Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tickle Me Pink, Boston

It seems as though there's a fundraiser to help fight breast cancer every time I turn around. Well, there's a reason there's so many events to raise money.

In 2004 alone, 186,772 women and 1,815 men were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,954 women and 362 men died from breast cancer.* After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. Breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in Hispanic women.

In other words, a lot of people are impacted by breast cancer. Not just the women (and men) who have the disease, but those around them. Their children. Spouses. Parents. Friends. You get the idea.

With that in mind, if you would like to help raise money for the Susan G Komen for the Cure Foundation, consider attending the Tickle Me Pink fundraiser this Friday, May 2 at Saint in Boston. I mean, really, how could you say no after those sobering statistics?

For just a $20 donation, you get to hang out at Saint (oo la la), drink gin cocktails courtesy of their sponsor "Right Gin," and enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres.

You'll also have the chance to bid in the silent auction, which includes 4th row tickets to the Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins tickets, a Spa Day followed by lunch at Stephanie’s, a 4 hour private cocktail cruise in Newport, RI, and many other delightful and enticing items.

Doors open at 8 PM, and there's sure to be a line by 10 PM, so come early for the fun. Wear your snazziest pink duds to show your support for the fight against breast cancer. Men, this is your chance to wear pink with no fear. Come on, break out your fushia cowboy hat!

Real men wear pink.

*Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 2004 Incidence and Mortality. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2007.

Tickle Me Pink Elmo courtesy of The Secret of Being Numb.
Pink shirted cowboy courtesy of

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll on the Charles

My Saturday morning was full of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Well, kind of.

My employer organized a group to participate in the 9th Annual Charles River clean-up this past Saturday. Evidence of man's hedonistic nature was abound. We found more than one condom (sex), lots of syringes and plastic blunt tips (drugs), and dozens of green ear plugs (rock & roll, baby!).

We found all kinds of other trash, from hub caps to bottle caps, styrofoam Dunkin Donuts cups, plastic bags, and candy wrappers. We cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned, and there was still more trash. Kind of disgusting, really.

It's hard to believe that people used to swim in the Charles River! The photo on below shows Boston bathers on the Esplanade in the early 1900's.

Though swimming may not be the sport of choice in the Charles these days, in 2007 63% of the time the lower Charles' bacterial levels met the EPA's swimming standards... so it would have been safe to take a dip more often than not. And fortunately for those sailors among us, the Charles met boating standards 100% of the time. This is all according to data collected by the Charles River Watershed Association between Watertown Dam and Boston Harbor.

Interestingly, there are currently no swimmable urban rivers in the United States, though many European cities offer their citizens the benefit of a downtown river swim. If the Charles River continues on its current trajectory towards cleanliness, it could become the first urban American riverfront to offer its citizens a refreshing swim on a hot summer day.

If you would like to help the Charles River on its way, consider volunteering at one of these fine organizations:
Even if you don't want to join one of the groups above, you can help. Keep your trash in your pockets, or put it in a trash can. Bring a reusable travel coffee mug to your favorite caffeine distribution establishment. Don't leave your syringes by the river, people! Let's keep the river that runs through us clean, shall we?

Brave Bostonites swim a mile in the Charles River last year on one of the "safe" days.

Related Post: Bigfoot Seen in Charles?

Photo of the people picking up trash courtesy of my co-worker. That's me in the sunglasses!
Photo of the 1900's bathers
courtesy of the Charles River Conservancy.
Photo of swimmers in the Charles courtesy of the Living Root.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Who is Happier?

It turns out some people are happier than others, at least according to the "Measuring National Happiness" radio show I listened to the other day.


Some people are always walking around with a smile on their faces. Cynical me, I think they're covering something up, compensating for a black hole of sadness inside. But it turns out they may actually be happier.

For example, researchers led by Alan Krueger noted that the general "moment to moment" happiness of men has increased over the past few years, which they attribute to the fact that men are gradually moving away from less pleasant like work to more to neutral activities like watching TV. Women have actually experienced a slight decline in their moment to moment happiness, which the researchers hypothesize is due to the increased stress of working outside the home.

So Frank from accounting may actually be happier than Lorianne, especially if Frank is older than Lorianne, and conservative politically. As you age, you learn to ignore non-constructive negative stimuli. (You can practice doing this with MindHabit's online game.)

It turns out people who are politically conservative are generally happier than people who identify themselves as liberal. Krueger and colleagues attribute this to their understanding that conservatives generally believe they are in control of their lives. They believe they can get ahead - there's nothing stopping them, not genetics, not the economic status of their families, not gender, not nothing, not nobody, not no how. Conservatives generally have rosier world view, and accept how things are.

