Investing in Women: Spotlight on Women for Women International

Women for Women International

It’s a story we’re all too familiar with. In many places, we’re encouraged to ignore it; in the United States, for instance, we’re told that feminism is no longer necessary. Women are equal, aren’t they? They’re no longer confined to the home, they hold jobs previously denied to them, and overall, their position in society has improved in many ways. So what’s all the fuss about?

The fuss is about this: Although in some countries great strides have been made, for many women around the world, equality and opportunity are still not readily accessible. Women are less likely to hold … Continue reading

With Empathy & Respect – Spotlight on Rosie’s Place

Rosie's Place

Homelessness and poverty are issues that I’d venture to say most people who don’t experience them firsthand only consider in passing–maybe around Thanksgiving, when the local food pantries ramp up their requests for donations. After all, it’s not a comfortable situation to imagine yourself in, and particularly not in a world that often feels increasingly unstable, where the worries of food security, affordable housing, and finding employment that provides a living wage mean that many of us don’t feel so far removed from that outcome.

But for those who are struggling with poverty and homelessness, these issues aren’t abstract; they’re … Continue reading

Writing as Empowerment – Spotlight on the 826 National

826 National
826 National

Our family has always been one of creative pursuits. Between the five of us, we’ve tried scrapbooking, painting, knitting, crocheting, drawing, embroidery, photography, sewing, quilling, wood-working, felting, collages, jewelry-making, and probably more that I’m forgetting. Growing up, my mother and sisters always enjoyed crafts the most, but I had little patience for many of them. When it comes to creative pursuits, my favorite has always–unequivocally–been writing.

I wrote stories, poetry, essays, novellas, and eventually novels; I kept journals faithfully for many years; and over the course of my pre-teen and teenage years, I also created several blogs. Writing … Continue reading

The Struggle for Clean Water: Spotlight on DigDeep & the Navajo Water Project

Navajo Water Project

When we think of communities struggling with access to and the availability of clean water, our thoughts typically go to far-off places. Digging wells in African nations is a familiar concept to many, but for those of us living in the United States, it often hasn’t occurred to us that water security could be an issue in our own country, too. The Navajo Water Project is a nonprofit that urges us to change that mindset.

It’s an offshoot of DigDeep, an organization which identifies not as a charity, but as “a human rights non-profit working to ensure that every … Continue reading

Making the World a Warmer, Kinder Place — Spotlight on Knit-a-Square

knit a square-page-0.jpg

If you’ve been keeping tabs on my monthly features of charities and nonprofits, you may have noticed a common theme: I like grassroots. I like community engagement. I like the feeling of doing something hands-on and tangible to help others and make the world a warmer, kinder place. This month’s spotlight on Knit-a-square is very much in keeping with that ideal, and offers another simple yet wonderful way to make a difference–all you need is some yarn, a pair of knitting needles or a crochet hook, and a whole lot of heart.

Keeping the Cold at Bay

Knit-a-square (KAS) was … Continue reading

“A Catchy Title for a Post about Periods” – Spotlight on Days for Girls International & the Pad Project

Every month, a significant part of the world’s population has to contend with a biological cycle that is entirely natural and yet, more often than not, extremely taboo. In the western world, getting your period isn’t exactly considered polite dinner table conversation, but we’ve managed to reach the point where it doesn’t interfere too much with our daily lives: disposable feminine hygiene products are, for most individuals, easily obtainable and very effective, and women aren’t shunned during menstruation. Western girls and women wear a pad or use a tampon, maybe take an ibuprofen for the cramps, and then we’re able … Continue reading

The Power of the (Hand)written Word — Spotlight on The World Needs More Love Letters

I have always believed in the importance of two things: acts of kindness, and the written word. I value kindness in all its forms; there’s something so priceless contained in a caring word, a thoughtful gesture, a moment of going out of your way–even just a little–to make someone else feel seen or appreciated. And as for the written word, well. Haven’t you ever read a book that spoke directly to your heart, or a poem that seemed to be made of the same stuff as your soul? Or received a letter, or an email, or a comment on social … Continue reading

How to Start a Library (or Three) in Africa — Spotlight on the African Library Project

African Library Project

I spent my childhood with my nose in a book. Ask anyone who knows me; at this point, it’s kind of the defining feature of my personal history. If you were ever looking for me, you could often find me settled in the oddest of places—sometimes on the couch or my bed, but just as likely under the kitchen table, tucked between a cupboard and the wall, or on top of the slide on our swing set—lost in the world of whatever work of fiction had currently found its way into my hands. I devoured everything from Nancy Drew and … Continue reading