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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bake Me Home

Bake Me Home

Baking is a hobby of mine.  I love to find and try recipes for cakes, cookies and other desserts.  Today’s organization turned baking into a way to give back and help others.

Alison Bushman, a stay-at-home mom, and her 7 year old twin daughters, Amy and Emma had a desire to do something more for the homeless family shelter where they had volunteered together for three years.  They had begun volunteering with the shelter by collecting items at the twins’ birthday party each year.  Instead of gifts, the girls asked for items such as books, infant toys, and snacks for those staying at the local homeless family shelter.  When they delivered the donations, they also prepared a homemade pancake breakfast for the families.  The girls’ favorite part was always staying to play with the other kids at the shelter after breakfast.

After watching Teen Kids News coverage of the Young Entrepreneurs Convention, Emma asked if kids could really start their own business.  Amy’s love of cooking took the girls to “Camp Cuisine” where they learned about food as gifts and brought home their own mason jar of cookie mix.  Meanwhile, their mom was inspired by stories of wonderful philanthropic projects at a YA Connect Conference, but was not sure who would watch her kids if she was building houses in Mexico.  That is when the idea hit.  A simple jar of cookie mix for families leaving the shelter was a great way to give other mothers and children the experience of baking together that they loved so much.  After a lot of hard work and taste testing, Alison, Amy and Emma perfected their original Bake Me Home Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, applied for tax-exempt status with the IRS, and established the Bake Me Home organization in 2008.

Bake Me Home

Photo by Neysa Ruhl Photography

Bake Me Home is dedicated to promoting volunteerism and providing disadvantaged moms and kids with direct services that encourage shared family experiences.  They are based in Cincinnati, Ohio and depend on over 200 volunteers to help run their organization.  In February they moved into their own building after working out of a storage unit and their family home for almost five years.

They have four programs:

  • The Tote Bag Program helps families leaving shelters celebrate the beginning of a new life in a new home.  Each sturdy tote bag contains a jar of homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix, a mixing bowl, spoon, cookie sheet, pot holder, spatula, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and a $20 gift card to a grocery store for the essential butter, eggs, and a few other groceries.  This program helps over 350 families per year from 14 agencies.
  • The Family Portrait Program provides 5×7 framed portraits to shelter families.  This program started when photographer Annette Bryant wanted to do something for those who could not afford photos of their kids.  Over 400 families have received portraits with this program!
  • The Bake Me BACK Home Program sends two dozen homemade cookies to members of the military for a donation of $30.  Approximately half of each donation supports their Tote Bag and Family Portrait Programs.  Over 6,000 cookies have been sent to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Bake It Forward Program allows children entering grades 2 through 9 an opportunity to apply for a grant of $100 for the charity of their choice serving children in Ohio.  Each applicant must perform a summer service project for the charity which helps further the Bake Me Home organization’s mission of promoting volunteerism.

Alison shared a couple quotes about their impact on the families they have helped.  One mother of four, after receiving a family portrait from Bake Me Home at a battered women’s shelter cried and said, “Thank you for this.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  I will always look at this and remember our turning point.  I am free.”  Another mother, after baking her cookies, said, “We made our cookies!  It was wonderful!  It made me feel like I accomplished something.  We had everything we needed.  I’ve used the pan lots of times for other things too.”

BMH Food Pantry

How can you help?

Bake Me Home has a wide variety of volunteer opportunities.

  • Help fill jars of their homemade cookie mix and tote bags.  Assembly events are posted on Facebook and sent out via e-mail.  You can sign up using the volunteer form on their website or by e-mailing cookiegirls@bakemehome.com.
  • You can volunteer to deliver Tote Bags to agencies.  You can sign up using the volunteer form on their website or by e-mailing cookiegirls@bakemehome.com.
  • Knit, crochet, or quilt pot holders to include in their tote bags.  You can find a free pattern here.
  • Donate new or gently used 5×7 photo frames for the Family Portrait Program.
  • Volunteers are also needed to assist with the Family Portrait photo shoots.  You can sign up using the volunteer form on their website or by e-mailing cookiegirls@bakemehome.com.
  • Bake Me Home also holds an annual silent auction and accepts donated items.
  • They also need volunteers to assist with various administrative, fundraising, and graphic design projects.  Please contact them with your specific expertise.
  • They also accept monetary donations on their website.

To learn more about the Bake Me Home organization, visit their website, bakemehome.org.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Bake Me Home

Related Posts:Family-To-Family and Cookie Cart 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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ATMA SEVA

ATMA SEVA

Becoming a monk or a nun involves full-immersion into a monastic lifestyle in which one becomes fully devoted to spiritual pursuits.  Devotion like this, be it spiritual or to a broader effort to improve the lives of people, is something volunteers across the globe can relate to and it is something ATMA SEVA has in abundance.

ATMA SEVA — whose tagline is, “Healing & Education for Humanity” – offers a multi-platform approach to service.  Its mission is to, “bring a voice and platform to the needs of indigenous, ethnic, and monastic communities.”  To achieve this, ATMA SEVA incorporates innovate educational programs – such as live video chats with Buddhist monks from Thailand designed to educate and share their knowledge and passion for Buddhism to people all over the world; to teaching conversational English to the Lawa Village, a remote tribal village located in the hills of Northern Thailand.

