Friday, May 31, 2024

Feel Good Friday - Ratical Rodent Rescue

Today’s post is a bit of a rodent offset for me. Having to address some unwanted visitors in my home, I’m counterbalancing that by highlighting an organization that supports small rodents, Ratical Rodent Rescue.

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Vallejo, California, the mission of Ratical Rodent Rescue (RRR) is "to improve the lives of domestic rodents and other small animals through education, rescue, and rehabilitation.”

The types of animals RRR works with includes rats, mice, guinea pigs, chinchillas and any other small rodents who need rescuing. According to this article, in 2022 RRR had 150 guinea pigs that people purchased during the height of COVID and turned in after realizing they could no longer provide adequate care for them.

While RRR provides housing and sanctuary for these animals, their goal is to find them forever homes. The adoption process is both simple and serious. You must sign a contract confirming that you will provide safe, suitable housing and food for the animal as well as humane treatment and veterinary care. RRR provides care guides to help you provide the best environment for your new friend.

If you’re concerned that having a pet will affect your ability to travel, fear not. RRR offers boarding services at a reasonable fee and if your pet stays longer than 3 days, they’ll receive complimentary grooming.

Interested in supporting the work of Ratical Rodent Rescue? As always, there are many ways to do so. People living in the San Francisco Bay Area can sign up to volunteer at RRR. You can also foster or adopt an animal and provide them with a happy home. No matter where you live, you can show your rodent love by buying and wearing some merch, making a donation and spreading the word on social media. Follow Ratical Rodent Rescue on Facebook and Instagram.


Friday, May 24, 2024

Feel Good Friday - Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation

Monday is Memorial Day in the United States, a holiday to honor U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. That’s why today’s Feel Good Friday organization is Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.

Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Virginia, the mission of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation (Fallen Patriots) is “to provide college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.”

As they explain on their website, “approximately 25,000 children have lost an active-duty parent in the military over the last 35 years. 97% of casualties are men, leaving behind single mothers to care for their families. Of those families, 60% report having trouble making ends meet.” 

This is where Fallen Patriots comes in. Their vision is to ensure these children receive all necessary college funding. They provide scholarships that fill the gap between benefits offered by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, other grants, and the total cost of college.

Fallen Patriots supports Gold Star families in all 51 states and territories, in all branches of the military. Scholarships include, but are not limited to room and board, tutoring, summer courses, study abroad courses, living expenses, books, and a one-time $1000 computer stipend. On average, students are eligible for up to $6,250 in scholarship assistance per academic year. If you know a student who would be eligible for one of these scholarships, they can fill out this enrollment form.

Since they began, Fallen Patriots has provided more than $75 million in support to over 3,200 students. This interactive map of graduates shows how widespread their impact has been and you can hear from the graduates themselves in this 2-minute video. Their website also has resources for scholars and a job board to help new graduates find work.

If you want help Fallen Patriots ensure that every child of a fallen patriot receives the funding they need to attend college, there are many ways you can support the mission. Shop for merch, donate your money and spread the world on social media. Follow Fallen Patriots on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Feel Good Friday - Insight Garden Program

Spring is in the air, what a great time to learn about Insight Garden Program, an organization that teaches gardening skills to people in prison. 

Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Berkeley, California, Insight Garden Program (IGP) began as a collaboration with the Insight Prison Project at San Quentin State Prison. Their mission is “to facilitate an innovative curriculum combined with vocational gardening and landscaping training so that people in prison can reconnect to self, community, and the natural world.”

IGP knows in-prison programming and reentry support are crucial to help people in prison reintegrate into society and prevent recidivism. They take a restorative, collaborative and participatory-centered approach to their curriculum. The “inner gardener” classes use tools such as meditation and emotional process work, while the “outer gardening” classes teach people the basics of organic gardening and ecological systems. This combination is transformational for people in the program. In this 9-minute video program participants in San Quentin are interviewed about their experience. One man asks himself, “If this rose can grow in these harsh conditions, why can’t I?”.

