Charity Section  

 
Drink Responsibily

Fight Hunger

Do A Good Deed Fire Safety Saves Lives Boomer Volunteers Volunteer With Children Honor Young Heroes Youth Development

A New Effort Promotes Responsible Drinking

(NAPSI)—A company that once encouraged beer drinkers to “know when to say when” has launched a new effort to promote responsible drinking.

The Anheuser-Busch website—
NationofResponsibleDrinkers.com
—uses social media to encourage adults to pledge to drink responsibly. The pledge is threefold:

• Respect the legal drinking age

• Enjoy responsibly and know when to say when

• Be or use a designated driver.

Each pledge is populated on an interactive map, showing those who have taken the pledge in their communities, along with their photos or avatars. Adults taking the pledge can also share their commitment through Facebook and encourage friends to do the same. The campaign also includes billboards, point-of-sale materials and other resources.

“With close to half a billion adults on Facebook, we see an enormous opportunity to expand our reach to newer generations of adult drinkers—most of whom came of age after ‘Know When to Say When’ and our earlier responsible drinking campaigns,” said Kathy Casso, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Anheuser-Busch. “We’re looking to the future of alcohol responsibility, and we see the potential in social media and its ability to bring together adults and encourage them to make smart choices.”

Since ‘Know When to Say When’ debuted in 1982, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesalers have invested more than $930 million in advertising and community-based programs that promote responsible drinking and prevent underage drinking and drunk driving.

The latest government data shows that drunk-driving fatalities fell to their lowest level since alcohol record-keeping began in 1982 (52 percent decline from 1982 to 2010).

“We’ve made significant progress in the past three decades, but there’s more we can do. That’s why we encourage adults to pledge and join the Nation of Responsible Drinkers,” Casso added.

To take the pledge, visit NationofResponsibleDrinkers.com.

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New Map Helps Volunteers Fight Hunger

(NAPSI)—There’s helpful news for volunteers and programs looking for an opportunity to fight hunger. That’s good news for those in need of aid.

A new map has been created to help identify the level of hunger in a particular area, the programs active in the region and places where volunteers are needed.

A National Problem

Research provided by the group Feeding America indicates that hunger exists to one degree or another all throughout the country. For example, more than 16 percent of Californians live with what’s called food insecurity.

Food insecurity is defined as a lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. It’s not just having enough food-it’s also about having the right foods.

In Florida, it’s thought that just over 17 percent of people there are food insecure. Even in Iowa, the breadbasket of America, more than 12 percent of people go to bed hungry.

On the Front Line

When it comes to fighting hunger, nonprofits are on the front line providing services—from collecting donations to operating food pantries and more—to those who need them, especially during the holidays.

Volunteer, and you can make an impact in a number of ways- whether ensuring that children aren’t hungry at school or providing the elderly with at least one hot meal a day.

Unfortunately, volunteers aren’t always clear about where the greatest need exists for their efforts. To help, VolunteerMatch has partnered with the Walmart Foundation as part of the Foundation’s $2 billion commitment to fighting hunger. The result is a map of volunteer needs in the U.S. that pertain to hunger.

For example, those who recently viewed the map at VolunteerMatch.org could see that there were, at that time, over 3,000 ways to fight hunger identified at over 8,000 organizations seeking volunteers.

VolunteerMatch is the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network. It was founded in 1998 and has helped connect millions of volunteers to great nonprofits.

To learn more or to view the map, visit www.volunteermatch.org/fighthunger.

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Sweet Deeds For Your Community

(NAPSI)—Every now and then, we all could use a helping hand. The simplest gesture from a friend or even a stranger can help boost morale and add a silver lining to an ordinary day. Applying that same principle and finding simple ways to support your community through a good deed can make a lasting difference. Here are some ways you can celebrate the spirit of helping others and get involved in your community. For example:

• Grow some good: Put gardening skills to good use by getting involved with a local tree-planting initiative or an urban garden. Trees, plants and gardens not only beautify the areas where they’re planted, they provide oxygen, homes for animals and even fresh herbs or vegetables.

• Pay your fashion forward: Transform clutter into charity by donating lightly used clothing or shoes from your closet. A number of programs provide business attire to people interviewing for jobs as a way to help workers get back on their feet. Additionally, thrift stores often sell secondhand clothing as a way to raise funds for other programs and nonprofits.

• Share your knowledge: Use your aptitude for reading, writing, math or science to support the next generation of students in their education. Volunteer at a local tutoring center to help children struggling in school.

• Do a good deed each day: Keep your eyes open for the opportunity to open a door for a stranger, mow the lawn for a neighbor or bring a meal to a family with a new baby.

Finally, don’t forget to take a moment and celebrate the good deeds done by your friends. One way to recognize the efforts of others is to become a member of the Sweet Deed Society on the Santa Cruz Organic® Facebook page and nominate a friend who has done a good deed. Participants will also be entered into a grand-prize drawing for a chance to win weekly and grand prizes, including one of two home computer upgrades, awarded as a $2,000 check. To help acknowledge their good deed, nominees can also accept their nomination, join the Sweet Deed Society and be entered for their own chance to win. Visit www.facebook.com/santacruzorganic to join.

