Tag Archives: Philanthropy

Friday Global Giving: Become a Rosetta Stone Supplement

I feel like this week I’ve been reading all kinds of posts about the growth and maintenance of languages. Moment Matters wrote a great post about Mandarin being the new global language. I also really enjoyed Loving Language’s post this week about the importance of the US becoming a multi-lingual nation. Yet even as there is push for learning and protecting languages, English remains in the highest demand by language learners due to it being the coined “global language”. For this reason, teaching English abroad is one of the easiest ways for native-English speakers to live abroad with a legal work visa and a little money in their pocket. For anyone interested in exploring  the life of teaching English abroad, there are some great examples in the blogging world. Some of my favorites include:

  • Quinn in Morocco – she teaches English to children in Morocco through the Peace Corps
  • Our Dear Lady Expatriate – has been teaching English for several years, first in South Korea and now in Cambodia
  • Travel Thayer – an English teacher in an elementary school in South Korea

But teaching English is not limited to those of us that want/are able to live abroad. As I’ve worked with the refugee community in Oklahoma City, I’ve realized that for non-English speakers living in English-speaking countries, their needs for language training is extremely great. And there are tons of opportunities for us to help meet this need in our own hometowns. Here are just a few:

Teach in a Classroom Environment

Many religious groups, libraries, and non-for-profit organizations offer English as a Second Language courses. These courses typically meet once a week and are led by a certified TEFL instructor. If you are not TEFL certified, you can often still volunteer in the classroom helping the students with excises and practice conservations.

Serve as a Language Partner

If you prefer one-on-one interaction, becoming a language partner may be the best fit. This is a great way to build a relationship with a recent immigrant and can be mutually instructive if you are willing to learn the native language of your partner. If you prefer to do this virtually, The Mixxer is a site that helps match you with a language partner anywhere in the world.

Become an Online Language Coach

If you’re unable to find a language partner program or ESL course to volunteer in, another easy  opportunity is to volunteer online. Organizations like I Want to Learn English train volunteers to help English language learners practice their skills and ask questions. All you need is a computer and internet.

LanguagePartners5

While Rosetta Stone is certainly a helpful tool for a newly settled immigrant to learn the language, there is nothing like having a real person to help with pronunciation and context. If you’re looking for a way to give back and volunteer for the new year, helping someone learn English could be an ideal choice.

For more information on teaching English, check out this guide done by Colorado State University: Teaching Guide: ESL Volunteer Guide. It is a well-done resource.

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Friday Global Giving: The Full Plate Club

When my mom was growing up, my grandparents instituted the Clean Plate Club. If she didn’t finish her dinner, she was told there were starving children in China who would love to eat her food. I think she responded with, “I’ll mail it to them.” 🙂

I think most parents now have substituted China with Africa but the sentiment is the same – don’t waste food when there are people going hungry every day. In fact, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 925 million people around the world suffer from consistent hunger.

While perhaps we can’t send the food from our plates, there are great organizations and things to do to help eliminate hunger around the world. For the first Friday Global Giving, check out some of these ideas to help keep plates full:

Courtesy of goldencommunitygarden.org

 

Global Giving Series

For the months of November and December, I decided to do a new series called Global Giving each Friday. For Americans these months are naturally a time we give. Many of us donate to the local food pantry to help stock for the holidays, donate coats for colder weather, or give to a favorite charity before the year-end. Whether you are Stateside or abroad, there are certainly hundreds if not thousands of great causes to give to no matter what time of year it is.

In the next eight weeks I’ll be doing research on global issues like hunger, clean water, healthcare, housing, children’s programs, and poverty and reporting on organizations I find, causes I personally give to, and hands-on ways to give on a global level.

As always, I’m taking recommendations. Whether you run a non-for-profit yourself or give consistently to one that you feel is worthy, please share!

 

Shop Good

When we found out we were moving to Oklahoma City, we immediately started liking the Thunder. The team is easy to like because they are good, but also because the entire city is crazy about them.

Originally I went out to our local sports store and purchased a championship shirt for Hubby, but it was too small and then they lost, so I figured I would keep looking. I’m glad I did because it led me to a great little shop called Shop Good.  Shop Good sells ethically made and social justice products which provide funding for local and international charities.  For example, this shirt (which I bought for Hubby) provides funds for Sunbeam Family Services, an organization that helps young mothers in OKC get on their feet. If you’re looking for fun tees, they have some great designs to check out.

Need a gift for a girlfriend? This bracelet available at Shop Good is made by South American artisans and provided through the Andean Collection. Its $26 price tag provides fair wages and benefits to the artists.

Or want a little something to spice up a simple dress for a night out? This clutch from Sseko Designs helps employ young Ugandan women to make sandals and clutches while they learn business models and prepare for college. So far, Sseko has graduated three classes of women from their program and every single one of them is currently in college. Wow!

Of course Shop Good isn’t the only store that sells fair-trade and social justice products. If you are interested in looking at some other shops that have this humanitarian approach, scope out these:

If you know of any other great shops that help the international community, please share!

Guest Blog: Volunteering in the Refugee Community

After learning about World Refugee Day, which was held on June 20th, I realized that volunteering with the refugee community would be a great way to be global from home. However, I am far from an expert on the topic so I asked my good friend, Becky, to do my first ever guest blog. Becky currently works with refugees in San Diego and she offers great ways to get involved and help refugees get resettled as they transition to life in their new home. If you live outside the San Diego area, be sure to visit the agency directory at Refugee Works to find where you can donate your time and talents.

