Why a “Year In Review”? Three reasons: to show potential recruits and the curious exactly what we do; to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of our teammates; to inspire anyone who’s wanting to help their communities with very little or no money, and with or without a team.
The Illinois Initiative focused primarily on supporting local nonprofits through volunteering. Since our two most active members were also both involved at the Gaia House community center, this often involved various support tasks at Gaia House. Other activities included volunteering weekly at WDBX community radio as a DJ with a focus on environmental news and local events; running in the For Kids’ Sake 5K; helping the local Standing Rock support group with events and donation drives; participating in a few Adopt-A-Spot cleanup events hosted by other groups; and promoting many nonprofit events through Gaia House and WDBX and word of mouth.
This was our first year of holding official meetups and expanding beyond the solo work of our founder, Treesong. Our main new project for the fall was the Safe Zone and Safe Walk program, which will help people get home safely late at night on the weekends. We’re still working on the details of this program, including training enough volunteers to run the program.
We plan to focus on recruitment and training in 2017. Most of our work in the past involved just supporting local nonprofits by volunteering. But now that we’re starting to organize our own projects, we’ll need more volunteers and more training, including self-defense, first aid, bystander intervention, sexuality and gender acceptance, and others. These trainings will serve a dual purpose: helping us to do more and offering new skills to community members who want them.
Our founder, Treesong, also really wants to work on something related to climate justice in 2017. Details TBA. If you’re in the area and interested in this or any of the above, let us know!
January 20 – Treesong’s Newsletter published
April 16: Treesong’s daughter, Dedelia is born!
September 30: For Kids’ Sake 5K
October 20: safe zone/safe walk call for volunteers
December 31: Treesong steps down as Director of Gaia House