By Kelley Freeman
The Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry are an active and great group based out of Charleston, South Carolina. They’ve been instrumental in helping start Camp Quest South Carolina, which had its first camp session last July—and is already full for this year’s camp session! Not only that, but they do a fantastic job of maintaining regular service activities.
So far this year, they have done two highway cleanups, volunteered at a pet shelter, collected and organized clothing at the Lowcountry Orphan Relief, and volunteered with the Palmetto House family shelter.
At the pet shelter, they cleaned cages and organized donated material, which the pet shelter most certainly appreciated.
When they worked at the Palmetto House family shelter, they managed to serve two meals, build a pergola, and paint a flower box. The pictures from before and after are pretty amazing. Good work, y’all, and keep it up!Read More
The Michigan Secular Student Alliance (SSA) has undergone a major transformation over the last year. Growing from 10 to 15 regular attendees to upwards of 40 at any given meeting, the group has adapted to grow with its members. Though the SSA originated as a tight community engaged in intellectual discussions, the emphasis on big service projects and activism events following its recent growth has made for a challenging balance, yet a sharper focus on their mission.
With the group’s rising popularity on campus, it wanted to become more active in the community. More important, the group saw volunteering as an essential aspect of secular humanism. “We don’t need prayers to change the world because we’re going to do that ourselves,” said Victoria Dykes, the group’s activism chair.
The group has started developing partnerships throughout the community, including with The Greening of Detroit, a project dedicated to improving the neighborhoods of Detroit. This includes strategic landscaping, cleaning up trash, planting gardens in abandoned fields, planting trees, and demolishing houses.
Community Service Chair Cathy Chow recently spoke on the budding partnership: “Detroit can look very crummy … but people can change that with a lot of work and many volunteers.” Victoria continued, “[Greening of Detroit] was all very community driven, and it was great to see the residents coming together and improving their neighborhood—and getting to be a part of that, I really felt like we made a difference.”
This focus on giving back to the community has even led to some interesting and unusual bedfellows. The religious groups on campus have a strong presence, and through volunteer events and public participation and awareness, Michigan SSA is bridging the gap. “They always invite us to their events and they come to ours, which has led to some awesome discussions! We even have a couple theists who are regular members and attend almost all our events,” said Victoria.
From the changing awareness on campus to reaching out to the local community, Michigan SSA is making a difference in their area of influence and beyond. “Being a humanist means working to create a better and more humane society. Volunteering is an easy and fun way to improve the lives of other people around and your community. It can help you build relationships within your group and feel like you’ve accomplished something worthwhile. It also has the added benefit of showing that people can be good without god and helps to dispel the notion many people have about atheists being without values.” Victoria is providing evidence of these beliefs each and every day, as the group continues to strive to leave Michigan better than they found it.Read More
Like many humanists I was raised religious. In the years that followed my apostasy, sometimes I missed the camaraderie and community: church potlucks, theatrical plays, holiday celebrations, and charitable volunteering and fundraising. Studies show that community is important for pro-social behavior, volunteerism, health, happiness, and well-being. Community connection can be complicated in today’s society, though,…Read More
Over the past week, we have all witnessed the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and Haiti. In the past few days, many of you have reached out to us, generously volunteering your time, money, and resources. So here’s more about the situation and how you can help: Afghanistan: The withdrawal of international troops has led to…Read More
For 400 years, violence and oppression have been the law of the land in the United States. For those who aren’t born white, the term “united” is a cruel irony. We are now, and have always been, a nation bitterly divided. These divisions are not equal, nor are they just. Existing while Black puts one…Read More
Are you ready to deepen your humanism through international service? The Humanist Action: Ghana (HA: Ghana) is now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 volunteering commitment. 2019-2020 volunteers will be the first HA: Ghana group to support grassroots human rights organizations working in the Central Region as well as keep supporting our partner organizations in the Northern Region…Read More
You may have noticed that the Humanist Action: Ghana (HA: Ghana) has been silent on social media in the first months of 2018. We want to bring you up to date on an eventful few months. As you may know, HA: Ghana launched in Ghana’s Northern Region in support of Songtaba, a grassroots women’s rights…Read More
Humanist Disaster Recovery is now raising funds to assist those most in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. This storm surpassed all rainfall predictions, and according to the University of Wisconsin – Madison CIMSS, was a thousand year storm. South Texas has had three five-hundred-year flooding events in the last three years, including Harvey.…Read More
It’s time for nonbelievers to worry less about the perception that we don’t volunteer and more about the fact that most volunteerism is self-serving. Nonbelievers are keenly aware of the history of oppression in the name of service and, indeed, of continued oppression masquerading as service. We know that volunteering is not a yes/no binary.…Read More
In Ghana it is customary to start and end every meeting with a prayer. What kind of meeting doesn’t matter: PTA meeting, building project meeting, NGO planning meeting–they all start and end with a prayer. Ghana is one of the most religious countries in the world, so while there are Christians, Muslims, and traditionalists, it’s…Read More