My friend and colleague Noelle George, who is all kinds of amazing, has formed a new organization called Secular Avenue, whose initial focus will be on helping those who are unsafe at home due to having come out as atheist or LGBT or facing domestic abuse or religious extremism. On Monday they sent out a press release about the group:
Secular Avenue is a newly launched 501(c)(3) organization formed to help secular people achieve safety, stability, and autonomy. While other safety net organizations exist, Secular Avenue Founder and President Noelle George identified a need for an atheist organization to serve the secular community.
“Many local assistance programs are faith-based or church-based, and while they may not actively exclude secular people, there often is an undercurrent of religion or a direct expectation of participation in religious activities that may make survivors uncomfortable or traumatize them even further,“ George said. “No one should have to lie or compromise their values in order to receive help.”
The initial focus of Secular Avenue is SAFE, a program to assist people who are unsafe at home due to leaving religion, religious extremism, domestic abuse, or coming out as LGBTQ. Services include financial assistance, counseling, legal assistance and resource coordination. As Secular Avenue grows, programs will be expanded to help additional demographics.
“Programs serving domestic violence survivors and LGBTQ youth are stretched very thin,” George said. “We will fill a needed gap for secular support, while working with existing organizations such as Recovering from Religion and Ex-Muslims of America to reach people in need.”
Secular Avenue’s values include offering individualized, trauma-informed care based on best practices and needs assessment, effectively using resources to maximize impact, transparency, and stewardship of donated funds. Additionally, Secular Avenue promotes the humanist values of autonomy, human dignity, critical thinking and assistance without religion.
“Our biggest challenge is to raise enough funds to assist everyone who needs our help. Our goal is to raise $30,000 in 2015 so that we can assist every person who comes to us for help achieve safety, stability and autonomy,” said George. “It is our hope that we can provide a meaningful way for atheists to support other atheists.”
Secular Avenue (SA) is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides support and resources to help people who are unsafe at home achieve safety, stability, and autonomy. SA was founded in 2014 by Noelle George, who serves as the organization’s President and Executive Director. For more information visit: www.secularavenue.org or contact Noelle George at 323.723.3069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think this is a great idea and fills a gap that needs to be filled. I know of so many people who have been in terrible situations at home, having to hide who they are or facing all manner of emotional abuse because they’re atheist or gay, not to mention victims of domestic violence. They often are forced to endure it rather than escape it because they lack the resources and this will help at least some of them find a way out. I strongly urge you all to support this group if you can.