Blog Archive

Blog Archive

Friday Volunteer News Round Up!

It's Friday! We hope everyone is staying safe and out of harms way of Hurricane Isaac. Here are ways you can help and stay prepared for hurricane weather through the Red Cross.  We will continue to update our Handson Network disaster web page as we receive new updates.

The 10 Youth Summer Service Projects to Know About

When you think of youth and summer, you might imagine lazy days playing video games, fun in the sun at sleep-away camp or ice cream-scooping summer jobs. Would you imagine that 14,000 youth would lead meaningful service projects in their communities? Well, they did. This summer, we collaborated with Hasbro on The World Needs More Community Action Heroes campaign which asked kids and teens to join forces to do good. It turns out that youth are eager to use their free time to make a difference. We received service stories from around the globe on projects ranging from neighborhood disaster preparedness to human rights. After reviewing some of the most amazing service stories we’ve ever read, we selected 10 projects to receive $500 grants to continue their work.

Marketing: It’s Easy When You’ve Got Cool Stuff to Say

Today's guest post is written by Meredith McPherson, Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications.

I don’t know about you, but I love seeing my little Skype icon blinking on my computer screen. To me, it says, “Somebody needs me for something.” It’s kind of like the Bat Signal for Gotham, except my weapon is my pen (or keyboard) and I don’t have nearly as cool a car as Batman does.

So, a few weeks ago, when Skype pulled me out of the depths of invoices and other boring but necessary tasks, I selflessly answered the call. It was my colleague (and friend) Lori Jean, who manages all of the content, workshops and programming for our annual Conference, letting me know that she needed my marketing skills to launch the Call for Presenters (CFP) process for our 2013 Conference. Unbelievingly, I blinked at the screen for a beat and the following conversation ensued:

Four Ways to Make Time for Volunteering after you Graduate

Aniya Wells is one of the most passionate writers you'll ever meet. Though her writing interests run the gamut – from personal finance to health to current events and more – her primary interest is modern higher education. She serves as a reliable online degree guide for students by contributing for blog. Don't hesitate to contact Aniya for questions or comments at

Change Notes: Tromping Westward


One of the things I sometimes read about is the homogenization of our nation's communities. After travelling across the country for five weeks, I am happy to report that we continue to live in a land of great regional character. Even volunteer experiences vary across the country. 

A perfect example for me was participating in my first-ever Human Cattle Drive in Sheridan, Wyo., (also known as the Trail Tromp) to break in a gorgeous new 12-mile trail. The pathway was created through voluntary conservation easements and orchestrated by a team of volunteers with the Sheridan Nature Conservancy. The community volunteers literally stomped the trail down and simultaneously raised awareness and enthusiasm for this amazing new community asset.

Seven Ways Volunteering Grows Your Mental and Emotional Well-Being

Today's guest post is written by Krisca Te, who works with Open Colleges, the leading provider of TAFE courses equivalent and counselling training in Australia. When not working, she enjoys spending her day with her 4-month old son.

I have a friend who recently asked me why I volunteer my time at a local charity. “If I were you,” he said, “I would have spent my time on the beach. Or take on a second job. In this economy, nobody can afford to volunteer.”

He has a point.

Friday Volunteer News Round Up!

Happy Friday! We volunteered this week- did you!? Share with us what volunteering you are doing this week/weekend on our facebook wall. Want to stay up-to-date with all the social good news? Check out this list of 50 tweeters for social good you should follow...

Monday Staff Volunteering Recap with Friends of Disabled Adults and Children

On Monday, August 20, our Atlanta Points of Light staff volunteered with Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC).  FODAC collects donations of medical equipment and supplies to repair, clean, and match to people with injuries or disabilities who are having trouble accessing this equipment.

We arrived and went on a tour of the extensive building, where they work on repairing wheelchairs and mobilized scooters, store wheelchair parts and assorted medical supplies in a large warehouse and run an extensive goodwill.  What a great organization giving back to the Atlanta community and worldwide.

Walk, Talk, Drink Coffee: Creating Community Spaces in Seattle

Seattle is actively creating and cultivating spaces for community connections.

Two of my Seattle meetings took place on strolls through the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park, which used to be a petroleum transfer and distribution facility. Today, thanks to philanthropic and volunteer leadership, the site has been transformed.

With unobstructed views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, the garden circles a bold, red Calder sculpture, “The Eagle.” The park is dotted with chairs to facilitate conversations in any and all groupings.

My Seattle hosts said the Sculpture Garden has become a gathering point, offering free yoga on the grass, food trucks and farmers’ markets, art classes, performances and family festivals like the Salmon Return Celebration.

Civic Spark in Portland

Michelle Nunn finds inspiration in Portland, Oregon.

I am fascinated by people’s stories of the sparks that ignite their passion to change the world. When I was in Portland, Emily Gilliland, executive director of Oregon's Campus Compact, laid three different matches on the table to illustrate the ignition points in her service journey.

