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

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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.

It’s time to make your mark

In 2015, Forbesminutematch ranked Memphis as one of the top ten cities where it is easiest to make your mark; however as a city, we continue to fall behind in the ability to retain talented young professionals.  So how do we attract and retain this young talent and ensure that they are investing in 901?  One way is to provide these professionals with quality volunteer opportunities that allow them to make a positive impact in their community.

At Volunteer Odyssey, we want to help these emerging leaders in Memphis to make their mark and discover that perfect volunteer opportunity that makes them want to invest in our great city.

On Wednesday, June 15th, we are hosting VolunCheers Minute Match in order to get more people through Memphis connected with a cause and a organization they are passionate about and will continually want to volunteer with in the future.  This event is a speed dating event designed to help volunteers find their ideal volunteer opportunity in just 60 minutes. After visiting each non-profit, attendees will fill out a survey to determine which non-profit won them over for a second date.This is a great way for people to get to know what kind of opportunities are available to them in Memphis as well as get to know many other young professionals from around the city.  Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 at the door, which includes food and beer from Wiseacre Brewing Co.

Where will you make your mark?

Event Details:
When: Wednesday, June15th
Where: Emerge Memphis | 516 Tennessee St
Time: 5:30-7:30pm

 

Mix Odyssey 2016 Recap

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Thank you so much to the hundreds of you who attended the 3rd annual Mix Odyssey on Saturday, February 27th. The event was a huge success and raised money to help us continue to follow our mission: To connect Memphians with their ideal volunteer opportunities and share those stories.

And speaking of stories, here’s a link to the Mix Odyssey 2016 recap video. If you haven’t seen it, take a look.

The winners of the Mix Odyssey 2016 contest are:

1st place: Aaron Henna from Hog & Hominy for his “Instant Karma.”
2nd place: Cady Smith from Cafe Pontotoc for her “The Can-can Dance.”

If you liked it and want another taste, you can order “Instant Karma” off the menu at Hog & Hominy and “The Can-can Dance” is available for a limited of time at Cafe Pontotoc.

Special thanks to Orion FCU, Bacardi Family Foundation, Whole Foods Market POPLAR, Southland Park Gaming and Racing, Buster’s Liquors, Metro Graphics, Start Co., Wiseacre Brewing Company, HRO Partners, LLC, Rec Room, The Marston Group, PLC and Forever Ready Productions, LLC for the video.

We also want to thank our volunteers who helped make the event possible. From set-up to clean-up and everything in between the event was successful because of your help.

If you’d like to volunteer, don’t forget to visit our opportunity calendar. If you’re looking to connected with a cause, visit Volio.

Thanks again for making Mix Odyssey a success. We look forward to seeing you again soon at one of our upcoming events.

Light a candle, make a difference, pass it on

“The Buddha teaches that ‘a thousand candles can be lighted from a single candle.’ You lit mine. I endeavored to light theirs. I believe in earnest that they will light others and so on.”

Those are the words Stuart Cohen wrote to Volunteer Odyssey after he attended a graduation at Advance Memphis.

Stuart contacted Volunteer Odyssey (via Jeremy Park at Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club) because he wanted to get connected with a cause in Memphis, one that he felt passionate about. We introduced him to Advance Memphis, a non-profit organization that serves the 38126 zip code in Memphis.  They work with people in that community to empower them to change their lives and their community.  They do so with programs that bring hope, knowledge, resources and skills.

Stuart was paired with Johnny, one of three men he mentored for six weeks.  Johnny had been incarcerated through December and he was looking for a way to gain skills and get a job.

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Stuart and Johnny at Advance Memphis Graduation

On Friday, February 26th, Johnny graduated from Advance Memphis.  Stuart was there too and got to meet Johnny’s son, wife and sister.  And as he put it, was his ‘champion work-like mentor.’

“His next goal is to complete his GED. He is now guaranteed work and fair pay thanks to Advance Memphis.  The money he earns will go towards cooking school.  His dream is to become a chef at his own restaurant,” Stuart told Volunteer Odyssey. “I promised to be his first customer.”

Stuart went on to say: “Today he completes one huge step towards a better life and good works.  He and all the men and women who completed an intense 6 weeks, plus passing a drug test, are the biggest winners.”

