How to Volunteer During Elvis Week

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By Lulu Abdun, Summer Programs Associate at Volunteer Odyssey

We all enjoy the rockin’ and rollin’ of Elvis Week, so why not rock and roll your way into volunteerism? Don’t be “heartbroken”…Put on your “Blue Suede Shoes” and volunteer! Here are several ways to volunteer during 2016’s Elvis Week (August 10-16).

In honor of Elvis Week, here are some music-related opportunities:roots

Here are other non-music-related opportunities to get involved in during Elvis Week:

 

6 Ways to Support the Black Lives Matter Movement in Memphis

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By Lulu Abdun, Summer Programs Associate at Volunteer Odyssey

Everyone can help support equality. Here are 6 ways you can support the Black Lives Matter movement in Memphis.

The Black Lives Matter Movement came to light in 2012 in hopes to dismantle systems of oppression and to replenish human rights and dignity for black people. In recent weeks, much has been stirring about the Movement from countless acts of immorality and violence toward the black community; political opinions about race, rights, and privilege; and injustice being served toward our black counterparts. From centuries ago to current events occurring in our community, people have been eager to stand up for their civil rights. If you would like to join the Movement, here are some ways you can get involved or volunteer:

  1. Just City: a local budding nonprofit that fights to reduce the amount of people in jail and prison, to reduce contact with the criminal justice system, and to revive people and neighborhoods after incarceration.

Upcoming events:

Just City Dialogues 6: #TopCopTalk, Thursday, August 4 from 6-7:30pm

Plunge to Expunge, Friday, August 12 from 4-7pm

Donate today or learn more about Just City

  1. younifiedBRIDGES: an organization that allows students to grow, learn, and be exposed to diverse people through experiential learning. BRIDGES also teaches students to “build bridges” across racial, cultural, and economic divides.

Upcoming volunteering event:

YOUnified, Friday, August 5 from 5-9:30pm      
Find more info on their website

  1. Official Black Lives Matter Memphis Chapter: Memphis’ own Black Lives Matter chapter aimed to “dismantle the systems that oppress us.”

Upcoming event:blm

Interest Meeting, Sunday, August 7 from 3-4pm    

Find more info on their Facebook Page

  1. Memphis City Council: the legislative body of Memphis, TN

Upcoming events:

Council Meetings, Tuesdays, August 9 and 23 at 3:30pm

Find more info here 

  1. Black Love Block Party: celebrates the spread of love, unity, food, and musicblack love

Upcoming event:

Black Love Block Party, Saturday, August 13 from 11am-8pm

Find more info on their Facebook page 

  1. Mid-South Peace and Justice Center: a center that “engages, organizes, and mobilizes communities to realize social justice through nonviolent action.” MSPJC also houses G.O.T. Power, a training group for rising grassroots organizers, H.O.P.E., a group made up of homeless or previously homeless to fight for equal rights, Memphis United, a local coalition made to challenge structural and institutional racism, and Memphis Bus Riders Union, which pushes MATA and city officials to improve public transportation for all Memphians.

Calendar of Events

Find more info on their website

Join the Movement today.

The Secret’s Out

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It was a Friday morning, and the weekend was fast approaching. Tim Flack was looking for volunteer opportunities where he and his 6-year-old daughter, Susanna, could volunteer together. He found the perfect listing on Volunteer Odyssey’s Calendar of Volunteer Opportunities. The event was Tile Making Day hosted by Carpenter Art Garden.

tim pic 2 Tim was excited to find an opportunity to give back that he can include his daughter in because, “Volunteer opportunities like this help us to instill our values of helping others and of being of service in the community along with introducing our kids to the realities of life that many people in our community face each day.” This outing for Tim and Susanna was very different from their usual weekend trip to the zoo, park, or pool because it allowed them to spend time together while also helping others in their city.

By volunteering at places such as the Carpenter Art Garden, Tim says they hope “that they [our children] will grow up to be people who make a difference and who make an impact for good in the world.”

Tim and his daughter greatly enjoyed interacting with the children of the Binghampton area in helping them to build their new mosaic sculpture garden, yet Tim understands most people’s hesitations towards volunteering. Before Tim became a regular volunteer at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, he too was hesitant to make a commitment to volunteer. He explains, “It seemed like I was always reading about someone who was recognized for volunteering for some unbelievable number of hours, and I figured there was no way I had time to take on something like that!”