Part of the success of IGP depends on partnering with like-minded non-profit organizations as well as other correctional facilities or state correctional systems interested in programs that end ongoing cycles of incarceration. IGP works with these partners to train new facilitators to provide weekly classes as well as providing ongoing technical assistance. Since the first program in San Quentin, IGP has expanded and now operates in eleven prisons across California serving men, women and youth.

The impact of all this gardening has been a recidivism rate of less than 10% for program participants, which IGP estimates has saved $40 million for the state of California and its taxpayers.

If you’d like to support Insight Garden Program and their work to help people in prison reconnect to self, community, and the natural world, there are many ways to do so. Volunteer your time, donate your money and help more people find out about this program. Follow IGP on Facebook and Instagram and amplify their message on social media.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Feel Good Friday - Mother to Mother

You’ve likely already figured out today’s Feel Good Friday post is inspired by the fact that Mother’s Day in the United States is this Sunday. What a great time to take a closer look at Mother to Mother.

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the mission of Mother to Mother is “connecting those in a position to help financially with the case workers and healthcare professionals who see firsthand the enormous needs of struggling mothers and children.”

There are hundreds of thousands of low-income mothers in Tennessee, and living in poverty makes accessing basic care and supplies financially impossible. Mother to Mother works with over 100 community partner agencies such as hospitals, domestic violence centers, homeless shelters, and public schools. They are active in 35 of the 95 counties across Tennessee.

Initial work focused on providing three basic essentials that often slip through the cracks of government subsidies and charitable support: diapers, car seats and cribs. Now Mother to Mother also provides families in need with clothing, strollers, toys, books, and other essentials. They accept donations of gently used supplies because that means valuable and needed items stay out of the landfill and go into the hands of children and mothers helping them to live a healthy and safe lifestyle. Watch this 2-minute news story from 2023 to learn more.

Since they began almost 20 years ago, Mother to Mother has provided supplies that helped 386,944 babies have a safer, healthier life. That includes 4.1 million diapers, 7,264 car seats, and 8,832 cribs and Pack n’ Plays to provide a safe place to sleep. Scroll to the bottom of this page to read stories of mothers who benefitted from a donation of supplies or get details from the latest impact report.

If you’re interested in celebrating Mother’s Day by helping Mother to Mother, there are many ways to do so. Make a donation of money or supplies, volunteer your time or amplify their message on social media. Like the Mother to Mother Facebook page and follow on them Instagram.


Friday, May 3, 2024

Feel Good Friday - Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas

Feliz Viernes! Cinco de Mayo is on Sunday and many organizations are planning events commemorating Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, including the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas. 

Founded in 1999, the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas (HOWA) is headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas. Their mission is “to advance educational opportunities for Hispanic women and their families, to celebrate and teach others about our cultures, and to become active participants in the community.”

Let’s start with the programs HOWA offers. The GEM Program (Guiding, Empowering, and Mentoring) provides language minority residents with educational programs and support systems to help them reach their full potential. Current offerings include free, weekly parenting classes and computer classes. 

The RAD Program, (Reaching for the American Dream) encourages civic engagement by “promoting naturalization assistance, registering voters, and updating political and election year information at the local, state, and federal level.” Citizenship clinics and voter registration information are parts of this program.

In addition, since the year 2000, the HOWA Scholarship Program has awarded 588 scholarships to deserving Latino students, enabling them to pursue higher education. You can see the 23 scholarship recipients from 2023 on the impact page.

Now on to the Cinco de Mayo event! Taking place on Saturday May 4th this year, the event commemorates the Battle of Puebla and brings the community together to enjoy live music and delicious food, and to learn about and embrace each others cultures while supporting a good cause. All proceeds from the event benefit the HWOA Scholarship Program. This is a great exemplification of the HOWA motto of "Celebrating Education, Culture, and Community.”

If you’d like celebrate Cinco de Mayo by supporting the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas there are many ways to do so. Volunteer your time, donate your money and share the love on social media. Follow HOWA on Facebook and Instagram.