Tag Archives: volunteer

A Mother’s Day Meal

For this month’s 2nd Wednesday Chef Team event, we wanted to share something special from our hearts to honor the residents at SafeHouse for Mother’s Day.  Volunteers enjoyed a wonderful evening preparing and sharing their mother’s or family’s favorite recipes.

Violence against women impacts mothers and their children in our community and around the globe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1 in 3 (35%) women experience intimate partner or sexual violence in their lifetimes. Impacts include serious short- and long-term physical, mental, and behavioral health problems for survivors and for their children. [see Florida stats and US National stats]

WHO says that to  achieve lasting change, we must address discrimination against women; promote gender equality; support women; and help to move towards more peaceful cultural norms.

Reflection: What can you do in your daily actions and human connections to promote a culture of peace? How do you set an example of respect for the women in your life? What will you do today to make the world a better place – for women in general, or maybe for a woman in your life?

This Mother’s Day, let’s pledge intentional effort for lasting positive change for women in our own spheres of influence and those in our greater community.  Make a personal commitment to volunteer with or make a donation to SafeHouse of Seminole, or another organization that is working to support survivors and prevent intimate partner and sexual violence in our community.

We all work daily to expand our kindness footprint.  Thank you for all that you do to make the world we share a better place.

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Happy Pi Day!

Well, it is late in the day, but we didn’t miss the chance to wish everyone a Happy Pi Day!

At BE. Orlando, we take Pi very seriously – as an opportunity to celebrate math & science, and promote youth interest in STEM. And Pi. And Pie.

IMG_20170311_161927643Our members invested Saturday afternoon on 3/11 in kindness & Pi volunteering at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.  We hosted math & science activities for at-risk youth, including a solar cell experiment, sudoko challenges, Pi bracelet making, and a coding game.  The kids who attended received science back-packs that included fun science-fact books sponsored by the Foundation Beyond Belief, as well as math & science toys, STEM journals, recycling sticker books, Pi Day book marks, and a Pi Day participant certificate.  This was our 5th annual Pi Day volunteer event, and we are so proud of our volunteers and partner organizations for their commitment to making a difference in our community.  And of course, a very important part of this event is the Pi(e) Buffet!

After the event we met up with other members of our group for a (Pi)zza (Pi)e dinner at Lazy Moon – a place we’re definitely going back to!

IMG_20170308_182758779We take Pi Day so seriously that we started celebrating a week early with our (Pi)zza (Pi)e buffet at SafeHouse of Seminole.  Volunteers prepared 50 varieties of pizza for the SafeHouse residents, as well as salad, sides, and an amazing Fruit Pizza Pi dessert!  March 8th was such an important day for us – an opportunity to kick off (Pi)e celebrations as well as having the honor of preparing dinner for SafeHouse on International Women’s Day.

Thank you to all of our volunteers for their investment of time, talent, and resources; to the agencies that invite us to make a difference for their residents; to the people we serve who lift our hearts and show us what courage looks like; and to every person who is guided by kindness and compassion to make a positive difference in the world around us.  Thank you, everyone!

What’s up next?  STEM Book Drive & Pulse Anniversary Blood Drive!

logoOur next collaborative STEM impact event is the STEM-themed book drive to combat summer reading loss and support summer reading initiatives in our community.  Learn more at https://stem4youth.wordpress.com/stem-book-drive/.  The final collection will be at the Pulse Anniversary Blood Drive hosted by BE. Orlando and the Central Florida Freethought Community at Target in Oviedo on June 3, 2017 (yes, that’s the 3rd; the Saturday before the actual anniversary weekend – we’ll all want to be at the downtown events that weekend!)  We hope to see you there!

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A great day at 2nd Harvest!

We had an amazing time sorting donations at the Second Harvest Food Bank today!

Providing supplies to more than 550 food distribution centers, Second Harvest relies on its almost 30,000 volunteers per year to sort donations.  Last year, they provided more than 52 million meals to people in need.  A 2014 report indicated that 71,600 requests for food were made in a typical week.  Food insecurity impacts children (one in four), seniors (12%), veterans, families, and other demographics.

