Opportunity spotlight: "Life itself is the proper binge" edition

Julia Child's Kitchen

Julia Child's Kitchen (Photo Credit: c_nilsen, Creative Commons/Flickr)

This week was Julia Child’s 100th birthday! We here in the Idealist office are big fans of anything involving food, so in celebration, we’re highlighting some food related goodness recently posted on the site.

  • If you’re looking for an internship in the DC area, Share Our Strength is seeking a Corporate Partnerships/Dine Out Intern. Share Our Strength is a national nonprofit devoted to wiping out child hunger. Their Dine Out campaign partners with restaurants to raise money for their programming. Participating restaurants donate a portion of sales, host a fundraising drive, or incentivize employee donations. You’ll be helping research prospective partners, plan events, create presentations, and generally support the work of the campaign.
  • If a little competition is more your style and you’ll be in San Mateo, CA this weekend, check out the San Mateo Fire Fighter’s Chili Cook Off! Fire departments across the Bay Area will offer up their best homemade chili – $10 gets you a sample of all the chilis, a bowl of your favorite, and one drink. Kids 12 and under are totally free! All the proceeds will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
  • Want to think about food full-time? Apply to be the new “Food, What?!” Associate Director!  Food, What?! is a Santa Cruz-based youth empowerment and food justice nonprofit that partners with low-income and at-risk youth to grow, cook, eat, and distribute healthy, sustainably raised food. You’ll be the third member of a small team, working on fundraising, marketing, and program support and leadership. Farm and gardening experience is a plus!
  • Or join Open Table in Maynard, MA. Their volunteers organize food drives, grocery shop, cook, and serve food as part of a weekly community supper program that serves over 225 guests. The organization aims to relieve not only hunger, but also social isolation, offering a warm, welcoming community to anyone in need. Many of their guests require other social services as well, and Open Table often operates as a resource center, referring guests to other community organizations and providing assistance whenever they can.

Julia Child said, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” Whatever you’re passionate about it, you can find ways to do good while doing what you love by taking a look at all the great opportunities to intern, volunteer, or work with the perfect organization.

Are you following your love of food? Or music? Or sports? Tell us about it!

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Opportunity spotlight: “Life itself is the proper binge” edition

Julia Child's Kitchen

Julia Child's Kitchen (Photo Credit: c_nilsen, Creative Commons/Flickr)

This week was Julia Child’s 100th birthday! We here in the Idealist office are big fans of anything involving food, so in celebration, we’re highlighting some food related goodness recently posted on the site.

  • If you’re looking for an internship in the DC area, Share Our Strength is seeking a Corporate Partnerships/Dine Out Intern. Share Our Strength is a national nonprofit devoted to wiping out child hunger. Their Dine Out campaign partners with restaurants to raise money for their programming. Participating restaurants donate a portion of sales, host a fundraising drive, or incentivize employee donations. You’ll be helping research prospective partners, plan events, create presentations, and generally support the work of the campaign.
  • If a little competition is more your style and you’ll be in San Mateo, CA this weekend, check out the San Mateo Fire Fighter’s Chili Cook Off! Fire departments across the Bay Area will offer up their best homemade chili – $10 gets you a sample of all the chilis, a bowl of your favorite, and one drink. Kids 12 and under are totally free! All the proceeds will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
  • Want to think about food full-time? Apply to be the new “Food, What?!” Associate Director!  Food, What?! is a Santa Cruz-based youth empowerment and food justice nonprofit that partners with low-income and at-risk youth to grow, cook, eat, and distribute healthy, sustainably raised food. You’ll be the third member of a small team, working on fundraising, marketing, and program support and leadership. Farm and gardening experience is a plus!
  • Or join Open Table in Maynard, MA. Their volunteers organize food drives, grocery shop, cook, and serve food as part of a weekly community supper program that serves over 225 guests. The organization aims to relieve not only hunger, but also social isolation, offering a warm, welcoming community to anyone in need. Many of their guests require other social services as well, and Open Table often operates as a resource center, referring guests to other community organizations and providing assistance whenever they can.

Julia Child said, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” Whatever you’re passionate about it, you can find ways to do good while doing what you love by taking a look at all the great opportunities to intern, volunteer, or work with the perfect organization.

Are you following your love of food? Or music? Or sports? Tell us about it!

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Volunteer opportunity spotlight: books, resumes, Amharic, and stream bank erosion

As a thank you to our community, each week we’re highlighting interesting organizations and opportunities that you’ve shared on our website. Because of you, Idealist.org is a hub for people who want to create a better world. Thank you.

