At Obility we have a Culture Club that works to set up events such as birthday lunches, craft parties, happy hours, volunteer activities, and athletic events like soccer teams and 5ks. Since the pandemic started and we all begin working remotely, we have worked really hard to continue our culture of fun, respect, and innovation via Zoom and other channels, and adapted to remote-first planning. One way we did that was by highlighting non-profit and community organizations and campaigns in our weekly staff meeting.
What started off as just sharing organizations we were familiar with and were based in Portland grew to highlight ways to contribute based on relevant holidays and community needs all across the US and internationally. And this year we recently added monthly themes to tie the different organizations together as well as encourage people to think of ways they can give back based on that month’s idea. In July we highlighted several organizations around the theme “Memories Last a Lifetime”, a throwback to having fun during summers as well as the struggles and work people have done to make the world better.
7/2/21 – Clean Beaches Week
With us making so many memories during the summer especially the first weekend in July, it’s important to remember and celebrate our beaches. The 4th of July is the biggest beach visitation day in the US and also the day when it gets the most littered. So to support our beaches, July 1st through 7th is known as Clean Beaches Week or the “Earth Day” for beaches. While the days to do the beach cleanup and the clean beaches week is past, here are some ways you can still go out and pick up your beaches:
Firstly is Texas Adopt-a-Beach which has cleaned up more than 10,000 tons of trash from Texas beaches since their first cleanup in 1986. The next cleanup is September 18th, so if you’re going to be in the area, make sure to register and get ready to clean! Not local? You can participate virtually using the hashtag #GiveTrashtheBoot.
In Boston, the Surfrider Foundation – Massachusetts chapter hosted a July Beach Cleanup. However, they have a year-long campaign called Connecting our Coastline 2021 with the goal of receiving at least one cleanup data report from every Massachusetts city and town this year. Whether you can make it to the coast, you can still submit data from other areas in Massachusetts like waterways and neighborhoods to add to the dataset.
In Oregon, SOLVE provided a list of Fifth of July Cleanups to clean up Oregon Coast beaches after the July 4th holiday. Since 1969, SOLVE has worked to clean up litter in neighborhoods before it reaches the ocean, hosted beach cleanups, and planted native trees and shrubs to support native pollinators. They host beach and riverside cleanups year-round, with the next one coming up on Saturday, September 25th.
7/9/21 – National Kitten Day
Founded in 2012, National Kitten Day was created to remind people about how wonderful kittens are, as well as promote the adoption of kittens and cats. Each year in the US, approximately 1.4 million cats are euthanized each year, from newborn kittens to senior cats who can need more care due to age. While you can do your part to adopt a kitten and spay or neuter your cats to help control the feline population, there are a few organizations local to our offices doing great work for kittens.
If you’ve ever seen any of Michelle’s sales decks you know that Austin Pets Alive helps wonderful dogs get adopted and providers fostering until they find their forever home. Well, they help kittens, too! Their Neonatal Kitten Nursery or the Bottle Baby Program is the first of its kind to support shelters during breeding season (from March through October) that are overwhelmed with kittens. Before this program from APA, most of these kittens were euthanized. Since 2009 Neonatal Kitten Nursery has provided round-the-clock intensive care that kittens need and has been sharing their methods with other shelters and communities locally and nationally. You can foster, adopt, volunteer or donate if you want to support their programs.
Sweet Paws Rescue in Massachusetts has a unique kitten adoption program that matches you to a kitten via a meet-and-greet process to make sure these kittens end up in families prepared to commit to caring for a cat for their entire life (sometimes up to 20 years!) Due to this system, they have a very high adoption success rate. You can support them via donations, volunteering, fostering, adopting, or picking up some cat-themed merch.
Portland’s local Oregon Humane Society, which had a 97.8% save rate for all animals in 2020, hosted a Kitten Shower in June and July. Outside of volunteering and donating, they always need more supplies which you can drop off locally or purchase from their Chewy wishlist. For people adopting kittens, they also offer a Virtual Kitten-garten Class, as well as tricks classes, on-demand webinars, and private training for cats and kittens.
Also, check out The National Kitten Coalition that’s “dedicated to increasing survival rates of kittens.” They have many available resources like recorded webinars on kitten care, handouts on how to save more kittens, and other informative sheets on kitten and cat care.
7/23/21 – National Disability Pride Day
Speaking of remembering, Monday is National Disability Pride Day celebrating the ADA being passed in 1990. Disabilities span a wide range of needs and experiences such as Mental Illness, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Invisible and Undiagnosed Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, and Sensory Disabilities. In the US, 1 in 4 people are disabled. So if you’re jumping on team or client calls, you’re probably talking with disabled people all day.
Culturally, disabled people are often framed as weak, helpless, or pitiable, but that framework continues discrimination aka ableism, damages self-confidence, and focuses on trying to “fix” or “cure” rather than removing barriers and promoting self-advocacy. So Disability Pride was created to combat those negative views of disability and promote human rights. Listening to disabled voices, amplifying them, and working to normalize disability is so important for individual empowerment, inclusivity, and equity.
I wanted to call attention to On-the-Move. They’re a Portland organization founded in 2007 and one of the first in the nation to offer community-based rather than facility-focused programs. They work to break down barriers to social inclusion and build inclusion for people who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities. And while we’ve been in lockdown, they’ve provided community and virtual programming to people who face a disproportionate burden due to their high-risk status and support needs. This October they’ll be hosting their annual Harvest Gathering event so make sure to check it out!
7/30/21 – National Parents Day
For our last staff meeting for the Memories theme, I wanted to call attention to parents and parental figures, and the unique struggles they face. Parents are a core part of our company and our culture, both seen yesterday at the Dunthorpe 25th Anniversary Party we celebrated, as well as in our benefits such as PPO health insurance to cover families, 6 weeks of paid family and parental leave, and ability to flex and then work remotely. A lot of the things we enjoy here are from Obility parents paving the way for our whole team. So in honor of them and parents everywhere, I want to highlight two different organizations.
The first is Know Me Now, a newer program from the non-profit The Contingent that helps incarcerated parents connect with their children via in-person and virtual visits, and empowers the transitioning person’s return home. Not only does building these relationships support both the parent and child, but they also build up family-centric support systems so the parent can transition back home and into the community. They provide mentors for the parents and children, and partner with local organizations to renovate correctional facility visiting spaces so they’re more child-friendly and comfortable. Since most people leaving prison are released with only the clothes on their back and a bus pass, Know Me Now also provides New Beginnings Bags with basic necessities, seasonal clothing, and an encouraging handwritten note welcoming the family member home.
The second is Diaper Bank of North Carolina, which was founded in 2013 by a mother whose son would get severe diaper rashes and had to be changed 20-30 times a day, and realizing many parents could not afford to do that if their child were in the same situation. Public safety net programs such as WIC and SNAP don’t cover the purchase of diapers, so many parents with limited funds have to decide whether to buy diapers or other necessities with their limited funds. For those parents, something as simple as diapers goes a long way. While the original goal was to distribute 50,000 diapers to her local community, as of today they’ve distributed 13 million diapers state-wide. They also have different programs like supporting military families who in a recent survey, 63% said having enough diapers was a legitimate concern. They also provide potty training classes and support moms who need supplies for their own health.
I hope you’re inspired to support one of these organizations or give back in your own way. This month our monthly theme is “Knowledge is Power” so check back next month to see what we highlighted each week.