Guest Blog by Becky Morines:

After interning at a refugee resettlement agency here in San Diego during my junior year at Point Loma Nazarene University, I was instantly attracted to the refugee population in San Diego.  Refugees are people who have been forced to leave their own countries due to persecution, people whose own homes have become a place of fear and danger, and people who have seen political upheaval, instability, war, terror, and in some cases have experienced kidnappings, torture, and had loved ones murdered.   After having my eyes opened to this population, I focused the majority of my academic research on the process to come to the United States for a refugee and the challenges faced during the assimilation process in the United States. I now work as the Employment Coordinator in the refugee resettlement department at Jewish Family Service of San Diego.  Most of the refugees that we work with are from Iraq and Burma; however our agency is open to refugees and asylum seekers from all across the globe.

As the Employment Coordinator, my job is to act as the bridge between the refugee and the employer.  I assist our clients prepare a resume, complete job applications, mock interviewing, and go out with them to look and apply for jobs.  The refugees arriving in San Diego have English skills from proficiency to none at all.  Some have never held a job, yet many hold Bachelor’s and Master degrees from their home country and have attained incredible professional experience.  It is very humbling to be able to help with the job application and interview process that seems so normal to Americans, however extremely abnormal for those who have traveled thousands of miles to get here.  I am inspired by every encounter simply based on their experience, courage, and strength.  I am also encouraged by the incredible team that has dedicated their work to the refugee community in San Diego.  There are new arrivals coming every month that need help adjusting to this new country and new people.

There are various satisfying ways to volunteer in the San Diego area.  The refugee resettlement department has several different opportunities to volunteer that include administrative support, employment scouting, furniture delivery, and translation in a variety of languages.  At Jewish Family Service, we have a Friendly-Match program that matches a mentor with a refugee family.  By joining this program you would be able to build a lasting relationship with a family with hands on experience.  These volunteers can assist the family grocery shopping, going to the bank, practicing English, or even just going to the beach!  Lastly we need Employment Mentors who familiarize newly arrived refugees with the job search and application processes in the United States using a hands-on approach. Mentors play an integral role in helping refugees to become self-sufficient by providing them with the education and support necessary to secure employment.

If you enjoy traveling and working with people from different backgrounds, there are incredible opportunities right in your own backyard.  You can also visit our website or contact me at for additional information.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego

www.jfssd.org/refugee

Empowering Youth Through Travel

Right now in Uvita, Costa Rica there is a group of inner-city, Chicago teens exploring, learning, and serving abroad for the very first time. Do you remember your first time abroad? The excitement, the culture shock, the challenges of language, the sensory overload. These students are experiencing all of that through the incredible efforts of a non-profit called Empowering Youth Through Travel. Started in 2010 by Jessica Mann, EYTT just left yesterday for their very first overseas program after 6 months of training in Chicago.

In her blog post on June 11th, Jessica highlighted some of the students who were about to venture to Costa Rica:

For one of our student’s, Dushun, this will be the first time he steps on a plane let alone outside of the country. Can you imagine what this experience will be like for him? Dushun lives in Chicago’s Austin community and will go from our concrete city streets to Uvita’s lush land, surrounded by the rainforest.

What will this experience be like for Yael, a soft spoken young lady from Cicero, IL, who is passionate about nature, yet has never left the country or strayed far from her close knit family? She will be venturing off to an unknown part of the world, stay with a family she’s never met, and see things she has only read about in books.

And for Chris, a quiet, young man of choice words who’s world currently revolves around soccer. He will soon have to step outside of his comfort zone by introducing and immersing himself into a lively, foreign community.

For all of us who have had the privilege of traveling abroad, we are more than aware of all the benefits and challenges in store for these students. But I’m pretty confident to say that the experience will be life changing for them. If you are interested in supporting EYTT and what they are doing to help inner-city youth explore the world, be sure to check out their website.

If you know similar programs in other states or countries, please share!

Unlocking the Greatness of Girls

Yesterday I was poking around TED Talks and ended up listening to a talk by Leymah Gbowee, a Nobel Laureate and peace advocate from Liberia, called “Unlock the intelligence, compassion, greatness of girls”. In her 14 minute talk, she shares personal experiences of seeing young girls in Liberia unable to afford education and many entering into prostitution due to their extreme poverty.  But she believes their is hope and speaks of multiple young women who have made a difference in Liberia when they are able to unlock their own greatness.

The talk reminded me of a conversation I had with a faculty member from my university a few months ago. From Ghana, this professor takes a group of students back to his home community every summer for them to learn about development planning by working in the academy he started, the Human Factor Leadership Academy. When speaking to me of his academy he said,

“If you educate a man [in Ghana], you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a whole village.”

Through HFLA, he aims to impact the whole village and to unlock greatness as he teaches both children and adults throughout Africa. His hope is to build leaders who will spark change in his home country and beyond.

As I was pondering all of this yesterday, at first I confined these issues to Africa. However, currently I am in Las Vegas for the first time, and around me I feel that I see so much lost potential.  Escort cards line the streets offering women to your door in under 20 minutes. While my husband and I have had a great time viewing the lights, going to a show, and eating incredible food, I just can’t help but be sad. What if someone had helped unlock greatness in these women and the men they interact with? And, what I am doing to help unlock greatness in others?  It’s a question I feel I need to seriously consider.

Interested in learning more?  Check out these links: