This week’s favorites are near and dear to my heart. They are three organizations that I have participated in and absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE what they do and stand for.
YoungLives is an organization that I recently became a part of. They are a branch of YoungLife, which is a Christian outreach program for middle school, high school, and college aged students. YoungLives, however, is different than YoungLife in the aspect that all the participants are young women, young mothers to be exact. I have only been a part of YoungLives for the last two months, but I absolutely love being a part of this group.
“Treating each mom and her child or children with unconditional love and respect, YoungLives offers teen moms relief from the isolation and struggle of their daily lives and hope for the future. YoungLives mentors provide friendship, parenting advice and help meeting the practical demands of raising a child. At YoungLives club and camp, moms get to socialize and have fun while their babies get the best possible care. (www.younglife.org/younglives)”
2. Best Buddies
Best Buddies is another organization that is near and dear to my heart. I am a former special education teacher. I absolutely LOVE kids and adults with disabilities. I enjoy everything about working with that group. When I taught, I found that my students felt ostracized and completely segregated from the rest of our school, and being that our classroom was literally outside of the rest of the school, I felt something needed to change. My students had developmental disabilities like autism, mental retardation, learning disabilities, and emotional disorders. They were different, but to the rest of the school they were “weird.” So, I wanted to change that. A school in our school district was internationally known for their Best Buddies club, so I met up with that advisor and we talked about starting it at the middle school level. After some planning, and a lot of persuasion, we got Best Buddies going in our middle school. The first year we did it was incredible. I saw that the “typical” kiddos REALLY loved my students. They wanted to be their buddies and it changed my students’ lives in such a positive way.
“Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). (www.bestbuddies.org/best-buddies)”
3. Get Local AZ
Get Local is an awesome organization that recently launched in Arizona. I am a Get Local Supporter. Their mission is to really build a community around Arizona’s local businesses so that they thrive. Their mission is “invigorating local economy through community.” They are out in the community really participating in events (such as the Maple Ash Bash with Cartel Coffee) and have a great vision for Arizona and the economy. So many local businesses close because they just can’t compete with the big businesses so eventually they close. And it’s sad. I love Get Local and since they are adding to their local business providers daily, I am excited to say that I can use my Get Local card in several places to support local businesses and get discounts on my purchases.
“Get LOCAL AZ is for the bargain-hunting consumer supporter. The rapidly-growing small business provider. It’s for Arizonans who proudly support their local economy, and those providers who want to reach new audiences. (www.getlocalcard.com)”
*Get Local is founded by Mr. Wonderful and his best friend and I couldn’t be more proud of what they’re trying to do for Arizona.