Based out of Northern Thailand and Bhutan, ATMA SEVA works with local community leaders, temples and other civically-minded partners to offer three key volunteer programs to the region:

ATMA SEVA: Healing & Education for Humanity

  • The Wat Doi Saket Project is an educational project designed to afford volunteers an opportunity to teach English to Buddhist monks in Northern Thailand.  Presently, this project’s scope incorporates eighteen Buddhist temples and three Thai public schools.  The Wat Doi Saket Buddhist temple has been working with ATMA SEVA since it was founded in 2000, and has been a major partner in outreach programs to educate the people of Thailand in HIV prevention and educational programs.  When those projects came to an end in 2009, ATMA SEVA continued its partnership with the Wat Doi Saket temple by adding English education to its outreach programs.

ATMA SEVA: Healing & Education for Humanity

  • ATMA SEVA’s work with the Lawa Village tribe began in 2010.   The local school in Lawa Village had heard about ATMA SEVA’s work on the Wat Doi Saket project and was interested in having volunteers teach at their school.   Continuing in its efforts to teach conversational English to the region, ATMA SEVA places volunteers within the community in a full-immersion approach to both live and teach in the village.   Additionally, the goals of this partnership are not only to bring English speaking skills to the residents, but to aslo build long-lasting relationships with the students and families there and add financial support and fundraising efforts.  But, like many educational outreach programs in other countries, the education is not one-sided.  Volunteers teach English, but also learn about Thailand tribal culture – particularly Lawa-Hill tribal culture.

ATMA SEVA: Healing & Education for Humanity

  • This approach of educating the volunteers spreads to ATMA SEVA’s work in Bhutan where the organization works as a registered tour-company in conjunction with local leaders to offer cultural tours, treks, and “eco-tours” (beyond the main districts, and deeper into rural Bhutan) within Bhutan.  These trips allow participants an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the rich culture of Bhutan through site-seeing, meditation, and reflection.

But ATMA SEVA has even more to offer than these three programs.  It just became a non-profit in Arizona, its founding pilot project to educate the region on HIV/AIDS has reached over 20,000 people, and it is currently talking with Habitat for Humanity and the Embassy of Japan to secure funding to build a school that will focus on housing and educating underprivileged children.

Clearly, ATMA SEVA’s outreach has grown in line with its organization.  It is this multi-faceted approach to bring volunteerism and educate the region of Northern Thailand and Bhutan that is truly as unique as it is diverse.  Need more proof?  Please visit its website at atmaseva.org and maybe you too can participate in an online “monk chat”.  You can also connect with them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and their blog.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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A Broader View

A Broader View

ThirdEyeMom is a fellow Minnesota blogger who is also using her blog to make a difference.  She writes about her volunteer vacations (among other things) and recently wrote about her journey to becoming a global volunteer that inspired me to write about today’s organization.

Sarah and Oliver Ehlers took a trip to Chile, South America where they saw the overwhelming needs of the children in the local orphanage and the incredible difference volunteers could make in a short time.  After they returned home to the United States and researched a variety of service organizations, they were stunned at how costly and restrictive many volunteer travel programs were.  They utilized their backgrounds in hospitality management, tourism, and business to create an affordable, safe, and worthy program so that anyone can travel and volunteer to make a difference in the world.

A Broader View is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Pennsylvania.  They were founded on the belief that one person can make a difference in the lives of others.  They offer volunteer travel opportunities to many countries supporting local organizations in low income communities.  These community based projects allow volunteer travelers to live and work side by side with local people in a range of fields such as orphanage work, daycare, community development, teaching, and much more.  These projects offer travelers the opportunity to explore a new country while doing meaningful and rewarding service work.

A Broader View allows volunteers to customize each program by choosing when they want to travel, where they go, and how long.  The programs offered allow for a full immersion in the culture and language within a developing community to allow volunteers to see “a broader view” of the world.

You can read the stories of the many volunteers that have traveled with A Broader View on their website, watch videos from volunteer experiences on YouTube, and you can read about ThirdEyeMom’s recent trip to Honduras with A Broader View on her blog.

Last year, A Broader View, in a partnership with the Baird Foundation, donated $40,000 to their partners in Bulenga, Uganda to complete construction on the community center, expand volunteer housing, provide a holiday party for over 500 people in the community, and buy clothing and supplies for over 300 orphans.  In 2012, they also organized over a dozen university and medical groups to travel to Peru, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nepal to provide medical and dental care to hundreds of people who would have gone untreated otherwise.  Over the last four years, they have donated over $1 million.

How can you help? 

  • Be a volunteer traveler.  There are a variety of customizable programs for individuals and groups including teaching, orphanage support, social welfare programs, medical/dental care, sea turtle conservation, animal rescue, community development, women’s support projects, youth programs, and more.  Go to their website to start exploring the opportunities.
  • Donate a tweet a day to help them spread the word about their program.  You can sign up at JustCoz.org.
  • You can use the share options at the bottom of this post with others who may be interested in a volunteer vacation.
  • Make a monetary donation via their Guidestar page.

You can learn more about A Broader View on their website, abroaderview.org on contact them via phone at 866-423-3258.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Google+, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Related Posts: Navigating for Non Profits

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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