Get Involved

The “Get Involved” series features a different non-profit each month.

From Divine Canines, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Divine Canines provides free therapy dog services to more than 60 sites around Austin and Central Texas. Our specially trained dog-and-handler volunteer teams visit children and adults facing various physical and cognitive challenges, including mental illness, physical limitations and dementia. Clients who interact with our wonderful dogs benefit emotionally and physically, showing signs of improved mood, confidence, communication and trust. Our dogs love the attention and affection they get from our clients!

Get Involved Spotlight: GirlForward

Apr 1, 2016

From GirlForward, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

MISSION: GirlForward provides adolescent refugee girls with individual mentorship, educational programs and leadership opportunities, creating a community of support that serves as a resource and empowers girls to be strong, confident, and independent.  

WHY GIRLS? In conflict, adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to violence, isolation, and being kept out of school. When they are resettled, they need extra support.

  

EDUCATING GIRLS: Most GirlForward girls have had less than two years of schooling before arriving in the U.S.

  

WHY REFUGEES? There are 60 million people worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes. We are in the midst of the biggest refugee crisis the world has ever seen.

  

From Drive a Senior, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Meeting the Needs of our Community

For most of us, car keys represent freedom and independence. Staying connected is essential to healthy aging, but without transportation, many seniors feel stuck and alone. Public transportation may not be available in their area, or they are surviving on a restricted income. For thousands of senior citizens in our community, not having transportation may mean they are no longer able to stay in their own homes.

From Art from the Streets, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Through its 23 year history, Art From the Streets has helped hundreds of homeless individuals improve their circumstances - literally and figuratively - by providing them the means to make art. We believe that anyone can make art and that making art is good for everyone. 

From Keep Austin Fed, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

What is Keep Austin Fed?

Keep Austin Fed is a all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that gathers wholesome and nutritious surplus food from commercial kitchens and distributes it to area charities that serve hungry people in need. Our mission is to share healthy nutrition with our hungry neighbors by keeping surplus food out of the waste stream.

In 2004, founder Randy Rosens saved high quality catered food from an Austin Museum of Art Fundraising event at Laguna Gloria that was headed to the dumpster. The food fed a small group of women and children living at a shelter in south Austin. Last year Keep Austin Fed rescued over 500,000 meals, feeding hundreds of our neighbors living with food insecurity — the 1 in 7 Central Texans who don’t know where their next meal will come from. As we fight against hunger, we also fight for our environment by keeping food out of landfills. 40% of the food we produce in America never gets eaten. According to the USDA, that’s the equivalent of 133 billion pounds of food with a retail value over $161 trillion – each year. It’s a daunting challenge, but with your help we’re making a dent.

From Front Steps, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

About Front Steps

Front Steps believes that all people deserve the dignity of a safe place to call home. For those experiencing homelessness, Front Steps’ mission is to provide a continuum of services, by offering shelter, seeking affordable housing, and providing community education.

Front Steps was created in 1997 as the Capital Area Homeless Alliance with the overarching philosophy that each homeless person deserves respect and dignity. Front Steps manages the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH) in downtown Austin which meets the basic needs of about 600 men and women daily, operates an overnight and daytime shelter and permanent housing, and operates the Central Texas Recuperative Care Program.

From CASA of Travis County, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

About CASA:

CASA of Travis County speaks up for children who’ve been abused or neglected by empowering our community to volunteer as advocates for them in the court system. When the state steps in to protect a child’s safety, a judge appoints a trained CASA volunteer to make independent and informed recommendations in the child’s best interest. 

From Farmshare Austin, this month's Get Involved spotlight organization: Farmshare Austin is a 501c3 that teaches organic agriculture and provides fresh produce to partnering nonprofits that alleviate hunger and supply nutritious food to low income individuals.

From Austin Parks Foundation, this month's Get Involved spotlight organization:

Austin Parks Foundation is devoted to connecting people to parks. Since its establishment in 1992, Austin Parks Foundation has focused on developing partnerships that foster on development and maintenance of Austin’s treasured parks, trails and public green spaces. Austin Parks Foundation focuses on volunteerism, park activation, community resources, sustainability projects, and public-private partnerships.

From city wide days like National Public Lands Day (September 26, 2015) to individual park project days initiated by community members, service organizations and corporate groups, Austin Parks Foundation moves thousands of volunteers through Austin’s parks each year. Projects include park clean up and beautification, trail maintenance, tree care and more.

