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Idealists in Action | November 13, 2020

Lizzy Cooke profile image

Lizzy Cooke

Portraits of frontline workers, and other creative thank you’s
Inspiring stories, new volunteer opportunities, jobs and more
Stories of people banding together and opportunities to make a difference. 

Hi there! 👋

The end of the year brings stillness, reflection, and a chance to show gratitude. I’m feeling grateful for small things, like new recipes and running routes, but also the people bravely leading us through the pandemic. So this week’s newsletter spotlights frontline workers, educators, community leaders and more! Let’s give back, together. 

Waving from NYC, 

Community Spotlight

Jennifer Stimpson is changing the face of science! As a Black chemist and educator, she wants to show young girls that scientists can look just like her. She’s encouraging middle school students to enter the field by highlighting work by female or Black scientists, providing opportunities to do hands-on work, and illustrating career paths in science. 

Other people inspiring us this week

🎁 Kayli Joy Cooper, a high school student, has been giving homeless teens wellness kits with the help of Girls with Impact. Each kit includes soap, shampoo, and more. 

🎨 Thanks to efforts by British artist Tom Croft, nearly 500 frontline workers were paired with an artist who listened to their story and painted them a touching, personal portrait.

🗳️ Jacqi Masseo volunteered as a poll worker on Staten Island so that vulnerable older folks, who tend to make up the majority of poll workers, could stay home this election.

🍀 People in Ireland raised over one million dollars for Navajo & Hopi families, as a huge thank-you for their help with the Irish Potato Famine back in 1847. 

🏄 Staff at the nonprofit First Descents has been providing frontline workers with free outdoor adventures, like rock climbing and surfing, to help them recharge.

Opportunities to make a difference

​​​​​•   Give back to your community: call and chat with self-isolated seniors, apply for a job supporting disaster relief and human rights, or virtually judge a middle school debate competition. 

​​​​​•   Support front-line workers: send them letters and homemade cards, volunteer to babysit, set up heartwarming thank-you signs, and make face masks and hand sanitizers to send to hospitals.

​​​​​•  Stay involved in politics, post-election: apply for a job as a civil rights & immigration lead organizer, write content for the Center for Free, Fair, and Accountable Democracy, and fight for the rights of women and girls in the Sahel. a whole lot more! Start your own search at

What's something that you would love to do but have never done before?

“Upcycle old clothes & learn to tie dye!” - Meg Dwier 

“Live in another country for several months to a year.” - Mary Katherine

“Work with doctors without borders (MSF) as a nurse.” - Numukobwa Leonille

“See the Northern Lights!” - Lynn Alexander

Check out last week's conversation on Instagram, and in our global Facebook group!

✏️This week’s prompt:  What do you do to keep yourself (and others around you) at peace? Respond to this email and let me know!

Read more from Idealist

5 Thank-You Letters You Should Be Sending Your Network 

Perfecting the Art of Praise and Recognizing Success in the Workplace 

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Lizzy Cooke profile image

Lizzy Cooke

Lizzy Cooke is the editor of the Idealists in Action newsletter. She also builds the Idealist community through social media and marketing. Outside of work you can find her reading, running, or walking dogs for her local animal shelter in Brooklyn.