Tuesday, 22 April 2014 01:19

30 Days of Made | Day 22: Youth Radio

30 Days of Made // April 21, 2014 

The entry below is by 14 year-old Bianca Brooks, who describes her experience as a member of Youth Radio’s newsroom:

I search for the light switch on the wall, because the room is eerily pitch black and silent. When I find it, I nervously make my way over to the grey swivel chair that sits before the microphone and reading mount. I place my state-of-the-art headphones atop my then 14-year old fro, and attempt to breathe before uttering the words I would soon be so well known for. The lights above the outside door flash “Quiet Please” and the light attached to my microphone turns crimson red, as I speak almost in a whisper, “For Youth Radio, I’m Bianca Brooks.”

That was the moment I found my voice. In the recording studio of the second floor of the brick building on the corner of 17th and Broadway in Oakland, California, I found out who I was. I became a storyteller of non-fiction prose, a talk radio news poet who made sense of the world by serving up the issues with the objectivity of John Burns, the narrative smoothness of Vin Scully, and a wit all my own.

I speak for the women in the sweatshops of Bangladesh. I speak for the students of color underrepresented in the AP system. I speak for women who choose not to wear brassieres, and I even speak at the defense of young Republicans who really have better intentions than MSNBC often portrays. But most of all, I speak for myself. I sit in the studio and summon up the 10 year old hellion inside me. I channel that same girl, whose mouth moves quicker than her mind, who will never be satisfied with answers she doesn't find for herself, who somehow between all the shaming and calls for silence still leans in, clears her throat, and says loudly and proudly, "For Youth Radio, I'm Bianca Brooks."

As a Peabody Award-winning, youth-driven media production company, they deliver the best youth news, culture and undiscovered talent to a wide audience. Youth Radio was developed as a two part journalism organization: a community-based media education program teaching journalism skills and producing content, and a production company that publishes and distributes that content. The innovation lab integrates journalism and programming to design new tools -- such as mobile apps -- to tell dynamic stories about issues affecting young people and their communities. Youth Radio stories run regularly on NPR, PRI, American Public Media, PBS, National Geographic, The Huffington Post, The CBS Network and other digital and broadcast outlets worldwide.

Learn More About Youth Radio & Give Back!

If you want to support journalism and young minds with a program like Youth Radio, use the buttons below to give back and join in! You can also tweet at them @youthradio.

Published in Current

30 Days of Made // April 21, 2014

This article was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Giving Back." In an effort to create social change, each day we will highlight one charity or non-profit organization, and provide information on how you can support them by giving back. Click here to read more!

Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin! There are so many reasons why I love Best Friends Animal Society and their mission to ensure that there are no more Homeless Pets.

Animal advocacy and promoting pet adoption is something that I have been involved with since I was in high school. After several years of volunteering for animal shelters and rescue groups, I began to hear more and more about Best Friends and all the strides they were making in the animal rescue and advocacy community.

Best Friends Animal Society was founded in 1984 by a group of people who began rescuing so-called “unadoptable” animals from shelters to help combat the large number of animals being euthanized in shelters each year – 17 million, to be exact. Best Friends is now the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. Currently, over 9,000 dogs and cats are killed in shelters EVERY SINGLE DAY – isn’t that number sad and astounding? However, through their efforts and partnerships with rescue groups and shelters around the country, they have helped to reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from 17 million per year to around 4 million.

Best Friends is hard at work on so many wonderful initiatives that continue to help bring down these euthanasia numbers. Nationally, they have initiatives that focus primarily on the animals that are most likely to enter the shelter system – pit-bull-terrier-type dogs, cats and castoffs from puppy mills. They also have local programs in Los Angeles, New York and Utah (which happens to be Best Friends’ home state) to help provide on-the-ground support for their efforts.  In addition to their national and local programs, they also stage super adoptions in cities across the country and offer spay/neuter programs – both of these particular initiatives are key components in reducing the amount of animals in our shelters.

