Hope-Filled Organizations (Part 3)

Listed below are a number of Hope-Filled Organizations. Additional organizations are added regularly when they are recommended by website readers and when I become aware of them through my own work, reading, and research.

After School Matters
Greater Good Science Center
Project Happiness LSMO
Shalom Center
Snow City Arts
UNICEF - Child Friendly Cities Initiative
Volunteer Center of Racine County
West Suburban Community Pantry (WSCP)

Please see Part 2 for other organizations!

Share Your Thoughts

Greater Good Science Center

University of California, Berkely

Greater Good Science Center

Our Mission: The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

Based at the University of California, Berkeley, one of the world’s leading institutions of research and higher education, the GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: Not only do we sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, we help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives.

Since 2001, we have seen at the fore of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior—the science of a meaningful life. And we have been without peer in our efforts to translate and disseminate this science to the public, including through our award-winning online magazine Greater Good. Click on this link to Greater Good.

Though much of our work draws on psychological research, its scope is wider than the individual’s. Instead, we try to support cultural shifts in the ways people view human nature, understand the sources of true happiness, and value their connections to one another—all to promote a kinder and more compassionate society.

To achieve that overarching aim, we focus on these long-term, large-scale outcomes:

  • A shift in conventional wisdom about human nature, so that the public views kindness and compassion as no less “natural” to humans than selfishness and aggression.
  • Greater awareness about the keys to social and emotional well-being, including the factors most likely to cause people to act on their instincts for kindness and compassion.
  • Greater demand for programs that foster the social-emotional well-being of their participants, driven by greater awareness about the research-based benefits of these programs.
  • Deeper understanding within educational institutions of how—and why—to support social-emotional development, nurturing a new generation that is better equipped to deal with conflict, handle stress, and widen their circles of kindness and compassion.
  • Higher levels of emotional well-being within institutions—specifically in families, schools, workplaces, and the health care system—better preparing people to respond to others with care, equanimity, and generosity.

To learn more about the Greater Good Center, click on this link: Greater Good Science Center (berkeley.edu)


Volunteer Center of Racine County, Inc. logo

Mission Statement: Premier resource for youth, adults and seniors of all abilities to make a difference in our community through volunteerism.

Vision: We envision a community where every person discovers their power to contribute to the well-being of the community through volunteering; while offering various, needed programs to the community.

Volunteers are the Heart of the Community

For a wide range of volunteering opportunities in Racine County, we have a database of opportunities that
you can search and explore. This database is FREE to all users, including agencies who would like to utilize the database to advertise their own volunteer opportunities. To see the database of opportunities to volunteer, click on this link:
Opportunities | Volunteer Center of Racine County, Inc. (galaxydigital.com)

Here is a partial list and brief description of some of the Volunteer opportunities in Racine County:

Community Service: We serve as the point-of-entry to community service in the area. We are accredited by the Racine County Court System to validate and record court-mandated community service hours. 

Skill Bank: Skill Bank is a service for residents of Racine County who are 55 years and older who need minor work done to their homes or yards. Our workers provide services as volunteers and donations are offered between the worker and the homeowner.

MyRIDE: MyRIDE is a complimentary transportation service for 55+ Racine County seniors who are no longer able to drive themselves. Service includes rides to medical appointments, grocery shopping, running errands and more.

Youth Volunteer Corps: We engage youth in team-based service experiences that build life and work skills while inspiring a lifetime ethic of service.

AmeriCorps RSVP Seniors: AmeriCorps RSVP Seniors offers one-stop-shopping for people 55+ who want to find fun and fulfilling volunteer opportunities in their local community. AmeriCorps Seniors will help you find the
service opportunity that’s right for you!


SNOW CITY ARTS

Snow City Arts inspires and educates children and youth in hospitals through the arts.

Working closely with the Family Services and Child Life departments and Chicago Public Schools in-hospital teachers, we deliver one-on-one arts education to children and youth at our four Chicagoland partner hospitals:

  • Rush University Children’s Hospital
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • Children’s Hospital University of Illinois
  • Cook County Health

What We Do

Snow City Arts’ professional teaching artists engage children and young adults in inpatient and outpatient pediatric units at our partner hospitals through in-person and virtual workshops in visual arts, media arts, music, creative writing, theatre, and dance. Teaching artists collaborate closely with SCA program leadership, each hospital’s Child Life staff, and in-hospital teachers to create and deliver rigorous, standards-based arts curriculum that is differentiated to serve each child’s individual needs.

