Tag: local volunteer
November 19, 2013
Most of us reach a point in our careers where we need a new challenge. A little change once in a while spices up our lives and motivates our work. What better way to introduce change than to inspire change by serving on a nonprofit board? Nonprofit board members witness the social impact of their great causes while also offering advice, oversight and support. Read on to learn about an array of benefits that come with serving on a nonprofit board.
October 9, 2013
#GivingTuesday is the brainchild of the 92nd Street Y, a nonprofits cultural and community center in New York. The idea is to inspire giving and help charities nation-wide. How? By creating a daylong national effort to help charities raise money online during the holiday shopping season – and do so right on the heals of Cyber Monday and Black Friday. This is a big deal for nonprofits as last year alone the movement drew donations to about 2,600 nonprofits. (more…)
September 5, 2013
By Brad Jamison: contributing writer and founder of Good Citizen.
Back-to-school time is an annual reminder of the many service opportunities we have to help ensure kids have a fun and productive school year.
While I find great joy in doing all sorts of service, one of the things that delights me the most and provides enormous satisfaction is working with a nonprofit that benefits kids. In fact, last year, when I conducted Thirty Days of Service – 30 service projects with 30 organizations in 30 consecutive days – I spent nearly one-third of my time volunteering to help kids.
One of the most exhausting, yet rewarding, days of my thirty came when I volunteered with KaBOOM!. On that 90 degree day, I joined 200 others to build a new playground for the kids of an LA-area community. When we arrived at the site there was nothing to be seen other than a vacant space where an old dilapidated playground once stood and a sea of people eager to help. But, when we left there was a gorgeous, safe place for kids to play. It reminded me of the types of play space I was fortunate enough to grow up with, which is why I love doing these builds.
It is on a day like this, one when strangers come together with a common goal that I am reminded of the truth in one of my favorite quotes from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” On that day, we changed the world for the kids in this community.
Another thing I love about service is seeing the impact I have on the person I am helping. One place that happens for me, over and over, is at the Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood. I have been on the Board of the Club for more than four years, a role that brings me great joy and satisfaction. But, from time to time, I also volunteer with them in other ways.
During my Thirty Days of Service, I spent an afternoon helping kids with their homework in the Club’s learning center, which is where I visibly witnessed the impact I was having. I was sitting working with a young man struggling with his math assignment, something I could relate to, as I was never a superstar when it came to math. As I tried to help him, offering up various ways he could approach the equation, he grew more and more frustrated and was nearly begging me to just give him the answer. Not one to give in too easily to the charms of sweet kids, I kept working with him when suddenly something I said clicked with him and he was able to arrive at the correct answer. That little moment felt like magic for both of us!
Speaking of magic, the folks at Playworks might not be magicians, but they are experts at transforming schools by providing play and physical activity at recess and throughout the school day. I have seen firsthand how their hands-on approach helps build self-esteem in kids through play in a positive, supportive and non-threatening environment. As a kid who was frequently teased and picked last in gym, I know how intimidating the playground can be and I wish Playworks had been around for me. The day I served with Playworks, I wrote the following in my blog, “Many of life’s lessons are learned on the playground and I am thrilled that these kids, and kids at other Playworks schools, have an opportunity to learn those lessons in a safe and supportive environment. For the kids, it might seem like it’s just playtime, but we adults know it’s much more than that.”
So, whether it’s helping a teacher or kid, playing or instructing, there are so many ways to give to our next generation of leaders. I hope that during this back-to-school season, you will join me in pledging to find a way to serve this school year and help ensure a bright future for all.
About the author
Brad Jamison is a pro-social marketing expert, speaker, writer, producer, service advocate, philanthropist and founder of Good Citizen. A volunteer since he was 8, last year Brad conducted Thirty Days of Service – 30 service projects with 30 organizations in 30 consecutive days, for which he was honored with the Daily Point of Light Award, which recognizes the power of the individual to spark change and improve the world.
See Brad live:
Below is a video of Brad on day 28 of his service with Kaboom. For more videos, click here.
August 1, 2013
The lazy summer days are slipping away and it’s almost time to head back to school! This school year, why not look into volunteerism as a new after school activity? Getting involved with volunteering at a young age encourages an compassionate and kind outlook on life, strengthens your work ethic, and can provide valuable work experience.
Whether you’re a parent and you want to teach your children what it means to give back to the community, or you’re a high school student looking for meaningful ways to fulfill your service hour requirements, follow our tips to find the best volunteer opportunities for youth.
