People Without Housing Targeted by City Ordinance in Austin

Early voting on a city ordinance to sweep people without housing out of view is underway in Austin.  A ban on public sleeping was lifted in 2019, but now Austin’s homelessness problem has become too visible for some. A May 1 vote will determine whether or not to criminalize being homeless again. Hundreds of jurisdictions…

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BBN Teams in love with community service

Foundation Beyond Belief’s Beyond Belief Network is a network of secular humanist groups volunteering in their communities and raising money for FBB’s featured charities and programs. Any group with a public secular humanist or atheist identity is welcome to join, regardless of experience or group size. One of our goals for this year is to…

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September Team of the Month: Humanist Community of Central Ohio

Congratulations to Beyond Belief Network’s September Team of the Month: Humanist Community of Central Ohio! Humanist Community of Central Ohio currently stands at Level Two. This team was chosen for this honor because of the variety of their service events and their dedication towards educating their local community about a variety of issues. Humanist Community…

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Beyond Belief Network teams demonstrate community action

Foundation Beyond Belief’s Beyond Belief Network is a network of secular humanist groups volunteering in their communities and raising money for FBB’s featured charities and programs. Any group with a public secular humanist or atheist identity is welcome to join, regardless of experience or group size. Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless collected more than 1,575 items…

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Beyond Belief Network Teams improve selves and community

Foundation Beyond Belief’s Beyond Belief Network is a network of secular humanist groups volunteering in their communities and raising money for FBB’s featured charities and programs. Any group with a public secular humanist or atheist identity is welcome to join, regardless of experience or group size. Four members of our Team of the Month for June…

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Beyond Belief Network: Austin Atheists and Freethought Dayton first to hit Level Three in 2014!

Congratulations to our Beyond Belief Network Teams, Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless and Freethought Dayton, for reaching Level Three! Both teams have already had at least twelve community service events in this calendar year! We’re impressed with each team’s regular service event schedule, their commitment towards improving their respective communities and their active demonstration of…

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BBN teams take the lead in spring community service events

Foundation Beyond Belief’s Beyond Belief Network is a network of secular humanist groups volunteering in their communities and raising money for FBB’s featured charities and programs. Any group with a public secular humanist or atheist identity is welcome to join, regardless of experience or group size. Three volunteers from Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless were invited…

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March Team of the Month: Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless

By Elizabeth Minutello, Beyond Belief Network Intern

Congratulations to Beyond Belief Network’s March Team of the Month: Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless! Although they are a recent addition to Beyond Belief Network, Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless (Austin AHH) are the first BBN team to reach Level One in 2014. AHH hosts a monthly service event in which they collect and distribute basic living supplies to local homeless people in their area. We were impressed with their both their commitment, organization, and effort that is required to carry out their monthly “giveaways.”   
 
AHH was founded in September 2009 by Joe Zamecki, Chuck Clark and Mark Johnson and was the first recipient of a Richard Dawkins Foundation grant aimed at helping secular charity groups. It is thanks to grants like these as well as a small group of volunteers and regular donors that AHH is able to distribute supplies to homeless communities in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas/Fort Worth each month. 
 
One secret to Austin AHA’s success has been to focus on publicizing their events. They use social media, such as Facebook and send event announcements and updates to several outlets every month. In 2012, Austin’s Your News Now Network even did a live TV interview and report on the team during a giveaway!
 
Austin AHH had this advice if you’re a member of a secular group or an individual interested in doing similar giveaways to needy people living in your community. 

1. Before your team plans anything, check your city’s ordinances regarding setting up and distributing items on public property. 

2. Actively recruit from underrepresented groups in your area. Austin AHH credits team diversity for making their giveaways successful. 

3. Volunteers often have professional and family responsibilities, so try to keep their responsibilities to a minimum. Some volunteers may only be able to commit to a few events per year while others can attend on a regular basis. 

4. Try to rely on certain volunteers to perform specific tasks such as facilitating communication, collecting donations and bringing tables to display items. This way no one particular individual feels pressured to do more than they can. 

 
 
Team of the Month recognition is a benefit provided by Foundation Beyond Belief to our Beyond Belief Network teams. In order to be considered, your group must be a Level One Beyond Belief Network team and you must submit at least one event report during the month. Team of the Month selection is based on the number, length, variety, and documentation (e.g., submitted pictures, blog posts, videos, etc.) of events.

Teams can only be Team of the Month once per calendar year. If your local group does great service work, but isn’t a member of BBN, you can join anytime! In addition to recognition, your team can qualify for free t-shirts and grants. If your local humanist group doesn’t volunteer, but you’d like to start, we’d love to help! For teams new to secular service, we offer tons of ideas, event guides, and advice.
 

The growing tide of Atheists Helping the Homeless

Atheists Helping the Homeless DFWIn September 2009, a group of atheists in Austin, Texas, sought to live out their humanism in helping an invariably maligned segment of their community: the homeless. For more than three years now, Atheists Helping the Homeless (AHH) has met weekly, in downtown Austin, to give back to the less fortunate living under the 1-35 freeway. 

Now, freethinkers around Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas, have founded AHH’s first chapter outside of Austin, Dallas-Ft. Worth Atheists Helping the Homeless (DFW AHH), for people in the area seeking a non-proselytizing alternative to reaching out to the homeless and impoverished citizens with whom they share a community. 

Atheists Helping the HomelessDFW AHH was founded by LaDonna Davies, who grew up in homeless shelters across Dallas and later returned to anonymously volunteer for many of them after she’d left the foster care system. She finds this imbues in her a “personal connection to the homeless of Dallas,” and she and her fellow leaders believe in “leading by example and encouraging all people to help those less fortunate.”

The DFW AHH has already had its first giveaway, and it was a tremendous success, mustering more than two dozen volunteers. As with any up-and-coming organization, though, they need our help, and our donations, to keep going. You can learn how to support the DFW AHH by visiting their website.

You can learn more about AHH as they continue to expand by connecting with them on Facebook or Twitter, or visiting their blog.

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