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Part One of Tori's Story

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Hello Friends,

To end this year, I wanted to share with you the story of one of the thousands of students the Secular Student Alliance empowers every day with your support. Tori Rehr, one of our 2013 summer interns, volunteered to tell you the impact the SSA has had on her campus and her life.

My name is Tori Rehr and I had the pleasure of working at the Secular Student Alliance as a summer intern. When I’m not moonlighting as a newcomer to the secular movement, I’m a senior studying Psychology at Juniata College in Pennsylvania, which has been my home for the better part of four years. But only recently have I started to make my small campus a welcoming place for secular students.

My exposure to the SSA prior to my internship was minimal. I fully de-converted to atheism about two years ago and started searching for a community that could replace the one I’d lost in my church. There was no existing group on my campus and I felt entirely alone—until I stumbled across the SSA and was drawn to its mission of building secular student communities. I immediately joined up as free student member, and was so excited by the possibility of doing a summer internship! I applied to be the Resource Development summer intern in 2013 and was offered the job a few weeks later.

My previous jobs in resource development boiled down to persuading group leaders that cooperation was much more exciting than in-meeting shouting matches. However, the SSA gave me a more dynamic opportunity by building off an existing database of excellent resources to fill in and expand on areas where groups seemed to be faltering. I learned how to write basic code and present information in a way that would be appealing to worried students, all the while gaining valuable experience about working in a non-profit.

Empower Secular Students While You Shop for the Holidays!

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Dear Friends,

We may not be religious at the Secular Student Alliance, but that doesn't mean we can't love the holiday season and all the joy it brings! Gathering with family and friends, sharing love and joy, and doing good for your community are not just religious values: they are also ones secular people hold dear.

The Secular Student Alliance at Brandeis!

Our groups have embraced this spirit to finish off 2013. They are planning interfaith community service events in North Carolina, showing the religious community that secular people want to help their communities too. At Brandeis, they are building a strong community on a religious campus, making sure their fellow students see how important community is to them.

We want you all to be able to support these students while you spread good cheer to your friends and families. Amazon.com has started a new program called Amazon Smile that lets you donate to non-profits while you shop! It is simple to sign up, and you can can pick the perfect gifts for your family knowing you are empowering students with every dollar you spend.

To start using Amazon Smile, just follow the simple steps below:

See How the SSA Empowers Individual Student Activists!

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Dear Friends,

You already know that the Secular Student Alliance empowers students on campuses from Hawaii to Maine. These students build secular communities at their high schools and colleges.

However, the SSA does more than just empower student communities. Part of our mission is to help individual student activists change the world. I want to tell you about some of the amazing things we are helping individual students to do through our new programs.

One of these new programs for individuals is the Secular Safe Zone, which we launched at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. Making students feel safe as nontheists in their communities will encourage many more to become secular activists. The Secular Safe Zone program trains and educates Allies to create safe spaces for students to question, criticize, and discuss religion without fear of backlash from their communities. This program was covered in The Atlantic and in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance!

$20,000 Matching Offer Until the End of the Year!

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Update: Thank you! You've rallied to Ron Verstappen's $20,000 match and beyond! Thanks, whether you've already given or whether you're still planning to!

We have some exciting news! Until the end of the year, generous supporter Ron Verstappen has pledged $20,000 to match donations to the Secular Student Alliance! Here is how you can double your impact and create secular activists across the country.

TSHIf you are already a donor to the SSA, any amount you give that puts your 2013 giving total over what you gave in 2012 will be doubled! So, if you gave $35 last year, and make a $100 gift today, the $65 difference will be doubled, making your total impact $165! If you gave $100 last year and have already given $100 in 2013, any additional amount you give will be matched.

If this will be your first time giving to the SSA, your entire gift will be matched! So your $100 donation will become $200, thanks to Ron's generosity.

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