Tag Archives: Announcements

Some great events at UCF!

There are some interesting events coming up at the University of Central Florida as part of their annual Diversity Week celebration.  Below are some highlights for our members and followers, but you can find more than 20 opportunities for exploring various aspects of diversity and inclusion next week at http://Diversity.ucf.edu/diversity-week.

For information on parking at UCF, visit http://Parking.ucf.edu 

For navigation, use http://Map.ucf.edu 

Expert Panel: Minorities in the Non-Faith Community

October 20th, 12:30 – 3:30, Cape Florida Ballroom, Student Union

Join national leaders in a discussion about the growing diversity within the secular American community.  For those interested in learning about diversity issues, this is a unique exploration of intersectionality and an opportunity to learn about a growing demographic in our culture and on our campus. Free and open to the public.


Private Dinner with National Secular Leaders

October 20th, 6:00 p.m., Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen

Hosted by the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC). Spend quality time with the panelists (above) and other local leaders over dinner. This fundraiser will help cover travel costs for the panelists and will support the new scholarship fund being awarded to secular students at UCF in recognition of outstanding volunteerism.

The honored guests are

  • Stephanie Guttormson, a transgender advocate and the Operations Director for the Richard Dawkins Foundation
  • David Tamayo, Founder and President, Hispanic American Freethinkers
  • Mandisa Thomas, Founder and President, Black Nonbelievers, Inc.

Seating is limited.  Reserve your spot today: http://cflfreethought.org/dinner

Secular and Religious Minority Awareness Workshop

srma-flyer-smOctober 21, 1:30 – 4:30, Barbara Ying Center

Experience the new format, activities, and discussions in our interactive exploration of the experiences and challenges of secular and minority faith individuals, and how we can each make a difference by creating perspective inclusion in our own spheres of influence.  Free and open to the public  (registration advised; walk-in seating is limited.  The public can register by emailing SRMA-UCF@outlook.com).

UCF Blood Drives presents two events on October 18th

1. Guest Speaker on African American Blood Donation.  October 18, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m., Egmont Key, UCF Student Union

2. Expert Panel: Gay Male Blood Donation

October 18, 1:00 – 2:30, Cape Florida Ballroom, UCF Student Union

Join medical experts and local and national activist in a discussion about the blood donation deferral status for MSM (men who have had sex with other men).   Free and open to the public.


Both events are free and open to the public.

More information: http://Blooddrives-UCF.org/special-event 


BEing involved: Giving, Volunteering after Matthew


Our community is comprised of giving, civic-minded, compassionate people, and many of you will be looking for ways to help those in need after this tragic storm.

Make sure your donations are being used impactfully and meaningfully by using Charity Navigator and other means of verifying & vetting programs.  Here are some links to help:


crisis-logoFoundation Beyond Belief – Disaster Response Efforts

The Foundation Beyond Belief will be launching a Hurricane Matthew funds drive within the next week and may even launch a Humanist Response Team to Haiti.  You can find details HERE.

Building Community: Volunteer

jointoday4-MeetupAfter every disaster and major storm, we reflect on our connection to those around us.  Meetup.com is a community-centered event management site where groups of like-minded people share events and fellowship. Meetup was established after 9/11 in an effort to use the internet to bring people together.  It is about community.

If you are a member of a Meetup in an area impacted by Matthew, see if you can post a help-your-neighbor event to come together and help each other with cleanup efforts, or help elderly, disabled, or other individuals in your area.

You might also consider contacting shelters in your local area – homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, animal rescues – to see if they need anything specific after the storms.  I remember in 2004, the greyhound rescue in Sanford flooded after Charlie. They were in desperate need of replacement carpeting to line the kennel floors and other supplies; volunteers like YOU went to Home Depot and other stores, as well as seeking private donations, and filled all of the needs within days.  If there is a charitable agency you’re passionate about in your area, contact them and ask what they need.

Offer to help a neighbor.  Check in with your family and friends.  Donate blood. Volunteer.

211-logoAnd if you need help, dial 2-1-1 (works like 9-1-1).   The United Way 2-1-1 help line is a 24/7 resource to help connect you with aid, agencies, and assistance.  Whatever your situation, they can help.




Five-Year Member Survey Results

BE. members provided input on our group’s accomplishments for the past five years. Based on the number of surveys turned in, a small fund was sponsored and enough was raised to fund part of an upcoming meal serve at the Ronald McDonald House.

Read the full May 2016 group report [click here].