Contrasting with this, Krueger said his research shows that to a certain degree, liberals tend to not to believe they are in control of their lives and their circumstances. They tend to attribute failure to succeed in society to factors in addition to just "personal initiative." This may be considered a more understanding and forgiving point of view, but Krueger postulates that admitting a certain lack of control over their own lives makes liberals less happy.

One could always argue, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" It is likely that 50% of the difference in happiness is due to other factors - religion and marriage contribute to happiness, and conseratives are more likely to be married and religious.

This isn't to say that in order to be happy, you should start being conservative politically.

Instead, be who you are - and be happy in it. Use your money to buy experiences, not stuff. Eating leads to increased happiness - and so does exercise (so you can happily maintain your waistline). Volunteer. Try to reach equilibrium with your status in life - accept where you are, while working constantly to achieve your next goal. (Incidentally, I noted this was common among people in India, who seemed very happy.)

You too can be happy... and hopefully already are.

Anyone up for a bike ride [exercise] for charity [giving] across Ireland [experience] followed by an organic feast [eating] in a castle [my dream]?

Related Posts: How to be Happier, Bigger and Better, Reflecting on ourselves

I look pretty darned happy here, if I do say so myself.

Photo of the smiling barn courtesy of BachsPics.
Photos of smiling children and jumping girl courtesy of Smazzle, aka me.

Get Green by knowing your Green

Since I no longer have Boston NOW to read on my way into work, I read the Metro and they highlighted this blog post which captures my eye. Here the author makes the remark, "A study found that while young people could identify a thousand corporate logos, they couldn't identify even a handful of plants and animals in their backyards".

Isn't this a sad way of pointing out how misguided our priorities are in this society. I like many other young professionals can identify many corporate logos as I walk downtown, but if I see a big tree in the Boston Common I more than likely couldn't name it and would probably only think about it as a great place to lay down and take my lunch break.

What I am missing out on is learning the potential good that this plant or tree can do for us or the environment. As I mentioned earlier I studied abroad in college and spent the semester in Australia. One of my classes was about getting to know Aboriginal culture. One part of the class we had an Aborigine guide walk us in the forest and show us how Aborigines communicated with each other.

In between showing us 4,000 year old rock art describing where a water hole is, our guide would instruct us on what this plant is and what it is good for, i.e upset stomach, sunburn, a common cold etc. It was said so casually and such a matter of fact fashion that it amazed me he could just walk around in the forest and know what is good for him in case he is feeling a little under the weather.

That's why I will join the No Child Left Inside Coalition and learn more about the natural world around us. I am not trying to be Survivor Man, or in this case Survivor Woman. I simply think it would be great to learn more about the plants and trees I see when I am on a walk with my dog.

Photo Courtesy of:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How to be Happier

Last night as part of my No TV week, I listened to "Measuring National Happiness" on the NPR radio show "On Point." I was only half listening, but there were three points that caught my attention:

1. Americans are always in the "pursuit of happiness" and don't stop to recognize when they are happy (even if it's just for a few moments).

2. We can choose how we spend our time. Certain activities make us happier (especially those involving other people), why not choose to do those more often?

3. Abundant research shows that giving money to charity or volunteering is highly correlated with happiness. They are happier after the experience - and this happiness lasts longer than just the immediate moment of giving.

So. The lessons? Stop to smell the roses - recognize a happy moment when you're in it. Even if you're having a bad day, maybe your iced coffee that morning was delicious. Choose social activities rather than so called "neutral" activities like watching TV.

And finally, take control of how you spend your free time... and perhaps consider volunteering with OYFP. After all, studies show you'll be happier if you do so. ;-)

Photo courtesy of **Mellieboots**.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Gap Year

I was reading this post about the concept of a "gap year" and I found the idea fascinating. Imagine you had taken a year (a whole year!) prior to starting college to participate in a year of global volunteer service.

Maybe you haven't started college yet and would like to try taking a year off before you go into college. The thought process behind taking a gap year is that you will have gained a better understanding of yourself, what you would like to accomplish in college, and perhaps even a new-found passion for volunteering.

Princeton is even offering financial aid to students who wish to participate in the gap year but may not have the monetary means necessary. Harvard even encourages students to participate in the gap year in their acceptance letters to incoming freshman. It's a concept that is not unique to Europe or UK students but it is fairly unique concept for Americans about to enter college.

I hope colleges do not make it mandatory to have a gap year prior to entrance into the college, because if it becomes requirement it has the potential to loose all the meaning behind it. People should be able to have the choice to participate in global service.

That being said I would strongly encourage any student out there to participate in a gap year program. I did not know of the gap year when I was entering college but I did get to study abroad my junior year in college.

