Tag Archives: STEM

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Holidays & Happiness, Humanist Style

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BE Present: Mindfulness is about connecting to the world and others around us, and connecting that awareness to our thoughts, words, and actions.

BE. Orlando celebrates the holiday season by hosting events and drives that make a difference in our community.  Investing our time and talent to have a positive impact on the world around us honors our commitment as Humanists; we recognize each individual’s connection to others and empowerment to do good.

I was asked recently why a secular organization would focus so much energy on giving to Christmas drives and supporting holiday activities. The holiday season is a time of increased economic and other stress, increased travel and accidents increasing need for blood – yet there’s a decrease in blood donorship, and a time when those without the means to provide for their families are more impacted than ever by heartbreaking challenges.

Inequities, tragedies, and other human struggles transcend faith or non-faith perspectives – they touch everyone. Parents may be unable to provide a holiday for their children in the tradition of their family. Those facing loss of family and loved ones, isolation, and fear for the future may feel that the greater community has forgotten them.  Those in need should never go a day without receiving a kind, uplifting word or deed.

Together, we can make a difference. A Humanist’s wish for a happy holiday season is communicated through our actions. This December, our members enjoyed creating and sharing a holiday meal at SafeHouse, donating blood, and collecting STEM-themed toys for local at-risk youth.

HOLIDAY MEAL AT SAFEHOUSE

BE. Orlando’s monthly dinner at SafeHouse of Seminole takes on a special meaning during the holidays.  For October, November, and December, we host super-special meals and share a meaningful evening with each other and with the residents of SafeHouse.

Serving to create an evening of joy for people who are facing challenges is an honor. And those challenges are not only among “others” – but also potentially a current or past part of the lives of volunteers and staff. We must remember that every face we see has a story that we do not know; at this event we join together, standing shoulder-to-shoulder to make a positive difference for everyone around us.

274029We brought a honey-baked ham, and the ten volunteers prepared homemade side-dish recipes that have been meaningful in their lives during the holidays to share with the SafeHouse residents.  The 17 unique dishes included whole-potato-sweet-potato casserole, green beans (from the family garden), apple & snickers salad, Spanish rice,  fresh field greens salad, anniversary potatoes (like potatoes au gratin), homemade mac & cheese, green bean casserole, steamed veggies, cheese, olive, & nut trays, and of course holiday cupcakes an peppermint brownies.

There was a grab-bag with toys for every child at the shelter (and grown-ups are kids, too!), and the volunteers dressed in festive attire of aprons & antlers.  There was singing, laughter, and a great feeling of community.

We are grateful to our members who contributed time, food, and supplies, to the Foundation Beyond Belief for a project grant that assisted with the December food costs, and to the staff and residents of SafeHouse for the opportunity.  We can’t wait wait for Taco Nite in January as we kick off our 5th year of hosting monthly dinners at SafeHouse!

See more photos on our Facebook album.

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BLOOD DRIVE

On 12/10 we joined with the Central Florida Freethought Community at Target in Oviedo and hosted a blood drive, raising 12 units.  Each unit can impact three lives – our donors gave the gift of another holiday, another hug, another sunrise to 36 people!

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TOY DRIVE

Throughout December at all of our events – including the toy collection & blood drive event on 12/10 at Target, BE. Orlando and the Central Florida Freethought Community together collected 68 STEM-themed toys and games and 65 books.

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Special thanks to Target in Oviedo for their support!

JOIN US – MAKE A DIFFERENCE TODAY!

If you are still looking for a way to give back this holiday season, consider making a donation to the Central Florida Freethought Community to support their programs and initiatives, or to the new scholarship fund promoting volunteerism among secular students at the University of Central Florida.

If you’re in Central Florida and interested in joining our 2017 volunteer adventures, membership to our event calendar, Meetup.com/BEOrlando, is free – we hope to meet you at an event soon!

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What a great day!

Dec 11, 2016

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the blood drive & STEM toy drop off event yesterday!  The blood bus was full to capacity throughout the day, and the toy bins were almost full – thanks for taking the time to make a difference for people in our community.

