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Get to Know Partners for Rural Health, an Incredible Organization

Monthly DonationThis month, Brown Paper Tickets picked Partners for Rural Health in the Dominican Republic for our donation gift.

Partners for Rural Health is an incredible organization, established in 1995 by the University of Southern Maine, College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Twice a year, they send out healthcare professionals and other volunteers to 15 mountain villages to provide healthcare to over 2,000 people in homes, schoolrooms, and churches. Not only do they administer healthcare, they also offer basic education in nutrition, disease prevention, dental health, and hygiene, including a certificate-training program for community health promoters.

As someone from the Dominican Republic, I really appreciate what this organization does for my country’s people. The work they do is tough – it brings to mind my own volunteer experience for a different organization. We labored tirelessly for three days to bring basic medical care to the people in Bayaguana, DR. I can’t believe Partners for Rural Health does a similar thing twice a year—it deserves immense gratitude and respect.

With our help, they can continue to assist those in need in the Dominican Republic.

While other similar programs rarely return to the same location, Partners for Rural Health has a sustained program in place that provides consistent access and continuity of care to the people in the villages. They are making a considerable difference in the long-term health and quality of life for the thousands that depend on their return.

Their return depends on us.

Get Involved with Partners for Rural Health

Volunteer. Doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, dentists, interpreters, Peace Corps, pharmacists, physical therapists, clinic greeters, and intake staff comprise their volunteer group. That said, neither a medical background nor Spanish-speaking one is necessary. There are many other ways that volunteers can contribute.

Join Partners for Rural Health on one of their trips.

Donate. Your donations are tax deductible and used to purchase medical supplies, equipment, administrative and transportation costs. Partners for Rural Health doesn’t have paid personnel; everyone, including the Board of Directors donates time. All of their donations come from individuals, companies and fundraising events.

Photo from Partners for Rural Health

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Charity Spotlight: Voices Against Violence

Did you know we make a contribution to a praise-worthy cause each month? If you’d like to suggest one, we would love to hear about it.

Our most recent donation goes to Voices Against Violence, an amazing organization that supports survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence and harassment, stalking, human trafficking and bullying.

Voices Against Violence’s mission is “to break the cycle of violence by providing comprehensive services for all victims and survivors and by creating social change through education and action.”

It started as a grassroots organization in 1981 when a group of women joined forces. It was originally called Plymouth Task Force Against Domestic Violence and in the beginning, volunteers used their personal homes to shelter domestic abuse survivors.

Twenty years later in 2001, the group became Voices Against Violence with an executive director, full-time staff, Board of Directors and a trained group of volunteers. This amazing organization has “taken thousands of crisis line calls and have offered information and support, court advocacy, support groups for women and children and community education to 18 towns.” 

Voices Against Violence provides an array of services, including:

• Information and support
• 24-hour hotline at (877) 221- 6176
• Sexual assault support
• Police accompaniment
• Emergency shelter

Here’s a comprehensive list.

How to Help Voices Against Violence

Learn. Read books, watch documentaries and become knowledgeable about domestic violence. According to the Voices Against Violence website, “You might find that once you learn about it, that you suddenly see it all around you.”  If you see it, contact the appropriate authority figures or reach out to an organization like Voices Against Violence.

Listen. If someone close to you is experiencing abuse, the best thing to do is listen and prevent them from becoming isolated. An abuser will do their best to keep the victim isolated; it is how they remain in control.

Speak Up. If someone you know is abusing or controlling a family member, and you feel it is safe for the victim and yourself, speak up. Letting an abuser know that their behavior is unacceptable definitely has an impact.

Here are more ways to help end domestic violence.

Domestic and sexual violence is unfortunately, prevalent and survivors desperately need services from Voices Against Violence. Please consider donating a monetary gift or items from their wish list.

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Charity Spotlight: Ending Hunger with Food For Thought

Food for Thought DenverEvery month Brown Paper Tickets donates to worthy causes. We select our charity from a list of online suggestions that our users submit.

We’re excited to introduce our most recent charity donation pick: Food for Thought Denver. This passion project is run entirely by volunteers and supplies local kids with PowerSacks. Their mission is to eliminate weekend hunger in Denver’s Title 1 elementary schools. Colorado is the third fastest growing state for childhood hunger and one in four families do not have enough to meet basic needs.

For some kids, school offers their only consistent food source.

“During the school week, children from low-income families in Denver Public Schools receive free and reduced lunches at school. Often the lunch they receive at school on Friday is the last meal they eat until they arrive back at school on Monday. Teachers and principals report that many students come to school on Monday mornings hungry, complaining of stomachaches, headaches and unable to focus and learn.”Food For Thought website

Food For Thought extends the resource for weekend sustenance by providing PowerSacks to each child who qualifies for free lunches, in seven schools at the end of every school week.