No purchase necessary. Promotion open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., 18 years and older. Promotion subject to complete Official Rules available at www.facebook.com/santacruzorganic. Void where prohibited.

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Help Our Heroes Keep Our Community Fire Safe

(NAPSI)—Individuals, groups and businesses in communities around the country can be heroes to some of the most admired people in America.

That’s because there’s now an easy way to help firefighters educate children and save lives.

The Problem

Every year, fire departments in the United States respond to more than 350,000 home fires, resulting in at least 2,500 deaths and more than 12,000 injuries.

“We see fire-related injuries that might have been prevented if the victims had received fire safety tips, installed working smoke alarms or practiced an escape plan,” explained James M. Shannon, president of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

“Our first line of protection is educating the community,” said Shannon. “But tight municipal budgets mean less money for educational materials.” NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety and is the program’s sponsor.

What You Can Do

That’s where community members like you come in. Through a registry called Sparky’s Wish List: Partnering for Fire-Safe Communities, community members can provide critical educational resources and materials. These materials are used by firefighters to educate children in fire safety and prevention during classroom visits, teach older adults in the community, provide lifesaving information to people with disabilities or reach out to residents during a fire station open house-especially during the annual Fire Prevention Week (October 7 to 13, 2012). The registry is named for Sparky the Fire Dog, NFPA’s official mascot and spokesdog. He visits schools and participates in community events to spread fire safety messages, often accompanied by his firefighter friends.

“Sparky’s Wish List is designed to help close the gap between what fire departments can afford and what they need to educate on fire safety,” said Shannon.

Stay Safe at Home

For example, fire departments distribute colorful workbooks and posters to schoolchildren and brochures to adults with the official Fire Prevention Week message: Have 2 Ways Out! Messages taught include:

Plan your fire escape.

• Walk through your home and plan two ways out of every room. One way out will be the door, and the second way out may be a window.

• Inspect to be sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area. For the best protection, interconnect the smoke alarms so when one sounds, they all sound.

• Make sure everyone knows the sound of the smoke alarm.

• Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone will meet.

• Make plans for anyone who has a disability or needs help escaping.

Practice your home fire escape drill.

• Have a home fire escape plan and have an escape drill twice a year.

• Hold escape drills during the day and at night.

• If children or others don’t wake when the smoke alarm sounds, assign someone to wake them up.

When the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside!

• Leave immediately and go right to your outside meeting place.

• Don’t go back inside for any reason.

• Once you’re safely outside, call the fire department from your cell phone or a neighbor’s phone.

• Tell firefighters if any people or pets are trapped in the home.

How It Works

Fire departments put the wish list together by creating a profile and clicking boxes to indicate the materials they need. Donors can purchase those materials by searching for their department’s registry. The materials will be sent directly to the fire department. Tools and resources are also available for departments to learn how to spread the word to the community and engage potential donors.

Further Facts

You can learn more, including how to help, at www.sparkyswishlist.org/give and (800) 344-3555. The deadline for donations is quickly approaching.

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Making The Most Of Boomer Volunteers

(NAPSI)—While the number of older volunteers who want to contribute their time and talent is increasing, not all organizations are prepared to take advantage of this growing resource.

Often, organizations need to take a fresh look at what this new generation of baby boomer volunteers can contribute. That may mean reconsidering the types of volunteer opportunities they offer, so they can make the most of the mentoring and work experiences these boomers bring.

Fortunately, the Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative is designed to help agencies prepare for the influx of boomers and to take full advantage of the volunteers they have.

The Collaborative is a full-service support center designed to help the agencies of the Aging Network engage older adults in meaningful service. Its website provides tools and resources to build a strong volunteer program.

To learn more, visit www.agingnetworkvolunteercollaborative.org.

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More Companies See Volunteerism As A Key Ingredient In Success

(NAPSI)—Giving can come in many forms. Some choose to give money to charitable organizations while others may give tangible gifts. Still more people give the gift of their time, which in many ways holds as much or more value than financial support can provide.

In the past decade, corporations across America have adapted to a new, more altruistic generation of consumers, shareholders and prospective employees that has high expectations when it comes to community and responsibility. In response, many companies have increased their commitment to social responsibility, in part by trying to incorporate volunteerism and philanthropy into their company cultures.

Contributing Is Important

According to a recent blog posting on the Harvard Business Review, data produced by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) finds that 91 percent of Gen X women and 76 percent of Gen X men, along with 90 percent of female and 79 percent of male baby boomers, feel it is important to contribute to their community or the wider world through their work.

In addition to being a way to measure the value that a company places on social responsibility, volunteerism is also proving to be a factor in employee recruitment and retention.

According to the Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey released in 2011, 71 percent of employees are somewhat or very likely to choose one job over another—assuming all other factors are equal—based on the company's commitment to the community.

Another 51 percent of respondents said that it is important that employee volunteer efforts benefit them professionally. More than half of those surveyed indicated that they participate in employee volunteer efforts offered by their company at least sometimes.

