52 Weeks; 52 Ways to Volunteer in the Triangle in 2014

You’ve already pledged your time to give back. Now it’s time to put that plan into action! Let’s join together and make 2014 the best year to volunteer in the Triangle! To help kick things off, we’ve listed 52 awesome ways to volunteer in the Triangle in 2014, each idea representing a single week throughout the year. Feel free to print this list off and tape it to your fridge as a weekly reminder; or bring it to work to share it with coworkers. Don’t forget–we have TONS of volunteer opportunities throughout the Triangle just waiting for someone like you to fill them! January Week 1 – Are you a working professional with a specific skill set? Adopt a high impact pro bono project for a local cause through the Activate Good Pro-Heroes Initiative. Week 2 – Donate unused gifts and/or clothing to your favorite Triangle charity organization. Week 3 – Volunteer for an hour or more at the Durham Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Week 4 –  Join Activate Good for dinner in celebration of Martin Luther King Junior weekend as we discuss community issues and how we can solve them during our 4th annual MLK Sunday Supper. Then, join others in volunteering throughout the Triangle community during the MLK Day of Service. (Love music? Check out this music-themed volunteer opportunity with MusicianCorps for MLK Day!) Week 5 – Speak Spanish? Help the Scott-Free Foundation reach local Latino communities to provide enriching camp experiences to youth! February Week 1 – Celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month by putting together dental hygiene kits for shelters. Include some fun activity sheets for kids...

Familiar Neighborhoods: Volunteering at Special Olympics Summer Games

Volunteerism isn’t always about revisiting familiar neighborhoods, but it can be. A lucky Wake County volunteer gets back to his Special Olympics roots. Neighborhood Games Growing up, my childhood home was the destination of all of the neighborhood kids to play. Not because I had the latest electronics, (we did have Nintendo’s Duck Hunt), but because the games in our yard were more fun with my older sister, Megan, around. Our games, usually whatever we made up—modified Tag with ever-changing rules, impromptu dodge ball games, or throwing magnolia seeds and crabapples at one another, etc. –were enhanced and audibly scored with the sounds of “Oohs”, “Womps,” “Ahhs,” and the general laughter Megan provided as we all played. It heightened the level of enthusiasm for us all and was the reason the neighborhood kids always came to our house. Our games were more fun with Megan’s sounds and enthusiasm. Megan is 5 years older than me, and I found out my first day of kindergarten there was a reason Megan, or Mimi as we call her, made such fun sounds. As I waited for the bus in the front yard, I asked my mother why Mimi wasn’t packed to go to whatever this ‘school’ thing was. My mother told me it was because she was Special. Ah, of course she was. Even as a 5 year old, I knew that. She made games better. She went to a special school. She had a cool, special nickname. Of course she was special. I remember being proud. Even though I wasn’t special at least my sister was. We threw magnolia seeds at...

School’s Out for the Summer: Summer Volunteer Opportunities for Kids!

School’s out, but kids these days have so much to keep them occupied that you probably don’t hear them complain “I’m bored!” a couple of weeks into summer vacation. With texting, the Internet, Netflix and video games, kids can keep themselves entertained most of the time. The downside is that all of those activities involve staring at a screen. Check out some of these summer volunteer opportunities for kids and show they can have fun without their electronics. Be a Field Gleaner Get some fresh air and let the kids see first-hand where vegetables come from by volunteering as a field gleaner. The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle works with farmers in the Triangle to harvest their extra crops so that low-income families can have fresh produce. Volunteers are needed to help pick the vegetables at local farms. Dates and times vary, but expect to spend 2-3 hours harvesting crops plus additional time for travel and deliveries. Kids under six need one adult per child. 7-11 year-olds need one adult for each group of three. Teens from 12-18 need one adult per group of ten. Help out Wags 4 Tags Wags 4 Tags pairs animals rescued from shelters with Veterans “so that the two can heal in unconditional love, trust and loyalty.” They have events throughout the Triangle to raise awareness and funds. Volunteers are needed to help set up and break down the booths as well as speak about the organization’s mission and services. Volunteers under 13 will need a supervisor, but those 17 and older do not. The organization also needs creative types to paint rain barrels, canvases and...

School’s Out for the Summer: College Edition

School’s out for summer! Now what? After taking a couple of weeks to recover from finals, think about volunteering some of your free time to a local nonprofit. Not only will you feel great helping a worthy cause, but it could also help shape your future career path. How? By getting hands-on experience that you might not find in a traditional classroom. Here are some ideas to get you started: Neighbor to Neighbor Outreach creates programs to help support families in lower income neighborhoods in Raleigh. This summer, they need volunteers to mentor elementary age kids during a five-week multicultural and language arts camp. This is a perfect opportunity to put those early childhood education classes to use and see what it’s like to be in front of the classroom instead of behind a desk. If you have a passion for animals, consider volunteering at the Carolina Tiger Rescue, which rescues wildcats in captivity and brings them to their sanctuary in Pittsboro. They offer tours to the public, so you can work on the public speaking skills you learned in communications class by becoming a tour guide. Or, if you’re considering going into animal science, you can volunteer to help care for the wildcats, including feeding them and helping create activities to keep them active. The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle finds innovative ways to end hunger in the Triangle. If you’re interested in a career in the food industry or if you’re majoring in agriculture, connect with this organization to see the unique ways they feed families in need. They work with local restaurants to pick up leftover food that...