Share + Give – Cats Advocates of Troy + Purrs in Piqua

This month’s Share + Give is all about cats – which are pretty much my everything. I love hanging out with my cats, talking about my cats, meeting other people’s cats, looking at pictures of cats on Instagram and watching funny cat videos on YouTube. While I love love love cats, I know that overpopulation is a serious problem. There are simply too many cats and not enough crazy cat ladies and gents (me and my husband included) to give them all homes. Always get your cat spayed or neutered, dear readers! If you need a vet in Miami County, I know a guy. 😉

Speaking of cats, Miami County, and cat overpopulation… did you know that Miami County is lucky enough to have not only one TNR organization in our community but two TNR organizations? TNR stands for Trap, Neuter, Return and is a way to control stray and feral cat populations. A female cat can have, on average, two to three litters of kittens a year. If each litter has 6 kittens and the female cat lives to be 10 or 11 years old, she could give birth to 120 to 180 kittens in her lifetime! That’s a really high number and that’s looking at one cat if we take into consideration the female cats of each litter also having 120 to 180 kittens in their lifetime the number gets even bigger and even more out of control. Spaying or neutering is the best way to control cat populations and TNR is the best way to control the population of stray and feral cats.

Purrs in Piqua, started by Tiffany Pontius in March 2015, is a group of volunteers who practice TNR in Piqua. Since April 2015 Purrs has neutered 250 cats, thus preventing thousands of unwanted kittens from being born on the streets of Piqua. Purrs has been able to raise over $7000 since September 2015. 90% of the money raised goes directly to veterinary fees.

Cat Advocates of Troy, founded by Felicia Watson in June 2016, is also a group of dedicated volunteers who practice TNR to control the population of stray and feral cats. In addition to getting cats spayed or neutered, the cats are vaccinated and ear tipped (in order to identify that they have been neutered). After the cats have time to recover, they are then returned to the area in which they were trapped.

I also have to point out how awesome these two organizations names and logos are – Purrs has an ear tipped cat for their logo and Cat Advocates of Troy, or CAT, has a cat in their logo which also spells CAT. It’s almost too purrrfect.

Purrs and CAT are both local organizations, so I’ve had the opportunity to interview both Tiffany and Felicia. In order to better highlight each of these organizations, I will be posting each interview separately later this week. So, you will get to learn more about two TNR organizations and see more pictures of cats. I might also finally remember how to spell neuter correctly… win-win-win.

Since I’m focusing on two organizations this month, I am splitting my donations, $15 towards Cat Advocates of Troy and $15 towards Purrs in Piqua.

Donate to Purrs in Piqua Here

Donate to Cat Advocates of Troy Here

 

I am making my donation in honor of:

  • Lori – my mom, who always talked my dad into keeping the kittens I brought home.
  • Michelle – my friend who loves cats so much she had allergy shots so she can have cats of her own, sans sniffles!
  • Anita – a family friend who shares my family’s love of cats, gardening, and a good bonfire.
  • Taylor – a fellow cat and coffee lover – I love sharing cat stories with Taylor while pulling shots of espresso at Winans!
  • Amanda – my first crazy cat lady internet crush – Amanda is an amazing advocate for women’s reproductive rights and has a bad-ass kitty named Boo Radley.
  • Patty – one of my WGS professors from Ohio University – I knew she was going to be one of my favorite professors when she started a lecture with pictures from I Can Has Cheezburger.

Happy Share + Give 2017!

If you feel like sharing the love by sharing this post on your social channels and/or by giving to Cats Advocates of Troy or Purrs in Piqua in honor of a friend or family member, please use the following hashtags in your post! You don’t have to donate to share the love, just re-tweet or share on FB or regram on Instagram! Let’s see how far we can Share + Give!

#shareandgive2017
#thisohiolife
#CatAdvocatesofOhio #PurrsinPiqua #tnr #trapneuterreturn #spayandneuter #straycat #feralcat

Share + Give – National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

This month’s Share + Give post is going to get just a tiny bit political, which I said I wouldn’t do in my introduction post, but I hope you will let it slide. The political climate of the past year has been weighing on me. The 2016 election and the current administration have left me feeling hopeless, worried and to be completely frank, depressed. I am worried about my friends and people in my community who are not white or Christian. I did not see or feel any love for black, brown, LQBTQ, non-Christian, not native-born and low-income people in this past election. Every time I turn on the radio or watch an episode of shows I usually enjoy, I feel the weight of this worry, pressing down on me. This election was not about love or kindness and it breaks my heart.

