free Library in your neighborhood, use this map. There are now libraries in all 50 states and on all 7 continents. Over 100,000 libraries in all with 42 million books shared annually. The impact of these libraries is highlighted on the website: “72% of volunteer stewards have met more neighbors because of their Little Free Library” and “92% of people say their neighborhood feels like a friendlier place because of a Little Free Library.” All that and free books too!

If you’d like to support the work of Little Free Library there are many ways to do so. Start a library in your neighborhood, make a donation, and amplify their work on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @LtlFreeLibrary and Instagram @littlefreelibrary. 

Friday, July 2, 2021

Feel Good Friday - California Fire Prevention Organization

Anticipating a summer full of wildfires is what inspired today’s Feel Good Friday focus on the California Fire Prevention Organization. 

The majority of California is in drought conditions and wildfire season has already started. That’s what makes the work being done by California Fire Prevention Organization (CFPO) so important. CFPO is a nonprofit organization that partners with communities and fire departments across the state to educate people about fire and life safety. Their mission is “to reduce the threat to life from fire utilizing technology, education, and localized awareness for the fire service and the general public.

 
There are a number of educational programs that help CFPO achieve this mission:
  • Ready, Set, Go - education on how to prepare for a disaster and know when to evacuate
  • Fire Smart California – providing guidance on how to create and practice a plan for what to do in the event of a fire
  • My Safe California – installing free smoke alarms for families that are unable to provide them for themselves and partnering with fire departments to deliver fire prevention activities and education
  • Quake Smart California – education and resources for what to do when you feel an earthquake – DROP! COVER! HOLD ON!
Much of CFPO’s educational programming is targeted at children. In the last 33 years, the team has delivered fire and life safety presentations to over 670,000 students, primarily in Southern California.
 
If you’d like to increase your knowledge on fire prevention you can subscribe to the CFPO podcast. To help them with their work, make a donation and amplify their reach on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @MySafeCA and Instagram @california_fire_prevention. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Feel Good Friday - The Trevor Project

It’s the last Feel Good Friday during Pride month so today’s focus is on an organization helping LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project. 

The Trevor Project has been in the news recently after NFL player Carl Nassib came out as gay and announced he was making $100k donation to the organization. If you’re not familiar with their work, The Trevor Project is “the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25." 

As stated in their 2020 Annual Report there are “more than 1.8 million LGBTQ young people who seriously consider suicide in the U.S. each year.” That’s why the mission of The Trevor Project is “to end suicide among LGBTQ youth”. 

 

The organization was founded in 1998 by the creators of the short film Trevor, a coming-of-age story of a gay teen set in 1981. The same night the film premiered on HBO in 1998, the filmmakers launched The TREVOR Lifeline, the first national crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth.

Since then, the programs of The Trevor Project have expanded to include: 24/7 crisis services via phone, text and chat; peer support through a social networking community; research to help improve services offered and advocate for change; education and public awareness programs; and advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to fight for policies and laws that protect LGBTQ youth.

In Fiscal year 2020, volunteers with The Trevor Project have served over 150,000 youth through the crisis hotline, text and chat, and TrevorSpace.org has over 300,000 users. The organization also conducted the largest mental health survey of LGBTQ youth in the nation while the research team stayed active publishing research briefs and peer-reviewed journal articles. The Trevor Project’s goal for upcoming years is to serve 1.8 million crisis contacts every year.

If you’d like to support LGBTQ youth during Pride month, or any other time of year, there are several ways you can get involved. Become a volunteer crisis counselor, make a donation, and support The Trevor Project on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @TrevorProject and Instagram@trevorproject.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Feel Good Friday - SOS Outreach

Posting one more Tahoe-related Feel Good Friday before I head home and highlighting the work of SOS Outreach. 

Founded in 1993 as the Snowboard Outreach Society, the original purpose of this Colorado-based organization was to improve negative perception of snowboard culture. They began by taking 15 kids from Denver to Vail Mountain and teaching them to snowboard.

 

In the 28 years since, SOS Outreach has grown into a national nonprofit with offices in 15 locations, including both South and North Lake Tahoe. Their programs “combine outdoor exploration, positive adult mentorship, leadership skills and community service to help youth discover joy, feel included, overcome challenges, improve their mental health, and become strong leaders.” Their vision is “to make sure every kid we meet gets stronger”.

 

The programs run by SOS Outreach are structured in three phases. Phase one is for youth in grades 4-12. It begins with an introduction to skiing or snowboarding and the core values of “courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion, and humility.” Phase two is a 4-year mentor program where groups of 3 to 5 participants are matched up with an adult mentor and a peer mentor. They continue the outdoor activities and add a focus on peer bonding, life skills and leadership development. Phase three is an option for interested youth to become peer mentors and continue developing their leadership skills. There are also summer programs such as rock-climbing and backpacking that teach basic wilderness travel skills along with the core values.

 

Since they began 28 years ago, SOS Outreach volunteers have worked with over 70,000 kids at 22 mountains in 9 states. To hear directly from participants about how this has changed them, you can watch this short video.

 

If you’d like to help young people gain confidence and leadership skills by spending time in the great outdoors, there are many ways you can support SOS Outreach. Make a donation, become a volunteer and amplify their message on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Instagram.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Feel Good Friday - Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care

Today’s Feel Good Friday comes to you on location from Lake Tahoe! Three years ago we profiled the League to Save Lake Tahoe – the organization behind the Keep Tahoe Blue campaign - so today we’re going to turn our attention from the lake and focus on the animals. 

Since 1978, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (LTWC) has been fulfilling their mission to “rescue, rehabilitate, and release” orphaned and injured wildlife. They also educate the community about the health and safety of the wildlife in the Lake Tahoe area.

 

In 2015, LTWC opened a new 27-acre site with a state-of-the-art animal care facility which allows them to care for and release more injured and orphaned animals. Reasons animals come to LTWC can include wildfires, car accidents, predation from pets and other consequences of human activity. All of the animals receive food that is as close as possible to their natural diet as the intention is to treat the animals for their injuries and return them back to the wild.

 

A sampling of the animals LTWC cares for includes: bears, beavers, coyotes, eagles, owls, porcupines, rabbits, raccoons, river otters and skunks! You can see the full list here. The animals are cared for by rehabilitation staff and trained volunteers. Given the frequency of wildfires in California, LTWC has become a leader in treating animals burned in wildfires.

 

Since the beginning, LTWC has cared for more than 24,000 animals and released over 15,000 back to the wild - a 63% release rate! LTWC also provides information on how to co-exist with wildlife in the area. From tips on sealing woodpecker holes in your house to where to buy coyote rollers for your fence, you can find all the co-existing and reporting information you need at this link.

 

If you’d like to help Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care with their mission to rescue, rehabilitate and release wildlife there are several ways to do so. Volunteer your time, donate your money, shop for art and merchandise and support them on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram and Twitter @LTWCRescue.