1. Look for organizations that specifically recruit children and teenagers as volunteers.
Great examples of these organizations include:
Pebble Tossers matches kids and teens up with volunteer opportunities and provides information on the number of hours, age requirements, and descriptions of different projects. Browse their list to find a service project that most appeals to you.
Youthlinc empowers youth to volunteer locally and be mentored to lead international service projects in impoverished villages in Kenya, Mexico, Peru, and Thailand.
Youth Making a Difference involves teens in Leadership Service projects that travel on humanitarian expeditions to India.
2. Check out your local soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
Many soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters take on students to volunteer for a weekend or on a regular basis and often give service hours in exchange. Contact your local organizations and ask if you can lend a hand.
3. Help out at senior centers and hospitals.
Local senior centers are often looking for young volunteers to help teach computer literacy classes, work in the kitchens or offices, or just be there to talk to the seniors and get to know them as you keep them company. Some hospitals also recruit high school volunteers to organize children’s play activities in the waiting areas, act as hospital greeters, and staff the gift shop or assist in administrative duties.
4. Join a club!
Many international service organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Clubs offer middle school and high school branches. Join your school’s Interact, Key Club, or Leo Club to find out about locally organized volunteer opportunities and to bond with other service-minded students. Some middle and high schools also partner with local elementary schools to provide volunteer tutoring services. Or look for service clubs outside of school, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Had a great volunteer experience and want to share your story? Want to search for more youth volunteer opportunities? Check out our website for more ways to get involved with the youth volunteer community!
April 5, 2013
It’s Earth Month, and we have some great ways to get kids involved! Earth Month is the perfect time to get kids into appreciating the natural world and taking care of their planet. Here are some ways to celebrate!
1. Take a hike, and clean up!
Get outside and get moving–hikes are an easy way to show kids the wonders of their own backyard and with spring here, you might get to take in blooming flowers and wildlife. Many local nonprofits hold programs in parks and natural areas. Local nonprofits are also responsible for stepping up and helping out state parks during budget cuts. Find a local environmental nonprofit near you.
If you live near a beach, river or lake, chances are, a local nonprofit needs your help for its next cleanup! Many organizations ramp up their cleanup efforts for April. Don’t live near water? You can still pitch in to clean up in your own backyard at your local park, school or playground!
2. Visit an Animal Rehab Center
Get access to some amazing wildlife while learning about how humans affect wild animals and their habitats near you. Visit a raptor center, like Cascades and witness eagles and owls up close. Live near the water? Find a marine mammal center, like the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA, to see how trash can entangle sea creatures, and how to help.
3. Go to a Car Wash
What kid doesn’t love being inside the car as it goes through a car wash? Why is it good for the environment? Car washes recycle their water, so much less water is used than when you run your hose at home to wash. And while your working on the car, check your tires, under-inflated tires can negatively affect your MPG, making your car less fuel efficient.
4. Start a Garden or Visit a Farm
Gardening is a fun, hands-on way to teach kids about the Earth and about healthy food. Grow your own veggies, or create a garden full of flowers to attract hummingbirds and butterflies! If your kids are into critters, start a compost bin and be sure to add lots of worms! Many nonprofits hold programs to educate urban farmers, like the Seattle Tilth Association. You could visit your local community garden for more inspiration. Many working farms give tours geared toward kids that show the effort and care that goes into growing healthy, local and fresh food while kids can engage with the farmers and animals.
5. Feed the Birds
Make your yard or balcony a haven for hungry wild birds. Set up a bird feeder and keep track of your visitors. There are many local Audubon Societies that give local birding walks as well and can help you identify the birds at your feeder. Take a walk around your neighborhood one morning and try to see how many birds you can identify. Believe it or not, the local dump is actually a favored birding spot as well. Some dumps and recycling centers offer tours. (Also a great place for kids to see how waste adds up.)
6. Recycle Your Clothes and Toys
Now is a great time to do some spring cleaning. If you end up with a mountain of clothes that no longer fit your kids, or toys that they have outgrown, consider donating them to those in need. It’s easy to have kids help out. Gather all of your donations in a recycling bin and head to your local Goodwill together. Many local groups also accept clothing and toy donations for those in need.
7. Ride a Bike
Instead of driving to run errands, try riding bikes together to local shops. You’ll save gas, get exercise and help the environment. Many bicycle nonprofits advocate for bikers’ rights and/or offer safety courses for riders, like The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
8. Read a Book–or Write One!
Take a trip to your local library and check out some books about your local flora and fauna. (After all, the library puts ‘reduce reuse recycle’ into action every day!) Have a writing session with your kids and create some art about the Earth. Nonprofits like River of Words in Berkeley, CA work to foster both literacy and environmental stewardship through poetry.
