Get Involved

Our Get Involved series is just one of the ways that KUT and KUTX give back to our community. Each month we spotlight a local nonprofit that's in need of your help. In these stories we discover the purpose, motivation and the needs of the highlighted program. It's a way to connect our listeners, through volunteering or contributions, with charities that make an impact to Austinites. 

"Without volunteers, we could not help as many people as we do, but we always need more volunteers, both as individuals and groups. KUT listeners are people who care about their community and who can make time in their lives to help those less fortunate," Suellen Mills, Vice President for Volunteer Services of Meals on Wheel and More, said.

We began Get Involved back in 2006 and have shared the stories of more than 100 local nonprofits since then. 

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. 

Riding Across Texas for 'Bikes & Books'

Sep 23, 2014
Nobelity Project

A pair of public radio heavyweights are off on a 720 mile bicycle ride across Texas, from Brownsville to the Red River, to raise money for bikes and textbooks for high schoolers in Africa.

NPR's John Burnett and KUT's Hawk Mendenhall set off from Boca Chica beach in Brownsville this morning. They'll end their trip in Sewards Bluff, Oklahoma on October 3rd. 

From Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

HAAM provides access to affordable health care for Austin’s low-income, uninsured working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness.

Inspired musical performances happen every day of the year in Austin.  We pride ourselves on being the Live Music Capital of the World and are fortunate to have over 8,000 working musicians contributing to our city’s culture and economy.  We have seen firsthand the dedication and generosity of Austin’s musicians.  They inspire us to do more, do it better and perform at a level worthy of their talent and contribution.  Since 2005, HAAM has provided over $30 million in healthcare services to over 3,000 Austin musicians.  We can’t do it alone, HAAM’s staff, volunteers, network of service providers, sponsors and individual supporters are dedicated to keeping music in Austin alive and well.  We hope you will join us. 

HAAM Eligibility:  To be eligible for HAAM services applicants must be uninsured, working Austin musicians earning $29,175 or less annually (250% of federal poverty level).

 

  From American Heart Associationthis month's Get Involved Spotlight nonprofit:

GO RED FOR WOMEN®

More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. Currently, some eight million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease, yet only one in six American women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat. The Go Red For Women movement celebrates the energy, passion and power of women to band together to wipe out heart disease and stroke. We provide education, information and motivation, saving thousands of lives every year. | www.GoRedForWomen.org

POWER TO END STROKE®

The burden of stroke is greater among African Americans than in any other group. In fact, blacks have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared with whites, and blacks 35-54 years old have four times the relative risk for stroke. Power to End Stroke is an education and awareness campaign embracing and celebrating the culture, energy, creativity and lifestyles of African Americans. Our goal? Help make an impact on the high incidence of stroke within these communities. | www.PowerToEndStroke.org

From Animal Trustees of Austinthis month's Get Involved Spotlight nonprofit:

For over twenty years, Animal Trustees of Austin (ATA) has dedicated itself to addressing one of our community’s most pressing needs: safe, affordable, high-quality veterinary care for pet owners of all incomes. We have a simple but powerful mission: to serve the animals and people of our community through compassionate, affordable treatment, and respect for all.

From Manos de Cristo this month's Get Involved Spotlight nonprofit:

Manos de Cristo’s Mission: Manos de Cristo empowers low-income individuals with a loving hand of assistance and welcomes all regardless of age, gender, race, or religious preference. Inspired by the Christian ideals of service and compassion, Manos promotes dignity and self-reliance by providing essential oral care, furthering educational development, and meeting basic needs with food and clothing.

Who we are: Manos de Cristo serves tens of thousands of people annually in the Greater Austin community and beyond who are underprivileged. We provide critically important services to our clients in order to enable them to walk on a road toward self-sufficiency. Our focus is on the critical components that build a healthy way of life for children, families, and individuals living in poverty. By providing dental care, adult educational tools, food and clothing and back to school basics for young students, we offer our clients a path to a better life.

From Girl Scouts of Central Texas, this month's Get Involved Spotlight nonprofit:

Girl Scouts is the premiere leadership organization for girls that is primarily girl-led. Girl Scouting has always been about more than cookies and camp—it’s about building the leaders of tomorrow and beacons that will improve our communities and our lives. Girl Scouting provides girls with opportunities that they may not otherwise have.

From the Seedling Foundation, this month's Get Involved Spotlight nonprofit: 

The Seedling Foundation serves children challenged by parental incarceration in the Austin area, using research­driven, school­based mentoring. Our volunteer mentors are matched with students from kindergarten through eighth grade based on common interests, to ensure a dependable, long­lasting relationship.

Seedling has made over 1,600 matches since the program’s inception in 2006, and has provided mentors to over 500 children in the 2013­14 school year alone. We hope to be able to improve the lives of even more students in the upcoming school year. We have a formal presence in 37 schools, and additional mentors in many others. Mentors meet with a student once per week, during the student’s lunch, to talk, play a game, or read a book together.

C5 Texas is a 5-year leadership program for high-potential youth from low-income families.  We serve 300+ in north & central Texas, accepting 72 new youth each year.  Selection is based on performance, need, & readiness. 

The Mission

C5 changes the odds for high-performing youth from risk-filled environments, inspiring them to pursue personal success, and preparing them for leadership roles in college, work and their communities.  We encourage C5 youth to be Character-driven, Community-focused, Challenge-ready, College-bound and Committed to a better future.

The 

Early in 2006, a few regular Barton Springs Pool swimmers were frustrated by the declining water quality and condition of the pool and decided to do something about it.  They formed Friends of Barton Springs Pool, a group dedicated to returning the pool to its rightful glory by working to restore, improve and maintain the pool and surrounding grounds through organizing, advocacy, volunteer work, education and fun.

Friends of Barton Springs Pool (FBSP) works to inspire an appreciation of the rich history of Barton Springs Pool and pride in this natural treasure.  To honor the pool’s sensitive environment and work to preserve and protect it so that generations long after ours can continue to enjoy the cool, clean spring waters, FBSP organizes monthly volunteer pool cleaning events that bring scores of swimmers and friends of Barton Springs to work beside the staff to support and enhance City Staff efforts to clean and maintain Barton Springs Pool.  These cleaning events include the annual “Council Cleans the Pool Day” where elected city and state officials join volunteers and city staff to clean algae and silt from Barton Springs Pool. 

Foundation for the Homeless (FFH) is a nonprofit organization that works with low-income children and adults who are experiencing or at risk for homelessness. FFH provides a range of prevention, emergency basic needs services and case management to prevent, end or reduce the suffering of homelessness. 

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