What Tim came to realize, however, is that there are so many organizations in Memphis that need help even if you only have a few hours to give.  Volunteer Odyssey takes into acctim pic 3ount your schedule, interests, and abilities in order to connect you with your perfect volunteer opportunity. You can have a huge impact with just a few hours, and as Susanna learned, you can have fun at the same time.

Here’s some 6-year old wisdom: Susanna said to her dad,“Daddy, I wasn’t volunteering. I was just having a lot of fun!” The secret’s out: you can volunteer and have fun at the same time.  Tim and Susanna’s experience shows making a difference in the community can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience because as Tim puts it, “ I can honestly say that there are few things that I have done in my life that have been as rewarding as the time I have spent as a volunteer.”

So what are you waiting for? If you want to become a volunteer at Carpenter Art Garden like Tim and Susanna, take a 90 second tour of the organization.

If you’re looking for something to fit your schedule, check out Volunteer Odyssey’s Calendar of Volunteer Opportunities. Start today!

 

 

5 Ways to Volunteer while Playing Pokémon Go

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11UntitledHow much time do you spend searching looking for Pokémon? While you’re at it, use your Poké Powers for good!

Volunteer Odyssey has 5 ways you can make an impact in your community while playing Pokémon. Talk about two birds one Poké Ball!

5 Ways to give back while hunting for Pokémon:

 

  1. Donate a Poké Lure. Donate a lure at your local children’s hospital so the kids can catch ‘em while they get better! Thanks to your generosity, these kids can play from their hospital bed since they can’t go catch Pokmon outside. In Memphis, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital would love to have you donate a Poké Lure for the kids. (Note: For obvious reasons you can’t wander into a children’s hospital! Drop your Poké Lure outside and be on your way! If you want to become a volunteer at Le Bonheur, email Timorie to get started)
  2. Earn Real Money to Donate. As you wander the wild streets searching for Pokémon, use the Charity Miles app to raise money for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Leave the app open while playing Pokémon Go and sponsors donate money to your charity for every mile you walk/run.
  3. Clean the Sidewalks. While searching for those elusive Pokémon, you can pick up trash along your walk. You’ll be making the city cleaner while also having fun. As with hunting Pokémon, please don’t wander into traffic to grab a piece of littler. Use your noggin. If you’re in Memphis, email Janet at Clean Memphis for great places to start.
  4. Walk a Dog! There are tons of dogs that need to be walked at your local animal shelter, so why not FullSizeRenderhelp these pups get exercise since you’ll be walking around town anyway. Just ask the shelter first if they have any “Pokédogs” (dogs that you are allowed to walk while searching for Pokémon) available to walk. Become a dog walker at Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County or your local shelter. (Remember to keep yourself and the animal safe while playing!)
  5. Tend a Garden. Visit your local garden or community park and help them to plant, pull weeds, or maintain the trails while catching Pokémon. There are bound to be tons of Pokémon rustling behind the leaves for you to find. In Memphis, email Irene to volunteer with Shelby Farms.

You can catch ‘em all and give back at the same time! Start today by visiting our website or finding Volunteer Odyssey on Facebook.

7 Ways to Volunteer for the 4th of July

7 ways to volunteer for the 4th of july (4)

By Lulu Abdun, Summer Programs Associate at Volunteer Odyssey

Celebrate your independence the right way this 4th of July by volunteering! Here are 7 opportunities where you can lend a hand from Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4th.

  1. Patriotic Pops Concert and other Levitt Shell opportunities: Thursday, June 30 through Sunday, July 3 from 7:30-9pm (volunteers needed from 4:30-10pm each night)

The Levitt SheScreen Shot 2016-06-27 at 3.14.31 PMll needs volunteers for their annual Patriotic Pops Concert on Thursday, June 30. Members of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Jonathan Blanchard will perform several genres of music ranging from spirituals to funk. The finale includes a fireworks display and performance of 1812 Overture. The Shell continues their summer concert series through Sunday. Volunteer time slots range from 4:30-10pm in which volunteers will help with valeting bikes, collecting donations, setting up, cleaning up, and much more.

Sign up or get more info

  1. Usher for Theatre Memphis’ Oliver! : Thursday, June 30 from 6:45 to 10pm; Friday, July 1 and Saturday, July 2 from 7:15 to 10:30pm; and Sunday, July 3 from 1:15 to 5pm

Share your sparkling smile with some fellow Memphians. Volunteer as an usher for Theatre Memphis’ show Oliver! As an usher you will fulfill a variety of duties, such as greeting patrons or selling concessions.