Working with Snow City Arts, children and young adults in hospitals experience the joy and empowerment of artistic self-expression, discover new talents and interests, and engage in creative decision-making activities in an environment where personal choice can often be limited. 

Snow City Arts also works with in-hospital teachers, the Chicago Public Schools Department of Arts Education, and the CPS Office of Diverse Learners Supports and Services (ODLSS) to ensure that students are eligible for classroom credit, stay on track with their learning, and even improve their grades.


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PROJECT HAPPINESS LSMO

In 2016, during a heated Presidential election, I was extremely frustrated to see our great nation so divided. It broke my heart to see people I knew and loved unable to rationally communicate about politics. I knew that soon my own street would be filled with signs that would only create additional division in a neighborhood filled with folks I cared about. I realized then that we needed to create a campaign of our own to lift people's spirits, fill their hearts with joy, and bring a smile to their faces as they traveled down our busy street. Project Happiness LSMO was born! It has been more fun than I ever imagined. Our neighbors gathered to create signs with fun sayings. We placed them in every yard on our block. It immediately slowed folks down and placed smiles on their faces! It soon caught the attention of the local news and the local paper. It was working; we were spreading kindness and raising spirits!

In 2019, we decided to turn this project into an official charity so we registered with the state and became a 501(c)3. I am not going to lie it is a lot of work, but we are learning every day.

In 2020, we were overwhelmed by the demand for signs from people in our community. In 2020 my family & I created over 1,500 signs! It was unbelievable! We raised enough money to make some significant contributions in our city. It was an amazing year for our project. We heard so many kind words from so many people. During quarantine we kept signs out daily. Since the world had come to a complete stop your visits to "the box" entertained us so much. We met so many wonderful people. That year we also worked to build our Board of Directors, see our "Board Members" page to learn more about who we are.

To this day our sign project continues to grow. Each time the signs are planted in yards across Lee's Summit they delight drivers and catch the attention of many people in our community.

As we move into 2024 we are excited to continue to make a difference with our positive messaging. We know that encouraging words are important to everyone that sees them and you never know who needs motivation.

If you ever have any questions or if you would like to start a campaign in your neighborhood please reach out.

Thank you for helping us make this world a better place.
Your friend, Jennifer : )

Jennifer is Jennifer Hunsinger - Founder/President of LSMO

For more information about Project Happiness in Lee’s Summit, click on this link:

Project Happiness LSMO - Home

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4 LSMO Program Participants


unicef

CHILD FRIENDLY CITIES INITIATIVE

When we make our communities better places for children,

we make them better places for all.

The UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) brings UNICEF together with local stakeholders to establish safer, more just, equitable, inclusive and child-responsive cities and communities.

With guidance from UNICEF, communities in the United States are developing action plans to ensure local policies are prioritizing the best interests of children and youth.

Here is a three minute video which explains some important aspects of the Child Friendly Cities Initiative: https://www.unicefusa.org/what-unicef-does/respect-children/child-friendly-cities


After School Matters

After School Matters empowers Chicago’s teens.

After School Matters inspires Chicago’s teens to discover their passions, develop skills for life beyond high school, and make friends along the way.

After School Matters provides out-of-school opportunities for teens across Chicago to connect, create, and thrive

Our History: After School Matters has been serving Chicago teens for 30+ years.

After School Matters began in 1991 as Gallery 37, a summer arts education program for Chicago teens located in tents on a lot in Chicago’s Loop. It soon expanded from that downtown location to bring the successful program to Chicago neighborhoods and in 1995 started a partnership with Chicago Public Schools to deliver the programs in Chicago high schools.

As the program expanded to include after-school offerings in interest areas beyond the arts, it officially became the nonprofit After School Matters in 2000. Working with both independent instructors and community-based organizations, ASM now offers more than 24,000 program opportunities each year, at 338 sites across the city

Since our founding, teens have earned a financial stipend for taking part in their program, helping to lower potential barriers to participation and teaching them the value of their time. Our instructors are professionals in their respective fields, giving the teens hands-on learning and providing important mentorship.