These are all of Best Friends’ major initiatives and goals, but I really don’t feel like I’ve done them justice. What I’ve mentioned here only scratches the surface! There are so many wonderful things they are doing and there are countless ways in which you, yes, YOU, can get involved. For starters, if you are an Angeleno, there is a Super Adoption taking place at the La Brea Tar Pits May 3-4 from 10am-5pm. You can volunteer, donate, adopt, or simply come out to show your support. I volunteer at this event, so I hope to see you there! For more information, visit: http://nkla.org/Events

If you love cats and dogs this is the org for you!

When you are thinking of adding a furry friend to your family, please consider adopting from your local animal shelter or rescue group. There are many wonderful animals, in all shapes, sizes, colors, ages and breeds that are looking for their loving, forever home! And you can signup to volunteer or donate using the buttons below! Follow @BestFriends on Twitter!


Kea Meyers Duggan is a 16-year marketing veteran who has worked in a variety of industries, servicing high-profile global companies, and has also owned her own company. However, her true love is non-profit animal causes. Over the last 18 years, Kea has volunteered, in a wide range of capacities, with several animal shelters and rescue groups. Additionally, she recently served as the event chair for the Guide Dogs for the Blind's Orange County Friends Committee (OCFC) biennial luncheon. As event chair, she spearheaded the planning and execution of the most successful fundraising event in the OCFC's history.

Published in Current

30 Days of Made // April 19, 2014

This article was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Giving Back." In an effort to create social change, each day we will highlight one charity or non-profit organization, and provide information on how you can support them by giving back. Click here to read more!

There is nothing scarier than the possibility of having a deadly disease. What’s even scarier is when the disease is a silent killer and we don’t even realize that our lifestyle is a potential cause.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women -- it is more deadly than all forms of cancer-- with one in three women dying from it each year. However, it does not affect every woman the same way. There are many symptoms, like lightheadedness or jaw pain, which people do not at first associated with heart disease. There are also many myths surrounding heart disease; such as, it only affects older people. However, people of all ages can be affected by heart attack or stroke. Yes, even a 19-year-old who seems completely healthy runs a risk of having cardiovascular disease if she is not living a healthy lifestyle. Since women are more likely to be affected than men, it is important that we understand what heart disease is, and how we can prevent or treat it.  


Go Red for Women is a sub-organization of the American Heart Association which aims to fight heart disease. According to their website, in the past ten years, “More than 627,000 women have been saved from heart disease.” This is due in large part to the amount of awareness that Go Red for Women has brought to the disease, as well as the donations that go to research. So far Go Red for Women has raised over $36 million dollars to end heart disease.

Help Put An End To Heart Disease!

There are many ways to get involved with Go Red for Women, including joining a study to help end heart disease, donating, and participating in events that bring awareness to the cause.

Published in Current
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 18:19

30 Days Of Made | Day 18: Playworks

30 Days of Made // April 18, 2014

This article was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Giving Back." In an effort to create social change, each day we will highlight one charity or non-profit organization, and provide information on how you can support them by giving back. Click here to read more!

When California public schools started cutting recess and physical education programs from their itineraries due to budget cuts, they couldn’t staff recess and/or no longer had time for it. I knew that I had to figure out a way to help local youth receive the physical activity they need to grow into mentally and physically fit young adults. Then, somebody introduced me to Playworks and I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who was thinking about bringing recess back.

Playworks started at an Oakland, California, elementary school that didn’t have the resources to provide organized activities at recess. At that particular school, even children who would not be considered “behaviorally problematic” were getting into trouble. After all, recess in elementary schools is the period when children develop their conflict resolutions skills. Without professional guidance, children were unable to relieve their frustration in a productive fashion, which wasn’t just a problem at this school. Jill Vialet, Playworks’ CEO and Founder, was then inspired to bring professionally trained activity leaders into the picture. Their programs now exist in 20 states across the United States.

Play Works from Playworks on Vimeo.

According to Playworks, they are “the only nonprofit organization in the country providing trained, full-time coaches focused on recess to hundreds of low-income schools in major urban areas.”

