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Darwin Day in Orlando

February 13, 2017

Yesterday was an amazing day, meeting people and enjoying insightful speakers. Special thanks to the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC) for all that they do to connect our local secular organizations and ensure representation and resources for Secular Americans in Central Florida.

On the first day of Random Acts of Kindness week, we were grateful for everyone who stopped by our vendor table to learn about ways that they can join us for community impact initiatives.  We shared information on upcoming adventures like Pi Day, Second Harvest Food Sorting, and our monthly shelter meal serves. We had great conversations about the importance of community engagement, the experience of being secular in our culture as a volunteer and as a person in general.  It was uplifting to learn about the many ways other members of our community are involved in making a difference.

And it was fun as heck to challenge the Humanist Community of the Space Coast to a STEM Book Drive Challenge!

THANK YOU to everyone who made a contribution to help us raise funds to host another meal at the Ronald McDonald House!  We raised $72.00, which we will match and host a great lunch.  Join us!

THANK YOU to everyone who filled out a valentines card for SafeHouse of Seminole!   There were 40 cards for children and 10 messages of support and encouragement for both the adult residents and the SafeHouse staff.

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RAK Week 2017!

February 12, 2017

#RAKWeek2017

It starts today!  Random Acts of Kindness Week is an uplifting, inspiring reminder of how we are each empowered to make a positive difference in the world around us through the little things we can do every day for others.  It is a reminder to focus on our potential for positive impact and sharpen our kindness skills. Use your creativity to create RAK opportunities this week, or visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s Idea Page for inspiration.

Share your efforts using  #RAKWeek2017 to spread the inspiration, and if you are part of our central Florida Humanist community, use our Humanist RAK Cards.

All week we focus on increasing our RAK footprints – but on Friday, make an intentional effort to amp up the kindness for Random Acts of Kindness Day.

Hashtag your posts with #RAKweek and #RAKweek2017 so the RAK Foundation can find them and feature posts throughout the week on their social media sites.

Goodness is in the heart of all.  Pass it on!

Humanists believe in the value and good in all humans; let’s demonstrate that commitment through Random Acts of Kindness and make a visible difference that strengthens and affirms our positive presence in our community.

Random Acts of Kindness moments are an opportunity for members of the humanist community to visibly promote that goodness is in the heart of all and help to overcome  misconceptions and negative stereotypes about non-religious people.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness.  Only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate.  Only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Click for printable RAK Cards

Participate in Central Florida with us!  Create ripples of kindness that let others know that goodness is in the heart of all.  BE. part of it.  Use the Humanist Kindness Ambassador RAK Cards to “sign” your RAKS with a message of inclusiveness and connectedness – and write a message of your own on the back of the card.


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Volentines Day!

February 11, 2017

That’s right – on a day dedicated to celebrating love, volunteering is a GREAT way to show you care and give the gift of love to people in need in your community.

Here are a few things you can do get (civically) engaged this Voluntine’s day…

Second Harvest Food Bank still needs help for both the morning and the afternoon donation sorting shifts.  Will you be their Volentine?  Visit their volunteer calendar for more information & to sign up!

dripDonate blood – Every two seconds, someone needs blood to survive.  The only source of that blood is YOU, the donor. One blood donation can be separated into three parts and may impact THREE different people in need.  Save lives. Give blood.  Visit OneBlood.org to find bus and branch locations near you.

Write valentines this weekend and bring them to a shelter, hospital, or youth program.  Everyone brings them for the kids – why not surprise the women and men with notes of compassion and encouragement? What about the staff who dedicate their lives to making a difference?  If you’re coming to the Darwin Day event tomorrow, we’ll be making valentines for the SafeHouse residents & staff.

Take a walk or bike ride on a local trail and pick up trash.

Volunteering makes a great family activity – and a great date idea, too!

Visit our Volunteer Resources page to find ways to connect with volunteer opportunities near you.

Have a Happy & Engaged Volentine’s Day!

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PSA – Go RED this Friday!

February 1. 2017

You will look FABULOUS supporting the national Wear Red for Women Day this Friday, February 3rd!  Individuals and businesses everywhere will be raising awareness about heart disease and stroke in women by wearing red.

In its 14th year, Go Red day – coordinated by the American Heart Association – has raised awareness, educated women about lifestyle choices and warning signs, and shown statistical increase in the heart health of women.

Join in by wearing red – and take a photo!

SHARE PHOTOS

–> Social Media Hash Tags:

  • National #GoRed
  • Local#OrlandoGoesRed

Learn more>  https://www.goredforwomen.org/wearredday/challenge/

Facebook>  https://www.facebook.com/goredforwomen/app_426166774080900

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MLK Day Meal Serve

BE. Orlando was joined by volunteers from the All For Good Network today for a special MLK service project.  Volunteers invested their morning to sponsor, prepare, and serve a healthy lunch buffet at the new Ronald McDonald House located at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona.

