Thursday, January 27, 2011

A year of volunteering: The giving leaf

I'm committed to the idea of 'giving back' in a meaningful way this year. Think of it as one small leaf added to the giving tree (remember the story in the wonderful children's book The Giving Tree, first published in 1964 by Harper & Row, written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein). So I've asked my friends for ideas on how I can get involved, do some volunteer work that's interesting, preferably local or with a local angle, and realistically doable for a gal like me (ie. not terribly young or fit).

My goal is to do a bunch of things every month and write about it on my blog in the hopes that others will learn about the work these organizations are doing. It may include roll-up-the-sleeves effort (like working all day at a library or soup kitchen); exploration (like working the Audubon bird count or planting trees); or fun (like going to a charity auction or school fund-raiser). The point is, we can all give back at various levels, whatever is achievable—it all counts. Americans are among the most generous people on the planet, and more of us would give if we just knew how.

I've gotten some interesting ideas so far. Check 'em out. Please feel free to add yours by commenting below.

LuAnn says: "Training a service dog...check out my blog at; If my life ended today and you were to ask me of what I had done (other than family), volunteering for Helping Paws would top the list.

Vicky says: "Rebuilding Together.An organization that repairs and rehabilitates the homes of low-income elderly or disabled homeowners.Its all over the world and we love helping them...."

Pettit wrote: "Trail building and maintaining on the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. :)"

Norma wrote: "Schools always need volunteers. And political parties of the volunteer's choice!"

Cherise wrote: "I think there's an Assistance League in Sacramento... All kinds of community work through them, from calling homebound seniors, to reading to kids, to putting kits together for foster kids and domestic violence victims."

Details: Can't wait for my ideas? Check out the world of giving at the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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