Tag Archives: Secular

BBN Team of the Month!

We’re grateful to the Beyond Belief Network, a part of the Foundation Beyond Belief, for their many national programs and initiatives that foster, empower, and recognize Humanist volunteerism & philanthropy.  And we’re honored to be a Volunteers Beyond Belief team.

BE. Orlando was recognized as the 2016  November Team of the Month for our role in initiating a scholarship fund supporting secular students at the University of Central Florida.  Winners will demonstrate a commitment to community engagement through their hours of service and their written reflections on secular volunteerism in America.  BBN also recognized our November meal serve at SafeHouse.

In 2015, BE. was awarded the Heart of Humanism Award for media coverage around the Math, Science, and Pi(e) Festival, and Jocelyn Williamson, BE. member and co-leader of the Central Florida Freethought Community, accepted the award for us in D.C. at the Reason Rally.

Little groups like ours around the nation benefit from the support and resources provided by the Foundation Beyond Belief.  They increase the scope of service impact through grants, provide encouragement and recognition, and create visibility for the good work of Humanists around the country.  Thank you, Foundation Beyond Belief!

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Holiday STEM Toy Drive!

December 10th collection event

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Join us on December 10th at Target in Oviedo, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., for a blood drive! Save lives this holiday season, and drop off items for the Holiday STEM Toy Drive!

Skip the line to donate blood – make an appointment!


Make a difference with us this Holiday Season!

In a growing partnership, we join other Humanist and secular organizations in our community to bring STEM-themed toys and books to at-risk children in our community.

Central Florida – we need your help!  Host collections in your workplaces, families, neighborhoods, teams, and other communities. View drop-off & pickup options on the STEM Toy Drive website – STEM4Youth.wordpress.com.  Our big drop-off event is on December 10th, but we will be collecting through Decmber 16th.

On the website you’ll find information about the drive
and an amazing STEM toy shopping and resource list!

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Great day at Veg Fest

What a beautiful, wonderful day at Central Florida Veg Fest yesterday! We spent the day meeting great people and enjoying the fresh air, music from the acoustic stage, the smell of amazing vegan food, and watching happy-waggy pups of all kinds. Very few people were disconnected by their devices;  most were looking where they were going, saying hello to one another and having conversations, laughing, and being aware of what was around them!

The blood drive went very well – the generous, community-minded crowd at Veg Fest exceeded the expected units – 26 units were collected!  In fact, the bus was so busy that the staff couldn’t keep up and several people were unable to donate.  If you were one of those, please visit OneBlood.org and click Donate to find a branch or bus near you.  Thank you, everyone, for saving lives with us!  The Humanist Community of the Space Coast had a successful blood drive yesterday as well – thank you, Keith, and all of the HCSC members for making a difference!

Our donation jar collection was to help with our 2016 holiday STEM toy drive – providing math and science themed toys to at-risk children in our community.  Thank you, kind people, for donating $51.25 to help!  Visit our toy drive page for information about the drive and great links and STEM toy suggestions for your own shopping.

One of the missions of Veg Fest is to empower people to make positive changes to the way they eat and live. Humanism is a non-religious worldview that focuses on a person’s connectivity to and impact on others.  Humanists reflect on our ability and  responsibility  to make a positive difference in the world.  Our local secular group network offers a variety of ways to engage and empower Humanists, whatever their interests. BE. Orlando’s mission is to “Provide a diverse, service-oriented Humanist fellowship in Central Florida that makes a positive difference in our community and in the lives of our members.”

Veg Fest is always a great place to meet community-minded people who care about their impact on the world.  We connected with many people who were already members of the local secular communities, as well as many who hadn’t known there is a network of positive support and involvement opportunities in Central Florida.

There were some great conversations.  For example, a woman came over and asked “is this an Atheist tent?”  She  saw our “good without god” sign and stopped by because she is a Christian and her son recently “came out” to the family as being non-religious.  Atheism was not something she had any experience with. She wanted an opportunity to talk to someone (not just read about it) to understand more about the values and perspectives of people of non-faith so that she could better understand and include her son.  For example, what happens when it is his turn to say grace before dinner, as that rotation is part of their family tradition?  A suggestion was to encourage him to say a secular grace that is meaningful to him.

Another great conversation was with someone who wondered about why people of non-faith would have a “community”.  We talked about a church as a perspective-specific community and the non-religious aspects of church that are part of a Humanist community, such as sharing ideas, spending time with others who share your values, volunteering, learning, support for one another, a place to make friends, and a place where families can ensure their children have peers and role models that share the family’s values.

