Changemaker Nomination: Farm Sanctuary’s Northern California Shelter

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Farm Sanctuary’s Northern California Shelterwww.farmsanctuary.org

Here’s what Tara has to say about this fearless organization:

“I’ve visited Farm Sanctuary several times and am deeply moved by their commitment to provide abused and discarded factory farm animals a safe and peaceful environment to live the remainder of their lives.”

A little more info:

21_FarmSanctuary“Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 when Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur rescued Hilda from a stockyard dead pile. Since that time, we’ve met, loved, and provided refuge for thousands of animals. Many people see two classes of animals: The animals with whom we share our homes, and everyone else. But other animals are not different in any way that matters morally from the dogs and cats with whom so many of us share our lives. At Farm Sanctuary, we share our lives with farm animals — chickens, turkeys, pigs, goats, sheep, ducks, geese, and cattle. And we can tell you from personal experience that farm animals have the same range of personalities and interests as cats and dogs.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Wildlands Restoration Volunteers (WRV)

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Wildlands Restoration Volunteers (WRV)www.wlrv.org

Here’s what Morgan has to say about this fearless organization:

“I’ve been volunteering with this organization for 7 years now and I’ve never come across a more motivated and fun group of awesome people all organized under the passionate directive of the organization. The amazing work they do for the land is equaled by the inspiration and  passion they instill in hundreds of volunteers each season. This group is awesome and fearlessly addressing the restoration of the land that needs to be done especially following major forest fire damage done in the past couple of years!”

A little more info:

20_WLRV“OUR MISSION

To foster a community spirit of shared responsibility for the ecological stewardship and restoration of public and protected lands.

OUR GOALS

  • Create a strong network of volunteers, capable of caring for these sites through trainings, educational opportunities, and partnerships with other local organizations.
  • Encourage community-based involvement in projects by recruiting volunteers who live in communities near project sites and/or are members of user groups who frequent those sites.
  • Develop and implement high quality, science-based restoration techniques. We aim to contribute to the scientific field of ecological restoration.
  • Collaborate closely with land managers and other stakeholders to identify key sites in need of ecological restoration.
  • Serve a diverse audience including urban and rural residents, adults, middle and high school students, disadvantaged youth, local watershed protection groups, local outdoor clubs, and other recreational users of local public lands.
  • Have fun, work hard, and celebrate the deep love of mountains, forests, streams, and open spaces that inspire our work.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Caitlin Ryan, Family Acceptance Project

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Caitlin Ryan, Family Acceptance Projectfamilyproject.sfsu.edu

Here’s what Jung has to say about this fearless individual:

“The Family Acceptance Project (FAP) saves the lives of LGBT youth by educating their families/primary caretakers on the destructive impact of rejecting their child’s sexuality on the child’s health and relationship with the family. Often, these families love their LGBT children but don’t understand that denying or oppressing their children’s identities does not help them but profoundly harms them. FAP conducted comprehensive research in the field with diverse families (rural, ethnic) in California and was able to identify and connect specific accepting/rejecting behaviors by families on health outcomes among LGBT youth including depression, sexually risky behavior, drug abuse, and suicide.  I had the  pleasure of working with Caitlin Ryan on this project last year as a pro bono marketing consultant and believe she and FAP deserve a donation because of the incredibly groundbreaking, research-based work she has done to help the families of LGBT youth stay together and ensure healthier outcomes for these youth. FAP has made a concerted effort to create resource materials for diverse populations–not just the mainstream, middle/upper class, white families in urban centers–in English, Spanish, and Chinese, and for Mormon communities to support LGBT youth and their families. Caitlin lives and breathes this work. She works 14 hours a day and is severely underfunded and understaffed. Her work is not sexy like “It gets better”–her work promotes the health and acceptance of LGBT youth within their primary source of identity and community, their families; Caitlin and FAP aim to change the social and cultural behaviors that harm youth, one family at a time. Donating to FAP will provide Caitlin with the opportunity to hire more project-based help or even reduce the burden of having to fundraise while at the same time trying to reach more families and professionals (health, educational, etc) who work with LGBT youth and produce the resources to help those youth.”

