Tag Archives: charitable giving

Day of Service event at SafeHouse

Volunteer braved the strange and squally weather yesterday and came together at SafeHouse to make a difference – and make a fantabulous meal.  Check out this made-with-love buffet of choices  (careful, reading this will make you hungry):

img_20160914_192549444Honey baked ham, lasagne, fall spiced vegetable saute, steamed carrots, cheese tray, olive tray, bread, field greens & veggie salad, fresh fruit platter, rice and vegetables, pigs-in-a-blanket, baked brie with maple almond cranberry chutney, peas, mac & cheese, potato salad, green bean casserole, and more.  And to “topping” it off…our fabulous dessert chef prepared an ice cream bar with homemade red velvet brownies, homemade cookies, vanilla ice cream and an amazing assortment of tantalizing toppings!

We are grateful for our creative, talented members –
thank you to each volunteer for investing your evening to uplift others.

1The next three months are going to ROCK even more.  We can’t wait for October, the Halloween themed dinner with mummy-dogs, cute spider cakes, strawberry whipped cream ghosts, and all kinds of other creative fun halloweeny foods!

The September meal serve event was our 9/11 Day of Service – a few days late.  In our last post, we shared that we host an annual observance not only to honor the victims, survivors, and responders, but also the spirit of Meetup.com.  Meetup was founded after 9/11 to provide an online platform for bringing people together offline to build and strengthen community. Our volunteers received a volunteer pin from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

img_20160914_173308389We also dropped off a donation of 170 children and young adult STEM-themed books provided by the Central Florida Freethought Community.  Thank you CFFC!


Stamp Out Hunger – 23rd Annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive!

stamp out hunger

Update 5/9/15 – Reminder – Please put out your donations for the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive today!

Saturday, May 9th, is the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive!  This is a national effort that collects billions of pounds of food – your donations impact your local community.

This food drive occurs during an important time of the year when most school programs are about to close for the summer, leaving millions of children to find alternative sources of nutrition.

Visit the Second Harvest Food Bank information page for more information & needs list!

We will be volunteering with Hands On Orlando at the food sorting event to make sure all of your donations are organized & distributed to those in need in our local community!  Visit the Event Page to see if there are spots open – join us!!


Save the Sanctuary Sunset Fun Run!

The In Harmony With Nature sanctuary for wolves, wolfdogs, and other exotic animals in need is in danger of losing its property.  We’ve posted much to keep you informed so you can share the story and spread the word.

Some students at the University of Central Florida heard about the plight of these amazing animals and want to help.  They are working together to plan a fundraiser event that will include a fun run and exciting other ways to make a difference.  There are 60 students on the planning & volunteer team led by Kaitlin Balcerak and Alex Graves.

Run, walk, crawl, or just howl your support at the finish line!
March 20th, 5 – 7:30 p.m.,
Jay Blanchard park on Dean Road

REGISTER HERE – participants are limited!


If you would like to support these students efforts by sponsoring part of the run, please contact Kaitlin, you can reach us directly at 407-823-3094 or by email at tee.rogers@ucf.edu.


BE. Involved – Events, Committees, Campaigns, & Celebrations

Upcoming Events

6th Annual Air Potato Mega-Raid – (Jan 24) Multi-county, multi-project initiative of Central Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management engaging volunteers all over central Florida to remove the invasive potato vine.  This event is fun and appropriate for all ages.  Join us!

Serve dinner at a domestic violence shelter – We join Hands On Orlando for this monthly event.  Check out their calendar to join us there (on their calendar, look for “Spaghetti Dinner”).

Sunday Assembly – a deity-free, progressive group that meets monthly to hear great talks, sing songs and generally celebrate the wonder of life. It’s a service for anyone who wants to live better, help often and wonder more.   Join us!  (or visit their website)

28th Annual Real Florida 5K – Join us at Wekiva for this annual trail run hosted by the Wekiva Wilderness Trust. This is one of the events we attend every year- Join us or visit the 5K registration site.

14th Annual Nonprofit Community Partners Conference -(Feb 6) hear from local and national nonprofit leaders for fresh perspectives on standard topics as well as current event topics such as relevant upcoming legislation.  Learn More

Current Committees

Math, Science, and Pi(e) Festival Planning Committee – coordinating committee to plan and host our 3rd annual MS&P Fest at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida which will occur this year on March 14, 2015.  Join the Committee  | Learn More | Volunteer at the event

Diversity Advocate Board – Coordinating entity for the nonprofit diversity project.  The local nonprofit community is statistically faith-based and in some cases not friendly to the LGBTQ+ and Humanist communities.  This project will create a list of diversity-friendly nonprofits in our region where members of these communities can feel comfortable to seek help, volunteer, and donate money.  This board will name the project, design & manage the project website, design and implement the application process, reach out to and interview non-profits, review applications, and any other logistics & coordination needed.  We hope to launch in 2015.  Join us!

