Archive for February, 2012

Nominate a Hasbro Community Action Hero

Posted on February 24, 2012. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners, Volunteering is Hot! |

Do you know a young person between the ages of 5 and 18 who has done remarkable community service in the past 12 months?

GenerationOn and Hasbro Children’s Fund are seeking nominations for the 2012 Hasbro Community Action Hero Award. This award recognizes five outstanding young volunteers,2012 Hasbro Action Heroes ages 5 to 18, who demonstrate that you are never too young to make a difference in your local or global community. Hasbro Children’s Fund and generationOn will celebrate the selected young people for their extraordinary community service and volunteer activities at a special recognition event in New York City. Each awardee will also receive a $1,000 educational scholarship

Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled in school (grade K-12) and age 5-18 at time of nomination
  • Be a resident of the 50 United States or District of Columbia
  • Be available to travel to New York City for a special, expense-paid, two day, one night trip to New York City on May 31 to June 1, 2012

GenerationOn will be accepting nominations for the Hasbro Community Action Hero Award from now through March 6, 2012 at 5 p.m. EST. Click here to learn more about how to nominate a Hasbro Community Action Hero today

GenerationOn is supported by an extraordinary $5 million partnership with Hasbro. For more information about generationOn, visit our website.

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Boy Howdy is William Bragg awesome!!!

Posted on February 22, 2012. Filed under: Volunteering is Hot! |

William Bragg is a gifted photographer who graciously agreed to take some photos of the HandsOn Team.  Check out his blog to see other examples of his work. As you can see, we had a great time with him.  Thanks again Will!

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Save the Date! A lot of exciting things are coming up!

Posted on February 20, 2012. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners |

Hello Partner!

Now that we have all dried out somewhat after the recent flooding, we wanted to make sure you know about some big events coming up.  The April is a great month to plan your spring cleaning volunteer activities.  We will be actively recruiting volunteers for each major National Day of Service in the Spring.  The Spring is also a great time to recognize your volunteers for the great service they do.  HandsOn is hosting it’s annual Party Like a Volunteer recognition event.  Invite all of your volunteers to this night of fun, games, prizes and tons of thank you’s to all volunteers in our community.  Encourage your volunteers to show off any of their gear from where they volunteer with pride.

Keep reading to see all the dates for upcoming events:

March 31st, Cesar Chavez Day

April 15-21, National Volunteer Week and Party like a Volunteer Recognition Event (date TBA)

April 20-22, Global Youth Services Day

April 22, Earth Day

April 28, Salem Library Volunteer Fair *Contact Melissa if you are interested in hosting a table.*

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Volunteering Produces Health Benefits

Posted on February 13, 2012. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners, Volunteering is Hot! |

A Press Release from AmeriCorps.gov

New Report Shows Helping Others Improves Your Wellbeing and Longevity

Washington, D.C. – Volunteers help themselves to better health while helping others, according to a study released today by the Corporation for National and Community Service that reviews a compelling collection of recent scientific research.

The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research has found a significant connection between volunteering and good health. The report shows that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease.  The report is available by clicking here.

“Volunteering makes the heart grow stronger,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation. “More than 61 million Americans volunteer to improve conditions for people in need and to unselfishly give of themselves. While the motivation is altruistic, it is gratifying to learn that their efforts are returning considerable health benefits.”

The Health Benefits of Volunteering documents major findings from more than 30 rigorous and longitudinal studies that reviewed the relationship between health and volunteering, with particular emphasis on studies that seek to determine the causal connection between the two factors. The studies, which were controlled for other factors, found that volunteering leads to improved physical and mental health.

