Be The Change

Want to make the world a better place? Instead of putting your own story first, create radical empathy by listening to and supporting others.

These U.S.-based advocacy organizations bring people together for conversations and work around specific issues. Check out the links to see how you can take action today and help construct new narratives for peace and understanding.

ADDICTION

Develop a Collegiate Recovery Program on your campus

The Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) provides the education, resources, and community connection needed to help recovering students.

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ARTS

Volunteer to teach, or assist with community exhibits

The Harvey Milk Photo Center is the oldest and largest community darkroom west of the Mississippi, and is part of the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department.

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Join the UnLoneliness Project

Research demonstrates that creative expression also contributes to better health and well-being. The Foundation for Art and Healing works to find out how, why, and when this important transformation occurs in order help all who might benefit, and creates model community outreach programs that can bring the healing power of creative expression to broader populations.

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CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

Help break the cycle

Following in the footsteps of Ella Baker, the unheralded leader of the American civil rights movement, the Ella Baker Foundation builds the power of black, brown, and poor people to break the cycles of incarceration and poverty and make our communities safe, healthy, and strong.

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Start a social justice book club

The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

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Organize a fundraiser

The Innocence Project exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.

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Read about changemakers in The Women Who Made New York

ENVIRONMENT

Join a coastal cleanup

Today, plastic has been found in 62% of all sea birds and in 100% of sea turtle species. A problem as big as plastic in the ocean requires a big response! Join millions of volunteers who, like you, love the ocean and want to protect it.

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Take the #StopSucking challenge

Lonely Whale facilitates the creation of innovative ideas that push the boundary on current trends in technology, media and advocacy that positively impact the health of our ocean. We are not willing to stand by and watch our ocean fill with more toxins. We assume you aren’t either, which is probably how you ended up here. Think you have an idea that could change the world? We’d love to hear about it and help bring it to reality.

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CALL YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.

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Join the 1000 Cities Campaign

Pathway to Paris is a nonprofit organization dedicated to turning the Paris Agreement into reality through finding and offering innovative and ambitious solutions for combating global climate change. Founded by musicians and activists Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon in 2014, the organization brings together musicians, artists, activists, experts, academics, politicians, innovators, all citizens of the planet to participate in a series of events, dialogues, and leading initiatives. Pathway to Paris believes that in this urgent global crisis, collaboration is key to transforming our cities and moving into a new era of 100% renewable energy.

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FOOD JUSTICE

Volunteer at a Conference

Just Food empowers and supports community leaders to advocate for and increase access to healthy, locally-grown food, especially in underserved NYC neighborhoods.

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Plant a garden

The Edible Schoolyard Project works to build and share a national edible education curriculum for pre-kindergarten through high school. We envision gardens and kitchens as interactive classrooms for all academic subjects, and a sustainable, delicious, and free lunch for every student.

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Hold a bakesale

No Kid Hungry is a network of private citizens, government officials, business leaders, and others providing working together to break down the barriers that keep kids from healthy food.

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Ask your school to invite wits

Wellness in the Schools (WITS) is a national non-profit that teaches kids healthy habits to learn and live better. Over one-third of children under the age of 18 in the United States are overweight or obese. Given that children spend about 12,000 hours in school between kindergarten and high school graduation, schools are the ideal environment to shape their wellness behavior. WITS partners with public schools to provide nutrition and fitness education, healthy scratch-cooked meals and active recess periods.

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GENDER & SEXUALITY

Become a program endorser

At GLSEN, we want every student, in every school, to be valued and treated with respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. so we work to improve school climate by championing LGBT issues in K-12 education.

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Sign the ‘No Hate In My State’ pledge

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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Be an ally

PFLAG is a family and ally organization working to unite and support people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ). PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters nationwide committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy.

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Connect and volunteer

The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

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Read about changemakers in The Women Who Made New York

GUN SAFETY

Join your local Brady chapter — or start a new one

The mission of the Brady organization is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025.

