PMD provides a wonderful outlet for those who want to volunteer but can't commit to doing so on a regular schedule, and/or who have not selected (or do not want to narrow themselves to) a single specific cause. And it provides a wonderful resource for organizations which need a burst of reliable manpower for a specific task. It can also be a great way to learn about organizations operating in the area, and the causes they support. if you *are* shopping around for a longer-term volunteering gig.
People Making a Difference (PMD) is a great non-profit for those looking to volunteer without a repeat commitment. I volunteered with them as a college student at MIT, and I liked the flexibility and the diversity of the projects. They have been around the Boston area for quite a number of years and have some regular events they do on an annual basis as well as some one-off events. The founder, Lori, is quite involved, and she is always so friendly and welcoming. Highly recommend volunteering with PMD for those in the greater Boston area!
Since PMD is so versatile, they continue to run projects safely amidst a pandemic! Outdoor, community cleanup projects are just one of the many types of projects that PMD is equipped to run, and these are perfect and safe pandemic activities! PMD is also taking all necessary precautions to run safe, indoor projects with masks and social distancing required by all volunteers. PMD is still the best way to get involved and make improvements in your community, and also to meet other like-minded community members!
I like that PMD volunteer projects are very well planned (so run incredibly smoothly), support a variety of good causes, and always explain WHY volunteers are making a difference.
People Making a Difference is a wonderful organization that helps those in need.
They are doing their best to mitigate health risks by requiring masks and physical distancing, promoting hand washing and sanitization, plus very conservatively pre-screening all volunteers and encouraging people who are ill to cancel, yet offering in-person volunteer opportunities assembling print-Braille children's books and improving urban wilds, plus pioneering virtual science bowl competitions.
People who volunteer with People Making a Difference (PMD) are super motivated and reliable. They arrive ready to help where they're needed most, and come with tools and manager(s). PMD volunteers make an effort to get to know charities and the issues our clients face. PMD volunteers also contribute financially to help purchase materials when needed (and when they can afford to do so), which makes all the difference.
Enjoy volunteering with PMD because projects are interesting and carefully chosen to make a difference in different areas. Effort varies but is always enjoyable.
An excellent volunteer experience! I learned about a local charity and performed needed community service. The other volunteers were fun to chat with.
I love both the flexibility and the structure I have when volunteering with PMD. I get to pick the nonprofit I will help and the date I wish to volunteer. PMD provides me with the tools, directions, and information to learn about the group I am helping while performing a needed task. I always meet great people and have fun on PMD projects.
Excellent organization that really works with the local community to fill real needs and engage volunteers.
PMD always have meaningful projects that really help organizations. As a volunteer I never felt my time was being wasted because the projects are so well organized and the purpose of the project and why we are there is really well explained. A PMD project is always a great experience.
PMD offers a variety of Boston area projects with diverse learning and networking opportunities. Volunteers only need to commit to a single project at at a time, so there is flexibility to choose projects that interest them most, and those that work best with their time. For me, this means any project involving food (and there are many!) and those that are accessible by public transportation. It's a great way to meet like-minded people and to give back to your community!
I love every project that People Making a Difference (PMD) does! Helping the Greater Boston community is so easy with PMD since you can pick a type of project you know you'll enjoy, show up and learn what you need to know, and contribute to your community in just one day! I feel really confident that they put safety first during the pandemic. I know when I'm on one of the projects right now that I will be safe while I contribute.
I have been involved with PMD as a volunteer, project manager and board member for 15 years. I don't think I've ever stuck with anything for 15 years, but PMD makes it so easy! I can make a real difference even if I only have 8 hours once a month or once a year and I can do it in so many different ways. I love to do outdoor planting and trail work when the weather is warm, cooking around the holidays, and everything else in between (sorting seeds, delivering meals, visiting elders, etc.). If you are busy, but know you can give a morning, afternoon or full day, check out PMD's variety of amazing projects just waiting for a volunteer like you :)
This is my 27th year of involvement with People Making a Difference.
I feel like that's enough said. :-)
I have been an on and off volunteer for many years with this group. PMD provides needed help and volunteer management to organizations who, in many cases, would not be able to manage volunteers on their own despite needing the help.
Volunteering through PMD is helpful as it connects with organizations (and helps them learn about them throughout the experience) that would normally not be possible. PMD also actively demonstrates that it is dedicated to ensuring that volunteers have a productive, educational, and fun time while volunteering.
PMD is in a class by itself and does excellent work supporting local charities and providing volunteers with meaningful and valued service opportunities.