Sign up or get more info

  1. Humane Society’s KPAW Orientation: Saturday, July 2 from noon to 1pmpatriotic pup

Want to see some patriotic pups on this 4th of July weekend? Become a “Kid Promoting Animal Welfare” (KPAW) volunteer at the Humane Society. KPAW Orientations are required to be part of the KPAW program.

Sign up or get more info

  1. Jacob Well’s Multiple Serving Opportunities: Saturday, July 2 from 4:30-7:30pm

Volunteer with Jacob’s Well and serve homeless families across Memphis. Whether feeding the hungry, hanging clothes, or playing with kids, Jacob’s Well has so much to offer to volunteers on this special weekend.

Sign up or get more info

  1. Memphis Stars and Stripes 5K: Saturday, July 2nd at 7pm at Overton Square (volunteers needed from 5-10pm)

Do you want to be outside for the 4th of July celebrations, but you’re dreading the heat? Well, come on out to a cool, evening race brought to you by the American Red Cross and Start2Finish Management. Volunteer with runners and families across the Mid-South. The race will honStars-Stripes-5K-Flyeror local heroes and feature family-friendly entertainment and music. Volunteer shifts range from 5 to 10pm

Sign up or get more info

6. Memphis Farmers Market: Saturday, July 2 from 6am-1:30pm.

Join local farmers and vendors this Saturday and every Saturday. If you want to give back to your community and educate people about eating healthy, volunteering at the Memphis Farmers Market is a great opportunity for you! Volunteers are essential to a successful market day. Whether you’d like to roll up your sleeves and get some dirt on your hands or man the pet sitting tent, there are countless duties to get involved in each Saturday.

Sign up or get more info

7.  St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen: Monday, July 4 from 7:15-10am (continues every day of the week except Sunday)

The early bird gets the worm. Serve a hot meal to those in need on this patriotic morning.

Sign up or get more info

 

Give a meal. Earn a smile.

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By Lulu Abdun, Summer Programs Associate at Volunteer Odyssey

Ever since I was a small girl, my mother has told me about hunger. All over the world, there are people who go without meals, parents who feed their children without feeding themselves, and people who have nothing to feed their hungry bellies but grass and leaves. Learning about hunger and seeing it first hand by living in a city where almost 30% of the population lives under the poverty line, I feel as though I am obligated to make a difference in others’ lives who do not have the means and/or capabilities to obtain food.

Retrieving meal from the cooler

Retrieving meal from the cooler

To fulfill this obligation of mine, I have started delivering meals with MIFA’s Meals on Wheels program. Meeting such wonderful people at MIFA who care about giving back to their community is so meaningful and worthwhile. Whether printing my driving route, opening the doors of homes, or returning to MIFA with an empty cooler, I always saw a smile on someone’s face.

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My sister Sophia and me! About to deliver a meal

My first time delivering meals was a time I’ll never forget. I went with my twin sister from door to door greeting Meals clients with a smile and handing them a hot meal. Delivering meals in such a diverse city, one is bound to come across some amazing people. One Meals client we encountered was a World War II veteran who was about to turn 95! Giving food to those in need gave our lives meaning. After delivering meals, we made our way back to MIFA. As we dropped off the empty coolers, a MIFA employee asked us when we were available to deliver meals again. Knowing that they continually need volunteers, we were honored to be asked back and to know that MIFA cares about retaining their volunteers.

One of the reasons I joined the Volunteer Odyssey team was to help others find places to volunteer where they could go back to on a regular basis instead of going to several different places here and there. Because MIFA gave me the opportunity to come back to deliver meals, I felt like I achieved another goal I had set.

Delivering meals on one route takes about an hour. If you have a car or know someone that has a car, you can take a mere hour of your day to help others, to make a difference in someone else’s life. Take the first step. Take 90 seconds to learn how to become a Meals on Wheels volunteer.

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Returning with an empty cooler

10 Volunteer Opportunities to Beat the Heat

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Memphis Volunteer Opportunities this SummerAs Memphians, we’re no strangers to the heat. As the temperature climbs, here are 10 volunteer opportunities where you can beat the heat in the AC, the evenings, or in the shade.

