Monday, December 08, 2008

On Being a Homework Helper

Throughout the month on the Flex Calendar at various libraries around San Diego, the homework helpers come out. I joined the homework helpers at the College/Rolando branch library this week and assisted a couple of students with their studies. It felt good to cheer on a second grader as she rocked through her addition assignment and then prodded a bit to get her through the reading comprehension material. When I learned from the second grader's mom that the two of them had been working for an hour on a book report prior to the work I was supervising, it occurred to me that the mom certainly deserved the break I was providing.

When I was approached by two high schoolers looking for help with their algebra, I am sorry to admit that I was not quite up to the challenge. I did find them some other help and left the project resigned to recruit a certain math whiz in my life for an upcoming Homework Helper project.

Math whizzes are great, but most everyone will be a great addition to a Homework Helpers project. No tutoring experience is necessary and lots of great kids are waiting for some encouragement and assistance.

Anna Schulz is a member of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Conversation: Step up

On Sunday, November 30, the Sacramento Bee dedicated much of the Forum section to service and volunteering. The centerpiece of the feature was an article authored by Sue Carter, the Executive Director of Volunteer San Diego.

The Conversation: Step up
Hosted by Daniel Weintraub
Published Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008

Communities across California and the United States face an uncertain future. The economic downturn is leaving many people suffering and looking to government and community organizations for support. Funding for these services cannot keep up with increased demand. In fact, many people and organizations expect to give less next year.

At the same time, we are experiencing a renewal of civic spirit and an increase in interest and participation in volunteering.

Many wonder what would be possible if we transformed public good will into solutions for our neighbors and the organizations that serve them. Increased donations of volunteer time and talent are critical additions to our current philanthropic gifts of money and goods, but it will require a major shift in the way many people think about service. Fortunately, that's starting to occur. The entire notion of volunteering is undergoing a radical transformation; what has long been seen as nice has increasingly become necessary.

To read the entire article, click here.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Weed Whackin' Saturdays

Volunteer San Diego’s Fire Recovery Team had a successful Weed Whacking Saturday on November 22nd. Covering 2 locations, Rancho Bernardo and Dulzura, over 60 volunteers participated in brush clearance for individuals affected by the 2007 Wildfires. Putting their stamina to the test, volunteers were able to clear five lots and provide substantial support for under-insured and elderly individuals who needed assistance in getting their property ready to rebuild!

Weed Whackin’ Saturdays take place in the fire-affected areas of Fallbrook, Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, Ramona and Dulzura on a rotating basis. Group projects can be arranged. Equipment and safety training will be provided. All that is required is your presence and a willingness to help. Click here to participate in a Weed Whackin' Saturday project.

Read more!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sharing the Holiday Spirit

During the holidays the public truly embraces service and generosity. This is perhaps one of the best parts of the holiday season for me. The spirit of giving reaches beyond family and friends and the impact of this season benefits many well into the new year. Volunteer San Diego is once again your headquarters for tapping into truly meaningful volunteer projects and opportunities to give. Check out Volunteer San Diego's Holiday Volunteer Guide for 54 projects with a Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's or general winter holiday focus.

Extend the holiday spirit even further with a bit of creativity. Perhaps you can forgo fancy holiday parties and spend time with friends at a volunteer project instead. Make donations or purchase gifts for someone in need in honor of your loved ones. You can very easily share the VSD Holiday Volunteer Guide with your colleagues, friends and family, and give them the chance to fill their hearts with the holiday spirit, too.

Follow the Holiday Volunteer Guide links above to browse our online list of holiday volunteer projects and wish lists, or download the PDF version.

Anna Schulz is a member of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Election Is Over, But The Work Isn't

Whether your candidates and causes won or lost on election night, take a deep breath. It's a lot of work participating in democracy and if you are like me, you are a little exhausted. It is now pretty tempting to go into civic hibernation. Instead of waiting to see what happens in our government and community, remain active. Consider the records that have been set in campaign related volunteerism and contributions. There is the real possibility that the organizations that support the most vulnerable in our community were put on the back burner in order for this election to be as rich as it was. Let's keep working and giving and ensure that San Diego county is in even better standing after the election than it was before. I know I'm not alone in this should have seen the crowd of volunteers at the Feeding America food bank project on November 4th!

