Friday, September 22, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Latino Public Broadcasting

We’re continuing our celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month with a visit to Hollywood and the nonprofit organization, Latino Public Broadcasting.

Founded in 1998 by actors
Edward James Olmos and Marlene Dermer, and located in Los Angeles, California, Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is “the leader of the development, production, acquisition and distribution of non-commercial educational and cultural media that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans.” 

As of 2022, LPB has delivered 275 hours of programming to public broadcasting stations throughout the United States and has won over 125 awards. This programming includes the documentary series VOCES, shown on PBS, which features the best of Latino arts, culture and history, and shines a light on current issues that impact Latino Americans.

LPB also fosters emerging Latino filmmakers who create the content. Filmmakers are provided with resources such as recommended reading, PBS program guidelines, and sample proposals. In addition, they can apply for funding! LPB has given out 15.7 million dollars to help amplify the diversity of voices represented within the public media system. 

Sixteen newly-funded projects have just been announced for 2023. Story topics include: the New York Latin jazz scene, a young Afro-Latina community activist running for the presidency in Colombia, and the first undocumented attorney to argue a case before the Supreme Court. If you can’t wait for the new projects to be completed, you can watch several other documentaries on the website now. 

When you’ve finished exploring, take a moment to help Latino Public Broadcasting in their mission to provide a voice to the diverse Latino community on public media. Support them with a donation and spread the word on social media. Subscribe to their YouTube channel, like their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @latinopublicbroadcasting.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

Today is the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month and we’re kicking it off by celebrating a longstanding Bay Area organization, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

Located in the Mission District of San Francisco, California, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (MCCLA) was established in 1977 “by artists and community activists with a shared vision to promote, preserve and develop the Latino cultural arts that reflect the living tradition and experiences of the Chicano, Central and South American, and Caribbean people.” 

MCCLA is the largest Latino cultural center in the continental United States. For the last 45 years they have been developing, promoting and preserving the Latino Cultural values through the arts. Each week, instructors at MCCLA teach over 35 classes in multiple artistic disciplines. You can learn Afro Peruvian dance, screen printing on paper and textiles, or Brazilian carnival drumming! Low cost and free art education programs are also offered for both adults and children.

In addition to all the classes, Latinx artists living and working in San Francisco can apply for the Reimagining Art In Community Education Spaces Fellowship. Each year four artists are chosen and hosted by four Latinx led art and culture organizations in the city. During the twelve month fellowship the artists are required to develop a community informed art project in their discipline. The program culminates in a public presentation.

If you live in, or are visiting, San Francisco, you can take a tour of MCCLA, stop by one of the National Hispanic Heritage Month events or rent space for your own event! No matter where you live, you can support MCCLA in their goal to make the arts accessible to people in the community. Make a donation to the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and increase their visibility on social media by liking their Facebook page following them on Instagram @mcclasf.


Friday, September 8, 2023

Feel Good Friday - 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Sunday, September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, a time to remember those affected by suicide, to raise awareness, and to focus efforts on directing treatment to those who need it most. At the forefront of this work is today’s Feel Good Friday organization, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Launched in 2005 as the National Suicide Prevention Line, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (the Lifeline) is “is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.”

The CDC reports an estimated 49,449 suicide deaths across the U.S. in 2022, and suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people. The Lifeline is “committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.”


Since 2005, over 23 million people have called the Lifeline and been connected to trained counselors from one of over 200 local crisis centers in the Lifeline network. These counselors provide emotional support and crisis counseling, as well as connect callers to resources in their area. Visit the get help page to see how to contact the Lifeline.

In addition to being able to call, text or chat with counselors at the Lifeline 24/7, you can also visit the website to find information for specific communities such as veterans, youth or LGBTQI+ individuals. If you want to learn about warning signs that someone may be at risk for suicide and actions you can take to help, visit the prevention page. There is also a page dedicated to stories of hope and recovery to inspire you.

