2014 was a fantastic year for Beyond Belief Network! Since our official launch in May 2013, we’ve grown to over 100 teams. Our teams recorded 244 events, and we’re at an exciting milestone of over 58,000 hours donated to date. We’ve been able to provide teams with free logo t-shirts, grants, and assistance finding service activities and promoting events. Additionally, in July, we announced the winners of our second annual Heart of Humanism Awards (for Beyond Belief Network teams active in 2013).
We’ve continued issuing informative service guides once a month. Current and new Beyond Belief Network teams will enjoy our guides, “Starting Service Activities” and “Volunteer Opportunities and Ideas.” The first offers advice and tips on how to organize a team, and includes information on how to join Beyond Belief Network. Established volunteer groups can also use this guide, especially if they are considering ways to more effectively manage their group. The second offers a vast array of potential service events. There are event ideas in several cause areas, such as hunger, human rights, and poverty assistance, that teams new to service or looking for a change of pace may consider. Beyond Belief Network also offers service guides for specific events including bake sales and care packages.
Beyond Belief Network’s Team of the Month awards remain a popular endeavor. It’s always encouraging to see how a certain team is making an impact in their local community. March’s Team of the Month was Austin Atheists Helping the Homeless. They organize a monthly donation drive, collection and giveaway for those individuals who are poverty-stricken in Downtown Austin. In May, we recognized Freethought Dayton, for their regular service event schedule including volunteering at a local food bank, donating blood, and participating in Adopt-a-Highway. June’s winning team was Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT) who volunteer regularly at their local Ronald McDonald House as well as work at events hosted by Columbus Coalition of Reason. COUNT is one of their member groups. Fellowship of Freethought Dallas was August’s Team of the Month. They specialize in environmental and food-related service events. In November, Minnesota Atheists won this recognition. They regularly volunteer at a local shelter and food bank as well as host specialized events such as their recent toy drive initiative. Aside from their commitment to service, these five teams have something else in common. They’ve successfully reached Beyond Belief Network Level Three, our highest team level! Congratulations!
In 2014, thanks to support from members and the community at large, we will be able to support more teams with event planning assistance and guides, award more grants and t-shirts, and recognize even more teams. We can’t wait to see what will happen in 2015! If you know a local or online atheist or humanist group who would be a good candidate to join Beyond Belief Network, please send them to our website.