Do I regret not being able to partake in the gap year? In a word, nope. But it may be something you want to consider.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Make Boston Greener

Today's Earth Day!

Celebrate by signing up for the Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design (or COG for short) "Greening Brigade." You can help them with their mission to Green Communities by Design. They'll email you every time they need volunteers to help put one of their plant-ful installations in place.

If you don't like to get dirt underneath your fingernails, you can help them out in other ways... like grant writing, making phone calls, updating their website, etc. Just contact them online or by phone at 781-642-6662.

Volunteering is a great way to expand your professional experience, beef up that resume, and get that warm feeling in your heart, knowing you've done good. Real good.

Monkeys give thumbs up for Earth Day!

The first image is courtesy of Girla Obscura.
The monkey photo is courtesy of Tatemae.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Turn Off Your TV Week - April 21 - 27

Don't let the boob tube rule your brain! Just Say No to TV, and celebrate Turn Off Your TV week April 21 through 27.

Sure, we all "don't watch a lot of TV," except that we do. It sneaks up on us. A whopping 66% of us watch TV regularly during dinner. According to a report by Reuters, the total average TV time per household in 2005-06 was eight hours and 14 minutes per day.

Like anything, it will be hard at first. What will you do without your Will and Grace re-runs while you eat your microwaved burrito? Or the Today Show while you apply your mascara?

But it will get easier. You'll remember that you meant to send your Grandma a card. You might pick up that book you were in the middle of last summer. You'll call a friend and go play frisbee. Earth Day this year falls smack dab in the middle of national Turn Off Your TV Week. Celebrate both by planting some trees... or if you live in the city, potting some plants.

Or maybe, just maybe, you'll go to the gym. After all, the rise of TV's popularity coincided with the rise in obesity. This is a second chance at that New Year's resolution!

I'm looking forward to the challenge. If my mom was right, my "square eyes" (commonly acquired by watching the television) will go away by the end of the week! Perhaps a few pounds will too...

Take a break from the television - you'll be surprised by what you accomplish. Or where your mind wanders. Or the friends and family you'll suddenly have time for. And let us know what you do instead of watching TV!

Don't let this be you!

"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."
-- The Kaiser Family Foundation

Broken television courtesy of Jerk in the Box.
Square eye photo courtesy of Roll the Dice. Take a close look at his iris...
Couch potato photo courtesy of

Celebrate Earth Day Early This Weekend

This Tuesday, April 22nd, is Earth day, and I would like to delicate this blog to some various activities that people are doing to help Mother Earth.

For those who are creative:
Saturday, April 19 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM go to the Artbeat The Creativity Store in Arlington. Her eyou can turn plastic bottles into flower vases, and old shoe boxes you may have lying around into photo keepers. This event will help you reuse and repurpose current items you already have around the house.

For those who like animals:
This Saturday at the Stoneham Zoo is celebrating Earth Day Sunday, April 20, from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM. They will have crafts, activities, animal encounters and environmentally-friendly exhibitors, while also providing learning opportunities about ways to help save our planet. There will also be featured entertainers, click here for more information.

For those that like to reduce paper waste:
A house in London was built entirely out of newspaper. Now you may not have the means or know-how to create a house out of recyclable materials, but CoolPeopleCare is asking for Monday (Patriot's day), April 21st to be BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug), which would save countless trees from being used to hold the coffee your drinking right now. If you like the idea of bringing your own mug then you can also join the Mug Project.

Now, I am sure you may know of more events than I do, but these are few that I thought were worth mentioning... and you'll see me Monday morning with a mug in my hand.

Photo Courtesy of destination

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Volunteer Fair at the Prudential this Thursday

Maybe you read our blog when it was part of BostonNOW.

Perhaps you've seen our events listed on

Or it's entirely possible that you have no idea who we are and just stumbled across this page via the wonders of the world wide intraweb.

We are the On Your Feet Project, and tomorrow we'll be at the Boston Prudential Center's annual Volunteer Fair. The event takes place Thursday, April 17 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM in the Huntington Arcade (which is basically a large hallway in the Pru Mall).

Stop by our table to introduce yourself. Look at some photos. Pick up a snazzy brochure. This is your chance to learn more about our mission to promote volunteerism among young adults aged 18 to 34, and determine if you would like to volunteer with us (or one of our non-profit partners). We're currently looking for volunteers to help organize events, expand our marketing efforts, and obtain sponsorships. We're a fun bunch - you'll like us and you'll be helping "save the children."

Of course, you'll also have the pleasure of meeting some of the outstanding individuals behind this blog *cough, cough*.

Email us at boston at oyfp dot org with any questions, and have a great day.

Hannah and John attempt to explain OYFP's complicated service model.
I think she just wants some candy.