If you’d like to support the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline there are many ways to get involved. Promote National Suicide Prevention Month, learn about actions you can take to help others in crisis, make a donation, support your local crisis center, and raise awareness on social media. Like the 988 Lifeline Facebook page, follow them on Instagram @988lifeline, and use the hashtag #BeThe1To

Friday, September 1, 2023

Feel Good Friday - American Library Association

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month and if you know me, you know I love libraries. Those are the only reasons I need to spend today’s Feel Good Friday talking about the American Library Association.

Founded in 1876 during a Convention of Librarians in Philadelphia, the mission of the American Library Association (ALA) is “To provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

As a professional association, much of what the ALA does centers on supporting their 58,000+ members. That includes information on career paths and salaries, publications and resources, as well as professional development and conferences that help librarians build connections and advance their careers.

The ALA also has a Public Policy and Advocacy Office in Washington, D.C., that works to advance policy issues critical to libraries, such as library funding, net neutrality and access to affordable, broadband internet. They provide toolkits and training for people interested in becoming library advocates. In recent years ALA advocates have protected $27 million in funding for school libraries and supported legislation for broadband development in rural America and in Tribal lands. 

In addition, the ALA website is full of information and resources for librarians on topics including banned and challenged books and how to fight censorship, how libraries can create programming to promote diversity, and toolkits to help libraries expand adult and multilingual literacy services.

If you’d like to support the American Library Association and their goal of ensuring access to information for all, there are many ways to do so. Make a donation, shop for banned books products and raise awareness on social media. Follow the ALA on Facebook and on Instagram @americanlibraryassociation. #LibraryCardSignUpMonth

Friday, August 25, 2023

Feel Good Friday - The Climate Reality Project

With recent news full of stories about destruction from hurricanes and wildfires, and melting sea ice drowning baby penguins, it’s time to highlight another organization working to combat climate change, The Climate Reality Project.

Founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in 2006 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the mission of The Climate Reality Project is “to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every sector of society.”

They do this by organizing and empowering communities of people who are passionate about the environment and committed to building a sustainable future together. Today there are over 3.5 million climate advocates across 130 U.S. chapters and 11 international branches.

Volunteers in the chapters work together to support Climate Reality initiatives, many of which are focused on getting to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Examples include: reducing fossil fuel emissions, strengthening international cooperation on climate, and calling out greenwashing by companies who share misleading information about their climate responsibility and commitments. Climate Reality is also financing a just transition by pushing governments and development banks to end support for dirty fossil fuel projects while also mobilizing billions in public and private finance to help Global South nations recover after disasters and build resilient clean energy economies.

Additional programs include a campaign to get communities, businesses and schools to commit to using 100% renewable electricity and a leadership corps, which has provided over 45,000 advocates the tools, training, and network needed to make a difference on climate. Since forming, Climate Reality has stopped pipelines, secured climate commitments, empowered communities and affected policy. Watch this 4-minute video to learn more.

If you’re ready to join Climate Reality in the fight for a sustainable, just, and equitable future, become a member of your local chapter or register for an upcoming leadership corps. You can also support them by making a donation and spreading the word on social media. Follow The Climate Reality Project on Facebook and on Instagram @climatereality. 


Friday, August 18, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Hawai'i Community Foundation

Today’s Feel Good Friday highlights the Hawai’i Community Foundation, and their response to the recent wildfires on Maui.

Founded in 1916, the mission of the Hawai’i Community Foundation (HCF) is to “inspire generosity, advocate for equity, forge connections and invest in community to create a better Hawai’i.” 

HCF describes their work as follows: “HCF strengthens Hawai‘i’s communities by creating partnerships with funders, nonprofits, community and government leaders because we believe the resulting alliance is more powerful than the sum of its parts. We invest in initiatives that are tackling Hawai‘i’s greatest needs, from affordable housing to fresh water.  And we create grant opportunities for local nonprofit organizations who are working to build a stronger Hawai’i.”

The focus of today’s post is on the newly created Maui Strong Fund. It was set up to provide financial resources that can be deployed quickly, with a focus on rapid response and recovery. As of August 17, 2023, $43,796,771 has been raised! 100% of these funds are being distributed for community needs and $5,177,260 has already been awarded to grantees.

