Currently, I am trying to sort out in my own mind, ostensibly using Logic and Reason, to envisage which, of all the many, many classes of struggling and suffering humans, would benefit most from interaction with naturalistic, non-theistic helpers. Forgive the crass selfishness and lack of compassion, but which group or class of sufferers is the "low hanging fruit" from the non-theistic perspective? With generally limited resources and time, where can the most benefit be realized?
I totally agree that any help to anyone can be of a huge benefit. By the same token, when you consider the possibilities of mental health issues, substance abuse, and abusive home environments that have shaped behaviors since childhood, there are many people in need who will require more help than you can provide (and then some). Every bit of caring and sharing helps. I am just wondering, what circumstances have the greatest potential of success?
I am a sexual assault victim's advocate, as well as a public speaker on sexual assault/abuse & incest survival. While I always bite my tongue when responding to an assault (it just is not the time or place for such deep conversations imo), it is hard nevertheless. I would like to see more victim's advocates who do not use a horrific event to push the god agenda. I have started the O3 Campaign, and while the basis isn't to push atheism; I certainly don't shy away from it or refuse to acknowledge my role with religion.
Trance & Eli both have excellent points; hunger is a problem in almost every city somewhere and few things are more valuable than teaching someone to care for themselves.
Why not teach ' garden to table classes'? Many communities will allow the use of empty lots for gardens. Gardening groups will often help. This way you help both problems. Not immediately, darnitall . . .
Do not strike the chord of sorrow tonight!
Days burning with pain turn to ashes.
Who knows what happens tomorrow?
Last night is lost; tomorrow's frontier wiped out:
Who knows if there will be another dawn?
Life is nothing, it's only tonight!
Tonight we can be what the gods are!
Do not strike the chord of sorrow, tonight!
Do not repeat stories of sufferings now,
Do not complain, let your fate play its role,
Do not think of tomorrows, give a damn-
Shed no tears for seasons gone by,
All sighs and cries wind up their tales,
Oh, do not strike the same chord again!
I'm with Trance on this one. An emphasis on completing high school and pursuing some form of postsecondary education would help as far as empowerment goes.
Working with the homeless and unemployed to get them back in the workforce would be another thing I'd volunteer my time towards. This could come in the form of clothing donations, hair services, donations towards public showers and laundry facilities, as well as networking with government agencies to get these people off the streets and back to work.
It would be really great if the Secular Center could host some sort of summer science lab club for kids. Lots of children are often bored during the summer, and this could be a fun way for them to open their minds to the scientific method as well as being exposed to positive hands-on activities incorporating evolution, biology, genetics, astronomy, and more.
I have been working with my local public library for over five years now to develop, organize and present hands-on science activities for 9 to 14 year-olds. The Library says it is now the most popular program for that age group. I will be happy to share my experiences with those that are interested.
We just did our collaboration in April 2010 with NISE, NSF, UCB and our group to present NanoDays 2010. At this writing I have less than one week to get my act together for our annual Astronomy event on May 7, 2010.
I fully understand the boredom in summer. Ironically, our library staff get so busy with summer reading programs that they ask us to take the summer off. We still could do some programs in the summer. I am just too busy trying to keep a roof over my head and food in the fridge.