Friday, January 27, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Moms Demand Action

The four mass shootings in California this week made it an easy decision to focus today’s Feel Good Friday post on an organization working to end gun violence, Moms Demand Action.

In 2012, the day after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Shannon Watts started a Facebook group with the message that all Americans can and should do more to reduce gun violence. So began Moms Demand Action. 

In their own words, “Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. We pass stronger gun laws and work to close the loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families. We also work in our own communities and with business leaders to encourage a culture of responsible gun ownership. We know that gun violence is preventable, and we’re committed to doing what it takes to keep families safe.”

There are Moms Demand chapters in all 50 states where volunteers connect to take actionable steps to prevent gun violence. Examples of current campaigns include updating background checks, a system which has blocked more than 3.5 million illegal gun sales in the past 20 years, disarming domestic abusers, and helping to elect gun sense candidates.

The impact made by Moms Demand volunteers is impressive. This page of victories is listed in reverse chronological order with almost daily entries. Recent wins include Governors in Michigan, California and New Jersey signing stronger gun safety bills into law. You can scroll through the list for details and also watch this 3-minute video to see Moms in action.

While you’re on the website, take a moment to read stories from volunteers and survivors, check for events in your area or explore resources to get educated on the issues. For example, you may not be surprised to learn that states with strong gun laws see less violence, but now you can check the gun law rankings to find out how your state compares.

If you’re ready to turn your frustration and anger over senseless gun violence into action there are many ways to get involved. Text READY to 644-33 to volunteer with a Moms Demand Action chapter in your area, send a message to your U.S. Representative to work to end gun violence,  shop for merch, make a donation and amplify their message on social medial. Follow Moms Demand Action on their Facebook page, on Twitter @MomsDemand and on Instagram @momsdemand.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue

January is National Adopt a Rescued Bird Month and a great opportunity to highlight the work of Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue.

Founded in 1998 and based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue is an all-volunteer, virtual organization with the goal “ to rescue parrots and other commonly domesticated companion birds who have been neglected, abused, injured or surrendered to us because their owners can no longer care for them.”

The services Mickaboo provides include: providing medical care and foster homes for the rescued birds they take in, rehabilitating injured and sick conures from the San Francisco “Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill” flock, finding adoptive homes for the birds in foster care, offering classes and online resources to avian caregivers and educating the public about the tragedies of overpopulation, and encouraging them to adopt, not buy or breed birds.

With the help of their volunteers, Mickaboo rescues between 300 and 400 birds every year and places them in foster homes until they are adopted. You can learn more about the organization and the birds on the Mickaboo YouTube page.

If you’re interested in adopting a new feathered friend, take a look at the available birds on their website or join the upcoming Mickaboo Virtual Adoption Fair on February 12th at 1pm Pacific. Sign up with this registration link.

There are many other ways to get involved with Mickaboo and show your support. If you live in the Bay Area, you can foster a bird or volunteer for other tasks. No matter where you are, you can shop, make a donation and amplify their work on social medial. Follow Mickaboo on their Facebook page and on Twitter @MickabooRescue. Remember - “Don’t breed, don’t buy… adopt a rescued bird!”

Friday, January 13, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Creativity Explored

Happy Feel Good Friday! If any of your New Year’s resolutions involved exploring your creativity, take a moment to get inspired by the artists at Creativity Explored.

Creativity Explored (CE) is a nonprofit organization located in San Francisco, California where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell their work. It was founded in 1983 by Florence and Elias Katz “on a belief that art is essential to life. We exist to provide developmentally disabled people access to the human right of creative expression.”

CE serves 130 artists and operates a studio space in the Mission District where these artists come to take classes and create their artwork. You can see the space, the artists and learn about the impact of CE in this short video.

When Covid-19 came to San Francisco, the staff at CE offered virtual classes. Now that the studio is open again, artists can take classes either in person or online. Since the pandemic began, CE artists have held a sold out gallery show, displayed their work at 38 exhibitions and earned nearly $200,000 from their art. 

Looking back at all 40 years of Creativity Explored, hundreds of disabled artists “have seen their work exhibited in museums, galleries, and art fairs in over 14 countries and have earned over $2 million from their art.”

You can learn all about the artists and view their work at this link and if you live in the SF Bay Area, you can attend one of the upcoming CE events. I’m especially interested in the collaboration with the Artist-in-Residence Program at Recology to see how trash is transformed into art. You can learn more about that Recology program in my FGF blog post from 2012. 

There are many fun ways to get involved with Creativity Explored and show your support. Apply to be an artist or register to volunteer. You can also shop for art, make a donation and amplify their work on social medial. Follow Creativity Explored on their Facebook page, on Instagram @creativityexplored and on Twitter @creativityxplrd. #ArtChangesLives

Friday, January 6, 2023

Feel Good Friday Flashback - Moving Windmills

While I recover from knee surgery, please enjoy this flashback Feel Good Friday post from January, 2013.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Feel Good Friday - Moving Windmills

It's a cold, windy Friday in San Francisco (well, cold for California) and that made me think of William Kamkwamba.

William lives in a village in Malawi that (in 2002) had no electricity or running water and was suffering from drought.  His family was struggling to survive and he had to drop out of school as they couldn't afford the $80 school fees.

Only 14 at the time, he read a book from the library about windmills which said they could be used to generate electricity and pump water.  He built a windmill from bicycle parts, gum trees and bamboo poles.  It worked well enough to bring electricity to power radios and enable his family read and study at night.  His second windmill turned a water pump so his family could irrigate their crops and fight the effects of the drought.  

Word of his accomplishment started to spread and since then, William has continued with his education, given two TED talks, written a book for children, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and a version for adults.

His work inspired the creation of an organization called Moving Windmills Project in 2008.  They pursue rural economic development and education projects in Malawi.

All of this started with one 14 year old boy with curiosity, initiative and determination! You can watch a 6 minute documentary about William and his windmill here for a little inspiration.

As he says at the end of his TED talk "Trust yourself and believe.  Whatever happens, don't give up.”