Some examples of organizations putting these funds to use include: Aloha Diaper Bank, which will be delivering diapers and wipes door-to-door to families of low-income, the unhoused, and others in crisis; Family Life Center which is setting up a temporary shelter for 30 displaced families; Maui Food Bank which is already providing food to the thousands of people displaced by the fires; and the Maui Humane Society which is addressing the animal displacement and injuries by providing care and temporary shelter. You can check this link to read more about all the grantees and see the current donation total.

The Hawai’i Community Foundation has been fostering the spirit of giving for more than 100 years and today would be a great day for you to let the spirit move you. If you’ve been looking for a way to help the people of Hawai’i as they recover from the fires, consider making a donation to the Maui Strong Fund. You can also show your support of the Hawai’i Community Foundation by making a donation to one or more of their other funds and amplifying their message on social media. Like the HCF Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @hawaiicommunityfoundation. 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Save the Elephants

I just learned that tomorrow is World Elephant Day. That’s a great reason for us all to learn about Save the Elephants.

Founded by Iain Douglas-Hamilton in 1993, the mission of Save the Elephants (STE) is “to secure a future for elephants and to sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live; to promote man’s delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species.”

Why elephants? In addition to being intelligent, iconic animals who attract tourists to Africa, elephants are a keystone species who play an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of their ecosystems. They do this in a few ways: eating vegetation as they walk through it creates pathways for smaller animals to use, digging for water with their trunks provides water for all nearby, and um “depositing” dung far from where they eat helps disperse seeds and boosts the health of the savannah.

While it may come as no surprise that tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory, you may not know that human-elephant conflict due to livestock encroachment now accounts for almost all of the illegal elephant killings in the ecosystem. In this video celebrating 25 years of STE, they share that between 2008 and 2018, over 1,000 park rangers were killed and 140,000 elephants disappeared from Africa.

To save the elephants, STE specializes in research. They use GPS trackers to monitor over 900 elephants in 16 countries across Africa and Asia. That provides them with scientific insights into elephant behavior, intelligence, and long-distance movements. STE works with farmers on human-elephant conflict mitigation projects, and provides education and outreach programs for communities and schools. Finally, the Elephant Crisis Fund is identifying and supporting partners in Africa and ivory consuming nations and helping them meet their goals of stopping poaching, thwarting traffickers and ending the demand for ivory.

In the last 30 years Save the Elephants has engaged more than 20,000 children in northern Kenya with their educational activities. They’ve also distributed $31m to hundreds of organizations in over 40 countries through the Elephant Crisis Fund. You can read more about STE’s impact on this page.

If you’re ready to help Save the Elephants there are several ways to do so. Shop for merch, make a donation and amplify their message on social media. Like the STE Facebook page, subscribe to their YouTube channel and follow them on Instagram @savetheelephants.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary

It’s Feel Good Friday and time to take a summer road trip to Saint Pauls, North Carolina to visit the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary (BCR).

North Carolina law allows for animals who are sick, injured or blind to be killed immediately in animal control facilities. When a 6-week old blind cat named Louie was not accepted in the shelter where the BCR founders were volunteering, they decided to take him home and soon after registered Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary as a non-profit in North Carolina.

The first BCR building was built in 2005 as a lifetime care sanctuary for blind cats who were deemed not adoptable by regular shelters. In 2011, they built a second shelter to provide a safe place for Leukemia positive (FELV+) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV+) cats who otherwise would be killed because they tested positive for these viruses.

In addition to providing homes for these cats, BCR’s website has helpful information for owners. For example, blind cats can do almost everything that sighted cats can do and will use their whiskers to navigate around objects. One way you can help them is by staying consistent with where you place their litter box and food bowls.

Cats that are FIV+ can live for years before becoming sick. Since FIV is primarily transmitted through a deep, penetrating bite, positive and negative cats can live together with no problems. While cats that are FELV+ typically have 3-5 years of healthy life, several of the FELV+ cats at BCR are nine years old.

If you’re curious to meet and support the cats at BCR you can click on their names on this page to see photos and read their individual stories. For example, Houdini is an FELV+ cat who came to BCR earlier this year after being hit by a car in Miami, and Popcorn is a cat with no eyes who has been living at BCR since she was found on a country road in 2011. Check out the live streaming cameras to see what the cats are up to. When I looked everyone was asleep but hey, cats are gonna cat.