Playworks coaches facilitate play with various games and activities to provide children with some rules, which promotes inclusivity and fun. They “believe in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid. Playworks creates a place for every kid on the playground -- a place where every kid belongs, has fun and is part of the game.” This drastically reduces problems from bullying and disciplinary issues in the schoolyard.

Love Playworks! Give Back!

Want to see how you can affect our youth? Get involved by volunteering or help fund the cause! Use the buttons below! You can also follow them on Twitter at @Playworks!


Published in Current

30 Days of Made // April 17, 2014

This article was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Giving Back." In an effort to create social change, each day we will highlight one charity or non-profit organization, and provide information on how you can support them by giving back. Click here to read more!

It’s been exactly one year this weekend that my son, Ty, finally learned about Down syndrome and I think it is a precious story to share, so here we go:

“Mommy, Mylie has Down syndrome?” Ty asks me as I am having a conversation with a representative from SELPA at the Valentine’s Day party last year. I did not know he was behind me listening, as we were at a huge party for people with special needs and their families. It was a fabulous party with hundreds of people and Ty had been running around with friends, dancing, playing at all the wonderful, creative booths and I had not thought about where he was. Not that talking about Down syndrome was a secret or anything, but Tyler and I had decided early on that we would approach the subject with Ty when it happened naturally. We were not going to label Mylie nor try to explain to her then 4 year old brother what it all meant. We felt strongly that we wanted Ty to grow up loving Mylie for the unique, beautiful little sister that she is.

So, as he was pulling on my blouse with wide eyes wanting to know what that word meant and why his sister had it, I figured well… this was as natural and as good of a time as any.

“She does, sweetie.” I respond.

“Well… what is it?” he asks, and by now he is looking worried.

“Nothing really, Ty. It just means she has an extra chromosome, that’s all.” I say nonchalantly.

“Uhm.. well… does she need one of mine?” he continues.

Knowing my son and knowing he is worried about this I say, “you don’t need to worry, Ty. Down syndrome is nothing to worry about. She is fine. She doesn’t need anything nor does she have to give away anything. She is created perfectly!”

And he knew I meant it. His face lit up, he got distracted by something or someone and ran off. I just sat back and realized this moment was one I would always remember because I was witnessing the love and devotion that my son has for his sister. In a heartbeat he was willing to give up a chromosome, not even knowing what that meant or how it would take place. I have to admit, this will be one of the greatest memories of my lifetime – seeing that kind of love in my children.

We have had great talks about Down syndrome since that day. We have explained in a little more detail what it means to have DS and the special needs Mylie has. He is 8 now and is able to wrap his mind and heart around the concept. He has grown up around people with special needs for half his life now and it is all normal to him. For the Alpha play last October, Ty clapped and whistled loudly. He was so proud of the Alpha actors and all their achievements. He knows in his heart of hearts that all people are created equal; all are created perfectly and uniquely.

… and this, my friends, is something to celebrate.

The Alpha Resource Center has been in the forefront of services and supports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Santa Barbara County since 1953. Founded in the early 1950s by three moms who had children with Down syndrome, Alpha was established to provide an education for children ineligible for public schools, provide a center for parent-to-parent support, education and resource sharing, and as a catalyst to transform the community to welcome and value the participation of all people. Today, Alpha continues this tradition and provides life-span supports for over 2200 families, family and sibling workshops, offers a teen recreation program and assists adults in gaining greater independence in employment, community living, fitness, recreation, the fine and performing arts, personal development and community access.

Support the Alpha Resource Center!

If you'd like to show your love for the Alpha Resource Center, use the buttons below to donate or volunteer! Or follow them on Twitter at @AlphaResoucesSB!


Mia is a young mother who blogs for the Alpha Resource Center. You can read her original post called "Mommy, Mylie Has Down Syndrome" here

Published in Current
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 16:36

30 Days of Made | Day 16: TreePeople

30 Days of Made // April 16, 2014

This article was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Giving Back." In an effort to create social change, each day we will highlight one charity or non-profit organization, and provide information on how you can support them by giving back. Click here to read more!