We of course want to encourage people to vote this election year, and had secular values voter stickers at our table – they were very popular! One local secular activist shared some research his organization compiled regarding election issues.  We added his information to our list of secular voter resources to help everyone as they educate themselves about issues and decide what kind of difference their vote is going to make.

Many people came over to ask about general volunteering resources (not with a church or with a Humanist community  – just volunteering).  To help our members and others seeking ways to get involved, we host a volunteer resource page providing links to local volunteer management agencies.  We also talked to several people about specific charities that aligned with their interests.

One woman was overjoyed to learn that Second Harvest Food Bank has a family night were younger children can come volunteer. Families are often looking for ways to engage their younger children in making a difference, but due to insurance and other necessities, charities often have an age minimum.  There are, however, charities where your children can volunteer.

There are also events like park or beach cleanups where kids are able to join with others in making a difference.  The Central Florida Freethought Community recently adopted a park and they host regular family-friendly Sunday morning cleanup events there (with donuts and coffee!).  Also, you can connect with agencies like Seminole County SERV to find events like invasive species removal or fun waterway cleanups.

Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by to say hello, share their personal journey, or connect with our community.  Thanks for all the thumbs up and smiles and nods of those walking by, and for everyone who thanked us for being there to share our message at Veg Fest.  We hope to see you again soon – if not at one of our events, maybe stop by and say hello at our vendor tent in April at Central Florida Earth Day. 🙂

And special thanks to Larry, Ryan, and the whole team that makes both Veg Fest and Earth Day festivals amazing!  You all ROCK!

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Reason Rally in 3 Weeks

Update 6/4/2016 – Thanks to everyone who is at Reason Rally today representing all secular Americans!

Reason Rally is only three weeks away! 

Those who support reason should plan to attend the 2016 Reason Rally in Washington D.C.  on June 4. Speakers, including leading scientists and well-known entertainers, will host the largest gathering of secular individuals in the nation to demonstrate the lobbying strength of those who support the separation of church and state, eradication of legislated faith-based discrimination against women and LGBTQ+ individuals, evidence-based educational curricula, and respect for the diversity of our American culture to include those of non-faith.

Want to go with a group? Members of our local Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC) are attending together – join them!

What is it like?  This video from inspirational secular icon Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist is a must-see:

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This initiative is a collaborative effort of major national secular organizations.  The Reason Rally gathering & celebration is on Saturday only, but there are activities over a four-day span to include door-to-door lobbying and a mini-conference if more involvement interests you.  Visit ReasonRally.org for more information.

Don’t wait for the 2020 Reason Rally – attend this one!

Get on the Bus!

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Reason Rally Bus – Do you really want to try to park – and pay to park – near the Lincoln Memorial?  There is a national service collaborating with local operators and using technology (apps) to create a convenient and affordable way to attend the Rally. There are bus rally points all over the nation, and two in Florida – Orlando and Tampa. The bus will take you to Reason Rally and back.  Learn more about reserving your seat on the national Bus Rally site or on the Orlando/Tampa bus rally sign-up page.

The Orlando Rally Bus needs 39 more participants to confirm the bus – make your reservation today.  It leaves at 4:45  on June 3 from Festival Bay Mall and returns to the same place at 11:0o on Sunday, June 5th.  You would be at the rally from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. on June 4th.  The cost is $235.00

Speakers & Entertainers Include…

Bill Nye, Carolyn Porco, Johnny Depp, Margaret Cho, Amber Heard, GZA, Raekwon, Method Man, Kappadonna, Mathematics, Killah Priest, Cara Santa Maria, Lawrence Krauss, Julia Sweeney, Penn Jillette, Shelley Segal, Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, Liz Winstead, Dr. Anthony Pinn, James Randi, Kelly Carlin, Mark White, Annabelle Gurwitch, John Davidson, Ian Harris, Annie Laurie Gaylor, The Fab Four, Paul Provenza, Kameron, Yvette d’Entremont, Jensen, Victor Harris, Eugene Scott, Dan Barker, Maryam Namazie, Baba Brinkman, John de Lancie, Leighann Lord, David Silverman, Dr. Andrés Roeme, JT Eberhard, Todd Stiefel, Eddie Tabash, Robyn Blumner, Lyz Liddell

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