Volunteers who invest their time to make a difference for Second Harvest are part of a network of compassion and kindness that ensures agencies like these are able to expand their impact and assist people in our communities.

Thank you to all of our members who joined us today and to everyone who volunteers to make a difference in our community!

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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!

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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An Intentional 2017

January 1, 2017

2016 was an interesting year, leaving many of us feeling motivated to become even more engaged in making a difference, helping others, and strengthening our communities.  As we journey into the new year, let’s focus as Humanists on what we can do to uplift others and make the world a better place.

We’re going to make it easy to expand your kindness footprint this year.

Some upcoming events are highlighted below – join our member site and keep an eye on the calendar for more ways to get involved.

We also have a list of Volunteer Resources  featuring other local and national volunteer organizations.

Join our 12x12x12 Challenge

In this dodecagon of kindness, pledge to make one care kit every month this year with 12 items for someone in need.  Find care kit ideas: SafeHouse Wishlist or Coalition Wishlist or join our event for additional ideas. You can drop off kits at the shelters or at any BE. Orlando event in 2017.  (This challenge was initiated by our Gulf Coast project leader, Kim; if you’re in the Tampa area, contact us to get in touch with her to find shelters and people in need in your local community.)

MLK Day of Service Event

Join us on January 16th for “A day on, not a day off”.  We’ll be preparing and serving lunch at the Ronald McDonald House.  This will be our first time at their new location in Lake Nona.  RSVP here.

You can find other MLK Weekend events through Allforgood.org.

Pi Day!!

Share math & science activities with kids on March 11th at the 5th annual Math, Science, and Pi(e) Festival for at-risk children at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.  RSVP Here.

Blood Drives

Donate blood with us and/or volunteer at the BE. Orlando tent at Earth Day (Apr 22) and Veg Fest  (Oct TBD).  We’re also planning a Pulse Anniversary blood drive at Target in Oviedo on June 3rd (a week before the main Orlando activities will be taking place) and we’re looking forward to a 2nd annual blood drive & STEM toy drive collection in December.

Learn more about our blood drives here: http://JustGottaBE.org/the-gift-of-life

STEM-Themed Summer Book Drive

Commit to help us provide STEM-themed books and books that highlight successful women and minority leaders in STEM and other fields to assist with the summer reading initiatives in our community.  Learn more at https://stem4youth.wordpress.com/stem-book-drive/ or RSVP with us on Meetup.

Monthly Meal Serve

We have hosted monthly dinners at a local shelter since January 2013. All of the 2017 2nd Wednesday SafeHouse dinners are posted and themed, including Taco Nite, Breakfast for Dinner, Challenge ingredient: Chocolate, Luau, and of course holiday themes for Oct, Nov, and Dec.  Join to view events on our calendar.

Free professional development workshop on faith diversity

Join us on Saturday, March 25th, for a free, fun, interactive workshop exploring faith and non-faith diversity in our culture and how we can can each play a role in generating respect and inclusion for everyone.  Workshop hosted by the UCF office of Diversity and Inclusion; certificate of completion provided. Visit http://SRMA-UCF.org  for details and registration information

How YOU can help us BE more successful in 2017

  • Become a member – it is free, and we have some great service and social events planned for 2017
  • Suggest our group to others
  • Join our member-based Board of Advisors (contact BEOrlando@live.com)
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
  • Visit http://JustGottaBE.org to learn more about us and our initiatives & follow our blog
  • share http://JustGottaBE.org on your social media and other networks.

THANK YOU for making a difference!

kindness-footprintYou do so many things every day that make the world a better place: from the support you provide to friends and family, to the child you made smile in the grocery store, to the larger more intentional acts like volunteering, donating blood, and investing in charitable causes.  What you do MATTERS. 

Making kindness a priority means discovering the ways you are already making a positive impact, and doing more of those –  then adding to the list.

Whatever the cultural climate, political absurdity, or human atrocities dramatized by headlines, we must remember that we have the power to make a difference around us every day.  Let’s focus on the good, together.

We wish you an amazing, rewarding, uplifting year of kindness and compassion.

 

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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!