Aerie caught up with three #AerieREAL Changemakers to talk about the communities they are building! Hear from them how their advocacy is going and what they want you to know.

I’m making REAL change with my Farm and Wellness business that empowers individuals to create lives in harmony with both themselves and the planet.

Bethany Klapwyk

This year I’ve accomplished running an organic farm, offering land and low-cost programming to marginalized farmers, and running wellness-related workshops for all Farmers. I’m most excited about gathering to do more of my work in person this year! My program, “Grounded Gardening Club” incorporates yoga and somatic healing practices into ecological farming skills-training. 

I will be offering this program in person this season. I hope to use farming and wellness programming to help my community re-build and re-connect after the traumas of the pandemic years. I hope to inspire youth and build a more diverse food-production system.

Growing a garden is one of the most healing activities a person can do. Even if you don’t farm, finding a way to get your hands in the soil is a huge step towards connecting deeper with nature and oneself.

We have the power to save lives.

Sara Miller

I’m making REAL change with my nonprofit that activates students who save lives through organ donation advocacy.

This year our impact has doubled. We’ve educated more than 20,000 students about organ donation and we’re now on more than 40 campuses nationwide! I’m most excited about deepening the support we provide student organ donation advocates. From advising to funding to supplies and more, we’re breaking down barriers for students to save lives in their communities (learn more about our impact at sodanational.org).

I hope to reduce the organ shortage by encouraging more life-saving conversations about organ donation. A single organ donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of 50 more people, creating a ripple effect with a long-lasting impact.

I started Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA) when I was a freshman in college because. I was eager to advocate for organ donation and share how my sister, Laura, saved a life through organ donation. In the beginning, we were just one chapter in St. Louis. We promoted our advocacy on social media and soon, other students wanted to do the same on their campus. It has been amazing seeing more stories like mine across the country as we recruit more inspiring chapter founders. 

If you’re a student interested in saving lives, check out our website here! You have the power to save lives by registering as an organ donor. With the click of a few buttons, you can join the national organ donation registry. And, make sure to tell your friends and family about your decision.

I want the world to know that your dreams are not too big, and your ideas can become reality.

Emily Weatherhead

I’m making REAL change with my organization, Musicians Found, that improves accessibility to musical instruments and programs, while advocating for community change through music.

This year I’ve accomplished the launch of my organization from the ground up. We’ve started our first initiative, The Music Box Initiative, which is sending instruments to older adults in long-term care and community settings in Ontario, as well as our blog, Musicians Featured

We’re also currently in the process of hiring our Board of Directors, and I’m so excited to see where this takes us! I hope to change the lives of older adults in Ontario even more by continuing to provide access to musical instruments, and helping to replicate the connections I’ve seen formed through music programs at a larger scale.

I’m most excited about the opportunities for collaboration that are coming to Musicians Found –already, I’ve been overwhelmed (positively!) by the number of people who are passionate about our mission and want to help us create change. 

I’m most proud of our Musicians Featured series, where we interview musicians of all levels to get their insight on how music can act as a catalyst for community change.

Not only has it been a great way to advocate for the importance of accessible music programs, but it’s also been the part of the organization that’s pushed me the furthest out of my comfort zone.

One of my favorite memories is getting to work with another Aerie Changemaker, Rachel Rutter. Musicians Found teamed up with Project Libertad to send a keyboard to one of their clients, a nine-year-old girl who wanted to learn the piano. It was great to collaborate within the Changemakers community to create change together!

How about you, Aerie fam? How are you making change in your communities? Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Sylvia Cheng

    Hi Aerie, I run Growing Tkaronto Floristry @growingtkaronto, a queer BIPOC sustainable flower farm and florist business in Tkaronto (Toronto, Ontario, Canada). We grow 150+ cultivars of specialty cut flowers for locals and florists. We are committed to regenerative and anti-oppression practices as we build this social enterprise. #climatejustice #loveislove

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