Supply & Demand: Teen Volunteers Supply the Drive Society Needs

In January, when all the local schools were going back to class following the winter break, we started receiving requests from individual teens, school groups, and parent-youth groups – all looking for volunteer opportunities for MLK Day and beyond. Lucky for Activate Good, we were already working on just that. See, while everyone was binging on their Christmas ham and eggnog, lighting menorahs for Hanukkah, preparing their traditions for New Year’s Eve, hitting the slopes, or all those other wonderful winter break festivities – we were planning big plans. For me, as the new Youth Programs Coordinator, it was all about teens and families.   The Demand Where are youth volunteers needed – and accepted? What do the volunteers need – and want? How can we help everyone find great ways to get involved, or support the creation of ways to involve others? How can we create a welcoming, impactful, and educational volunteer environment from our end, as well as those of our more than 380 nonprofit partners in the Greater Triangle? On February 6, 7, and 8, we hosted teen focus groups to answer some of those questions and begin moving forward in all of our ambitious youth programming hopes and dreams for 2017. Teens chatted a lot about past experiences – what they liked or didn’t like, and why. But they also spoke about what they want (and what they feel their peers want) out of their future volunteer opportunities and interactions with their nonprofits hosts. They shed light on some really key points that I think a lot of nonprofits know, but often forget as they...

Youth Are Our Future: Programming in 2017

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but Activate Good is growing. Just in 2016, we’ve increased our nonprofit partners by 50 and nearly doubled our staff. But our local populations have grown, too – and that means community needs also are on the incline. So where are we going? Where will we be by 2018? In the next 10 years? What will our volunteer community look like? How will the Triangle change? What can we do to make sure local nonprofits are getting the help they need? There are plenty of questions to ask, and probably just as many answers. But one thing always rings true: Youth are our future. So, in 2017, and beyond, Activate Good wants to engage more youth so they can activate their ideas and continue carrying the torch of change in the Triangle. So here’s what we hope to do and see this year and in the future, and why: More Parent-Child Programming: We’ve hosted the annual Family Volunteer Day for the past few years, but hope to do even more. Parents set strong examples for their children, and that means that children who see their parents or guardians volunteer, and those whom are given a chance to join them, are more likely to volunteer on their own in the future. Help us set that example. Increased Opportunities for Teens Aged 13-17: We’ve noticed that if younger teens aren’t volunteering, it isn’t necessarily that they don’t want to. But in order to volunteer, they need to be given the chance, and parent’s aren’t always available to be with them during volunteer times (to no real fault of their...

9/11 Weekend of Service 2016: Remembering 15 Years

Fifteen years ago, the U.S. was horrified by intimate visions of flames, floating debris, ash-covered faces, crumbling facades, and enraging cruelty that took the lives of thousands, and impacted the lives of millions. But on that day and in the aftermath, we also witnessed even more intimate visions of people helping people under a banner that is a heart-wrenching combination of loss, shock, strength, and hope. Like it has never been hoisted before on American soil, that banner can only be described with one word: Unity. Today, society remembers that unity. Strives for it. Hopes for it. And in all of humankind’s imperfections, manages to accomplish it during the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance. Activate Good has participated in the National Day of Service movement since 2011 – the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This year, for the 15th anniversary, our volunteer center tackled a Triangle-wide 9/11 Weekend of Service, September 9-11, with over 100 projects from over 50 nonprofit partners. Projects ranged from school beautification and building homes to sorting donations and feeding the hungry – with school groups, civic groups, families, individuals, and companies all coming out to support so many important causes faced by our community daily. On Sunday, September 11, we also hosted our 9/11 Commemoration and Service Event, during which we welcomed speakers, live music, and free food (including our special mac n’ cheese-toting and cross-country traveler, the Farmers’ Gratitude Grille). We also offered volunteers the opportunity to participate in six hands-on service stations: Letters to the Troops Thank You Bags for First Responders, benefiting Raleigh police, EMS, and fire departments Cat Kare Kits, aiding Safe...

Frontline Families Grows Produce and Aids Women {9/11 Weekend of Service 2016}

Back on July 16, 2016, Activate Good hosted an all-day conference of sorts as part of the Frontline Families initiative. The fourteen attendees represented all walks of life – veterans, current service members, military family members, and civilians. To start the day, everyone had the opportunity to discuss various issues facing our communities – including poverty, education, health, and the environment – how they impact our communities, and what could potentially be done to alleviate them. They also learned how to start planning their own community service projects! At the end of the day, two groups of Volunteer Leaders went on to begin planning two separate community service projects, each representing at least one topic discussed earlier in the day – and both occurring during our 9/11 Weekend of Service. Here’s what happened:   Grow Produce for Communities: Saturday, September 10, 2016 – 9am-12pm In 2015,  the Goodwill Community Foundation was able to donate over 112,000 pounds of produce, grown right on its local farm in Durham, NC. Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, that produce supported not only Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, but also the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Continuing their mission to help local communities in need, GCF requested volunteers to help around the farm on September 10, 2016. Our Frontline Families Volunteer Leaders Tylor, Cathy, Andrew, and Nick accepted the task, and recruited some other volunteers to join them. But they wanted to go a step further by fundraising and purchasing some tools for their project, and finally leaving the items as a donation to the farm. So a big THANKS goes out to McGill Environmental Systems for supporting this project with their generous donation!...

Graphic Designer Amanda Owens Becomes National Inclusion Project’s Pro Hero

“They are no different than any other kid; they love to play, and learn, and just have fun. Why stop them? Join them.” -Amanda “Bubbly Inker” Owens, 2016 Pro Hero with the National Inclusion Project The National Inclusion Project works daily to make communities and extracurricular programs and activities more inclusive for children with disabilities, “because no child should sit on the sidelines.” Since January 2015, the organization has gone through a lot of changes. But as an organization changes, so must its promotional and informational materials. With its headquarters located in the RTP, the organization sought a graphic design Pro Hero to revamp its four-year-old brochure, and create new infographics highlighting community impacts. The Bubbly Inker Gives A New Look The National Inclusion Project had a lot of new information that it accumulated over the years, all freshly compiled and ready for presentation to help increase support for the inclusion of children with disabilities nationwide. The organization’s previous brochure was not only out of date, but also too long and costly to mail. So Amanda “Bubbly Inker” Owens became the National Inclusion Project’s 2016 Pro Hero, accepting the task to create a new brochure and infographics for the organization. “The value of her volunteer work is equivalent to us sending at least 20 kids to an inclusive camp,” explains Tonya Gillham, the National Inclusion Project’s Director of Development and Marketing. “The brochure she is designing will allow us to make thousands more people aware of the National Inclusion Project and the benefits of inclusion. She is helping us make the inclusion of children with disabilities the expectation, not...