Elfing Day – our day of delivering gifts to shelters – is Saturday, December 17th.  If you still want to donate, please contact us to arrange a drop-off point this week. Toys will benefit the gift drives for the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and SafeHouse of Seminole.

Special thanks to our great partner, the Central Florida Freethought Community, and to Target and OneBlood.

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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!

LINKS

 

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Mole Day (6:02 a.m. – 6:02 p.m.)

Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 1023), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry.

Celebrate in unusual ways!  Make a mole-related dessert for your family & friends, or host a chemistry event (or creative chemistry food) event at your school, neighborhood, or a local shelter.  Find unique & fun opportunities to generate youth interest in STEM!

Or just enjoy mole puns & jokes.

LINKS

National Mole Day Foundation

“Chemistry is more fun than you think (boom).”  Watch the video from Numberphile:

 

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Happy Tau Day = 2(Happy Pi Day)

Happy Tau Day 2016!  While the buzz about the Tau-Pi battle seems to have lost momentum, there are still Tau-Pi arguments going on around the globe today.

Our friend Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and homophone to pie, is considered by some mathematicians to be “wrong”.  They say it should be replaced by Tau, which uses the ratio of the circumference to the radius instead.  But 6.28 doesn’t sound delicious at all.

One argument the tauphiles miss is that the homophonic value of Pi sets a great stage for creating events, jokes, and activities that generate interest in math.  When kids are interested in math, they will be more inclined to explore and enter STEM disciplines.  As a country, we need to do a better job of inspiring our young people’s positive engagement in STEM activities.  We need any edge that helps us demonstrate that math and science can be fun so that children in our communities – especially minorities and girls – will be empowered to pursue, and interested in, STEM fields.

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Pi Day Event 2016

A Pew Research Center report from 2012 shows that while there has been a slight trend of improvement of our youth’s science and math comprehension, we are still at a global disadvantage.  We invest misplaced energy and resources to fund faith-biased programs, put bibles and other Christian paraphernalia in our public schools, and argue irrelevantly about evolution; if we could re-invest that  zeal in the academic development of our K-12 individuals, we would see that slight trend of improvement become a more substantial demonstration of our youth’s positive intellectual potential.  (Also see, National Science Board’s 2016 Science and Engineering Indicators  )

So for those advocating for Tau, we get it and we are grateful for people in this world thinking about and promoting ways to advance mathematics.  But don’t get so caught up in the math that you forget the impact Pi’s fun & puns hook can have on youth who might otherwise have gone through school with the disadvantage of believing that math is boring.  (Oh, and also, Pi is just better.)

LINKS

 

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STE{a}M & Stuff Book Drive

Book Drive through May 25, 2016

Each year, the Heart of Florida United Way hosts a book drive to support summer reading loss initiatives and Day of Action literacy events in our local community.

And each year, BE. members contribute fun math & science themed books to the United Way’s book drive efforts.  Share fun stories like Flatland, Fantasia Mathematica, the Cartoon Guide to Physics, and In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat with at-risk youth in our community.  What STEM fiction inspired you in your youth?

Visit our book drive page for participation information, statistics on summer reading loss,  links to STEM book lists, Diverse Book resources, and more.

Drop off books at any BE. Orlando event during the month of May or contact us – we’ll be glad to schedule a pick up at your central Florida place of business.

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LINKS

Book Drive Home Page (updates will be posted here)

 

Planning for Pi Day 2016!

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Thank you again (and AGAIN) to our amazing volunteers who invested an afternoon at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida to show children how fun STEM (& pie) can be.

We are excited to announce the date of the 2016 event – March 12th – please mark your calendars to join us!  Read more about this event, including details & photos from the 2015 Festival, and how you can volunteer with or support us on our Pi Day page.

The Math, Science, and Pi(e) Festival is an opportunity to engage local at-risk youth in fun activities, games, and experiments that inspire them and let them see how fun math and science can be.

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Click here or visit http://JustGottaBE.org/Pi-Day

BE. part of it!