IS THE HABIT OF GIVING ... GET IN THE HABIT
BY PAULA HOEMANN
Lane County has some of the most active citizens on the planet, I swear. Just trying to narrow down the list of worthy organizations for this Generosity Page was agonizing. What follows is a list — a very brief and incomplete list — of some local nonprofit organizations working to make all our lives better, healthier and happier. Whether the focus is on education, arts, health, families or the environment, there are so many ways to help us be the change that we want to see in the world. So take a moment, peruse the listings and follow the urge to reach out and give a little … or a lot. It all comes back around.
For sheer volume of opportunities provided, it's hard to beat White Bird. The institution provides support and services to low-income individuals and families and responds to more than 60,000 service requests annually. These services come in a variety of forms: mobile crisis intervention, outpatient drug treatment, low-cost dental and medical services, counseling services and a 24-hour crisis intervention center. White Bird also offers classes and training in crisis intervention, counseling and drug treatment. White Bird staffers are also familiar with local service options and will refer folks they can't help directly. This is the time of year when they are particularly eager for cold weather wear and blankets for the homeless. The generosity of their community makes it possible for them to take care of those in need. To donate, to volunteer or for more information, visit www.whitebirdclinic.orgor call 342-8255.
THE CASCADES RAPTOR CENTER
If you haven't been to the Cascades Raptor Center yet, you're really missing out. There's nothing like the intensity of an up-close encounter with a raptor. The center provides care for injured raptors along with educational opportunities like classroom visits and field trips. Raptors are birds of prey: eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, osprey and kites, etc. They are brought to the center's wildlife hospital to be nursed back to health and returned to the wild. The birds, injured directly or indirectly by humans, need emergency care, temporary housing and rehabilitation before being released. Some of the birds at the center are non-releasable and become part of the educational nature center. For more info, go to www.eraptors.orgor call 485-1320.
KINDTREE PRODUCTIONS "AUTISM ROCKS"
KindTree Productions "Autism Rocks" is a local grassroots nonprofit serving and celebrating the autism community. Its vision seeks acceptance and opportunity in recreation, education and art for people with autism. The art program supports artists with autism through art marketing and material supplies. Donations of paints, paper, brushes, etc. are needed as well as volunteers to help with marketing and distribution. KindTree also runs a unique summer autism camp/retreat for people and families with autism. For 11 years, KindTree has successfully created a safe, fun, outdoor experience where people on the spectrum are free to be themselves — a great feeling. The retreat needs the support of scholarship funds, art and craft supplies, flashlights, sensory toys and, of course, volunteers. Additionally, an autism community center is in the planning stages; give them a call to get involved. Visit www.kindtree.orgor contact Mary-Minn Sirag, 689-2228, or Tim Mueller, 521-7208.
Working collaboratively with public schools and other arts education agencies, Arts Umbrella offers educational and performance opportunities in music, dance and theater for students of all backgrounds. It currently runs four auditioned orchestras, a beginning strings program, bi-yearly AP music theory classes and summer camps in band, jazz improv, strings and musical theater. Arts Umbrella provides scholarships and fee waivers to qualified students and never turns children away from programs because of financial status. To donate or for more information, visit www.artsumbrellausa.orgor call 484-0473.
Dedicated to sustainability, BRING Recycling educates the public about how to live well without waste. Its new Planet Improvement Center in Glenwood combines a resale outlet for used building materials with a hands-on learning center. Buildings and grounds demonstrate green building techniques, including a green roof, bioswales, energy-saving design and the creative use of materials. Your tax deductable donation will help complete the transformation of the new sustainability education center with interpretive signage, exhibits, gardens, art and more. BRING is also looking for a small pick-up truck or station wagon for the very busy educator to transport supplies and displays to schools and events. Good condition and low mileage preferred. The Center is located at 4446 Franklin Blvd. in Glenwood, around the corner from U-Haul. Call 746-3023 or visit www.bringrecycling.orgto donate or learn more.
Serving low income teens aged 12-17, LEAD is dedicated to the future of our community through developing the leadership skills of our next generation. LEAD offers free weekly group meetings and outdoor adventure, mentoring and community service projects teaching a variety of healthy skills and providing role models these teens might not otherwise experience. LEAD members tend to stay in school or go back to school and graduate. LEAD is run by both adults and teens, allowing its members to actively use skills they're learning and to be an integral part of the organization's decision making. LEAD's wish list includes outdoor camping equipment, technical equipment and people willing to teach their skills. Call 342-TEEN or visit www.leadteen.comfor more information.
THE CASCADIA WILDLANDS PROJECT
We live deep in the midst of the Cascadia Bioregion, defined as the forested region stretching from northern California to southeastern Alaska. The Cascadia Wildlands Project is devoted to protecting the ecological integrity of this region. Through education, advocacy, agitation and organization, the project empowers local communities to advocate for their public lands, offering legal updates and resources as well as organizing restoration projects. The website offers current news updates on forest advocacy, volunteer opportunities and simple letter writing — many ways to get involved. Call 434-1463 or visit www.cascwild.orgto donate or volunteer or for more information.