If you’d like to support the cats at Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary, there are several ways to do so. Go to the open house on Saturday, August 12 and visit the cats in person, volunteer your time, donate your money and spread the word on social media. Follow BCR on Facebook and Instagram @blindcatrescue. 

Friday, July 28, 2023

Feel Good Friday - TeenLife

It’s Feel Good Friday, it’s technically still summer so let’s talk about an organization that connects teens of all backgrounds to out-of-school summer and gap year opportunities, TeenLife.

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, TeenLife started as a resource guide. When Marie Schwartz was unable to find information on summer camps and community service programs geared towards teens, she compiled her own. The first  Guide to Overnight Summer Programs was such a success she founded TeenLife Media and has been connecting parents, students and educators to experiential learning opportunities ever since.

TeenLife provides a comprehensive online directory of STEM, gap year, pre-college, overnight summer and community service programs for students in grades 7-12. Go to the website to review flagship print guides focused on: Summer Programs, Gap Year Programs, Performing and Visual Arts Colleges, Online Learning and College Admissions. If your teen is curious about a particular profession, there are specific print guides with information on careers in healthcare, STEM, the arts and business.

You can also search through over 13,000 program options online. There are summer programs, gap year programs, after-school enrichment programs, volunteer opportunities, and information on private schools, colleges, universities and service providers. To help narrow the decisions down, you can filter by category, destination, session length, ages, cost and many more. With so many options to choose from, browsing the content at TeenLife helps teens, parents, and educators make strong enrichment-program decisions.

Some examples of the programs TeenLife connects you to include: the Sally Ride Science Academy at UC San Diego, offering STEAM workshops for students who assume the roles of space explorer, marine biologist, or computer programmer as they immerse themselves in hands-on projects; ArtsBridge Gap Year in Newton, Mass., a 15-week virtual intensive actor training program designed to be a bridge between the high school and the college experience; and the Parsons Paris Online Program, offering flexible, online courses in fashion design, business, branding, and sustainability in fashion. I’d like to apply for some of these programs myself!

By registering with TeenLife, you’ll receive news about opportunities that match your interests. If you’re not looking for a program to join but would like to support the work being done by Teen Life Media, like their Facebook page and follow them on LinkedIn and on Instagram @teenlifemedia 

Friday, July 21, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Rancho Burro Donkey Sanctuary

While my California road trip has technically come to an end, I can’t resist writing about one more organization I discovered while on the road, the Rancho Burro Donkey Sanctuary

Founded by Carlen and Jim Eckford in 2018 and headquartered in Arroyo Grande, the mission of the Rancho Burro Donkey Sanctuary is “to reduce misperceptions about donkeys which can often lead to their mistreatment and/or abandonment and to support and give homeless or mistreated donkeys, a good safe, loving and healthy lifetime home, provide them shelter, feed, vet care, medicines, exercise and LOVE!” 

The Eckfords were inspired to create Rancho Burro after an encounter with an abandoned, neglected donkey named Harry who they tried to save. The sanctuary spans 10 acres and can house 15 donkeys. Current residents were rescued from a variety of situations such as kill shelters, ranches and roadsides. Volunteers at the sanctuary help by giving the donkeys love and attention, exercise and grooming, and also by cleaning the stalls and field areas.

Right now, the team at Rancho Burro is raising funds for a new 45-acre sanctuary in San Luis Obispo, which will allow them to rescue and house up to 50 donkeys. There are also plans to do community outreach and provide equine therapy for developmentally disabled children and adults. Hear from the founders, and see some of the donkeys, by watching this short news clip.

If you want to learn more about the donkeys at Rancho Burro you can click on their pictures and read their individual rescue stories. From there you’re able to sponsor a donkey for as little as $35 a month. With a little planning you can organize a visit to the sanctuary to meet the donkeys in person.

The final ways to support Rancho Burro Donkey Sanctuary are to make a general donation and spread the word on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @rancho.burro.donkey.sanctuary.