by Lisa Talley | email@example.com
Charging through the holidays and finally making it out to the other side means we can finally take a breath and put our focus on the new year ahead. But what does that mean, exactly?
For each of us, that path looks a little different. There might be some similarities as we’ll all be looking for new ways to improve ourselves and the life we provide for our families in some way, but what we choose will ultimately be a culmination of experiences we survived throughout 2017.
It goes without saying that the nation has been hit with some unbelievable changes and more tragedies than we’d care to admit over the last year. The repeal of DACA and Net Neutrality, the natural disasters that seemed to hit in relentless stride, shootings, violent treatment of protesters… the list goes on. The world could use a little peace, and so could we. But pushing the entire planet into a monumental achievement like world peace is a little unlikely, instead, bringing some harmony into our own lives is a more feasible task.
But what if we could provide that sort of healing transformation for someone else?
Every year, we put the focus on ourselves or our immediate family, but if 2017 was proof of anything it was that we all need each other. Perhaps this year would be a good time to think about what we can do for one another, rather than only what we can do for ourselves.
Make it a personal challenge to connect with one cause, whether it’s donating your time, your efforts, or even some blood – look towards 2018 with a goal to uplift communities, both man, and animal-kind.
Below is a list of local organizations and charities throughout the Central Valley that make it their business to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Central California Blood Center – is committed to saving lives and improving patient care by providing a safe and abundant blood supply for the patients and families in the communities they serve. www.donateblood.org/donate-blood
Habitat For Humanity – They facilitate a partnership among families who demonstrate need, the ability to pay the mortgage, and a willingness to partner in the construction of their home. This partnership also engages community supporters who join the families in the home building process and provide both financial and in-kind support for building supplies and materials. www.habitatfresno.org/volunteer
Valley Animal Center – Nonprofit no-kill dog and cat adoption center. Their mission is to assist with and provide for the health and welfare of the animals that have been abused, mistreated, abandoned, and injured; to promote the bond between animals and people; and to instill an appreciation and respect for all living creatures with whom we share this earth. www.valleyanimal.org/volunteer
Central Valley Community Foundation – For more than fifty years the Central Valley Community Foundation has been a trusted partner in philanthropy in the Valley. Founded in 1966, they provide giving options for individuals, families, businesses and other foundations to invest in programs that address social and environmental needs. www.centralvalleycf.org
Yosemite Ridge at Camp Wawona Inc – The mission of Yosemite Ridge is to enrich the lives of children and families who have chronic or life-threatening illnesses by creating a camp experience that is memorable, exciting, fun, empowering, physically safe, and medically sound. www.guidestar.org/profile/20-1105731
Hinds Hospice – Here to help those living with a terminal condition, their caregivers and those who have lost a loved one. In addition to providing hospice care services in both the Hinds Hospice Home and in a patient’s own home environment, they also offer an extensive bereavement (grief) support program through the Center for Grief and Healing, specially trained pediatric hospice and skilled nursing teams, a perinatal hospice and infant loss support program, “Angel Babies/Bebitos Angelitos,” a formal physician education program, global outreach, and four thrift stores throughout the central valley. www.hindshospice.org
Alliance for Medical Outreach & Relief – a Community-based non-profit that strives to ensure equality. They build alliances with other organizations working in areas of concentrated poverty to create a safety-net of medical, social and youth development resources, tailored to the specific needs of each community they serve. www.amorelief.org
Valley Teen Ranch – their mission is to provide hope to vulnerable children, youth, and families through life-changing relationships and experiences. Programs include: Residential Group Home, Foster Family & Adoption Agency, and Transitional Living. www.valleyteenranch.org/volunteer
Angels of Grace Foster Family Agency – agency that provides a place of refuge and healing for foster children. A place where they can receive the nurturing and care that they need from professional social workers and trained foster parents. www.angelsofgrace.com
Break the Barriers – Celebrating awareness and victories of all abilities, ethnicities, and ages through exceptional programs, outreach, and inclusion education. With performances, assemblies, conferences workshops, and clinics, Break the Barriers will promote integrated sports, health and fitness, performing arts, and aquatics programs. www.breakthebarriers.com
San Joaquin Parkway & Conservation Trust – the mission is to preserve and restore San Joaquin River lands having ecological, scenic or historic significance, to educate the public on the need for stewardship, to research issues affecting the river, and to promote educational, recreational and agricultural uses consistent with the protection of the river’s resources. www.riverparkway.org
Catholic Charities – Catholic Charities Diocese of Fresno is a Community Benefit Organization serving the needs of those in crisis with sites in Fresno, Merced and Bakersfield. www.ccdof.org/volunteer
Reading and Beyond – goes where families are, offering holistic, research-based programs at multiple sites throughout Fresno and Madera Counties. www.readingandbeyond.org
United Way Fresno and Madera Counties – (UWFM) brings resources together to address the most urgent issues the community faces. Through unique partnerships and approaches, UWFM mobilizes resources beyond the dollars that are pledged through their fund-raising efforts. www.uwfm.org
