July Charity Highlight: Homes with Hope

Each month, a Zuma Team member chooses a charity to highlight and add to our donations checkout page. For July, Adam has chosen Homes with Hope. Homes with Hope is a Christian nonprofit placement agency for children in foster care. Of the 686,000 children in the US that are neglected and abused each year, 66,000 (~10%) are in Texas. Homes with Hope seeks to serve children by foster family and rescue care, serve families through community care, as well as serving the church through mobilizing the body towards caring for these children.

From Adam: “My reason for choosing Homes with Hope is I believe that happiness and joy can come from the household. So, I believe having these kids find a home that can begin rebuilding their lives and change their circumstances can reinvigorate hope and love.”

Here are some other ways you can get involved with Homes with Hope:

  • Support our Families: Help organize and distribute donated goods
  • Support our Admin: Admin volunteer help, database volunteer help, organize storage and closet
  • Volunteer at a Fundraising Event!
  • Attend an Event: Annual Golf Tournament, Annual Gala Celebration 

In the month of June, 105 Zuma customers donated to our seven main charities and our June charity Rise Against Hunger. By using our donations checkout page and rounding up their order totals, they were able to donate $81.88 in total! Thank you all so much for contributing to these groups and doing good work!

  • St. Jude Children’s Hospital
  • The V Foundation
  • Living Water International
  • Hope International
  • World Vision
  • The Salvation Army
  • Samaritan’s Purse

 

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June Charity Highlight: Rise Against Hunger

Each month, a Zuma Team member chooses a charity to highlight and add to our donations checkout page. For June, our very own Eddie has chosen Rise Against Hunger. Rise Against Hunger seeks to end hunger completely. While partnering with the United Nations, RAH strives to make an impact worldwide by building resilience, self-sufficiency and empowering communities. RAH recognizes the complexities of poverty and there deep roots while also caring for the hungry of today. 

From Eddie: “I chose this organization because growing up my family and I didn’t grow up in the best environment. We were very poor, struggled to eat sometimes and that led to my parents bringing us into the U.S. for a better life. If there is any way we can help feed innocent children, I am 100% behind that!!!!” 

Here are some other ways you can get involved with Rise Against Hunger:

  • Run a Rise & Stride 5K or 10K! A race that honors the distance children often travel to get to school. 
  • Host a Gather for Good virtual event! Get your coworkers or friends together and participate in a trivia game to learn more about RAH and organizational events.
  • Journey To Serve: Tanzania! Participate in a virtual tour to Tanzania to see where meals are served and families are impacted.
  • Partner with us as an individual or organization to help empower communities!
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May Charity Highlight: Children With Hair Loss

Each month, a Zuma Team member chooses a charity to highlight and add to our donations checkout page. For May, our very own Danielle has chosen Children With Hair Loss. When children and adults experience hair loss from cancer treatments, burns, alopecia, etc. the painful effects run deep. CWHL exists to empower children and families with hair replacement wigs. These wigs bring dignity and smiles to thousands of patients in the US each year.

From Danielle: “I chose Children With Hair Loss because I’ve been donating my own hair to this organization for the past few years. They’re trustworthy and I love that they provide hair replacements to children at no cost.” 

Here are some other ways you can get involved with Children with Hair Loss:

  • Host a Cut-A-Thon at your salon or barber shop! CWHL will supply brochures, balloons, stickers and forms!
  • Be a salon/barber partner! Visit CWHL’s salon partner page to learn more.
  • Host an online fundraiser! Help pay for a hair replacement for a child through GoFundMe Charity.
  • Follow CWHL on social media! #CutPassLove
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April Charity Highlight: Placencia Humane Society

Each month, a Zuma Team member chooses a charity to highlight and add to our donations checkout page. For April, our very own Mason Kramer has chosen Placencia Humane Society. PHS began as a response to the lack of veterinary care on the Placencia Peninsula. PHS hosted vet’s every month under a tent as they would care for vaccinations, tick fever, spays and neuters. Today PHS both cares for and seeks to rescue abused and abandoned animals with programs such as fostering unwanted pets. 

From Mason: “We lived in Placencia, Belize for 4 years, and during this time we witnessed countless acts of kindness from volunteers, board members and locals doing whatever it took to help sick and dying animals regain health and find them loving homes. We also fell in love with a little island puppy who we named Fin. He is such a wonderful dog and it’s all thanks to PHS!”

