Purple State Challenge – Washington

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Welcome to the start of the #PurpleStateChallenge!

KYRS-Thin Air Community Radio

Mission: 

“KYRS-Thin Air Community Radio is a volunteer-powered, non-commercial, listener-supported, community radio station in Spokane, WA serving the area with unique programming for un-served and underserved populations. Heard on 92.3 & 88.1 FM and streaming 24/7 at http://www.kyrs.org, we provide a mix of news, views, culture and music often overlooked by other media.

Thin Air Radio’s goal is to build a strong, listener-supported community radio station that empowers people, especially ethnic minorities, low-income, and other marginalized groups, to strive for a more just and sustainable world.”

 

Why I choose this group:

I really like this as my first choice in the Purple State Challenge because it’s emblematic of what I’m trying to do; making sure that everyone is heard. I want to blur the lines of red and blue in this country and get back to looking at people as people. KYRS does a great job of encouraging dialogues in the community. America is kind, just, and strong and KYRS is on air making sure that we all continue to hear that.

Check them out:

You can listen and donate here –

Website | http://www.kyrs.org    Facebook | @kyrs.fm   Twitter | @kyrsfm


 

Don’t forget to let me know of awesome organizations in your state.

Shopping for a Cause

It’s creeping all too quickly into the holiday season and a time that tends to involve a lot of shopping. I wanted to explore some of the options to spending in a charitable way. For me the best way to shop in a good way is to just give it a little thought and consideration. So here we go


 

First, there are items designated to give a portion of the proceeds to charity. It seems like this happens often with T-shirts and pink items (for breast cancer). This is probably the least effective way to give to charity. Often this percentage is on the small side. Your purchase won’t be included in any matching gifts provided by companies or donors.

These items are only something you should buy if you really want that particular item. You like the T-shirt design, you really want to spread the word about a cause you support, the percentage of proceeds going to the charity is very high and you want to support that specific charity, or it’s an item you’d buy anyway. But ask yourself if you’d do better skipping the t-shirt and making a donation instead or buying a T-shirt that you really love and make a donation with it.


 

Next, there are items that support a struggling community or group. It seems like there are many items from women in Africa, often jewelry. I personally really like this option. It gives people motivation and a job and often the products that are created are handmade and beautiful. This could also be as easy as shopping at your neighborhood bookstore or a locally owned clothing store. Shopping small can make a big difference in your community and in any community.


 

Next, there are the items that are a buy one give one model. Things like shoes or glasses where for each item you purchase another is given to someone in need.
I’m still unsure about these and feel like I need a bit more research into the topic. I’ve purchased a few but almost always because I wanted the product not because I was interested in the donation. I don’t always completely vet the organization that gives away the goods and I wonder if money would be more helpful.


 

Next, there are charities that sell items. The World Wildlife Fund and To Write Love On Her Arms are two that jump to mind (that I have supported). Sometimes this is the cause’s main source of revenue. Again I’d say only purchase these items if you want the item itself (and sometimes the items are pretty cool). If you don’t need another T-shirt or stuffed animal consider just donating the money. That way it can be matched and go directly to fill a need.


 

The last thing I’ll mention is AmazonSmile and shopping at companies who have a strong philanthropic record. Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. If you’re an Amazon shopper this is pretty easy way to get a little money going in the right direction. The drawbacks are you have to pick a single charity and if you’re someone like me who has reservations about shopping on Amazon this one is tricky. But here’s the thing, you can do this yourself – take your bank statement at the end of the month and multiple your purchases by .005 and donate that to your favorite charity. It’s only 50 cents per $100 so it likely won’t hurt your budget and you’ll feel great. BeingGoodeSmile!


 

Shopping this time of year presents a lot of choices and difficult decisions. There are so many stores online and and real life competing for your attention and your dollars. I think the number one thing to think about when shopping charitably is to treat it like any other donation of time or money – is this a cause you want to support and is this the best way to do it?

 

What are your thoughts this time of year?

Happy World Water Day!

