Our August local charity spotlight is Simply Amazing. Simply Amazing Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 and is inspired by the positive creative energy of Emily Smith. The mission of Simply Amazing (SA) is to provide art and craft supplies that inspire creativity and empower deserving children.
Simply Amazing gives the gift of a Simply Amazing Creative Box (“SACB”) to children who live in temporary housing or foster care, or participate in youth at-risk programs. Each SACB is for a child’s personal use and includes art and creative supplies that are safe and easy to use, along with information and guided activities to stimulate creativity and imagination.
There are countless programs that serve at-risk youth in Central Florida. Although homelessness in Florida has decreased in the past 10 years, Florida still ranks 5th in the nation for homeless families. Central Florida has at least 6 homeless shelters for families with children. The Coalition for the Homeless, located in downtown Orlando, serves about 140 children, with their families, each night. The average age of a child at the Coalition is just 7 years old. One foster care program in the area is The Children’s Home Society of Orlando and they serve approximately 6,000 children in their counseling and foster care programs. The Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida sees more than 15,000 children walk through their doors for their daily programs.
Children who are thrust into unfamiliar living arrangements or stressful home life situations are powerless to change their circumstances. The Coalition for the Homeless reports that, “homeless children often struggle with self-esteem issues, as many have been exposed to tragedy and abuse, and they desperately need opportunities to express themselves in a positive way”. Established entities such as religious outreach programs, community centers, homeless shelters, food banks, government programs, as well as other philanthropic organizations, all provide some aspect of youth development and basic needs, however, to our knowledge, there currently are no charitable organizations specifically focused on enriching the lives of at-risk youth through the distribution of personal art and creative supplies.
Researchers have found that art for kids promotes confidence, creativity, problem solving skills, patience and determination. Therapists feel that art is valuable for children as it helps them process and deal with scary emotions in a safe way. (1) Simply Amazing will supply the creative tools, instructions, and encouragement for these children to artistically express themselves and provide a respite from their current situations.
Simply Amazing is distinctive in the marketplace by putting the art and creative resources directly in the hands of children, not to share, but to have something they can call ‘my own’, Simply Amazing Creative Box.
Their 2019 goal is to distribute 1,000 Simply Amazing Creative Boxes to Central Florida nonprofits that serve children who live in temporary housing or foster care, or participate in youth at-risk programs. As of June 15, 2019, we will have distributed 905 SACB. Our recipients are Foundation for Foster Children, Children’s Home Society, The Faine House, Orlando Children’s Church, Orlando Day Nursery, Small Steps for Compassion, and the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida.
Organize a Supply Drive
Support the simply amazing cause by having your business or school conduct a simply amazing supply drive. collect new or gently used art and craft supplies and a simply amazing ambassador will arrange for pick-up.
Host a box packing party
Party for a cause - host a simply amazing box packing party with friends and family at your home, school, or office. a simply amazing ambassador will deliver all the box contents, lead the packing activity, and take away the finished boxes.
Become an Ambassador
Volunteer to pick-up supply drive donations or lead a box packing party. Spread the word about simply amazing. -share and like our Facebook and Instagram pages and talk about them to your friends and family.
We will be collecting donations at our August 21st Girls Night Out Networking Social. Here are a list of items that are needed:
Our July local charity spotlight is The Jobs Partnership of Florida. The Jobs Partnership was founded in 1999 and is a faith-based, non-profit 501(c)3 organization headquartered in Orlando, Florida, dedicated to building a healthy workforce through the transformation of the economically trapped, by empowering them with God’s truth, elevating their workplace abilities and attitudes, and enhancing their employability. The Jobs Partnership’s core values are based on the belief that all people were created and designed by God to not just work, but to live a fruitful life. The organization’s work has proven that a good job not only restores dignity and purpose to the person employed, but it benefits the community by diminishing poverty, crime and countless other eroding effects. The Jobs Partnership’s vision is to strengthen whole communities for generations.
The Jobs Partnership is offers LifeWorks Training, Career Pathways, Community Resource Fairs, Career Fairs, the Job Connection website, educational opportunities, mentorship and other programs and resources.