“I commend the Corporation for National andCommunity Service for its timely focus on health and volunteerism.These findingscomplementthe Administration on Aging’s ongoingefforts to harness the power of prevention and wellness for all older Americans. Volunteerism is an important tool inourstrategy to promote health and prevent disease,” said Josefina G. Carbonell, Assistant Secretary for Aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Research suggests that volunteering is particularly beneficial to the health of older adults and those serving 100 hours annually. According to the report:

  • A study of adults age 65 and older found that the positive effect of volunteering on physical and mental health is due to the personal sense of accomplishment an individual gains from his or her volunteer activities.
  • Another study found that volunteering led to lower rates of depression in individuals 65 and older.
  • A Duke study found that individuals who volunteered after experiencing heart attacks reported reductions in despair and depression – two factors that that have been linked to mortality in post-coronary artery disease patients.
  • An analysis of longitudinal data found that individuals over 70 who volunteered approximately 100 hours had less of a decline in self-reported health and functioning levels, experienced lower levels of depression, and had more longevity.
  • Two studies found that volunteering threshold is about 100 hours per year, or about two hours a week. Individuals who reached the threshold enjoyed significant health benefits, although there were not additional benefits beyond the 100-hour mark.

“This is good news for people who volunteer,” said Robert Grimm, Director of the Corporation’s Office of Research and Policy Development and Senior Counselor to the CEO. “This research is particularly relevant to Baby Boomers, who are receiving as well as giving when they help others. Just two hours of volunteering a week can bring meaningful benefits to a person’s body and mind.”

Last month, the Corporation released Volunteering in America: 2007 State Trends and Rankings in Civic Life, a report that includes numerous measures on volunteering and civic engagement. The Health Benefits of Volunteering report builds on that by showing states with higher volunteer rates also have better health and that there is a significant statistical relationship between states with higher volunteer rates and lower incidents of mortality and heart disease.

“There is now a convergence of research leading to the conclusion that helping others makes people happier and healthier. So the word is out – it’s good to be good. Science increasingly says so,” said Dr. Stephen Post, a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and co-author of the forthcoming book “Why Good Things Happen to Good People: The Exciting New Research That Proves the Link Between Doing Good and Living a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life.”

This follow-up report issued today brings more evidence that volunteering produces significant health benefits. Those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not – even when controlling for socioeconomic status, education, marital status, age, gender, and ethnicity, the report stated.

“Civic Engagement and volunteering is the new hybrid health club for the 21st century that’s free to join,” added Thomas H. Sander, executive director of the Saguaro Seminar at Harvard University. Social capital research shows it miraculously improves both your health AND the community’s through the work performed and the social ties built.”

The Corporation for National and Community Service improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year, the Corporation provides opportunities for more than 2 million Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities and country through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America. For more information, visit http://www.nationalservice.gov.

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Disney, $1000, and YOU…

Posted on February 10, 2012. Filed under: Volunteering is Hot! |

Are you between 5-18 years old and have an idea and want $$$ to get it DONE? Are you old but are lucky enough to know someone awesome with an IDEA?

This $$$ opportunity is due super soon, so QUICK, check-it out and apply! HandsOn is your resource for finding a place to volunteer with, so please let us know if we can help with your application. 1-877-372-4141 (toll-free).

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is from April 20 – 22. GYSD is Youth Service America’s (YSA) annual campaign that celebrates and mobilizes the millions of children and youth who improve their communities every day through service and service-learning. generationOn is proud to partner with YSA on this important day of service.

YSA provides grants to fund GYSD service projects and is currently accepting applications for the Disney Friends for Change Grants, awarding $1,000 to youth-led service projects addressing community, national or global issues. The deadline to apply is February 29 and all projects must take place between April 20 – 22, 2012. Click here for more information.

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How to Be Ready for the Next Big Disaster

Posted on February 6, 2012. Filed under: Volunteering is Hot! |

On Thursday, January 19th HandsOn received a call from the Volunteer Coordinator at the City of Salem Parks Department.  She said the city was about to send crews out to fill sand bags at several locations threatened by flood waters.  She said she would need volunteers at a variety of locations all day.  HandsOn sent the call out to the volunteers of the Salem area and you answered loud and clear!  Over the next week volunteers braved the rain and wind to fill sand bags and help area organizations move their belongings out of basements and away from water damage.  Those who couldn’t help in traditional ways brought cookies, coffee and even Kentucky Fried Chicken to volunteers as they worked.

