We're not the only ones with favorite charities. Following is a short list of organizations to which our friends, clients, colleagues and subscribers contribute time, money, ideas and passion. Perhaps you'd like to become involved in one of them, too. Click, read*, do good.
Chrysalis: Los Angeles-based Chrysalis is dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals become self-sufficient through employment opportunities. It currently helps more than 2,000 people a year change their lives through jobs. Chrysalis' four main service centers are located where homelessness and pockets of poverty are most pervasive: two sites on Skid Row in downtown L.A., Santa Monica and in the Pacoima area of the San Fernando Valley. 93% of individuals completing Chrysalis' Job Readiness Curriculum secure employment.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: The mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is to assure the development of the means to cure and control cystic fibrosis (CF) and to improve the quality of life for those with the disease.
Perhaps you'd like to get involved, too. Click, read,Cystic Fibrosis is the #1 genetic killer of children and young adults. More than 30,000 people nationwide have this life-threatening disease. In addition, more than 10 million Americans are genetic carriers. For people with CF, the defective gene causes the body to produce a faulty protein that leads to abnormally thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and can result in fatal lung infections. The mucus also obstructs the pancreas, making it difficult to absorb nutrients in food. Most who suffer from cystic fibrosis must battle lung disease for their entire lives. At least one person dies each day from the disease. With the support of the CF Foundation, there has been tremendous progress in cystic fibrosis research and care. The median age of survival has improved from early childhood (in the 1950s) to the mid-30s.
Dream Street: For more than a quarter of a century, Dream Street has been sending terminally ill children from around the country to camp for free. From the time they arrive, all of their needs are met, including meals, lodging and medical care. For many of these children, it's the only opportunity they will have to enjoy time as a "normal" kid.
Driver's Edge: Driver's Edge offers a free educational program to young drivers (age 15-21) that teaches real-life emergency avoidance and response techniques and overall driver safety. This innovative program is taught on an ongoing basis in Las Vegas, with annual national tours visiting multiple U.S. cities each year. Professional race car driver Jeff Payne founded and developed Driver's Edge to help combat the staggering number of automobile collisions and fatalities involving young drivers that occur every year.
Elliott Smith Memorial Fund/Free Arts for Abused Children: All donations to the Elliott Smith Memorial Fund, established by the singer-songwriter's family for the sole purpose of providing financial support to children who are victims of abuse, are committed to Free Arts for Abused Children, which is dedicated to helping children who live in protective custody. In Los Angeles County alone, more than 37,000 children live under the protection of the courts. These children have been removed from their homes after suffering abuse, neglect and abandonment. Free Arts programs foster self-esteem and build character by unlocking the imagination. Instruction in painting, music, drama and other art forms is presented at residential-care facilities, shelters, rehab centers and the Children's Courthouse in Monterey Park, Calif. Participation in Free Arts relieves anxiety, enhances communication and renews trust in adults.
End of Hunger Fund: The End of Hunger Fund encourages people to join the fight to end hunger through our documentary film series, speaking engagements, concert series, in-school education programs and interactive Web site. EHF differs from other organizations in that we act as a spotlight on those groups around the world, like the Hunger Project, the Lunchbox Fund, Share Our Strength and others, that are effectively ending hunger. The solution to hunger is attainable through empowering women, educating communities and granting credit to families so they can start their own businesses. EHF sees the end of hunger as a means to end the hunger within each of us to make a difference in the world.
Green Chimneys: Green Chimneys restores possibilities and creates futures for children with emotional, behavioral and learning challenges. Recognized for its pioneering animal-assisted therapy, Green Chimneys operates residential treatment centers. Its services include alternative secondary school, specialized training for professionals, counseling, transitional living, mentoring programs and recreational activities. Programs also focus on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their families.
Have More Compassion: Have More Compassion helps support Vera House and its Onward and Upward program for mothers trying to leave abusive relationships; the Good Shepherd Shelter for mothers who have survived domestic abuse; and the Good Shepherd Center for homeless and disabled mothers. HMC provides free makeovers at two local shelters, one for homeless mothers and their children, the other a domestic abuse shelter for moms and their children.
Hollywood Arts: Hollywood Arts provides opportunities for at-risk, homeless and runaway youth to understand themselves and their creativity in a safe and supportive environment. Hollywood Arts collaborates with local service providers that do not have the facilities or staff to offer comprehensive arts activities for their clients. Programs at Hollywood Arts emphasize hands-on learning, apprentice relationships, teamwork and technical skills. We encourage our clients to think both analytically and creatively. The first goal is to use interactive creative experiences to foster self-esteem and build a new community of mentors and friends. The second is to teach life skills that will help our clients make the transition from their high-risk situations back to school or into jobs in creative fields.
Inner-City Arts: Inner-City Arts was founded in 1989 in response to funding cuts that eliminated arts instruction in Los Angeles public schools. Aware of the powerful role of the arts, Bob Bates, Artistic Director and Co-Founder, saw the need to offer at-risk children the opportunity to experience the power of creativity. Along with Irwin Jaeger, a local businessman and entrepreneur, Bates worked to restore arts education to the children in and around Los Angeles' Skid Row area. The program has since expanded to include a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District, which brings students to Inner-City Arts during their regular school day.
School on Wheels: The mission of School on Wheels is to enhance educational opportunities for homeless children from kindergarten through 12th grade. Our goal is to shrink the gaps in the education of these children and provide them with the highest-quality education possible. We do this by offering one-on-one tutoring, backpacks and school supplies, assistance in entering school, help in locating lost records, and guidance to parents in educational matters involving their children.
Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation: Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation transforms the lives of seriously ill children and their families through imaginative programs that educate, lift spirits, create a sense of community and help alleviate the pain and fear of prolonged illness. Starlight Starbright offers an array of in-hospital, outpatient, school and home-based programs and services that touch the lives of more than 180,000 children and families each month.
Stop Global Warming: Stop Global Warming is a citizens' movement committed to reducing global warming, protecting our planet and ensuring the survival of our species as we know it. Through the power of a grassroots "virtual march," we demand that our government pay attention. To date, hundreds of thousands of Americans, from Senator John McCain to Walter Cronkite, from the Union of Concerned Scientists to the National Council of Churches, have joined the virtual march to voice their concerns about global warming and urge our leaders to take action. With the support of science, political, religious, cultural, and business leaders, the march is moving across the country via the Internet, demonstrating global warming's alarming effects and offering solutions. With a click of the mouse, Americans are using the virtual march as a means to send a loud and clear message to our government that we want action now.
United in Harmony: United in Harmony's mission is to provide homeless children with hope and opportunities to develop self-esteem through interaction with teenage and adult role models. Established in 1990, United in Harmony provides a variety of enrichment programs to children ages five to 13 from more than 10 shelters in Los Angeles Country. Camp Harmony is the cornerstone of our organization, offering an overnight-camp experience to homeless and otherwise disadvantaged children. The friendships formed among Camp Harmony counselors and campers are nurtured through a series of monthly events, and a mentoring program pairs camp alumni with counselors for community activities that help children explore a world of possibility and opportunity.
*Editorial Emergency cannot vouch for any of these organizations. The descriptions above were gleaned from their Web sites. We encourage our readers to research thoroughly any organization they plan to support.