Anna Schulz is a member of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

The Knitting Volunteers

On a recent Sunday afternoon I joined the volunteers of the monthly "Got Yarn" project to break out my old knitting needles. The volunteers of this project graciously give countless hours crafting scarves for foster children, hats for premature babies, socks for seniors, and even teddy bears for kids in Africa. I'm afraid that I am not a skilled enough knitter to put together one of those projects, so I decided to make a 12"x12" blanket for a cat shelter. One of the leaders of this project, Amanda Stiffler, gave me some yarn and helped me get started (I only had to knit--no purling, yay!). According to Amanda, the shelter sometimes runs out of old towels and my little blanket will be placed in a cat cage.

I'll be honest here and admit that as I was knitting away on this cat blanket I thought to myself that I have plenty of old towels that I could donate to the shelter. I was spending quite a bit of time creating a blanket by hand for a cat and I was trying to decide if this was an efficient way to contribute to the community. Ultimately, I realized that it is not only a cat who will receive this blanket, but also the workers at the shelter. I believe that my little cat blanket will show the people at the shelter that I appreciate their efforts to keeping homeless animals safe. As I came to this conclusion, I was able to relax and enjoy the simple act of knitting.

The "Got Yarn" project takes place on the third Sunday of each month at a very comfortable coffee shop. There is a group of regulars who provide not only basic instruction for beginners, but also great conversation once the needles start moving. Here's a photo of some of the Got Yarn group's wares:

Anna Schulz is a member of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hands On San Diego: Signature Project

Volunteer San Diego's signature project in the roster of Hands On San Diego activities is the renovation of local recreation centers. All members of our community are encouraged to get active in making our neighborhoods a little bit better by cleaning, weeding, painting, and other general improvements at 15 recreation centers around the county. A bit of TLC for our neighborhood recreation centers is such an ideal way for volunteers to contribute to the very centers that make our communities stronger, safer, and healthier.
To get involved, sign up on Volunteer San Diego's website at, or by phone at 858-636-4131.

Anna Schulz is a member of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hands On San Diego: Horton Elementary Math Games

There is no denying the "Back to School" phenomenon. Can't you just feel all of those possibilities and opportunities that present themselves along with a new school year? Perhaps you aren't even a student anymore, but that fresh new start likely calls out to you just the same.

Thank goodness for Volunteer San Diego's Hands On San Diego service event. Your potential as an active and positive member of our community is made so much easier with the slew of excellent volunteer projects at your fingertips. Check out the project list and find gems like the Horton Elementary School Math Games project, where volunteers will assist students and parents engage in fun educational activities.

To get involved, sign up on Volunteer San Diego's website at, or by phone at 858-636-4131.

Anna Schulz is a member of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Hands On San Diego: Camp HOPE Project

Volunteer San Diego's annual service event, Hands On San Diego, is going on all week. Hundreds of volunteers have already demonstrated their commitment to our community by rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.

There are hundreds of volunteer opportunities still available, including the Camp HOPE playground building project taking place later this week. This new playground at Camp HOPE is the culmination of planning from California's First Lady, Maria Shriver, and the state agency that she represents, CaliforniaVolunteers, the playground wizards of KaBOOM!, and Volunteer San Diego, and a corporate sponsorship from Vons. All of these partners are working together to build a much needed playground for the young participants of Camp HOPE. Camp HOPE provides therapeutic and recreation services to young people who've survived family violence.

To get involved, sign up on Volunteer San Diego's website at, or by phone at 858-636-4131.

Anna Schulz is a member of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Wherever I'm Needed Most

This weekend was the kick off to Hands On San Diego and a great reminder of why I love working at Volunteer San Diego. At one of our first Hands On projects, a renovation of Adams Avenue Recreation Center, I was greeted by an enthusiastic bunch of volunteers. Some showed up because it was in their neighborhood and they wanted to help it look great; others participated because their law firm, McKenna, Long and Aldridge, had adopted the project as part of their commitment to community; still others enjoyed spending quality time together as family, joking and laughing as they gave benches a face lift with new paint. I was impressed by how many people said “just assign me to wherever I’m needed most.”

