Around this time of year, a number of us take the time to step back from our normally busy lives and examine in what ways we feel we are able to give back. The holidays are known for bringing out the charitable spirit in people, whether that spirit is in the form of a monetary or in-kind donation or a service project such as volunteering at a food bank or children’s hospital. This is truly fantastic, but a question this always brings up for me is, in what ways can we harness this spirit year-round and use it to create a legacy of giving?
I recently had the privilege of spending an intensive four days with volunteerism colleagues in Singapore (my fifth visit since 2001) on behalf of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVCP) there. Singapore is a small country, but amazingly multicultural and multi-lingual. Over the last decade, NVCP has focused on encouraging more intentional giving of time and money in both formal and informal ways. I learned about many interesting things during my most recent stay, and want to share three of them here.
Guest commentator Rob Jackson draws three critical points from recent social media data that have direct relevance to leaders of volunteers – and gives tips for responding. Are you keeping up with how fast things are changing?
Even though Canada and the U.S. are gearing up for their National Volunteer Weeks on the third week of April, and the UK and Australia’s special volunteer weeks are not far away, Energize is challenging all volunteer-involving organizations to carve out time and focus on Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), celebrated April 20-22, 2012.
13 March: On Thursday, March 24, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. EST, the YEF Institute and the National League of Cities (NLC, www.nlc.org) will host a free, hour-long, audio conference on "Community Attachment and Civic Engagement: Key Lessons and Opportunities for Municipal Leaders." Speakers on this call will highlight effective civic engagement strategies, with particular attention to innovative technology approaches, youth involvement, and promoting inclusion and civility. Register online.
13 February: Global Youth Service Day(www.GYSD.org) is an annual campaign that celebrates the millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through volunteering and service-learning – and mobilizes thousands of service projects during the weekend it runs each April. Global Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world, and the only day of service dedicated to children and youth. GYSD is celebrated each year in over 100 countries. In 2011, Global Youth Service Day will be April 15-17.
In 1988, Youth Service America (YSA, www.ysa.org) and the Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL, now part of Idealist.org) organized the first National Youth Service Day, then called, “A Day in the Life of Service.” Nearly 1,000 programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia participated. By 2000, YSA adapted the United States model to go international and founded Global Youth Service Day.
Are there any families on your holiday shopping lists that seem to have everything? Why not give them one of these great books on giving back as a family.
Raising Charitable Children by Carol Weisman In her warm, welcoming, and often funny book, Weisman shares real-life stories of how parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, Scout leaders, friends, next door neighbors, and her own family helped to teach children how to give back to those in need. But she doesn’t stop there. After each of the stories, Weisman offers specific steps to help anyone translate these ideas into action. In this way, she turns what might have been just a lot of wonderful stories into a set of practical models anyone can use to start making a difference now. (Purchase the hardback on Amazon as a gift; if you want to read the book yourself, save money and order the e-book from the Energize Online Bookstore.)
The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering byJenny Friedman How many times has a friend or family