Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 151

Back to making PBJ sandwiches at Kashi Atlanta today. There were so many volunteers there this evening - we made 300 sandwiches in 30mins! Conversations went from introductions, to jobs, to blind dates.

A good evening of volunteering :)

Trying out a new place tomorrow...a little nervous, but really looking forward to it

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 150

Woke up bright and early this morning to go volunteer with my family. My dad, little brother (Jiten aka Kid) and I helped out at Open Hand by delivering meals to those who can't make meals for themselves. Kid drove, dad gave us directions, and I took the meals out. We had a great system and were able to get all our meals delivered in an hour and 30minutes!

150 days in and it's clear that I love doing this! But having my family come out to volunteer with me made it so much more meaningful - thanks dad and Kid!!

Get involved, get your family and friends involved - priceless!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 149

It was a busy day at SafeHouse! There were so many conversations! All fun catch up conversations, and lots of laughing! There was a big group of volunteers there today so I got to stay outside and enjoy the company of some of the regular faces.

I ended my night there cleaning up the lot. One of the guys that comes by always cleans up with me; it's become routine for us to clean up together after everyone leaves. He's one of those people that does everything to the best of his ability. He doesn't just put away the chairs and take out the garbage. He goes up and down the block to pick up litter, he sweeps the entire parking lot, and then hoses down the garbage cans. And he doesn't expect anything back for doing all this!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 148

"In 2010 only 12% of 8th-grade African-American males were proficient in grade level math, compared to 44% of their Caucasian counterparts in the same grade. While both figures are well below where they should be, the difference according to race and socio-economics continues to baffle educators and social scientists. 

In response to this crisis, students from the City of Atlanta Centers of Hope have been gearing up for Neighborhood Mathematica with First in Math online math game modules. These modules have allowed students to make great use of their spare time while at the recreation centers or while at home.  Volunteer math coaches were also dispatched to the different centers to help students in their quest to sharpen skills." Read more here.

When a friend of ours invited us to volunteer with the Adamsville Recreational Center this afternoon, we weren't sure what to expect at the Neighborhood Mathematica Competition. What we found were several children ready to go to battle with each other over some Math Problems!

Christine, the host, and DJ K'leel had the kids dancing right off the bat, setting a fun and free-spirited tone to the competition.

The kids were engaged throughout the entire competition, and Kwanza was a wonderful host!

It's refreshing to see the community invest in programs such as this one, when heavy budget cuts are axing down educational programs within public schools.

We had a blast, and can't wait to return!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 147

I spent the evening at SafeHouse today. I started off catching up with one of the ladies. We had been talking about her getting off the streets and today she had some good news for me - she has moved into transitional housing! She made my day! I am so excited for her and am keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out for her.

I also caught up with my fellow volunteer. He helped out at the food and wine festival last weekend and had a great time. He's volunteering at the jazz festival this weekend - can't wait to hear about it!

I'm looking forward to going back on Sunday - there were a couple people I didn't get a chance to talk to. Hopefully see them then.

Meet Vancouver - one of the guys collects cans to recycle - Vancouver belongs to him

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 146

With the storms rolling through it was a day of volunteering from home. So we got a few friends and family members together to step up to a freerice challenge.

I sent out a message this morning asking people to play for as long as they could. I polished up on my French and donated 7000 grains of rice. After correctly answering 150 questions in a row, I think it's safe to say I've conquered French vocabulary. Here's how we did overall:

Chandni - 7000
Hema - 5040
Cynthia - 1600
Jiten - 2000
Jignesh - 12170
Chirag - 5530

Grand Total - 33340

Thank you all for helping out today. And if I missed anyone, let me know, I'll be glad to add you to the list!

Happy giving!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 145

I volunteered at SafeHouse today. The church that was going to serve the meal canceled but one of the SafeHouse guys saved the day with lasagna and chicken with stuffing. He cooked enough for about 180 delicious meals! He's definitely got skills!!

