Monday, March 17, 2014

Just Cause (Part 2)

Sometimes, things happen, like not having the internet at home. But now, a day late, we have a continuation of 40 Days of Worthy Causes. I'll be highlighting a cause a day for each day of Lent. I hope you'll find some of them worth looking into, even supporting — and I hope you'll tell me what some of your favorites are, too, in the comments.

Day 5: Green Mountain Crossroads. GMC is an LGBTQ community organization for southeastern Vermont, southwestern New Hampshire, and northwestern Massachusetts. It was founded by a couple of people who are simultaneously really incredibly lovely and very very dedicated to their community. From the Facebook page: "Green Mountain Crossroads is a nonprofit organization working to increase the connections among the LGBTQ communities. We maintain a community events calendar on our website, and assist in organizing events, workshops, performances, and support groups. Our website also provides resources and referrals for health and well being."

Day 6: Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund. I have a friend who's on the board of this organization (they have 16 days left to raise $10,000 on their indiegogo campaign, if you're into that), but I also just love the idea of supporting student activists, specifically. From their "about the fund" page: "The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund provides grants to students actively working for peace and justice. These need-based scholarships are awarded to those able to do academic work at the university level and who are part of the progressive movement on the campus and in the community. Early recipients worked for civil rights, against McCarthyism, and for peace in Vietnam. Recent grantees have been active in the struggle against racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression; building the movement for economic justice; and creating peace through international anti-imperialist solidarity."

Day 7: Justice in the Body. I got to know this organization (and one of its founders) when I crashed on its floor (organization, not founder) about a year ago. If you're in the Portland area, check it out — I find myself frequently wishing it was closer, or actually just more widespread. They're doing great work in so many seemingly disparate but widely varied ways. From their "About JITB" section: "Justice in the Body is a socially responsible education, training, and movement center devoted to integrating well-being, love, justice, and liberation with individuals, groups, and social movements." The founder I met had a practice of asking people who asked about JITB: "What would justice in your body look like?" I've been carrying that question around for a year now.

Day 8: Academy of Hope. My first job out of college was teaching adult ed at AoH, and that experience was totally formative in so many ways. It changed how I thought about teaching, and learning, and privilege, while I was at the same time living in a group house that was changing how I thought about faith and community. Big year. When I moved back to DC a few years later, I volunteered, and am proud to have also participated in their adult spelling bee, which is among the best fundraisers I've participated in. From the "Mission and Values" page: "Academy of Hope's mission is to provide high quality adult basic education in a manner that changes lives and improves our community. ... Since its beginning in 1985, the Academy of Hope has been powered by adult learners, volunteers, donors and staff who are dedicated to building one of the most respected not-for-profit organizations in the Washington, D.C., area."

Day 9: You Gotta Believe. An old friend is adopting a 19-year-old young man through this organization. I can't think of any reason why most of you would know that the adoption (or fostering) of older youth is, like, A Thing for me, but it is. From their mission: "You Gotta Believe is one of a precious few organizations in the U.S and the only organization in the New York City Metro area that solely limits its practice to finding permanent parents and families for young adults, teens, and pre-teens in the foster care system. We were founded with a mission to find adoptive parents for pre-teens, teens and young adults before they age out of the foster care system and run the extremely high risk of becoming homeless."

Day 10: Yes!And Collaborative Arts. Did you know that March is Youth Art Month? Neither did I. But I do know that having artistic outlets, early, made me comfortable in many of the things I am today: weird, silly, a gifted problem-solver... Those outlets also gave me the friend who suggested this nonprofit to me. From the "About Y!A" page: "Yes! And... equips children and young people with the tools to be better learners, to believe in themselves and to realize their dreams through the work of creating collaboratively with peers and professional artists. As educators, we practice and teach a different way of interacting with kids, with each other and with the world. We believe that children learn best when they are given the opportunity to engage with one another, classroom content and their own ideas in the context of a safe, affirming and specific environment – this we call Tribe Centered Learning, a unique brand of Collaborative Arts Education."

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