  • A matchbook represented her high school’s 75-hour service requirement – a quick light to get her started. While serving at the Red Cross, she discovered that adults were interested in her ideas and were even willing to take direction from her.
  • A short box match signified her year with AmeriCorps – challenging, but enriching – a strong spark to further impel her commitment to service.

Be A Community Action Hero for Animals!

Barbara Dillbeck taught elementary school in Michigan for over 20 years and is currently the Curriculum Director of generationOn. She is an active grandmother of four and an avid animal welfare advocate.

My ‘Point of Light’ is a dear friend who has enriched my life in so many ways.  She has shown me what pure joy looks like, helped relieve stress, listened carefully to all I have to say. She is compassionate, empathic, dependable, and bearded – yes, bearded.

A Generational Effort to Create, Preserve and Sustain Our National Parks

Michelle Nunn reflects on her families experiences at the national parks this summer.

My son, Vinson, is a great enthusiast for earning badges and pins of any sort, so we became devotees of the Junior Ranger program as we traveled through the national parks this summer. To earn his badges, we identified sage brush, learned what Sitting Bull did during the Battle of the Little Big Horn (stayed with the women and children), and discovered how long it took to carve the figures on Mount Rushmore (14 years).

Let's Flip This Inside Out: The Impact of Corporate Responsibility on the Bottom Line

Today's post is written by Hannah Oshin, a Points of Light Corporate Institute fellow and AmeriCorps Alum.

A company has goals, responsibilities and a duty to their stakeholders. There are a set of products and services to be developed, marketed and sold to the masses. A brand created, a mission established and a group of people hired to devote a 24-7 schedule to its success. Now, there is also an overwhelming demand for companies to act as civically engaged citizens.

Friday Volunteer News Round Up

We've made it to Friday again! Hope you have some fun volunteering to look forward to this weekend. Our staff will be partaking in a volunteer service project this Monday at Friends of Adults and Disabled Children. Look for our blog recap next week.

Exciting news today- the White House will honor 12 AmeriCorps Alums as Champions of Change, including our very own Delores Morton. Watch the events live and learn more at

Here are the news from this week:

Change Notes: AmeriCorps 'Champions of Change' Honored at White House


Morgan Tracey knows a lot about the word "champion."  She's from Champion, Ohio. She's training to be an Olympic champion in skeleton, a sledding event similar to the luge. And on Friday,

she'll be named a White House Champion of Change for her outstanding record of community service.

Tracey put in thousands of hours becoming an athletic champion - and a civic leader.

How to Run a Successful Startup: Change By Being Exactly the Same

Today's second blog for the Investing in Innovation series, is written by Dan Morrison, founder and CEO of Citizen Effect.

The Investing in Innovation blog series highlights world-changing ideas and startups and is made possible by the Civic Accelerator, a Points of Light and Village Capital venture. If you would like to have your civic-focused startup considered for inclusion, please inquire here.

Support Our Heroes

Simone A. Bernstein is a junior at St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York. She is a summer intern at generationOn, an active volunteer in her hometown of St Louis, Mo. and in her college community. Simone co-founded, an online resource for youth to easily find volunteer opportunities.

The Power to Ask

Michelle Nunn writes about her service trip stop in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Imagine that you are driving down the road with your dog in the back, minding your own business when you find yourself being followed by a woman who parks when you park, then jumps out of her car, races to your side and starts talking about the difference you can make by contributing to the local animal shelter.

New Points of Light Service Ambassador Program

We are excited to announce the release of the Points of Light Service Ambassador program!

The Points of Light Service Ambassador program celebrates and recognizes key influencers, media personalities, celebrities, musicians, sports figures, and sector leaders for their belief in the power for people to create change while providing a platform to promote their philanthropic brand.

Friday Volunteer News Round Up!

Good morning! I don't know about you, but i've enjoyed watching the Olympics these past couple of weeks and will be sad to see them go. In order to hold onto them a little longer, enjoy some more Olympic themed volunteer news from the week below:

Points of Light Staff Partake in Summer Volunteering

Hammers and rakes and gloves! Oh My! Yes, these were just a few of the tools that Points of Light employees sorted, labeled, and painted on July, 25, 2012, when we volunteered to help with the Atlanta Community Toolbank. Upon entering the toolbank, Points of Light staff received a brief orientation and tour of the warehouse from the Atlanta Community Toolbank’s Master Tool Librarian C.J. Clark. From this orientation, staff members learned about how the toolbank is impacting the surrounding community with its tool loan system.

I’m A Community Action Hero for Health

Lauren Stock, age 13, is an eighth grader at Greenhill School in Dallas, Texas. Outside of school and High School Heroes, she dances, plays softball and is involved at her synagogue. She is a 2011 generationOn Excellence in Leadership and Service awardee, an honor that recognizes young people’s impact on local, national and global communities and inspires those around them to do the same.

When I was 9, my mom was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoma, a rare form of blood cancer. My mom’s treatment included more than 600 hours of chemotherapy and extended hospital stays. In addition, the doctors said she needed a stem cell transplant to survive. I didn’t know anything about a stem cell transplant and neither did the rest of my family.