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This was a super-creative team! They were challenged with taking the provided food items (in a heap on the counter) and using their imaginations to turn them into a beautiful food buffet that would make people smile.  Residents were greeted by fun food art like  veggie happy faces, a cheese snowman, and a tomato heart. And there was so much more:  fragrant sauteed mushrooms; whole grains & rice medley; deviled eggs; salad & veggie bar; mac & cheese; sandwich meat, cheese, & toppings bar; pnut butter & jelly mini sandwiches; brie & crackers; and more.  Desserts included lady fingers, fresh berries, yogurt & berry phyllo cups, vegan oatmeal cookies, and biscotti.

Ronald McDonald House

For more than 20 years, Ronald McDonald Houses have been making it possible for families to remain closely connected to their children who are in treatment for serious illness.  At a time when families need to be together most, they are provided with a supportive home-away-from-home.  These houses (that love built) have served more than 23,000 families – at no charge to them.  They rely on the community not only for financial contributions, but to provide in-kind donations and volunteer service as well. One of the volunteer opportunities is to participate in “Share a Meal”: providing loving, healthy meals as part of a nurturing, healing environment.  It is a great way to say “we care about you.”

We are grateful and honored for the opportunity to come together on this national day of service and stand shoulder-to-shoulder working to prepare a lunch for the residents of the Ronald McDonald House. Thank you, volunteers, for making a difference!

Martin Luther King, Jr. – National Day of Service

Please visit our MLK article for a Humanist perspective on A Day On, Not A Day Off.

From RMH Charities of Central Florida:

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A day on, not a day off.

January 13, 20171

Monday is a national day of service – this weekend, seek out ways to make a difference in your communities.

On the third Monday in January, individuals across the nation rise together in service to our communities to honor civil rights activist and unity visionary, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Now more than ever, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder to support the vision of a united, inclusive, multiracial, diverse nation.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our organization has been criticized in the past for our celebration of this holiday by Humanists who disesteem King’s message because of his faith, which was an integral part of his identity. But divisiveness was not.

King came from perspective of Christianity and promoted ecumenical unity, an inherently divisive concept marginalizing non-christians.  However, if he were here today, in an openly perspective-diverse nation, wouldn’t he see beyond the barriers of his faith? King looked on the world through a lens of inclusion; rather than ecumenical unity, couldn’t he evolve to focus on human unity?  Some people are pent by their faith or non-faith and are not courageous or compassionate enough to truly value those of different perspectives.  Would King have been?  Are we?

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 King was a vehement advocate of equity for all races; would his vision have been mature enough to see the evidence of inequities, discrimination, bullying, and other unacceptable transgressions against people of non-faith and minority faiths?

How can we, in our small spheres of influence, both honor his work to overcome the sadly still-relevant racism in America and further celebrate and promote a message of inclusion for all?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

King made a famous, uneducated response to a youth who asked him for advice about his feelings of attraction to other boys (Ebony Magazine advice column, 1958).  The  response was misinformed, but it was not judgmental.  While it may lead some to believe he was blind to diversities beyond colour, he did not have the culturally facilitated opportunities for enlightenment that we are privileged to have today. That statement was made 11 years before the Stonewall riots that began the journey toward equality and brought the LGBTQ+ community into the national diversity conversation. Dr. King was tragically assassinated the year before Stonewall.

Subsequent to the riots, his wife, Coretta Scott King, joined the efforts to stand for LGBT equality, as she felt that her husband would have done the same. Mrs. King said: “I’m proud to stand with all of you, as your sister, in a great new American coalition for freedom and human rights.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Those  who value and speak for equality only for the demographics of which they are a member are brave self-advocates whose voices make a difference, but they are not true inclusion champions. When equality is one of our core personal values, we join the conversation to promote inclusion for other marginalized demographics when we learn about, and have compassion for, their challenges. We become an ally.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Uniting people through service

One of King’s core values was service, and he lived his life in service to others.  On the third Monday in January we strengthen our communities by joining with others – of all diversities, of all faiths and non-faith perspectives – to make a difference.  We make the world a better place through service; we are empowered to overcome challenges through service; we are connected to one another through service.

As Humanists, we value action-oriented, solution-focused answers to the needs in our communities.  Tomorrow, on MLK day, honor your lifestance of Humanism by putting your values into action and engaging in service.

FIND SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES

From the Corporation for National and Community Service:

After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.” The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”

MLK INFORMATIONAL LINKS

Local Events & Info:

National:

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2nd Wednesday Chef Team

Here we come, 2017 – and we are energized & ready for another year of service!

Our first meal serve of the year was a wonderful evening of fun & friendship at SafeHouse of Seminole.  Volunteers invested the evening together to prepare a Taco Bar & Mexican Buffet for the residents that included – of course – a taco bar with various meats, cheeses, traditional (and some creative) toppings, salad, nachos, Mexican rice, vegetables, and so much more.  There was an amazing cupcake dessert prepared by Chef Andre.

img_20170111_191057112Special thanks to the Foundation Beyond Belief for the great T-shirts!  Also, because this is so close to MLK day this event was one of our MLK weekend service options and members received an MLK Day of Service volunteer pin.  Our actual MLK service project will be on Monday – a lunch service at an Orlando area Ronald McDonald House.

We’re already looking forward to next month for February’s Food From the Heart menu – cooked with love! One three-layer heart-shaped pan, standing by!

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