Want to help someone or something in the Midwest? Check out these opportunities:
The Fort Wayne Children’s Choir was started in 1973, in effort to expand arts in the community by giving students an opportunity to learn music and perform. It continues to this day. Over 300 children from 85 different schools–and regardless of background–can participate in this community-first non-profit. Fort Wayne is a better place because of the FWCC.
How you can help: Attend their concerts, which sometimes double as fundraisers, or donate. Check out this schedule of performances or simply donate to keep this great organization alive for another 40-plus years! See http://www.fwcchoir.org/give to donate today!
Girl Forward hits us in our hearts. This program helps adolescent refugee girls find mentors and advocates as they adjust to life in a new country. Most of the girls in this program have endured more trials and tribulations in their short lives than most of us will ever know. These innocent kids did not play a role in their hard lives, fate did. Girl Forward shifts their perspective from dire to unlimited.
How you can help: Girl Forward loves volunteer mentors and tutors to help refugee girls find success in school and in the community. If you are 18 years old and live in the Chicago (or Austin, Texas) area then consider giving your time and heart to this great cause. For more information please see https://www.girlforward.org/get-involved/
The Old Newsboys of Flint, Michigan, was founded in 1924 to provide less fortunate children with clothes and food. The tradition continues today. Their coat and shoe program and Christmas Box programs give those without basic warmth and kindness.
How you can help: There are a number of events that ONF organizes each year that need donations and volunteers to make them as profitable as possible, so proceeds can go to their community needs programs. For more information please see http://www.onbflint.org/donate
The Michigan Urban Farming Inititative in Detroit rocks! Check out this large city center garden for all people who just want to grow their own food and grow their community!
How you can help: Volunteers and cash. Or just volunteer. Or just donate money. That is what is needed to help this fantastic organization! See http://www.miufi.org/
In West Plains, Missouri, Justin Mitchell, owner of Colton’s Steak House & Grill, wanted to create a program to honor the children of the community. He contacted and joined forces with local radio personality Cowboy Rick to bring a good deeds program to life, in order to recognize the youth in his community. The program is dedicated to kids ages 4 through 12 who are “guilty” of performing good deeds. Each school quarter one girl and one boy will be rewarded for their “goodness” by each receiving a bicycle and a one-day family-pass for four to Silver Dollar City. Silver Dollar City is a nearby resort that that features the world’s most daring wood roller coaster.
How you can help: Contact Justin Mitchell to offer a donation to support this cause, or just send him a thank-you note: http://www.coltonssteakhouse.com/store_detail.php?id=26
Dayton, Ohio’s Life Enrichment Center offers critical services to people in need in and around Dayton. Their website says it best. LEC is a faith-based organization “committed to serving all who enter the doors regardless of residency, race, religion, gender or life circumstance. With an eight-year database of 2,500 households, we actively serve over 350 families at any given time.”
How you can help: From cooking meals to helping teach classes, bike repair to grounds maintenance, Life Enrichment Center has an ongoing need for volunteers to lend a hand to fellow community members in need. See http://www.daytonlec.org/volunteer/ for more information.
Local Matters, a Columbus, Ohio non-profit organization, focuses on providing healthy meals, healthy lifestyle education, and healthy healthcare in the greater Columbus area. Their gardening, cooking, and healthcare advisories are making a difference in central Ohio. We love this non-profit because it is proactive and offers ways to get healthy instead of waiting until people need help with diet related health issues.
How you can help: Have you ever wanted to teach a cooking class? Would you like to help build community gardens? Do you have an interest in educating people looking to live healthier lives? Then consider volunteering at Local Matters. See http://www.local-matters.org/volunteer/ for more information.
The Bismarck food co-op (aka Bisman Co-op) does food right and right by its members. If you want healthy, locally grown food from providers in the region, go co-op! A couple of years ago, we had the good fortune of spending a few days in the company of Heidi Demars, a co-op founder and salute this organization for its vision and passion!
How you can help: Join the co-op. There are multiple reasons to consider doing this: 1) it creates local jobs and keeps the money in the community; 2) the food is grown in the region and is healthier and more fresh, and; 3) movements like these that are community based need support so they can serve a role models to other communities. See http://bismanfoodcoop.com/become-a-member-owner/ to join today!