For the time being, I’m on a news cleanse no NPR, no Daily Show, no Samantha Bee, no John Oliver. I have stopped notifications for all of the political groups I belong to on Facebook. My husband and I don’t talk politics right now. I’ve been “news-free” or as much as I can be, for a week and a half now. I’m honestly surprised by how lighter I feel. I also feel guilty, I feel like I should be calling my representatives every day and keeping up on the news. But I know that I can’t help anyone if I’m too depressed to do take care of myself.

I want everyone to be happy, feel loved and safe in their home and community. No matter what your political beliefs are, I feel that is something we can all agree on. While I am not currently engaging in politics, I am working to make a difference, small as it may be, in my community. One of those ways is this project, Share + Give.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Photo by Farshid Assassi/ Assassi Productions

For the month of February, I have chosen to donate to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati or NURFC for short. NURFC seems like an obvious choice since February is Black History month, but I also chose NURFC because it gives me hope right now.

Not only does NURFC center educate its visitors about the history of the Underground Railroad and African American history, it also focuses on the efforts of Modern Abolition. Yes, the Modern Abolition, as in efforts to end slavery that is currently happening. Slavery didn’t completely end with President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. NURFC estimates that there are approximately 27 million people currently enslaved around the world. The center hopes to educate, inspire and encourage ordinary people to take actions every day to end slavery. The heroes that they highlight are ordinary people who have worked with others to do extraordinary things.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center was opened in Cincinnati, right on the bank of the Ohio River, in 2004. Over 100,000 people visit this museum every year to learn the history of the Underground Railroad and about the modern freedom heroes who work to end slavery and human trafficking today. The center serves to create a dialogue on freedom and human rights. The mission of NURFC is to share stories about freedom heroes, from the time of the Underground Railroad to today.

Everyday Freedom Heroes, Photo by Farshid Assassi/ Assassi Productions

I find the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center inspiring, especially now when I have been feeling discouraged. This quote by Bill Clinton, from the video about NURFC above, seems particularly relevant today.

We never struggle to be free so that we can be divided. We struggle to be free because equality was required for us to be one out of many. That is now the challenge that faces us in an interdependent world. It is the most important thing of all. More important than any specific position on climate change or terror or anything else is whether we are capable of living with the absolute conviction that as wonderful as our differences are, our common humanity matters more.
– Bill Clinton, 2007 International Freedom Conductor

I love that line – “… whether we are capable of living with the absolute conviction that as wonderful as our differences are, our common humanity matters more.” I’ll say it again, OUR COMMON HUMANITY MATTERS MORE. This is my new mantra.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center gives me hope and reminds me that there is a lot of love in the world, even when I don’t see it on the news or hear about it on the radio. My small donation will help NURFC continue their work, using the lessons of the Underground Railroad to teach, encourage and inspire the modern fight for freedom.

Donate Here

The following six people inspire me to be a better person, some of them on a daily basis (thank you, Facebook!). They also serve as a reminder of how many wonderful and caring people there are in the world.

They also serve as a reminder of how many wonderful and caring people there are in the world.

I am making my donation in honor of:

  • Monica – a friend from my library days, Monica constantly reminds me on FB to be kind. Just today she posted a picture that said “Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people” a quote from Karen Salmansohn. With the picture, Monica wrote, “I don’t always get this right, but I strive to do it when I’m able.”
  • Regina – my hairstylist when I lived in Columbus, Regina makes me laugh on a daily basis with her snarky political posts and inspires me with her fantastic yoga poses.
  • Antuan – a friend from my library days, Antuan made me feel so welcomed when I came to work with him at a different library branch in Cincinnati. I am grateful that FB has allowed us to keep in touch!
  • Jamie – I know Jamie from my Columbus days when I was a member of the Emerging Museum Professionals group. She shares my love of social media and is so bright and positive! She works at NURFC and I think of her as a role model for my own work.
  • Nate – Nate owned a coffee shop, called Perks, that I used to frequent when I was at Ohio U. He hosted my very first photography show in Perks. I’m grateful for that first solo art show, but I’m more grateful to be able to read what Nate writes on FB. He writes so elegantly about his family, life in Athens, spirituality and what it means to be loving and accepting of others.
  • Tim – Tim is a fellow coffee professional and writer whom I met through a coffee event last year. Since becoming friends online I’ve come to know Tim as a very kind and compassionate person who is so open-minded and willing to really talk to (and listen) people whom he does not agree with.

Happy Share + Give 2017!

