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Take Action for the Causes You Care About

This picture shows 3 volunteers taking action for the causes they believe in

Creating a petition, knocking on doors, soliciting donations, or contacting your representative are all examples of how you can take action for the causes you care about. No matter what cause is closest to your heart, you’re almost sure to find others in your area who share your interests and passion. Here are some ideas from The Fredericksburg Guidebook for connecting with your fellow community members and effecting the change you wish to see.

How to take action for the causes you care about!

Become a Teacher

One of the best ways to ensure lasting change in your community is to connect with its youngest members. Becoming a teacher allows you to work with children in your local area and gives you the opportunity to impart your values to them as a trusted role model.

To become a teacher, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and complete an educator preparation program. Online teaching degrees let you continue to fulfill your professional and personal obligations while you pursue your career in education. Completing an online teaching degree also helps you prepare for your state licensure exam, which you need to pass before you can work as a teacher in most school settings. You need to submit transcripts, complete a background check, pay fees, and have student teaching experience to obtain a teaching license.

Start a Nonprofit Corporation

There’s strength in numbers, and this especially applies to advocating for social causes. Whether it’s tackling poverty, protecting the environment, or increasing voter participation, nonprofits exist to bring like-minded individuals together around a shared mission. There are many other benefits to starting a nonprofit, including that nonprofits are often eligible for grants and public funding. A formation service can help walk you through the process of getting one started.

As part of the necessary legal process for registering your nonprofit organization with the state, you need to create bylaws to govern your nonprofit. These bylaws establish important things, such as board member election, statement of purpose, and how your organization will handle conflicts of interest. Contact your Chamber of Commerce for resources and support for starting a nonprofit in your community.

Once your nonprofit is established, you can begin advocating for issues in your community. For example, you may want your organization to advocate for improving community walkability by building sidewalks and implementing traffic calming measures. You can organize within your community to try to bring about these changes.

If you’re working with immigrants, you should consider using a translator to maximize the benefit you can provide for a given community.

Invest in nonprofit accounting software

Few things are more important to a nonprofit’s health than its finances. Not only do nonprofits give out funding, but they receive funds from public and private entities to carry out their missions. Nonprofits are also subject to more intense financial transparency regulations and tax laws than other entities, so accurate accounting is essential to your organization. Use nonprofit accounting software that enables you to track donations, send invoices, and manage expenditures. The ability to create custom, detailed reports is also important, so your individual donors can have an accurate account of how their money is being used.

Take Action Today

Once you make the commitment to advance the causes that matter to you, you’re on your way to seeing positive change in your community. Becoming a local educator or starting a nonprofit are just several of many avenues you can take to stand up for what you believe in.

The Fredericksburg Guidebook is Fredericksburg, Virginia’s best city guide for finding local history, arts, entertainment and businesses. Call 540-226-0988.

Ellie’s Elves Shine Their Light In Our Community

Ellie's Elves: Shine Their Light In Our Community

Ellie’s Elves Shine Their Light In Our Community. In February 1013, Carly and Richard Blaine embarked on a journey no person wants to take. Doctors diagnosed their beautiful two-year-old daughter Ellie with Pineoblastoma, a rare brain cancer. In the following months, individuals from across the globe came together to support the family and to shower them with love and prayers among many other gifts.

Ellie left this earth on December 22, 2013, and spent Jesus’ birthday wrapped in his loving arms where she will remain until joined by her parents and siblings in Heaven. However, Ellie’s story didn’t end when she joined her Heavenly Father. Her time here on earth inspired Joni Kanazawa to start Ellie’s Elves, a non-profit foundation to help cancer patients, their families, and any family in crisis.

Having experienced her own battle with cancer, Joni understood exactly what challenges the Blaine family and any family struggling with a cancer diagnosis experience. She brought the more than 1,500 people known as Ellie’s Elves together to ‘light the night for Princess Ellie’. People across the globe joined in, including individuals from Australia, Costa Rica, and Mexico. The candles lit the pathway to the celebration of Ellie’s life and her memory continues to light the way. In addition, candles were lit around the world in her honor by those who were unable to attend this event.

Today, Ellie’s Elves mission is to bring joy to individuals who are suffering from cancer and those who find their family is struggling in one or more ways. Ellie’s Elves Shine Their Light In Our Community. While many organizations focus on offering one or two services, Ellie’s Elves does it all. Whatever the family needs, Joni and Assistant Director Elizabeth Nast calls on the more than 3,400 Elves to see if anyone can be of help.

A young boy diagnosed with cancer only had a short time to live. Joni brought the elves together to create Whoville, his favorite part of the How The Grinch Stole Christmas movie, in his front yard. A smile overtook his face when he saw what had been done and that wasn’t all. Santa appeared to visit with him and share this special moment and the owner of a Lamborghini arrived to take him for a ride in his dream car. This is what Ellie’s Elves strives to do, bring people together to shine a light when things seem their darkest.

A young girl lost her father to cancer. The mom contacted Joni asking about a good place to buy the child a basketball hoop. Joni offered to ask on her page, and the mom was surprised to see she asked for a hoop to be donated rather than about the best place to purchase one. Not only was one gifted to this child, but it was delivered directly to the home on Mother’s Day. The mom and child arrived home from her basketball developmental league to find it in the front yard, a wonderful gift for both on what is meant to be a special day.

Another young boy lost his mother to cancer just days before his birthday. Ellie’s Elves wasn’t going to let him celebrate alone. Joni immediately started contacting people to help make the day special and to show him he was loved during a time when the family was grieving. The love and support the family received are sure to be a memory they will treasure for a lifetime.

Ellie’s Elves succeeds because many people with different talents come together to make things that might otherwise seem impossible happen. Cancer patients have enough bad things happening in their life. The organization works to show them the good that is still out there and in the form of thousands of people, many who have never met and don’t know the person or family they are helping. It’s about caring for others in a time of need and letting Ellie’s light continue to shine just as her smile lit up a room when she was here on this earth.