It’s a big job.

What is a PowerSack?

Each PowerSack has nine to thirteen items, enough to feed a family of four two meals. They have distributed over 239,200 PowerSacks, and last school year they provided 72,000 PowerSacks to 2,000 students in 7 elementary schools. That’s so impressive.

What We Loved Most

It is a 100% volunteer-run program.

“Blown away by all the generous people and organizations, the dedicated volunteers, the sweet and grateful kids, the kind teachers and principals. This is a true grassroots effort that is helping the very best of mankind to shine.” – Volunteer Testimonial

With low overhead and an advisory board that handles administration and fundraising, donations go right into the substance of the program. This means that all donations go directly to purchasing food and making a direct impact for the kids they serve.

3 Ways to Support Food For Thought

1 – Donate
The cost of each PowerSacks is $4 and 100% of the donations are used to buy food for students.

2 – Amazon Smile
If you shop on Amazon, you can use this link to make your purchases and .05% will be donated to the Arvada Sunrise Rotary Foundation, who will in turn earmark the funds for Food For Thought.

3 – Volunteer
If you happen to be in the Denver area, volunteers are needed and appreciated. Food For Thought told us that “volunteers are the heart and soul,” of their organization.

Image from Food For Thought’s Facebook page

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A Celebration of Giving – #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday

It is valuable to ourselves and our communities to learn to be giving, not just with our money, but also with our time. I am a firm believer that you reap what you sow and am fortunate to work for a company that encourages its employees to give back. This year I’ve joined the Brown Paper Tickets Not-Just-For-Profit Team, where I facilitate company donations and group volunteering. Additionally, I use our company sponsored Paid Time-On hours to volunteer in my community. I am excited to share with you one of the newest Thanksgiving traditions that has gained popularity over the past few holiday seasons.

Giving Tuesday is a movement that was started by a team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact (https://www.92y.org/innovation), a cultural center in New York City in 2012. It is celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and is a socially responsible addition to the popular shopping days like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. This movement celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy to events throughout the year.

According to GivingTuesday.Org, Giving Tuesday has been bringing people together around the values of service and giving back—#GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities, and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

Here are my 3 steps to getting started this Giving Tuesday and holiday season:

1. Heart Check

Why are you giving/volunteering? What are your motivations to do so? I believe there are motives behind everything we do. I always like to keep my self-grounded and make the most impact there is a need. When looking to do some volunteer work or donate I ask myself, ‘am I doing this because I want something in return?’ or, ‘am I sincerely looking out for the well being of others?’. Wherever you feel called to volunteer or donate this holiday season, check in with yourself, and share what you can. If you find a cause that speaks to your heart, you will likely stay involved and make a direct impact.

2. Research

Look for opportunities to serve your community or places to give. Whether you love helping people, animals or the environment, find a good cause that speaks to you and needs help. Feel free to get creative as well! I remember one Thanksgiving my family made sandwiches, bought a large tub of hot coffee and some donuts, then drove around and shared them with some of the homeless people in our neighborhood. On another occasion, some of my friends and I set some time aside on a Christmas morning and distributed “lunch bags” to the needy in the Far Rockaway community in Queens, NY.
*Disclaimer: A food permit is needed to handle food. Please look up any restrictions in your local area.

3. Have Fun

Whatever you decide to do make sure that you enjoy every second of it. Know that whether you are donating money or volunteering you are making a difference. I think it is important to not get wrapped up in our own lives and fail to see the need around us. We might not be able to change the world but we can make a difference in our communities.

Infusing the practice of giving and being open to receiving can bring joy and affect every aspect of our lives. I have learned from both sides of this practice. Several years ago, my family benefited from the giving. Here is my account:

Ever since I moved to the United States, I have lived with my paternal grandmother. When I was 15 years old, she and my aunt got together and bought their first home. Oh, the excitement! However, years passed and they never paid a water bill. I am not sure why but they never got a water bill, it just never arrived and no one ever realized.

One day, the homes that did not pay their water bill were published in a Mayor NYC Newspaper and there was our address. The embarrassment!

Of course, my grandmother freaked out and made payment arrangements with the company right away. After several months of making payments towards the amount due, we stopped getting the monthly payment slips. Grandma asked me to call the water company on her behalf and inquire about it. I remember this like it was yesterday, it was during my lunch break at my previous job, my jaw dropped when I heard the agent say,

“I am sorry ma’am but you currently do not owe any money, which is why you haven’t received a bill from us.”

“No! That cannot be right. We owe close to $10,000 and I know for a fact that payment for the complete amount has not been made,” I responded.