The weekend also showed me how diverse the experience of service can be. One of our volunteers, Sharky, shared an amusing story of volunteering with her daughter at Crafts for a Cause two years ago. While decorating cards for veterans, she jokingly donned a star sticker on her nose. Her daughter, unable to have piercings at work, suggested that mom get her nose pierced. Sporting a nose ring and energy drink on Saturday morning, Sharky, a very young 62 years old, relayed this experience and other examples of how she gives back to community through Volunteer San Diego and other organizations that need her.

On Sunday evening, a friend and colleague approached me to tell me how much volunteering impacted her roommate. Enduring a dark time in his life, he began to volunteer through Volunteer San Diego and has become active with a number of causes. As he brightened others’ lives in service, he found his own life brightened too.

I’m constantly humbled by the power of volunteering and what is possible – personally, professionally, and as community – when we join our talents with others. See you at Hands On San Diego!

Sue Carter, Executive Director
Volunteer San Diego

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Get to Know Our New Staff and AmeriCorps Members

Volunteer San Diego Welcomes Our New Staff and AmeriCorps Members

Seth Connolly, Fire Recovery Coordinator
I joined VSD because, as an urban planner, I am interested in helping people to build sustainable and resilient communities. Wildfires are certain to remain a way of life in the San Diego region, and volunteerism can be an important means with which to help residents deal with their impacts -- while also creating stronger community bonds.
My previous position was with the County of San Diego, reviewing plans for the Department of Planning and Land Use. In this position, I was able to see many of the challenges facing survivors of the 2007 wildfires firsthand, and hope that this will serve me well in helping them to understand the processes of recovery and prevention. Prior to coming to San Diego last year, I have also lived in Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver, BC and Orange County.
I currently live in Ocean beach with my wife and young son, where I serve on the local planning board and occasionally get to play in the sand.

Adrianne Burleigh, Citizen Action AmeriCorps - Volunteer Outreach Coordinator
I joined VSD to meet people and learn about non-profits.
Before joining Volunteer San Diego, I was working at a bank.
Something about me is I like cats.

Brandi Love, Citizen Action AmeriCorps - Youth Leadership Coordinator
I joined Volunteer San Diego because when I came for my interview I had a good feeling about the people and the work they were doing for the community. I was thrilled when I got the position!
Before VSD, I recently graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a degree in Child and Family Studies and a minor in psychology.
I am really enjoying the beaches here in San Diego!!

Leia Courchaine, AmeriCorps Vista - Project Coordinator
In March 2008, I moved back to San Diego after living out of the state for 5 ½ years. I was attending the University of Texas at San Antonio where I was studying Finance. At UTSA, I was an active brother of the Co-ed Professional Business Fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi and was also taking Polynesian dancing and performing at many events in San Antonio. My return to home (San Diego) was caused by a family emergency that had me move back as soon as I could. Aside from that, I still continued to be active in the community. Since March and as of now I serve as an Officer as Membership Chair for the National Association of Asian American Professionals-San Diego (Formerly San Diego Asian Professionals) and still take Polynesian dancing here in San Diego. I have a 5 year old daughter who just started kindergarten at Olympic View Elementary in Chula Vista.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Volunteering vs. Loneliness

Volunteers have more friends. The Corporation for National and Community Service's Volunteering in America survey can back me up on this bold hypothesis of mine. According to this research, "volunteers trade of more than an hour a day of TV watching in order to engage in service." In addition, people who volunteer are three times more likely to participate in community organizational activities (such as church, social groups, team sports) than non-volunteers. What's more, 78% of volunteers eat their meals with others (just 70% of non-volunteers can claim this to be true). Don't let yourself get to a lonely place with just a TV set for company. Sign up and become a volunteer now.

