Giving Back Comes Full Circle

When Sean Eberle volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House (RMDH), it hits home. That’s because as a child, Sean himself was a patient at the RMDH. “Any time you can give back to somebody who’s given back to you,” you have to take that opportunity, Sean says. Already active in the community as a football coach, Sean heard about volunteering at the RMDH through his friend and colleague, Chirag Bhangale. Recounting a time that Sean helped one of his players by driving them to work, Chirag says, “He goes above and beyond being a good role model.” Former Patient Becomes Volunteer at Ronald McDonald House Knowing Sean’s background, he invited Sean to come volunteer at the RMDH, where Chirag was already volunteering as a Project Leader for the Activate Good Triangle Do-Gooders MeetUp group. “I was so familiar with it from staying there so many times,” Sean says. Sean and Chirag regularly help out in the RMDH kitchen to prepare a meal for more than 70 kids. Though he says this RMDH operates somewhat differently from the one he went to in his youth, he still remembers how volunteers used to cook for him and his family, and how much it helped them financially. “It seems so simple and small to some people, but when you’re juggling surgeries, recovery, appointments, driving to the hospital. You’re going to drive a long distance to get there at night and not know if you’re going to have a room… As serious as some people are, or as I was, or my brother even — to not have to think about that stuff,...

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!...

Volunteering Sparks Relationships

Volunteering offers a wide range of benefits, from improved health and career prospects to lifelong friendships. For some, those friendships with fellow volunteers spark romantic partnerships. For two Activate Good volunteers, it became “a good place to move from friendship to relationship,” says Audra Lindsley. In the summer of 2013, Audra was already volunteering with Activate Good when she met her neighbor, Brad Lindsley, due to a water leak in her condo. They started hanging out regularly, and it wasn’t long before they discovered a shared passion for volunteering. Audra invited Brad to accompany her on a project, and they soon began volunteering together–either at the men’s shelter serving meals or at Lake Jordan picking up a trash–and often they’d have dinner together after their project. After a year of friendship, they started dating. Then, this past Christmas, they got engaged, and back in April, they were married. For Audra and Brad, volunteering added another way to get to know each other beyond traditional dates. “You get to know a lot about somebody when they volunteer, how they interact, what kind of person they are, what they think of how they should treat other people, what are they willing to do, how helpful are they,” says Audra.   “And how confident they are when they’re wearing a hairnet,” adds Brad, with a laugh. Both believe in giving back to their community–and in having a lot of fun while doing it, too. “It’s something we did together not just to get to know each other, but because we enjoyed it. It’s something we definitely want to continue to make time for in our...

Top Ten Reasons to Volunteer: For Teens, By Teens

Hey! My name is Dimple Mahadeshwar and I am a rising senior at Panther Creek High School! My love for volunteerism started with my involvement in National Junior Honors Society in middle school, and has followed me throughout high school and  it has a guided a lot of different decisions in my life. It led me to Activate Good this summer as a Marketing and Fundraising intern. Throughout the year, I am a member of many different volunteer organizations like Key Club, Leo Club, and National Honors Society. In fact, I will serve as the Leo Club Vice President and the Sunshine Chair for Key Club in the upcoming school year. I also serve as a student leader for the Child Rights And You Raleigh Action Center and am currently in the process of planning our annual walk. As you can see, volunteering plays a huge part in my life and I am super excited to continue my internship and learn more about the process behind volunteering!   I hope this top ten list of reasons why I volunteer will inspire other teens to fall in love with volunteering, just like I have! 1. Cool New Experiences: Many volunteering jobs are put together by coordinators to save resources and money for their cause or event. This usually means different “odd jobs” for volunteers which opens the door to different opportunities you would never do if you didn’t volunteer. Once when volunteering with UNC- TV, my friend Inayya was able to dress up as Read-A-Roo and go on live TV, which was really cool because she would never have gotten...

Join Team Activate Good for the “Flip Flop 1K”!

  Register online as a part of Team Activate Good and 100% of your $20 registration will be donated back to us! Activate Good has been chosen as a charity partner for the nOg Run Club’s Flip Flop 1k race, taking place on June 18th at Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary. Participants will run or walk 1 kilometer (or .6 miles) in thong style flip flops, in attempt to break the Guinness World Record of the largest flip flop run ever to take place! (The current record, set at last year’s event, is 613 participants). Afterwards, participants are welcome to stick around and enjoy locally brewed beer and food trucks. Remember to chose Team Activate Good during registration!  FAQ:  Do I HAVE to run? No. You can walk. Do I HAVE to wear flip flops? Yes, and they have to be thong flip flops not altered in any way (no back straps, etc.). What if I don’t own flip flops? If you’d like, discounted Feelgoodz flip flops are offered as an add on during online registration. What else do I get? Aside from a good time and a warm fuzzy feeling for helping Activate Good, you get your tee-shirt and a commemorative engraved flip flop bottle opener! Can kids come? Yes! There are no age limits. What color shirt will I get? Team Activate Good will receive “Tennessee Orange” colored shirts. Race organizers require every 50 participants to wear a certain color so they can be counted quickly and easily to see if the world record was broken. See you on the...