As a PMD volunteer and board member for many years, I remain a huge fan of the manifold contributions PMD makes to serving those in need in the greater Boston community. PMD volunteer service projects fill genuine needs in a host of charitable areas with heart, efficiency, and valued results. Every single PMD service project makes a meaningful difference not only to those directly and indirectly served but also to the participating PMD volunteers, whose time and dedication is always respected and appreciated.
They do a great job supporting other quality non-profits.
The projects are always well-organized and useful to the organization receiving the help.
You won't wind up just standing around wondering what you're doing there.
They make it really easy to do some good ... just sign up and show up.
All information, equipment, etc is provided. The volunteer events are well-organized and fun.
Volunteering with PMD is a great way to help a lot of different kinds of charities without having to make a long term commitment. If you get on their mailing list, you will get mail about once a week with a list of projects you can sign up for - everything from helping with an enviromental awareness street fair to assembling braille books to preparing and serving a meals at women's shelter. You sign up for the projects that fit your interests and schedules.
An extremely well organised and positive experience to share with my teen girls. I will do it again at the first opportunity. We met wonderful people. The girls felt so happy afterwards, they got along better then ever. The benefits are far greater than you even expect.
My first experience volunteering with PMD was terrific: well planned and organized and the task of bracelet-making for the troops was fun and meaningful. I look forward to future volunteering with this group!
Wide variety of volunteer activities that teach you about the people you are helping and how the work you do will impact them.
I volunteered with PMD years ago when I lived in Boston. I still remember how fulfilled I felt after each volunteer opportunity. Also something that I remember, is how organized and focused Lori is. The consistency of this organization is admirable. The volunteer opportunity available is clearly described to potential volunteers, with the beginning time and an end time, and it one point Lori would bring chocolate chip cookies :) to some of the volunteer events. Although I’m not sure if she’s doing that anymore, this was many years ago. I also loved the group picture opportunity that happened at the end of each volunteer shift. I did so many different types of volunteer shifts, it was exciting, engaging, it really made me feel great while I was being of service. We need PMD chapters all over the United States. We need to replicate what Lori has done in Boston all over the United States.
People Making a Difference have been a consistent support to maintaining an important community natural area in Boston - the Iroquois Woods. Their help has been just immense for over 15 years!!
Incredible, flexible nonprofit that still knows when to crack down to get things done. I've never been to a service organization that does work so varied and so important, no matter how mainstream or niche the cause. I've gotten involved in a few quirky projects here that I would never have been able to do otherwise and felt I've done real good in the process. Wonderful group!
I love working on PMD projects b/c they are always only a 1 day commitment. All material about project timing, directions, parking, etc. are detailed and includes maps. The instructions for volunteering are always clear, you learn about the organization you are helping that day and you get choc. chip cookies at the end. Bonus!
I have been involved with PMD for 15 years. I love that projects are only for 1 day so you get a sense of satisfaction in seeing your work completed. The projects are well organized with safety as a top concern. You get background info. on the organization you are helping so you can understand why you are there and who benefit from your service. There are evaluations at the end of each project to gather feedback for future projects.
Some projects all children (10+) to volunteer and I have brought my son to several projects with me. He gets to see the importance of volunteering and have a sense of accomplishment.
One of the most organized, productive and pro-active organizations around. The Do Truly Make a Difference.
A great way to participate in a one time event, meet people and make a difference
Volunteering with PMD really feels like a good use of both my time and that of the organization served. They bring human labor to where organizations need it, avoiding situations where I feel like organizations are left to scramble to accommodate larger well-meaning but not the most strategically present groups.
PMD, run by Lori, does INCREDIBLE work for the world and the people of Boston. Through this group I have done two amazing volunteering events, one at MIT building science kits, and the other at Community Servings prepping desserts for the clients they feed. Both events not only introduced me to an amazing new organization in Boston, but they taught me something interesting that I hadn't known previously, and allowed me to meet amazing new people. The volunteering opportunities are incredibly well organized, and lots of opportunities are provided to get involved. Definitely recommend volunteering with PMD -- just join the listserve and wait for an amazing opportunity to pop up!
Great nonprofit helps the community with volunteers.
Great organization and fun projects. You feel very fulfilled to have volunteered. You also meet other volunteers.