Each year Looking Glass serves more than 7,000 of Lane County's at-risk youth and families, offering a wide variety of support and resources including a counseling program, an outpatient substance abuse program for youth 20 and under, a 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency shelter for youth 11-17, transitional and independent services for homeless youth 16-21, an alternative school and vocational training for out of school youth, academic and therapeutic services for youth with mental health issues, a short term shelter for girls and alcohol and drug treatment programs for male juvenile offenders. Looking Glass also works to address the issues that create adversity for youth and families. Call 686-2688 or visit www.lookingglass.usfor more information/donation/volunteer opportunities.
Working to end domestic violence by empowering women and children and changing community standards, Womenspace offers peer counseling, support groups and training as well as shelter in a safe place for any woman who is dealing with issues of domestic and/or sexual violence. By providing presentations in local elementary, middle and high schools, staff members work to prevent sexual and domestic violence through education. Womenspace gladly accepts monetary donations and could also use the following items: diapers/wipes, dish and laundry soap, toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, razors, lotion, feminine hygeine products, toilet paper and Kleenex, pajamas (adult and youth), kitchen and bath towels, hand towels and washcloths, pots and pans with lids, dishes and silverware, mattress pads, bedding of all sizes, school supplies, nonperishable foods and dedicated volunteers. Call 485-8232 or visit www.enddomesticviolence.orgto donate or learn more.
SHELTER ANIMAL RESOURCE ALLIANCE
S.A.R.A., Shelter Animal Resource Alliance, rescues, assists and advocates for lost and homeless animals at animal control shelters, working to increase the number of animals adopted and decrease the number of animals euthanized. S.A.R.A. rescues adoptable pets from animal control shelters, provides any needed medical attention and evaluates and transfers them to adoption programs through other rescue services, humane societies or their own adoption service. Staff and volunteers also run S.A.R.A.'s Treasures, a thrift store on River Road that provides much of their dog and cat rescue funding. Those running the store also educate the public about the advantages of spaying and neutering. High quality used items are accepted at the store, and other donations for the rescue effort are always appreciated. Call 607-8892 for the thrift store or visit www.sarastreasures.orgfor more information and S.A.R.A.'s wish list.
SEXUAL ASSAULT SUPPORT SERVICES
SASS, Sexual Assault Support Services, provides community education and outreach, advocacy and support for survivors of sexual assault, abuse or harassment. They offer bilingual support groups for all ages for both male and female survivors of abuse, operate a 24- hour crisis and support line and a drop in center open 9 am to 4 pm weekdays. SASS's 24 hour advocacy supports abuse survivors with healing, medical and legal information with transportation and accompaniment to medical care, an emergency shelter or the police. SASS works to empower people to find their own choices. It offers a 40 hour volunteer training program three times per year; the next one starts Jan. 11. Call 484-9791 or visit www.sass-lane.orgto donate, to volunteer or for more information.
Formerly known as Amigos de los Sobrevivientes, Amigos was originally created to assist Latin American families who came to the U.S. after having experienced political violence and torture. Through education and advocacy Amigos works to protect the human rights of immigrants — insuring their protection, security, just treatment and inclusion in U.S. society. Their youth program, Juventud FACETA, serves Latino youth ages 14–24, encouraging personal growth, civic engagement and development as community leaders through advocacy and training on immigrant rights as human rights. Amigos also runs a Human Rights Education Program, offering speakers and panel participants on human rights topics. Call 746-6022 or visit www.amigosmsc.orgfor more information.
FOOD FOR LANE COUNTY
A hungry belly gets in the way of everything — thinking, working, peace. FOOD for Lane County is a private nonprofit food bank dedicated to eliminating hunger. It runs a variety of programs including emergency food boxes, shelters, meal sites, gardens, gleaning and nutrition education. FFLC advocates for strengthening the local food economy and improving the accessibility of food. The nonprofit serves a diverse population of people living on limited incomes, including children, families, seniors and single adults. There are many different ways to volunteer with FFLC, and donations are always welcome. Visit www.foodforlanecounty.orgor call 343-2822.
COMMITTED PARTNERS FOR YOUTH
By matching caring volunteer adults with at-risk youth for mentoring, Committed Partners for Youth connects kids with their community, focusing on positive reinforcement, trust building and achievement of goals through one-on-one outings and group adventures in the community. Programs include Pathfinders, for at-risk middle school students; Bolder Options, an ongoing program of goal-setting, self-discipline and athletic skills development; True Friends, for youth 7-17 who have at least one parent or primary caregiver currently incarcerated within the criminal justice system; and Project Impact for children in grades 4 -8. Volunteers can mentor or offer support in other ways, and donations are welcome. Visit www.committedpartners.orgor call 344-0833.
NextStep Recycling recycles computer hardware and other electronics, keeping them out of the landfill and making them available for re-use for people who might not otherwise afford such access to technology and the Internet. NextStep provides skill training opportunities for under-employed or inexperienced workers as well as education to the general public regarding the impact of electronics and polystyrene foam on our environment. NextStep provides free computers to children and adults in foster care, family members leaving domestically violent relationships, migrant worker families and underfunded schools and nonprofits. It operates the ReUse Store which, together with recycling fees, helps support the operation. NextStep has volunteer opportunities and gladly accepts cash donations as well. Visit www.nextsteprecycling.orgor call 868-0904.