August 15, 2011

How to make volunteering fun and flexible

AARP foodbank volunteer


AARP’s Create the Good program provides volunteers with a variety of ways to give back

Guest post by Mimi Castaldi
Vice President for Volunteer Engagement, AARP

I like giving back to my community, but I hate getting locked down or doing things that I find boring. Helping others can be meaningful and fun and flexible. Millions of Americans, including those who already give back, want to do more, but a regular volunteer “slot” isn’t for them. It just doesn’t work in their lives.

That’s why AARP launched Create The Good, a resource for finding ways to get involved and help others on your schedule, whether you have 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days to spare.

Here’s how it works

  • Check out volunteer opportunities in or near your zip code. Create The Good features a searchable database of more than 200,000 volunteer opportunities — everything from reading to children and the visually impaired, welcoming home U.S. troops or helping at a soup kitchen and delivering hot meals, to visiting nursing home residents, walking dogs, gardening and even serving as a museum docent, along with much more.
  • Help a friend or neighbor cope with extreme heat, start a community garden, hold a used book sale, send books to the U.S. troops, prepare for an emergency, save money while shopping or improve their lives in other ways.
  • Find volunteers for your project. Not only can you search for activities in or near your zip code, but you can also look for other volunteers to help you with projects you organize.
  • Do good things on your own. We also offer more than 30 how-to guides and 10 videos to help you help others. These easy-to-use guides walk you through simple steps to help a friend or neighbor cope with extreme heat, start a community garden, hold a used book sale, send books to the U.S. troops, prepare for an emergency, save money while shopping or improve their lives in other ways. More than 20 guides are available in Spanish.
  • Tight on time? Check out our 5-minute ideas for giving back to your community in virtually no time at all: Easy things like giving up your seat on the bus so a family can sit together, sending a thank-you note to your local police or fire station or calling to check in on a neighbor.
  • Continue reading

July 9, 2010

Where to volunteer this summer, and beyond

From Fabien Cousteau’s Plant a Fish site.

This is part of The Causemopolitan‘s summerlong series of guest posts that will inspire you to get involved and give back. For more, see Cause It’s Summer!

Guest post by Susan McPherson

This summer I seem to have even more enthusiasm and energy to support the causes that I’m passionate about. I can’t pinpoint the exact reasons why, but perhaps it’s knowing that I’m shortly embarking on a new career as well as reading the blaring daily headlines about the tragedy in the Gulf.

So here’s my thought: What if we could take the extra 3-4 hours of sunshine that we are so graciously provided every summer day and use that time to give back to some of those fabulous organizations that need help? For every interest, passion, category, location that exists, there is a worthy nonprofit organization that is dying for volunteers and support – young and old.  

Below, I’ll share some of my favorites:

Plant a Fish: ‘Replanting’ key species

Have you ever thought of planting a fish, an oyster or another sea creature?  Intrigued?  If so, check out Plant A Fish, a new nonprofit founded by Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the legendary ocean explorer, Jacques Yves Cousteau.  Fabien’s goal is to help children and communities around the world “replant” key species in their local waterways – rivers, lakes and oceans.  

The organization will also be helping with the relocation of various sea animals affected by the Gulf Oil Spill.  If you are passionate about our planet, the outdoor world and the environment, I encourage you to sign up today.  Within the next few years, there will be Plant A Fish communities created in cities around the world. Follow on Twitter: @plantafish.

Bpeace: Help women affected by war & conflict

Job creation.  Nice thought, don’t you think?  Have you ever considered how much holding a job can mean to someone?  We often take for granted the fact that a paycheck comes every week or so, but there are millions around the world who aren’t so fortunate.  What if you could help women in areas of the world affected by war and conflict, build their businesses and create employment – places like Afghanistan, El Salvador, Rwanda and Bosnia?  What if you could use the skills you have acquired over the years to help train others to run more efficient and profitable businesses?  

Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) is a group of businesswomen dedicated to helping women in regions of conflict and post-conflict build businesses to sustain their families and strengthen their communities. Whether you choose to visit one of the above-mentioned countries and provide expertise on the ground, or work while at your laptop or mobile device, Bpeace can truly use your brainpower. Follow on Twitter: @bpeacehq Continue reading