Humanists of West Florida

December, 2014 Newsletter

Mentoring Youth, Get to know the HWF Board, Become a leader in the secular community with classes from PSA!

In This Issue...


From the President


First Friday FreeUp!


Peanut Butter Drive Update


Want to attend a board meeting?


Meet Your Board Members


Your Board of Directors


Opportunity to make a difference!


Get Involved! HWF Committee Action


Partners for Secular Activism: Upcoming Classes Available


From the President...

Hello members, associates, and friends,

It was fun to see so many at the Carl Sagan Honor Day picnic. We had good food and another fun picnic. Thanks to you all for coming and helping. 

Join us for our FreeUp on tutoring kids on Dec 5th and a big thank you to Suren Shah for his organizing. We are planning a Food Distribution for Monday morning Jan. 19th which is the MLK national holiday and national Day of Service. We will need many HWFer's to work the food boxes.

I hope all of you had a nice Thanksgiving and I would like to thank all the members of our chapter for there efforts and especially our BOD.

Buz Ryland, President
Humanists of West Florida




First Friday FreeUp: Mentoring Our Youth


Friday, December 5, 5:45-7:00 pm 

Bayview Senior Center

2000 E Lloyd St, Pensacola, FL 32503
Cross Streets: Near the intersection of E Lloyd St and N 20th Ave on Bayou Texar north of Cervantes

The Topic: Mentoring Our Youth

There isn't much you can do in life that’s as satisfying as helping a child. If you've been looking for a chance to get involved with your local community, or just wondering how volunteers in Escambia and Santa Rosa are helping get the next generation off to a strong start, come join us for the First Friday Free Up on December 5th

This FreeUp will be dedicated to a discussion about opportunities for mentoring local youth in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. We will have representatives from three programs present an overview of and answer your questions about volunteering with their programs. 

• Ashley Bodner and Patty Vaillant from “Every Child a Reader in Escambia (ECARE)”. This program is designed for reading to Pre-K children of lower income families.

• Angie Brown of Santa Rosa Education Foundation. The county’s “Take Stock in Children” program—part of a Florida-wide student mentoring program—teams mentors with students from middle school through High School.

• Sally Bergosh of Escambia County Youth Motivator Program. This program provides mentors for children in Pre-K through 12th grade.

Bring your questions, your ideas, and your insights—Friday, 5:45 pm on December 5, at the Bayview Center in Bayview Park on Lloyd Street in Pensacola. 

Snacks will be provided—and, of course, we'll be heading over to a local restaurant after the meeting to continue the discussion.



Results of the Peanut Butter Drive: HWF collected 51 jars of peanut butter, for a total of 71 pounds 4 ounces. A n especially big thank you to Amanda Kondrat'yev and Charles Stauffer for trebling our haul between them.


Want to attend a board meeting?

Members are welcome to attend our board meetings if interested in seeing the board at work, or would like to bring a matter to the board for consideration.

Our board of directors keeps VERY busy and needs to stay on task to prevent elongated board meetings. For that reason, the board asks that members who would like to attend let the President know a week ahead of time that they will be attending, and whether they would like to speak to the board, or just listen.

Visiting members are asked to wait until the facilitator asks them to present their questions or comments as per the agenda, and not interrupt during the meeting so that the board can stay within the 2-hour meeting scheduled.

The next board meeting is scheduled for December 14, 10:00 am. For more information please contact Buz Ryland at

HWF Board of Directors

President: Buz Ryland,

Vice President: Suren Shah,

Treasurer: Amanda Kondrat'yev,

Secretary: Kay Rudolf,


Charles Stauffer,

Sedona Strong,


Meet your HWF Board Members

Do you wonder what your board members are up to? Check here every month to hear about one of the HWF Board Members, why they're here, or what projects they are currently working on.

Michael shares some positive thoughts on humanism:

"The most intriguing question that I have come across in my recent days as a humanist is how to be good without the guidance of religion. I feel it is a simple answer. Being human and interacting with other such beings, I have learned the most effective way to maintain peace and survive is to help those surrounding me. It provides me with a pleasant feeling to know that because of me someone's life is a little less difficult. Also, it gives me hope that someone will see that effort and decide to help someone else too. It does not take the fear of some omniscient, all-powerful being to move me, or any humanist, into action. I hope that you join us as we move to shape the world to become a better place, motivated out of concern for your fellow human beings rather than social pressure or fear of something."

Michael is a junior at UWF, majoring in Software Engineering. Yet he still finds time to volunteer for community services, especially for Food Not Bombs.

We are thankful for his membership.

Would you like to guest post in our newsletter or our blog?

We want to keep our newsletter informative, and local. If you are interested in writing about local events and activities, inform readers about local personalities activities in our greater communities, or even have photos or artwork related to humanism you'd like to share, please submit your 500 words or less article by the 20th of each month for consideration. (Not all submissions will be published, depending on the space available.)


