Puppy Love

I did not know what to expect on my first day as a dog handler volunteer at an adoption event for Lucky Dog Animal Shelter, but my overall experience was uplifting. I pictured myself walking and playing with the dogs all day, but I found that the reality was much different as soon as I was given my dog, Mayzie. From the moment Mayzie arrived at the adoption event, she was full of excitement, curiosity, and love. Her tail never stopped wagging a million miles per second and she always had a slobbery smile on her face. Mayzie is a black Labrador Terrier who is looking for a furever home. She is about two years old, weighs 50 pounds, and loves to play outside. I never learned how Mayzie ended up in a scary animal shelter, but I cannot imagine anyone wanting to give her away. As a dog handler, my responsibility was to keep Mayzie calm and to answer any questions potential adopters may have about Mayzie.

The day was very challenging for me because Mayzie would not stop barking and charging other dogs for the first hour of the event. She was very hard to control and I had to keep her away from the other dogs. I was nervous that I would spend the entire event separated from everyone else. Although Mayzie’s intentions were good, the other dogs took her eagerness to make friends the wrong way. This usually resulted in both dogs loudly barking while growling and snarling through their teeth. I realized that not all dogs were going to be happy and full of life like Mayzie. Most of these dogs have deep-rooted emotional hardships due to their past experiences.

My favorite dog I met during the adoption event was named Dante. He is very special because he has an extraordinary story and an amazing spirit. Dante is a two-year-old Belgian Malinois Mix who weighs about 40 pounds. He was living on the streets in Puerto Rico when he was hit by a car. Luckily, the volunteers there found Dante and took him to a hospital where he was treated. Unfortunately, a bacterial infection grew in the bone and his leg had to get amputated. I was speaking to his foster mom at the adoption event, and she told me that Dante is the fastest dog she had ever met and he continues to play and live life like any other dog. Dante needs an active lifestyle and I hope that potential adopters do not overlook him due to his uniqueness.

My best friend, Miranda, volunteered with me and the dog she handled for the day was named Jack. Jack is a two year old Border Collie Labrador mix who weighs about 50 pounds. He is the complete opposite of Mayzie. Jack is mellow, cuddly, and was completely calm during the whole adoption event. Jack was a stray who was found on the side of the road. Whoever found Jack brought him to a kill shelter and he was eventually saved by being put in the foster system.

I am so excited to volunteer at future adoption events with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue during my summer here in Washington D.C. There is at least one adoption event every weekend and I hope all of you can volunteer and give these dogs the love and support they deserve!


About the Author: Julia Alspach is an intern with the Daily Do Good. 

7 Kids Who Started Nonprofits

1. One day, 5-year-old Hannah Taylor saw a homeless man eating out of a garbage can in her hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. She didn’t know why and wanted to help the man and those like him. She started The Ladybug Foundation to help find shelter, safety and food for the homeless. Hannah, now 18, has raised more than $3 million for Canada’s homeless and has even started another charity, The Ladybug Foundation Education Program, which encourages school children to make a difference.

2. Alex Scott received a neuroblastoma diagnosis at age 4. To fight back, she created Alex’s Lemonade Stand to raise money for children’s cancers. Once a year, she set up a stand in her front yard. Word spread and others started making their own Alex’s Lemonade stands. Shortly before young Alex died at the age of 8, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation raised $1 million. The foundation is still going  strong today.

3. Craig Kielburger was 12 when he saw the story of boy his age who had been murdered for speaking up about human rights and slavery in Pakistan. From that moment, he knew he needed to help. Craig, along with his older brother and several classmates, decided to speak out against child slavery. They established Free the Children to bring an end to child slavery. After realizing freeing children from slavery was not the only problem, Craig began Adopt a Village, a program that gives the village the tools needed to empower themselves out of poverty.

 

4. Leanne Joyce has a congenital heart problem.  Back in 2010 while waiting for her test results, she was given a gift by two of the hospital volunteers. The joy of receiving the gift made her forget about being in the hospital. Seeing that others care, Leanne wanted to give back to other children in hospitals to help them be happy too so Leanne established Positive Impact for Kids. Since then she has brought joy to hundreds of children. She has goals to make the stays of children and teens in the hospital better by raising money for iPads to keep them socially and educationally engaged.

5. Austin Gutwein created Hoops of Hope after seeing how children whose parents died of AIDS were suffering. On World AIDS Day in 2004 he shot 2,057 free throws to represent the number of children losing their parents to AIDS. Austin raised almost $3,000 for World Vision to help 8 of those children. To date, Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5 million to  help children get food, clothing, schooling and more. Parts of the money also goes to help buy mosquito nets, clean water and more to children in Malawi. This year they are working toward their goal of building 15 new dormitories for children as the current ones are overflowing with children that live too far away from the schools.