We served till we ran out and had to start turning people away. But a SafeHouse friend dropped by just in time with hotdogs, bagels and muffins. So a couple of us made up some plates of food real quick and started serving that. It was a busy day in the kitchen but we did the best we could with what we had, so hopefully not too many people went without food today.

I also wanted to share something Dona sent me today - check out the link:
There's always ways to make a difference in the world, we just have to put some thought into it. GM is really making a difference!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 144

Man, we're over a 1/3 of the way through!

It's going to be one of those days where we stay home and explore our ONLINE options to give back! So I can watch the bulls game, and Chandni doesn't pass out from exhaustion!

Thank goodness for Care2.com - they make it SO easy.

So far I've:

- Helped sponsor 1 child in need today.
(how your click helps Children International
Your free click generates donations from our sponsors. You may click once a day, every day. 100% of the donations raised go directly to Children International to help children and families overcome poverty through child sponsorship.)

- saved 7.4 sq. ft. of rainforest today.(how your click helps The Nature Conservancy
(Your free click generates donations from our sponsors. You may click once a day, every day. 100% of the donations raised go directly to The Nature Conservancy, which has protected over 119 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide since its founding in 1951)
- protected 11,000 sq. ft. of big cat habitat today.
(Your free click generates donations from our sponsors. You may click once a day, every day. 100% of the donations raised go directly to the Wildlife Conservation Society to protect vanishing habitat for endangered big cats.)
- just supported life saving research today.
(Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the global leader of the breast cancer movement, has invested more than $1 billion since inception in 1982 and is working to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cure for breast cancer)
- helped a shelter pet today.
(Your free click generates donations from our sponsors. You may click once a day, every day. 100% of the donations raised go directly to The HSUS, which advocates for local humane societies and operates its own network of animal sanctuaries, providing care and homes to more animals than any other national animal protection organization in the United States.)
- helped protect baby seals today.
(Your free click generates donations from our sponsors. You may click once a day, every day. 100% of the donations raised go directly to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Your clicks make it possible for IFAW seal hunt observers to continue documenting the cruelty of the hunt, and to keep fighting to ensure we pass historic legislation to ban seal products and end the hunt worldwide.)
- protected 100 sq. ft. of ocean today.
(Your free click generates donations from our sponsors. You may click once a day, every day. 100% of the donations raised go directly to Oceana to save our oceans through policy, advocacy and research. Oceana's scientists, lawyers and advocates work around the world to protect corals, make seafood safe, save sea turtles and more!)
- fed a rescued primate today.
(Your free click generates donations from our sponsors. You may click once a day, every day. 100% of the donations raised go directly to the Jane Goodall Institute, which runs sanctuaries in Africa where orphaned chimpanzees can be cared for and given the chance to live reasonably full lives in spacious conditions. Your click helps JGI feed these rescued primates.)
- offset your computer's energy use today.
(Your free click generates donations from our sponsors. You may click once a day, every day. 100% of the donations raised go directly to Carbonfund.org, which supports renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects globally that reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the threat of climate change.)
- helped provide justice for women worldwide today.
(Your free click generates donations from our sponsors. You may click once a day, every day. 100% of the donations raised go directly to Amnesty International to end the systematic violation of women's basic human rights.)
- helped adopt and protect threatened wolves today.
(Your free click generates donations from our sponsors. You may click once a day, every day. 100% of the donations raised go directly to Defenders of Wildlife to help stop aerial hunting of wolves, continue efforts to expand wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies, and more.)

I like the Care2 website, it's a little hippi like! But we are hippie like! Otherwise we wouldn't all be here!

Happy Volunteering everyone! It's SOOOOO Easy. JUST DO IT!
(and go bulls)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 143

While at SafeHouse today I came across a gentleman who was having a tough day. I decided to sit with him all evening and just listen. He talked to me about what was bothering him and said that each time he thought things were going right, something would go wrong. We applied that to his current work situation and talked about what he could do to overcome the barriers he was facing. He was hopeful that his plans would work out and it was encouraging to know that he was positive despite all the hardships he faced.

