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- 2013 FAQ (will be updated with a few changes for this year)
First, an order of business. Renee, as the very first commenter on the very first post of Ana’s Advent Calendar 2014, you win a commemorative holiday card donated in honor of Lambda Legal. The card has the logo of the Advent Calendar and will be signed by yours truly. (The donor of the holiday cards has also contributed a $100 gift certificate of the winner’s choice as a grand prize.) There are 24 cards available for prizes this year, and Renee wins the first one! Please email me your mailing address, and I’ll get it in the mail for you.
Lambda Legal is a non-profit organization that works for LGBT legal and policy justice, which is fitting considering today’s topic: Giving Tuesday.
Last year, the Giving Tuesday post and discussion brought tears to many. Take a look, especially at the comments. In response to the commercialism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, an international movement formed called Giving Tuesday.
Last December, I told the story of “Annie” who never forgot a stranger bringing food to her family when she was a child. I listed ways for people to get involved, but something curious happened.
Almost a year later as I prepared for a conference in Atlanta, something tugged at the back of my head. Wasn’t there a LGBT shelter in Atlanta? I went back to the post to check. Yes! Lost-N-Found Youth serves homeless LGBT young adults. While I had always been a supporter of Invisible People TV and their work on homelessness, I hadn’t thought about specific ministries for LGBT homeless. Did you know that approximately 40% of homeless youth are LGBT?
That shocked me. Here’s a quick video from a 48-hour vigil in which the director of LNF spends time on the streets. (Fair warning: there is one swear word.)
I called LNF a few days before my trip to obtain promotional brochures and cards to distribute at the conference. I set up my book-signing table (wooden spoon signing, actually) with a tip jar to collect donations for LNF.
At the end of the evening, I had collected $13. Yes. Thirteen dollars. I added a little bit, but I felt embarrassed. All of that time and effort, and I couldn’t give LNF enough money to buy more than a few cups of coffee.
Then what happened?
Ana had an idea. (Ana has a dozen ideas a day.)”What if we got 69 authors together to each donate a dollar, and we put our LGBT books onto a basic black and white Kindle to donate to LNF?”I asked this question on my Facebook, and the response staggered me. In just over three weeks, approximately 45 authors, readers, publishers, editors, and book reviewers raised just under $3,000 to purchase 26 Kindles and accessories. I received inquiries and offers from all around the world. Authors and publishers donated close to 300 LGBT books (and a few non-LGBT), and I became best friends with the Amazon technical support team.
This is the first shipment of Kindles. When the next shipment of 8 Kindles arrives next week, 2 will be sent to Trinity Place Shelter in New York City. The rest will be held for later distribution. They were purchased early due to–wait for it–Black Friday sales of 20% off. Best Black Friday of my life.
These 18 Kindles will be delivered to LNF for use in their youth center, their current 6-bed residence, and their expanded 18-bed shelter in the spring. When, you ask?Oh, this week. On Friday, to be precise. 😀 I’ll get to meet the staff at LNF and some of the youth, and I’ll train them on how to use the Kindles.It’s been hundreds of hours of work and extraordinary generosity from the publishers, authors, and readers involved. Can you imagine transferring up to 300 books to 26 Kindles? Phew! That’s why you haven’t seen much of me lately. 🙂 I’m still not quite finished, but it’s close.
You’ll get to meet Rick Westbrook, the director of LNF, at an interview (right here for Advent Calendar). Later in the month, you’ll also hear from Trinity Place Shelter and Lucie’s Place, two other organizations serving LGBT homeless youth. And, of course, I’ll tell you about my trip to LNF once I return.
Today, I’d like to do two things.
- If you and/or your organization has contributed to Something Good, please stand up and be recognized. Don’t be shy! It’s not showing off or calling attention to yourself; it’s showing support and the remarkable breadth of this grassroots effort.
- What causes are you passionate about supporting? Please include a brief description and link to the site. (Only one link per comment, or WordPress flags your comment as spam. If you want to post multiple links, reply in separate comments for each one.)
Or, what ideas do you have for making a difference? Especially if we don’t have a lot of money (and most of us don’t), how can we help out?
As always, please make an effort today to respond to each other’s comments. Do you see a cause you’re interested in, or did you get a new idea you want to try? Let the person know! Do you see someone new? Say hello!
Remember, you have until midnight EST for your comment to count as an entry toward Perfect Attender awards. However, you can still comment late to join the discussion.
Happy Giving Tuesday!
Something Good press release (blog address: https://good4lgbt.wordpress.com/)
Something Good is an informal coalition of authors, readers, publishers, and editors that provides homeless LGBT youth with Kindles and ebooks free of charge. Our mission statement reads:
This group is dedicated to providing Kindles and LGBT ebooks for Lost-N-Found Youth, a non-profit in Atlanta, Georgia that helps homeless LGBT youth.
Our goal is to connect kids with books that show them, “It’s okay to be me.” Some of us never had that for our generation, and we want to provide that for the upcoming generation.
We will provide the shelter with Kindles that the residents can use to read, develop literacy, and find stories to give visions of a better life. We want to give each resident a personal library to fill his or her head with good thoughts instead of negative ones.
Rather than handouts, we wish to provide incentives and positive reinforcement for youth who are committed to changing their lives. For that reason, the Kindles will be used in one of three ways:
- Two to three Kindles will be placed in the drop-in center for youth to sign out on a temporary basis. This will provide reading material for the widest audience.
- Six Kindles will be given to the current residents of the live-in center for use during their stay. If they complete the ninety-day program successfully, the Kindle will be theirs to keep.
- Additional Kindles will be available for use by other program registrants. When the shelter expands to an eighteen-bed capacity in March, additional Kindles will fill the need and replace those given to graduating residents.
Lost-N-Found Youth will receive the Kindles and deliver them to youth most likely to make good use of them. The youth will be able to opt in to a mailing list that will deliver LGBT books on a regular basis. These books would include young adult, new adult, and non-erotic adult LGBT fiction and non-fiction. Goals include:
- Engage kids in positive activities. We want kids off drugs and hooked on books.
- Reinforce self-worth and affirm identity as LGBT youth.
- Promote literacy and open the door for education.
- Provide access to technology that will increase marketability for employment.
To donate money toward Kindles, mobi files of books, or in-kind support, please contact Anastasia Vitsky at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Something Good donation.” @AnastasiaVitsky on Twitter. Thank you!