Friday, October 28, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Bat World Sanctuary

Halloween is right around the corner so let’s get into the spooky spirit with today’s Feel Good Friday organization, Bat World Sanctuary!

Founded in 1994 and based in Texas, Bat World Sanctuary is a non-profit, accredited organization dedicated to ending the mistreatment of bats. They provide worldwide rescue, rehabilitation, release and lifetime sanctuary for orphaned and injured bats.

If you’re wondering why bats, you’ll find the answer on the Bat World website. “Fruit and nectar bats bring us approximately 450 commercial products and over 80 different medicines through seed dispersal and pollination. Up to 98% of all rainforest regrowth comes from seeds that have been spread by fruit bats. Insect-eating bats are literal vacuum cleaners of the night skies, eating millions upon millions of harmful bugs. They protect us by eating insect-pests that destroy crops as well as insects that cause human disease.”

Every year, the volunteers at Bat World rescue hundreds of bats that might otherwise die. There is a team of local rescuers who you can contact if you find an injured or trapped bat. Follow these directions to keep both you and the bat safe. Bat World also works with zoos, researchers and animal shelters to offer bats a lifetime of sanctuary instead of death. Considering most bats have a lifespan of 25-40 years, that’s a big commitment.

In a 2019 video the team at Bat World estimates that, since their founding they have rehabilitated 30,000 bats and saved another 200,000 from destruction. Just this month, 21 bats have been rescued. You can track the details and see photos on the Bat World rescue log.

Bats that are unable to be released back into the wild are given a home in the Bat World Sanctuary. Right now there are approximately 400 permanent residents who you can watch on the live 24/7 bat cams. The bats were pretty active when I checked in last night while writing this.

In addition to the rescue, release and sanctuary efforts, Bat World provides tons of educational materials. There is a page of resources for teachers that includes a quiz you can take to find out what kind of bat you are. I’m a vampire bat, perfect for Halloween. There’s also information on how to build a bat house, and a page that covers myths vs facts. Apparently bats are not blind nor are they trying to get tangled in your hair. You can learn even more by watching videos on the Bat World Sanctuary YouTube page.

If this post has made you want to help Bat World Sanctuary support the world’s 1100+ species of bats, there are a lot of ways to do so. Make a donation, become a volunteer, adopt a bat, shop for merch, and amplify their work on social media. Like the Bat World Sanctuary Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @batworld and on Instagram @batworldsanctuary.


Friday, October 21, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Dogs Without Borders

Since 1981, October has been designated as Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. That makes today a perfect time to talk about Dogs Without Borders.

Founded in 2006 and based in Los Angeles, California, Dogs Without Borders (DWB) is a “non-profit, small dog rescue that saves homeless and abandoned dogs from high-kill shelters in the Los Angeles area, and finds them permanent and loving homes.”

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year. DWB rescues stray and abandoned dogs from shelters as far away as Taiwan and Mexico, though the vast majority of their rescue dogs come from Los Angeles County shelters. They are one of the highest placement rescues in the county and have found forever homes for over 6,000 dogs since their inception.

DWB does not have a facility and relies solely on foster volunteers to house and care for their rescue dogs until they are adopted. For volunteers in the LA area willing and able to foster a dog, DWB provides food, bedding, toys, a collar, leash, medical care, training and support. You provide a home, a routine, some love and bring the dog to weekly adoption events until they find their new family.

For people interested in adopting a dog, it starts with an application and chat with an adoption coordinator. Next steps include meeting a dog at an adoption event, or private session, taking the dog home for a week-long trial adoption period, chatting with a foster mentor, passing a home inspection and making your decision. All dogs are spayed/ neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped prior to adoption, and come with a DWB ID tag. Clients also get advice and tips for the duration of their dogs’ lives to guarantee happy and successful adoptions.

If you live in the Los Angeles area and are considering fostering or adopting a dog, you can see photos of the currently available dogs at this link. You can also volunteer to work at an adoption event, transport dogs (to events and/or vet visits) or conduct home inspections. You can also swing by the Strut Your Mutt fundraiser tomorrow in Warner Center Park

For those of you who don’t live in LA but still want to support the work of Dogs Without Borders, you have options. Make a donation and amplify their work on social media. Like the DWB Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @dwbrescue and on Instagram @dogswithoutborders.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Costume Connections

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to focus on organizations getting costumes to kids who need them. Let’s start with Costume Connections.

Founded in 2017 and based in Austin, Texas, Costume Connections’ mission is “to ensure that every child's imagination is nurtured with a costume of their choice at Halloween.” 

As they explain on their website, children who are unable to participate in school parades and trick-or-treating can be left with feelings of exclusion and shame. Costume Connections provides pop up costume shops for children in need so they can participate in these experiences with costumes they select and are proud to wear. 

You can see a short news story on the organization from KXAN and, if you live in Texas, you can visit their costume pop up shop on October 22nd. No matter where you live, you can help provide Halloween costumes for children in Austin. How? Support Costume Connections with a donation and by amplifying their message on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @costumeconnectionsatx.

Another organization that provides Halloween costumes to children is ‘WEEN DREAM. They focus on children "who are faced with unique challenges, including those with special needs, physical and/or mental disabilities, homeless children, kids living in poverty or at shelters, children with serious medical issues, kids in the foster care system, and kids who have experienced a recent trauma or natural disaster.”

Although based in New Orleans, Louisiana, 'WEEN DREAM ships costumes to children in need around the United States. To learn more about this organization and how to support them, visit this Feel Good Friday post from 2019.

Finally, for those of you in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Public Library is having a Halloween costume swap on October 22nd. Bring a costume, take a costume or do both. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 7, 2022

Feel Good Friday - Mizell Center

It’s Feel Good Friday and we’re heading to Palm Springs! I mean, I got here yesterday so I'm just making sure the blog catches up by posting about a local resource, Mizell Center.

Founded in 1974, Mizell Center is a non-denominational organization that serves the senior community in the greater Palm Springs area. Recognized as a leader in active aging, their “multi-faceted network of programs and services is designed to encourage creativity, promote lifelong learning and sustain an active and engaged lifestyle.”

Mizell Center’s nutrition programs include communal lunches at several senior centers on weekdays, and the largest Meals on Wheels program in the Coachella Valley. You can check out the monthly menu to see what’s being served. Today is chicken pot pie!

Their case management services assist seniors with accessing and navigating community resources and government services. That might mean referrals to affordable housing, medical care, counseling or transportation services. It also covers help applying for benefits such as social security, Medi-Cal and CalFresh.

In addition to these offerings, Mizell Center has a very active social calendar. Monday through Friday of any given week, there are 50 separate activities, classes and creative arts! Examples of the programs include: fitness classes like aerobics, Zumba and tai chi; game days to play bridge, canasta or chess; Spanish classes, art classes, line dancing, tech tutoring… so many ways to stay active!

The values of Mizell Center are respect, diversity, inclusion, compassion, innovation, and equity and their website states that “seasonal residents and guests are warmly welcomed.” I may have to stop by for some tap dancing lessons while I’m in town. 

If you’d like to support the work of the Mizell Center, you can become a member, volunteer, buy something at Aunt Betty’s Resale Shop, make a donation and amplify their message on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @MizellCenterPS and Instagram @mizellcenter.