6. Jonas Corona created Love in the Mirror at age 6 after volunteering to feed the homeless in the LA area. He noticed that there were many children who were in line for food in clothes that did not fit them. All he wanted was to make these children happy and healthy. He started Love in the Mirror to provided families in need with the necessities of life.

 

7. Who run the world? Girls! Shannon McNamara launched Shannon’s After-School Reading Exchange in 2008, when she was 15 years old. While planning a mission trip to Africa, Shannon learned that many girls were not able to access education. Shannon, along with neighbors, friends and family gathered books and supplies to give to the girls of Africa. Since then SHARE has helped build school libraries and created scholarships in Tanzania. Recently they launched a Keep Girls Safe Initiative.

 

 

About the Authors: Ashley Angeline and Sarah Nylen are interns with the Daily Do Good. Sarah, an American University junior, dreams of lazy beach days in her coastal Massachusetts hometown, while striving to be a marketing major for a socially responsible company in DC. A communications student at the University of Cincinnati, Ashley aspires to be a broadcast journalist. And to marry Prince Harry.

 

Put the Giving into Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we can almost smell the turkey, pumpkin pie and apple cider. It’s a time to gather with family and friends, and to give thanks for everything we have. But what about those who are less fortunate? You can show your gratitude by giving back for the holiday. Here are five ways how:

1. Feed the Hungry

This is the most obvious choice. Each year, both area and national nonprofits strive to give a proper Thanksgiving dinner to those in need. DC Central Kitchen needs at least 400 whole turkeys, as well as sides and pies to provide 5,000 Thanksgiving meals to clients. Feeding America can distribute 22 meals for every dollar donated. Have a sweet tooth? Buy a pie to help Food & Friends deliver meals to homebound DC residents.

2.     Step Lively

Fun fact: Before a Turkey Trot was a Thanksgiving morning 5K, it was a ragtime-era dance. 

Thanksgiving is a good time for charity runs and fitness challenges. It helps us feel less guilty about that second (okay, fourth) slice of pie. Take part in Everyday Hero’s Thanksgiving Charity Challenge to help your workout pay off for you and your favorite cause. Or join So Some Others Might Eat on Thanksgiving morning for DC’s only annual Turkey Trot. NoVa  residents can trot with Christ Church of Arlington to benefit several area organizations.

3. Attend a Fundraiser

 The best Friendsgiving

The best Friendsgiving

Enjoy a parents’ night out Friendsgiving with Frances Hazel Reid Elementary and the Backpack Friends initiative to help provide weekend food for children in need. If a 5K isn’t your bag, you can still help out SOME at a Thanksgiving Holiday Soirée. Or attend the Chronicopia Harvest dinner and cooking demo to benefit Bread for the City and Capital Area Food Bank.

4. Volunteer!

Giving food or money is always wonderful, but sometimes there’s nothing quite like giving your time. The Jewish Community Center needs help setting up for Monday and Tuesday Thanksgiving dinners. Assemble and deliver Thanksgiving baskets to area seniors and families with We Are Family and Family Matter of Greater Washington. Help So What Else lead a service fair for the students of DC Prep Ex.

5.     Adopt a Turkey!


No, not as a pet. Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary has been raising awareness for animal welfare. Save Tom Turkey from the dinner table. Try this vegducken instead.  







Summer Vacation at N Street Village

Annabel Simpson and Devon Fore spent the summer of 2015 as interns at N Street Village. Annabel is a political science and sociology major at Baylor University. Devon is peace building and development major at Eastern Mennonite University.

Working at N Street Village, specifically in Bethany Women’s Day Center, has grounded the significant difference in meaning between “homeless people” and “people who experience homelessness” into our minds, hearts, and souls. Working with, and getting to know the women made it impossible to see them as their current housing situations, as people in the larger everyday society often do. People are complex, they demonstrate many characteristics, carry diverse stories, have many fears, hopes, and goals. No one is just one thing and the way that this became evident through our time at Bethany’s was both awe inspiring and heart breaking. How in the world do we as people just overlook the complexities that come along with being a human being? Maybe because it is easier than taking the time to understand people’s diverse narratives.

It has been hard for us as well.

While hearing stories of trauma and resilience is taxing, it is also enlightening, the stories allow us to remove the labels that we place on people and learn about their whole being. Miss C isn’t a homeless woman; she is a (seamstress) and a wife for 60 years this upcoming September. Miss D isn’t just living in a shelter; she is a radiant soul who works hard and will soon be a nurse. The ability to overlook what is on the outside or what appears to be on the outside is a gift that N Street gave us and that we will continue to use in our everyday lives.

