Happy New Year!!!
Since it is officially 2017, I now declare it to be my Year of Color! I’ll be posting colorful artwork and photography on social media (namely Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) all year-long. I am feeling very creative with my visual work, and I just want to challenge myself to create and share more of it!
At the beginning of 2016, I set my sights on making 2016 my year of generosity with acts of kindness for 52 weeks. I did in fact carry out many acts of generosity throughout the year, and for this post, I wanted to highlight the organizations that benefited from my giving.
Nashville Rescue Mission (https://nashvillerescuemission.org/)
This is a local non-profit that provides shelter, food, and clothing for homeless men, women, and children in Music City. I donated lots of bottled water and canned goods.
Pet Community Center of Nashville (http://petcommunitycenter.org/)
As an animal-care non-profit , Pet Community Center provides affordable immunization and other services. You should check out their monthly mobile unit that goes out to different neighborhoods across Nashville. I took Steinway there for his shots. They were very sweet to him.
National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (http://nathpo.org/)
This is a national organization of Native American tribal leaders who work to preserve tribal lands across the United States. Giving to them is a small gesture I can make towards supporting the indigenous people of the US. This organization helps maintain schools, hospitals, and infrastructure on tribal lands as well as protection and emergency preparedness on sacred sites.
Habit Zen App by Leo Babauta
I am a huge proponent of mindfulness, simplicity, and meditation. Leo Babauta is a native of Guam who currently lives in the San Fransisco area. He is the author of the blog zen-habits.net (which is read by millions of people around the world), and I really love his writing and his ideas about simple living. He’s assembled a small team to build an app that helps people create and maintain healthier habits based on his own work and research. I am proud to support any thing he does.
Time Out Youth (http://www.timeoutyouth.org)
There will always be a place in my heart Time Out Youth. TOY is a non-profit organization in Charlotte, NC that carries out support and advocacy for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning youth ages 11-20. Not only did I seek out their services when I was a 19-year-old living in Charlotte, I also worked as their Youth Programs Director. I made some of the most meaningful friendships of my life, and being a part of the TOY community was the most affirming experience of my young adult existence. I needed the love, validation, and support everyone gave to me more than I realized. This place still exists today, and they are as strong as ever.
Wildlife Conservation Network and the Elephant Crisis Fund (https://wildnet.org/)
Elephant Crisis Fund
Who doesn’t love elephants? Well, a better question would be why are elephants getting killed by the dozens? The answer to this question is not a simple one. At the center of this issue is a longstanding and illegal ivory trade that has been profitable for anyone involved in it. There are cultural and economic implications to this terrible crisis, and the only ones paying the real price are these beautiful and sweet creatures whose bodies are slaughtered and left to rot after their tusks are cut and ripped off of their bodies. This is horrendous, and I hope it ends someday soon.
Rocky Mountain Institute (http://www.rmi.org/)
In spite of those who beg to differ, climate change is real, and it is actually happening. I am trying to do my part by recycling everything I possibly can every week, and by living in a remote and rural home, I have decreased my ecological footprint. (This continues to be a work in progress.) We as human beings have thus far failed as stewards and caretakers of the Earth’s natural resources, but I believe we have the capacity to be better. The Rocky Mountain Institute is doing some incredible work through its multi-level approach at tackling climate change both in the United States and internationally. Their biggest mission is to work with corporations, businesses, and communities across the world to shift their enterprises towards efficiency and renewable energy/resources. In my mind, global enterprise needs to be led by global sustainability. I fully support any initiative that advocates for this.
This year represents the most that I have given to charity pretty much ever. I plan on doing monthly giving to these and other worthwhile organizations in 2017. From now on, generous giving to others will be a strong and integral part of my life.
So there you go! Bring on the color in 2017!! Bring on the giving!!
I am looking forward to the year to come! Let’s make every day of 2017 extra special!