Sunday, September 17, 2006

Non-Profit Tools and Inspiration

Inspired by the non-profit blog of Britt Bravo, I gathered up a few resources for those who are interested with a hidden desire to invoke social change.

Once upon a time, I wanted to set up a co-op of women to do quilting and crocheting. We got started but then I wasn't equipped to take them to the next level. I remember those days as my days of clarity. Even if many people laughed at me ("Why are you doing this? Will you make money?"--non-profit nga e), the urge was so strong, it felt sacrilegious to not follow. To those who understand NGO's and the desire to help, I have no need to explain. And although I did not make money, i know the mothers did.

I have many pictures in Manila of the women who quilted and crocheted, our projects, our sessions in Welfareville, Mandaluyong, under the Unang Hakbang Foundation (UHF). But I have only a souvenir quilt with me now. UHF bought many quilts for a trade bazaar. I tried to sell the crochet trims to my friends in the children's clothing business. I am so bad in sales, but with the NGO, I wasn't shy. And for awhile, one quilting mom said, "Ang laking tulong, ma'm. Meron kaming nakukuha na pang-gastos."

Today, I cannot put together an NGO, instead I can be the beneficiary of many.

But to those who need more inspiration, check out the links. I want to prove that it takes just a little to do a lot. And really, all you need is your burning desire to give back:

Streetside Kids
Through the power of storytelling, Streetside Stories values and cultivates young people's voices, fostering educational equity and building community, literacy and arts skills. Streetside always need volunteers during the school year to help SFUSD middle school students to write autobiographical stories in their Storytelling Exchange Program and after school programs and to create digital stories in their Tech Tales program.

People's Grocery is a community-based organization working to find creative solutions to the food needs of the residents of West Oakland by building a local food system and local economy. They believe everyone deserves healthy food, regardless of income and it's about "food justice" - the human right to Healthy Food for Everyone.

Kick Start promotes sustainable economic growth and employment creation in Kenya and other countries by developing and promoting technologies that can be used by dynamic social entrepreneurs to establish and run profitable small scale enterprises, like a pump or a toilet system.

And then there are some books I came across:

My favorite book and inspiration is
Stone Soup for the World: Life-Changing Stories of Kindness and Courageous Acts of Service
-- 100 stories of compassion and volunteerism, a celebration of ordinary people, sometimes kids, doing extraordinary acts of healing and building in their community--a testament to prove how much people can accomplish if only they open their hearts and contribute what we can towards the common good.

Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes
How do you motivate people to give money, take action, or otherwise advance your worthy cause? The right marketing, says this book.

Imagine Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women

Managing a Non-Profit Organization in the 21st Century

In the link are other non-profit marketing strategies. I will have to add this one to my wish list.

Oh and I changed my mind, even if I am not in a financially stable position, I can still put together something--like sending used books and toys from here to poor schools over in the Philippines. Interested?

How shall we change the world today?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

2 a.m. with visitors from Manila

My bout with homesickness was calmed with a visit from some of my high school friends, Lizzie and Marga, from Manila. With their hectic tourist schedule, I was so glad fellow Bay Area resident, Iyette, took time to visit me here in faraway Antioch.

Ahh, if everyone could just have downtime like this with girlfriends every week, America would be a better place. We chatted, laughed, ate, drank until 2 am on a weekday--very rare for the USA. How refreshing that Iyette couldn't care less if she was meeting her boss early the next day or that she was driving them home tonight.

"Parang nasa Alexandra lang tayo," exclaimed Liz over and over again.
"Just like our nights-out in Manila!" said Marga.

We all concluded that our best friend is Malou. We missed Angel, Nats, and Ava.

And as I washed the dishes at 2 am, I was actually really happy and thinking: That's the thing with old friends, even across time and distance, you never skip a beat. There are things even America cannot change.

I am so glad they took this break, too!

Thanks, girls! Hope to see you again soon!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Contra Loma Regional Park

We are lucky to live near the Contra Loma Regional Park's 776 acres which include an 80-acre reservoir for year-round fishing and a lifeguarded swim lagoon for summertime swimming. Year-round hiking, biking, and nature study are available to all at this Contra Costa County oasis, home to squirrels, butterflies, birds, quails and other small animals.

Many tours are held here by naturalists, botanists, gardeners, and nature-lovers. Many celebrations are held over these benches and barbeque pits.

I hope to get my husband in for some family time--kite-flying and grill some steak. I feel so far away from him as he slugs it out in his 9 to 5 job. I miss not having friends to chat with as I discover these places and go at them alone.

It is beautiful here, but lonely.

Meanwhile, I spent some quiet time here, taking in the view, and testing out my new camera. Yipee!