The agent placed me on hold to investigate, then came back on the line and told me that not only was the balance paid, but we had extra funds to cover the bill for a few more months. To this date and we are still not sure how this bill was paid, but one thing is for certain we reaped what we have sown for so many years. Over the years many similar things have happened to us, this is the story with the most financial impact thus far.

It is worth to mention that since this my family has become a giving family, not only with finances but also with time. Giving has been something that we have done in our house on a weekly basis; because of this example I’ve learned to be a giving person, and hope to pass on these traits to my daughter. My purpose is that through these lines my passion to help those who cannot help themselves be transmitted to those around me, and yes that includes you too!

Happy Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, and Holiday Season!

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Charity of the Month: The Beatitude House

BeatitudeHouse Scholarship RecipientEach month, Brown Paper Tickets donates 5% of profits to a charity submitted through our charity donation page. See our previous donation recipients.

Ursuline Sister Margaret Scheetz was so inspired by the film God Bless the Child that she opened the Beatitude House. The film tells the tale of a mother and daughter caught in poverty and homelessness. The mother is forced to face a tough decision to give up her daughter so that she can have a better life.

The nonprofit and nondenominational organization understands that a healthy family is essential for the community. The Beatitude House provides an array of programs to improve people’s lives. Primarily, educational opportunities and homes while the mother obtains an education and works towards employment.

To be eligible, the recipient must be considered homeless according to HUD. Additionally, The Beatitude House offers programs of “Fostering Better Families” where mothers are taught how to interact in a constructive, nurturing way with their children through activities.

Words from a Beatitude House Graduate

Sarah Ludwick, 2005 Beatitude House graduate, will be awarded the 2017 Karen R. Murphy Beatitude House Scholarship. This scholarship was created in memory of Karen R. Murphy, a thirty-year teacher and guidance counselor. The scholarship recognizes the achievement of a woman who has completed the Beatitude House Program.

“Beatitude House is an amazing program,” said Ludwick. At the age of fifteen Ludwick found herself with little self-value and on a road of poor decision-making. Three years later, she met a man who claimed he loved her. “I believed him through five years of alcoholism and emotional abuse until he finally left me alone with our two young boys and no ability to make it financially.”

In the process of being evicted from her house, Ludwick, thought she and her children were on their way to a homeless shelter, but a social worker from Help Me Grow intervened and told Ludwick about Beatitude House. “Walking into our furnished apartment, I was overwhelmed by the welcome I felt and seeing the stuffed animals on the bed that was made-up for my children,” she said.

Ludwick began meeting with a caseworker who taught her financial literacy, as well as a child advocate. “These experiences showed me that I was capable of more than mediocrity,” she added.

Gaining self-value and a wealth of life skills from Beatitude House, she decided to go back to college. “I see how I’ve grown as a person since that time, and I’ve decided not to settle for anything less,” she said. Ludwick is pursuing a degree in social work so she can help others make a better life. “I see gifts in other people that they don’t see, and I want to show them how to use those gifts to help themselves,” she added.

Ludwick hopes to graduate with a B.A. in Social Work in 2019.

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May Charity Pick: Homeless Prenatal Program

homeless prenatal program

Every month, Brown Paper Tickets donates at least 5% of profits to a charity from a pool of online charity submissions. See last month’s selection.

I’m thrilled to announce our May charity: The Homeless Prenatal Program.  This San Francisco-based organization partners with families to break the cycle of childhood poverty.

As a new mother, I cannot help but to put myself in the shoes of the expectant mothers and mothers the Homeless Prenatal Program assists. Every mother wants to provide their children with a safe environment, one where they do not lack basic needs. For single mothers and mothers with financial challenges, this universal want is made more difficult.

Founded in 1989, Homeless Prenatal Program offers an array of services/programs to the community, including:

• Prenatal and parenting support
• Housing
• Family economic success program
• Community technology center
• Stabilizing families
• Community health worker training

These services and programs educate families about health during pregnancy, effective parenting, education and/or monetary assistance with housing, financial education and others. The community has access to the technology center where they are taught how to use a computer and can create email accounts and resumes, as well as search the web.

As stated on their website, the Homeless Prenatal Program believes that “building a strong foundation of stable support for families requires addressing issues related to mental health, domestic violence, and substance abuse in our clients’ lives, in addition to basic emergency needs and childcare.”

The Homeless Prenatal Program also has a 14-month paid training program that prepares women for employment in career fields for a path to financial security. They also often give jobs to those who benefit from their services and programs.

Here’s how to get involved with their fantastic mission:

• Donate
• Sponsor an event
• Check out their “in kind donation wishlist” to make a gift that will benefit one of these families.
• If you’re in the San Francisco area, sign up to volunteer.

 

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