Archive for the “Volunteer” Category


Schools across the country are having to make some tough budgetary decisions this fall.  And oftentimes the first programs to get the boot are art and music.  But you can do something about it!

VH1 Save the Music and Do Something are calling on you to lead the fight for music education in schools.  From now until October 16th, take action — tell everyone to “Save Our Music!” Organize an instrument drive. Create viral videos on what music means to you. Run an awareness campaign in your school. For more project ideas check out the “Save Our Music!” website.

Sign up on DoSomething.org to get started, and if you submit your project ideas by October 23rd you’ll put yourself in the running for a ton of great prizes including:

  • The top 5 advocates will receive $1,000 for their school music program and Rock Band Video game packages.
  • One grand prize winner gets $2500 in music funding and a Beatles Rock Band game system.

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Growing up it was an August ritual to go shopping for new school shoes, and the habit has kinda stuck because end of summer is my favorite time to shop for shoes.  But, like many women, I’m also guilty of having an already full closet of shoes, some of which are rarely worn, and in fact, I found out that Americans (men and woman) have about 1.5 billion shoes that they never wear!

So this year I’ve decided to give up a few of my rarely used kicks in hopes that someone else will put them to good use.  An organization doing a really fantastic job of collecting and distributing new and gently worn shoes is Soles4Souls, a non-profit whose mission is to give the gift of shoes to people in need both in the U.S. and abroad.

They’ve made it easy to donate, too, by partnering with large and small businesses across the country.  You can find a participating donation center just by entering your zip code on their website, or you can even host a shoe drive at your school if you want to get others involved in your altruistic endeavor.

From disaster relief to homeless shelters, summer camps for disadvantaged children and orphanages, there are millions of people across the globe in need of shoes, and this is just one small way that we can help.  So, goodbye, cute pink running shoes circa 2001 (and not-so-cute old school orange Pumas)- here’s hoping you make some other feet happy.

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It’s the time of year again for building up that stockpile of pens and folders and trapper keepers (do they still make trapper keepers?).  But while you’re at it why not help out the nearly 13 million students who can’t afford new school supplies by joining the Do Something 101 School Supply Drive.

It’s easy to get involved by becoming a fan on Facebook, and there you can enter the “Adopt A Pack” sweepstakes for your chance to win a trip to LA and rock your choice of events at the Staple Center with 5 of your friends. Stop by your neighborhood Staples to purchase your supplies and donate to students in need.  Do something today to help a student tomorrow!

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On Monday President Obama and his administration launched “United We Serve,” a call to volunteering and making a difference in our communities. And to support this endeavor employees from Craigslist, FanFeedr, Google, UCLA, and YouTube donated their time to create All for Good, a new volunteer search application which helps users find opportunities to serve within their communities and around the nation.

There you can search for service projects using key terms like education, hunger, nature, animals; find opportunities in your zip code; share your projects with your friends; or track specific volunteer activities.

If you’re looking for the perfect summer volunteer opportunity, All for Good is a great place to start. And check out First Lady Michelle Obama’s inspiring message about community service. In her words, “America’s new foundation will be built one community at a time, and it starts with you.”

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DoSomething.org and Aéropostale have teamed up for this year’s Teens for Jeans drive to provide homeless teens with jeans this winter. Here’s how you can get involved:

Just drop off any pair of your gently worn jeans to any Aéropostale store between January 26th and February 22nd and DoSomething.org will make sure they get donated to a local homeless shelter or charity. To say thanks, Aéropostale will give you an additional 25% off your next pair of jeans.

Just think of it as a feel-good way to get a jump-start on spring cleaning…

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Doing something noteworthy with music in your community? DoSomething.org has teamed up with Death Cab for Cutie and the GRAMMY Foundation® to find young people who have an idea or existing project that uses music to make a difference. Five grand-prize winners will win $3,000 and be flown to LA for a trip to the Grammys!  The deadline to enter is December 15th, and you can visit DoSomething.org for rules of entry and to submit your application.

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When I was working in the admissions office at Columbia University, I would often get the question, “Is community service required or recommended for admission?”  It was always a tough one to answer because we didn’t want students scrambling to log hours of community service with last-minute bake sales and car washes, and while we didn’t have an official volunteer requirement, an application with significant community involvement definitely spoke volumes about a person’s character and commitment.

Recently DoSomething.org surveyed 25 highly ranked colleges and universities, and here’s what they had to say about the value of community service in a college application:

Passion and consistency valued most–When asked, “Which would you value more: four years volunteering at a local community center or one month helping orphans in Somalia?” 100% surveyed chose four years at a community shelter. This response indicates passion and consistency hold much higher value than a smaller, even more intensive program.

Time spent worth more than money raised–When asked, “Which would you value more: raising $100,000 for the homeless or spending a summer working at a homeless shelter?” 68% surveyed valued time spent over money raised. While raising such funds is admirable and impressive, time spent indicates the universality of volunteerism. Anyone can find a homeless shelter where they can volunteer, but not everyone has the ability to ask for money. Admissions officers “get it.” They are looking for evidence of actual service, not the ability to connect with wealthy people.

Community service ranks rourth amongst valued criteria–When asked to rank GPA, SATs, legacy, reference letters, extra curricular activities, and community service, 37.5% surveyed ranked community service fourth. While GPA and SATs are obviously the most valued criteria, community service ranks higher than legacy and reference letters. Quite simply, hard academic numbers remain the most standard and significant factors of getting into a top college, but community services are noted and valued experiences.

Organizational affiliations don’t matter–When asked, “Does being a member of a service organization like the Boy Scouts have more or less weight than an unaffiliated student volunteering?” 84% surveyed gave no weight to such affiliations. One admissions officer noted, “Service is service, that’s always a good thing.”

Tell your story well–When asked to list the three words admissions officers most like to see when students describe their community service, the most recurring words were commitment,” “passionate,” and “dedication.” When asked to list the three words admissions officers least like to see, most recurring were “required,” “mandatory,” and “tedious.” Therefore, when describing community service, it should include positive and encouraging descriptors, rather than words of obligation.

Have you found a meaningful way to give back to the community? What volunteer activities have you enjoyed the most?

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Got an idea for a school club or activity, but don’t know where to start?  Well, the fine and ever-so-creative folks at DoSomething.org are offering $250 grants for high school students who start up and register their club by December 2008.  Do Something Clubs are a fun, free, and easy way for you to take action in your community and impact the causes that you’re passionate about.  Got a question about Do Something Clubs or taking action in your school or community? Visit DoSomething.org/clubs!

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Written by and for teens, Electionista is the newest blog on Seventeen and promises to keep tabs on all the latest developments in the presidential race. Be the first to know Barack Obama’s VP, check out First Lady Fashion, and use Electionista to understand the candidates, the issues, and everything else election day-related!

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It may be the beginning of the end of summer, but there’s plenty of days left to do something cool, like saving the world.

If you’re looking for a practical way to help mankind, check out the latest Do Something campaign.

“More than 11 million kids in the US live below the poverty line and don’t have the basic supplies that they need to succeed. Let’s Do Something about it!

Led by teens nationwide, Do Something 101 is a campaign to collect new school supplies for kids in need. Drop off new supplies at any Staples store through August 31st, and we’ll make sure they’re delivered to kids who need them.”

For details and where to drop off donations, click here. ds_101.jpg

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