Anna Schulz is a member of the flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Volunteering Is Good For My Waistline and Budget

I have just returned from the lunch service at St. Vincent de Paul as a part of VSD's "Feed the Homeless" Flex project. My friend, Judy Larkins, has been the volunteer leader for this project for the last five years. I was excited to see Judy and get a little volunteer time in as well. Judy & I did have a quick minute to catch up, but then we got very, very busy serving lunch to hundreds of people. People interested in participating in fast-paced volunteering should definitely check out a future "Feed the Homeless" project, as part of Flex or the upcoming Hands On San Diego event. The kitchen staff and veteran volunteers do an excellent job organizing incredible amounts of food. Before I knew it, the last tray had gone through the line and two hours of volunteering had flown by me. Judy warned me that I'd be tired today and she was right.

I had initially planned to buy myself a little lunch after volunteering. I realized after serving several hundred homeless people that spending money on a lunch out was somewhat of a wasteful thing to do. Instead of spending money on fatty food in a restaurant, I made a simple meal for myself with the food I already had at home. I'll put a little extra money in the philanthropy budget this month and enjoy the pride in knowing that my volunteer experience has left me in a better physical, emotional, and financial state.

Anna Schulz is a member of the flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New National Volunteering Website

For those of you that are hip to the world of volunteering, you may have already heard about the latest report from The Corporation for National and Community Service. But for the rest of us, and especially those of us who haven't heard of The Corporation, here is a short plug.

The Corporation plays a vital role in supporting the American culture of citizenship, service and responsibility. Through their programs and the thousands of dollars in grants they give out every year they encourage service at the National and local level (for more on what they do click here).

Every year The Corporation releases a report chronicling volunteering trends throughout the Nation. This report is incredibly thorough, with info about every state and hundreds of medium to large Cities across the country. A few choice stats:

  • This year there were 60.8 million volunteers nationwide, which is down from last year (61.2 mil 2006) This is still a high number, but it is down from the peak in 2005 (65.4 mil).
  • San Diego Ranks 25th in the Nation for volunteerism rates, based on how many people volunteer per capita.

For more cool stats and figures on Volunteering in San Diego, click here.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

VSD on the Turko Files

KUSI's Turko Files investigate local problems. This week's episode is about a drainage ditch in Spring Valley that had turned into a massive fire hazard. With help from Volunteer San Diego, the community came together to clear the ditch of the dead grass and weeds that could have easily sparked into a wildfire.

Watch the investigative report here.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Where the Girls Are

The "Giving Gardeners at Ronald McDonald House" project takes place each month offering light gardening as well as a chance to chitchat with other volunteers. When I participated on July 26th, our group consisted of seven fabulous females who spruced up the entry and courtyard garden areas. While we pruned, weeded, planted, mulched, and watered, some of families of the Ronald McDonald House complimented us on our efforts and thanked us for volunteering. Just an hour and a half of volunteering, first thing on Saturday...what a great way to kick-off my weekend!

Volunteers Lara Groutt, Diane Green, and Lauren Payne on the job at the Ronald McDonald House.

Anna Schulz is a member of the flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Thank You VSD Board Members

Today is the last day of several of our Board Members' terms, and we would like to send out a hearty round of thank-yous for all of the hard work that they have contributed over the years. Beth Rolls Mathewson, Debra Patterson, Eric Welch and outgoing Board President Bob Alden are all leaving because they have maxed out their term limits. Several of them have been with us before VSD was VSD, and their participation has helped to make us the fabulous organization that we are today. We will truly miss their presence on the Board and we hope they will continue their involvement in other ways.

We leave you with an inspiring image of our outgoing president Bob Alden because his level of committment to Volunteer San Diego has been above and beyond the normal call of duty for a Board President. Between attending every event, djing and singing, and even throwing his own VSD benefit parties, Bob leaves enormous shoes to fill.

Thank you Beth, Debra, Eric and Bob!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Service-Learning: One Solution to the Dropout Crisis

The National Dropout Prevention Center puts out a monthly webcast exploring ways to keep youth in school. This month's episode introduces Service-Learning as a strategy to keep students more engaged in the curriculum and therefore less likely to dropout. The NDPC "has long advocated service-learning as a teaching methodology with considerable potential to prevent dropouts." This webcast gives an overview of service-learning and how to "effectively incorporate specific strategies to promote youth engagement in the service-learning process in order to foster their resilience."