 One specific attribute of the stigma of homelessness  that we have seen and hope to conquer is the lack of dignity these women often experience. For example, people often donate clothes for the homeless/low income community,which is great. But the condition that they are received in does not always reflect the condition that the women deserve. After hearing these women’s stories, it is apparent that one’s financial success is not completely a factor of merit, ambition, or tenacity, but is severely affected by the circumstances one is born into and the opportunities they are given, not just the ones they make for themselves. To want to separate yourself from individuals who experience homelessness and poverty is a very human thing to do. No one wants to relate to this group, because if there is common ground between us, then what is to stop this from happening to me as well? However, acknowledging this vulnerability isn’t a weakness, but a strength and serves as a connection to bring more respect and love to those who are in need. The woman who goes to nursing school and then sleeps at a shelter is no less worthy of the same dignity and respect than the CEO passing her by on the way to work. These women don’t deserve torn and stained sweatshirts any more than the staff at Bethany Women’s Center does.

 We will be forever grateful for the women we met, the lessons we learned, and the experiences that we had at N Street. There is no simple or concise way to write about the impact that this experience had on our lives and it is hard to imagine we won’t be benefitting from these women’s teachings years from now. If we want people to take one thing away from this piece it is that people are people. We all have fears, needs, and vulnerabilities and we hope that we can all learn to keep this in mind when we are judging someone as inherently different or less than us.

 

Last Week in a Good World...

ACCESS Youth put on a fabulous soiree to benefit at-risk DC youth. It was our pleasure to feature ACCESS Youth earlier this year, and learn about the organization's work to fight the school-to-prison pipeline through mentorship and mediation. 

 DDG founder Saranah Holmes (2nd from right) and friends.

DDG founder Saranah Holmes (2nd from right) and friends.

The University of Maryland Do Good Challenge 2015 came to a close. More than 60 teams competed to create social impact projects and ventures. Meet the winners and runners-up. Congratulations to all the participants! It's great to see smart, innovative young people dedicated to doing good!

Spro Coffee in Hamden, Baltimore, gives away coffee grounds to for customers to use in composting. It's a great way to reduce waste! 

 Editorial director Holly Leber (pictured) and president Saranah Holmes teamed up to extract this clump of weeds. It was our white whale of the day! 

Editorial director Holly Leber (pictured) and president Saranah Holmes teamed up to extract this clump of weeds. It was our white whale of the day! 

We took a team out to Beltsville, Md. to volunteer at Bread for the City's City Orchard. The fruit grown at City Orchard is distributed to food pantries to give underserved DC residents access to fresh, healthy produce. We had a great day weeding and trellising (we're quite the experts now!), and we're excited to go back this summer to pick the literal fruits of our labors!

We supported a friend in Atlanta as she raised money for the Atlanta Community Food Bank

 Attendees left encouraging messages for the City Kids to fan the flames of success. 

Attendees left encouraging messages for the City Kids to fan the flames of success. 

City Kids Wilderness Project hosted a spring benefit to support the outdoor and career exploration programs that are helping the youth of City Kids to thrive. It was a pleasure to meet some of the young people of City Kids recently, and wish them all the best of luck!

 

Done some good lately? Taken notice of someone else who is doing a little something to brighten someone's day? See an article that fits in with the DDG mission? Send us a note and a photo! Email staff@dailydogood.co.

 

 

Saranah Says: How to Be A Better Volunteer

Nonprofits are always in search of a really good volunteer. I’m pretty sure most of us feel that giving our time for free already makes us the best After all, time is money. But there are some ways to really be a shining volunteer that will enhance your experience AND make you a rock star to the organization you are serving:

1)   Show up. Yep, the number one way to really excel at being a volunteer is to simply follow through with the commitment. Ever show up to an event and there are TOO many volunteers? So you sit around kinda twiddling your thumbs waiting for something to do and feeling like you are wasting your time? Well that’s because organizations usually overstaff since so many people flake. Keep your commitment and if there is an emergency communicate it as early as possible to the powers that be.

2)   Be.On.Time. That should be a rule for life in general, but I know some people are challenged when it comes to timeliness. However, when you are giving your time to an organization you are essentially acting as a representative of that organization. If you show up late it causes a ripple effect, and it looks bad for the nonprofit. Set two alarms, get an accountability partner, sleep at the venue, do whatever you have to do to show up ready and ON TIME.

3)   Channel your inner MacGyver (bless your heart if you don’t get that reference). Invariably things will go wrong. Be a problem solver because no one wants to hear people complaining, especially volunteers. If you DO see room for improvement pitch in and help or offer concrete ways to make something better.  

4)   Go with the flow, and by that I mean be flexible. If you and three friends signed up to do face painting but when you show up they have moved you to the dunking booth, don’t bitch about it, just go and do whatever it is that you are asked to do. You’re there to help, not hang with your friends, so be that person who is willing to be flexible when the plan changes. And, you know, wear underwear in case you get put in a dunking booth.

 5)   Have fun. No one likes a negative Nelly or a Grumpy Gus. Laugh, smile, enjoy yourself.  Your positive attitude will help make the experience all the better for yourself and everyone you meet.  

About the Author: Saranah Holmes is the president and founder of the Daily Do Good. She has been an active volunteer since her teen years, and would happily take on the dunking booth. For a good cause.