“To inspire and equip people for success at work and life”
Nearly half of all households in our community are struggling on a daily basis to provide food, rent, childcare and transportation for themselves and their families. About two-thirds are economically trapped, and may be working at one or more low-paying jobs that don’t pay nearly enough to cover the basics. Many of these men and women qualify for public assistance, but even this isn’t enough to close the gap between their income and their bills. A lack in communication and interpersonal skills, secondary education or vocational training and a very limited social network leaves many with an outlook of hopelessness. The effects of unemployment and underemployment hinders progress, erodes families, and imperils future generations. It affects our entire community, now and in the future. For more information please refer to the 2018 ALICE Report.
THE JOB PARTNERSHIP’S SOLUTION
The Jobs Partnership provides a proven solution built on the Biblical truth that all people are created and designed by God to work, to be fruitful and to have purpose in their lives. Together with our Church Partners and Volunteers, they provide an innovative, no-cost 12-week training course called LifeWorks for men and women who are stalled in their lives, their jobs, or both. This course isn’t a job skills class or government program– it’s a bootcamp for life and work, with trained volunteer Coaches and relevant, practical teaching that transforms the head and heart. During the course, Participants are paired with a Coach who becomes their mentor and advocate, invited to attend exclusive Employer Partner Career Fairs and Community Resource Fairs, and are able to use their own online job portal, Orlando Job Connection. Upon graduation, qualified Students are guided in choosing the right next step, whether it’s new career opportunities, specialized vocational training through Career Pathways with their extensive network of Community and Employer Partners or higher education. Our Coaches form meaningful relationships with Participants through the entire process, connecting them to the right people, resources and employers, with the goal of a full-time, family-sustaining career with more opportunities to continue The Way Up. (you can learn more about “The Way Up” on their website.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Volunteers work together as a team to support the LifeWorks clases, provide mentorship to students, serve as instructors and even work on signature events and one-time projects.
Their diverse and extensive network of Church, employer, educational, and community resource partners are the reason why the are making an impact not only around the working poor whom they serve, but among the very people and organizations that are co-laboring with them.
Monetary donations of any kind are greatly appreciated. You can learn more on how to donate here.
You can learn more about The Jobs Partnership of Florida at our July 22nd GNO at Wahlburgers in Waterford Lakes as a representative from the organization will be there to answer any questions that you might have. You can also visit their website: www.jobspartnership.org and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jobspartnershipfl
Be sure to register for your FREE ticket to our July 22nd
Girls Night Out Networking Social & Meetup here.
Our May local charity spotlight is Wreaths Across America (American Legion Auxiliary South Lake Memorial Unit 55); a perfect match with Memorial Day coming up! Plus, I come from a Military town (Hampton Roads in Virginia) so this hits close to home for me.
It all began with a little boy...
Wreaths Across America all started because of one boy’s first visit to Arlington National Cemetery in our nation’s capital. This boy, then man, became the owner of Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine. In 1992, Worcester Wreath found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering his boyhood experience at Arlington, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor our country’s veterans. With the aid of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year. This went on as an annual tribute for several years, until 2005, when a photo of the stones at Arlington, adorned with wreaths and covered in snow, circulated around the internet. Suddenly, the project received national attention. Thousands of requests poured in from all over the country from people wanting to help with Arlington, to emulate the Arlington project at their National and State cemeteries, or to simply share their stories and thank Morrill Worcester for honoring our nation’s heroes.
As demand grew, the Worcester family, along with veterans, and other groups and individuals, formed Wreaths Across America in 2007. To read the full history, please go HERE.
“The annual trip to Arlington and the groups of volunteers eager to participate in Worcester’s simple wreath-laying event grew each year until it became clear the desire to remember and honor our country’s fallen heroes was bigger than Arlington, and bigger than this one company.”
Remember. Honor. Teach.
In 2008, over 300 locations held wreath-laying ceremonies in every state, Puerto Rico and 24 overseas cemeteries. Over 100,000 wreaths were placed on veterans’ graves. Over 60,000 volunteers participated. And that year, December 13, 2008 was unanimously voted by the US Congress as “Wreaths Across America Day”.
In 2014, Wreaths Across America and its national network of volunteers laid over 700,000 memorial wreaths at 1,000 locations in the United States and beyond, including ceremonies at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, as well as Bunker Hill, Valley Forge and the sites if the September 11 tragedies. This was accomplished with help from 2,047 fundraising groups, corporate contributions, and donations of trucking, shipping, and thousands of helping hands. The organization's goal of covering Arlington National Cemetery was met in 2014 with the placement of 226,525 wreaths.
