Category Archives: BE. Events

A great day in the park

BE. Orlando members joined 50 other volunteers and the parks and recreation team with Seminole County (SERV) for a park cleanup on June 24th.  Teams of volunteers removed 17 bags of litter and trash, and approximately 60 bags of invasive plants (9 cubic yards of primrose willow, Caesarweed, alligatorweed, torpedo grass) from Red Bug Lake and from the edge of the park.

BE. volunteers canvassed the park for three hours, filling bags with trash and talking to the younger volunteers about the impact of trash – especially deadly shiny items like confetti, Mylar balloons, and tin foil.

Our youngest volunteer, a 3rd grader, said this was her second time volunteering. When asked what she learned from the project she said, “I learned not to litter.”

Our gratitude to the SERV program leaders!  SERV stands for Seminole Education, Restoration, and Volunteer program.  They lead citizens in projects where we learn about environmental impacts and are then empowered to work together to make a difference.

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Seminole County SERV

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SERV photo album from this event

 

 

 

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Thank you, donors!

We are grateful to the donors who contributed 15 units of blood at Saturday’s blood drive and 97 books to support summer literacy initiatives!

IMG_20170603_1253255071 – BLOOD DRIVE

On Saturday, in partnership with Target (Oviedo) and OneBlood, we joined the Central Florida Freethought Community to host the first Pulse Remembrance blood drive in Central Florida; the 15 donors were the first to earn the STILL STRONG donor shirt.  We enjoyed  a great day making a difference with the CFFC and members and friends who came to support the efforts.  Fifteen units of blood collected will impact 45 lives in our community.

donor3Our blood drives to date have collected more than 182 units of blood, impacting 546 lives.

 

 

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2 – BOOK DRIVE

The event was also the final drop-off for our annual STEM-themed summer literacy book drive.   In support of local literacy initiatives of the Heart of Florida United Way and its partner agencies that focus on bridging the summer reading gap, we collect new science, technology, engineering, and math-related books, and books that highlight women and minorities in successful leadership roles, that will be given to youth as gifts.  The Central Florida Freethought Community joined the effort again this year.  With their help, we reached a total of 97 high-quality new books.

IMG_20170603_102219674This year’s collection included multiple copies of Women in Science, an autographed copy of Astronomy Saves The World from its author Daniel Batcheldor, Chasing Space, and many more fun and visually stunning books that will be sure to ignite the imagination of young readers.

Our next STEM-themed collection will be the holiday toy drive – BE part of it! Follow us at http://STEM4youth.wordpress.com.  We’re proud to be a part of STEM4Youth, a collaborative effort of local secular and Humanist organizations.  Initiatives include the summer book drive, holiday toy drive, and an annual Math, Science, & Pi(e) Fest.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Click here to become a member and RSVP:

  • Make a Difference in Under a Minute (sign online thank-you letter to a local university for their Humanist inclusion efforts)
  • Monthly meal serve in Sanford
  • Solutionary Festival & Peace Walk at Lake Eola
  • Park & Lake Cleanup event
  • Food donation sorting at Second Harvest
  • Living shoreline stabilization project at Canaveral National Seashore
  • Professional Development – free diversity workshop on faith in the workplace
  • Mattress recycling project at the Mustard Seed

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BE. Orlando Remembers Pulse

We are still heartbroken for the victims, families, and communities devastated by this act of violence.  Yet we are uplifted by the resilience and courage around us, and we’re proud to stand with our community, empowered to make a positive difference together.

The FIRST pulse remembrance blood drive of 2017 will be hosted tomorrow by BE. Orlando and the Central Florida Freethought Community. The #OrlandoUnited blood donor shirts will make their official debut tomorrow at Target in Oviedo, 10 am – 3 pm.

Rain or shine, the bloodmobile will be parked at the Target entrance; our tents will be there as well as long as weather allows. If you don’t find us outside, look for us inside at the snack area or at Customer Service.

Come donate blood with us tomorrow in honor of those impacted by the Pulse tragedy last year.

We will also be collecting new, STEM-themed books to support summer literacy initiatives in our community.  Help us support programs dedicated to the educational wellness of at-risk youth.

I hope to see you tomorrow.

Thank you for your commitment to our community.

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Remembering Pulse: Blood Drive, Book Drive, & More!

You’re invited to join us on June 3rd, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Target in Oviedo for our Pulse Anniversary Blood Drive event.

There are many unable to donate blood in support of their identity community; will you give a pint on their behalf? Blood donors of all types are needed to ensure adequate blood supply in our community for daily needs and to be prepared for unexpected emergencies.  One of the Pulse victims used 200 units of blood; help us make sure blood is available when it is needed.

Look for the Big Red Bus and our tents in the target parking lot, and if you can, please make an appointment to donate blood with us.

We will also be collecting new, STEM-themed books for middle and high-school students to support the Heart of Florida United Way’s summer literacy initiatives. Visit our book drive site for great book lists and other resources: http://stem4youth.wordpress.com/stem-book-drive.  Youth books in Spanish are needed as well to support the Latino/a Community in Central Florida.

And for our animal lover friends, we will be collecting cat food and cat litter to support an elderly man in our community who cares for two feral cat colonies (care includes TNR services, medical care, food, water, shelter, and copious love).

We hope you will support these efforts, but you don’t have to donate anything to stop by and say hello at our tents and meet members and leaders from the local secular community. Learn about what we do, take the opportunity to ask questions and have a great conversation, or find out how you can become more involved in the local secular and Humanist efforts.  See you there?