Fresno Arts Council – “enrich people’s lives through the arts.” FAC sponsors, promotes and encourages the arts throughout the city and county of Fresno and acts as an umbrella for artists and art organizations from all cultures and disciplines through advocacy, education, programs and services. www.fresnoartscouncil.org
Marjaree Mason Center – provides emergency and longer-term Safe Housing, along with a wide variety of support services for victims of domestic violence in Fresno County. www.mmcenter.org
Comprehensive Youth Services – is dedicated to providing a full range of prevention, intervention, treatment and educational services to help abused and at-risk children and their families. www.cysfresno.org
Resources For Independence – Encouraging people with disabilities to be in control of their lives and live more independently through a diverse range of choices and opportunities. www.ricv.org
Fresno Barrios Unidos – goal is to provide young people with the skills and opportunities they need to thrive in their communities and give back. Their approach is holistic, culturally sensitive, and inclusive of all. Fresno Barrios Unidos transforms communities by empowering youth and families through advocacy, education, and wellness. www.fresnobarriosunidos.org
Rape Counseling Services of Fresno – The mission of RCS Fresno is to end rape and sexual violence and empower survivors while supporting safe, consensual relationships. www.rcsfresno.org
Youth Leadership Institute – builds communities where young people and their adult allies come together to create positive social change, to challenge and improve the society in which they live as it relates to educational and health inequities, substance abuse, predatory financial practices, public housing, youth voice, and many other issues. www.yli.org
Arc Fresno – Arc Fresno empowers individuals with developmental disabilities to attain greater independence by offering everyday life experiences in a supportive community. www.arcfresno.org
Kings Canyon Veterinary Foundation – mission is to provide the appropriate medical, surgical and preventative care for all veterinary patients presented regardless of the owner’s ability to pay reasonable charges for services. Limited only by available funds. www.kingscanyonveterinaryfoundation.com
UFW Foundation – The United Farm Workers Foundation’s mission is to open the doors of opportunity to working people and their communities. Goals are to Foster communities that engage immigrants as active and informed participants. Reform the immigration system to access legal status for immigrants, and a clear path to citizenship. Lead a national network of farmworker serving organizations to influence policy and expand services at the federal and local level. www.ufwfoundation.org
Valley Center for the Blind – assists blind and visually impaired persons in experiencing a more independent and opportunity-filled life. These efforts are achieved through specialized methods of training and education provided by our professional staff. www.valleycenterfortheblind.org
Stone Soup Fresno – to nurture leadership that will create positive change for Southeast Asian refugee families to move forward and find their voices and places in America. www.stonesoupfresno.org
Turning Point of Central Cal – The mission of Turning Point of Central California is to provide public benefit through helping people develop skills, motivation, and resources to become productive members of society; healthy in body, mind, and spirit. Reducing social problems through providing each program participant the opportunity to establish a healthy and productive life. www.tpocc.org
Cultiva La Salud – dedicated to creating health equity in the San Joaquin Valley by fostering changes in communities that support healthy eating and active living. Cultiva La Salud is among a growing number of programs in the nation who use a policy and environmental change approach to help community members gain access to healthy food, beverages and safe places to be physically active. This unique program is being carried out by diverse partners in eight counties of the Central Valley (Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare). www.cultivalasalud.org
West Fresno Family Resource Center – To empower and support the West Fresno community to achieve optimal health and well-being. Activities through education, outreach, counseling and advocacy in the areas of prenatal education, school readiness, health insurance access, diabetes and chronic disease management, mental health and workforce development support. www.wfresnofrc.org
Fresno Center for New Americans – provide services to the growing needs of Southeast Asian refugees (Cambodians, Hmong, Lao, and Vietnamese) in Fresno County. These immediate services included education, employment linking services, social integration, health education, and housing, Refugees from many parts of the world also accessed our services. Through our Russian speaking staff members and on-call workers, we have been able to provide services to Russian, Somalis, and Middle Eastern refugees. www.fresnocenter.com
The Discovery Center – Park and Museum on 5 Acres – educational history and science center offering children a hands-on learning experience to stimulate a passion, curiosity and wonder for the environment and physical sciences. We deliver science successfully to thousands of children each year in a variety of ways, including field trips, camps, outreach, birthday parties and more. www.thediscoverycenter.net
Community Food Bank – is dedicated to ending hunger in the Central Valley. They provide food to more than 200 agencies in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Kern and Tulare Counties and serve over 280,000 people each month totaling over 38 million pounds of food. www.communityfoodbank.net
Community Action Partnership of Madera County – are committed to finding the ultimate solutions for poverty while working effectively with local officials, the private sector, and representatives from low-income target areas. Helping people, changing lives and making the community a better place to live by providing resources and services that inspire personal growth and independence. www.maderacap.org