Many years ago, before I got married and had children and was an eager twenty-something working in the Back Bay, I re-discovered my love of volunteering and found People Making A Difference. No pressure, no monthly commitment, just an incredible army of like-minded people who wanted to make a difference in their communities and enjoy thoughtful, well-organized, impactful volunteerism. A few years later, I found myself on the board of a large event on the Boston Common and engaged PMD to make our event even more hospitable, engaging and well-run... and they brought so much to the party, they were invited back year after year as a reliable resource for this nonprofit public health event. Nearly 25 years later, I'm proud to be back in the fold as the organization celebrates a milestone anniversary, and am just as impressed with PMD as I was so many years ago. Few nonprofits stay as focused and true to their mission as People Making A Difference - an unsung hero in Massachusetts, for sure. Happy anniversary PMD!
I've enjoyed every single project that I've participated in with PMD! It's a great way to make an impact on my local community and to get to know other civic-minded people in the area.
People Making a Difference has been a great resource for me over the years to stay informed and involved in my community.
PMD gets volunteers into the small projects that need help but are unable to attract attention. Projects only take a portion of a day and fill a broad spectrum of needs (elder community engagement, STEM education assistance, greenspace conservancy, etc.). PMD allows your volunteerism to fit your schedule.
PMD allows me to donate my time to a lot of different causes that I care about. They are organized and equipped so that my time is spent productively and I'm helping the people I came to help.
I have had the pleasure volunteering with PMD both this year and last year. They are tremendously well organized and credit to the community.
Thank you for making my community better!
PMD is a wonderful organization that allows you to volunteer when you want for the projects that interest you and that fit your schedule. There is no weekly/monthly commitment that other organizations require. It lets you select the projects that suit your schedule. There are familiar faces and new faces both. It is well organized and committed to helping people. Highly recommended!!
A great non-profit with hands-on projects and a fun, interactive community.
PMD is an amazing opportunity for people of all backgrounds to find interesting and impactful opportunities to volunteer! There's a wide variety for people to try out and additionally, it's great that there are different ones you can try every weekend - so that you can commit to a few when it works in your schedule. Often times volunteering requires a long commitment and can be prohibitive to busy families or individuals, but this allows you to volunteer as often as you want without being worries of not being allowed to volunteer again!
I appreciate PMD especially for advertising a wide variety of service opportunities in the area. There are projects for every type of volunteer and a range of time commitments. It gives everyone a chance to contribute however they want.
I have volunteered with this group for over 15 years now. Each project is very well organized so volunteers will be fulfilled and satisfied that their work was needed, and that the project lasted just long enough to keep it enjoyable rather than overtiring. I love the opportunity to do self-contained projects for a variety of charities and events. I've painted route signs for walkathons, run activities and face-painted for family fun days, given out books at literacy fairs, staffed science competitions between HS teams, sorted seeds for free gardens, planted flowers at the zoo, and much more!
This nonprofit offers extremely welk-organized projects that are designed to bring maximum satisfaction to the volunteers as well as clearly benefit the charity served. Projects are just long enough, just demanding enough, and have a clear finished product. Icebreaker a are always a part, to help volunteers get comfortable with each other, and leaders pass out fresh bajed cookies during the wrap up.
I have volunteered with PMD for many years and the projects are always very organized. Once you get to the project site, the plan for the day is explained and everyone is given clear instructions so a lot gets done over the course of the day. One of the things I love about volunteering with PMD is that often I get to interact with the community I am serving and learn more about them. Being able to see how the project impacts people is a priceless experience that is often missing from other community service opportunities.
People making a difference is a grass roots organization providing volunteers and organizations with a positive experience.
For many years, People Making A Difference has provided motivated, energetic volunteers for our volunteer work days at Spy Pond Park. They willingly do whatever is needed including enhancing the view of visitors by trimming hedges bordering the pond, cutting back invasive plants that crowd out flowers and bushes in our planting beds and planting new ferns, bushes and plants. In addition to this important work, we always welcome their enthusiasm, camaraderie and work ethic along with the expertise and careful organization of their leader, Lori Tsuruda. Lally Stowell, Volunteer Coordinator, Friends of Spy Pond Park
People Making a Difference seems like a simple kind of nonprofit--small good-works for many many community projects, but they are cumulative, and this nonprofit has earned its stars for many years, run by the incredibly smart, incredibly dedicated and professional Lori Tsuruda. The work PMD does really does make a great difference. And without that work, the agencies it helps would survive, but not anywhere near as well. This nonprofit deserves more than 5 starts. Bravo to PMD.
PMD's projects are always well-planned and well-executed. It fills a vital role in connecting volunteers with organizations who might not have the resources to run volunteer recruitment . Great for people looking to explore the city more while giving back to their community.