The wreath-laying is still held annually, on the second or third Saturday of December. WAA's annual pilgrimage from Harrington, Maine to Arlington National Cemetery has become known as the world’s largest veterans’ parade, stopping at schools, monuments, veterans’ homes and communities all along the way to remind people how important it is to remember, honor and teach.
American Legion Auxiliary South Lake Memorial unit 55 (FL0236P)
Our local unit here in Orlando is currently sponsoring 7 cemeteries and 750 Veterans graves!
On Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 11:35 AM, American Legion Auxiliary South Lake Memorial Unit 55 (FL0236P) will be helping Oak Hill Cemetery to Remember and Honor our veterans by laying Remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country's fallen heroes.
Please help them honor and remember as many fallen heroes as possible by sponsoring remembrance wreaths, volunteering on Wreaths Day, or inviting your family and friends to attend with you.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
What does it mean to sponsor a veteran’s wreath? It means you’ll honor an American hero at one of more than 1,600 locations nationwide this year on Wreaths Across America Day. It’s a day that’s been set aside to lay wreaths at the places where we remember, honor and teach about our veterans. Learn more about sponsoring 1 or more wreaths, including monthly sponsorship HERE.
We will have representatives from WAA at our GNO at Bartaco on May 20th and they will be offering their current May special: Sponsor one Wreath for $15.00, earn another one for free!
Sign up to be a volunteer! You can help lay wreaths, help raise funds for wreath sponsorships, and more! Learn more on the website or by speaking with our representatives at our event.
Donate at our GNO
Our local unit also collections donated canned goods for veterans in need. We will be collecting these donations at our Girls Night Out Networking Social at Bartaco on May 20th! WAA will have a table where you can donate, sponsor wreaths, and get more information on how to get involved!
Show Your Support
On Wreaths Across America Day or anytime, anywhere, you can show your support for our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach. Browse an exclusive selection of Apparel, Gifts, Decor and more. Go HERE to learn more.
Be sure to register for your FREE ticket to our May 20th Girls Night Out Networking Social at Bartaco
by clicking HERE!
Our March local charity spotlight is Ten Thousand Villages in Winter Park. Their name, “Ten Thousand Villages,” was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages… we have hardly ever paused to inquire if these folks get sufficient to eat and clothe themselves with.”. Because in every village are people who want to live a meaningful life with dignity and who bring beautiful culture worth sharing. Multiply the village idea by ten thousand and it represents the world we’re working to build.
TTV’s mission is to create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.
One day all artisans in developing countries will earn a fair wage, be treated with dignity and respect and be able to live a life of quality”
Since 1946, they have provided over $140 million in sustainable income to artisans in developing countries who would have otherwise been unemployed or underemployed.
Ten Thousand Villages is more than a store. They're a global maker‑to‑market movement. They're a way for you to shop with intention for ethically-sourced wares — and to share in the joy of connecting with makers in ten thousand villages. As a pioneer of fair trade, they do business differently, putting people and planet first. That means you can trust that every handmade purchase you make from them directly impacts the life and community of its maker in a developing country.
Ten Thousand Villages is committed to these ethical practices:
EVERY HANDCRAFTED PRODUCT GENERATES INCOME - AND IMPACT
Their average buying relationship with artisan groups is 25 years. That's enough time to see their children grow into adulthood and enough time to see the impact this movement has created.
About TTV’s Baskets
Gathered from Nature
By shopping fair trade, you are supporting makers in the developing world. The more products they sell, the more orders they can place through their artisan partner groups, and that means more dignified and sustainable employment opportunities become available to the people who need it most. You can shop online HERE or at their store in Winter Park!
Like TTV on Facebook, pin them on your Pinterest board or follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Learn about the lives of their artisan partners, the stories behind their products, and how to bring these products into your everyday life by reading their blog.
As a nonprofit enterprise, they rely on more than 1,000 volunteers to help them accomplish their mission. Volunteers help out with many aspects of their operations, from the warehouse to the sales floor. Find out how you can give back and volunteer.
COMMUNITY SHOPPING BENEFITS
If you are looking for a unique way to raise money for a special nonprofit or cause, consider a Shopping Benefit at Ten Thousand Villages Winter Park. Simply invite your membership to shop at the store during a designated day and time, and a percentage of the sales will be donated back to your organization.
