Have your day at the Capitol

Today is CASA Day at the Capitol, and here’s why this is important.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is taking a strong stand to stop budget cuts proposed for Child Protective Services, the agency charged with protecting children and caring for those in the Texas child welfare system and advocating for full funding for CASA.

Hundreds of CASA volunteers from across the state of Texas will gather at the Capitol to dedicate a memorial in honor of the 227 children who die from abuse and neglect each year in Texas. For more than 30 years, CASA has been speaking up for abused and neglected children in the Texas foster care system, often helping children who are in life-or-death situations. CASA programs recruit and train committed volunteers to help guide children through the foster care system and into safe and permanent home.

Tim for CASA storyIn our current issue, we have a story about Linda, a CASA volunteer who was assigned to Tim when he was just three years old. Linda has stayed by Tim (in photo, left) his whole life, protecting him from getting lost in the system and helping him become the productive and capable human being he is today.

We also have a story advising Austin nonprofits to step up to the Legislature and speak up for the children and people they represent.

There will be many more of these “Days at the Capitol” during this session. You don’t have to attend them to support the cause.

Send a letter or email today to your representative and let them know why they should work harder to keep these vital services intact. Just go to Texas Tribune to find your representative. Speak up for Austin this session.

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Easy way to help an Austin kid go to college

College tuition varies—from $7,000 per year at a public, four-year college to $27,000 per year at a private four-year college—but no matter what type of college you choose, that amount adds up quickly. For many Austin students, it’s completely unaffordable.

Imagine working hard enough to be accepted for college only to realize you can’t actually afford college. This doesn’t have to happen. You can help!

Volunteers are needed to help families complete financial aid applications at Financial Aid Saturdays, here in Austin.

Volunteers at Financial Aid Saturday events provide personal assistance with filling out the FAFSA. Students and families can also bring other financial aid applications they need help with, including the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) and scholarship applications. It is our mission to help students secure the financial aid they need to go to college.

Events take place Saturdays (Feb 5, 12, 19, 26, March 5, 26) from 8:30 am – 12:30 p.m. at schools across Austin. They could sure use your help.

Just think: You could be the final push an Austin kid needs toward his college degree. Wow.

LEARN MORE HERE

January 11: Next issue, next Givers Ball

Jan 11 Givers BallThe more I talk to people about Texas’ looming budget shortfall (projected to be between $14 and $24 billion) and its inevitable crushing of Austin – not just of local nonprofits because of the surge in demand and drop in support, but also of the local economy as state employees start to lose their jobs – the more I learn about it, the angrier I get.

But anger, fear and the related emotions are not productive reactions to the mess we’re in. So in that regard, the next issue of GivingCity Austin will offer productive, actionable things we can do to prepare and (maybe) avoid some of the devastation.

This issue is for Austinites who complain about the mess AND work to do something about it. So, you.

The launch of a new issue also gives us an opportunity to celebrate you, and specifically, the young and professional organizations that introduce philanthropy and civic engagement to hundreds of Austinites, usually over drinks and networking. Thank you.

Keep an eye out for the new issue announcement on January 11 (also first day of session), and join us that night for the Givers Ball. We’ve invited more than 30 YPOs, and we’re going to stir them up.

GivingCity Austin Givers Ball
January 11, 2011
6 – 8 pm
El Sol y La Luna
6th & Red River
Food, drinks and a special announcement
about our New Philanthropists issue

RSVP on Facebook

Not on Facebook? RSVP here.

Thanks to Austin Community Foundation

SAT DEC 11: Because toys make children happy, people

Look at these photos. Just look.

Did I tell you about the time I got the Barbie Dream House? It was amazing. I adore(d) Barbies, and getting that Dream House is one of my favorite memories — never mind that my grandmother actually pulled it out of a trash can to give to me.

I don’t mean to get sappy on you, because for me that’s still a happy memory. There’s no other way I would have ever had the Barbie Dream House; it just wasn’t in the budget for my family, you know? The point is, toys make a difference to kids. And YOU can help make that difference to kids this Saturday.

This Saturday is the 13th Annual River City Youth Foundation “Merry Memories” holiday event in Dove Springs, a community just southeast of Austin. More than 95% of the children living in Dove Springs receive federally subsidized lunch. (So in other words, ALL of them.) If they can’t afford lunch, what kind of Christmas do you think they’re going to have?

Here’s how you can help:

DONATE TOYS

VOLUNTEER TO SORT TOYS

Merry Memories

13th Annual Toy Give-Away

WHERE

Dove Springs Recreation Center
5801 Ainez Dr, Austin, TX 78744

WHEN

Sorting of toys starting at 9 a.m. Event runs from 12-3 PM

Individuals and groups welcome!