Growing In Importance

With these statistics in mind, companies like VolunteerMatch.org, the Web's largest volunteer engagement network, are growing in importance as they help corporations establish solid volunteer programs.

Such programs are something that companies often present to employees and prospective employees as an example of how they are different from other companies. At the same time, it can highlight the company's civic involvement to customers and potential customers.

A Way To Target Giving

Corporations such as Target and Coca-Cola use VolunteerMatch to bolster their social responsibility programs, as does Aflac, the leading provider of supplemental insurance in America.

The company most known for its boisterous spokesduck has recently launched an online platform through VolunteerMatch connecting employees and sales agents-and anyone, for that matter-across the nation with opportunities to serve with nonprofit organizations in their communities. The company sees it as a great way to target its giving in ways that are aligned with its philanthropy and business models.

Aflac.volunteermatch.org targets people most interested in serving in the area of children's cancer, which is the company's primary philanthropic cause. Since 1995, the company has raised and contributed more than $75 million to research and treat childhood cancer, a disease that sees an average of 12,000 children diagnosed each year.

To learn more, go to Aflac.volunteermatch.org.

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Program Seeks To Honor Young Heroes

(NAPSI)—Every year, an awards program honors a class of young heroes—young people who are committed at an early age to making the world a better place to live.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program honors middle and high school students across the U.S. for volunteering in communities at home and abroad.

The good news is that the search is on for America’s top youth volunteers of 2013. You can be part of the selection process by encouraging eligible young people to apply.

The Process

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are granted to youth volunteers at the local, state and national level. From early September through November 6, students in grades 5−12 are invited to apply for the 2013 awards if they have volunteered in the past year. Applications are available at www.spirit.prudential.com.

Local Honorees are selected by school principals, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H groups, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the HandsOn Network. In February, several students in each state and the District of Columbia are named runners-up, and one middle level and one high school student are named State Honorees. Those 102 honorees receive $1,000 awards, silver medallions and all-expenses-paid trips to Washington, D.C. in May for special recognition events.

In Washington, a national selection committee selects 10 State Honorees as America’s top youth volunteers. National Honorees receive $5,000 awards, gold medallions, crystal trophies for their nominating schools or organizations, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for a charitable organization of their choice.

The 2012 Honorees

The 2012 National Honorees include an 8th-grader who raised money to build a home for orphans in Uganda, a 15-year-old girl who helped provide children living in poverty in India and the U.S. with resources ranging from computer labs to dental clinics, and a 7th-grader whose nonprofit organization has collected and distributed more than 175,000 toys over the past five years for child victims of house fires and other natural disasters.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program was created in 1995 by Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The awards constitute America’s largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service.

For more information about the awards and the honorees or to learn more about applying, visit www.spirit.prudential.com.

 

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4-H Inspires Youth To Pursue STEM Careers

(NAPSI)—For nine years, Aaron Lantz actively sought out all of the out-of-school robotics programs and curriculum offered by 4-H. Beginning as early as kindergarten, Lantz has shown a love for science and has channeled that passion further into a focus specifically on engineering. After competing in several robotics competitions, Lantz now plans to make a more permanent commitment to his passion, by majoring in electrical engineering in college.

The National Science Experiment that will be showcased at this year’s upcoming 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD), is Lantz’ favorite to date. The 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge, introduces young people all around the nation to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as issues surrounding the importance of protecting our environment.

“4-H National Youth Science Day is a great opportunity for youth to get an introduction to STEM,” said Lantz. “You can pursue many different science opportunities through 4-H, and it’s a good way for youth to preview STEM subjects if they would like to get more involved in the field, in the future.”

This October, the National Science Experiment will provide youth the opportunity to enhance their engineering skills by learning to think like a robotics engineer, assembling their own robots in order to manage an environmental cleanup.

Leading her second 4-H NYSD event for youth and adults, 17-year-old Rina Huang, president of Maryland 4-H Club, the Lucky Clovers, wishes she knew that 4-H offered science opportunities earlier. “If youth start STEM at a young age, I feel that it will help spark interest in science careers in the future,” said Huang. “It’s also great to see more girls, like me, getting into science programs like these.”

As part of 4-H’s One Million New Scientists, One Million New Ideas campaign, 4-H has been addressing the nation’s critical challenge by working to prepare a million new young people to excel in science, engineering, technology and applied math by the year 2013.

“America faces a future of intense global competition with a startling shortage of scientists. However, with high-quality positive youth development programs like 4-H NYSD, youth are introduced to important concepts and solutions that will ensure their contributions to their communities today, and their success as global leaders tomorrow,” said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., National 4-H Council president and CEO.

The 2012 4-H National Science Experiment: Eco-Bot Challenge was developed in conjunction with Ohio State University and the Ohio State Cooperative Extension Program. Generous sponsor support has been provided by Lockheed Martin, Toyota, Donaldson Filtration Solutions, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Walmart and John Deere. For more information on 4-H National Youth Science Day, visit www.4-H.org/NYSD.

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AMERICA'S HEROES



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