Sure, you could call them tree huggers, but TreePeople is so much more than that.

They are an environmental non-profit that creates nature-based solutions to literally heal Los Angeles’ ecosystem. They seek to educate and inspire people to take personal responsibility for the urban environment. TreePeople has become a leader in environmental education, citizen forestry and sustainable solutions to urban ecosystem problems. They train communities to plant and care for the urban forests in their neighborhoods, educate everyone from schoolchildren to adults about environmental issues, and work with government agencies to discuss solutions to critical problems in our natural world.

Founder Andy Lipkis even serves as a special advisor to the Mayor of Los Angeles’ climate change study. Through their innovative work they have found that a sustainable future for Los Angeles is possible by uniting people and nature-based solutions.

For over 40 years, TreePeople has connected people and trees, with a mission to protect our natural resources and ensure clean and abundant water in our city. They do this by re-creating the functions of a healthy forest in an urban setting. According to TreePeople, it takes five years to plant a tree: “Putting it in the ground is the easy part. Ensuring it survives takes a bit more sustained and conscious effort.”

TreePeople is special to me because I have been a recipient of the fruits of their labor. When I was in elementary school in the 90’s, we took field trips to TreePeople’s headquarters in Coldwater Canyon Park and they came out to teach my classmates about caring for trees. That week, classrooms across campus planted about a dozen trees together. I am happy to say that those trees are still there 20 years later providing other school children in my hometown with a safe and healthy playground that has shade, clean water and clean air. Believe it or not, I was even part of a community forest project that TreePeople organized in the neighborhood I grew up in. Those trees, too, are still in front of my mom’s house 20 years later.

TreePeople members and volunteers plant and care for trees, and integrate new technologies into the urban landscape.  They make additions like permeable paving, French drains, swales, rain barrels, cisterns and other relatively simple “forest-mimicking” innovations. These “Functioning Community Forests” replenish groundwater supplies, reduce the need for imported water, improve air quality, decrease soil erosion and lessen the effects of global warming. They are altering the way we see and approach solutions to restoring our schools, communities, cities, forests and nature all around us.

Back in 1997, TreePeople convinced the Los Angeles Unified School District to designate a portion of Proposition BB funds for greening projects instead of campus repaving. More recently, TreePeople and LAUSD engaged in a year-long community collaboration to transform 4,000 square feet of asphalt at Main Street Elementary School in South Los Angeles into a thriving, sustainable urban forest.

Thanks to their Fruit Tree Program, tens of thousands of fruit trees have been distributed and planted in backyards as well as in public orchards on school campuses and community gardens throughout L.A. County. This project not only provides education, training and nature restoration to lower income communities, but also provides fresh produce for years to come.

In addition to the work done in schools and local communities in Los Angeles, TreePeople has partnered up with the Department of Recreation and Parks on a big nature restoration project. Together, they will re-establish the underserved areas of the L.A. Harbor and Northeast San Fernando Valley. With the help of 7,500 trained volunteers, they will also restore more than 10,000 fire-damaged acres of forest and woodland areas that are unlikely to recover on their own.

I believe in a sustainable restored future for Los Angeles and I believe that TreePeople is spearheading this change. They have successfully undertaken many long-term projects over their 40-year history and they are truly making an impact.

Join TreePeople and get involved today!

In the years ahead, they are working to apply their ‘Functioning Community Forest’ model in neighborhoods throughout L.A. and to expand the Fruit Tree program. So Join TreePeople and get involved today! Make a donation, become a volunteer, dedicate a tree to someone special, tell a teacher about the eco-tour opportunities and/or visit their headquarters in Coldwater Canyon Park. You can also use the buttons below to give back or join in!

Penny Hinojosa was born as raised in West LA. Currently works as a project manager for FOXSports product development and serves on the FOXSports Supports committee. Has a passion for philanthropy and believes in touching people's lives positively on the daily.' Favorite quote 'You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you'- John Wooden

Published in Current

30 Days of Made // April 15, 2014

This article was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Giving Back." In an effort to create social change, each day we will highlight one charity or non-profit organization, and provide information on how you can support them by giving back. Click here to read more!