Here are some other ways you can get involved with Placencia Humane Society:

  • Pack for a Purpose! – PHS accepts donations such as: cat and dog leashes, food and water bowls, toys, nail clippers, etc. 
  • Volunteer – There are many volunteer opportunities ranging from accounting and administration assistance, blog writing, photography, as well as fostering rescued dogs and cats until they are ready to be adopted and homes can be found for them. 
  • Adopt – PHS offers assistance for anyone outside of Belize who might like to adopt a dog or cat from Belize!
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March Charity Highlight: Emerge Fellowship

Each month, a Zuma Team member chooses a charity to highlight and add to our donations checkout page. For March, our very own Joanne Hu has chosen  Emerge Fellowship . Currently, only 13% of low-income students in Houston graduate with a post-secondary degree. Through EMERGE’s holistic college readiness and persistence programs, more than 70% of EMERGE students graduate from college within four years. 

From Joanne: “I’m thankful to be part of a city that is both culturally and socially diverse. Emerge Fellowship gives students from undeserved communities a chance to pursue a higher education and provide the full support that a student needs to accomplish this. Every student deserves a chance to reach his or her goals and it’s encouraging to see an organization like Emerge step up to the challenge of narrowing the inequality gap in our education system.” 

Here are some other ways you can get involved with EMERGE Fellowship:

  • Spread the Word: Host informational house (virtual) parties for your friends and family or by making EMERGE the beneficiary of a third-party event. 
  • EMERGE Roundtables: You can connect with diverse EMERGE Scholars across the nation who can learn more about you, your professional path, and your chosen career.
  • Volunteer: You can mentor EMERGE students through the MentorProgram, offer internships, or host a job shadow opportunity. 
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Podsie – A personalized and automated learning tool built by teachers, to empower teachers!

Josh, Jesse, and Chris are three friends who all have a strong passion for education. Chris, a current teacher, and Josh, a former teacher, know firsthand the challenge of helping students remember material and learn well. In fact, when Josh taught middle school math, he didn’t realize that research-backed techniques already exist to improve content retention. After he left teaching, he wondered about the other teachers who still don’t know about these resources. In response, he got together with Chris to create a support tool so that all teachers can access these techniques for their classrooms. With Josh’s new background in software engineering and the rise of technology use in schools, they created their brainchild app – Podsie.  

Podsie guides teachers in figuring out optimal review schedules that help kids actively retrieve learned information. The goal is efficient review so that students expand their knowledge quickly without forgetting it all just as quickly. In fact, the review schedules are tailored to every kid’s needs.  

Each student has a “personal deck,” or a library of knowledge that they currently have. Teachers create assignments and questions, and once the student finishes an assignment, an automated schedule is created for optimal review times. The process repeats itself, generating data that enables teachers to track each kid’s progress. 

Jesse joined the duo a year after the app was made, lending his own software engineering expertise to help rebuild the app. Podsie had a limited beta run last year with 5 teachers and 350 students, including Chris’ classroom. He found that knowledge retention increased with app use, observing that his students scored 88% on a district-level assessment compared to the average 65%. Now, the number of teachers and students using Podsie has grown, and the team is aiming for an official June 2021 app launch date. They’re currently working on receiving more feedback, making any improvements, and coaching teachers in navigating the app’s features. Their goal is to file as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the spring of 2021 so that any school, especially in under-resourced communities, can use Podsie.  

Podsie’s name comes from a play on “seed pod” to represent the team’s desire to nurture kids’ learning and their growth in schools. This app was created by people who understand the struggles of teachers everywhere, and it empowers both teachers and students by serving as a resource for better, more effective learning. Best of luck to Josh, Chris, and Jesse as they send Podsie off into the world. 

How you can support Podsie: 

-Donate here to help Podsie grow: https://www.podsie.org/donate/

-Let your teacher friends know about this incredible resource! Sign up here for the launch date details: https://www.podsie.org/#sign-up 

-Follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/podsieorg/

-Reach out to your school boards so that Podsie can introduce themselves! 

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February Charity Highlight: Invisible Girl Project

Each month, a Zuma Team member chooses a charity to highlight and add to our donations checkout page. For February, our very own Melody Yip has chosen Invisible Girl Project. In India, gendercide – mass killings of girls and women – is a devastating issue. Girls and women are discriminated against and murdered simply because they are female. On average, one girl a minute is aborted because she is female. Infant girls are 75% more likely to be killed than boys. 50 million girls and women are missing from India’s population, all due to gendercide.

From Melody: “It breaks my heart to see women and girls refused the dignity and the life that they deserve, and the reasons are terribly unjust. I chose this charity to give these women a bigger voice and encourage others to advocate for them so that these terrible practices end.” 

Here are some other ways you can get involved with Invisible Girl Project:

  • Sponsor a girl – financially support a young girl/woman in India so that she can rise above the discrimination and oppression she faces from family and society
  • Give a one-time contribution – donate to a specific need, whether it’s trauma counseling for survivors or providing school supplies for girls
  • Give monthly to support IGP on a consistent basis

In the month of January, 172 Zuma customers donated to our seven main charities and our January charity Houston Welcome Refugees. By using our donations checkout page and rounding up their order totals, they were able to donate $80.82 in total! Thank you all so much for contributing to these groups and doing good work!