"Give With Target" Back-To-School Initiative Launches

On July 26, Target launched a back-to-school education giving program, called Give With Target® in New York City with Disney Channel actress and Hollywood Records recording artist Bridgit Mendler. The program runs through Sept. 8, 2012 and is part of Target’s plans to give $1 billion for education by 2015.

A Well-Deserved Reputation in Minneapolis

Minneapolis has long been considered a bastion of civic virtue, and for good reason. With the highest volunteer rate among large cities, the city understands the impact of giving back.

HandsOn Twin Cities – the longest operating volunteer center in the country – continues to find new ways to create change. I had the chance to meet with its board members and staff, led by Executive Director Kristin Schurrer, to learn more about their evolving work.

For those looking for innovative ideas, here are two: HandsOn Twin Cities will sponsor a speed-volunteering experience (think speed dating and you’ll understand the matching that goes on!) for 10,000 people at an event at the Mall of America. And the group will also launch a skills-based, done-in-a-day volunteer expo in the fall.

Check Your Ego at the Door

Today's guest post, first of the Investing in Innovation series, is written by TJ Muehleman, co-founder and CTO of We&Co.

The Investing in Innovation blog series highlights world-changing ideas and startups and is made possible by the Civic Accelerator, a Points of Light and Village Capital venture. If you would like to have your civic-focused startup considered for inclusion, please inquire here.

As a graduate of Atlanta Village Capital and a soon-to-be-graduate of Georgia Tech’s Flashpoint, We&Co has the unique perspective of having gone through two different accelerators. So, I didn’t hesitate when I was asked to offer up my thoughts on what to keep in mind when doing an accelerator program.

Not-So-Secret Salamanders in Milwaukee

Michelle Nunn continues her service tour with a stop in Milwaukee.

I must confess that my concept of Milwaukee was a bit trapped in old stereotypes. I was expecting a cold Midwestern city with musty factories and dusty breweries. That’s not what I got.

As we pulled in for a short visit, I was taken in by the fabulous lakefront parks, spectacular new Santiago Calatrava-designed Museum of Art, and the rivers winding through the cities with kayakers and scullers pulling into shore-side cafes and pubs. We discovered a Safe House spy restaurant with trapdoors and a password-only entry point that was great fun for kids and adults alike. It is a city of secreted charms. 

Friday Volunteer News Round Up!

Happy Friday! Here is our Olympic themed edition of the news this week - we hope you enjoy. Have a great weekend, and go U.S.A!

1) This week the AmeriCorps Alums Blog featured an Olympian who is a Teach For America Alum.

2) 5 Olympic Tips Of Volunteer Recognition.

3) 6 Olympic Athletes Who Give Back via Take Part.

4) Mother Nature Network blogs about generationOn's summer campaign.

5) The Future of Giving: Warren Buffett and Connected Philanthropy via Forbes.

Business Behind the Scenes in Chicago

Michelle Nunn shares her experiences in Chicago on her Service Tour across country.

You can't help but marvel at Chicago in the summertime. On an evening stroll from the Museum Campus down the lakefront and up through Grant Park to the new Millennium Park, you see extraordinary cultural institutions, beautiful parks, a lively street life and wonderful restaurants.

But what isn’t so visible – a collaboration of business, civic and government leaders, all determined to take on tough city problems in smart, new ways – is just as noteworthy.

Here are three organizations that are engaging business in innovative ways:

Envisioning Pro Bono as the Future of Corporate Service

Today's post is republished from the Billion + Change blog on July 19, 2012. This post was contributed by Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light, and includes her reflections on A Billion + Change's Forum at the White House on June 27, 2012.

Can you imagine a future where 500 companies decide to collectively lead social change and tackle the most pressing challenges of the 21st century through skills-based volunteer service (SBV)?  This is the future that A Billion + Change discussed recently at a national forum at the White House, “A Billion + Change in Action: Connecting to the Future of Corporate Service.

Be an Environmental Community Action Hero!

Today's post is written by Clay McMullen, 18, from northeastern Ohio who is a first-year student at Duke University in Durham, NC. He is the Founder of the Wetlands Education Team and a member of the 2011 PARADE All-America High School Service Team, an award recognizing outstanding young service leaders presented by PARADE Magazine in partnership with generationOn, the global youth service division of Points of Light.

“Ewww. I’m not touching that stuff,” the kids always squeal. But, composted animal and human sewage can be valuable.

Michelle Visits Battle Creek

Michelle Nunn makes a stop on her service tour at HandsOn Battle Creek.

When William Keith Kellogg established his foundation in 1930, he provided simple instructions: “Use the money as you please so long as it promotes the health, happiness and well-being of children.”

From the foundation’s inception, Battle Creek – founding home of the Kellogg Company and current home of the foundation – has enjoyed the bounty of W.K. Kellogg’s rich philanthropic tradition.

Here’s what impressed me most during my visit with Jim Pearl and his team at HandsOn Battle Creek.