To donate or volunteer contact
Oné Musel-Gilley (pronounced onay)
(512) 576-0219
PR@rivercityyouth.org
or Mona Gonzalez at (512) 633-9708

Free Thanksgiving Meals in Central Texas, from Food Bank

Thanksgiving Feast of SharingMany of us are making do with less this year. Some of us less than others.

I’ve learned that we get a wide range of people who come across this blog, so we can’t just post “how to help” content without also listing “how to get help” as well.

So I’ve divided this special Thanksgiving post into three categories. Why Help, How to Help, and How to Get Help. Here’s hoping you’re in the middle.

WHY HELP

This one’s easy. The Capital Area Food Bank has created this amazing site called Hunger is Unacceptable. Consider these facts from the site… then think about you’re going to spend your Thanksgiving.

  • 1 in 5 people Austin food bank serves experience the physical pain of hunger.
  • 41% of Austin food bank clients are children.
  • Almost half of Austin food bank clients have at least one working adult at home.

HOW TO HELP

The good news is, this one is hard. Nonprofits tell me that volunteers spots for Thanksgiving meal events fill up by mid-October, so if you haven’t signed up yet, you’re probably too late.

But, of course, there’s a very simple way to redeem your tardiness. Donate. Here. Done. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

HOW TO GET HELP

Here is a list created by the Capital Area Food Bank of places where anyone can get a free Thanksgiving Meal in and around Austin. Many of these places offer clothing and other items besides food.

11/18/2010 Thursday

Travis County Health and Human Services, NW Rural Community Center
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
(512) 267-3245
18649 FM1431 Ste 6A Jonestown Austin, TX 78645
Open to the Public – Free

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Montopolis Recreation Center
6:00 p.m.
(512) 385-5931
1200 Montopolis Dr. Austin, TX 78741
Open to the Public – Free

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Givens Recreation Center
7:00 p.m.
(512) 928-1982
3811 E. 12th St. Austin, TX 78721
Open to the Public – Free

11/19/2010 Friday

Travis County Health and Human Services, EAST RURAL COMMUNITY CENTER
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
(512) 272-5561 / 278-0414
600 W. Carrie Manor St. Manor Austin, TX 78653
Primarily for Precinct 1 – No one turned away

Southside Community Center
6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
(512) 392-6694
518 S. Guadalupe St. San Marcos, TX 78666
Open to the Public – Free

11/20/2010 Saturday

Rosewood-Zaragosa Neighborhood Center (sponsored by Mt. Carmel Grand Lodge)
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(512) 972-6740
2808 Webberville Rd. Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, CANTU/PAN AM RECREATION CENTER
11:00 a.m. –2:00 p.m.
(512) 476-9193
2100 E. 3rd Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free

Helping Hands Center
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(512) 472-2298
1179 San Bernard St. Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free. Meal at Olivet Baptist Church

Shoreline Christian Center at East Campus
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
(512) 983-1048
East 6th and San Marcos St Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free. Distribution of 1000 sleeping bags, backpacks and socks

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
5:00 p.m.
(512) 251-0698
14311 Wells Port Dr. Austin, TX 78728
Open to the Public – Free

11/21/2010 Sunday

Austin Area Interreligious Ministries (AAIM) at University Baptist Church
Meal follows 3:30 p.m. Service
2130 Guadalupe Austin, TX 78705
Pot Luck served after the service -not a meal

11/22/2010 Monday

Mobile Loaves & Fishes at First Baptist Church
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
(512) 328-7299
First Baptist Church 901 Trinity St. Austin, TX 78701
Open to the Public – Free

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Virginia L. Brown Recreation Center
6:00 p.m.
(512) 974-7865
7500 Blessing Ave. Austin TX 78752
Open to the Public – Free

St. John Community Center
5:59 p.m. – Food Gone
(512) 972-5159
7500 Blessing Ave. Austin, TX 78752
Open to the Public – Free

11/23/2010 Tuesday

United Way / HEB Feast of Caring at Palmer Events Center
4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
(512) 421-1000-HEB Public Affairs
900 Barton Springs Rd Austin, TX 78704
Open to the Public – Free

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Dove Springs Recreation Center
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
(512) 447-5875
5801 Ainez Dr. AustinTX78744
Open to the Public – Free

11/24/2010 Wednesday

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Parque Zaragosa Recreation Center
9:00 a.m. Service Project/ Lunch to follow
(512) 472-7142
2608 Gonzales St. Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free. For teens only

Baptist Community Center
1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
(512) 472-7592
2000 E. 2nd St. Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free

11/25/2010 Thursday

North Austin Christian Church
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(512) 836-3282
1734 Rutland Dr. Austin, TX 78758
No one turned away – primarily for community around the church.