Your friends and colleagues will enjoy shopping for gifts that give in three ways: to the artisans they support; to your own special cause; and to the person receiving the gift. For more information call the Winter Park store at 407-644-8464.
We are not able to collect monetary donations at our March event, however, you can donate online by visiting here.
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (“Coke Florida”), is celebrating Black History Month by giving back to their local communities while ensuring inclusiveness, stimulating economic empowerment, and encouraging education. In its 2019 program, Coke Florida will donate laptops to community partners across the state of Florida throughout February including local chapters of Boys & Girls Clubs. Other statewide community partners include 100 Black Men of Jacksonville, Inc., Hillsborough Education Foundation, Men of Vision, Inc, I’m a Star Foundation. Frontline for Kids and The Greatest Investment Girls' Empowerment Program (TGI).
“As Florida’s local Coca-Cola bottler, we are committed to further developing the communities in which we do business,” said Troy Taylor, Coke Florida’s Chairman and CEO. “This includes helping equip students with the resources needed to be successful in their academic environments.”
Coke Florida is also pleased to partner with Family Dollar who shares a similar commitment to community through their work with local Boys & Girls Clubs.
“It’s great to be able to partner with Family Dollar who shares the same commitment to support organizations across our state that are developing the next generation of great leaders who will ultimately make a difference in the world,” added Taylor.
Throughout the month of February, Family Dollar customers can help make a difference by purchasing any 6pk 500ml or 6pk 7.5oz mini-cans of Coca-Cola® products. Purchases will help local stores qualify to receive new laptops to donate to local Boys & Girls Clubs organizations in their direct communities.
“Family Dollar is proud to support our partnership with Coke Florida through its celebration of Black History Month,” said Donald Smith, Family Dollar’s Vice President of Marketing. “Initiatives like this enable us to positively impact our local communities and help America’s youth reach their full potential in a safe and supportive environment.”
For more information about Coke Florida’s commitment to education and community, the Black History Month partnership with Family Dollar and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, please visit Cocacolaflorida.com or join the conversation @CokeFlorida and @FamilyDollar on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) is a family-owned independent Coca-Cola bottler. Coke Florida’s exclusive sales and distribution territory covers over 18 million consumers across 47 Florida counties, and includes the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa. Coke Florida manufactures, sells and distributes over 600 products of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies including Monster Energy and BODYAMROR. Coke Florida is the third-largest privately-held, and the sixth-largest independent, bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States. The company is also one of America’s largest black-owned businesses. Coke Florida was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. For more information, please visit cocacolaflorida.com.
About Family Dollar
For more than 55 years, Family Dollar has been providing value and convenience to customers in easy-to-shop neighborhood locations. Family Dollar’s mix of name brands, and quality, private brand merchandise appeals to shoppers in more than 8,200 stores in rural and urban settings across 46 states. Helping families save on the items they need with everyday low prices creates a strong bond with customers who refer to their neighborhood store as “my Family Dollar.” Family Dollar, headquartered in Matthews, North Carolina, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dollar Tree, Inc. of Chesapeake, Virginia. For more information, please visit familydollar.com.
Our January local charity spotlight is Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. With January being our 1 year anniversary, I wanted to showcase Planned Parenthood for all the good they do for women (and men) in our community. Our local branch of Planned Parenthood provides essential reproductive health care services to neighboring communities and SO MUCH MORE. Their caring and knowledgeable staff provide a wide range of services; including testings, treatment, counseling, and referrals. Did you know they even provide primary health care services, gynecological exams, counseling on adoption, breast health, vasectomies, and services for those going through menopause changes?
The mission of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida is to provide affordable access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare and accurate health information through patient care, education and advocacy.
Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, an affiliate of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. began operations in 1966 and presently provides vital sexual health services and comprehensive sexuality education to women, men and teens throughout southwest and central Florida. Their commonsense approach to health and well-being is based on respect for each individual's right to make informed, independent decisions about health, sex, and family planning.
They seek a world in which all individuals have equal rights, dignity and privacy; where sexuality is expressed with honesty, equality and responsibility. They believe that every child should be a wanted and cared for child, and that the decision to bear children (or not) is private and voluntary.
CONFIDENTIAL AND FOR ALL
Planned Parenthood's sexual health services are individualized and confidential. They are dedicated to serving, educating, and protecting the confidentiality of women, men and teens seeking medical care. Health centers are welcoming to all, regardless of race, ancestry, national origin, creed, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, income or age. 1 in 5 American women has chosen Planned Parenthood for health care at least once in her life and we are committed to continuing to earn your trust.
