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Latest Beyond Belief Network News

Beyond Belief Network teams reported nearly 30 events and 1,300 hours of service in February. Austin Humanists at Work captured the Picture of the Month at their February Giveaway, where about 30 volunteers handed out the nearly 5,000 food and other essential items they had collected since the last giveaway. In all, 145 Austin residents in need benefited from this month's giveaway.

Atheist Community San Jose (ACSJ) is our February Team of the Month in recognition of the group's contribution to disaster recovery efforts after a historic flood. On February 21st, rains that battered much of California caused flooding in San Jose that displaced 14,000 residents and left $73 million in damage. ACSJ volunteers joined the offices of Mayor Sam Liccardo, Councilmember Tam Nguyen, and Councilmember Raul Peralez in neighborhood cleanups along Coyote Creek in the impacted neighborhoods. Volunteers helped muck out houses, garages, and streets, as well as move unusable items to dumpsters, in addition to helping move emergency shelter supplies.

By FBB

We've already announced that the South Texas Atheists for Reason and the Tri-State Freethinkers were our Picture and Team of the Month winners for January. Here's what the rest of the teams were up doing in January.

Four times a year, Springfield Skeptics muster up their resources and prepare a meal for the LGBT+ youth at the local support center. In January, the group organized a taco night, and the youth at the center loved them! Springfield Skeptics also hiked through the trails of the Busiek State Forest, cleaning up bottles, cans, and all sorts of other trash.

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By FBB

Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day, a nationwide day to encourage kindness. Foundation Beyond Belief is thrilled to work with incredible volunteers who put their kindness and compassion to work in their lives every day, and we'd love to have you join us!

With a number of programs that offer ways to volunteer both at home and away, FBB gives humanists a variety of opportunities to come together for the greater good. Details about all of our programs can be found at our website which lists each program and a number of subheadings about the history, mission, and how to join. Not sure which program is right for you? Here's a brief overview of each program, so you can see which might be the right fit for you.

  • Our Beyond Belief Network is a collective of over 125 volunteer groups working in their own communities. You can read more about them and how you can join here.
  • Our Humanist Service Corps is an international volunteering program guided by the principles of secular humanism currently working in the alleged witch camps in Ghana. Read more about them here.
  • Our Humanist Disaster Recovery Teams provide the humanist community an avenue through which to volunteer when disaster strikes. You can read more about them and find out how you can sign up to join a team here.
  • No time to volunteer? No problem. Our Humanist Grants Program is a great way to help sustain humanist charities on a regular basis! We carefully select beneficiary organizations for impact and efficiency, and they must pass our rigorous vetting process. Quarterly featured beneficiaries are secular organizations. Interested in contributing to our Humanist Grants program monthly? You can donate as little as $5 a month.

FBB is grateful every day for the volunteers that make our work possible. Together we are Humanism at Work!

By FBB

Beyond Belief Network must have resolved to continue being their awesome selves in 2017, because they have not skipped a beat! BBN teams reported more than 40 events and contributed nearly 1,500 hours of service in January. Tri-State Freethinkers is our January Team of the Month. At two different events, Freethinkers assembled 550 boxes of food for distribution to needy seniors in their community. Volunteers prepared and served brunch for more than 30 women at the Bethany House homeless shelter and prepared dinner for the homeless at another shelter where they played games after the meal. They also volunteered twice to phone bank in support of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Planned Parenthood. In addition, Tri-State Freethinkers made sure to make their voices heard and their presence felt at the We Are Kentucky Days of Action gathering at the Kentucky State Capitol on January 5th and during the local Women's March on January 21st.

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By FBB

Beyond Belief Network (BBN) teams contributed more than 18,000 hours of service in their communities in 2016. Their dedication inspired us at Foundation Beyond Belief to continue to look for new ways to support them and raise awareness about the ways BBN teams are putting their humanism into action.

Here are a few 2016 highlights from our amazing BBN teams.

Many groups took it upon themselves to look out for the neediest members in their communities. Central Ohio United Non-Theists and the Humanist Community of Central Ohio, two members of the Columbus Coalition of Reason, partnered on a monthly volunteering event at a local shelter. BE. Orlando volunteers put together a monthly meal serve and often dressed up in the spirit of one of the holidays in the month. Humanists of Houston, Minnesota Atheists, and Flagstaff Freethinkers volunteered regularly at local food banks and homeless shelters. Fellowship of Freethought helped put on a monthly "supper club" for low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to volunteering at their local food bank, South Jersey Humanists even donated produce they grew in their own community garden!

With help from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Minnesota Atheists also hosted their fifth annual Mr. Paul Aints takeover of a local minor league baseball team, the St. Paul Saints. At the game, the group collected shoes for Soles4Souls.

Austin Humanists at Work organized item drives that enabled them to give away thousands of essential items every month.

Atheist Community of Colorado Springs met twice a month to knit and crochet plastic bags into sleeping mats.

