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Commit 1 Percent of Your Time to Service This Year

Do It

We can do better than good. Together, we can be great.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, "Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve." In honor of MLK Day and President Obama's National Day of Service, we're challenging you to commit yourself to service. Spend one percent of your work hours this year (that's 20 hours) changing a small corner of your world for the better. However you choose to give back, this year you can be great. Click "Do It" below to take the pledge, and let's dig in!



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Stories (25)

  • Jelena Woehr

    Last year I spent my 1% service hours (and many more!) with Victim Outreach Information, an organization that provides crime scene victim advocacy services to eight police departments in the western suburbs of Denver. The letter is from my first year volunteering -- sadly the final one I received got lost in a move, but I had nearly 2,000 total hours by the time I left. On my on-call nights, I wore a pager and any of our eight PDs could summon me to a crime scene to provide immediate victim services, with the goal of increasing safe outcomes for victims of crime and reducing the harmful lingering effects of trauma.

    Honestly, it was so rewarding that for most of my time volunteering, I would flippantly say, "I think I get more out of it than the victims do," when people asked about it. (Not that I really enjoyed a pager waking me in the middle of the night, but I'm a night owl anyway, so even that wasn't too bad.)

    But then on Christmas Eve I ran into someone who spotted my pager and thanked me. When I used the usual dismissive line, he stopped me and explained that he'd been a child who received services from a victim advocate after a traumatic incident. He credited that with helping him start a successful healing process that led him to be a successful soldier, a husband, and (at the time) an expectant father of his first child. He was at Walgreens on Christmas Eve buying snacks for his pregnant wife.


  • Todd Tyrtle

    I volunteer weekly with a local adult literacy centre and also volunteer for various charity events.

    One suggestion I have is that volunteering is almost always fun with more people. Last December a few local improvisers and I volunteered for a turkey drive - encouraging folks at a grocery store to buy turkeys for a food bank. We had so much fun that we set up an informal group that signs up together for these sorts of events, volunteers as a group at places like food banks and have just started doing things like park cleanups. As a group we do the thing we set out to do but try to pair it up with something fun - the park cleanup, for example will have a campfire and snacks at the end (those who want to come to that but can't make the cleanup can bring a canned good for the food bank instead). Often, it seems, the people stopping people from doing volunteer work is simply inertia and not knowing what's out there. Bring the event opportunities to them and they'll come. Make it fun and even more will.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    I've dedicated my time to organization Honeylove this year. They're trying to legalize urban beekeeping in LA and they are members of the GOOD 100! These are photos from our recent event! I got to table and educate people about bees!

  • Sue Ann Sterkowicz Kainz

    I volunteer as a crisis interventionist on Common Ground's (Oakland County, MI, USA) crisis telephone line. I know that I get much more through my volunteering than any of our callers, because I am contributing to mental wellness while fortifying my own.

  • Rhea Alexander

    I volunteer in my local public elementary school in NYC with both the Lego Robotics program and the organic farming and gardening initiative. Both program enrich the education of our community's children to think out of the box. The theme for our Lego Robotics Challenge this year is Disaster Blasters, where we discuss weather and super storms, developing ideas for before, during and after a super storm. We have kindergardeners thru 3rd graders and 4-5 working on making the world a safer more collaborative place. For the urban farming project we have both a roof and ground level garden where we plant, nurture and harvest, taking some of the harvest into the cafeteria to learn about where our food comes from and how to eat healthier. This inspires children to think about their eating habits, see alternatives, then make changes and develop choice. It also connects urban kids to the earth in fun engaging ways.

  • Sam Randazzo

    I volunteer at 826LA, a tutoring center for kids that promotes creative writing through free workshops, field trips, in-school programs and after school tutoring. It's super-fun and the students inspire me with their imaginations on a daily basis.

  • landers

    I've been volunteering with Yes Scotland with regard to our Independence referendum next year, it's working out to a bit more than 2 hours a week but it's a great way to meet new people in my community. Would also like to get more involved with some of the environmental and social campaigning work the local Quaker community is involved in!!

  • Armando Garma

    I've been a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York for almost three years now and it has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The lessons taught equal in number and importance as the lessons I've learned. If any of you are looking for a worthwhile cause, I highly recommend mentoring.

  • Andrew Peluso

    I am a part of Rotary Club in Orangevale, CA (Nor Cal) and volunteer as a counselor for a week long youth leadership camp in Euegene, OR and in Sacramento, CA. I went as a camper to the one in OR and the camp, known as RYLA (Rotaty Youth Leadership Academy), changed my life! The week long camps are life changing for the students who attend and touch on deep personal growth as well as tangible leadership tools and skills. The camps are without a doubt my favorite time of year!

  • Mary Tabata

    Last week I went with my Rotary group to prepare and serve dinner at a homeless youth drop-in center in Venice, CA. These are mostly teenage kids who are homeless and/or living in very poor circumstances. It was an eye-opener to be sure.

  • Patty Golsteijn

    I just set up my own program where I help young self-employed people who have just started out and/or are now feeling stuck and overwhelmed by everything they have to do. I'll be talking to them once a week and help them with whatever they need that week (obviously not doing the work for them, but help with connections, advice, take care of themselves, etc.).

  • Valerie Rhodes

    Devoting three months of service in Africa, 6 months here in the US... The more people get involved, the bigger the impact. I'm leaving for Kenya in two days, yes Kenya, despite what's happening there now, I've made this commitment to the people there. Will you help me make a difference without leaving the comfort of your home?
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