Choosing from our many focus areas, members indicated those that engaged their highest interest.  Four focus areas tied for most interest:

  • Environmental Issues
  • Encouraging STEM interest in at-risk youth
  • Separation of Church and State
  • Gratitude, Kindness, and Positive Living

Regarding our group values, goals, and mission, our members most closely identified with the core values of Service, Gratitude, and Inclusiveness.

Members suggested some great new events, including volunteering, civic-minded social events, and needs drives.

Specific volunteer interests included Save the Manatees, family-friendly park & beach cleanups, Rally for Target, mentoring and tutoring, Ronald McDonald House, and hosting a sporting event to combat homophobia in sports.

Needs drive suggestions included collecting classroom supplies for a STEM-focused charter school; pet food for seniors on a fixed income; donations for homeless veterans; blankets; and books.

Members were interested in social events such as monthly socials; LGBTQ+ book club or movie night; playing with shelter animals; scrabble; and a monthly dinner with a themed discussion.

Interested in helping us BE better?

There is a lot you can do!

Membership is free and open to the public.  We have leadership opportunities for active members including event hosting, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and marketing.

The more awesome people engaged in attending, providing, or guiding opportunities, the better we will BE.

Your involvement is invited and welcomed.  Contact BEOrlando@live.com for more information.



Central Florida Earth Day 2016!

UPDATE: What a wonderful day at Central Florida Earth Day!  Thank you to everyone who came by and generated great conversations about volunteerism, philanthropy, and Humanism.  Click here for our photos!  Looking forward to seeing you again at the Central Florida Veg Fest at Festival Park on October 22, 2016!


Next Saturday, April 23rd, more than 200 Earth-friendly vendors with unique services, products, foods, crafts, and more – as well as speakers, demonstrations, Kids Zone, acoustic stage, and the famous Animal Haven section with local rescue agencies –  will gather at Lake Eola. We are honored to be part of it once again.

As Humanists, we celebrate our connection and responsibility to the Earth and are grateful to be among others at this annual festival who share our commitment to making a positive impact in the world.  The nicest, awesomest people attend this event – you should be there, too!

dripAnd don’t forget to join us on the Big Red Bus and donate blood – share your power, saving lives to honor your connectedness to others.  Giving blood is one of the greatest random acts of kindness you can perform.  When you give blood, your gift connects you to several people; one pint of blood can impact three different people. Give someone another sunrise, another hug, another chance. There is a critical shortage of blood, and the only source is YOU. The Bus will be located on Washington Street at the heart of the festival, and our tents will be nearby in the vendor area.

We look forward to meeting you there – please come by our vendor tent and say hello. We will be sharing space in three joined tents with the Central Florida Freethought Community, Generation Atheist Orlando, and the Orlando chapter of Hispanic American Freethinkers.

Central Florida Earth Day is hosted by Vegetarians of Central Florida.





Reflection: Volunteering is a part of you.

National Volunteer week is a wonderful time to reflect on the meaning of service in our own lives.

Throughout life, we collect meaningful moments that we take with us along our journey.  Volunteering is an amazing way to add beautiful memories to that collection. Volunteering becomes part of you, and through your service you become part of those around you.  Volunteering connects us.

What is your favorite memory of volunteering?

National Volunteer Week, Apr 10-16

THANK YOU to everyone who has taken the time to volunteer in our community – your presence and participation is an investment that makes a difference.  Your gift – of time, energy, talent, support, or resources – is noticed and appreciated – thank you for BEing a volunteer!

National Volunteer Week is about inspiring and recognizing service and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.

National Volunteer Week is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference.

National Volunteer Week, a program of Points of Light, was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week.


PSA: Go Blue on April 2.

World Autism Awareness Day was established in 2007 by the United Nations to be held on April 2nd each year to raise global awareness about autism.  Autism affects approximately 1 out of every 150 children around the world. It is a neural development disorder that affects ability to socialize normally by impacting abilities to use verbal and non-verbal communication.

Since 2012, there has been a 30% increase in the amount of children being affected with autism, and World Autism Awareness Day helps to bring awareness to this growing health concern.

03ed3bb1dd68063942aa15a9f490d2c5The prevalence rate of 1 of every 150 makes autism one of the most common developmental disabilities affecting 500,000 individuals in the United States alone.  Autism occurs 4 times more frequently in males than females, and frequently occurs in association with other disorders that affect the functioning of the brain, such as epilepsy or metabolic disturbances.

Go BLUE. The fountain at Lake Eola will light up blue – how about you?  Wear blue and light up your home or office in blue to shine a light on Autism.

Pledge to Walk. Join or support an Autism Speaks walk.  There will be one at Cranes Roost Park on November 16th.  Learn more HERE.