We all have those days when everything goes wrong and while he was having that day it reminded me that it's important to have hope for tomorrow!

And as I was socializing Dona did some virtual giving on care2.com - thank you!!

It's easy to give back, you just have to do it :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 142!

Hands down, my favorite day of volunteering thus far!

Chandni, Faisal, and I have been working for months to organize today's Hoops for Humanity - Basketball Tournament.

And it was an absolute SUCCESS!

The YMCA was an amazing location to host the event! Their courts were splendid, and after a little exploring of my own, I will say that the facility is breathtaking.

All six teams participating throughout the tournament played with a sense of integrity, and much heart! And although there was only ONE team to take home the trophy, every player on that court was phenomenal.

The championship game was played between a team of trash-talkers from Chicago (Bear's team), and a slightly younger team led by Woodward's finest (AJ's team).

The trophy was taken home by "THE JUICE"... And for everyone there who can't tie that name to a team... Yes, it was the squad of red that was lined up against the wall at the basketball court.

Congratulations, AJ and "THE JUICE" on a fabulous and well-deserved win. #7, I don't remember your name... but you were AWESOME!

THANK YOU to EVERYONE that volunteered, played, donated their time and efforts to support Safehouse Outreach and Project 365. We're humbled by your generosity and encouragement, and we appreciate YOU ALL!

Proceeds from Hoops for Humanity will be going to SHO (www.safehouseoutreach.org)

I cannot WAIT to do this again... And we will!

Have a good night everyone!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 141

I stopped at SafeHouse for a little while this evening. The kids were back today and were playing ball, chasing pigeons, and having a lot of fun. One of the little girls came up to me to show me her awards from school - she was so excited! And everyone was excited for her. You sometimes get a strong sense of family from the people there, and today it was evident. Everyone gave her hugs and told her how proud they are of her. Some even told her that they knew she would always be a straight A student.

It was refreshing seeing that today. Relationships are important to ALL of us and the bonds of family cannot be denied.

Happy giving!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 140

So I made it back to SHO tonight, after a very long time!

It'd been a long day at work, but being at SHO tonight certaily made my day better!

There were kids out today! Cute, cute kids!! I finally met Chandni's 2 year old buddy, and hung out with two others.

I think I spent a large part of the evening with them... playing, talking, and listening to them.

We had the luxury of a simple, carefree childhood. At 28 years old, I STILL have my impulsive and carefree moments. In listening to these and 6 year old BABIES, it's obvious that they're exposed to the harsher realities those living in the margins of society deal with. Like police brutality, poverty, and drugs.

Safehouse outreach works to keep kids young and preserve their childhood! And I love it!

i can't wait to go back tomorrow with the rest of the CREW!

~ Dona

I got to see my 2 year old buddy!! He ran up to me and gave me a hug. It made my day that he remembered me :) I also spent time talking to a lot of familiar faces. One gentleman told me about his business - collecting cans to recycle. He then talked to me about looking at life as an adventure, and that each day he goes out to look for cans he has an adventure, because he never knows where he will end up. We had a good time chatting, he is definitely one of those people who has a very positive attitude! Looking forward to more conversations with him. ~ Chandni

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 139

Back to SafeHouse!!!! And it was just what I needed :)

As usual, hung out on the lot and chatted to all the familiar faces. I had been helping a gentleman get in contact with an old friend of his. All we had to go off of was a name and state. Well today we finally found him! I looked the name up on my phone, and gave him the phone number. He called right away and it was exactly who he was looking for! It made my day! He said to me "I didn't even know if he was still alive". The expression on his face, the smile - priceless!