Additionally, Austin Parks Foundation hosts park activation events like Yoga in the Park  and Movies in the Park, as well as educational programming, like the Park Improvement Education Series workshops, and offers community resources through the ACL Music Festival Grants program which allows park adopters to apply for much-needed funding to improve their parks.

From Mother's Milk Bank at Austin, this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin is a community-based non-profit organization whose mission is to save babies’ lives by providing prescribed donor human milk, primarily to premature and ill infants.

You can contribute your time and talent to help improve the health and lives of preterm and ill infants.

You can join our Pour Team! Work on the front lines with our pour team!  You will work in groups of 3-4 in our lab, mixing and pouring donated milk for pasteurization. Involves standing for several hours at a time and lifting flasks of milk. Bonus: You get to “scrub in” and wear cool garb that makes you feel like you have a medical degree.

Get Involved Spotlight: Urban Roots

Jul 6, 2015

From Urban Roots,  this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Urban Roots uses food and farming to transform the lives of young people and inspire, engage, and nourish the community. Originally founded in 2007 as a program of YouthLaunch, in 2011 Urban Roots became its own thriving, independent non-profit agency.

Urban Roots provides paid internship opportunities to Austin youth ages 14-17, to work on a 3.5 acre urban, sustainable farm in East Austin. These youth leaders inspire the community by leading visitors and volunteers on the farm, they engage thousands of Austinites with hands-on opportunities to learn about healthy lifestyles, and they nourish the community by donating produce to over 8,000 people in need. Each year Urban Roots grows about 30,000 pounds of produce, 40% of which is donated to local soup kitchens and food pantries. The other 60% is sold at farmers’ markets, through a Community Supported Agriculture Program.

From Sustainable Food Center, this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

 

Sustainable Food Center cultivates a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food.  SFC envisions a food secure community where all children and adults grow, share and prepare healthy, local food.

From seed to table, SFC creates opportunities for individuals to make healthy food choices and to participate in a vibrant local food system.  Through organic food gardening, relationships with area farmers, interactive cooking classes and nutrition education, children and adults have increased access to locally grown food and are empowered to improve the long-term health of Central Texans and our environment.

Sustainable Food Center relies on volunteers to accomplish projects and to support our community programs. SFC has opportunities to volunteer at the SFC office, at SFC Farmers’ Markets, in The J.P.’s Peace, Love, and Happiness Foundation Teaching Garden managed by SFC, and  around town at community events.

From Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas, this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Serving Central Texas for 30 years, the mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Texas (RMHC CTX) is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children.

RMHC CTX began providing temporary lodging and support services to hospitalized children and their families in 1985 in Austin’s first Ronald McDonald House®. For three decades, we have cared for thousands of families by providing a “home-away-from-home” at our Ronald McDonald House® and four Ronald McDonald Family Rooms®. Since 1993, we have also supported families who have lost a child through our Healing Hearts program, which provides burial assistance and bereavement support.

RMHC CTX was built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child. When a child is hospitalized, the love and support of a family is as powerful as the strongest medicine prescribed. Helping a sick child fight their illness takes an emotional toll on a family. Adding a financial strain can make it almost unbearable. RMHC CTX helps address those concerns by providing families a “home-away-from-home” so they focus on the most important thing – the healing of their child.

From Candlelight Ranchthis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

Candlelight Ranch Mission and History:

In the summer of 1999, Randy, Don, and Jeri (Don’s wife of blessed memory) Barr, purchased some acreage on the North Shore of Lake Travis that contained beautiful and diverse ecosystems with a wide range of flora and fauna, spring fed creeks, and two striking canyons that were created when the roofs of caverns collapsed.  They decided to share the property so that community groups that worked with children with special needs or challenging life circumstances could bring their children out to a natural environment.  They named this nature safe haven, Candlelight Ranch.  Now, almost 15 years later, Candlelight Ranch has grown into a respected non-profit that serves over 1,700 individuals annually in the Central Texas area.

Candlelight Ranch provides a unique outdoor environment for special needs and at-risk youth to learn, play, and embrace the wonders of nature. Candlelight Ranch works in partnership with community organizations and schools to provide nature based innovative activities that are customized to meet the specific needs of each group of children that are served.  At Candlelight Ranch, participants experience a memorable day in nature, flying over an 80 foot canyon on three ziplines, bonding with horses through equine therapy, learning about food sustainability through gardening and nature exploration, and much more! Through their active participation in these activities and contact with nature, our campers build confidence, self-esteem and skills that support overcoming challenges in their daily lives.

