Rebecca D. Thomas

A Values-Driven, Sustainable Lifestyle Blog, seeking innovative and forward-thinking ideas in business, travel, food, fashion, and beyond!

Hello, Work Life Friends! Can you believe we are about halfway through 2017?! I've been feeling very sad lately, since I heard the news that one of my favorite artists, Chris Cornell, passed. My heart and prayers are with his family and friends.

This post focuses on volunteer work, but from a different angle than last year. In my 2016 post, I discussed how to incorporate volunteer work into our busy lives. This year, I'm thinking more about what our activities do to assist people in moving forward to a place where they can better help themselves. I had to ask myself how, and if, my volunteer activities are breaking cycles of poverty, abuse, and other issues. Sort of a "Hand Up, not a Hand Out" way of working. Handouts are needed to help people get to a place where they can help themselves, but at what point should I expect organizations to "release" or discharge the people they serve? Should I even have that expectation? As always, I appreciate your thoughts and comments.

In order to gain more insight, I look to the perspective of one of my favorite bloggers,  Justina Kes-Agbosa with Mentor Africa. I often wonder how I can apply her wisdom to my little corner of the world, and I love her 5.18.17 post about how we are made to be interdependent, and about how we allow our past to hold us back.

Ripe City Urban Farms seems to understand this. Born out of an abandoned lot and garden, Ripe City is a for-profit farm that grows in-season, organic produce, and sells it at fair, farmers market prices. Though not a volunteer organization, everything about Ripe City benefits the community, and volunteer orgs can learn from their business model. Encouraging people to buy local produce is not easy. Ripe City incites behavior change using fun tactics, not fear. Local farmers are intimately involved with their surroundings, and are acutely aware of how a community's culture affects their ability to move products. Part of what makes volunteering so challenging, yet so rewarding, is helping people to see past their fears, and giving people a vision for a brighter future. Ripe City took a risk on a dream, and it has morphed into a beautiful picture, not without setbacks, with local and global implications. 
Out of the Box (and Garden Bed!) Inspiration :) Thank you, Ripe City!

Snagged Me a T!
And, I like it!

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, many shelters are turning people away, due to lack of available space. The Big Bend Homeless Coalition is building community partnerships to move people out of homelessness, and into secure housing. The number of homeless adolescents is on the rise. Which brings me to my hero...But first, I leave you with a quote from Justina: "Scars are not meant to hold us in one spot, we can choose to use them as reminders that drive us to excellence, or keep stirring at them, and remain bound." Blessings to you, and yours, rdt

Rebecca's Hero
 This group holds a special place in my heart, because I struggled so much as a teenager (who doesn't!). Going Places Street Outreach offers help for young people who are living on the street. This is what I love about Going Places. Some people can't, or don't want to live in a shelter. They are unable to live with family. The only option is the street. Going Places offers basic survival tools, no questions asked. Can't wait to attend their upcoming event!