  • St. Jude Children’s Hospital
  • The V Foundation
  • Living Water International
  • Hope International
  • World Vision
  • The Salvation Army
  • Samaritan’s Purse
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January Charity Highlight: Houston Welcomes Refugees

Each month, a Zuma Team member chooses a charity to highlight and add to our donations checkout page. For January, our very own Marie Winker chose Houston Welcomes Refugees. There are an average of 2,662 refugee resettlements in Houston each year, and these refugees step into a completely unfamiliar environment. Houston Welcomes Refugees organizes programs such as Welcome Teams and Welcome Kits to serve those in need. 

 From Marie: “Not only do I love this organization because their work is impactful, but I also have seen friends volunteer and welcome refugees and it be a life changing experience for them. As much as we hear about the refugee crisis in the news, putting real faces to names has allowed them to grow more empathetic and passionate towards others.”

In the month of December, 91 Zuma customers donated to our seven main charities through our donations checkout page. By rounding up their order totals, they were able to donate $45.59 in total! Thank you all so much for contributing to these groups and doing good work!

  • St. Jude Children’s Hospital
  • The V Foundation
  • Living Water International
  • Hope International
  • World Vision
  • The Salvation Army
  • Samaritan’s Purse

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November Charity Highlight: Living Water International

Water is one of the necessary things for life, wellness, and dignity. Every person deserves clean drinking water to thrive, and Living Water International strives to provide that.

This organization began in 1990 after a group of people from Houston, Texas traveled to Kenya and witnessed the dire need for clean drinking water. They wanted to figure out how people can receive clean, sustainable water to restore their dignity and boost their quality of living. Since then, Living Water has established over 20,000 projects so that communities have access to wells and systems. The group has also promoted the education of clean water’s impact on life.

Furthermore, Living Water desires to ensure that the people in these communities feel empowered to sustain themselves. Their staff works with locals to learn about the right systems that they need and the strategies for building those systems. Having clean, sustainable water affects multiple facets of people’s lives. As a Christian organization, Living Water staff partners with local churches to educate people about their health and ways to improve their livelihoods. Hygiene and sanitation programs help raise awareness of disease and germs, which enable people to build healthy habits. The organization also believes that their mission is share the gospel of Jesus Christ, so their work is both spiritual and tangible.

Living Water has accomplished tremendous progress in empowering people with clean drinking water. Water is a necessity for all, but a luxury for many. One day, the goal is for all to have it as a met need.

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September Charity Highlight: Loving Houston

In Houston, Texas, there is an extraordinary partnership between churches and schools that has been facilitated by the nonprofit Loving Houston. The organization was founded with the singular goal of helping churches meet the city’s needs, namely by reaching out to the children in Houston’s school districts. Loving Houston matches churches with the schools in their neighborhood, establishing connections so the two can work together to transform people’s lives through investment opportunities such as counseling, giving, and mentorship.

Marilyn Lee, the executive director of Loving Houston, believes that the nonprofit has grown because of the Lord’s timing and the leadership’s united commitment to collaboration.

“We’re all behind the same goal,” she says. “We want to empower kids and their parents to achieve what they want or need, and we also want to empower churches to come alongside schools in a collaborative partnership.”

The point is to share resources and expertise with each other. Parents overwhelmed by working long hours and caring for their children receive gentle guidance and support. In these COVID-19 times, families in dire need of toilet paper and soap get sent home with the precious supplies. Churches open their doors to children who need reliable Internet so that they can keep up with their education.

Angelica Almaraz, a wraparound services specialist with Houston ISD, attests to the power of these churches and schools working together.

“Moms with not much education are now teachers, and they just need more encouragement,” she says. “And everyone deserves dignity. The lack of self-esteem among children is a big thing, often made worse by struggling with poverty. Any items donated helps restore that dignity.”

One family had to resort to using socks for toilet paper. Because of churches and businesses who rose to the occasion and donated COVID supplies, this family did not have to feel shame anymore. Then there was a woman who spent a week homeless with her two children, a situation she tried to hide from concerned teachers and staff who tried calling and visiting her to check in. The school personnel pooled in money and furniture to provide two-months’ free rent at a new place for her. With their help, she successfully got back on her feet.

These stories are just a snapshot of the good work happening in Houston. Despite the awful effects of the coronavirus pandemic, selflessness and kindness are still making waves. Even though everyone is struggling in their own way and dealing with their own issues, let’s remember to extend a helping hand when someone reaches out.

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