9. Go to a Farmers’ Market
Get some tasty local fruits and veggies at your farmers’ market. Most markets will let kids sample lots of different foods. Talk with the farmers and ask about how they grow their produce. Bring your reusable bags and ask for recipes too! Then have the kids help out with preparing a meal with the fruits and veggies you buy.
10. Make a Reusable Bag
Don’t have bags for the market? Use an old t-shirt and make a reusable bag! Kids can have fun decorating it.
Know of a great environmental nonprofit doing work near you? Write a review and let other folks know about it!
March 18, 2013
When was the last time you checked in on a neighbor? Been awhile? According to a new survey published in Atlantic Monthly, you aren’t alone.
The survey showed that, regardless of income level, the one community resource that most people felt they lacked was “kind, supportive neighbors.”
And community and environment can actually play a role in overall health and happiness.
How connected are you to your local community? Can you name a local nonprofit helping your community? See what happened when we asked some locals to name a nonprofit near them.
Find an organization in your community using our thousands of city pages. Start here with our zip code search. If you’ve spent time at a local nonprofit, share your story here by writing a review.
March 15, 2013
Feel like you don’t have the time to volunteer? A study published in Psychological Science revealed that doing something nice for others can actually give you a sense of having more time to spend.
When folks take the time to help someone else, they know it’s time well-spent. The study showed that when people feel like they’ve done something worthwhile with their time, however busy they may be, they also feel like they have more time.
Spending time on others actually gave subjects in the study more feelings of “time affluence” than actually having more free time. The study also compared feelings of time affluence after subjects simply wasted time or spent time on themselves. Doing for others won out.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your schedule, one of the most effective ways to feel like you have more time is to spend it helping others. Why not find a new place to volunteer near you?
Find a nonprofit that needs help near you. (We make it easy with our zip code search.)
Giving your time may just help you as much as your community.
March 5, 2013
Can you think of a local nonprofit in your city? Can you guess how many nonprofits are near you? We decided to do an experiment: we walked around our San Francisco Bay Area offices to find a few long-time locals. Could they name a single Bay Area nonprofit? Did they have an idea of how many nonprofits were in the area?
The results? Check them out below:
So, can you name a local nonprofit in your town? Use GreatNonprofits to find a local nonprofit!
If you’ve volunteered or donated to a nonprofit near you, have you written a review about that nonprofit to help others learn about it?
February 8, 2013
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there’s no better time to show your local nonprofits some love. Want to make it a date? We’ve got some great, romantic ways to give back:
Go for a romantic walk–with a shelter dog: Many homeless puppies and dogs in animal shelters spend the bulk of their time in cages. Sign up to spend some time walking dogs together at a shelter.
Donate to your valentine’s favorite charity: Can’t volunteer together? Give your partner a gift card with money to put toward any charity he/she likes, or, make a donation in your partner’s name to a favorite cause. Find charity gift cards at JustGive.
Cook for those in need: Not into the packed restaurant scene on Valentine’s Day? What about cooking a wholesome, hot meal for those in need in your neighborhood instead? Sign up together to cook or distribute food to the needy for a night.
Get the kids involved, or volunteer to help kids in need: Do your kids love making valentines? Why not deliver some to an elderly home? Or, do you both love working with kids? Volunteer together to mentor children in need.
Build something together: Work on a project together; it could be helping out at a Habitat for Humanity site, getting your hands in the dirt planting trees or helping school kids make art projects. Get creative!
Do you plan on volunteering this Valentines Day? Let us know how in the comments.
September 5, 2012
Want to volunteer or intern at a great Atlanta non-profit? Whether you’re new to Atlanta and want to learn about the city’s charities, trying to change up your routine with some local charity work, or just want to volunteer or intern at a neighborhood non-profit, everyone knows that the best way to find the right place for you is from the people who’ve been there!
Here’s a list of volunteers’ and interns’ favorite Atlanta charities. Every non-profit on this list earned has an overall score of 4 or greater out of 5 on GreatNonprofits.org, and must have been reviewed by at least 10 volunteers. If your favorite Atlanta non-profit or volunteer gig is missing, find it on GreatNonprofits.org, write a positive review, and show your co-volunteers how to start adding reviews and get it on the list! (more…)