Medical services include lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, breast health services, vasectomies and more. Planned Parenthood is also committed to providing comprehensive, age-appropriate and medically accurate sexuality education, and advocating for policies that enable Americans to access comprehensive reproductive and sexual health care, education, and information.
Health centers are conveniently located throughout our region and are open during daytime, evening and weekend hours. Planned Parenthood is here for you no matter what.
Call your elected officials - you can make a big difference by letting them know what you think on the issues
Be a Supporter - supporters let their patients know everyday that they are there for them - whether volunteering to stuff envelopes, host a house party, or act as a patient escort - their dedication and willingness to help others is astounding.
Interfaith Coalition - Religious voices are critical in conversations about reproductive health. Faith leaders in Central Florida have come together to develop an Interfaith Coalition Sign On Letter to not only display their support of reproductive health, rights, and justice but to also provide others with the opportunity to do the same.
Share your story - Your story will help them preserve and expand access to reproductive health care and information. Learn more about that here.
Monetary donations can be made via their website here.
We will be collecting donated goods at our January 14th Girls Night Out Networking Social at Bartaco.
For the health center patients:
I chose this amazing organization to shed some light on all the wonderful things they do for those in the community that might not have access to affordable healthcare or information. I hope that this post and by meeting the representatives at our event, you too will understand why this organization is so important to our community.
Our November local charity spotlight is Orlando Dream Center. The Orlando Dream Center Inc.’s mission is about rebuilding stories, one life at a time, by providing assistance to individuals and families, moving them towards self-sufficiency. At the Dream Center, they commit to loving the forsaken, remembering the forgotten, and pursuing the lost in our society. They want to make a difference in our community and our world, even if it means reaching one life at a time. They share faith, hope and love through holistic programs and education.
They believe that together, we can make it better for many. They are in phase one of the program by offering healthy food options to fight hunger and allow families stay in their homes. This program will help low income families, single parents, and working families who might not qualify for government subsidies such as food stamps or WIC. With donations, they can help build leadership and organize food drops in strategic areas in Central Florida.
Each of their groups and partners below are committed to meeting the physical, emotional, as well as spiritual needs of the families and individuals that they help.
Adopt A Block: Community Leadership Events
The Adopt A Block program is about revitalizing communities one block at a time. Their vision is to reach out to the community by offering free meals to families, educational programs for children, and work opportunities to parents.
They are rebuilding stories one life at a time. They are currently in phase one of the program, by offering healthy food options to fight hunger and allow families to stay in their homes. This program will help low income families, single parents, and working families who might not qualify for government subsidies, such as food stamps or WIC. With the help of generous donations, they can directly impact the lives of hundreds of people in the Orlando community and beyond.
Gentle Bottoms: Diaper Assistance
Diaper collection for children and adults for those in need.
Dream Kids: K - 12 After School Programs
Dream Kids is a new initiative for children ages 4 - 17 focusing on the importance of reading and writing by learning how to code. This initiative will develop Reading and Writing skills, problem solving and critical thinking by learning about computer programming, graphics arts, game design and mobile Apps development.
Manna for Life: Food Pantry
1045 Pine St, Orlando, Fl 32824
In 2017, Orlando Dream Center provided meals to hundreds of families in need, and in 2018 with Adopt A Block, they will reach thousands more!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
DONATE - MONETARY
With your generous contributions, you can directly impact the lives of hundreds of people in the Orlando community and beyond.
DONATE - GOODS
At our November 12th GNO, we will be helping collect donating goods that are needed by their food pantry, “Manna for Life.” We are hoping to help families be able to have a Thanksgiving to remember!
Items they need:
Our October local charity spotlight is Diaper Bank of Central Florida. Founded in 2015 by Eryn Vargo, a local mom that wanted to give back. Operated 100% by Eryn and her family, they rely solely on community support to be able to provide diapers to their partners. The very small amount of cash donations that they receive goes towards purchasing diapers and wipes when needed and also towards operating costs. The Diaper Bank of Central Florida is run out of Eryn’s garage and has distributed over 77,000 diapers to those in need – not only in Central Florida, but also 3,000 for Texas (Hurricane Harvey), 3,900 for SW FL (Hurricane Irma), and over 11,000 for Puerto Rico (Hurricane Maria)!
