It’s important to always be thankful, and it can be hard too. But this time of year allows us to slow down and review our lives in ways we usually don’t. We work hard. We stress about work. We invest energy in our loved ones and their lives. We want new things — more things. We hang out on social media, looking for likes and yearning for engagement. It’s so easy to get swept up in it all. And it’s too easy to forget what we have to be thankful for.
That is why we are focusing our blog on five organizations we love and are truly thankful for: Safe Place for Youth, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, The National Breast Cancer Foundation, and Code for America. These are just five of the charitable organizations we admire, cherish, and support — but they are certainly five of our favorites. And each charity executes a unique and essential mission.
Let’s take a look at why these organizations are so needed, why we are so thankful for them, and how we all can continue to support them.
Safe Place for Youth:
Safe Place for Youth is dedicated to feeding and clothing the homeless youth of Los Angeles. This charity is especially close to our heart because of how, literally, close to home this charity is. Safe Place for Youth was founded in 2011 by Founder/Executive Director Alison Hurst. Hurst, along with a team of passionate volunteers, began providing homeless youths of Venice Beach, Los Angeles with hot food, clothing, and socks. And Hurst and her team did this all by driving around, up and down — feeding and clothing as many homeless young people as they could meet.
Since then, Safe Place for Youth has grown to be able to offer more diverse and robust services and programs for homeless and troubled youths. Partnerships and support from the local community have grown considerably as well. Safe Place for Youth has grown from a 100% volunteer-led organization to a professional staff of twelve full-time employees who continue to fortify existing programs and develop new ones. Since April 2015, Safe Place for Youth has occupied its own building in Venice.
Safe Place for Youth’s mission is: to inspire, nurture, and empower the resilient human spirit of homeless youth by providing immediate and lasting solutions, one young person at a time.
Planned Parenthood needs no introduction — but it definitely deserves one. Planned Parenthood is an American institution — it was founded on October 16, 1916, in Brooklyn, New York. The 100+-year-old organization is a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health care in the United States and globally. In their own words, Planned Parenthood promotes “a commonsense approach to women’s health and well-being, based on respect for each individual’s right to make informed, independent decisions about health, sex, and family planning.”
That is an essential service, and it is one we are truly thankful for. And Planned Parenthood’s vision extends beyond reproductive health and rights. Planned Parenthood is committed to preserving health care globally. Planned Parenthood states it is, “committed to ensuring access to quality healthcare, education, and information for all individuals and families worldwide.” That is a massive undertaking.
We are lucky to be living in a world with Planned Parenthood. You can support Planned Parenthood by donating here. And you can visit them at their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And you can visit the Los Angeles Planned Parenthood site here.
The American Civil Liberties Union fights for our freedom. The ACLU stands for our liberty and our nation’s liberty. The ACLU has spent almost 100 years defending and preserving the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. In its own words, “Whether it’s achieving full equality for LGBT people, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age of widespread government surveillance, ending mass incarceration, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.”
The ACLU is a nationwide organization with over 2 million members, activists, and supporters. The ACLU champions and defends constitutional rights, whether they agree with those they are defending or not. That is an almost unimaginable task to execute. There aren’t many truly objective and nonpartisan organizations that adhere to standards above their bottom line. But the ACLU holds freedom above funding. The ACLU states, “The ACLU is nonprofit and nonpartisan. We do not receive any government funding. Member dues, as well as contributions and grants from private foundations and individuals, pay for the work we do.”
The National Breast Cancer Foundation:
The National Breast Cancer Foundation is one of the newer charities we support. It was founded in 1991 by breast cancer survivor, Janelle Hail. Hail was diagnosed at the age of 34 in 1980. Back then there wasn’t much information about Breast Cancer, and Hail’s health — her life — depended on only a few options.
Janelle Hail’s treatment and experience led her to make a commitment to help women around the world by educating them about breast cancer and the importance of early detection. That desire led to the establishment of three key pillars of the NBCF’s protocol: Early detection, education, and support services.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s four main services are: the National Mammography Program, “Beyond the Shock,” the Patient Navigator Program, and the Breast Health Education program.
The National Mammography Program offers women, nationwide, free mammograms. You can search National Mammography Program affiliated facilities here. “Beyond the Shock” is an innovative online platform designed to educate people through affecting stories, told in writing and videos. You can visit “Beyond the Shock” here. The Patient Navigator Program helps patients cut through the complex barriers in the cancer care system to help ensure timely diagnosis, treatment, and support. You can search Patient Navigator affiliates here. And The Breast Health Education program directly educates woman about breast cancer through in-person meetings, materials provided at events, and online platforms. You can learn more about The Breast Health Education program here.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation is a unique and special player in the fight against breast cancer. The NBCF’s programs and services support women in meaningful and innovative ways. The NBCF is a guiding light during a time which can be incredibly dark.
Code for America:
Code for America is, in its own words, “a network of people making government work for the people, by the people, in the 21st century,” and to, “help government work better for the people who need it most.” If that sounds like a big goal, it’s because it is. Code for America knows what it is attempting to achieve is a massive and unending undertaking.
That is why Code for America calls on all Americans to lend their voices, ideas, and efforts. Remember, Code for America states their work is being done for the people and by the people. And Code for America proves that we can achieve remarkable results when we come together and work toward the greater good for all people.
Code for America was founded by Jennifer Pahlka in 2009. Pahlka is the former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This position afforded her a deep and intimate understanding of the widening schism between public and private sectors, specifically regarding technology and design. Code for America works tirelessly to evolve the way we interface with our government.