Finding Your Philanthropy
By Family Features
Whether it's the busy mother who spends her weekend volunteering at a local women's shelter or the young girl raising money for hungry children thousands of miles away with her lemonade stand - women that do good deeds are everywhere.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women continue to volunteer more often than men across every age group and educational level. With so many devoting their time and energy to giving back, it's easy to find and learn from the many female mentors hard at work in your own community.
Recognizing remarkable women
In a global initiative to celebrate the selfless work everyday women do within their communities and around the world to improve the livelihood of others, PANDORA Jewelry has launched Hearts of Today. The program allows the brand to support a variety of charitable causes that are important to women. PANDORA will honor eight women who are actively doing work to impact change with a monetary donation to help the organization with which they are working.
"Historically, our charitable efforts have been focused primarily on breast cancer awareness, but we know there are so many other issues that are equally as important to women," said Andrea Alvey, member of PANDORA A/S Board of Directors. "Through this program, we are now able to financially support the causes that our consumers are passionate about."
Those semi-finalists will be chosen by a group of five remarkable women leaders whose individual resumes boast an impressive list of philanthropic work, from there, the public will vote and the top eight entries will receive $25,000 for their charity. For more information, and to nominate someone special you know, visit PANDORAHeartsofToday.com.
Tips to get you giving
While the enormous generosity of an accomplished philanthropist may seem inconceivable in your own life, there are countless ways to give back. Here are a few ways to offer your time and talents for the good of your community and beyond.
Taking on a volunteering opportunity can be daunting - especially with so many charitable groups to choose from. While other obligations may keep you from giving as much time as you'd like, remember that every hour you can give is appreciated by everyone involved.
A great place to start the search for volunteer opportunities is in your own back yard. From the animal shelter down the street to the local food pantry, helping out in your area strengthens community involvement and also helps you meet others and build contacts that could help you down the line. Check out the many online resources available that fit potential volunteers with opportunities that exist in their areas, such as volunteermatch.org, volunteer.gov and serve.gov, as well as many others.
Find meaningful jobs
Be sure to take some time to think about your own personal interests and hobbies before searching for volunteer opportunities. Do you have any social issues that you feel passionately about? While your daytime job may not allow you to pursue such passions, a volunteer position may be the ticket.
Make it a group effort
Do you have friends and family members who share the same interests and willingness to help others? If you do, gather them up for one of the many opportunities that exist for groups. This not only allows each member to experience the gift of volunteer work, it also builds camaraderie among the group.
Balance your obligations
While you may wish to jump into your new endeavor right away, be sure to review your schedule carefully before overcommitting yourself. Many organizations will allow you to work a limited schedule and gradually build more hours over time until you are more comfortable or available.
The Many Ways to Volunteer
The opportunities to give are endless. Here are some of the ways you can get involved through charitable organizations that support women and children.
Here are some ways you can help out with charitable donations:
- Hair: For children suffering from long-term hair loss due to illness, a donation of hair is turned into a prosthetic, helping to restore confidence and a sense of normalcy.
- Wedding dress: A donation of your special gown can help out a number of organizations. Some donated gowns are sold again with proceeds helping those with cancer and other illnesses. Others can be donated to help military brides have the wedding of their dreams.
- Business attire: Work appropriate clothing, footwear and accessories can be donated to groups who work directly with women looking to enter the workforce.
There are many ways to put your time and talents to use helping those in need. Here are a few organizations you can contribute to:
- Embracing accomplishment: Help provide young, grade school-aged girls with the opportunity to learn life lessons and encourage physical activity by training for a 5K race event.
- Become a mentor: By volunteering to read, tutor or mentor, you can help children of all ages be more focused in school, which can help in the classroom and beyond.
- Helping families: Some non-profit groups work to help single moms get the resources, workplace skills and training needed to provide for their children.
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