Listen to the webcast here, and for more of their resources relating to dropout prevention, click here.

Volunteer San Diego is proud to support Service-Learning in San Diego County. Check out the Educators section of our website or for more information on incorporating Service-Learning into your classroom.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Bob Alden in the Community Spotlight

Our Board President Bob Alden has the honor of being the 2nd VSD member to be interviewed for Sign on San Diego's Community Spotlight. Scroll down to the June 6th entry to hear Bob's take on "the state of volunteerism in our region and how volunteering has evolved in recent years."

Sue Carter, our Executive Director, was previously interviewed on May 9th. Look for more VSD related Hijinks on the Community Spotlight soon!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

New Flex Online Orientation

For those of you interested in becoming a Flex Member but haven't had a chance to make it out to one of our orientations, now you can attend online! Flex Members can participate in projects once a week, once a month, or once in a while. The one-time nature of the Flex program makes it the perfect way to test out many different opportunities and find the one that best matches your interests.

Important: make sure you are logged in to the VSD site before beginning the orientation. The system will not activate your Flex Member status if you are not logged in.

Click here to become a Flex Member today!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Engaging Students in Service Training this Tuesday

Coming up on Tuesday, June 24th is another installment of our popular Service-Learning trainings, Engaging Students in Service: The Comprehensive Service-Learning Experience. Students are a great source of volunteer power because many of them need to complete service hours as a requirement for their school, and this training covers ways volunteer managers can incorporate youth volunteers into their programs.

This hands-on training is an “All-in-One.” You will receive our introduction to service-learning, as well as two additional “In Focus” workshops exploring service-learning in the context of on-site projects and character education. There is a $50 fee for all attendees to this training.

For more information on what is covered at this training and to sign up, click here.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Help I've Got a difficult Volunteer!

Fear not, help is on the way! Join us Wednesday the 18th, 11:45-1:15 for this month's DOVIA brown bag. Bring your best ideas, experiences, strategies, energy, enthusiasm, business cards and lunch!

Learn how to deal with difficult volunteers, resolve conflicts successfully, give directions effectively, and how to let a volunteer go. DOVIA Brown bags are a great opportunities to meet volunteer professionals in San Diego County and to work together and find solutions to common problems.

If you are interested, please sign up on our website. Free to members; $5 for non-members.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Intergenerational School brings Older Volunteers into Schools

NPR ran a great story this morning about a school in Cleveland that brings young and old together through volunteerism. The Intergenerational School buses in folks in their 80s and 90s to read to children and talk about their life experiences. Some of the volunteers have Alzheimer's or dementia, but this hasn't proved to be an impediment to their work. In fact Dr. Peter Whitehouse, the founder of the school, believes that volunteering has numerous health benefits to Alzheimer's patients. Whitehouse has been working with Daniel George to study the effects of volunteerism:

Whitehouse and George say they see a change in volunteers such as 91-year-old Hardesty. She doesn't use the words Alzheimer's or dementia. Instead, she talks about her "problem." She says that when it developed late last year, it hit her hard.
"I thought I might as well quit," Hardesty says. "I was really down in the dumps about the whole thing. There was a time that I hated to go down to dinner because I just couldn't talk to people. It was awful." For a while she stopped going to the dining hall. Two things lifted her from that despair: a support group for people dealing with memory loss and her volunteer work at the Cleveland school.
"The kids, you know, we always find a lot of things to laugh about," says Hardesty. "Just having kids around has always been very good for me, so it was good thing."

If you have a few moments the story is worth a listen!

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Monday, June 09, 2008

VSD on Flickr

Want to be inspired? Check out VSD's new Flickr Page! Pictures of our youth service events, corporate volunteering programs and much more are starting to make their way to the internet. You can see some of the impact that volunteers have had on San Diego County in these photos, and be inspired to take on projects of your own!

If you have a flickr account, join our group! You can post pictures you've taken at volunteer projects and events on the VSD group page. Show everyone the difference you have made in your community.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Apply to be a SAVY Leader today!