From Creative Actionthis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit: 
Our MissionThe mission of Creative Action is to spark and support the academic, social and emotional development of young people.

Creative Action serves more than 20,000 youth annually in seven area school districts. As the largest provider of creative youth development programs in the Central Texas area, Creative Action uses the arts to activate the academic, social, and emotional development of young people. Through interactive classroom performances, after school, summer camp, and teen programs, Creative Action's team of professional teaching artists inspire youth to be creative artistscourageous alliescritical thinkers and confident leaders in their community. By discovering their own voice, gaining confidence in sharing their perspectives, wrestling with big ideas, and deeply engaging in the world around them, youth become better prepared to work through social, emotional and academic challenges to become the next great thinkers, doers, and makers in our world.

From Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texasthis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Mission:

The Big Brothers Big Sisters mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Vision:

The Big Brothers Big Sisters vision is that all children achieve success in life.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters:

Big Brothers Big Sisters serves nearly 1,000 children in Travis, Williamson and Hays counties every day. For more than 40 years, we’ve matched children, ages 6–16, with caring adult mentors who offer encouragement and support to each child. BBBS depends on donations to help recruit volunteers, conduct screening on volunteers to ensure child safety and to provide on-going support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting relationships. More than 99 percent of the children served by BBBS stay in school, and avoid early parenting.  In 2014, BBBS also awarded $308,000 in higher education scholarships to 154 Little Brothers and Sisters via the Scholarship Foundation.

From Hill Country Conservancythis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) is an accredited regional nonprofit land trust that works every day to preserve open space in the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer region and the Colorado River Basin of the Texas Hill Country. Since 1999, HCC has preserved large strategic natural areas that conserve critical water features and wildlife habitat, provide outdoor recreation opportunities and help maintain the Hill Country’s character and unique quality of life for all to enjoy and cherish.

HCC is committed to creating an open space network of 100,000 acres of Hill Country land, which will preserve clean water, wildlife, the rural character and the impressive scenic views of the region that are currently threatened. By helping to secure thousands of acres of publicly owned lands, and by collaborating with the environmental community, businesses and landowners to execute land conservation agreements on more than 30,000 acres of conservation acquisitions, our vision of creating a 100,000-acre network of open space is becoming a reality.

Our philosophy is simple: Once Hill Country land is gone, it’s gone for good. When HCC preserves it, it’s here forever.

From Capital Area Food Bank of Texasthis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Mission:

To nourish hungry people and lead the community in ending hunger.

From Hand to Hold, this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Mission: To provide comprehensive navigation resources and support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special health care needs and those who have experienced a loss due to these or other complications.

Vision: To enable a network of families to offer support, comfort and understanding to one another, and to provide them with knowledge, information and resources to reduce the impact of prematurity and ensure the best outcome for their children and family by:

  • Empowering parents to advocate for their children
  • Encouraging individual, couple and family counseling when needed
  • Providing resources and information for managing insurance and financial issues
  • Educating parents about the challenges their babies might face and preparing them to meet those needs
  • Sharing support and resources necessary to help all children thrive and enjoy a full and satisfying life

Hand to Hold, a nonprofit based in Austin, serves NICU families nationwide, providing comprehensive navigation resources and support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special health care needs and those who have experienced a loss due to these or other complications. Hand to Hold’s core service is matching experienced peer mentors with new parents who have had a child in the NICU to offer support and equipping parents with education they need to care for their baby, family and themselves.

 From Prevent Child Abuse Texas, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Mission: Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect In All Its Forms For All Children Throughout Texas.

Vision: One in which every child is free from abuse and neglect, safely nurtured by a loving family.  This vision is one in which every child lives in a community committed to preventing child abuse; to providing supports for parents, particularly new parents, which enable them to be effective parents; and to promoting the participation of all sectors of the community in a variety of efforts to prevent child abuse.

PCAT is a vital part of a movement to make child abuse prevention the highest priority in Texas and will

  • educate the public on the critical needs and benefits of child abuse prevention;
  • identify & address the needs of constituents (parents, children, service providers, funders);
  • link organizations committed to child abuse prevention;
  • mobilize public, corporate, religious, & government sectors to make child abuse prevention a cause.

Prevent Child Abuse Texas (PCAT) is a statewide non-profit organization working to prevent child abuse and neglect in all its forms throughout Texas.

The work of the organization depends solely on private grants and contributions.

We are led by a statewide Board of Directors who represents their regions with social issues affecting children. 

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