So what happens to foster kids when they “place out” of the foster care system?  

On their 18th birthday they are told that they have to move out of their house. They don’t own anything except the clothes they wear. They don’t have a mom or dad. They have no bank account, no drivers license, no food, and no plan for what they should do next.

This is the story that is lived out by hundreds of kids every year in the US and the data surrounding their outcomes are staggering.

  • 70% of all California State Prison inmates are former foster youth
  • Over 1/3 of California foster youth become homeless within 18 months of emancipation
  • One in four become incarcerated within two years of emancipation
  • 51% are unemployed within 2-4 years of emancipation
  • 40% are on public assistance within 2-4 years of emancipation
  • 50% of all female foster youth will become pregnant by age 19

(Statistics courtesy of unitedfriends.org)

There are many organizations whose goal is to provide kids with fun activities that keep them out of trouble, but few actually change the course of foster kids’ lives in sustainable ways. Until now.

Project WE is different. It’s an organization dedicated to changing the lives of young people through participation in the arts, entertainment, and fashion. But Project WE is not just driven to create fun events that temporarily distract kids from the real challenges they face. It is driven to give these young adults the tools to develop their character and professional skills to thrive in the world of business and industry.

Project We Groups :"Operation Head 2 Toe" Documentary from Project We Group on Vimeo.

The group was founded by Jeff Penix, a 20-year sports, fashion, and entertainment industry veteran. And to help him train and develop the kids for a career in these competitive industries, he brought in his friends and colleagues from companies like Zappos, And 1, and Nordstrom. Their workshops and internships cover everything from product design to business strategy. But self-reinvention and personal branding is the underlying focus of the program - a critical and often missing component in the lives of foster children who want a real career in our changing economy.

Love Project We Group? Give Back!

The group is gearing up for some new initiatives that will be launched this year.  For more information visit ProjectWEGroup.com and follow them on twitter at @projectwegroup. You can also use the button below to donate.

Published in Current
Sunday, 13 April 2014 16:36

30 Days of Made | Day 13: UNCF

30 Days of Made // April 13, 2014

This article was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Giving Back." In an effort to create social change, each day we will highlight one charity or non-profit organization, and provide information on how you can support them by giving back. Click here to read more!

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. UNCF strives to serve youth, the community and the nation by supporting students' education through the development of scholarships and other programs. In partnership with UNCF’s 37 member colleges and universities, along with thousands of advocates, the organization is able to underline the importance of minority education and college readiness.  

Each year, UNCF holds its annual An Evening of Stars® event, which brings students, celebrities and other supporters together to not only acknowledge students for their accomplishments; but also to present scholarships to them that will ultimately make a difference in their ability to graduate from college. To UNCF, each scholarship represents a whole new kind of investment with greater return than money— it's an investment in Better Futures.


An Evening of Stars® will air nationally tonight on BET at 10 p.m. EST. Over its 35-year history, the annual event has raised more than $200 million to help hundreds of thousands of students attend college and graduate. In recent years, An Evening of Stars® has featured a number remarkable talent, including Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Beyonce and more. Click the next page for a sneak peek of the event!

This year, celebrities such as Jill Scott, Usher and Trey Songz will participate by acknowledging UNCF’s "Rising Stars" and presenting these students with scholarships. Be sure to tune in to see amazing performances, hear student stories and learn how you can invest in Better Futures for us all.


UNCF administers more than 400 programs, such as scholarships, internships, mentoring and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities in the United States. As a result of UNCF’s effort, partner institutions and other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) award 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees.

Show Love for the UNCF! Give Back!

You can learn how you can be involved in supporting UNFC by visiting their website, and joining them on Facebook and Twitter. You can also use the buttons below to give back.

