Tag Archives: Community Service

Blogging for a Cause

I love storytelling through blogs. I wish I told more meaningful stories here actually (need to work on that). Blogging is one way you can give a voice to a person, group or organisation that might not have their own voice online yet. I like shout-outs and links on Twitter, but those short-forms posts don’t always deliver.

I experienced the idea of what blogging for a cause means firsthand a few years ago. I wrote a blog post about a volunteer group I absolutely (and still do) adored called Columbus Gives Back. The next month while helping out at one of their events I was talking to my friend Steph who was volunteering for the first time with that group. Even though she was someone I regularly caught up with, she told me that she had found out about Columbus Gives Back from my blog post. I was amazed. Firstly, because I didn’t think anyone besides my mum and flatmate read my blog and secondly, that my writing could cause someone to take an action (that was awesome).

I’m not telling this story because I think I’m special or because I believe that I’m motivating people to volunteer. Steph was a friend, that’s why she read my blog post and she’s a wonderful, caring person so that’s why she signed up to volunteer. This experience was insignificant in the wider scheme of outcomes, but an important lesson for me personally. It introduced me to the idea that we can share a message that’s worth sharing and reach people online far beyond our day-to-day interactions.

While I’ll always tweet links to stupid YouTube clips, and blog about my favourite foods in Sydney, I hope that I also make a choice at times to talk about meaningful topics on my blog. I like having conversations that matter offline and online. Just something to think about more I suppose.

Share your story. Have you ever blogged for a cause? 

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Columbus Gives Back

I love the concept behind Columbus Gives Back, and try to give them shout outs when possible. If you are a young professional in Columbus who wants to get involved with community service but don’t have a lot of time of time to commit – here is your answer.

The group plans one time volunteer events in various interest areas of community service. After the project the group usually goes out for food or drinks to socialize. It is free to become a member. Join their email list and RSVP online for events you are interested in attending. You can show up to an event anywhere from once a week to once a year, no restrictions or minimum requirements.

Juliana Pernik started the group in March 2009 to use volunteerism to make friends. She refers to it as “volunteering with a social twist.” Juliana works during the day and goes to school at night so I’m not really sure when she finds time for this constantly growing group (another reason I love to help her spread the world and get others involved).

Preparing a meal at the Unverferth House

I’m also a fan of young people using community service to take visible action. Service and philanthropy are themes I want to carry throughout my life, regardless of my career path. I find volunteering empowering (and fun) so sharing that feeling with others is important.

So take the next step. I encourage you to check out the website and consider joining the mailing list (remember no commitment) or become a fan on Facebook. You can also follow them on twitter @cbusgivesback which is how I found out about the group and got involved. The leadership team is always looking for event leaders. This is a great way to work with a cause you are particularly passionate about. Columbus Gives Back is a great opportunity to serve, meet new people while having fun in Columbus. Hopefully I’ll see you at a future event.

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Rake and Run

CIMG2984One of my favorite volunteer projects to organize with Circle K is a “rake and run.” We borrow the school van and drive around Westerville looking for random front yards still covered with leaves. I’ve been told some Circle K clubs rake the leaves when no one is home and then leave a note at the door. We like to ask the homeowners for permission first, but most are extremely grateful for the offer. Typically there is a reason the yard hasn’t been taken care of – perhaps they are elderly, living alone, very busy or have something else holding them back.

Part of the reason I like rake and runs so much is the instant feedback and gratitude from those you are helping. It generates such a genuine response. Let’s face it, how often does someone knock on your door and ask to do a few hours of yard work free of charge? We are not  interested in donations, delivering a message or handing out literature.  It is just a random act of kindness, helping out CIMG2995a stranger, no strings attached. The women we met this week probably thanked us ten times. There were four of us working and it took about an hour and a half to finish the front yard.  Meaning it would have taken this woman living alone at least six hours to finish the job on her own, maybe more.

Another gratifying part of this project is the effect is has on the students volunteering. I took three sophomore with me who have been involved with Circle K since last year. There was a moment where one girl stopped, looked at me, and said, “I’m glad I don’t have to do this alone.” It was really powerful, because I think she realized the impact of her actions on someone else. It was also a great reminder of why we choose to serve others.

You don’t have to be a volunteer extraordinaire to rake leaves. It’s easy, but sometimes a simple good deed can be really meaningful.

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Filed under College Life, Community Service