Friday, November 24, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Association on American Indian Affairs

November is Native American Heritage Month and today is Native American Heritage Day. A perfect time to learn about the Association on American Indian Affairs.

Headquartered in Clarksville, Maryland, the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) was founded in 1922 “to change the destructive path of federal policy from assimilation, termination and allotment, to sovereignty, self-determination and self-sufficiency.” Their mission today is “to lead the grassroots fight to protect Native Cultural Sovereignty.” 

The work of AAIA centers around their goals to “protect sovereignty, preserve culture, educate youth and build capacity.” The Cultural Sovereignty programs include work around repatriation of Indigenous land, burial belongings and cultural objects back to the original Native Nations. AAIA also provides technical assistance and training on how to use the law to protect sacred places

The Next Generation Program includes investigations into wrongful adoption practices; justice reform to address the disparate treatment of Native youth; and awarding college scholarships to students and grants to summer camps. In 2023 over 300 youth from 30 Tribes, Nations and communities attended summer camps that provided experiences to connect them with their cultures.

The final programs of AAIA focus on Becoming an Ally. There are resources on how we can all help to end the violence that disproportionally affects Indigenous Peoples and advocate to change racist mascots.

If you’d like to learn more, you can attend an AAIA event, or tune in to Red Hoop Talk, a streaming Native news and talk show. If you’re ready to support AAIA’s efforts to protect Native Cultural Sovereignty there are many ways to do so. Make a donation, join the association, and show your support on social media. Like the AAIA Facebook page, follow them on Instagram @associndianaffairs and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Feel Good Friday - SPOON

For many people in the United States, the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday means friends, family and food. It’s a good time to reflect on what you’re grateful for, and it’s also a good time to highlight an organization focused on child nutrition, SPOON.

Established in 2007 by Cindy Kaplan and Mishelle Rudzinski and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, SPOON’s mission is “to nourish children who are highly vulnerable to malnutrition by empowering their caregivers around the globe.” 

Their work is focused on children with disabilities, and those living outside of family care because these children are much more likely to experience malnutrition than their peers. SPOON approaches this issue in three ways which you can learn about in this short video or by continuing to read below. 

The first step is training for caregivers such as community health workers, nurses and social workers. Topics include nutrition, feeding and disabilities. This training has been provided across 17 countries and there are also self-paced, online courses available to help the program scale.

Once training has been completed, the caregivers can access a digital health app called Count Me In. The app includes educational content and assessment tools. It helps service providers track mealtime, growth, and anemia for children in their care and makes recommendations for intervention when needed. 

Finally, data from SPOON’s work around the world is shared with their partners and used to advocate for inclusive polices, services and investments for all children.

The impact of this work is impressive. Last year, SPOON trained 352 people in 8 countries, who worked with over 13,000 children. For children being monitored with the Count Me In app, 35% saw an improvement in growth, 40% had a drop in anemia rates, and 82% experienced improvement in rates of safe feeding positions.

If you’d like to help SPOON increase their impact around the world, there are many ways to do so. Volunteer your time, donate your money and share their message on social media. Follow SPOON on Facebook and on Instagram @spoonfoundation.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Hope for the Warriors

Tomorrow is Veterans Day in the United States and today is a great time to learn about an organization that serves veterans, Hope for the Warriors.

Hope for the Warriors was founded by military families in 2006. Headquartered in Virginia, they are a national organization that “provides comprehensive support programs for service members, veterans, and military families that are focused on transition, health and wellness, peer engagement, and connections to community resources.”


The team at Hope for the Warriors believes that “those touched by military service can succeed at home by restoring their sense of self, family, and hope.” Their holistic approach to well-being focuses on six domains: financial wellness, life roles, physical wellness, emotional wellness, social support, and community connection. Programs are available for service members, veterans, caregivers, and family members from all branches of the military, across all 50 states. 

Examples of financial wellness and life role programs include short term financial assistance, educational scholarships, job assistance and a driver rehabilitation program. Physical and emotional wellness programs include mental health services, a virtual course to learn resiliency and coping skills and endurance events for athletes. The final group of programming targets social support and community connection. There is a peer support network to mentor veterans and a grant program to fulfill the wishes of severely injured service members and families of the fallen.

In 2019, the most recent data available on the website, Hope for the Warriors served 4,756 clients, and brought their scholarship total to over $400,000 and their Warrior’s Wish grant total to over $1 million.

If you or someone you know can benefit by getting connected to any of these services, apply at this link. If you’d like to support Hope for the Warriors there are many ways to do so. Check this calendar for upcoming events in your area, volunteer your time, donate your money and amplify their work on social media. Follow Hope for the Warriors on their Facebook page and on Instagram @hope4warriors.


Friday, November 3, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Eyes in the Sky Revisited

Today I’m revisiting a post from 10 years ago in honor of a friend who recently passed away. She was a longtime volunteer at Eyes in the Sky in Santa Barbara so it’s time to take another look at this organization.

Since the year 2000, Eyes in the Sky (EITS) has been the key wildlife education program of the Santa Barbara Audubon Society and it is still the only licensed raptor education program in Santa Barbara County.

EITS is home to seven rescued and rehabilitated birds of prey who serve as wildlife education ambassadors. There are three owls, two kestrels, a falcon and a hawk. While the birds are housed in the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the majority of the EITS programs take place off site in “public elementary schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, and after school programs.” They include classroom visits from the birds, neighborhood bird walks and art sessions where you can draw, paint or photograph the birds.

If you live in Santa Barbara and want to get involved with Eyes in the Sky you can visit or volunteer. The rest of us can show our support by making a donation and spreading the word on social media. Like the Santa Barbara Audubon Society Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @sbaudubon.

Teresa and Ivan
If you do donate, I would appreciate if you can mark your donation “in memory of Teresa Fanucchi”. Thank you.