I got to meet someone new today as well. He lost his job a couple of years ago and walked away from an unhappy relationship. He told me that he took to the streets to find himself because he couldn't figure out what he wanted from life. He is still figuring that out. But he also says he's content with life right now. He talked to me about life on the streets and your way of thinking about it...that there are resources (showers, food, train/bus passes) for people who are homeless available in the city, you just have to know about them and how to get them.

Great evening there, fun conversations, looking forward to going back tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 138

I'm exhausted! But still keeping up with the giving for today, and now that I'm doing it I'm actually able to focus on today's sparked challenges.

The first challenge for today was helping revamp an organization's website. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is an educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and active stewardship of the outdoors by all people, worldwide.Their website has a lot go great information on how to enjoy the outdoors while still preserving it - look them up!

The second challenge was for the Blue Frontier campaign. I've helped out with their challenge before. It's a data entry challenge to update their directory on marine conservation organizations. I helped finish off another page for them.  

Looking for an opportunity to give back and make a difference from the comfort of your home (or bed)? Sparked makes it really easy to volunteer online! Check them out!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 137

It's been a tough day, but I spent some time on freerice to give back while distracting myself. I broke away from English vocabulary to try out chemical symbols. I did rather well :)

I completed the entire list of basic symbols and donated 3000 grains of rice. I then moved on to the "full list" and came across elements I'd never even heard of before...meitnerium, seaborgium, thulium, neodymium, ruthenium, yttrium to name a few...I was able to guess some of them, but defs need more practice here.

I donated a total of 4000 grains of rice today.

Try out a subject you're not familiar with, donate, and learn - happy giving!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 136

I'm on the road again and starting my week of virtual giving with Amnesty International.

The first thing I saw on the site today was a Featured Action to stop the execution of Troy Davis. This is a case based right here in Georgia. Troy Davis has faced execution three times for a crime he may not have committed. In an unprecedented evidentiary hearing held in a federal district court in Savannah in June, 2010, he was able to present evidence supporting his innocence claim. However, the standard for proving his innocence was “extraordinarily high”, especially given the lack of physical and scientific evidence in his case. The federal judge ruled that he did not meet the high standard, despite the fact that doubts about his guilt remain unresolved. Seven of the nine witnesses in this case have changed their story and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime.  No one should be executed, especially when there are so many doubts about guilt!

The next case I read through was horrific and disgusting. It was a call for action to investigate torture and forced 'virginity testing' on Egyptian women! After army officers violently cleared Tahrir square of protesters on March 9, 2011, at least 18 women were rounded up in military detention. The protesters told Amnesty International that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to ‘virginity checks’ and threatened with prostitution charges. Forcing women to have ‘virginity tests’ is utterly unacceptable. Its purpose is to degrade women because they are women!

The last one for today was regarding the disappearance of Arjun Lama. During Nepal’s civil war (1996-2006) over 1,300 people “disappeared” at the hands of both the government security forces and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Despite promises by political parties as part of the peace process, little progress has been made in determining the truth, delivering justice, or providing reparations to the families of the missing. To date not one person has been prosecuted in a civilian court for human rights abuses committed during the conflict. After years of campaigning, Arjun Lama’s family still does not know the truth of what happened to him after his abduction in April 2005. A Supreme Court ruling in 2008 ordered the Kavre police to register a murder case against 6 Maoists, but all of the accused remain free. The disappearance of Arjun Lama should be investigated promptly and thoroughly. Those found to be implicated should be arrested, and presented before a civilian court for trial. Despite many cases of disappearances being registered with the Nepal Police, police officers have often failed to actively pursue investigations. Imagine not knowing the whereabouts of your loved ones for years!

Get involved. Make a difference.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 135

Random evening at SafeHouse...there wasn't a big crowd today, probably because of the weather. But I did get to hang out with a lot of different people. Of course, there were the familiar faces, the catch up conversations (between yesterday and today :) ), the complaints about the weather (all me), and then the questions about what was being served for dinner.