A little more info:

19_FamilyAcceptanceProject“Although there is an increasing amount of information about the risks and challenges facing LGB youth (with very little information about transgender youth), we know little about their strengths and resiliency, including the strengths of families in supporting their children’s health and well-being. Even though the family is the primary support for children and youth, and family involvement helps reduce adolescent risk, there have been no previous studies of how families affect their LGBT children’s risk and resiliency. Prior to this study, little information was available to show how families respond to an adolescent’s coming out and how family and caregiver reactions affect adolescent health, mental health and development for LGBT young people.

Attention to family reactions is critical since increasingly, youth are coming out at younger ages which significantly increases risk for victimization and abuse in family, school and community settings, and provides opportunities for helping to support and strengthen families. Victimization has long-term consequences for health and development, and impacts families as well as the targeted individuals. Early intervention can help families and caregivers build on strengths and use evidence-based materials to understand the impact of acceptance and rejection on their child’s well-being.

The Family Acceptance Project™ (FAP) is directed by Caitlin Ryan at the Marian Wright Edelman Institute at San Francisco State University, and was developed by Caitlin Ryan and Rafael Dìaz in 2002. It includes the first major study of the families of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)www.ifyc.org

Here’s what Katie has to say about this fearless organization:

“Interfaith Youth Core is the nation’s leading nonprofit devoted to a bold and fearless cause – making interfaith cooperation a social norm. While religion is all too frequently a barrier of division, as we’ve seen enacted in the 21st century, IFYC believes that faith should be a bridge of cooperation that strengthens civil society and promotes the common good. In fact, IFYC believes that the history of the United States is one in which a successive generation of interfaith leaders has pushed back the forces of religious prejudice in the name of religious pluralism, and that it is incumbent on those of us in this generation to write the next chapter in this American story. To achieve its mission, IFYC trains and mobilizes a critical mass of college students as interfaith leaders who bring together their diverse peers under the shared value of service. I believe that IFYC embodies the Fearless Changemaker persona in mission and action – through its work to fight religious bigotry, one of the foremost national and global issues of our generation, by creating a movement of young people of religious and secular backgrounds to build shared community.”

A little more info:

18_IFYC“We live at a time when people of different faith backgrounds are interacting with greater frequency than ever before. We hear the stories of people who seek to make faith a barrier of division or a bomb of destruction all too often. Instead, we view religious and philosophical traditions as bridges of cooperation. Our interfaith movement builds religious pluralism.

We define religious pluralism as a world characterized by:

  • Respect for people’s diverse religious and non-religious identities,
  • Mutually inspiring relationships between people of different backgrounds, and
  • Common action for the common good.

We think pluralism is achieved by two things:

  • The science of interfaith cooperation: by creating positive, meaningful relationships across differences, and fostering appreciative knowledge of other traditions, attitudes improve, knowledge increases, and more relationships occur. These three are mutually reinforcing and backed by social science data, what we call the “interfaith triangle”.
  • The art of interfaith leadership: people who create and foster opportunities for positive knowledge and opportunities for engagement move others around the interfaith triangle and lead to a community marked by pluralism.

We believe that American college students, supported by their campuses, can be the interfaith leaders needed to make religion a bridge and not a barrier.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Bill of Rights Defense Committee

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Bill of Rights Defense Committeewww.bordc.org

Here’s what Shahid has to say about this fearless organization:

“BORDC has been fighting for civil rights and civil liberties since the Bush administration first introduced the PATRIOT Act. With many of the Bush-Cheney administration’s abuses having continued (or in some especially disappointing aspects, escalated) under the Obama administration, BORDC’s work building local coalitions to challenge profiling, surveillance, detention, and torture is more important than ever. The latest newsletter (bordc.org/newsletter/2013/02/) offers a snapshot of the latest highlights from around the network.”