Fundraising Campaign

SAVE In Harmony With Nature Animal Haven – serving wolves, wolfdogs, and other exotic animals is in critical need of funds to save its property which will go to auction on April 6th unless we can raise the funds needed.  It is the only resource of its kind in central Florida and there is only one other active similar sanctuary in Florida.  There are more than 50 wolfdogs on waiting lists who have been neglected, abandoned, or abused who don’t have a place to go – IHWN provides permanent sanctuary, specialized care, and where appropriate, re-homing services.  Learn More  |  Join our Facebook Event

Math, Science, and Pi(e) Festival Sponsorships – we need companies and individuals willing to help us create amazing gift bags for the 50 children who attend this event.  To learn more, please contact BEOrlando@live.com.

Celebrations & Awareness

  • Thank Your Mentor Day (Jan 15)
  • MLK Weekend of Service (Jan 17-19) – visit our page for links to local service projects and other celebrations
  • Random Act of Kindness Week (Feb 9-15) – visit our RAKtivist page for links, RAK cards, and ideas!

Positive Thoughts, Positive Action

Updated 1/20/2015

Update 1/20/2015 – Join us on Saturday, 1/24, at Pookie’s Ultra Rescue Fest, 10-4, Lake Lily Park!  Click here for a flyer to share:  JPG PDF

Update 1/12/15 – now is the time to reach out to potential donors.  PLEASE SHARE this information.  Help us make sure that long before April 6th we will have the funds needed to save this local resource.

Update 1/5/15 – GREAT NEWS to start the new year.  The auction of the property has been postponed until April 6th.  That means we have more time to network and fund-raise to save this amazing local resource.  Please help us share this story and connect with others who can help!

Update 010315:  Thank you to everyone who joined us this evening in person and in thought for an evening of gratitude and positive energy!  See photos here.  If you have additional photos for this event, please share them with IHWN. 

IHWN is a place of peace and natural sanctuary, offering specialized care to some very special animals.  It is the only place of its kind in Central Florida.  The sanctuary sits on a leased property, and unfortunately the owners became ill and the property is being foreclosed. Fundrasing created some assistance, but the property was scheduled for auction on January 7th.  We learned on January 5th that the sale has been postponed until April 6th, and we have until then to raise the funds to purchase the property..  If you can help, please step up with us and make a difference.  Donations are needed, but also please share in your spheres of influence and empower others to be part of the network of love that is weaving together to save this local 112203-custom-ribbon-magnet-sticker-Save+IHWN.org  resource.

We can still keep these animals safe.  Even if the property is not able to be secured, all donations are needed to assist as many of these animals as possible.

What can YOU do?  You can share your positive energy, share information about this story with others, share the fundraising site, make a donation if you can, help advocate and spread the word. Ask all of your facebook connections, family, friends, spiritual/faith/non-faith community members, colleagues, and other spheres of influence to do the same. Somewhere out there is someone who is able and interested in saving this refuge, and we have until April 6th, when the property will be auctioned, to make that connection. Please advocate, and stay positive – there are still many ways that this can work out, especially if we use our voices wherever possible to tell the story. Positive Thoughts, Positive Action http://wp.me/p4YpKw-95

10885082_10152585268933527_5924023132460256582_nFrom IHWN:  In Harmony With Nature Animal Haven would like to say peace to you all in this season of giving and gratitude. Whatever your philosophies or beliefs may be, this is a time of year of endings and new beginnings, family and friends and gathering together. We hope this time will be exactly what you need for joy and love in your heart and life. We want to say a huge Thank You for all the shares, likes, and donations for our organization!!

Kim, all of the volunteers, and all of the animals at IHWN request your positive thoughts.  And your advocacy by sharing this information to connect with others will make a difference – as will any donations you are able to share with these animals.  We know there are many ways this can still work out for the best for these animals.

quotegraphicYOU can help ensure that after the auction on April 6th  these animals will be able to stay safe in their home with their loving family of volunteers.



Save IHWN Positive Energy Graphic

Update – The Warmies Project

It is hard to imagine, but it will soon be getting cold, even here in beautiful central Florida.  We host a special initiative to bring smiles and warmth to people in need in our community – the Warmies Project(tm).

This is not a typical blanket & coat drive. The Warmies Project collects handmade items, each with a hand-written note from the fiber artist to the recipient, that is packaged in ribbon as a gift and donated to children’s hospitals, homeless and domestic violence shelters, youth programs, hospice agencies, and more.  We collect items all year, and make deliveries when it starts to get cold.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaking it personal makes all the difference. A local artist recently submitted two items – a beautiful scarf and hat – and her Warmies note says, “May this keep you warm when the world is cold.”  Thank you, Anjella – what a beautiful gift and note!  Some artists include brief notes, others have written letters of encouragement or included cards.