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Interesting and unique ways to create a better world (Photo Credit: Many Languages One Voice)

Volunteering is a great way to share your skills, pick up some new ones, and be part of some high-impact, meaningful work. This week, organizations posted almost 1,000 opportunities to pitch in. Here are some highlights:

Book Design Volunteer (New York, NY)

Behind the Book is looking for volunteers to help turn students into published authors! The organization organizes inspiring workshops that help students write and illustrate a story or create an anthology of their collected works. They need a volunteer to then edit and format the materials and upload them into blurb.com to make beautiful and inspirational piece of work available to the public. If you have an eye for design and a passion for education and literacy, help budding young authors get out their first published works.

Volunteer with Upwardly Global (San Francisco, CA)

New immigrants to the U.S. often find it difficult to rebuild the careers they left behind. Accomplished surgeons and engineers take entry level jobs, and American employers miss out on a diverse, skilled, ambitious and too often untapped pool of talent. Upwardly Global seeks to eliminate barriers to employment and close the gap between college-educated, work authorized new Americans and employers who need their skills. Volunteer for a few hours or a few times a week to mentor a job seeker, hold mock interviews, or share networking tips. Your industry knowledge and experience with the American work culture are invaluable resources to new immigrants, and you’ll get some great cross-cultural experience in the process.

Amharic-Speaking Volunteer (Washington, DC)

Some kinds of volunteers are particularly hard to find. Many Languages One Voice (MLOV) needs help collecting and sharing the histories of Washington, DC’s immigrant communities, but they can’t do it without the language skills. If you’ve got what it takes, let them know! Photography experience is a plus.

Meadow Monitoring (Sonora, Modesto, and Groveland, CA)

Like meadows? Like looking at them? Then head out to the Stanislaus National Forest to help out the Tuolumne River Trust. Volunteers will be trained to conduct basic field work, and they’ll report back on erosion, conifer encroachment, and vegetation cover in the meadows to help determine which areas are in need of habitat restoration. If you’re lucky enough to be able to participate in this one, send us back some pictures!

Don’t see a volunteer opportunity here for you? Don’t worry, we’ve got thousands more! See anything you’re particularly interested in? Tell us about it!

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Unique partnerships: How beer brewers are working with nonprofits to support social change

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Many beer brewers are passionate about perfecting their craft while making a difference. (Photo credit: visitflanders, Creative Commons/Flickr)

Summer has finally arrived here in Oregon, and with that, craft beer month. In July, we celebrate Oregon brewers by hosting a variety of events including festivals, tastings, and meet-and-greets. While some folks kick off the summer by relaxing in the sun with a great beer, many breweries and nonprofits in Oregon and around the country are using our love of this beverage to work together and do some good.

To help budding brewers develop their businesses and careers, the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation in Oregon has a scholarship program that sends brewers from the Pacific Northwest to the Siebel Institute of Technology and the American Brewers Guild to further their knowledge and expertise of the industry. Additionally, the Foundation hosts an annual golf tournament that kicks off the Oregon Brewers Festival. During this event, participants pair up with local brewers for a morning of golf and beer to support the growing northwestern tradition of crafting beer. By supporting local brewers, the foundation ensures the industry and history of northwestern brewing live on.

Another foundation created by craft-beer lovers, brewers, and distributors is the Beer for Brains Foundation in Arizona. Beer for Brains is a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about brain cancer, helping fund groundbreaking research leading to a cure, and giving compassion to its victims. Each year they host large-scale craft-beer appreciation and fundraising events all over the country working in partnership with breweries and local organizations. The money raised goes to support the development of cutting-edge brain cancer research and treatment options at the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center (BTRC), in Phoenix, AZ. The goal is to encourage people to have fun while making a difference.

The Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware also encourages people to have fun while doing good by donating beer, brewpub gift certificates, and Dogfish merchandise to local nonprofits. One of their biggest efforts has been the Dogfish Dash – a 5 and 10K run. Over the past few years, the race has raised more than $100,000 for the Delaware chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

Whether or not you’re a beer connoisseur, you can find plenty of social events that combine entertainment and an opportunity to give back. Ask around and check out what’s going on around where you live! Or if YOU want to partner with a local brewery, find one near you and ask if they work with nonprofits. Meanwhile, here at Idealist, we’ll say “cheers” to enjoying a beer while benefiting our community.

Have you partnered with beer brewers? Share your experiences below.

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Should countries make happiness a priority?

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Should we put more emphasis on being happy? (Photo: Rachel Kramer, Flickr/Creative Commons)

As we reported at the end of last year (“Happy Happy New Year!”), the idea that nations should pay attention not just to Gross National Product (GNP) but also to Gross National Happiness (GNH) has been spreading slowly since it was introduced by the former King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in the 1970s.

This week, GNH will get more attention at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.  During this conference, leaders from around the world will gather in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to explore how nations can combat poverty while ensuring environmental protection. While the agenda includes an array of topics such as job creation, food security, and sustainable cities, attendees will also try to answer this question:  Are economic measures of growth enough to determine a nation’s well being?

