Gratitude in Action: With an Unfathomable International Scene, Go Local to Create Change

One measure of a society, indeed of a world, is how well it can work together to solve problems, address challenges, take advantage of sustainable opportunities. Right now, we get an F for this and have for some time. Retake recommends going local to create change and find hope.

At times Roxanne and I get discouraged. We watch the news together and shake our heads in disbelief. How could adults behave this way if they have any brains, any compassion, anything that resembles core humanistic values? Just this morning the first report I saw was from Trump: “If we had stronger gun laws, hundreds could have been killed in Texas.” There are so many things wrong with this statement, I don’t know where to begin. But I’ll save it for another day. The point is that in relation to climate change, tax policy, healthcare, international relations, we seem to bounce off of problems without ever engaging authentically, without seeking allies, without genuine thought. Another future blog.

But today and throughout the end of this year, we will focus one blog a week on a different local heroic agency with a focus on agencies that work with children and families. We want to encourage our supporters to put our collective gratitude in action and make donations to at least some, if not all of these agencies. The staff at these agencies are most often not highly paid, work odd hours and address really heartbreaking social problems:  homeless families, aimless, dispirited youth, people living in poverty or suffering from debilitating conditions or illnesses.  But because of the work they do, countless individuals and families we rarely see, or pass by quickly are comforted, supported and empowered.

So today we kick off Gratitude in Action with one of our favorite agencies. Roxanne and I love, Earth Care, not just because of the tremendous direct service work they do and the way the build and inspire new leadership, but also because they take courageous stands for the people with whom they work.   Last week, when I interviewed Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, Bernardine said: “the people who have the problems are the ones who know the best solutions.”  This is a kind of wisdom that permeates Earth Care and best of all, Earth Care works at the nexus of environmental, social, economic and racial justice and they do that work explicitly focusing upon engaging and empowering youth. And so I ask  that you read the organizational history below, and then click here to make a donation today. Roxanne and I kicked it off five minutes ago with our donation. And while you are at the site, take a few minutes to review the work they do. Their website is very well done and in a very few minutes, you will feel very good about the donation you just made. Look for more profiles in the coming weeks and for those of you in Taos, Albuquerque, Española, Las Cruces, and other points in NM, please send me info on one or two youth and family serving agencies in your community. I will devote a day to other communities and post a permanent page with information about their work. Just post your suggestions in the comment or write to me at paul@retakeourdemocracy.org.

Earth Care was founded in 2001 to educate and empower young people to create healthy, just, and sustainable communities.

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Every year Earth Care:

  • Provides sustainability education for at least 2,000 K-12 students in the Santa Fe Public Schools through environmental,food & health, social justice and service learning lessons.
  • Provides service-placements to 27 young people ages 17-35 – these Service Members support the work of over a dozen nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and schools in northern New Mexico. Our Earth Care service members help us to provide our sustainability education services, provide at least 750 community members with hunger relief services, and more than 800 children and adults with training in healthy lifestyles and sustainable living.
  • Trains35 young people from Native, Hispano, Latinx, Low-Income and other diverse backgrounds in leadership and social change through our Youth Allies Leadership Training Program.
  • Supportsyouth organizers and their youth-led projects & campaigns that address social and ecological issues with real-world solutions. Examples of campaigns and projects include the Santa Fe Chapter of Food Not Bombs, Art & Social Change events, the ban on plastic bags, Climate action rallies and marches and many many more. Every year our youth decide what matters to them and we train and support them as they put their skills, knowledge, and creativity to use in service of positive social change.
  • Provides resources and events that engage thousands of northern New Mexicans – across generations with opportunities to stand up, take action alongside our youth leaders, and make a positive difference in the community to improve environmental and social conditions.

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Earth Care was started over 15 years ago by two young adults – who travelled around the country participating in environmental movement gatherings and noticed that young people were not at the table. Christina and Taylor Selby decided to start an organization dedicated to opening up spaces for young people and young adults to not only participate – but lead. Earth Care has had many different programs over the years including summer camps, a youth-run coffee house, the Sustainable Santa Fe Annual Resource Guide, and sustainability education teacher training institutes for public school professionals. The common thread has been the empowerment of young people and the connection between ecological health and social justice.

In 2006, Earth Care worked with the Santa Fe Mountain Center’s Native American Emergence Program and ENLACE to launch a program dedicated to training young activists in cross-cultural leadership, community organizing, sustainable living, and social justice. Youth Allies was born. The express purpose of the program was to change the face of leadership in northern New Mexico and address equity issues in leadership opportunities for youth from underserved communities.

In 2013, Earth Care’s long-time Program Director Bianca Sopoci-Belknap who cofounded Earth Care’s Youth Allies and Earth Care Cadre Programs took the helm of the organization as a whole & worked with a team of alumni to remake the organization from the ground up to better reflect the values and lessons learned from its cornerstone programs. With a deep commitment to equity and social justice the staff and board were energized with membership from program alumni, youth advocates, seasoned social change-agents, nonprofit gurus, and members of the diverse communities Earth Care serves.

We’ll keep providing these profiles every week and we’ll provide periodic reminders as to how these funds make our community better. And again, for those in other communities, send me your local agencies that heroically support your children and families.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

P.S. First post in awhile that didn’t leave me feeling angry, just hopeful.

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