I met some new people - a few were people I had seen here before, just hadn't got around to meeting yet. One gentleman in particular stands out...he walked by and said "kemcho" (how are you in Gujarati). We then got into a long discussion about the world, the universe, and all the religions being one. He went on to tell me that he could speak several languages but that he had never really studied them, and that this was possible because everything centered around "the one" (made me think of Jung's collective unconscious). Interesting conversation!  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 134

Continuing on with my SafeHouse run (since I won't be able to go this coming week, again!), I spent some time this evening talking with one of the ladies who comes by. I hadn't seen her there all week so it was catch up time. She told me she was trying to get into an apartment and is hoping that will happen in the next 2-3weeks...keeping my fingers crossed for her :)

We also talked about different programs in the city and the ways in which they help the homeless. She shared that she thought some of these programs enabled the homeless instead of empowering them. We talked about what an ideal program would be, and how communities can help homeless people get off the streets. The recurring theme from what she was saying: a lot of follow up. She talked to me about people taking advantage of the system and breaking the rules, which then messes up the program for those who are really trying to get their lives together. She had an interesting point of view, hoping to hear more from her soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 133

I had some good conversations at SafeHouse this evening. And saw some faces I hadn't seen in a while - that made my day!

I met someone new today. He sat down next to me, introduced himself, and asked the usual questions about me - where am I from? am I Indian? We got to birthdays - his is on February 29th (he showed me his ID just in case I didn't believe him). I asked how he ended up on the streets. His response - "I don't like commitment".

He went on to explain that it wasn't just commitment to a person, but also to places, and to jobs. He is the kind of person who likes to constantly move around and gets tired of the same scene. He talked to me about all the different places he has lived in; he's been in Atlanta a few years and has the next city he wants to move to already picked out. He acknowledged that being homeless meant he could move around whenever he wanted to...there were no responsibilities holding him down - a part of me envies that. When he left for the night he said good-bye, because he didn't think we'd see each other again, and thanked me for talking to him.

Day 132

Raksha and I went to SafeHouse this evening, here's her insight on the evening:

It’s funny how inspiration and advice come to me… And it’s always in random moments, from the most unexpected people.

Tonight, I met a business man, who poured his heart and soul into an amazingly creative business and truly inspired me.
He started his business with nothing, less than nothing even… but he had a vision, the passion, and was committed to his dream. 
Although he had no resources, he worked diligently to know everything about his product and market.

With all the resources and networks we have and take for granted, we accomplish so little of what we really can. With dedication and the right mindset, ANYONE can do ANYTHING!

Tonight a client at SHO proved it to me!

I love Safehouse! It’s always a source of inspiration and always keeps me motivated to give back and give more!

Happy volunteering!!!

LOVE ~ Raksha

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 131

It was a night of unwinding for us tonight!

Friends Of SafeHouse Outreach (FO SHO ... remember this, because we're going to be inviting you every month) met for the monthly 11 for 11 fundraiser at the Sky lounge at the Glenn Hotel!

Tonight's the first night I acknowledged Atlanta's skyline! And Chandni's picture will explain exactly why!
Kenny, Jiten, and Chandni started their nights off with mojito's! While I remained responsible and drank water. We ran into the regular 11 for 11 crew, and saw quite a few new faces! Robert worked tirelessly the entire night to setup his laptop to where he could recruit more people to donate for the 11 for 11 cause.

We mingled, we relaxed, and between the perfect summer weather, the drinks, and the comfy couches ... I almost fell asleep!
But Robert disrupted all that with a little MJ and his MJ moves!

So for those of you who haven't joined us for one of these 11 for 11 events yet, you're missin' out on some serious entertainment.
Rumor has it that we'll be up on the rooftop again the following month!

I hope we can see more of you there!

Good night!!!

The view!!

Great company :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 130

I went to Kashi this evening to help out. Smaller crowd, but good conversation with a fellow volunteer while making PBJ sandwiches. We talked about our weekends and the different things we did. He told me about a place close by, Lake Claire Community Land Trust, that had a music festival of sorts.