1) Drive for ITN: transport seniors to doctor appointments and errands via your air conditioned car. Email Kim Weiss

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Teens at Cloud901

2) Memphis Library: volunteer in the digital wonderland that is Cloud901. You can also become a docent, a genealogy assistant, or a summer reader. Email Terrice

3) Humane Society: teach social skills to the dogs awaiting adoption and make toys for the dogs and cats in recovery. Email Linda Larrabee

4) Habitat for Humanity Restore: find furniture with potential and give it a face lift – flea market flip style. Email Amy Paul

5) H*art Gallery: Assist with art classes for the homeless and help make artwork. Email Katie Whitfield 

6) Carpenter Art Garden on Mondays: Tutor indoors or beat the heat and take the kids to ride bikes on the shaded Greenline. Email Megan Banaszek

7) Dorothy Day House: Provide dinner for 3 families on a Monday night. Kids welcome with parents. Email Chandler 

8) Urban Bicycle Food Ministry: Make and deliver burritos by bike to homeless people at nighttime. Email Frank Rouse

9) Fig Tree Food Pantry at Catholic Charities: Distribute food to those in need in the mornings Monday- Wednesday. Email Johnson, Lucie

10) Levitt Shell: Spend an evening volunteering with the Levitt Shell (we know you’re there anyway!) Email Nancy Agee

Want more ideas? Get updates or Join us on Facebook

Volunteers Build and Run the First Flying Eye Hospital

Orbis-MD-10-Flying-Eye-Hospital

Volunteers Make A Soaring Impact!

Hundreds of volunteers from Memphis, FedEx, and Orbis collaborated to build a flying hospital – the first of its kind. FedEx Express and Orbis International debuted the world’s one and only mobile ophthalmic teaching hospital. FedEx donated this aircraft back in 2011, and after 6 years of renovation, the finished product is due in part to countless volunteers and retired FedEx employees. This aircraft will be able to travel all across the world providing expert care to millions of people who previously had no access quality eye care.

Of the 285 million people suffering from visual impairment in the world, 4 out of 5 of those cases could have been prevented with proper medical treatment. However, 9 out of 10 of those cases live in developing countries where treatment isn’t available. Therefore, you can see how Orbis has the potential to make a huge impact in the world.

In order to carry out their vision, Orbis has over 400 volunteer pilots and hospital staffers ready to travel around the globe to train other young professionals on how to provide expert eye care. These volunteers are integral to helping make a difference so that one day soon we can report more countries have access to quality medical care leading to fewer number of individuals with visual impairment.

The Flying Eye Hospital is just one example of how ordinary people have the means to change the world if they are willing to donate their time to a cause that ignites their passion. No matter how big or small a task you have the ability to make a difference. What will you do today to make a positive impact in Memphis?  Start making a difference today using the Calendar of Volunteer Opportunities or Volio. Take a virtual tour of the hospital to learn more.

For these volunteers the sky’s the limit!

 

 

 

 

Small cupcake. Big impact.

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By Lulu Abdun, Summer Programs Associate at Volunteer Odyssey

We want to tell you about a very special student we just met.Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 4.11.19 PM

Volunteer Odyssey hosted a day at Lausanne Collegiate School’s Social Entrepreneurship Camp for high school age students. Seven different presenters spoke about the organizations they founded and how their work makes an impact. These organizations include Operation Broken Silence, Links of Luv, Lucy J’s BakeryEkata Designs, Women of Hope International, Volunteer Odyssey, and Forever Ready Productions.

Students at the Camp had a wide array of passions ranging from bringing technology to the less fortunate, building innovative inventions, and  sharing the art of music with others. Although each student’s passion was unique, a similar theme resonated with all of them: helping others.

Each presenter talked implicitly about this theme too. However, the story of one individual in the room that day can give everyday people like you and me an incentive to help others.

Tracy from Dorothy Day House spoke about her budding business called Lucy J’s Bakery. This unique bakery will provide homeless families who live at Dorothy Day House a place to work, people to write references for future jobs, a living—not minimum—wage, team building skills, and so much more. Tracy told the students at the Camp about this budding business and gave them a special treat: mini cupcakes from Lucy J’s. As Tracy passed around the tray of cupcakes, she told the students that one cupcake had a surprise on the bottom, and with that surprise one could do what he or she pleased.

As students reached for a cupcake, one lucky fellow, Naseem Dove, picked up the “special cupcake”. Below this delicious treat, a folded green paper appeared. Unfolded emerged a ten-dollar bill. The generous student told us that he wanted to donate his newly-found ten-dollar bill back to Dorothy Day House. When we think back to this theme of helping others, this act of generosity represents the idea of helping others and giving back.

Pay it forward. Start here.