Community

Participation Nation
6:33 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Foamy Philanthropy In Spanish Fork, Utah

Sliding through Foam Fest.
Justin Nathaniel Kenderes Courtesy of 5kFF

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.

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Participation Nation
4:33 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Protecting Families In Fort Thompson, S.D.

A handmade poster at Wiconi Wawokiya.
Courtesy of WWI

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.

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Participation Nation
12:33 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Reuniting Siblings In Lincoln, Neb.

Canoeing at Camp Catch-Up.
Courtesy of CCU

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.

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Participation Nation
10:33 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Reading For Life In South Bend, Ind.

A stack of Reading For Life favorites.
Courtesy of RFL

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.

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Participation Nation
6:03 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Finding A Home In Arlington, Va.

Phillip, the skittish puppy.
Courtesy of Caroline Lacey

Who: A family looking for a dog and a black dog named Phillip

What: Lucky Dog Animal Rescue adoption event

When: Sat., Aug. 18, 2012

Where: Dogma Dog Bakery, Arlington Va.

Why: Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is an all-volunteer, non-profit animal rescue organization devoted to saving the lives of homeless animals and spreading the word about responsible pet ownership.

Caroline Lacey is a photographer in suburban Washington. She listens to WAMU.

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Participation Nation
5:04 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Circles Of Friends In Cheyenne, Wyo.

A caring circle in Wyoming.
Courtesy of Connections Corner

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."

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Participation Nation
2:34 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Home Away From Home In Bismarck, N.D.

Tracy's Sanctuary House
Courtesy of TSH

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 9:00 pm

In August 2004, Tracy Rittel was in a fatal car accident near Fargo. While Tracy battled for her life, her family had trouble finding a place to stay near the hospital.

From that experience, the Rittels created Tracy's Sanctuary House in Bismarck for families who find themselves in a similar situation. Since 2005, some 1,500 families have used the home.

A dozen volunteers "put their hearts and souls into making sure the house is kept up," says Tracy's daughter Kelsey Zottnick.

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Participation Nation
12:04 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Saying Thanks In Hattiesburg, Miss.

Capt. Michael Davidson of the Hattiesburg Fire Dept. and Jaycee Marquise Slator.
Picasa Courtesy of Hattiesburg Jaycees

Every year since 1994, volunteers from the Hattiesburg Jaycees have been holding a blood drive to replenish the area's blood supply. This Friday, the group will be grilling burgers and hot dogs for anyone willing to kick off Labor Day Weekend by donating at the Labor of Love Blood Drive.

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Participation Nation
6:33 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Books Behind Bars In Needham, Mass.

Elizabeth Jane Handel of A Book from Mom.
Courtesy of ABFM

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 9:22 am

In 2004, I started a project called A Book from Mom that provides incarcerated mothers with brand new children's books to give as gifts to their children during prison visits.

A Book from Mom helps strengthen the parent-child bond while a mother is away, seeks to increase literacy in both mother and child, and helps ease the tension of prison visits.

In its nine years, the project has placed more than 20,000 brand new books on prison shelves in Massachusetts and has inspired someone else to expand the program to a women's prison in Arizona.

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Participation Nation
3:33 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Honoring Elders In Green Bay, Wis.

From the Women Over 90 project.
Courtesy of Kara Counard

When Kara Counard staged a photography exhibit at the ARTgarage in Green Bay this summer, she interviewed and photographed 33 subjects — women from the ages of 89-100 years old. She called it the Women Over 90 Project.

To give more volume to the exhibit, Kara brought in a group of fifth grade girls. The young people visited a nursing home and interviewed and photographed women in their 90s.

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