I have to take a moment to say that my heart goes out to Brussels. #JeSuisBruxelles

It’s disheartening that this is becoming a regular occurrence but I took some time today to think about how much fun visiting Belgium brought me when I lived in Europe. The waffles, the fries, the Atomium on the horizon. The man who gave me directions in french without bothering to take his cigarette out of his mouth. It is a wonderful place.

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 Holr Magazine


Today is World Water Day

I’m excited to announce that I have chosen Water.org to receive my $2,000 donation that my company gives for my volunteer hours last year. I wish I could say I was clever enough to have timed it to World Water day but it’s just a happy coincidence. I posted a few weeks ago about my struggle choosing a charity and I did struggle. I couldn’t decide to go global or local, cultural or health issues, small or large charity. In the end I think I found a charity that didn’t make me choose too many things. I wanted to give to a women’s rights, an environmental issue, a group that helps teach people how to read, and Water.org does all of those things. Women are primarily impacted by lack of access to water and are kept out of schools and the workplace because they have to spend hours retrieving water. I also appreciate that this was something where volunteering isn’t as much help, the money is the best way to make an impact. According to the website I’ve helped give 80 people “safe water, providing hope, health and opportunity.”

I’m very grateful that I can celebrate World Water Day and that the company I work for recognizes all my hours of volunteering.

Crisis Text Line

CTLlogo

“Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis.”

Crisis Text Line (CTL) was founded by Nancy Lublin in 2013. You can watch her TED Talk. I first found out about it in a spring issues of Marie Claire Magazine. When I first read about it I was immediately excited. It was right around the time that news stories came out about people in domestic violence situations who couldn’t call for help ordering pizza and sending message covertly. There are so many times when it’s too difficult to call for help because someone might overhear or just because sometimes it’s mentally easier to not have to say your problems out loud. I know I’ve had moments when I couldn’t speak without sobbing and texting would have been a welcome alternative.

The other thing that excited me about CTL is that it’s very data driven. I’m a bit of a nerd and think that gathering the data will only help us be better at helping in the future. They publish the data they collect here. You can see what issues come up when, where people are texting from, and even what time of day certain issues come up. If we want to end suicide, hate crimes, domestic and sexual abuse, etc, we need to know everything we can about it. By collecting and sharing the data CTL is helping more than those who text in.

Recently the cell phone carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, & Verizon showed their support by waving all charges for texts to CTL and making it so that CTL will not show up on cell phone statements. Crisis Text Line also works to refer texters to wonderful organizations like TWLOHA, RAINN, & The Trevor Project.

So now that you know how amazing CTL is – what can you do to help?

  • Spread the Word 
    • Tell everyone to text 741741 when in crisis. Anywhere, anytime. You never know what someone might be going through or when someone might need it. It’s nice to know someone is there 24/7 to help when you need it. Post this flyer – CTLTexterFlyer
  • Donate

    • Along with volunteer counselors we have amazing supervisors, trainers, and techs. The backend of the platform is sophisticated and always improving and needs financial support to do that.
    • You can send your tax-deductible donations via Paypal (link here) or by sending a check to:
      Crisis Text Line
      Attn: Finance Dept.
      24 West 25th Street, 6th Fl
      New York, NY 10010
  •  Volunteer
    • Being a volunteer is as difficult as it is rewarding. After an extensive application process about a third of those that apply are chosen. There is a six week training process and time shadowing current volunteers followed by a final exam before you go live with texters. You need to commit to four hours a week for a year. The training is wonderful and full of support as is the volunteer experience week to week. That said it is a huge commitment. There are the four hours on the platform, you’ll have hundreds of challenging and not always rewarding conversations over the year. You’ll need time to debrief and you’ll become an expert and self-care in your own life. It’s challenging to say the least. Conversations can be difficult for so many reasons from tragic situations to people who aren’t ready to accept help to the sheer volume of those reaching out to crisis that may remind you of your own. But. But there are moments when you know you’ve helped someone at one of the lowest points of their life and you feel like a superhero. You can be a superhero!
    • More information about Volunteering can be found here.

 

I’m so excited to be a part of this organization. Please consider getting involved and don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have.