Whether you plug in or tune out, it is hard to avoid the topic of bitterness and division. It is in the headlines, on the nightly news, in our social media feeds and at our family gatherings. Everywhere we look, differences – political, racial, geographical, and otherwise – threaten to divide us. Amidst deep political divisions, heartbreaking displays of hate and intolerance, and a growing distrust of people and institutions, it is critical that we leverage every available opportunity to lift each other up and inspire one another to move beyond this destructive force field.
At the core of our philosophy at Points of Light is a belief that the most powerful force in the world is the individual who has realized their power to do good, and who applies their time, talent, and resources to make a positive difference.
“We rarely have the luxury of spending time on the business with a group of highly skilled professionals,” said Mariana McNeill, executive director of CareerCatchers. Dedicated to empowering the community’s most vulnerable populations through career counseling, mentorship and training programs, Mariana and CareerCatchers participate in the D.C. Regional Project Management Day of Service each year, taking advantage of the unique opportunity to work with project management professionals to solve tough challenges – at no cost. Hosted by Project Management for Change, the marathon-style event falls annually on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and is designed to help nonprofits find innovative solutions to their most pressing challenges. This year’s event will include 130 project management volunteers who will contribute hours of direct service to more than 30 projects for 25 area nonprofits
Inspired to help local nonprofit organizations reach their full potential, Gary Vaughan volunteers his time and project management skills to create actionable project plans during the annual D.C. Regional Project Management Day of Service. . Hosted by Project Management for Change, the event falls annually on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, and over 130 volunteers will contribute hours of direct service to more than 25 area nonprofits and 30 projects. A senior IT adviser with the Bureau of Information Resource Management at the State Department, Gary brings years of experience to the PMDoS marathon-style event. Now in his fourth year as a volunteer, he is helping under-resourced nonprofit leaders address their most difficult challenges at no cost, one project at a time
“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” HandsOn Hong Kong, a Points of Light Network affiliate, brings to life these words from Helen Keller – tackling their most pressing social needs by mobilizing and empowering every member of their community to make a difference through volunteer service.Since its founding in 2007, HandsOn Hong Kong has been working to create service opportunities for every cause and volunteer. Whatever your passion may be, HandsOn Hong Kong makes it easy to search its inclusive volunteer calendar to find service projects for people of all ages.
Why not add volunteering to your New Year’s resolution list? The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to start volunteering, or to find new ways to make a difference in your community. Not only does volunteering connect you to the people closest to you and to others in your community, it can also improve personal health and happiness levels. Giving back can be as big or small a commitment as your time allows, but it’s always time worth spending.
What do you do when a second grader tells you he doesn’t know his birthday? Or when that same little boy says he doesn’t even know what a birthday is? Julia Warren was only 16-years-old when she had this heartbreaking conversation as a volunteer at a Title I elementary school in Richmond, Virginia. After she explained to the student, a little boy named Charles, what a birthday was, all he could muster for an answer was, “I think I was born when it was cold.”
Dr. Gary Parker first volunteered aboard a Mercy Ships hospital ship thinking it would be a three-month journey. However, three months turned into 31 years, and Gary and his wife Susan, who he met on board, have devoted their lives to help those living without access to safe, timely and affordable surgical care.
In a game where one wrong move can risk your path to victory, Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson encourages young adults and children to not focus on the chess pieces they have lost, but rather on what’s left on the board – and to never give up. Preaching the power of thinking strategically and making better life decisions, Orrin, a 55-year-old from Stone Mountain, Georgia, teaches his students the game of chess through what he calls the six magic words: “Take time to think things through.” These words have connected Orrin with more than 55,000 children in 30 states nationwide and internationally, including trips to the Philippines, India and Canada.
When confronted with big societal problems, like hunger, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Aside from sending a donation to a local nonprofit, or volunteering at a local soup kitchen – we often feel that, as just one person, we can’t possibly do enough to make a difference. But when Claire Bloom, a retired Navy lieutenant commander, was confronted with the issue of childhood hunger in her own community of Rochester, New Hampshire, she knew she had to take action.
Shuba Prasadh says her story has a simple start: a mediocre computer science class in middle school. The class was “not as cool as it should have been,” said the 16-year-old – who is now the CEO of an international nonprofit organization that advances STEM education for youth. Inspired by that un-inspiring class, Shuba had an idea – to find a way to increase access to STEM education and to help kids use the skills they learned for social impact. She founded STEMFuture to help ensure everyone has access to basic STEM knowledge in order to navigate today’s technology-filled world.