The SAVY Leaders, a youth leadership council, don’t just participate in service projects, they plan, lead and reflect on those events, identify problems in the community, and work to develop effective and meaningful solutions.

Applications are being accepted until June 12th for the 2008-09 school year. If you are a high school student interested in making new friends and a difference in your community, the SAVY leaders are for you!

Download an application here.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

HOSD Art Contest

There are a few days left to submit your piece of original artwork to the annual Hands On San Diego Art Contest! If you are an artist or just wish you were, depict the fun and rewards of volunteering and your design could be worn by thousands of volunteers across the county! The art contest is open to people of all ages, with special categories for grades K-12. In addition to the Grand Prize, there are great prizes for the winner of each age category. Download the guidelines and submission form here, and be sure to get your entry in by this Friday!

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Looking for HOSD Site Captains

This September VSD is teaming up with VAVi to complete a series of recreation center makeovers throughout San Diego. There is much work to be done and your help is needed! Each rec. center needs a Site Captain. Site Captains are the backbone of these rec. center projects; we couldn't do this without you! Each Site Captain is assigned to one site. Your first task will be to further develop and plan for the projects that will take place at the site for Hands On San Diego. Visit the rec. center and meet with key staff to discuss the projects previously identified by VSD and VAVi.

Other responsibilities include coordinating projects, verifying supplies, managing volunteer teams and solving minor problems. Don't worry though, experienced VSD staff members will be there to guide you every step of the way; training will be provided. This is a great way to give back to your community and develop yourself as a leader. To sign up, contact: Claudia Barrett, 858-636-4124.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

New Bold Aspirational Statement

Our very own Board of Directors have been working hard to come up with a new strategic plan. Along the way, they have helped us to revise our mission statement. For those of you familiar with our old mission statement, this one makes has a more specific vision and a mission that is much more powerul:

Service, passion, results, collaboration, integrity, commitment,
competence and fun

Volunteer San Diego creates lasting community impact through
meaningful individual and group volunteer action.

We are excited to fully implement this new Mission Statement into our organization. Hopefully over the next year we will be able to continue to increase our community impact on San Diego County.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Come Party With US!

Volunteer San Diego Spring Fling

April is National Volunteer Month; come celebrate with us and help us ring in the spring! The party starts at 8pm this Friday, April 25th and will be held at Tio Leo's (5302 Napa St. in San Diego). Live music by the Catillacs begins at 9pm and runs to midnight. Raffle prizes will be available, as well.

There is a $20 cover at the door. All proceeds go to Volunteer San Diego.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Global Youth Service Day is this week!

Volunteer San Diego's SAVY Leaders have been preparing all year for the signature Global Youth Service Day project on April 26th. We need volunteers to help paint classrooms and murals, organize, clean and much more at three National City Head Start locations.

Kids of all ages are welcome to volunteer!
What is Global Youth Service Day?
Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is April 21 - 27. It is the largest service event in the world, engaging millions of young people (ages 5-25). It promotes public awareness and education and highlights the amazing contributions that young people make to their communities. GYSD supports and encourages youth to begin on a life-long path of service and civic engagement.
Volunteer San Diego will be coordinating GYSD projects during the entire week of April 21 - 27, 2007, so keep your eye on the April Project Calendar and sign up as a volunteer!

For more information, please e-mail Jaci Feinstein.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

San Diego Ranks #19 of U.S Metro Areas for Volunteering

According to a new federal report, San Diego ranks #19 in volunteerism:

San Diego ranked #19 in a recent list of major U.S. metropolitan areas for
its average number of volunteer hours in the country – 39.5 volunteer hours
per resident in the metro area compared to the nation’s average of 36.5
volunteer hours per metro area resident, according to a new federal

Volunteering in America: 2007 City Trends and
Rankings, released today by the Corporation for National and Community
Service, is the first report of its kind to look at volunteering trends in
50 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. San Diego
ranked #25 for its volunteer rate – 29.2 percent – compared to the nation’s
average volunteer rate of 28.1 percent.
Lets shoot for #1!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Encinitas Easter Eggs

If you are looking for a way to give back to your community this Easter Weekend, look no further than the City of Encinitas Easter Egg Hunt. Volunteers are needed to help with setup, attend the craft booth, and distribute eggs around the park. What could be more fun than spending the day hiding eggs and then watching the kids search frantically around for them? For more information on this event, click here.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Be a Part of the World's Fastest 5k!