Host Anthony Anderson with Miss UNCF

Trey Songz & April Tucker present an award to a Rising Star

Jill Scott preformed at UNCF and presented an award to a Rising Star

Usher with UNCF Rising Start Donel Heflin

Cedric the Entertainer and Anthony Anderson congratulate UNCF Rising Star

Published in Current

30 Days of Made // April 10, 2014

This article was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Giving Back." In an effort to create social change, each day we will highlight one charity or non-profit organization, and provide information on how you can support them by giving back. Click here to read more!

Project for a Village, Inc. began with one mission—to improve the lives of people in rural villages in developing countries. The initiative began in Nepal, a country in dire need of help.  Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world. With one third of the country living below the poverty line, the Project for a Village team realized that what we were able to do in Nepal would go very far.

Project for a Village was officially founded in Spring 2013, however the work in Nepal began three years earlier. Founders Rene and Kathy Perez-Silva, a doctor-nurse/husband-wife team, first visited Nepal in 2011 for a one-time medical-based charity trip. When they returned home, the Perez-Silva’s knew they couldn’t leave it all behind—the country, the culture, the people.  After several trips back to Nepal, Project for a Village was born with the primary goal of providing better access to health care and education.

During their second trip to Nepal, the Perez-Silva’s visited a home in the hills where a young mother had just delivered a daughter.  Dr. Perez-Silva was called there to examine the infant who had a mass on her spine.  After examination, he diagnosed her with spina bifida, a developmental disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube.  It is a terrible disorder, but one that is often preventable with folic acid supplements or prenatal vitamins—something that is hard to come by in Nepal, especially in these rural areas.  Babies born with spina bifida have a difficult life ahead of them.  They will have severe physical disabilities.  But in countries like Nepal, where the care for these afflicted children is lacking, their quality of life is bleaker.

Nepal faces a severe lack of maternal and infant care available to women outside of the larger cities. This has become Project for a Village's focus.  According to the CIA’s “The World Factbook,” Nepal ranks 53rd in Infant Mortality, and 61st in Maternal Mortality, with 4% of children dying before the age of five.  Most causes of death for both mother and child are related to infection, something that is easily preventable with proper and inexpensive care.

This organization is already creating change in Nepal. In the past year, Project for a Village has donated an ambulance so that a women in labor no longer have to make the four-hour walk down a hill to deliver their babies.  We have placed two young women in school to train to be midwives so that when a mother delivers her baby, she does so in a clean and safe environment.  And most recently, we distributed vitamins to the pregnant women in the village so that their children can hopefully have a healthy and happy childhood.

Just last month, Project for a Village sponsored a general health camp in the village of Rupakot, the small town in North-Central Nepal that the Perez-Silva’s family have been visiting since 2011.  967 villagers were seen by Dr. Perez-Silva and his team of 12 Nepali doctors who volunteered their services for the two-day camp.  For many of the patients, this was their first ever visit to a doctor.  Patients of all ages were seen, from babies to a 91-year old, and the range of diagnoses was vast.  In several cases, life-saving interventions were made.

Project for a Village is working to improve the lives of villagers throughout Nepal.  Soon however, we envision expanding our project to villages in need in other countries.

If you are down for Project for a Village's cause use the buttons below to show your support! Or tweet at them at @ProjForAVillage

Published in Current
Monday, 07 April 2014 19:24

Letter From The Made Woman Mag Staff

30 Days of Made Recap

Letter from our Co-Founder and Business Operations Manager, Lindsey Day -- April 7, 2014

As Made Women, giving back is an important part of our lives. But figuring out where exactly to place our energy can be tricky. We hope you've been following along since our 30 Days of Made: Giving Back initiative launched last Tuesday, where we've decided to take it one day at a time.

From health education to empowerment and supporting our youth; the Made Woman team is giving the inside scoop on the organizations they care about most. Get caught up below and learn how you can get involved in a new organization this spring!

Today's organization is called Doing WIT (Whatever It Takes). Read about their mission to support ambitious and entrepreneurial students in taking their passions and skills to the next level -- while benefiting their community, school or the world at large.

Like what you’re reading? Join Made Woman Mag’s mailing list for updates, special promotions and more. Click here!

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