Among the many wonderful non-profits doing great work in the world, there are four that are special to me, which I would like to put on your radar.
Appalachia Service Project: I was fortunate enough to volunteer with the Appalachia Service Project throughout high school and then worked as a staff member during my college summers. ASP is undoubtedly the organization that most shaped my desire to make a difference with my life.
ASP has been organizing youth groups since 1969 to serve those in need in central Appalachia by helping make their homes warmer, safer, and drier. In more recent years, they have expanded their summer work camp program to full round centers, home building programs, and to encouraging college and adult volunteer work groups as well. Please check them out here: Appalachia Service Project.
Amnesty International: I was blessed to go to a wonderful college that greatly encouraged the expansion of their students' mind and activism. At Guilford College, I was a part of a team of students that started the first Amnesty International chapter on our campus. Writing those letters on behalf of people from other countries who'd often been imprisoned for opposing unjust political regimes opened my sheltered eyes to people forced to make convictions and choices beyond anything I'd ever conceived possible.
Amnesty's mission is to: "protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. Currently the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization, we investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world." Please check them out here: Amnesty International.
Habitat for Humanity, Int'l.: After I graduated college, my first job was with the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Habitat was still fairly new in my county, and I was delighted with my small role in shaping how we worked in partnership with the families we served. I loved my work with Habitat so much, I went back to them again...and again...working with the Regional Support Center of the International organization a few years later, and then working as a consultant for another affiliate years after that.
Habitat for Humanity is "a global nonprofit housing organization working in nearly 1,400 communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world. Habitat’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat works toward our vision by building strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with people and families in need of a decent and affordable home." Please check them out here: Habitat for Humanity
Lumos is the foundation started by J.K. Rowling that seeks to alleviate the suffering of children in institutions worldwide. "No child should be denied a family life because they are poor, disabled or from an ethnic minority. Lumos works to support the 8 million children in institutions worldwide to regain their right to a family life and to end the institutionalisation of children."
Due to my tremendous respect for JK Rowling and her writing, I have just started learning about the important work of Lumos, but hope to become involved more. Please check them out here: Lumos Foundation