Johnny spoke at graduation.  He told his class that he was full of gratitude, joy, and hope and he specifically thanked Stuart for helping him through the program.

 “I have never in my life been so moved. Tears were shed. They held their certificates high,” Stuart said.

 Stuart began with a question: Where can I volunteer?  And how can I make a difference in the process?

 “Those men know that I am ‘in their pocket.’ What’s more, they surged forward knowing that God is there too. What a wonderful foundation to build upon,” Stuart said.

 This is really only the beginning of Johnny and Stuart’s story.  And we thank Stuart for saying “yes” to Volunteer Odyssey, Advance Memphis and most importantly, Johnny.

 If you have a story like Stuart and Johnny, we want to hear it.  E-mail us at sarah@volunteerodyssey.com.    

Volunteer from Home on MLK Day

Volunteer from Home on Martin Luther King Day!

Many people want to give back on MLK Day and do something to help others.

However, many non-profits are closed in observance of the holiday.  Fortunately, there’s a great way to volunteer from home and to help those who are experiencing homelessness. It’s great for family, friends, any size group, and all ages!

With that in mind, here’s a special project for you and your family on MLK Day: make gift bags for the homeless.

Here’s how to make gift bags for the homeless with your family on MLK Day.

Step 1:

Meet the people you’ll helping: 

Homelessness can be a faceless, nameless problem that seems abstract. Fortunately, two wonderful organizations produced pictures and videos for this exact purpose.

Meet Jerry. At the time of this interview with Jerry, was homeless.  Here’s his story: Jerry’s story

Jerry. Image credit: Focus for the Good

Listen to Jerry’s story

This lady is named Pat. Does she fit your image of homelessness? Pat’s story

Pat. Image credit: Focus for the Good

Listen to Pat’s story

And this is Tarvis. What is his life like? Tarvis’s story

Tarvis. Image credit: Focus for the Good

Listen to Tarvis’s story

There are also a lot of families and children who are homeless. Dorothy Day House of Hospitality in Memphis is a refuge for these families.

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Watch this video about the Dorothy Day House

Maybe you found some parts sad or shocking. I hope you found something that resonated with you and challenged how you envision homelessness. I hope you feel inspired to help.

Step 2:
Make a list of items to include

You can build your own gift bags with anything you like. We used gallon sized bags but quart sized bags are very common for this project as well. Here are some ideas of items to include:

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Hand lotion
  • Gum
  • Healthy snacks (individual servings of peanut butter, applesauce, dried fruit, granola bars, tuna fish and crackers along with disposable utensils)
  • A list of places (addresses and phone numbers) that provide services for the homeless
  • Socks, gloves, hats
  • Gift cards for fast food restaurants and public transit
  • Bottled water
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Chapstick
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Inspirational message or helpful information

When planning healthy snacks, consider that many of the homeless are missing teeth and cannot easily eat hard foods like peanuts. Fruit cocktail, applesauce and soft fruit bars are more accessible for everyone.

Step 3:
Collect or purchase materials for your gift bags

Open all of the packages and make your assembly line

 

photo3 (1)Step 4:
Assemble!

With your friends and family, form an assembly line and place one of each item into the bag.

The final product

The final product

Step 5:
Donate!

You can donate these to one of the many wonderful organizations in Memphis that serve the homeless. Here are a few:
Urban Bicycle Food Ministry: Email Frank 
Room in the Inn Memphis: Email Lisa
St Mary’s Soup Kitchen: Email Martin
Need more ideas for places to donate in Memphis?  Email us!

Step 6:
Tell us about it!

We’d love to share your family’s project. Email us or share it on our Facebook page.

Looking at the pictures and watching the videos will give you and your family a better sense of who you would be helping and it reminds us to be thankful for our warm homes and our families. This is a great project for any age and any size group. Everyone can help with selecting the items and filling the bags.

 

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If you’re looking for more way to get involved, Visit our Calendar of Volunteer Opportunities or our Virtual Volunteer Fair – Volio!

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Find Volunteer Opportunities

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Virtual Volunteer Fair Connect with a Cause

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Very special thank you to for helping us share how you can volunteer from home in Memphis:

  • Bill Piacesi and the Focus for the Good team
  • Beth Halldorson and Liz McKee of Baker Donelson