South Texas Atheists for Reason is another group that organized monthly giveaways for community members in need. Indeed, STAR organized a variety of regular events in 2016, and 64 events overall! Nearly every Sunday in 2016, STAR coordinated a regular event with the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) that provided humanist chaplains to support the trainees and guide discussions at Lackland Air Force Base. The first event drew 328 trainees. Each subsequent event has drawn more and more, with more than 1,000 trainees attending each event later in the year. These rising attendance numbers show that STAR and MAAF are providing a much-needed service.

The Springfield Skeptics built a wonderful relationship with the Missouri Institute of Natural Science in 2016. Skeptics volunteered at the museum in various ways from helping with landscaping to building a deck, but Springfield Skeptics really showed their investment in the museum's mission when they donated more than $1,000 in grant and award money they had earned from the Beyond Belief Network to the museum.

Humanist Alliance of the Philippines, International organized its second annual tree-planting day, on which 21 HAPI chapters around the Philippines planted more than 50,000 fruit-bearing seedlings.

With more than 500 events reported in 2016, we couldn't possibly recap all of them. Here are just a few more highlights: many groups organized successful blood drives throughout the year, like this one put together by the Humanist Community of the Space Coast.  The Atheist Community of San Jose did it several times. Tri-State Freethinkers organized more than a dozen actions in support of Planned Parenthood and women's rights. Lots of groups, like Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, Brevard Area Atheists, Humanists Doing Good, Corpus Christi Atheists, and Camden County Humanists, saw value in beautifying their communities and getting a little signage for their group by adopting highways, parks, and beaches. In addition to many of the above kinds of activities, Pikes Peak Atheists and Pikes Peak Atheist Families continued building their relationship with Black Forest Animal Sanctuary.  A few groups helped organize their local pride parades. Nearly every group seemed to be intent on scrooging it up in the War on Christmas by gathering gifts for local families.

In 2016, we launched a National Partners Program for the Beyond Belief Network and are now working with the American Humanist Association, American Ethical Union, UU Humanist Association, and United Coalition of Reason to help encourage effective service events and track volunteer hours for their chapters and affiliates. We also made Foundation Beyond Belief staff available to run Giving Games for our National Parter organizations and facilitated several fruitful discussions about humanist values and effective altruism. In 2017, we hope to increase the number of National Partner organizations and continue working to synergize humanist service efforts around the world.

One of the areas where Foundation Beyond Belief seeks to emphasize the importance of humanist action in 2017 is social justice. Fittingly, our February community service theme is Social Justice and Race. We believe that social justice is important every month of the year, so we encourage you to use this guide for February and beyond. You can find information and activities that can help you reduce racial inequality in the criminal justice system, wealth and income, education, and voting rights. While you spend February learning about African American history, don’t neglect to fight for the future. As humanists, it isn't enough for us to recognize a need in the world - we must take action.

In 2017, we hope to see members of the Beyond Belief Network and humanists everywhere standing up for racial equality. Let’s create positive change and broadcast to the world that religious affiliation isn’t necessary for social justice activism. As we fight injustice, we will also work to normalize humanism in our society.

By FBB

What an incredible year it has been for the Beyond Belief Network! Last week, we announced the December winners for Team of the Month and Picture of the Month. Altogether, BBN teams reported 35 events and more than 1,500 hours of service in December! Here's what the rest of the BBN teams were up to:

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By FBB

Beyond Belief Network teams didn't slow down one bit in December!

The December Picture of the Month is from the day Sunday Assembly Los Angeles delivered its Giving Tree gifts to families in need. In this picture, one SALA member holds a child as the child's mother gets a tutorial on using a donated laptop. Bonus points for the Sunday Assembly three-part motto featuring in the picture! As these SALA members know, helping often is a big part of living better.

Austin Humanists at Work (ATXHAW) is our December Team of the Month in recognition of several fantastic December events that capped off a wonderful year of service to the Austin community. Month after month this year, ATXHAW set records for the number of items they were able to collect for their monthly giveaways. In December, ATXHAW volunteers were able to collect 7,259 items - a new record by over 1,900 items. ATXHAW also had an excellent turnout at its "Gettin' Knotty" crafts group that knits and crochets washcloths and scarves to be handed out at the monthly giveaway. At the giveaway itself, over 70 ATXHAW volunteers gathered under a bridge in downtown Austin to hand out community donations to those in need. ATXHAW also arranged to serve turkey, tamales, and various sides. Over 100 Austin residents in need showed up to get food and supplies.

By FBB

Beyond Belief Network teams organized nearly 40 events and contributed over 3,000 hours of volunteer service in October! We picked Pikes Peak Atheists and Pikes Peak Atheist Families (featured image, above) as our October Team of the Month and chose a photo from the South Texas Atheists for Reason (STAR) for September Picture of the Month. Read the announcement here.

Here's what other BBN teams did in October:

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By FBB

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