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By Elizabeth Dorssom
Foundation Beyond Belief’s Beyond Belief Network is a network of secular humanist groups interested in volunteering (Volunteers Beyond Belief) and raising money for FBB and our beneficiaries (Foundation Partners Program).
November is upon us, and our Beyond Belief Network teams are already busy expressing their thanks this season by volunteering in their communities!
Flagstaff Freethinkers, Beyond Belief Network’s October Team of the Month, hosted a Family Dance Party fundraiser in collaboration with the Flagstaff Latin Dance Collective to benefit One New Education. One New Education is a group that provides educational opportunities for women in developing countries. Flagstaff Freethinkers raised $960 and brought a lot of the greater Flagstaff community together around a great cause, with the freethinkers at the heart of it.
Ethics in Action organized the library at the St. Louis LGBT Center. The LGBT Center of St Louis is run entirely by volunteers. This important service to the local community wouldn't be able to open its doors without volunteers like Ethics in Action. One of the resources provided by the center is its library, an impressive collection of books on LGBT history, law, theory, self-improvement, and fiction. Ethics in Action members sorted all the books in the fiction section into an orderly alphabetical arrangement on the shelves—sounds simple, but it was quite a task! Next up: Nonfiction. The volunteers are pictured in their brand-new Humanism at Work shirts that they received for reaching Level One of Beyond Belief Network!
North Florida Atheists recently volunteered with Dignity U Wear. Dignity U Wear distributes dignity in the form of brand new clothing. Their goal is to distribute clothing in a way that maximizes the impact that clothing has on lives. They collaborate with other great social service agencies on projects and programs so that the clothing is given to people at the right time—the first day of school, in coordination with medical care, or before a job interview, for example.
Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry has been collecting money for a different local charity every quarter since 2007. Their first Charity of the Quarter for 2012 was “Begin with Books,” which distributes new free books to kids in need every month. SHL raised $1,092 and were honored as the sponsor of the month in August 2013, which means that their group name was on the book plate placed into each book distributed. They challenged their members to donate blood at two local Red Cross donor centers during the week of October 14-19 in their group’s name. SHL also picked up litter along two miles of road in Charleston, SC, through the South Carolina Department of Transportation Adopt a Highway program and have a road sign indicating they have adopted that highway portion.
Siouxland Freethinkers volunteered at the Kirby Science Center's “Spooky Science” event. Spooky Science is a non-scary Halloween event. There are stations set up throughout the science center where kids can perform science experiments, learn about science, and make crafts. Siouxland Freethinkers members ran different experiment stations, such as one that taught kids about Newton's laws of motion, one that experimented with static electricity, one that taught about buoyancy, and one where the kids learned about holograms. Siouxland Freethinkers also recently hosted a blood drive and participated in “Tree the Town,” during which volunteers planted trees at the homes of the elderly and the disabled in order to help replace trees that were lost during an ice storm earlier this year.
Southern Maryland Secular Humanists also got in the Halloween spirit by running a booth at the 14th-annual Halloween event for the Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center. Nearly 6,000 kids and parents enjoyed the gorgeous weather. Eighty company booths handed out candy along with SMSH. This perfectly spook-tacular event raised money for the Holiday Food Basket Program, Annmarie Scholarship Fund, and a St. Mary’s County Charity to be named by the Ann’s Circle Board of Directors.
Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) worked as housewarmers 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 RMH guests to provide a home-like environment by greeting, assisting with family needs, answering phones, giving tours, assisting with checking in and out, preparing guest rooms after checkout, cleaning the facility, laundry, restocking supplies, and staffing the front desk.
In November, Beyond Belief Network will observe Hunger Awareness Month by encouraging BBN teams to help local food banks and soup kitchens. 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 show the world that all we really need is charity and goodness to make the world a better place.