Volunteers Create A Winter Wonderland At AnimalKind’s ReTails Thrift Shop

On a crisp, cold Saturday morning, fourteen Activate Good volunteers met at ReTails Thrift Shop to work on a new project: decorating the window displays of the store. The ReTails Thrift Shop is owned and operated by Triangle nonprofit, AnimalKind, and volunteers were asked to create a winter wonderland display using snow-themed craft projects along with items found in the store. Supporting the AnimalKind Mission Outreach Coordinator for AnimalKind, Laura Walton, recently began asking volunteer groups to decorate their display windows to encourage passersby to stop in and shop. She also wanted the displays to inform the public of AnimalKind’s mission: …to end the unnecessary euthanasia of adoptable cats and dogs in North Carolina shelters. Volunteers created two 3-dimensional displays in two windows and two large posters for the adjoining windows. After introductions and learning more about AnimalKind, volunteers chose the projects they wanted to work on. Volunteer Projects with AnimalKind Some of the projects that volunteers completed while at the ReTails Thrift Shop included: Cutting out snowflakes Making paper penguins Building a snowman out of plastic bags And More! Volunteers worked steadily for two hours, chatting about the projects and coming up with ideas for the displays. Before the volunteers began, Laura explained how the Retails Thrift Shop would be moving to a larger location in order to accommodate more donations. One of the posters that volunteers created displayed details about the new location, the grand opening, and the types of donations that the store is seeking. Once their projects were completed, the volunteers hung dozens of snowflakes (which they had previously cut out). The volunteers then worked on arranging the displays using other items they had...

Home Away from Home: Ronald McDonald House of Durham

For 34 years, the Ronald McDonald House of Durham has been providing a home away from home for families with seriously ill children. Their vision is to offer love, share comfort, inspire community and sustain hope by giving families a place to stay when their child is being treated in a nearby hospital. Accommodating Families in Need When a family travels more than 50 miles from home to obtain treatment for their child, they are eligible to stay at the House. For a suggested $10-15 per night, a family can stay in a bedroom with amenities similar to a hotel room, but families are never turned away for their inability to pay. All families have access to a fully equipped communal kitchen, dining area, living room and laundry facility. There is also a chapel, learning center, computer room and library on site. Having these resources is important in meeting the needs of a family who has to spend several weeks or months away from home. The Ronald McDonald House also sponsors family rooms at Duke University Hospital and WakeMed Children’s Hospital so families can get away to relax, have a meal or check email without having to leave the hospital grounds. The Ronald McDonald House of Durham anticipates hosting more than 1,300 families in the house and 40,000 visits to the family rooms in the coming year. They rely on the support of the community and volunteers to help meet the needs of these families. Holly Hutchinson, community outreach manager for the Ronald McDonald House of Durham, explains: Volunteers provide a clean place to relax, activity nights, and home cooked meals....

Improving Learning Outcomes: The Helps Education Fund

The Helps Education Fund uses an apple in their logo because it is an international symbol of teaching, often representing growth and the need for nurturing, as well as the wisdom passed from teachers to students. The apple also signifies variety and change. Instead of the traditional red apple associated with teaching and the excellent work of teachers, the Helps Education Fund uses a green apple to symbolize that educators and students still need support in a variety of ways. According to national statistics, 33% of children in elementary school cannot read at even a basic level and 66% cannot read at a proficient level. When children do not develop basic academic skills, their academic, work, and life opportunities are significantly limited. The Helps Education Fund works to change these statistics by offering research-supported educational resources to teachers so that their students will have better learning outcomes. John Begeny, the nonprofit’s Executive Director, explained: There are too many students who fail to meet even basic learning goals, so the overall mission of the Helps Education Fund is to continue providing free and research-supported programs, services, and professional development to the thousands of hard-working educators who are dedicated to improving the lives of children and their communities. Programs Offered to Educators In the first two years they were in operation, they were able to provide their services to over 15,000 educators and parents. The organization’s Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies (HELPS) Program aims to improve literacy among early readers by providing teachers with materials that improve students’ reading skills. The HELPS program is available for teachers to incorporate into their curriculums...
14 Ways to Fall in Love with Volunteering in the Triangle

14 Ways to Fall in Love with Volunteering in the Triangle

Valentine’s Day may only happen once a year, but beyond the candy and the flowers, the cards and the roses, there are numerous ways to give and receive love by volunteering in the Triangle. So, this Valentine’s day, take a minute to discover ways to give from your heart to those who are without. Celebrate love by sharing your time and talents for great local causes that need your TLC. You have the power within yourself to effect change and make a difference right here, in the Triangle! 14 Ways to Fall in Love with Volunteering in the Triangle Best Friend Pet Adoptions – Become a foster parent for puppies and dogs while they are waiting for their forever home. Click Here to Volunteer! Coalition to Unchain Dogs – Compassionate volunteers are needed to assist in constructing fences for formerly chained up dogs in Wake County. Click Here to Volunteer! Warmth for Wake – Warm your heart (& body) by helping to provide fuel to low-income residents of Wake County during the coldest winter months. Click Here to Volunteer! Passage Home – Volunteer your time to help sort and process donations in the Passage Home Recycle & Repurpose Thrift & Donation Center. Click Here to Volunteer! STAVE Fit Session Partners – Loving volunteers are needed as steady dance partners for the elderly and those with neurological and movement disorders as a part of the STAVE Fit, Dance Fit, and Sit to Be Fit sessions. Your gentle participation will allow STAVE Movement Specialists to focus on proper execution by participants. Click Here to Volunteer! Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle – Give the gift of friendship;...
Chelsea Gutierrez wins 2012 Hopscotch volunteer contest

Chelsea Gutierrez wins 2012 Hopscotch volunteer contest

  “Everyone is busy and has a life these days, but people forget that giving your time is one of the easiest and most appreciated gifts you can give,” says Chelsea Gutierrez, winner of the Activate Good Hopscotch Music Festival volunteer contest. And give her time she did! Chelsea volunteered more than 40 hours during the contest and as a result won a Lifetime VIP Wristband to Hopscotch Music Festival. Chelsea did more than volunteer her time; she’s inspired others to volunteer as well. As part of the contest, Hopscotch Founder Greg Lowenhagen and Co-Director Grayson Currin agreed to match the winner’s volunteer hours over the next year. While the Lifetime VIP Wristband is a nice perk, Chelsea has been an active volunteer for many years and feels like it’s her duty to “to help other people, communities, and animals.” Being new to the area this year, Chelsea thought volunteering was a great way to spend her time getting to know the community. She says that she couldn’t be happier with her volunteer experiences. She volunteered with Triangle ArtWorks, Safe Haven, and Zach’s Toy Chest during their Christmas toy drive. With each of her volunteer experiences, Chelsea has found that the most fulfilling aspect is that they each helped to really put things into perspective for her and she says that for that she is very thankful. We’re thrilled to have Chelsea as part of our volunteer community and congratulate her on her...