Letter from the President, May 2022

Humanists of North Central Florida

President’s Update

Humanists

May 30, 2022, 11:01 AM (21 hours ago)

to HNCFL, bcc: me
Greetings!
Please take a moment today to remember the reason for Memorial Day, a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered.  Did you know? Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
Please see the following update on events and activities of the Humanists of North Central Florida.
Social gatherings, in May, included Secular Tables at Milano’s, conversation and bag lunches at Sholom Park, as well as enjoying dinner at The Club.  The weekly ZOOM Chats continue.  These chats make it possible for some of our seasonal members to stay in touch and participate in topical discussions from various locations throughout the country.  You are welcome to join the ZOOM Chats.  Simply send an email to humanistsncfl@gmail.com requesting the ZOOM link.  You will be added to the Zoom distribution list and sent the topic for discussion.  
The following are your suggestions for additional monthly activities.  Please reply if you are interested in participating and/or if you have suggestions for activities.  How can the HNCFL do better?
Friends at Home – a gathering in a home at a time of your choosing for a meal and an activity (movie/games/conversation/etc.)
Silver Springs State Park – schedule the hour and a half glass-bottom boat ride and walk through the park or kayak or canoe followed by a meal inside or outside of the park. Reservations are required for the glass bottom boat ride.
Rainbow Springs State Park – gather at the park to walk the trails followed by a meal outside of the park.
Movie afternoon or evening, followed by eating out.
Book Group – group selects a book to read and discuss.  Discussions will be in the homes of the participants.
Ocala Civic Theatre – the new season begins in September.  Afternoon and evening productions are offered.
Appleton Museum – plan group visits for new shows, followed by eating out.
 
SERVICE/OUTREACH
As the 5th month of 2022 comes to a close the HNCFL has been represented in the following areas.  
  • In cooperation with Master the Possibilities Lifelong Learning Center hosted Jocelyn Williamson in a remote presentation, My Life as a Humanist.
  • Supported a children’s Spring Party in Dunnellon hosted by Greater New Hope Church and open to all children in the community. 
  • Supported the Boys and Girls Clubs of Marion County Summer Enrichment Camp (https://bgcofmarion.com/) where tutoring is provided by 
  • R.A.M.A.L. (Reach, Aim, Motivate and Lead https://www.ramalservices.org/contact.html.  RAMAL is a social service and educational 501(c)3 also supported by the HNCFL. 
  • Maintained the supply of shelf-stable protein and soups in the food pantry located in St. Paul’s AME Church. This area, the Tuscawilla area of Ocala has been designated a food desert and a banking desert by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  A food desert is an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food.  
  • Volunteer and financial support to the Estella Byrd Whitman Wellness and Community Resources Center https://estellawellness.com/
  • NEW Donation to the International Rescue Committee to be used in support of the millions displaced by the Ukraine war. 
  • NEW Donation to OutRight Action International to support LGBTQ+ individuals (https://outrightinternational.org/). 
The HNCFL is funding four scholarships in the 2022-23 school year.  Two are being awarded through the Secular Student Alliance and two are offered locally.  The SSA accepts and vets applications then pass them to the HNCFL for final review and selection.  If you would like to be part of the selection process, please reply to this email.  As of this update the HNCFL has not received applications for the local scholarships.  The local scholarships are for all forms of post-high school education. 
 
NEW: PFLAG is the United States’ first and largest organization uniting parents, families, and allies with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. PFLAG National is the national organization, which provides support to the PFLAG network of local chapters.  A PFLAG chapter is forming in Marion County.  I am representing the HNCFL in this group. At this point, we are awaiting final approval of the chapter documents to apply for 501(c)3 status.  More information will be shared as it is available.  If you are interested in directly participating in the group please reply to this email for meeting specifics, etc.
NEW:  Two alternative schools in Marion County, New Leaf (https://www.marionschools.net/Page/50827), and Silver River Mentor and Instruction (https://srmischool.com/) were called to my attention at the end of last year.  The School Resource Officers (SROs) in these schools were looking for support in their efforts to provide the children with basic needs.  Children come to these schools needing personal hygiene care, clothing items, and food.  I learned that the officers were purchasing items they saw the children needed with personal funds.  The Ocala Police Juvenile Justice Officer serves as the liaison. The HNCFL responded with a modest donation to each of the officers through the Marion County Children’s Alliance who provided oversight.  The donation was made with the understanding that the HNCFL needed to better understand the alternative schools as well as the needs of the children.  I expressed interest in meeting the officers and touring the schools. COVID and school holidays kept this from happening until March of this year when Anne Bulmer and I along with the liaison spent time in each school
Several Marion County Schools High Schools have rooms called “The ROCK”.  (https://www.therockprogram.org/).  Rondo Fernandez owner of Mojo’s restaurants created a foundation that supports these rooms. Many churches support this foundation and these rooms through volunteering, and financial support.
The alternative schools do not enjoy this support.  Since our visit in March, I have been communicating with the assistant administrator and a principal who are both interested in creating rooms in their schools that would meet the daily needs demonstrated by students.  We all agree it is a worthy project but due to school restrictions and limited resources (human and financial), we are unsure just what this will look like.  These discussions are the earliest stages.  Please reply to this email if you see this project as worthy of the support of the HNCLF.  Are you willing to volunteer your time?  Can you suggest other ways you might support this project?  All input is welcome.
Thank you for your continued participation and support of the Humanists of North Central Florida!
Warmest regards,
Allie Gore, President
Humanists* of North Central Florida

humanistsncfl.org

*We believe in reason, intellectual freedom, compassion, concern for each other, and the world.

Humanists are committed to those ideals which make us caring and active in the struggle for human dignity and justice.