March is a busy month for BBN teamsBy Administrator
Foundation Beyond Belief’s Beyond Belief Network is a network of secular humanist groups volunteering in their communities and raising money for FBB’s featured charities and programs. Any group with a public secular humanist or atheist identity is welcome to join, regardless of experience or group size.
Congratulations to BE Orlando in Orlando, FL who submitted our Picture of the Month. The picture was taken while celebrating their favorite holiday, Pi Day, with a STEM, pi, and pie community event. Volunteers brought math and science activities to at-risk children in their local community, donating more than $500 dollars in supplies and gifts for child participants. They hosted a pie buffet for the children and their families and every child received a gift bag with math and science gifts and puzzles.
Congratulations to Humanists of Houston in Houston, TX, this month’s Team of the Month. They were chosen for this honor because of their strong commitment to their community illustrated by their regular service events at local organizations addressing the issues of hunger and homelessness.
A big welcome to new teams SSA at College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, NV and South Texas Atheists for Reason in San Antonio, TX. We can’t wait to see what good work you do!
Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) has been busy. HAPI Hearts Day was a feeding event for 200 children from a slum area in Alabang. It was a part of the HAPI Nutrition Campaign that their organization facilitates to fight hunger and malnutrition. HAPI Leyte, in collaboration with other societies, joined forces to help Mother Nature and conducted a clean-up drive in Ormoc City. At the HAPI General Assembly, HAPI invited ten high school students to educate them about secular humanism and critical thinking. Finally, to help implement HAPI Literacy, HAPI started training volunteers who will help provide supplemental education to their HAPI Kids by teaching them how to read, write, and develop critical thinking.
Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry prepared food and served it to homeless and poor people in a public park. They also provided items (toiletries, empty backpacks, clothing, blankets), that they have learned from our previous visits they consider to be extremely desirable. At another event, they planted camellias and other plants in a garden around a public playground that is used by a very diverse urban population in downtown Charleston.
Humanists Doing Good have had a few different kinds of events. They painted the interior of C.L.A.W.S., the largest cat shelter in western Colorado. The painting was especially tricky due to well over one hundred cats roaming around while the volunteers painted. Volunteers scraped the walls clean where needed and then painted numerous rooms throughout the building to improve the residence of the cats and to provide assistance to the facility's tireless staff. They also installed flooring to support the Monumental Madness 2 competition hosted by the Grand Junction Roller Girls. Volunteers helped unload a moving truck full of flooring. They then covered an entire school gymnasium with subflooring and interlocking tile panels so that the gymnasium's floor would be protected from damage. Normally a small crew of around five women are responsible for completing this task, but several volunteers showed up to help out this time around. They also got around to cleaning their adopted section of highway. To make things a little more interesting, they also hid eggs with tickets for possible rewards to be claimed at their annual meeting.
Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) volunteers authored requests for Day of Reason Proclamations from the State of Ohio, Franklin County and the City of Columbus. The Ohio request included a list of Ohio secular groups with membership statistics, was signed by the Columbus Coalition of Reason (CoR) Coordinator and the Secular Coalition for Ohio (SCO) co-Chair (both COUNT members) and submitted to Governor (and Presidential candidate) John Kasich. The Franklin County and City of Columbus requests included a list of Central Ohio secular groups with membership statistics, were signed by the Columbus CoR Coordinator and were submitted to Franklin County Board of Commissioners President John O’Grady and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, respectively. Letters of Support from other Ohio secular groups were solicited by COUNT members to be submitted separately. COUNT volunteers also worked as Housewarmers in February and March at the Columbus Ohio Ronald McDonald House (RMH). RMH provides housing and meals to families with children being treated at Nationwide Children's Hospital and other area hospitals. Housewarmers work with our guests to provide a home-like environment – greet, assist with family needs, answer phones, give tours, assist with check-in/checkout, prepare guest rooms after checkout, clean facility, laundry, restock supplies and staff the front desk.
COUNT and Humanist Community of Central Ohio joined forces again in February and March to volunteer at the Community Shelter Board in Columbus, Ohio that provides housing and meals to homeless families and individual men and women in Central Ohio. Some volunteers serve dinners while others wash dishes, mop floors, file forms, and clean tables. Once the dishes are done, they adjourn to the Omnipresent Atheists meetup in progress for dinner, drinks and conversation.
Seven members of Corpus Christi Atheists gathered for the monthly cleanup of their adopted park – one member brought a tree limb trimmer so that they could remove all of the string hanging from trees where people have tied pinatas for parties.
Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless ( ATXAHH) volunteers solicited donations via word of mouth, handing out business cards, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor, Instagram, & neighborhood listservs). They collected 1,186 items to hand out at their February giveaway. The ATXAHH Gettin' Knotty group gathered in the cafe of a local bookstore to chat, knit, & crochet. The group created ten washcloths and five hats for the February giveaway. At the giveaway, they gathered under a bridge in downtown Austin to hand out community donations to those experiencing homelessness. They handed out basic living items such as toiletries, clothing, sleeping mats, non-perishable snacks, and books to 114 people. One young ATXAHH member decided that for her 11th birthday, she wanted to host a kid's Beyond the Basics event for her friends. In lieu of presents, she requested that each friend bring a toiletry or non-perishable food item to her sleepover. The girls brought enough items to make 77 kits! These wonderful kits will be handed out to those in need at future giveaways.
Humanists of Houston supported the Houston Food Bank by sorting grapefruit, stacking bread, and cleaning up the warehouse. They also had a team in the Race Against Violence 5k fundraiser for the Houston Area Women's Center. Since 1977, the Houston Area Women's Center has provided shelter and support services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The "Race Against Violence" is one of the agency's major annual fundraising events, enabling the center to offer all of its services free of charge. They also held “Atheists Helping Homeless” events in January and February. Volunteers showed up at a downtown parking lot and gave out various items to aid the homeless, like toiletries, clothing, fresh fruit, socks, and books.
This month Minnesota Atheists volunteered at The Food Group repackaging lentils from 25-pound bags into two-pound bags. They repacked 440 packages of the lentils. This was enough to help feed 1,760 people.
Yale Humanist Community members hosted another iteration of their STEAMMM (science, technology, engineering, art, math, and medicine mentoring) service project. This is a monthly program held at Clemente Leadership Academy for their middle-school aged children. The program is designed to foster an interest in STEAMM fields and an understanding of how important and useful STEAMM is for society in the students.
In January, February, and March the Atheist Community of San Jose sorted food at the Second Harvest's Cypress Center to prepare it for distribution. In February, they worked for two hours to contribute 16,000 lbs of food. And another 11,000 lbs in March.
If you are a member of a secular humanist or atheist group and would like to participate in community service projects under the national umbrella of Foundation Beyond Belief, join Beyond Belief Network. We welcome all atheist groups interested in service, from groups with extensive volunteer experience to newly formed groups new to secular service. By aggregating our efforts, we demonstrate that all we really need is charity and goodness to make the world a better place.