#BeKind21: Supporting Community Organizations

October 29, 2021
This story took place in United States

Team Born This Way Foundation had the opportunity to support a few organizations in honor of #BeKind21. Here’s a few places our team members supported:

Alex Aide (He/Him/His)
Children of Promise, NYC
For #BeKind21, I gave to Children of Promise, NYC, a community-centered organization that partners with children and families impacted by mass incarceration to dismantle the stigma and heal from the trauma plaguing Black and Brown communities. I’m proud to support New York City organizations that work in such an important area like this. Learn more about this organization and how you can support: https://www.cpnyc.org/ 

Aysha Mahmood (She/Her/Hers)
IRIS – Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services 
As the daughter of immigrants, I feel a personal connection to IRIS and the way they welcome new families to my home state of Connecticut. Through housing, health, employment, legal, and education assistance, IRIS empowers refugees and immigrants to become self-sufficient and integrated into their new communities. Currently, IRIS is welcoming evacuated Afghan families, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help welcome refugees and remind them that kindness exists and they will always be welcome here. Learn more about IRIS and how you can support: https://irisct.org/ 

Josh Meredith (He/Him/His)
House of Tulip
When Hurricane Ida made its way up to New York City in late August, the sudden, heavy rainfall broke through the ceiling of my studio basement apartment, flooding the floor with inches of water. After my partner and I sopped up the mess, we took a breath and looked around to realize the only major damage was to one of our rugs. The next morning, we decided to donate to folks and organizations like House of Tulip, helping provide direct relief to communities hit much harder by the storm. Created for Trans + Gender Non-confirming (TGNC) people by TGNC people, House of Tulip is a nonprofit collective creating housing solutions in Louisiana. In the wake of Hurricane Ida, they were able to raise over $90,000 to support over 500 families. Learn more about House of Tulip and how you can support: https://houseoftulip.org/ 

Josh Hollin (He/Him/His)
Save The Music
For #BeKind21, I decided to donate to Save The Music. Their mission is to help students, schools, and communities reach their full potential through the power of making music. As one of the leading music foundations in the United States, they support their partner communities in three ways: Donating instruments and music technology, providing support services for teachers, and advocating for music education. Their work speaks to me in many ways personally, and mainly because I know having an outlet for one’s creativity, especially in these times, can give young people a purpose, provide opportunities for self-expression, and even decrease feelings of isolation. Learn more about Save the Music and how you can support: https://www.savethemusic.org 

Maya Smith (She/Her/Hers)
New York Says Thank You Foundation
For #BeKind21, I was honored to donate to New York Says Thank You Foundation, an organization dedicated to survivor empowerment in disaster relief, education, and the arts, in the name of my true loves; my husband Dave, our children Hunter and Logan, and New York City. Learn more about this organization and how you can support here: https://www.channelkindness.org/new-york-city-is-my-new-york-city/ 

Mitu Yilma (She/Her/Hers)
For the Gworls
For #BeKind21, I donated to For the Gworls rent and gender-affirming assistance program which goes toward providing assistance for Black Trans people who need help paying rent and affording gender-affirming surgeries. With this fund, For the Gworls is able to actively reduce homelessness rates in the Balck Transgender community and lower the risk for affirmative surgeries being done in ways that put people at greater health risks. Learn more and support at https://www.forthegworls.party/donate 

Shadille Estepan (She/Her/Hers)
Lotus House 
With a name that serves as an analogy for the human condition, Lotus House is an organization that believes every woman, youth and child experiencing homelessness should have the opportunity to heal, learn and grow, build the foundation for a brighter future, and blossom into who they are truly meant to be. They provide a sanctuary, support, education, tools and resources for support that empower women and children of all ages in South Florida. Recently, Lotus House officially launched a program exclusively for youth experiencing homelessness, including both single unaccompanied youth and parenting youth and their infants and toddlers. Learn more about Lotus House and how you can support: https://lotushouse.org/ 

Shanice S. Jackson (She/Her/Hers)
Black Girls CODE
I decided to direct my donation to Black Girls CODE because they promote excellence for young Black women in technical careers. As a Black professional I not only know but have experienced the challenges with trying to promote in my career. Many women of color lack the mentorship or access to professional development opportunities necessary to reach their full potential. I was lucky to have a fantastic mentor during my undergraduate studies that I am still thankful for to this day. I am happy to have the opportunity to support what Black Girls CODE is doing for women of color and how they are promoting diversity in technical careers. Learn more about Black Girls CODE and how you can support: https://www.blackgirlscode.com/

Susan Horrell (She/Her/Hers)
Family Support Program of the Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy, Duke Hospital
It can be hard to choose where to donate, especially at a time of so much need in our world. But when I sat with the question of “who could really use some kindness right now,” my mind went right toward a group of people who are suffering but have to stay strong, emotionally exhausted but have to keep going, afraid but overwhelmed with choices, and facing overlapping and complex needs while facing down one of the worst experiences of their lives – parents of kids going through cancer treatments. This group deserves all the love, comfort, and support in the world so it was an absolute honor to have the opportunity to donate to the Family Support Program of the Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy department at my local hospital, Duke. This program provides whatever families of patients might need and I was so grateful to support their work, and by extension, these families. Learn more here: https://pediatrics.duke.edu/divisions/transplant-and-cellular-therapy 

Taylor M. Parker (They/Them/Theirs)
Trans Lifeline
In the largest survey of transgender and nonbinary youth, more than half of participants had seriously considered suicide. This is a startling and grossly upsetting statistic for everyone, regardless of their gender. Knowing this one heartbreaking fact, it was an easy decision to make when I was given the chance to donate to an organization for #BeKind21. Trans Lifeline provides transgender peer support, completely divested from law enforcement. Additionally, they provide resources to help folks change the information on their IDs, come out, handle and respond to domestic violence, practice self-care, and so much more. I came out as transgender when I was 20, already fully independent, but I know that this resource would have meant to much to me in my youth and I am eternally grateful for every chance I get to support their work. Learn more about Trans Lifeline and how you can support: https://translifeline.org/ 

Terez Hanhan (She/Her/Hers)
I chose to donate to StoryCorps, an organization with the mission to preserve and share humanity’s stories to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. My husband Alex and I participated in a StoryCorps recording nearly 15 years ago, and I remember leaving the sound booth in Grand Central Station feeling vulnerable and a bit nervous about who would hear the recording. Overall, I was relieved to have documented a small piece of history for our little family. Learn more about my experience with StoryCorps and how you can support here: https://www.channelkindness.org/never-forget/