MISSION – THEIR “WHY”
To ensure every newborn, infant and toddler in our community is supplied with the most basic need-diapers.
There are no federal assistance programs that pay for or provide diapers-including WIC, Food Stamps and Medicare. Diapers are an unmet basic need for families. Daycare Centers require parents to provide disposable diapers. If a parent cannot afford diapers, he or she cannot leave their children in daycare, therefore the cycle of poverty continues because the parents cannot work or go to school. The need for diapers hits the most vulnerable in our community the hardest, especially when they cannot afford them. A clean change of diapers on a regular basis can cost up to $100/month (if not more)– for all stages of diaper needs.
Did you know, Nonprofits working with families and individuals consistently list diapers as an ongoing and TOP need? It’s true!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The Diaper Bank also needs community engagement to succeed; groups and individuals willing to run Diaper Drives and fundraisers to support their efforts and help them help babies across Orange County
HOST A DIAPER DRIVE
Looking for a unique way to give back to the community? Host a diaper drive at work, school, faith-based organization...anywhere! Email here to learn more.
Diapers that are donated to the Diaper Bank are split and distributed between their 3 partner agencies. There are some instances where they will direct donations directly to one of their partners.
WHAT THEY NEED
Any brand of diapers ,pull ups, or wipes, any size diapers or pull ups and even open packages of diapers are ok.
HOW TO DONATE
We will be collecting donations at our October 15thGirls Night Out event at Ellipsis Brewing. However, if you can’t make it, or want to continue donating, you can drop your donation off at the Central Christian Church, located at: 250 SW Ivanhoe Blvd., Orlando, FL 32804, on Tues-Thurs from 8am-4pm in the church office.
DO YOU NEED THE ASSISTANCE OF DIAPER BANK OF CENTRAL FLORIDA?
Those in need of diapers are directed to make an appointment with one of their 3 partner agencies that is closest to the person in need. Diapers and wipes (if available) are given to those in need directly from their partner agencies.
Keep up-to-date on the happenings of Diaper Bank of Central Florida, by following them on Facebook!
For more information, please email them at email@example.com.
Be sure to register for your FREE ticket to our October 15th GNO here.
This month is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so we have decided to partner again with The Magic Yarn Project of South Florida for our September Girls Night Out Networking Social.
About The Magic Yarn Project
Two moms started a project to make a few dozen princess yarn wigs for young girls battling cancer. Chemotherapy treatments leave young scalps too sensitive for traditional wigs, but yarn-wigs are comfy, soft, and warm. Magic yarn wigs are inspired by beloved Disney characters, and invite children back to the world of play and daydreaming. They are a beacon of fun, laughter, and play during a scary time. The demand for magic wigs grows daily!
The Magic Yarn Project of SF was our charity spotlight in April and you can learn more about all the amazing things they do for children with cancer, here!
Childhood Cancer Facts
Every 3 minutes another family is given the news that their child has cancer.
(from American Childhood Cancer Organization)
I implore you to research further and learn more about the heartbreaking statistics of Childhood Cancer and see how you can get involved! In the meantime, we will be collecting donated items at our Girls Night Out Networking Social at Sugar Factory Orlando on September 20th to assist with The Magic Yarn Project’s mission of providing fun and comfortable wigs for kids going through the horrors of cancer.
Most needed items:
Be sure to register for your FREE ticket to attend our networking social at Sugar Factory, here!
Our August local charity spotlight is A Gift For Teaching. Founded in 1998 by Gary Landwirth, A Gift for Teaching is Central Florida’s primary provider of free school supplies. They serve 287 public schools in Orange and Osceola counties. There are more than 240,000 kids whose families live at or below the poverty line in Central Florida, but the most shocking number is that 17,000 of those students are homeless.
Their mission is to improve public school education by providing resources and surplus materials free to teachers for their students in need.
Picture a child at school trying to write without a pencil, read without books or dream without the tools to put their ideas onto paper. This is the reality for far too many students in our community. For thousands, these basic learning tools are a luxury. In fact, more than 70% of the students in Central Florida come from families that can’t afford lunch, let alone school supplies. On top of this, teachers, on average, spend $500 – $1,000 out of their own pockets each year to provide basic supplies for their students! Because of these facts, A Gift For Teaching was founded.