We look for gift-quality cozy-warmies that include quilts, scarves, hats, blankets, sweaters, lap blankets, gloves, and more.  Recipients include men, women, and children.  Please don’t forget the men! Did you know that one in four of our local homeless men are US veterans?  We don’t accept items for pets in general, but if you would like to make a coat for a greyhound, we will donate it to local greyhound rescue agencies.  Greys are always brrrrrrr-cold.

The Warmies Project will be visiting the Orlando Distaff Day event on January 10th.  Last year, this amazing group of fiber artists welcomed us to their event and donated 98 items in support of the project!!  Thank you so much to Jody and all of the organizers of Orlando Distaff Day for providing such a wonderful event for local artists to network and collaborate and for including the Warmies Project!  Orlando Distaff Day is open to the public – for more information, please visit their website or Facebook event.

If you would like to volunteer with The Warmies Project during delivery season, or if you would consider donating ribbon or gift bags, please contact us at BEOrlando@live.com.  If your organization would like to be on the recipient list for deliveries, please visit our Warmies Page and fill out the request form – we’ll do our best to warm up your cold folks!

Note about Warmies Messages: These items will be donated to the diverse public, so your message should be meaningful to anyone who might receive it. We ask that all notes be respectful of diversity and not include political, religious (or non-religious), or other references that are personal choice. Remember that not everyone in need shares your worldview or faith / non-faith perspective – be inspirational to everyone.  Also, messages cannot be sealed and may be reviewed by agency staff before distribution (especially for children’s programs).



Science League for Kids transforms local refuge


November 16, 2014

Click here for event photos

Thank you so much to the 32 members of the Science League for Kids who dedicated a day of service to IHWN – providing 96 impact hours in one afternoon!   This group DID change the world today –  these concerned citizens changed the world for the residents in sanctuary at the In Harmony With Nature Animal Haven, a local exotic animal rescue and sanctuary specializing in wolves and wolfdogs. The volunteers’ impact on the facility was amazing!

The families toured the facility to learn about the need for agencies like this one, where these animals come from, and what specialized care they need and are given. They learned about different ways of identifying wolfdog content, such as phenotyping, and behavioral differences between wolfdogs and domestic dogs – and the consequences of irresponsible breeding and adoption.  For example, when integrated into a home that is not appropriate or prepared to handle wolfdog behavior, they are too often abused, neglected, abandoned; in the end, they are either euthanized or in permanent sanctuary at a facility like In Harmony With Nature.  There are wolfdogs on a waiting list to find a place that can help them; with too few options, many will not be saved.

The awesome volunteers, each of whom is now officially an honorable member of Team Harmony,  then invested an afternoon to beautify the property and help with items our regular volunteers need assistance to complete. They planted flowers for a butterfly garden, installed a fence by to partition for a storage area, planted trees, cleared and planted a memorial garden, planted a garden at the entrance to the refuge, cleaned ceiling fans, walls, and windows in the cat room, shingled a roof on a shade structure for one of the wolfdog habitats, and various other projects around the property.

Thank you volunteers: Theresa, Jason, Rachel, Martha, Nicole, Justin, Sascha, Mark, Joseph, David, Neil, Jocelyn, Deb, Jared, Sascha, Julie, Sierra, Sarah, Lucas, Ethan, John-Paul, Gareth, Paige, Sharon, Keith, Calvin, Elliott, Lee, Cynthia, Tracy, Lee, and Daisy.  You ROCK!!

Special thanks to Jocelyn Williamson, who coordinates the Science League for Kids. This group offers monthly enriching, science-related learning and civic engagement activities for secular families.  They inspire youth to be interested in science and inquiry as well as provide hands-on experiences to engender a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. If you are interested in learning more about Science League, contact Jocelyn directly at freethought@cfl.rr.com. Additional secular community resources can be found at http://cflfreethought.org/meetup/

Special thanks also to Andrew Davis and Gavin Frank for their help with coordinating the Science League projects today and assisting the refuge with keeping volunteers positively engaged throughout the day while minimizing the impact on the animals and regular volunteer duties.

You’re Invited to be part of Team Harmony!

TEAMS: Groups, work teams, and others interested in a volunteer service project like this one are needed! You can arrange a custom volunteer day at In Harmony With Nature that will include a facility tour and team building activities if requested.

INDIVIDUALS: Those interested in committing to regular service at the sanctuary are also welcome (and needed); to learn more about our training program or group service opportunities, contact inwn.visit@gmail.com.

FOSTER HOMES:  Some animals in our network are in need of foster homes.  If you have room in your heart and home to save a life through the foster care program, please contact ihwn.visit@gmail.com.

FUNDRAISING (Current Critical Need): In Harmony With Nature is also in need of your help to spread the word about their fundraising campaign to save this resource. The leased property on which they are located is being foreclosed. Please help the staff and volunteers prevent this devastating loss by sharing http://GoFundMe.com/InHarmony or joining and inviting your Facebook connections to join BE’s event in support of the fundraising effort at http://TinyURL.com/SaveIHWN.