Thank you to David Suhor for lighting a fire under us! We're working on getting some names on the list for non-religious convocations. Here's a clip of David speaking at an Escambia School Board open forum:

David's latest edition of a non-Christian invocation. Enjoy!

NOTICE: This will continue to run in the newsletter to keep members and friends updated about this opportunity.

Here's your chance to get involved and make a difference, right here in Pensacola!

Old News: The City Council and County Commission still offer invocations (almost exclusively Xtian prayers) before every meeting.

Good News: Anyone can deliver an invocation! You just have to ask. From what I can tell, they need volunteers. I've done it three times, offering non-prayers and mocking pan/non-theist prayers. We need more! PLEASE PARTICIPATE. Here's how.

CITY: Contact Ericka Burnett ( and ask to be included on the list. Don't accept no for an answer. You don't have to be a clergyman, nor should you be put off for months. Currently, they have a list of local churches they ask and they have a hard time finding speakers. Why not fill that list with free thinkers?

COUNTY: Contact a commissioner. They choose who will speak. Yes, they mostly pick Xtians too. Here is the rotation: 

December 11, 2014 District 5 – Commissioner Barry
January 8, 2015 District 1 – Commissioner Robertson

PLEASE, let's get some diversity into this archaic, religion-dominated practice. 

Here's some information about giving a secular invocation.

If you'd like to know more about getting involved in offering a humanist/secular invocation at a meeting, or discuss this more, contact David Suhor at 850 512-2220.



Get Involved!



Want to get involved in some of our activities and help build our humanist community? Contact the committee chairs and find out how you can help!

You can find a brief outline of our committee structure HERE.


• FFM Chair/Contact Person: Buz Ryland - Email:

• Committee Members: Suren Shah, Sedona Strong


• CCP Chair/Contact Person: Kay Rudolph - Email:

• Committee Members: Michael Kimball, Rose Jansen, Amanda Kondrat'yev


• PPE Chair/Contact Person: Charles Stauffer - Email:

• Committee Members: Suren Shah, Kay Rudolph

Committee member emails:

Charles Stauffer:

Michael Kimball


Here's a list of some of the things we've done so far:

• Gave out Personal Care Packets for the Homeless

• Adopted 2 miles of Nine Mile Road for beautification

• Purchased and gave out 500 pounds of food to families in need

• Began monthly FreeUps to build social community and spark discussion

• Received $1500 grant from AHA

• Received several generous donations from local businesses and individuals

• We'd like to do so much more, but we need YOUR help! Come join us!


Partners for Secular Activism

Partners for Secular Activism is a new nonprofit educational organization based in the Washington DC area. The PSA President is John Shook, PhD., and you can email him at

The mission of Partners for Secular Activism is to facilitate education about secular, scientific, and civic issues and activities for the public. By bringing knowledgeable scholars and expert communicators together with audiences wanting more information about issues that matter to their lives, we will elevate the general understanding of reasoning, science, civics, ethics, and topical issues affecting the public. Courses announced by PSA are open to anyone, and they deliver educational value for everyone. (

Online classes for December/January:

Online classes for December and January are announced at and MindfulPathsFor.Us

Discounts are available for forums and workshops! Use the discount code 123645 to get $10 off when registering.

December webinar – Will Ryan Bell Remain an Atheist? A Dialogue on Life Without God with Richard Carrier – $59

January workshop – Become a Humanist Celebrant, with Han Hills, Professional Celebrant – $59

January workshop – Why Create Humanist Community, and How To Do It – Jen Hancock and Ann Fuller – $59

These one-month classes are accessible online 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when you have some time. There's nothing 'live' to be missed, and you aren’t using video, just text-based forums. Instructors respond individually to all questions and love extended conversations. Sign up for email alerts about coming classes at

-- Partners for Secular Activism is a 501c3 nonprofit educational organization, founded in January 2014.

Know someone interested in earning a master’s degree? The ‘Science and the Public’ program from the University at Buffalo, NY, is a part-time and completely online Masters of Education degree. This is America's only entirely online program for the secular promotion of science and science-based policy - go to


How are we using Social Media?

We now have a Facebook group!

If you hang out on Facebook, please come join us for conversation!

We also have a Meetup group to schedule our community service projects so please join it and choose to receive emails from that group if you'd like to participate! 

Also, please "like" our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, circle us on Google+ (follow links below)!


Please share this newsletter with anyone you think might be interested! If you look at the top of this newsletter in your email box, you should see a link that says, "Display problems? View this newsletter in your browser." Click that link and when it opens in your browser, copy and paste it into an email or on Facebook or other favorite social media.

Not a member yet? Join us today!

Like what we're doing and want to help HWF out financially? We're a 501c3 organization so your donations are tax deductible! Thank you!


The Mission of the Humanists of West Florida... to facilitate the advancement of humanist thought and action in Pensacola and surrounding areas by interconnecting groups of humanists, atheists, agnostics and non-religious. We will strive for equal participation in government and societal life through building strategic partnerships with other humanist and freethought organizations and with our religious neighbors to advance the greater good of humanity.