OK–we made it through Grey Thursday and all it’s attendant protests, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday…a somewhat treacherous (to your wallet) path, but today you have arrived at the pinnacle event: GIVING TUESDAY.
As a follow up to the rampant purchasing, today, Giving Tuesday, has been designated as a time to give to those less fortunate than yourself. It is a campaign to create a NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. We had our day for giving thanks, a few days for getting deals, now it’s a day for giving back. Big organizations are behind it, like the 92nd Street Y in NYC (the incubator of the idea), United Nations Foundation, United Way, Huffington Post, City of Hope, Charity Miles, DoSomething.org, Pencils of Promise, American Red Cross, Kiva, Global Giving, and so many more. There are now more than 2,000 Giving Tuesday partners with special initiatives and projects tied to this day, so it is super easy for you to get involved. Choose your favorite cause and give: time, money, both (or a commitment to show up and volunteer soon)…then spread the word…be audacious and vocal about your good deeds, it will inspire others. Here is a whole list of ideas for ways individuals and families can get their giving on. JUMP IN!
Tonight is the broadcast, on VH1, of the 2012 Do Something Awards. This is a national award for community service, honoring those under the age of 25 who are committed to making big changes in our world, and already moving mountains to do so. A whole lot of entertainment powerhouse performers will be on hand for the show to present awards and keep the evening moving along. Some of the big names on tonight’s star roster are Ben Affleck, Kristen Bell, Beyoncé, Will Ferrell, Kelly Osbourne, and Dax Shepard. The young finalists are an amazing and inspiring group of people who have created foundations and programs in their own back yards or across the world, to have a positive impact on the environment and social issues that are most pressing right now. Some of this year’s finalists are taking on issues in the Sudan, hunger, homelessness, arts education, artisans and sustainability, health in Nepal, international micro-grants, brain tumors, at-risk urban youth, classroom environmental education, and more.
DoSomething.org is a website I hope the young folks in your life already know about–it is a huge information clearinghouse that makes volunteering and being of service cool to teens and tweens, providing inspiration and direction for ways to get involved in your community, or maybe even start your own movement, like the people receiving awards tonight. Find out more, watch with a young person. Giving back really is the best thing going on right now.
It’s that time of year when every form of publication and broadcast is doing round up pieces…the best of…the top ten…of the year gone by, or predictions for the year beginning. DoSomething.org has, on their Celebs Gone Good pages, an article that points up the charitable work of the famous among us—it’s a list I love. It is the Top 20 celebrities and their charitable work throughout 2010. The usual suspects are here: Ellen (in addition to her commitment to ending hunger, shining a spotlight on bullying and the amazing work of The Trevor Project), Oprah ($40 million to charities), Matt Damon (water.org), Alicia Keys (Keep a Child Alive)…and a few that really stepped up, perhaps for the first time, in the past year—Lady Gaga (Hands Up for Marriage Equality), Justin Bieber (Pencils of Promise), Sophia Bush (advocacy and awareness of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster), Nick Jonas (Change for the Children Foundation and his tireless work for diabetes treatment and awareness)…
And you! Celebrate the great work you did in 2010, and plan to ramp it up even more in 2011–our commitments to the world grow because we grow…and we grow because of our commitments.
Getting kids motivated to reach out and be bigger than they are can be quite simple, and even financially rewarding. Doing good for others can be something more than selfless. The DO Something organization, in a win/win set up with teenagers, has created the “Teens for Jeans” program in partnership with Aéropostale stores. Teens donate their used jeans and other wearable clothing at Aéropostale shops, receive a 25% discount on new items in the store, and the store gets the used clothing to homeless teenagers all around the country. The jeans drive runs through Valentine’s Day, and the first 100,000 pairs of jeans are already earmarked for distribution to Haiti.
Easy. Win/Win. ‘Nuf said.
Work and school are calling most of us back to the grind tomorrow, albeit with new resolutions, maybe a new sweater, and likely a few new pounds. It’s a great time to hit the ground running.
Do Something is an organization all about empowering teenagers—a generation committed to change and bettering the world. Their proclaimed purpose: “We believe young people have the power to make a difference. It is our aim to inspire, support and celebrate a generation of do-ers: people who see the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action.
Our website is a community where young people learn, listen, speak, vote, volunteer, ask, and take action to make the world a better place. Currently, only 23% of this generation actively volunteers. Our hope is to create a do something generation: a world where more than 51% of young people are involved with community action.”
Their online tools give kids the means and inspiration to take on challenges that fire them up. There are categories of volunteering projects in which to expend their own considerable energy as well as support to create their own new projects (along with the possibility of grants awarded to fund fledgling volunteer programs).
This doesn’t create leaders—teens are leaders by nature—and here are structures and new ways of thinking to support them as they excel more and more in the new year.