By Andrew Norris
A 21-year-old design student in Detroit redesigned the winter coat to help homeless people suffering from relentlessly cold winters. The ankle-length “Element S” is hooded, self-heated and waterproof, but it also transforms into a sleeping bag at night.
Not only that, her Detroit Empowerment Plan envisioned that the coat be made by a group of homeless women who are paid minimum wage, and fed and housed while creating the coats. The plan now creates jobs for those who desire them and coats for those who need them at no cost.
“The goal is to empower, employ, educate, and instill pride,” writes Veronika Scott, the coat’s creator. “The importance is not with the product but with the people.”
Donations to the project are tax-deductible. Visit Veronika’s wonderful blog to find out more ways you can help, like donating hot glue guns or thread.
Nonprofit Cafe Serves Up Healing for Tsunami Survivors: Miko Onodera is trying to provide a different type of recovery for her neighbors in the tsunami-battered city of Kesennuma: emotional healing.
Onodera, 41, who runs a nonprofit focused on helping the disabled, is now the maître d of a newly opened café, which she is hoping can in small ways help survivors get over the psychic scars left by the March 11 disaster.
She sees that as the next phase in getting her hometown back to normal.
Onodera said she has so far seen three phases of recovery in the nearly three months since the tsunami generated by a massive 9.0 earthquake offshore roared into Kesennuma and other coastal communities in northeast Japan. First was the immediate need for food and shelter, then the survivors needed clothing, then the focus turned to replacing home supplies such as electrical appliances and cooking tools as the survivors moved into temporary public housing.
Part of being a great volunteer is loving what you’re doing. Find something that you’re passionate about or something that inspires you, and then find a need in your community. There are dozens of reasons why you should volunteer – you just need to find the one that feels right.
20 Great Reasons to Volunteer
- Help others
- Make a difference
- Find purpose
- Enjoy a meaningful conversation
- Connect with your community
- Feel involved
- Contribute to a cause that you care about
- Use your skills in a productive way
- Develop new skills
- Meet new people
- Explore new areas of interest
- Meet good people
- Impress your mom
- Impress yourself
- Expand your horizons
- Get out of the house
- Make new friends
- Strengthen your resume
- Feel better about yourself
- Read More…
About The Merry Band
Each month, a group called The Merry Band of Schemers uses Skype to plan out how they will change someone’s life. And each month they amaze each other and everyone else they work with, including Nate St. Pierre, with what they can accomplish together. Nate is the founder of Love Drop, the organization that inspires and guides The Merry Band of Schemers in their work.
As the leader of Love Drop, a micro-giving network of people who unite as a community to help one person or family a month, Nate appreciates how precious a group of volunteers like The Merry Band of Schemers is. “They take pleasure in finding unique ways to surprise our families with unexpected, touching gifts,” he says.
While Love Drop launched in January 2011, The Merry Band of Schemers grew organically during the organization’s third “Drop” in March 2011, to help Katie in Dallas. Katie was a single mom struggling through multiple brain tumors and other serious medical conditions. While determined to maintain a positive outlook, Katie wasn’t sure how she’d pay her gigantic medical bills while supporting her two children, and she was feeling very alone.
By coordinating via Skype and Love Drop’s official forum, the Schemers were able to do an incredible amount for Katie and her family using their own time, connections and even money. From tickets to Disneyland and to baseball games, to baskets full of gifts for Katie and her kids, to surprise visits from Katie’s friends from all over the country, The Merry Band of Schemers certainly lived up to their name.
Love Drop, with the Schemers, is now planning its sixth Drop to help alleviate a family’s grief after a tough loss by giving support both financially and emotionally. “With so many people doing just a small part, and then focusing it all on one family, we can literally change their lives,” says Nate.
Nate and his co-founder run Love Drop, but it’s volunteers like The Merry Band of Schemers that give the project its power. “Love-scheming with the Love Drop team is my one ‘just because’ project,” says one member of the Schemers. “Focusing on one family for a full month, and how we can best bless them, makes my day so much brighter.”