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Reduce the risks

Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.

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IDENTITY

Attend a #blackLivesMatter event

#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after George Zimmerman, the man who killed 17 year-old Trayvon Martin, was acquitted. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in the U.S., #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-black racism that permeates American society.

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Join the conversation

Facing History works to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. By studying the historical development of the Holocaust and other examples of genocide, students make the essential connection between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives.

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Advocate for special education

DeafBlind Citizens in Action (DBCA) firmly believes every child, woman and man has a right to life, dignity, and the pursuit of happiness anywhere in the global human community and regardless of their abilities, and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with combined vision and hearing loss (“deafblind”).

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MENTAL HEALTH ON CAMPUS

Join your campus chapter

Active Minds empowers college students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking. By providing information, leadership opportunities and advocacy training to the next generation, Active Minds is changing the culture on campuses and throughout American communities.

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Read these self-care tips

Born This Way Foundation supports the wellness of young people, and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world. BTW works to foster online communities that allow young people to communicate and express themselves without fear of harassment, and works with students to advocate for improved climates in schools.

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Learn to recognize someone in distress

JED works to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation's teens and young adults.

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READING & LITERACY

Join Students Helping Students

Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.

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Find your voice

Get Lit uses poetry to increase literacy, empower youth and inspire communities throughout Los Angeles.

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Build your own Little Free Library

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.

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Read about changemakers in The Women Who Made New York

REFUGEE ASSISTANCE

Hold a school fundraiser

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a private, international association made up mainly of doctors and health sector workers who provide assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters, and to victims of armed conflict irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political convictions.

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Crowdfund for people in crisis

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.

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Become an ambassador

The Refugee Center uses technology to help refugees and displaced individuals build new lives in the United States.

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Participate in Welcoming Week

Just as fertile soil is needed for a seed to grow, welcoming communities foster a culture and policy environment that makes it possible for newcomers of all backgrounds to feel valued and to fully participate alongside their neighbors in the social, civic, and economic fabric of their adopted hometowns. Welcoming America works with institutions across the community to build bridges between newcomers and long-time residents.

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SPOKEN WORD/STORY EXCHANGE

Write a love letter

The #LoveArmy is a value-based movement fighting for a country where everyone counts. This movement is a moral, spiritual and strategic framework for building an alliance between underdogs in red and blue states. We are a home for changemakers who seek to build community and deepen solidarity. Through education, connection and action, the #LoveArmy builds Love + Power.

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Host a Narrative 4 Story Exchange at your school or organization

Narrative 4 envisions a world where young adults lead with empathy. Currently working in four continents, twelve countries, and 18 US states, N4’s work— rooted in a practice called a “story exchange” — equips people to use their stories to build empathy, shatter stereotypes, break down barriers, and - ultimately - make the world a better place. Led by Narrative 4 facilitators, story exchanges are customized for classrooms, community organizations, and businesses building on four basic steps. N4’s “Empathy Into Action” campaigns are designed to break open intractable issues through creative, impactful applications of our core methodology and community project models around the world.

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Sponsor a SoundBoard workshop

Sound Board brings rap, poetry and music workshops to underserved communities in New York City, conducting workshops in prisons, juvenile detention centers, substance abuse treatment programs, foster homes and youth centers in low-income areas. Drawing on her own experiences overcoming addiction, domestic violence, sexual abuse and depression through music and performance, founder Raegan Sealy, a singer, rapper and poet from the UK, helps Americans who live in underserved communities understand their own stories, and process trauma and hardship in constructive ways.

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VOLUNTEER

Donate two hours

VolunteerMatch makes it easy for good people and good causes to connect. If you want to volunteer, simply type in your location and find an array of organizations that can use your help. With more than 117,000 active nonprofits and 150 network partners, opportunities abound.

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IF YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO CONSIDER ADDING YOUR ORGANIZATION TO THIS LIST, CONTACT ME.