On April 6th, runners from around the country will converge in Carlsbad to compete in the Carlsbad 5000. This race is home to 16 World Records, and is considered the fastest 5k race in the world! If you want to be a part of the festivities but don't want to run, volunteer! The event includes:

• Fast and Fun Seaside Course
• 2-Day Health & Fitness Expo
• Beer Garden and Live Music
• 50,000 weekend spectators
• Elite Athlete Invitational

Volunteers are needed to help staff the Awards Booth and Water Stations, and to register new runners. At the finish line volunteers will organize and hand out refreshments, time race participants, and hand out medals, t-shirts and goodie bags. Volunteers over the age of 21 can help staff the beer garden!

Volunteers are also needed on Saturday April 5th for the Junior Carlsbad Race and Friday April 4th for the Pre-Registration Party. Volunteers will help with set-up for a party on Friday from 2 to 7 pm.

This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of one of the biggest events in North County. Volunteer and have a blast!

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Eat out for SAVY leaders

Come out to Pat & Oscars in Mira Mesa tomorrow, March 25th to help support the SAVY leader program. 20% of all purchases between 5 and 8 pm will be donated to Volunteer San Diego's SAVY leaders. All you have to do is print out the promotional flyer and present it at the time of purchase. The flyer can be downloaded here.

Are you a high school student interested in becoming a SAVY leader? Applications for next school year will be available in April. Check back soon!

Read more!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Boomer Volunteerism Survey

Baby Boomers represent an extraordinary opportunity for
volunteer agencies in San Diego County; over the next 10-15
years they will become an increasingly valuable source of
support and innovation for our volunteer organizations! Help
us identify trends in Baby Boomer volunteerism by taking a
brief survey.
Please complete the survey by March 19. We appreciate your
time and input! Click Here to take survey

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TeamWorks Teams Up for the Community

Dedicated blog readers may remember a post on TeamWorks a few months ago. The latest session of TeamWorks 101 concluded last week, and it was a complete success! This edition of TeamWorks focused on the issue of education, and included several projects for the volunteer team to work on together. The team began with a kickoff project making bookmarks together for Homework Helpers, then decided to head outdoors to work on Challenge Ranch, an organization dedicated to providing outdoor opportunities for under-privileged children. Together they repaired trails, trimmed the trees, patched up the horse corral, and had a blast the whole time. After successfully working at the Ranch, they headed back to the classroom to teach a group of children at the boys and girls club ways to prepare for the next disaster.

Throughout the TeamWorks Series, the team kept a strong vision to make a difference in their community. Despite the difficult scheduling and the obstacles the team faced, they came together and pulled through with a strong sense of teamwork.

After four months of committing themselves to service the team can claim many accomplishments. They educated 13 people about the issues at hand, completed 4 projects at Challenge Ranch, and instructed 8 children on ways to prepare for a disaster. Combined they completed over a hundred hours of service to the community! Way to go guys!

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Monday, March 10, 2008

VSD is the "Best Place" to Be!

Volunteer San Diego was recently recognized at the San Diego Business Journal's 9th Annual Best Places to Work Awards! There were 3 categories of non-profit awards – recognizing small, medium and large organizations, and Volunteer San Diego won in the small category (0 – 50 employees). Congratulations to VSD staff, board, and all the volunteers!

Click here to listen to our podcast in which Development Director Kelli Ochoa and Ron Clayton discuss this exciting news!

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Discounted tickets at the Rep!

The San Diego Repertory Theatre would like to offer a special ticket deal to all VSD volunteers. For their latest production The Clean House, they're offering $5 off all tickets. Just call the box office (619-544-1000) and say you're a registered member of Volunteer San Diego.