St. Louis Catholic Church

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
(512) 454-0384
Wozniak Hall 7601 Burnet Rd Austin, TX 78757
Open to the Public – Free

Bethany United Methodist Church

11:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
(512) 258.6017
10010 Anderson Mill Rd. Austin, TX 78750
Open to the Public – Free

St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
Noon – 2:00 p.m.
(512) 476-6757
605 W. 15th St. Austin, TX 78701
Open to the Public – Free


The Salvation Army Social Service Center

Noon – 5:00 p.m.
(512) 476-1111
501 E. 8th St. Austin, TX 78701
Open to the Public – Free

Ministry of Challenge
Noon – 3:00 p.m.
(512) 370-3960
1500 E. 12th Austin, TX 78702
Open to the Public – Free

Santa Cruz Catholic Church, Buda
Noon
(512) 415-4012
1100 Main St. Buda, TX 78610
Must RSVP

St. William’s Catholic Church
Noon – 2:00 p.m.
(512) 255-4473
620 Round Rock West Dr. 78681 Round Rock, TX 78610
Open to the Public – Free

For more information on how to get food, visit www.austinfoodbank.org/get-help/

Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week

Austin’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is almost upon us; it takes place November 13-19. Awareness days/weeks/months are interesting things: as Austinites, we’re all pretty aware that homelessness exists – we see it every day. And we know that people go hungry. So why have an awareness week for problems we all already know about?

Part of it is that we don’t understand the magnitude of the problem. Nearly one in five adults and one in four children in Austin struggle to meet basic nutritional needs. A 2009 census of the homeless in Austin counted 2585 homeless men and womyn, barely more than half of them in shelters. Then there are the nuances of the problem that we’re not aware of: the relationship between homelessness and mental illness, chronic medical problems, or legal obstacles like obtaining identification.

So Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week is a great opportunity for Austinites. There are events of every sort going down: opportunities to give, volunteer, learn, and party! Here are a few of the events happening. You can find the full schedule here.

Homeless Memorial Sunrise Service

House the Homeless - Homeless Memorial Service

What: Memorial service for the homeless men and womyn who lost their lives this year living on the streets of Austin.

When/Where: 6:58 am Nov 14, Homeless Memorial & Tree of Remembrance at 1st and Riverside

No More Hunger Luncheon

What: Educational luncheon with representatives from Capital Area Food Bank and Meals on Wheels and More.

When/Where: 11:30am-1pm November 15, California Pizza Kitchen at Barton Creek Mall (2901 S Capital of Texas Highway)

Free Showing of The Soloist

What: Free showing of The Soloist, a 2009 film dealing with homelessness and mental illness starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr.

When/Where: 7:00 pm November 17, Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (1120 S Lamar Blvd)

The Dynamics of Domestic Violence and its Connection to Homelessness

What: Interactive presentation on the connection between homelessness and domestic violence, hosted by Safeplace.

When/Where: 3-5pm November 18, Safeplace (2001 South Chicon St)

Understanding Youth Homelessness in Austin

What: Educational presentation on youth homelessness in Austin with interactive simulations and Q&A with Lifeworks staff.

When/Where: 4-7pm November 19, Lifeworks (408 W 23rd st)

An AHA moment: Austin’s heart health success

We are living in The Future, people. The phenomena that we used to call unexplainable or incomprehensible are now being explained, thanks to Science! One notable example is dementia. 50 years ago, losing one’s mind was considered a normal part of the aging process. We know now that’s not the case, and we’re starting to understand why. According to a recent study conducted at UT, there may be a link between middle-age obesity and memory problems down the road. Researchers hope that this information might help prevent the onset of dementia.

Pretty cool, right? What’s really exciting about this story is that a huge part of the credit for the research goes to Central Texans like you. The study was funded by the American Heart Association.  AHA supports some $23 million in research throughout the UT system, and a significant part of that funding comes from fundraising events here in Austin.

One such fundraising event is AHA’s annual Austin Start! Heart Walk, which took place earlier this month. The walk was a huge success, surpassing its $440,000 goal and beating last year’s total by over 75%. Almost 3,000 people came out to support AHA, and what they were able to accomplish is astonishing. Heart disease is an issue that really hits home in Austin, with more than 1 in 4 deaths in the Austin area caused by cardiovascular disease. That makes for a lot of people for which AHA’s mission is personal.

Austin Start! Heart Walk

Almost 3,000 Austinites came out for the Austin Start! Heart Walk

Take, for example, Paul Lally. Paul’s a survivor of heart disease: he underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2008. Two years later, he’s still fighting heart disease – this time by raising money for AHA. Paul was the walk’s top individual fundraiser, gathering over $15,000 in donations. On top of that, he persuaded his employer to give a $10,000 matching donation.

Ed Baca and Paul Lally

Paul Lally, right, raised over $15,000 for the AHA Heart Walk

Inspired yet? You may have missed the Heart Walk, but there are plenty of opportunities to support the Austin chapter of AHA. Check them out here.