So after volunteering we checked it out. It's a a neighborhood that has community gardens, farms, a lake, a place to hang out, things for kids to do, and a great view of the city skyline. They also hold events every couple of weeks. It's a really neat spot and definitely a community that is very environmentally friendly! The Land Trust was created entirely by volunteers and they have on going volunteer opportunities. Definitely one I hope to check out soon!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 129

SafeHouse was busy today! There were a lot of new faces, which means more people to get to know :)
But I hung out with a familiar face for most of my time there today. He had gone out of town to visit family for two weeks and today was his first day back, so there was lots to catch up on. We talked about his vacation, his family, and about mistakes. He told me he had made a mistake and while there was no way to go back in time and fix it, he could admit his mistake and show, through his actions, how sorry he was. 

I also spent some time talking to another familiar face. He was at SafeHouse yesterday and wanted to chat as I was leaving. So today I made sure to talk with him. We talked mostly about relationships and the difference between wanting to care for someone and wanting to control someone. We also talked about the things he wanted to change in his life and the steps he would have to take to make those changes. He's a good person and I hope he reaches his goal.

Lots of talk time today, looking forward to my next visit :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 128

Happy Mother's day! The group at SafeHouse brought flowers for all the mums this evening - they were all surprised and touched. It was great watching as some of the kids handed flowers to their mums and the rest of the ladies there.

I was only there for a little while today and stayed outside talking to people the whole time :)
I spoke with one of the guys who volunteers around the city - we talked about work, relationships, and faith. He had some good news to share with me related to work, keeping my fingers crossed that it works out.

I also talked to one of the guys who had a (for lack of a better word) "normal" experience yesterday. It was amazing listening to him tell me about his day because he was so appreciative of things we take for granted. The smile on his face was priceless! Hoping he has more days like that...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 127

Finally made it back to SafeHouse! And had an amazing evening there - as always!

I spent some time in the kitchen this evening, helping today's group get started. They are an awesome group, they really make you feel like a part of their group, and they have so much fun while getting the meal ready.

I also spent time outside - of course! Had some great conversations and an opportunity to hear one of the SafeHouse guys play the drums. The gentleman who told me he was going to donate his hair to Locks of Love was there and he got his hair cut and donated it Thursday! Proof that no matter what your situation, there's always a way to give back! He inspires me to keep giving back and for that, I am grateful.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 126

Money, leadership, time, labor, things...

When non-profit organizations list their needs, they generally fall into one of those categories up there.

Chandni's proven that it's possible for the average being to donate their time, efforts, and money in a manner that will still fit your lifestyle while continuing to make an impact.

It's SACRIFICE. And it doesn't have to be painful, or a grand gesture.

Today, I made a HUGE sacrifice... or a lengthy one at least.. hehe.

Raksha had planned for us to head over to Aveda so she could get highlights, so I decided to tag along... ENOUGH SAID.

Lubna was originally supposed to tag along and had an appointment made, and Raksha convinced me to take it.. to at least get a trim, or do something with my hair..

Well, they did something with my hair alright!

Today, I donated 10 inches of my hair to Locks of Love.

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. They meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses provided help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

I feel good! I could've sold it to make some really nice tracks for someone's weave. For those of you who do not know, watch Chris Rock's, "Good Hair"... but I donated to a great organization and it's for a good cause!

So ladies, thinking about chopping off your hair? Keep Locks of Love in mind!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 125

Back to sparked.com

I went back to help the Blue Frontier Campaign on their directory of marine conservation groups. I helped verify just over 20 more organizations. I also saw that other volunteers have helped but they still have a lot more to do! So if you feel like helping their organization, definitely check them out!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 124

Exhausted! But making a difference using sparked.com. I enjoyed this opportunity the last time I used it, so gave it another shot and, again, found a fun project.

This time I just focused on one lengthy project involving data entry.

