After two summers on the road meeting non-profits, volunteers and people like YOU - we've come across some pretty amazing people doing their best to build community, do good and foster the future. So we thought we'd use 12 days of [Good]mas to share some of our favorites and encourage you to get involved.
A Guerrilla In A Pear Tree /////////////////////////////////////////////////////
The guys from Foster The People have supported LA Guerrilla Gardening (LAGG) since before they were officially a band. In fact, in 2010, they performed at an LAGG event guerrilla-style – using the sidewalk as a drum and an old school boombox as speakers. Guerrilla Gardening is the act of gardening on public property with or without permission and LA guerrilla gardeners have been beautifying the streets of Los Angeles for over 4 years.
You can help support what they do by purchasing some sweet stocking stuffers for the guerrilla gardener in your family. Seed Bombs are little balls composed of dirt, clay and seed and can be thrown in an abandoned or bare area in your community. After the rain, the bombs turn into wildflowers and YOU officially become a guerrilla gardener.
Two Turtle Pigeons /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Personally, we think [carrier] doves would have been a more elegant form of mail transportation than [carrier] pigeons, but perhaps they've always been busy promoting peace. Regardless, our faith in the US Post Office has been renewed! Did you know they have a program called Operation Santa Claus and the team actually READS all those letters addressed to Santa? They sort the letters trying to find families who could use some extra help this holiday season. Finally, they ask people (aka, YOU) to “adopt a letter” and either respond to the letters (from Santa, of course) or even purchase small gifts to help some children’s holiday wishes come true.
Threadless French Hens /////////////////////////////////////////////////////
We’ve never seen a French Hen, but we imagine they’re high fashion and have cute accents. And if they were going to wear a T-shirt, they would most definitely rock a Threadless shirt. Here’s your chance to design a Foster The People t-shirt and win some cash if your design gets picked!
The winning designer will also get some sweet, autographed FTP swag. Best part is, once the shirt is for sale, 25% of proceeds will benefit Foster The Future!
Four [Wild] Calling Birds //////////////////////////////////////////////////////
If birds could use a touch screen, they'd call to tell you what they're seeing in Kenya and Central Indonesia. We're pretty sure they wouldn't get 4G service though, so luckily, director David Lickely made a movie to educate us all about rescuing, rehabilitating and returning some incredible animals back to the wild. Born to be Wild 3D is an inspiring story of love, dedication and the remarkable bond between humans and animals. This film documents orphaned organgutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them -- saving endangered species one life at a time.
The two organizations doing the work in the field are:
After watching this movie (or perhaps just after seeing the trailer), you'll be ready to help. So why not download it on iTunes and watch it as a family for the holidays?
What can you do? Donate to create a care package
You can decide if you want to buy bananas for an orangutan or a blanket for an elephant. Sign a petition
Sign Rainforest Action Network’s petition telling Cargill Inc. CEO Gregory Page that you don’t want rainforest destruction and loss of orangutan habitats.
Five Golden [Bracelets] //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
We are really excited about our partnership with Wear Your Music to help raise money for Breakaway Education. You can give a gift that gives back by purchasing a limited edition bracelet made out of guitar strings from guitars used by Foster The People during their 2012 Summer Tour. Not only is this gift super cool and supports a charity Foster The People believes in -- it’s also green since it’s made out of repurposed material. Win, win, win.
Breakaway Education helps highschool students channel their passions into solving community problems by engaging a corps of college students to run after school programs.
Six Keys-A-Sayin' ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
We are such big fans of The Giving Keys. Their model not only does good, but it has a pay-it-forward element...and um, we're suckers for pay-it-forward. The Giving Keys exists to employ those transitioning out of homelessness to engrave recycled keys that get sold and shared around the world. Each key necklace is unique and carries a message like HOPE, STRENGTH, DREAM or COURAGE. When the wearer of the key encounters someone else who needs the message on the key, they give it away and then share their story on The Giving Keys website.
Today (Dec 15) is the last day to order in time for Christmas delivery.
But don't worry, they make great gifts year round.
Seven Swans and An Owl //////////////////////////////////////////////////
We’re pretty sure owls don’t swim, but after this summer we learned they know how to write! Foster The Future was honored to partner with Irv’s Storytime to create a collaborative book illustrated by YOU. We spent the fall organizing and enjoying all the images and we’re excited to bring you the final version of the book, Quiet Art. It’s the story of a little girl, Wilda, and her persistent efforts to use art to communicate with the noisy, impatient world around her. The cover is illustrated by Mark Pontius and the best part is…70% of proceeds from the book will benefit Arts Education Partnership – an organization committed to securing a high-quality arts education for every young person in America.
Hunger is still one of the most pressing issues in the US and for just $1, food banks can provide 8 meals to men, women and children facing hunger. Feeding America has food banks across the country and you can donate your time or a few bucks to help provide meals for those in need.
Nine [Hundred] Ladies Dancing /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Admittedly, we rocked out to C&C Music Factory’s “Everybody Dance Now” in middle school. We hope you did to. And if you have no idea what we're talking about - look it up. And dance. After you've rocked out, check out the youth-run organization, Everybody Dance Now. They're helping hundreds of students gain access to dance and empowering them to be leaders. The organization was founded five years ago by a 14 year-old girl who wanted everyone to be able to dance. We're always so inspired by youth taking control and trying to make a difference.
Ten Lords-A-Leaping For Joy /////////////////////////////////////////////////
After a kayaking trip down the LA River (yes, there's a river here) we were blown away by how many plastic bags end up in our waterways, oceans and rivers. And if we could be a part of eliminating even half of them -- we'd jump for joy. You can help us make that happen and jump for joy too. December 20 (tomorrow!) is Day Without A Bag – a grassroots event set forth by Heal the Bay in Southern California that challenges shoppers and retailers to forgo using single use bags. Day Without A Bag can be worldwide though. So bring your own bag tomorrow or impress your friends with a balancing act carrying everything in your hands. And if you’re like us at Foster The Future, we like to go big. So we challenge you to go a Year Without A Bag. We dare you.
And if you need a rad bag to carry, check out Kaela Bags - we love these.
We'd like to introduce you to not only some pipers...but a cello player, a violin player and an amazing group of kids in South America. After Foster The Future became a proud member of the Creative Vision Foundation, we were introduced to an inspiring film being created called, Landfill Harmonic. In the largest landfill in Paraguay, students are learning to play music on instruments made entirely from trash. Once finished, it will be a beautiful story - but we're excited about the film's mission to showcase the power of creativity, hope, empowerment, and community work.
The group needs help with funding the rest of production and every dollar helps - donate here. Even if you can’t help right now, be sure to watch the trailer – it’s truly inspiring. And if nothing else, help spread the word via Facebook.
We worked with Mark Pontius to find a youth drumline that could use some support -- and we found a good one. Saints Drumline is based in Columbus, OH and they provide an extracurricular opportunity for youth to experience and express themselves through the art of music. The Saints Drumline fosters a peaceful learning environment with respect, cooperation, diligence, and collaboration as its foundation. We did our research on these guys and they're putting in the long hours to foster the future and that inspires us. And here's a secret for you, Mark wishes he was still rockin' it on a drumline.
(Make sure you watch the video until you see the little guys start playing -- so good.)
How cool would it be if WE could come together and help a kid who can't afford the registration fee? If we all give a little bit, we can make that happen. Registration for one drummer is $350 for the year. So if you've got an extra buck or can forgo buying your latte today - donate here - and be sure to write "foster the future" in the comments section.