A little more info:

17_BORDC“The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) is a national non-profit, non-partisan organization working to restore the rule of law and our constitutional rights and liberties. We aim to make police and intelligence agencies accountable to we, the people whom they serve. BORDC supports an ideologically, politically, ethnically, geographically, and generationally diverse grassroots movement, focused on educating Americans about the erosion of our fundamental freedoms; increasing civic participation; and converting concern and outrage into political action.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Opportunities Unlimited for the Blindwww.campt.org

Here’s what Gwen has to say about this fearless organization:

“Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind is changing the way people think about blindness and other disabilities.  Through fabulous innovative programming, including Birding By Ear (learning to identify birds by sound, not by sight) and learning about our natural environment and how it affects our songbirds, to Camp-in-a-Box, which takes “camp” to kids who are blind and who have no transportation, and “regular camp”, kids have a chance to learn from adult blind mentors how to cook, garden, enjoy nature and appreciate its wonders, do science, read better Braille, have a blast with music, enjoy the outdoors, engage in sports and outdoor play, go swimming and canoeing and make s’mores – themselves (yes, they learn to roast their own marshmallows at our camp) – and get away from their electronic gadgets.  They learn that it’s OK to be who they are and that success is a matter of hard work, not how much sight you have.  OUB is a very small non-profit with one full-time employee, me, but we produce stellar work and our kids – and their parents – love what we do and how much their children learn over a week or a summer with us.  We hire blind and sighted staff, and will soon have our Birding By Ear program on the CBS Evening News!  They are filming our Celebrate Urban Birds Event on April 6 – watch for us and the fascinating work of our Field Services Director, who is blind, Donna Posont, who teaches all of our birding classes for children, youth and adults.  I don’t think she’s ever heard the bird on the wrapper of your chocolate, though!  Fantastic Chocolate, by the way.  I love finding a chocolate that is soy and milk free!  Thanks!”

A little more info:

16_OpportunitiesUnlimited4Blind“Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind’s mission is to enrich the quality of life of people who are blind and visually impaired through lifelong education and recreation.

OUB collaborates with the Michigan Department of Education – Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO), Bureau of Services to Blind Persons (BSBP, formerly the Michigan Commission for the Blind), educators and consumer groups to create facilities and programs that help children and adults who are blind or visually impaired develop into competent, confident, contributing, tax paying, working adults through it’s OUB CAMPS programs: Camp Tuhsmeheta, Camp-in-a-Box, and Birding-by-Ear.

OUB provides camping and extra-curricular and work expereinces through OUB CAMPS. OUB’s primary goal is to focus on the educational goals expressed in the Expanded Core Curriculum. OUB CAMPS utilizes teaching methods and strategies that encourage campers to be as confident and independent as possible, safely, while keeping learning fun! OUB’s goal is that every child with a visual impairment learns self-reliance skills and expands their dreams for their future success.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Food Not Bombs South Florida

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Food Not Bombs South Floridawww.facebook.com/groups/355251174932/

Here’s what Nikki has to say about this fearless organization:

15_FoodNotBombsSFL“Food Not Bombs South Florida is a small group of people. There might be about ten in their group and yet they manage to accomplish incredible feats, not only in their hometown, but across the United States. They have even managed to reach Israel!

They share wholesome vegan food (that would otherwise go to waste) with the homeless of Fort Lauderdale twice a week, making sure to fill everyone’s bellies.

However, more than just providing warm meals, FNB South Florida fights for the rights of the local homeless population on a consistent basis. There is always a new event taking place and a new action taking place that is intended to help. FNB South FL regularly attends city commission meetings speaking on the horrendous way the city deals with its homeless population, often inviting the homeless to speak with them.