With programs in the arts, communications and leadership, sports, and STEM, there is something for everyone at ASM. Here are two examples of the many programs which are part of ASM.

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ASM launched their Peacemaker program in 2017 to help reduce violence and tensions in their communities.
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Communication & Leadership: Offers programs in opportunity business, journalism, marketing and media.

                                         To learn more about ASM, please click on this link: https://afterschoolmatters.org/


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We invite you to be a part of our Annual Celebration on April 9, 2024, 5:30pm–8:00pm at Strawberry Creek. We are excited to announce that Green Bay Packers Players and Management will be joining us as part of their Tailgate Tour! Let’s “Celebrate Hope” with the Packers. Help us meet our goal of raising $50,000 to fight Hunger and Homelessness. This enjoyable and exciting evening will include:

• Meet & Greet Packers Players & Management
• Heavy hors d’oeuvres & Cocktails
• Raffle and Silent Auction
• Live Music by The John Crawford Jazz Band

Call 262-658-1713 for more information.

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About the Center

Shalom Center is a 501(C)3 in Kenosha County serving as the only homeless shelter, largest food pantry, and longest running nightly meal program. Shalom Center is a community resource that provides housing, food, guidance, and support to individuals and families in need across our community. Our mission is simple: serve the community through food, shelter and supportive ways. We believe that this mission will help realize a greater vision: self-sufficiency by maximizing the potential of people we serve. To learn more about the Shalom Center and its programs, click on this link: https://www.shalomcenter.org/

A new addition to the Shalom Center is Hope Hub Community Center.

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The 10,500-square foot addition will serve as a community center plus provide a much-needed warming and cooling shelter. Case management along with washers, dryers, showers, and food will be onsite. For those in need, the new facility will have housing and homeless diversion professionals to help connect them with vital services.

“HOPE HUB Community Center will enable people to get the services, the case management, the wrap-around services that they need to continue to make a better life for themselves,” said Wendy Cross, Community Center Director. “Individuals and families in our community often just do not know where to go to get help. The new center will function as a one-stop shop.”

The opening of HOPE HUB is another exciting and historic event for Shalom Center. An anonymous donor underwrote the $2.4 million addition. “That is a person who believes in our mission, vision and goals,” stated Tamarra Coleman, executive director of Shalom Center. “We can’t thank that anonymous donor enough. Because of that commitment we are going to be able to help so many more people.” The addition was designed by Kueny Architects and built by Bane-Nelson.

To learn more about the HOPE HUB, watch a 2 minute video by clicking on this link: Shalom Center unveils new Hope Hub with ribbon cutting ceremony (tmj4.com)


Community Pantry

Our Mission: Nourish. Connect. Thrive.

West Suburban Community Pantry (WSCP) creates opportunities for our neighbors to thrive by providing nourishing food and access to supportive resources. 

Together with our community of supporters, partners, and volunteers, we are a place of nourishment and stability that our neighbors can count on. 

Serving over 110,000 individuals in FY2023, WSCP is integral to helping people in DuPage and Will Counties receive the nutrition they need to lead full lives. We work to break down barriers to food assistance, implement new services to best help people in our community, encourage volunteerism, and educate about existing needs.

veggies

West Suburban Community Pantry is working with several food distributors to rescue quality produce from being thrown away and redirecting it to its customers and other area food pantries. (photo provided by West Suburban Community Pantry)

A History of Helping Hands

In 1970, Roger and Barbara Schmith transformed a small pantry in the closet of a local church into a community supported organization.

As it gained support, grew in size, and finally earned 501(c)(3) status as the Woodridge Community Pantry in 1992, so too did the recognition of the need across the surrounding counties. In 2010, we became the West Suburban Community Food Pantry to serve all of DuPage County, and we now offer aid to Will County too.

Many things have changed in 50 years, from instituting school breakfast programs, to partnering with organizations who offer classes but, one thing has stayed the same: no one is turned away. For we’re all just a crisis away from the same circumstance.

To view and listen to a 3 minute video about the West Suburban Community Pantry, click on this link: https://wscpantry.org/about/#mission