January 3, 2018

Happy New Year to all of our listeners!

On today's show we'll look back at earlier interviews with three wonderful nonprofit organizations working to make a difference in the lives of the many children they serve...United in Harmony, Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids and For a Change Defend. 

Whether it is small non-profit or a worldwide organization, charities are an integral part of every community. Charities change the lives of people in need every day with even the smallest of donations making a large impact to those served.

Over the past year we talked about some of the issues less fortunate children face every day and had the chance to visit some charities that have stepped up to tackle these issues in their community.  Today we bring you a few of these interviews.

Adrian and Lindsay Schwartz
Adrian and Lindsay Schwartz

In the City of Los Angeles, there are over 25,000 homeless people. According to the National Coalition for Homelessness, one third of these are children.

United in Harmony, a nonprofit in Los Angeles, was established in 1989 as a response to homelessness and poverty facing children in the community. Their mission is to provide impoverished children with hope and opportunities.  

Camp Harmony is the foremost United in Harmony program. Camp Harmony offers needy children a break from the tension of their daily lives–a place to play freely. It also affords them the opportunity to grow new talents while learning to trust and to try. Children enjoy a five night camping experience in the summer and an mini-two night camping experience in the winter. Their goal is to build relationships and self-esteem, to emphasize the beauty of nature, and to offer activities in art, sports, personal health and personal challenge.

Over 100 volunteer counselors are part of United in Harmony’s Leadership Program, a post-camp program that enables counselors to maintain relationships with campers, through monthly engagements with various agencies throughout the year. Summer counselors have the opportunity to continue relationships formed with campers by applying to the Leadership program. 

Adrian visited United in Harmony last year and spoke with Lindsay Schwartz, the Executive Director, and Nick Melvoin, Camp Programming Director.

Adrian and Bev Visit Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids
Adrian and Bev Visit Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids

While In Calgary last year, Adrian and Bev visited Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids.  Though people under the age of 18 make up only 22% of the Canadian population, they account for 36% of the population assisted by food banks.

Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids (BB4CK) has one goal: no hungry kids in Calgary. They strive toward this goal each day by providing 3,200 healthy lunches directly to kids, and by empowering communities to create lasting social change. There are hungry kids in their city and there is a caring community of Calgarians who are working together to help feed them.

BB4CK exists because they believe that everyone has the power and the responsibility to take meaningful action that improves their community. This action could be large or small – holding a door open, cooking food for a neighboring family, making a large donation or time commitment, and so many others. Any of these are opportunities to make an impact and build a stronger community. Every meaningful action makes a difference.

We had the opportunity to visit the main kitchen and talk with Tanya Koshowski, Executive Director of Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids.
We were also fortunate to catch up with Reis, Rey, Lauren, and Madeline, students who are participating in a  Youth and Philanthropy Initiative(YPI) project.  YPI is an inclusive, multi-award-winning secondary school program that grows compassionate communities by connecting youth to social issues, local charities, and philanthropy at a pivotal stage in their adolescence.

Adrian and Pooja
Adrian and Pooja

Pooja Nagpal joined us in the studio last year to talk about her charity.  At the time, Pooja was  a 16-year-old Junior attending Mira Costa High School. As a trained black belt in martial arts, a disciplined trainee of Tae Kwon Do for 7 years, she has always wanted to use her self-defense skills for the better of women worldwide.  After reading about the great amount of sexual assaults and domestic abuse targeted towards women all over the world, she knew she had to help so she founded For a Change, Defend.

For a Change, Defend emphasizes advocating and teaching in low income areas where domestic abuse and sexual assaults are prevalent and have been widely reported in.

Due to the tremendous amount of sexual violence cases regarding the exploitation of young girls and teenagers, For a Change, Defend prioritizes this issue greatly. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted and 1 of 5 girls in America are victims of attempt or actual assault.  Prolonged abuse or even one-time attempted assaults can cause teens or young children to develop very low self-esteem. This causes a chronic fear in workplace, home, school, university etc.