The show runs from February 23-March 22. Groups (10 or more people) who are interested in going to the show should call Katrina at 619-544-1000 for details.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

California Makes History for Volunteerism

On February 26th, Governor Schwartzenegger took first-in-the-nation action to encourage volunteerism in California. The Governor signed an executive order to establish the new position of secretary of service and volunteering. The executive order will raise the profile of service in the Golden State to a national level, encourage more Californians to become involved with service and volunteerism, help California respond to natural disasters and emergencies, and give California's volunteers a voice at the highest levels of state government.

Sue Carter, VSD's Executive Director, says, "As a hub of CaliforniaVolunteers, Volunteer San Diego is excited and encouraged by the Executive Order creating a Cabinet-level position for volunteering. Volunteers are a vital force to change our community for the better. We look forward to continued partnership with the state to increase and enhance volunteerism." For more information and to read some of the national media coverage our state received, visit this webpage:

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hey U-T, don't forget about VSD!

The Union-Tribune recently published an article about California's new plan to use volunteers to aid in disaster relief. Volunteer San Diego was instrumental in the deployment of volunteers to assist those affected by last October's firestorms, but was forgotton for this article. The following is a letter to the Union-Tribune written by VSDs Executive Director Sue Carter:

As the county’s lead agency for coordinating spontaneous volunteers during a disaster, we at Volunteer San Diego were pleased to see yesterday’s article highlighting the contributions and potential of volunteers (Volunteers' fire response is foundation of state plan).

More than 3,000 volunteers were mobilized in the first three weeks through Volunteer San Diego. At the fire’s onset, we connected volunteers to organizations such as 2-1-1 San Diego. Our trained volunteer Disaster Cadre, the first of its kind in the state, coordinated thousands of incoming volunteer calls and emails. More recently, our registered volunteers assisted with sandbagging and erosion control.

Despite the limited disaster funding that Baker noted, Volunteer San Diego continues its commitment to volunteer coordination in disaster, offering basic and advanced trainings on disaster response and preparedness; collaborating with other disaster responders; and working with the state to further develop systems that ensure effective and safe volunteering in disasters.

Equally important are Volunteer San Diego’s diverse volunteer opportunities that build, connect and strengthen our community during ‘peacetime’ and better prepare us to respond in disaster.

Sue Carter

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Buick Invitational a success!

For the past few years Volunteer San Diego has teamed up with the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines Golf Course to organize volunteers to help staff their event. In exchange for valuable volunteer time they have helped VSD continue our multitude of programs through generous donations.

This year the event took place January 21-27th and for the first time in tournament history rain sullied the course while the normally balmy weather was disrupted by fierce winds. Nevertheless, volunteers showed up in droves to man the concession stands and participate in other behind-the-scenes activities. The dedication of our volunteers is inspiring, as exmeplified by one volunteer's testimonial:

"It was a fairly hectic time at the Buick Invitational because of the damage to the golf course during the previous nights rainstorm.... At 9:15am the crowds were allowed into the golf course and then the fun began. There was only one functioning concession stand with a skeleton crew working, but luckily enough volunteers stayed around and employees were called in to assist. Everyone worked as a team to get the job done and we succeeded!"

Despite the less than inviting conditions, 57 volunteers participated donating over 500 hours! Thank you so much to each and every one of you!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Martin Luther King Day of Service

Instead of sleeping in this Martin Luther King Jr. day, 100 volunteers are getting up early to participate in the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service. The group has been inspired by this year's theme of "Community Revitalization" and will work together to renovate the Southern Sudanese Community center in City Heights.

The Sudanese Center was founded in 1995 by Dep Tuany, himself a Sudanese refugee, with the mission of “assisting all Sudanese refugees in their resettlement through education and social, economic, and cultural support”. The Center provides a familiar place for the more than 4,000 Sudanese refugees living in San Diego.

The SAVY Leaders, a group of 36 local high school students, have spent the past few months planning, fundraising and recruiting volunteers to bring new life to the Sudanese Community Center and the Sudanese community as a whole. Annually, SAVY (Students Actively Volunteering for You) engages over 10,000 middle and high school students from diverse neighborhoods in community service, youth leadership and service-learning projects.

For more information on this project and to sign up, click here. Check back soon for highlights and pictures from the event!

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