If you feel like sharing the love by sharing this post on your social channels and/or by giving to National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in honor of a friend or family member, please use the following hashtags in your post! You don’t have to donate to share the love, just re-tweet or share on FB or regram on Instagram! Let’s see how far we can Share + Give!

#shareandgive2017
#thisohiolife
#cincyusa #mynurfc #revealstories #inclusivefreedom #blackhistorymonth

Share + Give – The Empowerment Plan

January’s Share + Give 2017 organization is The Empowerment Plan. I first heard about The Empowerment Plan on Facebook from a friend who shared a post about the organization.

The Empowerment Plan creates jobs that lift its employees out of poverty and helps those who are currently homeless. Based in Detroit, Michigan and employing 39 previously homeless individuals, The Empowerment Plan makes and distributes heavy-duty winter coats that double as sleeping bags. They have distributed these innovative sleeping-bag coats in 40 states in the US and 7 provinces in Canada.

The Gap made this video about The Empowerment Plan for their One Stitch Closer program, which shares the stories, ideas, accomplishments, and challenges of women who are improving themselves and their communities.

Veronika Scott, the founder, and CEO of The Empowerment Plan found her inspiration for the organization while taking a class at The College for Creative Studies in Detroit. For the class, she was required to design and create a product that would fulfill a need her in her community. After spending time at shelters for the homeless, she decided to design the EMPWR coat. While working on prototypes of her coat in Detroit, Veronika met a woman who angrily told her that she didn’t need a coat, she needed a job. Thus, The Empowerment Plan focuses on creating jobs, specifically for those who are most in need.

Homelessness should not be a life sentence.

I think this dual focus of The Empowerment Plan is inspiring. Not only is this non-profit creating jobs and helping homeless men and women deal with the cold, but the employees who work at The Empowerment Plan receive support that goes beyond a steady source of income. They provide their employees with training for their job and help them earn their GEDs or higher education by providing them time and assistance with the cost of college or certification programs. They have team lunches at work and give employees food gift cards to encourage them to make healthy food purchases. They also help with child care, initial costs of housing and transportation. To be able to provide such wonderful benefits to their employees, The Empowerment Plan needs support. This comes in the form of donations from private individuals, local organizations, corporations, and foundations.

Donations can be made online, you can even choose what you are making your donation towards. I am making a $25 donation for materials for a coat so I can help #spreadthewarmth. You can also sponsor a coat, donate to the housing fund, transportation or education funds or sponsor a team lunch!

Donate Here

I am making my donation in honor of:
Brittney – my awesome designer sister who is as kind as she is creative!
Emily – my sweet cousin who shares my love of cats, The Doctor and delicious coffee.
Azmara – a friend who is also an amazing fashion designer whom I think will appreciate Veronika’s ingenuity.
Manda – a friend whose daily Facebook posts both crack me up, give me the feels and make me smile.
Nicole – a friend who is the most bubbly educator I have ever worked with and gives the best hugs.

Happy Share + Give 2017!

If you feel like sharing the love by sharing this post on your social channels and/or by giving to The Empowerment Plan in honor of a friend or family member, please use the following hashtags in your post!

#shareandgive2017
#thisohiolife
#spreadthewarmth
#empowermentplan

Share + Give 2017

Happy New Year! As we move forward into a new year, trying to eat better, hit the gym, read more (and any other New Year’s resolutions you may be working on), I’d like to suggest another two for your list. Give more. Share more. The winter holiday seasons are often a season of giving, but I encourage you to continue giving well past Thanksgiving and Christmas. Give your time or money. Share love and kindness. Be warm and friendly to those around you and try to be helpful whenever you can.

One of the ways I am planning to share and give more this year is with monthly monetary donations. I will donate $5 in honor of a handful of different friends and family members every month in 2017. Each month I will choose a different charitable cause to give money to, which I will write about on This Ohio Life. During the first week of each month, I will make my donation and tag those friends on Facebook (and give them a shout-out on the blog). If they would like to pass it on, by sharing my post and/or making a donation to the same organization in honor of another friend (one friend, two friends… the more the merrier!), that would be wonderful! If they can’t, that’s ok too. A donation will have already been made in their honor. At the end of the month, I hope to have raised both awareness about the particular cause I chose and a little money to help them in their mission.

I am choosing organizations that align with my values, are recognized as legitimate and respected charities and do not have a political affiliation. I feel very strongly about politics and social justice and make donations to causes that support those beliefs, but I do not want a political slant to this project. This is just about spreading kindness and love. I also want to include friends and family on both ends of the political spectrum in this 12-month long project.

I hope that you will join me in making 2017 a kind and joyful year for everyone!