Tag Archives: volunteer


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!



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.




Holidays & Happiness, Humanist Style


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.


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.



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!



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.


Special thanks to Target in Oviedo for their support!


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!


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!




PSA – Family Volunteer Day

iccdThe holiday season is coming and with it, an increased interest in giving back to our community. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we reflect on the importance of volunteering with our families and friends on national Family Volunteer Day.

Volunteering together strengthens our connections to each other – what better way to bond than working together to make a positive difference in the world?  With it comes knowing that our collective effort can make a more significant impact than we can make alone. Your family may be the traditional picture – or it may be friends who’ve become an integral part of your life. Volunteering is a great way to spend time together. On Family Volunteer Day, plan to celebrate your human connections by leveraging your strength to make a difference!

And bring the kids.  Volunteering is a hands-on way to teach children about the issues in our community and how we are empowered to make a difference for others. It prepares them to be involved, informed citizens. Compassion and responsibility are developed by engaging in positive volunteer activities, as well as the sense of accomplishment in knowing that your actions made the world a better place for someone. It is a great way to make new friends, learn new skills, and have fun together.

About Family Volunteer Day

Family Volunteer Day is a day of service that demonstrates and celebrates the power of families who volunteer together, supporting their neighborhoods, communities and the world.

Points of Light created the day in 1993 to showcase the benefits of family volunteering and provide opportunities for families to help communities create supportive environments for their children and each other. This year Family Volunteer Day takes place on November 22 and is being sponsored by Disney Friends for Change and powered by generationOn.

Family Volunteer Day is held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving to “kick-off” the holiday season with giving and service. It also signals the start of National Family Week, sponsored by the Alliance for Children and Families and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Families that volunteer together not only address community social problems, but also strengthen themselves. Volunteering together as a family provides quality time, strengthens family communication and provides opportunities for family members to be role models.


Family Volunteer Day – Generation On

Family Volunteer Day – Points of Light

Points of Light Foundation


Thanks4Giving, Volunteers!

img_20161109_192109215BE. volunteers prepared a fantabulous Thanksgiving-themed meal for our November monthly meal service at SafeHouse of Seminole.  Eleven volunteers prepared more than 20 dishes including chicken, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetable dishes, fruit platters, salad, breads, olives & cheese, potatoes, pasta dishes, and more.  Dessert included apple and pumpkin pies and creative turkey cupcakes!

For those in shelters and experiencing other challenges, loss, or isolation, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time. Volunteers who invest the time to make a difference provide not only a comforting meal, but also demonstrate compassion and create community. They give the gift of hope.

vbb6Thank you to our volunteers for their time, talent, and donations.  And thank you to EVERYONE who takes the time this holiday season to make a positive difference. Remember that every face you see has a story you don’t know, every heart misses someone, and everyone benefits from the kindness of others. Whether you volunteer, make a donation, or just take a moment to help someone in the grocery store, you make the world a better place.

“There is more good than bad in the world; more light than dark.  And YOU can make more light.” – Robert H. Reynolds

Get involved with us this holiday season!

We have some great opportunities for giving, volunteering, and just plain socializing in the next month or so.

  • dec-iconDonate STEM toys! Participate in our STEM Toy Drive – bringing math & science themed toys to holiday gift programs for at-risk children in our community.  Last drop off is the morning of December 17th. [Read more]
  • Donate blood! Join us at Target in Oviedo on December 10th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Get on the bus with us, drop off STEM toys, or just say hello – we’d love to meet you. Look for the BE. Orlando and the Central Florida Freethought Community community tents in the parking lot near the Big Red Bus. [Read more]
  • Support a scholarship!  Looking for a great way to make a last-minute donation before year end?  Join us in supporting a new local scholarship fund supporting secular students at UCF. [Read more]
  • Volunteer!  Our Christmas Holiday meal serve at SafeHouse is on the second Wednesday of the month. Membership is required and space is limited, so visit soon.  [Read more]
  • Join the Leadership Team!  After five years of serving our community and our members, we are establishing an advisory board to help us increase our impact and achieve some longer-term goals. If you are interested in serving on the advisory board, please contact BEOrlando@live.com for more information.

Secular Gratitude

sgRecently at an advocacy event we were approached by a Christian who wanted advice on including their newly “out” Atheist son in the family tradition of grace before meals.  As the holidays come closer, mixed-perspective family and friend groups can feel stress and fear of being excluded or excluding others.  Please visit our site on Secular Gratitude for information on secular reflection, grace, and “prayer”, as well as a collection of popular secular and multi-perspective inclusive examples.