FYI Blog

Clients in the News–January 2019

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is the only federal holiday that’s designated as a national day of service. Avalon’s clients fully embrace this idea, offering many ways—in states across the country—for us all to participate. Follow the links below to learn how you can help these fantastic nonprofits by volunteering on MLK Day, or any time!

  • Bread For the City offers meals and food pantry services to neighbors in the Washington, DC area, and seeks volunteers for all of its departments: food, clothing, medical, legal, social services, and advocacy.
  • How does the Maryland Food Bank stretch every donated dollar into three meals for hungry Marylanders? With the help of volunteers like you.
  • The Trustees is looking for volunteers in Massachusetts to perform tasks from invasive species removal to bird monitoring.
  • In Virginia, apply to be a volunteer at Wolf Trap and you might find yourself working in the gift shop or barns, with the Special Events team, on the Opera team, and more. And since Wolf Trap is a national park, you can contact the National Park Service to be a Wolf Trap usher or nature guide.
  • If voluntourism is your thing, then opportunities listed on the Galapagos Conservancy’s website might be a good fit for you.
  • In California, Monterey Bay Aquarium offers volunteer training sessions so you can be an Aquarium guide, or work in the Sea Otter program, or in the animal food prep room, etc.
  • The National Humane Education Society has a list of ways to help pets and other animals in your area by volunteering, with links to help you get started.
  • Farm Sanctuary has myriad volunteer opportunities at its shelters in California and New York, working with rescued farm animals.
  • And if you’re in Washington, DC at the end of your MLK volunteer day, The Kennedy Center is presenting a concert to honor Dr. King, featuring Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and the Let Freedom Ring Choir. Visit KC’s website for more information and how to score free tickets.

And in other Avalon client news…

WGBH in Boston ran a heart-warming story late last year about the Court of Second Chances. Held once a month in a room inside Pine Street Inn—the largest homeless services provider in New England—a judge hears cases of homeless defendants, and hands down manageable penalties or second chance by closing cases. Often, the burden of a criminal record, jail time, or paying a fine can be insurmountable obstacles for homeless people seeking to get their lives back on track. Watch the story to get a real-world sense of how compassion can change lives.

Castle Hill, the Oceanside summer home of wealthy Chicagoans Richard and Florence Crane in Ipswich, MA, has been a museum since 1949. But until recently, it was a shadow of its former magnificent self. The Trustees of Reservations—current owners of the National Historic Landmark property—have finished a full renovation to return the 59-room house to its original grandeur. Two of the Cranes’ granddaughters have donated inherited pieces of furniture, which were replaced in their original spots in the house, as well as provided photographs to inform the restorers’ accuracy. For the first time in nearly 70 years, the Great House looks close to as it did when it was first built. Until you can visit yourself, go to Architectural Digest’s website for a mini-tour and some fascinating before/after photos.

Smithsonian magazine has an interesting article about how much Lonesome George—the last Pinta tortoise, who died in 2012 at the age of 100—still has to teach us. Turns out tortoises have specialized genes for longevity, immune response, and cancer resistance that other vertebrate animals do not. Studying George’s genome can benefit human studies into longevity, as well. Visit the Smithsonian magazine’s website to read all about it, and more about the giant tortoises, based on Galapagos Conservancy research.

The Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars) competition is held annually for middle-school scientists. Not your average science fair entrants, these kids are designing sophisticated techniques and machines to address problems they encounter. Some examples include telling the difference between fresh and used tennis balls; getting computer-assisted archery coaching; and ways to tell if a particular sports-related impact might result in a concussion. The competition focuses on creativity and collaboration. To read more about it, check out Society for Science & the Public’s blog, Science News for Students’ recent post about MASTERS on SSP’s website.