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...

Pro Hero Teresa Nichols Sets Up Savvy Social Media for Families Together

I don’t have the best work-life balance, but having the opportunity for this short-term project with the potential for such a large impact means the world to me. I am grateful that I will help Families Together end homelessness one “like” at a time. -Teresa “Social Media Maven” Nichols, 2016 Pro Hero One of the biggest challenges a nonprofit can face is effective yet cost-efficient outreach to the public, supporters, and those they serve. However, in the face of rapid technological advancement in past years, social media offers the opportunity to perform outreach with little to no cost. You can’t get more cost-efficient than that, and now Families Together is ready to utilize the free tools that are social media! The Challenge Families Together helps homeless families reach independence by providing housing and supportive services. They advocate for families to receive adequate and affordable housing, and offer ongoing support to those families. By providing such services, these families can avoid entering a situation of homelessness again. While the agency is a leader in its field, they weren’t quite sure how to move forward on social media to help make them a leader in the conversation about homelessness right here in Wake County. They needed to bring attention to the problems of homelessness so to better position themselves at the front of public awareness, and rally more support for financial and engagement goals. The Mission Families Together sought a Pro Hero to help them strengthen their social media presence and help agency employees continue the work. Pro Hero Teresa Nichols – the “Social Media Maven” – was tasked with first assessing and summarizing...

‘A City Girl’ Jacquelyn Blades Teaches DIY Furniture Repair at TROSA

As you may remember from an earlier 2016 Pro Heroes post, TROSA (Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers) is a multi-year residential program providing treatment, vocational training, education, counseling, mentoring, leadership training, and continuing care to substance abusers. The goal is to help those with a strong desire to change their lives by providing the resources to become skilled and productive working citizens. TROSA runs sales and service ventures, including a moving company and thrift store, providing residents with hands-on work experience. Individual donations to the thrift store through drop-off services, and those through pick-up with the TROSA moving company, often need care before being presentable and sellable.  The Why Behind Thrifty DIY Duck tape is not a cure-all, especially when your business is selling used goods. So TROSA sought someone to complete a Furniture Repair Consultation and Training project, teaching leadership and volunteers high-level skills to professionally repair, clean, and polish used furniture. The overall goal for TROSA is to increase the quality of goods, reduce waste by cutting down on the number of items that need to be “scrapped,” and providing more advanced skills to the organization’s residents. “Not only does this help TROSA to get more revenue – because properly identified, cleaned and repaired items will command a higher price – but the residents are also gaining valuable knowledge and skills that they can bring with them into the working world,” says Jeff Stern, TROSA’s Director of Business Operations. Enter Jacquelyn, TROSA’s Pro Hero, tasked with creating operations and assessment guides for proper furniture maintenance, and training the team on vital processes. “Previous to this project, I had a conversation...

Denise Leerkes Volunteers Pro Skills to Help Benevolence Farm

Pro Hero, Denise Leerkes, (aka: HR Wonder Woman) is volunteering her human resources skills to help the North Carolina nonprofit, Benevolence Farm. About Pro Hero, Denise Leerkes Using her professional skills, Pro Hero Denise has already completed a thorough organizational audit and is currently creating a comprehensive human resources manual for Benevolence Farm. Our Wonder Woman Pro Hero has always had a career in Human Resources. However, her dream is to one day own and operate a service farm with her husband, who currently works part-time as a superintendent on a farm in Sampson County when he’s not serving as a lieutenant with the Apex Fire Department. Together, the couple’s vision for their farm dream is to serve young people who are transitioning out of institutionalization (ex: juvenile detention, foster care, etc.), taking a  holistic approach in helping program participants grow and develop occupationally, physically, spiritually, socially, emotionally, intellectually, and financially. Denise reflects on her professional experience and the chance to give back to Benevolence Farm, citing: I could not have imagined a volunteer project that more perfectly marries my experience and my passion than the opportunity to provide [human resources] consultation services to Benevolence Farm! Professional Skills + the Power of Giving Back With more than fifteen years of progressive human resources experience, Denise loves taking advantage of volunteer opportunities with missions similar to that of Benevolence Farm. Most recently, Denise served as a Human Resources panelist for the Jobs for Life Ministry in Raleigh, and she also recently conducted a Human Resources Assessment for a local, growing nonprofit that provides occupational and life skills training and support to...