Caring & Sharing

Chris M Morris [via Flickr, modified]

Our guest this morning on the Caring and Sharing Holiday series is John Doberstein with the North Star chapter of the Sierra Club.

YWCA GirlPower Duluth

300 girls in 10 different locations around Duluth are rocking GirlPower these days thanks to the YWCA ... and it's amazing how many ways there are to give back to the program and what a difference a mere $25 can make.

Life House

650 kids came through the doors of Life House this year.  More than half were homeless and for most of them, it wasn't the first time.  And in the 18 months or so since Life House opened Sol House for youth who've been sex trafficked, 12 kids have been sheltered there.

And the numbers keep adding up.  There are 140 kids on a waiting list for housing with nowhere to stay, and Life House has big dreams to be able to help them.

John M. Cropper/Flickr

The Northern Minnesota chapter of the American Red Cross was established in 1915 here in the Northland, and none other than Chester Congdon became the first vice chairman of the organization.  That's 101 years of accepting donations of blood and sweat, and drying tears.

Even so, Community Chapter Executive Dan Williams turns down a chance to ask for donations, preferring instead to make an impassioned plea for folks to make sure they have working smoke detectors.  And that means replacing units that are over ten years old, not just changing the batteries.

By some accounts, every day, 22 veterans of our armed forces take their own lives.

Mike Waldron was almost one of them.

Until he became - and created - the 23rd Veteran.

AICHO

AICHO (American Indian Community Housing Organization) is looking after 175 people at the moment, providing culturally specific help for families and individuals struggling with domestic abuse, homelessness and poverty.

More and more people in the non-Native community are becoming familiar with AICHO, thanks to their exploding presence as a showcase for Native art and artists, and Daryl Olson, a domestic violence/sexual assault training specialist, says the community - Native and non-Native alike, can help the organization by getting involved through attending events and volunteerism.

When an accident or illness threatens the life of your child, it's your worst nightmare.

But when medical expenses, travel expenses, lodging expenses begin to mount up, too ... parents may feel the nightmare is just beginning.

That's where the Northern Lights Foundation steps in.

Two weeks before Christmas, 22 women and 25 children slept at Safe Haven Shelter.

Safe Haven's 39-bed shelter is overflowing, and as the largest direct service provider to domestic violence victims in the Twin Ports, runs at about 92% capacity all year long.

But beyond the toys and presents the community and Safe Haven are able to provide, what these families need more than anything is emotional support - "the greatest gift."

Finishing School/ Because We Forget, 2004/Flickr

Hats.  Gloves.  Warm socks.

Oh, and maybe a tip to check in with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans in Duluth.

For everything they give to homeless veterans and those in crisis, that's all MACV wants for Christmas.

Anthony Hernandez. Used with permission.

It's a tiny little building on East Second Street; 14 by 36 feet. 

But the All Nations Indigenous Center is thinking outside their 500 square foot box.  From their tiny headquarters, they're busily:

PAVSA's not going it alone any more.

Candy Harshner, the executive director of the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault, says she knew that for sure this week.

A patrol officer told her that he knows, now, when he meets someone who's been sexually assaulted, the first thing he says to that person will either help them begin their healing journey or make it make it worse for them.

Imagine it: you get sick with breast cancer and you can't work.  Maybe you lose your insurance. Meanwhile, your bills are piling up because you can't work and there's no insurance paying for your medical treatment.It's a vicious circle.

The Minnesota Autism Center had been operating in Duluth for almost a decade, offering in-home care only and struggling to connect with people who needed them.