Going with the theme of my involvement in non-profit organisations, I wanted to describe the movements I am most involved in and those that I fully support and have for years. I hope that you are inspired by these organisations and that during my campaigning over the next several years that you will support me by helping me spread the word on these issues.
I would like to attribute my involvement in campaigning and passion for helping others to my parents who spurred my support through a program called Compassion International. We started sponsoring children way back when we lived in California for the second time in the late 90′s? I think. It was definitely before 2000.
“At Compassion we take a committed, long-term approach to fighting child poverty. Our Holistic Child Development Model is made up of four comprehensive programs investing in children from the beginning of their lives until they’ve reached adulthood, and covering everything from prenatal care to university-level education. Our one-to-one Child Sponsorship Program allows you to personally connect with a specific child and build a life-changing relationship. When you sponsor a child, you have the opportunity to influence that child during adolescence, one of the most pivotal developmental periods.”
Over the years I believe we have sponsored 3 children. At this point, I can’t even call them children because we have seen 2 of them through the entire program. Damarisi, who was the first person we sponsored has been out of the program for at least a year now and is 22 years old. She lives in Rwanda and I have written and received so many letters with her for so long. Gisely lives in Honduras and is 13 now, but the Compassion program was forced to leave their area and we could not sponsor her any longer. We still sponsor Asha, who is going to be 19 in June and she lives in Uganda.
On my own accord, I began to get involved with non-profits. I will start off with the Campaign I have been involved with the longest: The ONE Campaign.
“ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. Co-founded by Bono and other campaigners, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African activists and policy makers.”
I have been a member of ONE for as long as I can remember being involved with non-profit organisations. I believe it’s been about 6 or 7 years since I started promoting the issues The ONE Campaign introduced that affect global poverty including HIV/Aids and agriculture. Whenever asked about what ONE is, one sentence describes it all: “The campaign to make poverty history.”
Through media put out by ONE including a variety of celebrities over the years, the members of ONE “have played an important role in persuading political leaders to create and/or fund smart, effective programs and policies that have saved lives and improved futures in poor countries.”
The next organisation I would like to bring up is Invisible Children. I don’t quite remember exactly how my involvement with IC originally started, but I can say that I have been the most active in campaigning for IC ever since.
“Invisible Children is a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with people affected by Africa’s longest running war. We focus on improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable members of the community and raising up future leaders through providing access to quality education, enhancing learning environments and creating innovative economic opportunities within communities across Northern Uganda. Invisible Children also focuses on using media to inspire intelligent activism in the western world. By documenting the lives of people who have been affected by the LRA, we hope to educate and inspire individuals to use their unique voice for change and become part of a grassroots movement that aims to rally the international community to stop Joseph Kony and end this war.”
The latest campaign that I was a part of was the 25 campaign in April of last year. “On April 25th of 2011 91,355 supporters went silent for 24 hours and in doing so raised close to $2 million for the projects under Invisible Children’s Protection Plan. This money is allowing us to begin building the region’s first rehabilitation center for child soldiers. It’s also creating radio towers that will help protect remote villages from LRA violence.” I have also been donating monthly to the TRI program. “TRI is made up of an army of individuals dedicated to the rescue of Joseph Kony’s child soldiers. TRI members give $3 a week so that they can get the message to the masses, fuel global activism, and transform policy toward peace.”
What I would really like to do is become an Invisible Children Roadie at some point. The Roadies get 5 weeks of training from IC with all of the information needed to present new media and spread the word to college campuses and other places around the country. Then they go out and drive around the US for 3 months to be at the front lines of the movement to fight the LRA and spread the message of Invisible Children to the youth of America. The Roadies made a trip to UNCG last spring and I was so incredibly excited. I’ve been watching the new media put out by IC every year, but it was something special to be able to watch the Tony documentary with the IC Roadies present. On the tour of the Tony documentary, there were three IC team members and an IC supported peer from Uganda that has witnessed the effects of the Lord’s Resistance Army first hand. This is a life-changing documentary that shows not only what the youth (Tony) of Uganda are going through and how they fight for life every day, but also shows you how the work of IC volunteers is amazing. Nate had always wanted to go to Uganda and when he finally was able to go and was watching the World Cup with Tony, there was an attack on the area and unfortunately Nate passed away. It is the work of volunteers to spread the word about what is going on in these countries so that we can make a difference in the lives that are there. You can watch the trailer for the Tony documentary below.
Another organisation that I support is To Write Love on Her Arms. “To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.” I love TWLOHA for the fact that it helps so many people to realise that they are loved. They do a lot of work with bands and music which is a really easy avenue for spreading their message of help to people who need it.
I have volunteered with Warped Eco Initiative (WEI) for a couple of years now at Warped Tour to help recycle and reduce the carbon footprint of the tour. Some of you may know that I am a recycling nut, and WEI lets me combine my love of music and recycling all in one day!
Of course, now I am a part of The Global Poverty Project, if you didn’t know that from my posts over the last couple of days. “The Global Poverty Project is the vision of Hugh Evans and Simon Moss, both of whom were intimately involved in the Australian MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign. These two campaigners are committed to ending extreme poverty, and believe that citizens from around the world can make this vision a reality. We exist to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action so that we can see a world without extreme poverty within a generation.”
I can’t wait until training weekend so that I can learn the tools needed to effectively spread the message of eradicating global extreme poverty. The ONE Campaign and The GPP are very similar, so I hope to use my training from The GPP to advance my success in campaigning for the goals of both of these organisations.
So that’s a little bit of insight into the organisations I am most passionate about. If you have any questions, please post a comment on this post and I’ll answer for you!
Also, I would really appreciate it if you would spread my blog around to anyone you know so that I can get the word out on these issues to more people.
Thank you so much!