Another Schemer talks about how she got started: “I became involved with Love Drop when my friend, Katie was the recipient. I had no idea how amazing it would be to watch everyone come together to bless her in so many amazing ways. I also had no idea that Love Drop is just as fun and heart warming even when you don’t know the recipient! I think they’re kind of stuck with me now.”
“Everyone gives just a little bit in money or time,” explains Nate, “but the total effects of all that giving add up to something truly life-changing for the families we work with each month.”
Why Start a Do Something Club?
Join the Crowd
We have over 1000 Do Something Clubs across the US and Canada. Join this network of young people taking action in their community and share what your Club is doing.
Do Something Clubs are a great way to create an awesome project worthy of a grant! We’re giving out fifty $250 startup grants to brand new Do Something Clubs. Plus all Do Something Clubs will have the ability to win special Club Grants throughout the year.
Monthly Clubs Challenges
Clubs have a chance to win special prizes with a different Clubs-only Challenge every month! Prizes range from t-shirts for every Club Member to HUGE Club Grants!
It’s completely FREE
And we never ask you to fundraise a certain amount or pay dues.
Tips for leading great meetings, planning projects, organizing fundraisers and much more! We even have a Club Starter Kit that gives you everything you need to know to get your Club going. Just fill out the Materials Request Form below.
Support From a Real Human Being
There is someone in our office whose whole job is to answer your questions and help make your club more fun and more effective. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. So start your Club today and talk to us about how to take it to the next level.
Three Annual Mailings
Each registered club will get 3 action kits mailed directly to them full of Do Something SWAG, project ideas, upcoming campaign announcements, and grant information to help keep them active. Plus you get a welcome mailing with a DoSomething.org banner and certificate when you first become an official Do Something Club
Online Club Profile
Each club will get their own club profile page where your club can upload pictures, post projects, announce club events, message members and connect with other clubs and individuals who are “doing something”.
Group Messaging and Calendar
Invite your club members to join your Club through our online clubs system. You can message all members to announce meetings and events. Your Club also gets its very own online calendar to update important dates and timelines.
There are tons of amazing organizations doing great work in your community. Do Something is connected nationally to organizations doing work around all causes. We’ll keep you in the loop about how groups in your community are working to change the world, special events, and ways you can get involved.
22 Non-Profits Looking Good, Doing Good
Even for a non-profit a website is a very important marketing tool. An essential way to share the non-profits goals and way to garner contributions. It also provides an easy way to share with contributors what they have accomplished with the money they have raised.
Below you’ll find a collection of great looking non-profit websites, although having a great looking website doesn’t ensure the non-profit is doing great things, but it does make it easier as you surf their site to find out what they are doing.
Teens Doing Good Work In Ocean County, New Jersey
Note the benches that elevate the EarthBoxes that enable seniors and those with physical limitations to garden.
The students who made this garden didn’t just learn to dig dirt. They built the benches and learned how modern sub-irrigated planter systems (SIPs) work. They learned some valuable skills that will lead some of them to new jobs in urban greenscaping.
We desperately need them to teach others how to do it. The greatest shortage we have is education about modern methods of growing food in the city. We appear to be stuck in the dirt of a bygone era.
Gooding said the gardens were planted in “earth boxes,” which contain special nutrients and are on above-ground benches built by the special-needs Vo-Tech students in Ocean County. He expected to harvest about 120,000 pounds of fresh produce.
Despite the sweltering heat on a recent afternoon, dozens of Ocean County teenagers diligently tended to gardens, even though they will not even enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Taking part in the Summer Youth Team Nutrition Community Gardens program, young adults helped build vegetable gardens at affordable-housing complexes around the county.
This is the first time OCEAN Inc., a nonprofit organization that was created in the 1960s to combat poverty throughout the county, is conducting the community garden program, which is funded by a $290,000 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“We thought it would be great to have a nutritional program and work with seniors to provide gardens on their sites,” said Ted Gooding, president and CEO of Toms River-based OCEAN Inc.