Most recently, they held a fundraiser in order to continue raising awareness of the difficulties of being a homeless person in South Florida. They are even busily working on their first newsletter, Solidarity Shelter, that would be written by local homeless and passed out to them as well as a means to unite the homeless of South Florida.

FNB South Florida are also members in their sister group, The Autonomous Playhouse, a radical puppet collective that educates the public on a wide range of issues from homelessness to sexism. Their most recent show, “Fort Lauderjail”, was performed at a local homeless shelter and made it in the paper!

The group has traveled all over the country in a waste-veggie-oil fueled bus, performing for free, touring twice. They are about to go on their third tour.

If that wasn’t enough, these dedicated individuals are also working on the Food Not Bombs Free Skool, an alternative schooling opportunity, where the participants can learn how to create their own Food Not Bombs and how to live sustainably. They are even working with Keith McHenry, a co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement, on this specific project.

I think that Food Not Bombs South Florida deserves a donation because they donate so much of themselves and their time to helping make the world a better place. They hardly ever rest and are always thinking of the next action they can take to help the people who need it most.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Food For Orphans

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Food For Orphansfoodfororphans.org

Here’s what Sonja has to say about this fearless organization:

“They get funding and meals to impoverished orphans in underdeveloped countries and they Rawk! :D”

A little more info:

“Internationally …

• 147 million orphans worldwide
• 44,000 new orphans everyday
• Every 90 seconds another orphan starves to death
• Sixty million orphans go to bed hungry every night
• Every two seconds another child becomes an orphan
• It only costs 25¢ to feed an orphan
Food for Orphans is currently working with orphans in South America, Africa, Central America, Asia, the Caribbean, and the USA. New countries and projects are being evaluated on a regular basis and with your help, more orphans will be fed.

Proper nutrition improves the orphans’ immune system, helps them fight off disease, helps them focus in school, and eases the ache in their belly.

Your donation will provide proper nutrition and save the life of an orphan.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Naomi Cowan, Ncouraged.org

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Naomi Cowan, Ncouraged.orgncouraged.org

Here’s what Chenee has to say about this fearless person:

“Awesome person. An inspiration to all! Needs to be highlighted”

A little more info:

“Naomi Cowan, born in Kingston, Jamaica to a large family of preachers and musicians; has always had big dreams of her own. The vision for NCouraged was birthed during her reign as Miss Teen Jamaica 2004. Naomi was inspired by the life of a professional single mother of two who “surpassed the glass ceiling” despite teenage pregnancy. In late 2005 Naomi began to pursue a career in television and media through on-air presenting and producing in Jamaica, she then continued on to complete her studies in Television Production & Law in Toronto, Canada. Her experiences in media, leadership and church ministry between Toronto, Jamaica and the US brought along a wealth of experience, knowledge and opportunities that further fueled her journey. Through her relationship with Jesus Christ, Naomi realized her life’s purpose is to utilize her platform in media to encourage and assure those from less fortunate circumstances that God has a unique plan of fulfillment for their lives.”

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Changemaker Nomination: Heaven Conner, ClothesEd.Org

It’s the next 2013 Changemaker Nomination suggested by a chocolate lover like you! 

Congratulations to Heaven Conner, ClothesEd.Orgclothesed.org

Here’s what Naomi has to say about this fearless person:

“She is a powerful teenage girl who has taken her passion for fashion and her frustration with bullies and created a way to support other kids her age!

This is rare for someone so young and she deserves it!”

A little more info:

“A few years ago, in 6th grade I really had a chance to see how mean kids can really be to other kids. There were some kids that would tease other kids who didn’t have more than two outfits to wear. I felt so bad for them and then I thought, I can feel bad or actually do something about it. So, I spoke to my parents about starting this charity. I want to give tutoring, clothes, lunch and school supplies to kids that really can’t afford it. Sooo …. I hold charity sales at the end of each season and sell ‘experienced’ brand name clothing for a low cost. The money is then used to buy the supplies, clothes and lunches for as many kids as we can.”

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