Volunteering with PMD is always a positive experience. Well organized, we are always presented the bigger picture of what we are contributing to, and the difference we are actually making. The events range a wide variation of opportunities from helping to bind braille children's picture books to sorting seeds for community gardens to preparing and packaging food to delivered to people homebound by illness to constructing chemistry and DNA kits from Legos to be used in classrooms. Always interesting, fun and rewarding - I always check the calendar for future events.
I've received the President's Volunteer Service Award several years running - PMD was key in getting me volunteering as a life choice. And I'm thankful.
PMD is a local, grass roots non-profit that works in and around greater Boston, MA. This organization is perfect for individuals or groups seeking to lend a helping hand on one-time volunteer projects. Service projects range from traditional volunteering at a shelter or park, to helping run the annual Blue Lobster Bowl (as part of the MIT Sea Grant program)!
My name is Andy and I am a Board Member and frequent volunteer with People Making a Difference (PMD). I've been affiliated with PMD for the past two years and can whole-heartedly say that there is no other, grass-roots, local, volunteering/service organizations quite like PMD. PMD's primary mission is to connect people who want to help local charities that need volunteer assistance but lack the resources to do so effectively. I've personally witness the hard work and dedication of our Executive Director and volunteers time and time again- from assembling braille books for blind children at Boston's National Braille Press, to making no-sew fleece blankets on Summer Street for Boston's homeless. The work that PMD's volunteers selflessly perform is vital to the Greater Boston community. It’s clear to me that PMD's ultimate power lies in leveraging everyday people (like myself) to perform extraordinary differences in our community- hands down one of Boston Best local non-profits. Andy
Volunteering for PMD I know that they have vetted the non profit I'll help so I can get in there and really make a contribution and not waste my time. Host agencies are prepared for the number of people coming, provide a substantial project to work on with plenty of tools and leaders that stay with you and tell you how what you'll do with them matters to their agency and who some of the people are that will benefit. It's about task and relationship. They also provide opportunities to get to know the other volunteers while the project runs which is great if you're new to the area or you want to expand your network. I like that the projects are one time events at different agencies so there's lots of variety in tasks, locations, times and dates. They also use evaluation sheets at the end of each project to get immediate feedback on the volunteer's experience. I can't ask for more!
Terrific organization - adds real value to both volunteers and to the organizations it help. Adds may hours of valuable work and does it on a shoestring. A "best-in-class" operation.
PMD has done a number of projects which support STEM activities for youth. By far, my favorite is the assembly of special LEGO kits used as manipulatives to teach public school students about DNA and related concepts.
If you're a non-profit who needs people to complete a key project, look to PMD. They'll gather volunteers, arrange for supplies, and organize everything.
I was initially drawn to PMD when I read the mission statement; it just makes sense. I love knowing that my time is being used to meet needs expressed by organizations doing great things. Furthermore, I get to work with a variety of people and organizations -- from cooking for elders, to assembling Braille books, to putting together lego-science kits. Lori, the founder, attends every PMD event and ensures they are running smoothly, everyone knows what is happening, and our time is being used productively. Her positive energy is infectious and working with the diverse group PMD attracts is always a joy. I always leave tired and proud of the work we accomplished.
PMD lives up to it's name - every volunteer opportunity is a time to really make a difference for the organization and for the lives of people in Boston. Too often "volunteering" especially in a corporate program, can mean that you are just showing up and doing "make work" - that is never the case with PMD, where they have clearly worked with each organization to make sure volunteer efforts go where they are truly needed.
People Making a Difference (PMD) is a stunning example of a well-run nonprofit. Their concept of providing volunteers for one-off projects is an outstanding idea, matching up a community's needs to people who are willing to complete tasks to solve those needs. Signing up is incredibly easy. Each project had clearly defined start and stop times, as well as detailed descriptions so one knows what to expect.
I was also introduced to other nonprofits and organizations I would have otherwise never encountered. All the projects on which I helped directly impacted individuals in the community. The variety of projects, too, is amazing and all of them hands-on activities. Some of my projects were: putting together Braille books; cooking, serving and sharing a meal with at risk/lonely elderly residents; clearing invasive, non-native plants at both Belle Isle Marsh and Walden Pond; building trails in the City of Lynn; sorting and folding donated clothes at St. Francis House; preparing and serving meals at Pine Street Inn and the Women's Lunch Place; packaging books for prisoners. And those just skim the surface!
The projects are all well defined and well run, with instructions from the project manager at the start and time to introduce ourselves. I met loads of interesting people, from MIT students to 90 year-olds. I tried new recipes , found new places in the greater Boston area and learned how to handle a mattock - so, while I was donating my time, I was also learning.