HandsOn estimates over 1,000 volunteers assisted with these efforts.  That is truly amazing!  Thank you all so much for being there when your community needed you most!  Now that the waters have receded, there are still plenty of needs you can participate in.  Check out HandsOnMWV.org for a list of clean up options.

Looking ahead, are you ready for the next disaster?  All too often, well intentioned individuals show up at the site of a disaster without signing up ahead of time or even knowing what they are getting into.  This is very dangerous for both the volunteer and the response crews already on site.  Never self-deploy in the event of a disaster.  First make sure your family, home and belongings are secure.  Then contact HandsOn to see where the need is and how to get involved.

Ideally, all individuals interested in volunteering during a disaster, should be affiliated with a disaster response organization before a disaster.  Contact the Red Cross Willamette Chapter or your local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) to learn more and become affiliated with them.  These 2 options are the first responders in a disaster and they will activate their own volunteers before requesting help from the general public.

Remember, the most important thing to do in a disaster is to:

  • Ensure your needs are covered before assisting others.
  • Never self-deploy.  Log onto HandsOnMWV.org to see where the need is and always sign up before going to the site.
  • Affiliate with a disaster response organization before a disaster strikes.

Thank you again to all of the volunteers who assisted in the recent efforts.  All of you are super heroes of the community!

Melissa Gibler is the program manager for HandsOn Mid-Willamette Valley—a program of Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency. She can be reached at (877) 372-4141, or melissa@handsonmwv.org

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Five Tips for Volunteer Management from Groundhog Phil

Posted on February 6, 2012. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners |

From the HandsOn Network Blog

Groundhog Day is celebrated on the second of February. The celebration began as a Pennsylvanian German celebration in the 18th and 19thcentury. Groundhog Day is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow. If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole. If the day is cloudy and, therefore, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club claims that Phil’s prediction is correct one-hundred percent of the time. However, spoilsport scientists say he’s no more accurate than your local weatherman: An analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that, from 1988 to 2010, there was no correlation between the groundhog’s prediction and the weather for the rest of the season.

Regardless of Phil the Groundhog’s accuracy, there are important lessons to be learned from Groundhog Day for the field of volunteer management. Read on for Phil’s lessons!

Have patience Winter can often seem endless, especially in the usually cold days of January! Every year we must exercise patience, waiting for the groundhog’s revelation, and even more so when Phil predicts six more weeks of winter! In your service and volunteer management, patience is just as important of a virtue. When you encounter red tape, when funding is at risk, or even when you just can’t seem to find a volunteer position that suits your skill set, patience is key. Let Punxsutawney Phil’s hibernation be your inspiration for peace and patience this winter!Phil

Keep an eye out for industry predictions As in any evolving industry, it is important to keep an eye out for new trends and best practices in the field of volunteer management. Just as Punxsutawney Phil prognosticates future weather conditions, movers and shakers predict nonprofit and volunteer trends for the year based on the past year. Keep an eye on blogs for this information to stay ahead of the curve; congratulations, you’re in just the right place!

Take risks When we put our collective trust in a rodent’s notice of his shadow each year to determine the season, we take quite a risk! Don’t be afraid to take risks in your field, especially as the new year is the perfect time to implement the new trends you’ve discovered.

Embrace silliness Its easy to get bogged down in the administrative burden and various minutiae of volunteer organization and begin to see it as a burden. If nothing else, Groundhog Day teaches us not to take ourselves too seriously and to embrace a little silliness. Why not send Groundhog Day cards to your volunteers? A little fun will fit into nearly any setting, and your volunteers are more likely to remember your organization fondly if you show your goofball side!

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