At A Gift For Teaching, they believe that every child deserves a chance at an equal education, and though school supplies fulfill a basic need, they also know that learning is much more than just notebooks and multiplication tables. Therefore, they offer other programs as well!
A Gift For Music
A Gift For Music (AGFM) was founded in 1999 with the purpose of using music as a vehicle for the underserved urban youth in Orlando to envision a better future for themselves. AGFM has assembled some of the finest string music educators in Central Florida to mentor students on a musical journey from third grade through high school. Using a combination of after-school, in-school, weekend and summer programming, AGFM has one of the most comprehensive string music education programs in the state of Florida, and has been able to reach nearly 8,000 urban youth since inception.
To learn more about AGFM, please click HERE.
Pencil Boy Programs
In addition to having a physical Free Store where teachers shop, they have sent Pencil Boy on the road! Teachers can now shop online through the Pencil Boy Online platform where orders will be shipped directly to their schools, or they can shop via Pencil Boy Express- The Mobile Free Store, when it visits their school. Pencil Boy Express visits high-need schools across Orange County, alleviating the burden on teachers traveling to the Free Store.
Art supplies and curriculum are often the first things slashed in today’s tight school budgets, so in 2006, School SMARTS was created to integrate art into low-income classrooms to enhance learning. The program has two primary components; “Aunt Winnie’s Art Corner” within AGFT’s Free Store that provides teachers with basic quality art supplies, and art lesson kits. In collaboration with Orange County Public Schools’ Arts Administrator, packaged art lessons, and curriculum that cover skills such as drawing, watercolor, collage, and printmaking, are given to the teachers after a three-hour curriculum workshop.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Join the 9,000+ individuals, foundations, and corporations who have contributed financially, donated supplies or volunteered. AGFT would not exist without community partners, and it’s those partners that help them place supplies into the hands of those who really need it. Help them impact those who will be the future leaders of our community. If you would like to visit their facilities and learn more, sign up to take a tour!
It takes a team of dedicated volunteers to operate their programs and they are always looking for new members. Go HEREto learn more.
Your donation helps them provide supplies to students in need all year long.For every $1, A Gift For Teaching will be able to provide up to $10 worth of supplies! As previously mentioned, nearly 240,000 students in Central Florida are living at or below the poverty line. It's hard to focus in the classroom, let alone think about your future, when you don't have the supplies you need to complete your schoolwork. If you would like to help enable these children to dream up and create a future of their own design by making a financial gift, please go HERE.
AGFT believes in complete transparency; should you want to review their annual fiscal reporting, including their Annual Reports, IRS Form 990s, and audited Financial Statements, please go HERE.
Help keep their shelves stocked so no student goes without supplies!
Donate New & Gently-Used Supplies: They gladly accept new and gently used supplies. Teachers can get creative with what they use for their classrooms. For questions regarding drop-off locations or scheduling a pick-up, contact Dan Murwin. They accept donations Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm at their Orange County Free Store.
Recycle Your Outdated Electronics: They can turn discarded, recycled electronics into educational supplies for students in need – helping both the local environment and our local children. Click to learn more!
Host a Supply Drive: Grab your friends, your colleagues, your business partners, and host a supply drive to gather the essential supplies Central Florida students need. You are encouraged to host supply drives all year long, but for more information on their annual Back-to-School Drive click here.
Looking for a team building project for your group at your office? They have remote opportunities too! It’s easy! See kit options here. Contact Angela Garcia for more information.
We will be collecting donated supplies at our GNO on August 22nd at Taverna Opa! For a list of items currently needed, you can view their Amazon Wishlist.
ARE YOU A LOCAL TEACHER?
Wouldn’t it be nice if everything were free? At A Gift For Teaching, is just that – free!
Orange County Teachers from eligible high-need schools can shop once a month either at our Free Store, Pencil Boy Online, or through Pencil Boy Express– The Mobile Free Store if it visits your school. Their goal is to reach as many teachers as they can, therefore they offer several ways for you to get free school supplies to impact your students in need. They know buying school supplies can be a burden on teachers, and they aim to alleviate that. To learn more, including to check your school’s “shopping” calendar, please go HERE.
Hi! I'm Michelle. I love traveling, trying new restaurants, meeting new people, going to the parks, and playing with my dogs. I'm also super Disney obsessed - parks, cruise lines, movies - I love it all!
I host monthly networking events in the Orlando area for all women to attend. I look forward to meeting you at our next GNO!