In the fall of 2008 my friend, TJ Anderson — a member of the University of Iowa's Herky the Hawk mascot squad — took note of an unused space in the southwest corner of Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. And the idea of "Herky's Nest" was born.
TJ envisioned creating Herky's Nest — a home for Herky — that also serves as a premium seating area for children and families from the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. The goodwill gesture brings the community together in a lighthearted and meaningful way.
My friend Erica Raggett is one of those rare individuals who, when she heard about something atrocious, didn't forget about it, feel sad about it, or throw money at it.
She did something about it.
The just-opened A 2nd Cup is Erica's vision of a non-profit coffee shop that seeks to raise awareness of human trafficking in the Houston community, partner with other anti-trafficking organizations and fund aftercare solutions for survivors.
"This situation could happen to me at the Democratic convention or standing on the street corner. Racism is a global issue," CNN camerawoman Patricia Carroll, in an interview with an institute that promotes diversity in the news media, says of the ugly racial taunts directed her way Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
"Many of the adults we tutor have lost their jobs, and now find themselves ill-equipped to find employment in today's job market," says Director Kim Payne. "Most of them are working toward a GED, but many of them have high school diplomas. However, the workplace has changed over the years, and now most jobs require not only higher reading and math levels, but computer skills as well."
Dave Ballard got the idea of a wacky charity race while watching a YouTube video of someone slip-sliding through a slough of foam. The first 5K Foam Fest was held in the fall of 2011 in Idaho.
A year and more than a dozen events later, Ballard says his group has raised more than $10,000 for charity, with most of those funds being donated to Shared Hope International, an organization that combats human trafficking.
In Crow, Wiconi Wawokiya means "helping families."
The Wiconi Wawokiya, Inc. shelter — also known as Project SAFE — is on the Crow Creek Sioux Indian Reservation in central South Dakota. It serves more than 350 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
"The needs are great," says the program's director Lisa Thompson-Heth. The center provides an array of services, including crisis counseling, medical assistance and legal advocacy.
Camp Catch-Up, hosted by the publicly and privately supported Nebraska Children & Families Foundation, enables children separated by foster care and adoption to spend a fun-filled weekend with their brothers and sisters — at no cost to the families.
Whether campers haven't seen their siblings in a week or a year, they bond at camp as only siblings can, through activities structured to bring them together.
Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 5:08 pm
Seven years ago, Alesha Seroczynski became a central character in an incredible story about second chances for juvenile offenders in South Bend. With the University of Notre Dame, she developed Reading for Life, a program that combines reading literature, studying seven classic virtues — Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Fidelity, Hope, Charity — and being mentored to help students make better life choices.
Alesha and more than 30 volunteer mentors have graduated 150 juveniles from the program — 97 percent have not re-offended.
The mission of Circles Wyoming, part of a national anti-poverty movement, is "to build intentional, diverse and long-term relationships as people move from barely surviving to thriving."
Trained "intentional friends" are matched with someone who is looking to escape poverty, explains Director Tim Thorson. They do everything "from having coffee once a month to talk about financial goals to going to the gym together ... things that any friends would do."