The Blue Frontier Campaign emphasizes marine grassroots (‘Seaweed’) organizing to bring the voice of citizen activists into regional, national and international decision-making that impact our seas, and increase public awareness of the challenges and solutions to threats facing our living ocean from the cascading effects of industrial over-fishing, pollution, coastal sprawl, and climate change.

They have a directory of marine conservation groups in the US which needs to be updated. There are about 1600 organizations in this directory and volunteers are needed to go through and make sure the contact information for each is still current.

I was the first to respond to this challenge and got 14 done...there's still a lot more to do!! So I will be helping them out again tomorrow and hope that some of you will be able to as well  :)

Here's the link to this specific challenge: http://www.sparked.com/ask/Help-us-research-like-minded-organizations-4

Have fun!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 123

Its been one of those never-ending work days which is why I appreciate sites like care2! I visited the click to donate page and helped with: children in need, saving the rainforest, saving big cat habitat, helping to cure breast cancer, helping feed pets in need, defending baby seals, rescuing ocean wildlife, feeding rescued primates, stopping global warming, helping to stop violence against women, and protecting threatened wolves.

I also visited the daily action page and took action to save sharks in Palau, put an end to experimentation on animals, and stop the dangerous sale of exotic pets in Ohio.

It takes just a few minutes! Do it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day 122

Still out of town with nowhere to volunteer (if you know of anything in Milledgeville, let me know!!) so I'm starting my week of virtual volunteering. It's been a while since I wrote some letters so I spent this evening on Amnesty International writing letters for human rights. 

The first was for Egypt. Amnesty International believes accountability for past security force abuses and reparations for the victims are necessary for bringing needed reform in Egypt. To achieve this, the Egyptian government must end the state of emergency, conduct a public and impartial investigation of past abuses and ensure those responsible are identified.

The next was a plea to our government to stop Haiti deportations during the humanitarian crisis there. The US continues to deport Haitians in the US to Haiti, including those with serious medical conditions, often under deadly circumstances. In January, a 34-year-old man died 9 days after being deported to Haiti where – during a cholera epidemic – he sat in a police cell covered with feces and vomit without clean water or food.

Another was to ask Sec. Clinton to put human rights at the heart of US Millennium Development Goals Policy. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the most prominent global anti-poverty initiative ever undertaken. While some progress is being made, too many are being left behind. Meeting the target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75% by 2015 (MDG 5) would require a 5.5% annual reduction since 1990, and the world has seen only 2.3% annual improvement. A woman still dies from complications of pregnancy or childbirth every 90 seconds. And troublingly, many populations—like the poorest of the poor, minorities and rural women—are being left behind. Peru, for example, has seen a 61% drop in maternal mortality between 1990 and 2008—but poor and Indigenous women remain at much greater risk.

The last one for this evening was to Senate Representatives asking them to empower Katrina survivors during the BP oil spill clean up by giving them a strong voice in the recovery process. It is proposed that legislation is passed to establish a Gulf of Mexico Independent Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council to guide cleanup and rebuilding efforts and to ensure that the impact of future drilling projects on coastal communities is taken into account. 

That's all for today. Hope you all have the opportunity to make a difference today!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day 121

Before leaving town this evening I stopped at SafeHouse for a few hours. It felt like I hadn't been there in a while (even though I was there for an hour Friday!) so I hung out on the lot and caught up with some of the guys and met some new people.

It was a busy Sunday and there were lots of conversations to be had. I hung out with one of the ladies, just catching up on our weekends; I talked with the gentleman who's shy for a while and he talked to me a little more today; I spoke with a gentleman from Salvador about life in Atlanta; I spoke to the stock market gentleman about his vision of transitioning people who are homeless; I spoke to someone else about donating his hair (when he cuts it) to Locks of Love - it was awesome! Of course, there were the regular hello's to familiar faces while helping clean up the lot.

Looking forward to my next visit there :)