EVENT LINKS

Make An Appointment to Donate  |  Secular Community Blood Drives

FaceBook Event  | Flyer to Share  | RSVP with us on Meetup:  BE. Orlando or CFFC


We’re grateful to our partners, the Central Florida Freethought Community, the Humanist Community of the Space Coast (who think they can collect more book donations than we can – HA!), Target in Oviedo, and of course the dedicated, life-saving staff of OneBlood.

Remembering Pulse: Honoring victims and survivors

As Humanists, we seek the means to make a positive difference for others.  We respond to tragedy in our community by providing support, giving back, volunteering,  sharing a message of  – and demonstrating – inclusion, and working to provide fellow Humanists opportunities to be empowered to make a difference with us.

A week after the Pulse tragedy on 6/13/16, local secular and Humanist leaders joined in an effort to host a blood drive that honored our LGBTQ+, Latina/o, and Muslim members and friends.  Our efforts not only raised units to impact 80 lives in our community, but also provided healing empowerment for those who wanted to do something positive that would help others.

We have not forgotten our members or our community.  We’re looking forward to another heartwarming day spent working together to make a difference.  Will we see you there?

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A Mother’s Day Meal

For this month’s 2nd Wednesday Chef Team event, we wanted to share something special from our hearts to honor the residents at SafeHouse for Mother’s Day.  Volunteers enjoyed a wonderful evening preparing and sharing their mother’s or family’s favorite recipes.

Violence against women impacts mothers and their children in our community and around the globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1 in 3 (35%) women experience intimate partner or sexual violence in their lifetimes. Impacts include serious short- and long-term physical, mental, and behavioral health problems for survivors and for their children. [see Florida stats and US National stats]

WHO says that to  achieve lasting change, we must address discrimination against women; promote gender equality; support women; and help to move towards more peaceful cultural norms.

Reflection: What can you do in your daily actions and human connections to promote a culture of peace? How do you set an example of respect for the women in your life? What will you do today to make the world a better place – for women in general, or maybe for a woman in your life?

This Mother’s Day, let’s pledge intentional effort for lasting positive change for women in our own spheres of influence and those in our greater community.  Make a personal commitment to volunteer with or make a donation to SafeHouse of Seminole, or another organization that is working to support survivors and prevent intimate partner and sexual violence in our community.

We all work daily to expand our kindness footprint.  Thank you for all that you do to make the world we share a better place.

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National Day of Reason This Thursday

BE. Orlando believes in the right of every American to have and practice their faith or non-faith.  We promote respect for diversity and inclusion, and recognize the importance of efforts like the National Day of Reason (NDoR) that are working to ensure true religious liberty and end divisive religious practices.  We appreciate local organizations like the Central Florida Freethought Community for their vigilance and active engagement promoting the separation of church and state in Florida.  And we actively support the Secular and Religious Minority Awareness initiative at the University of Central Florida, promoting respect for individuals of all faiths and non-faith and educating about the challenges faced by minority faith identities in our culture.

The first Thursday of every May is designated the National Day of Reason. It exists to inspire the secular community to be visible and vocal – on this day and throughout the year – so that we can overcome exclusionary practices, bigotry, hatred, and discrimination normalized by the National Day of Prayer (which falls on the same day). It brings an inclusive secular worldview into the national conversation on a day when there is so much effort to force Christianity into our schools, workplaces, and  government.

In our diverse society, including everyone of all faith and non-faith perspectives is imperative.  NDoR celebrates freedom of all from governmental intrusion into private faith practices and works to reduce stigmatization of those of non-faith and minority faiths. NDoR seeks to include ALL people, regardless of faith or non-faith, in a day to celebrate reason and religious liberty.

We are grateful for the efforts of the American Humanist Association and other secular leaders and organizations that spearhead NDoR efforts, and for local leaders who are working toward an inclusive Central Florida.

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BE. Orlando Chef Team visits Ronald McDonald House

We celebrated Pay it Forward Day by making an Italian buffet for the residents of Ronald McDonald House.  We were touched by residents and employees taking the time to share their stories with us.  Every face we see throughout every day has an amazing and challenging story behind it; hearing about people’s journeys and glimpsing the courage with which people are facing extraordinary challenges drives home the importance of human connection, compassion, and investing the time to make a difference for others.

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Our group’s volunteer commitment to Ronald McDonald House goes back to 2013-14 when a friend of our organization stayed at a RMH during her teenage daughter’s battle with Severe Aplastic Anemia and a bone marrow transplant.  We held multiple blood drives in her honor and, having learned about the impact RMH has, added hosting lunches or dinners at RMH as an intentional part of our annual service commitment.

This time we prepared bruschetta, salads, vegan sprout-stuffed sweet peppers, bread-dipping platter, smoked tuna dip & crackers, steamed veggies, shredded rotisserie chicken, tomato basil Gnocchi, Alfredo mushroom casserole,  spinach-mushroom tomato sauce, two kinds of pasta, and beautiful dessert cakes from the Publix bakery.

morelightphotoThe little things people do that brighten the day or lighten the burden of another are important.  A colleague told me a story recently about how a friend of his was experiencing overwhelming challenges that were so heavy she wondered how she could go on.  A moment of kind human connection and a smile from a stranger gave her hope, and shifted her focus allowing her see some light. Each act of kindness we give to others is important.   William James said, “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It Does.”  Everything you do (and don’t do) has an impact; you have to choose whether that impact will be positive.

What kindness will you invest in the world today?

SPONSORS

BE. hosted vendor tables at the Central Florida Freethought Community‘s Darwin Day event and at Central Florida Earth Day, where a collection jar was available to support our dinner at RMH this month.  Donors at these events collectively contributed 77% of the cost of this event. Thank you to everyone who chipped in to help us make a difference!

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Ronald McDonald Houses, Central Florida

Join us for the next event!