I travel a lot for work, but still like to contribute to the community in which I live and PMD makes that incredibly easy. On my own, I wouldn't have had time to seek out the variety of volunteer opportunities they offer, and all for other organizations! The projects I've participated in have allowed me to work outdoors on trails, cook and share Thanksgiving dinner with the elderly, put together Braille books, paint signs and faces, and sort clothes for the homeless. All volunteer project managers have been well organized and knowledgeable - the different teams interesting, diverse and fun. PMD and Lori are treasures!
The volunteers at PMD painted signs for Brookwood Community Farm. They were colorful and fun and appeiciated by all who visit the farm
I've volunteered with PMD since 2008 - everything from cleaning a zoo to making fleece blankets. This is an organization that enables people who want to get involved with their community but do not have the time commitment for long-term projects. The projects are fun and all the people involved (the founder of PMD, event organizers, volunteers, etc.) are always passionate about each project, even though they are short 3-5 hour one-time events.
I volunteered with this energetic bunch over in East Boston. The job was very rewarding because I was able to see the difference my work made. It was additionally rewarding because the park ranger gave us an education in a variety of plants and wildlife which was indigenous to the area. The group appears to do a variety of settings some indoors and some outdoors like the East Boston experience. I would recommend this group to my friends and family.
I really appreciate the volunteer service provided by People Making a Difference at Fresh Pond Reservation in Cambridge. PMD does its homework with me to make sure that I have a substantial project that will engage the skills and abilities of its volunteers, help them to understand how the work is meaningful to the reservation and introduce first timer volunteers with the resources the reservation has to offer them on subsequent visits. PMD preps volunteers with information about the project and the place they will be working as well as a list of expectations. Volunteers show up on time and ready to work. This groups stays with me for 3-5 hours so we get to know each other as we work together and I can get quite a bit done for my time investment working. They are the best group I work with!
It was ver well organized and the experience is unforgettable.
Over the years, we have looked for opportunities to contribute that fit into our already busy schedules. PMD makes that easy! We were pleased to discover multiple options for participation. We've volunteered only once so far, but intend to return. The project was very well organized and those who participated were terrific. Seems there are quite a variety of ways to make a difference for very interesting organizations!
People Making a Difference has been a great resource to meet my need for contributing without having to make an ongoing commitment. The projects are always very well organized, and I've learned about some really interesting organizations and issues affecting my community.
PMD offers great experiences and the satisfaction of making a difference.
PMD does a great job providing high-impact volunteer opportunities!
Lori Tsuruda and PMD made all the difference in our corporate community involvement event. It can be a challenge identifying a project that a big group can work on but through Lori's leadership we were able to identify an activity that over 100 EMCers across the US and Canada participated in. Youth literacy was a theme we could all agree on and the team had a blast working on the literacy folder creation for Gifts to Give together. Lori and her team were collaborative from start to finish. Prior to the project she worked closely to provide guidance and recommendations on logistics and she was there when it was time for the big event day. A few months have now passed since our give back event and the team is still talking about the experience. Looking forward to working with PMD & Lori in the future!
I have volunteered for PMD since 2007. PMD is one of the few non-profits that understands how to work with volunteers effectively. Their organizing skills and attention to detail make every project a success for the organizations they help and a satisfying experience for the volunteers who do the work.
I have volunteered with 6 or 7 projects through PMD and it's always a ton of fun. They are very well run and extremely organized. No standing around and waiting to figure out what to do- everyone has something to do from beginning to end. I love the concept of "responsible volunteerism" and one-off volunteer projects because it's honestly difficult for many working families to commit to a long-term volunteer program without running the risk of letting someone down or feeling overwhelmed. Being able to pick a project and complete it within one day allows me to feel useful and important without worrying that I'm going to bite off more than I can chew and let an organization down. Great job, PMD!
I've volunteered on two projects through PMD in 2014 and have thoroughly enjoyed them both...Lori does an excellent job of planning the events and providing volunteers with all of the information that they need beforehand, both about the event itself and also about the organization you will be supporting with your efforts. This second part, learning about the organization a bit more, for me, helps make my volunteer experience more rewarding, knowing how my actions are contributing to the broader mission of the organization I'll be helping during my volunteering.
PMD events have often been at convenient times for me, compared to other opportunities I've found via other sources (e.g., VolunteerMatch, Boston Cares, etc.), so I've enjoyed not having to 'hunt' for opportunities to participate.
Keep up the great work Lori...looking forward to helping out again soon!