For Bhutan, a landlocked country in South Asia, the answer is still no.  At the conference, Bhutan will present a paper based on the work of its Center for Bhutan Studies, which measures the nation’s GNH. The center examines nine domains of happiness - including health, education, time use, and good governance – and uses the results to craft recommendations for policy makers, NGOs, and businesses. Though it started as an informal alternative to the Gross National Product (GNP), today more civic leaders around the world are wondering if the GNH provides more holistic picture of a community’s wellbeing.

Starting in our communities

Sustainable Seattle used the concept in my hometown to develop a local happiness index through The Happiness Initiative. The project has two components: a set of objective statistics used to create a profile of the region’s progress toward sustainability, and a personal survey that anyone can take. The results of the first survey completed in 2011 (summary shown in a graph on page 10 of The Happiness Report Card [PDF]), reveal that my neighbors feel a strong sense of trust and community support, yet struggle with time balance.  The Happiness Initiative also developed a set a of recommendations for policy makers and community members to tackle the challenges presented in the survey.

The Happiness Initiative is branching out beyond Seattle and attempting to measure the country’s happiness. Their first national survey conducted in March 2012, for example, indicated Americans are more satisfied with the state of the environment, education, arts, and culture than with government and time balance.  The Happiness Initiative is collecting more national data now; you can contribute to the next report yourself here.

What do you think? Should we expand the ways communities — and nations — measure progress and success?

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Idealist by the Numbers: National Volunteer Week Edition

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Girl Scout volunteers plant trees on Earth Day. (Photo: vastateparkstaff, Flickr/Creative Commons)

Last week was National Volunteer Week. If you got swept up in the spirit, we’ve got some great tools to get you started any week of the year:

Volunteering can take lots of forms, from helping out at a one-time event to serving on a nonprofit’s board of directors. Here’s a little snapshot of what you’ll find if you search Idealist for ways to get involved:

13,179: Current volunteer opportunities on Idealist.org

3,962: Opportunities outside the U.S.

11,163: People whose profiles say they’re looking for a volunteer opportunity.

Volunteer whenever you can:

184: Opportunities that take less than one hour, one time

3,560: Opportunities to help out during the weekend

8,362: Volunteer opportunities with a flexible schedule

817: Late night volunteer opportunities

Enjoy the perks:

4,891: Volunteer opportunities that provide training

3,158: Opportunities that provide housing

3,022: Opportunities that provide language and cultural support

Volunteer full time:

431: Americorps volunteer opportunities

Help people help out:

19: Volunteer Coordinator jobs

72: Volunteer Coordinator volunteer opportunities

Find something for everyone:

92: Opportunities that involving hiking

24: Opportunities that involve clowns

1: Opportunity that involves line dancing

129: Opportunities that involve singing

443: Opportunities that involve Facebook

Volunteering is a great way to expand your knowledge, help out your community, and apparently spend some time on Facebook in the name of the greater good. There’s something for every skill, interest, and schedule, so take a look at the needs in your community.

What’s the best volunteer experience you ever had? Looking for something specific we can help you find? Let us know in the comments!

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Want to volunteer abroad?

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Image of monks volunteering in Kyegundo earthquake zone via SFTHQ (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Have you been thinking about volunteering abroad, but aren’t sure how to go about it? If you’re wondering where to go, how long you can afford to stay, and how you can be sure you’ll contribute to a meaningful and positive impact, here are two free events that might help:

At these free events, you can chat with representatives from organizations that lead volunteer projects in communities around the globe. You can also attend free workshops—sponsored by Cross-Cultural Solutions—on the basics of international service and strategies for making volunteering abroad more affordable.

Our former colleague Erin Barnhart is coordinating these fairs along with the International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA), so we’re sure they’ll be beautifully organized and full of valuable info. Click the Eventbrite links above for the full details and to RSVP. And let us know if you go check ‘em out!

And if you can’t make it to one of these events, check out our International Volunteering Resource Center.

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Acoustical Liberation: Human Rights in Audio Format

We got wind from the Omniglot Blog about a multilingual online volunteer project that’s going on. The goal is to make audio recordings of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights available in 30 different languages. This is how it works: volunteers pick a language that they can read and speak well; then they follow the script and the instructions given to them, and read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights aloud in that language while recording themselves. When they are satisfied with their version, they simply upload the audio file to the LibriVox website, and it becomes available for anyone’s listening pleasure.

LibriVox is a community of volunteers whose objective is “to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.” Volunteers, who don’t need to have any previous experience, work to record audio versions of chapters and documents, in any language. As long as the work is part of the “public domain” (meaning that no one holds the copyright), it is fair game to become a volunteer project, which means that most books published before 1923 are on the to-do list. Click here to learn how you can get involved in what LibriVox calls “acoustical liberation.”

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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