Stronger Together: A Photo Essay of Communities United

Posted by GOOD Partner

This post is brought to you by GOOD with support from Focus Features' upcoming film Promised Land, in theaters on January 3, 2013.

GOOD and Focus Features have partnered to share inspiring images of communities coming together for change. Whether people are passionate about the same values, volunteer time together at a larger organization, or are part of a small neighborhood, when they unite as a community, their strength in numbers can drive lasting impact.

Occupy Sandy Brings Relief to Hurricane Victims

After Hurricane Sandy hit, the InterOccupy movement, a community of activists focused on efforts to expose the financial crimes of Wall Street, surpassed the Red Cross' relief efforts by creating an Amazon wedding registry asking people to donate clothes, cleaning supplies, and food to communities in need. Now, Occupy Sandy is one of the most effective disaster relief efforts in New York and New Jersey that’s not only cleaning up places hardest hit by the hurricane, but also offering vital and helpful resources to those seeking aid. Above see activist and volunteer Alexis Goldstein dispatching drivers to homes in need of supplies at The Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew. Below volunteers train at the church. Join the Occupy Sandy movement's donation efforts here.


Photos courtesy of Occupy Sandy

350 Raises Awareness About the Keystone XL Pipeline

Within 10 days of sending an email out to 350.org members, thousands marched in Washington D.C., united in their concerns about the environment. Hoping to raise awareness about America's energy and environmental issues, they called on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Rachel Maddow, Reuters, The Guardian, CTV, Politico and others covered their efforts, so there’s no doubt the administration got the message.  You too can join 350.org's efforts by signing their pledge against KXL here.


Photo Credit: Mark Perkins.

Wikimapa Gets Low-Income Communities On The Global Map

Global Giving is an online fundraising platform that connects interested donors directly to global grassroots projects. One of their projects, Wikimapa, has empowered teens in Brazil to use a Wikimap app and mobile phone GPS systems to map out the local businesses, hospitals, schools, and cultural activity spots in their low-income—and often ignored—neighborhoods. Wikireporters, as the teens call themselves, include information about offered services, historic data, and audiovisual representation of each place mapped. So far, 85 streets and 1285 points of interest are on Wikimapa, benefitting 150,000 residents in 5 slums of Rio.


Copywright GlobalGiving and Solidaritas

The Pablove Foundation Bike Rides for Childhood Cancer

Pablo Thrailkill Castelaz was only six years old when he lost his battle to Wilms Tumor, a rare form of childhood cancer. Now, The Pablove Foundation, named after Pablo, seeks to fund cancer research and advances in treatment, educate and empower cancer families, and provide hospital play, music, and arts programs to children living with cancer. Every year, members come together to raise funds for research by organizing a bike ride across America. On October 12, 2012, bike enthusiasts rode across 10 states from Boston, Massachusetts to Durham, North Carolina and raised $300,000 for their cause. On October 6, 2013, you can join their bike ride from the Bay Area to Los Angeles by registering here.

Photo courtesy of The Pablove Foundation

The Trevor Project Raises Awareness About Crisis Intervention for LGBT Youth

James Lecesne, Peggy Rajski, and Randy Stone were struggling to find an appropriate lifeline for LGBT youth when their Academy Award-winning short fiction film about gay 13-year-old "Trevor" was set to air on HBO. So, they founded The Trevor Project, which is now the leading national crisis lifeline for LGBT youth and young adults. On September 3, 2011, supporters of The Trevor Project and the LGBT community did a flash mob dance to the iconic tune of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," raising national awareness about "Talk to Me", their Campaign for Conversation about National Suicide Prevention Week. You can take the "Talk to Me" pledge here.


Photo Credit: Kat Tuohy Photography

Save The Waves Removes 9,000 Pounds of Trash from Chilean Beaches

As part of Save the Waves' Fuerza Chile! United for Clean Water Campaign, more than 600 volunteers gathered at 16 sites in 9 regions on March 24, 2012 to clean up and restore beaches and coastal areas throughout Chile. In only one day of cleanups, volunteers removed nearly 9,000 pounds of trash and debris (more than 500 bags), cleaning and restoring beaches, river mouths, and estuaries along more than 15 miles of Chilean coastline. You can become a part of events like these through savethewaves.org.


Cleanup at Punta Lobos, Photo Credit: Philip Muller

Green-Light NOLA Installs Free Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs In New Orleans Homes

Green-Light New Orleans assists residents in installing energy-efficient lightbulbs to demonstrate how individual actions create significant impacts on the environment and community. During an AARP conference in September 2012, several hundred volunteers got together to install lightbulbs by going from home to home across New Orleans. So far, with 7,507 volunteers, they've installed 343,829 CFLs in 14,867 homes, saving 135.5 million kwh and $15.8 million reducing 145.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide omissions.


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rousseve

Points of Light Helps HandsOn Biloxi Rebuild a Playground in Mississippi

Points of Light, a nonprofit dedicated to matching volunteers with projects they're impassioned about, helped organize and equip teams of volunteers to clean up after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. In Biloxi, Mississipi, community members gathered for HandsOn Biloxi, rebuilding a neighborhood beachside playground hit hard after Hurricane Katrina. Points of Light is dedicated to providing opportunities for civic engagement, and in 2011, they had 4.3 million volunteer communities working together in 20 countries around the globe.


Photo Credit: David Kennerly

Cool Girls, Inc. Mentors Over 450 Girls in Low-Income Neighborhoods

In 1989, Dawn Smith founded Cool Girls, Inc. to address the plight of young girls in Atlanta's East Lake Meadows public housing community. With Epiphany Episcopal Church and the Urban Training Organization, Smith gathered with a handful of dedicated neighborhood volunteers and built a secure, supportive environment for the girls of the East Lake housing community, providing academic support through tutoring, and broadening the girls' world-view through field trips. Now, over 450 girls in low-income communities are instilled with a sense of confidence, self-respect, and leadership through Cool Girls, Inc. They learn that they can pursue what they want to achieve by setting goals, working diligently, and making good choices.


Photo Credit: Ana Laura Araya

Grant County Addresses Its Food Desert Problem By Building a Community Garden

Grant County, New Mexico is not only an arid desert with sporadic rain, but also a food desert where copper mining and ranching defines the lives of the residents in the community. In an effort to address the lack of fresh produce and healthy food in the area, Alicia Edwards, director of The Volunteer Center of Grant County, held town hall meetings in 2008 to combat the issue. By 2011, community members grew eight gardens, each serving their own purposes. A children's garden sells its produce at the local farmer's market, and another garden shares its produce with a local food pantry. With strategic watering and dedicated community members to maintain the gardens, Grant County has successfully created a sustainable food production source that also educates its community members about farming in their own homes. Through the soil, the community members connect and feed one another.


Photo courtesy of The Volunteer Center of Grant County

Please see our updated photo essay, now with new photos from the GOOD community.