Photos courtesy of moi! They're from last year's Volunteer Fair.

Give Pregnant Teens a Chance for Education

So if you have kept on gossip from everyone's favorite pregnant teen star, Jamie Lynn Spears, you may know that she has recently passed her GED and is considering going to college. She realizes that an education can open up better opportunities for her and her child.

What if she wasn't allowed to pass her GED because she is a pregnant teen? One thing's for sure, she will have less of chance of providing a better life for that of her child as a single mom without a GED.

Now imagine that high schools are in fact discriminating against teens who are pregnant and do not allow them to fulfill their educational dreams. This is the reality that is happening to pregnant teens in Africa.

These pregnant African teens are protected under the law both locally and internationally to have a right to education, however, that right is being taken from them (sometimes for life) because of the discrimination against them for being pregnant and in schools.

This is why Faith in the Future International, INC., (FITFI) was formed. FITFI empowers teen mothers in Africa between the ages of 13 to 21 who have had to drop out of school. These pregnant teens will receive vocational training, which will allow them to become independent and contributing members of their communities and will allow them to provide a better life for their children.

What can you do about it? Join FITFI for a fundraiser this Thursday, April 17th from 6-10 pm at Kennedy's Midtown (42 Province St, Boston). This event will have live music featuring Jake Hill and there will be trivia questions and prizes to be won! Any donation amount would be appreciated.

See you there!

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

BostonNOW is no more

Welcome, BostonNOW readers!

Though BostonNOW is closing its doors, the Volunteer Boston Blog has a happy home here at Blogspot (and has been here for a few months, really).

We were saddened to see BostonNOW closing - we thought it was on the forefront of newspaper innovation. Clearly the old model of "we do all the research, we form the opinions, we give you the news" wasn't working. BostonNOW was out to change it all by drawing on its readers as contributors, counting on them to bring us all the news. It was a collaboration, and one that we enjoyed being a part of.

So. Goodbye, BostonNOW. Perhaps some other newspaper will sense an opportunity, and not be weighed down by its Icelandic currency.

We'll be seeing you around, and when you're back in one form or another, we'll be here waiting. And blogging. And promoting non-profits. And volunteerism. You know, doing our thing. Until then, all you BostonNOW readers can get your fix (at least part of it) here with us.

Bye-bye, BostonNOW!

Photo courtesy of Chris_Catford.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bananas: Not just a funnily shaped fruit

Bananas are more than just a phallic fruit. They are nutritious and delicious, providing a whopping helping of potassium. But in addition to all that goodness, they are the source of many families' incomes.

In the back of your head, I'm sure you always knew that someone had to be growing dem bananas. What you may not have known in the back of your head (it's only so big, after all): Extreme flooding in Ecuador has decimated the banana crops.

Why should you care? Well, one of the areas impacted by the floods in Ecuador is farmed by families who are part of a banana growing co-op. Farm cooperatives cut out the middle man so the farmers get more of the proceeds of the sale of their fruit.

And, since this co-op is Fair Trade Certified, their farmers adhere to strict standards of pesticide and waste reduction, erosion control, the protection of waterways and forests, crop diversification, and reforestation.

However. Because of these floods, the co-op is struggling. They need to buy a $20,000 backhoe to repair the fields and prevent future floods. Oké USA, the fair trade banana distributor, is spearheading a campaign to raise the farmers the funds for a backhoe so the farmers can stay in business. All contributions are tax deductible, courtesy of Oké co-owner Red Tomato, a tax-exempt non-profit, and will go directly to fund the purchase of the Bobcat.

You can donate to the Bobcat fund knowing your monies are ensuring the availability of fair trade, environmentally responsible, yellow fruit. Now that's something I can rally behind.

To learn more, visit the Oké Banana blog or the Buy the Bobcat fundraising page.

Help fair trade banana farmers

Smiling banana courtesy of LibraryMan.
Flood photo courtesy of the
Banana Blog.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Did you have fun last night? Man, oh, Man I rocked on my feet all night long! My feet are still telling my they should be snuggled under the covers instead of at work.

In case you were superman and busy saving the world, I'll give a recap of why I ordered a Grande Soy Chai from Starbucks this morning after our first annual benefit concert at Church last night:

The first act, Glenn Michael took the stage with such passion and vigor which made it fun to watch him dance with his guitar. I have to admit this is the first time I have seen an acoustic live music act which included, a guitar, trumpet and drums. Very unique and superb, if I say so myself. If you liked what you heard go to his website and order his second full-length CD entitled Reflections. His first album is also available on ITUNES.

Ryan and the boys from the Powers That Be followed with a performance that can only be described as moving. I saw many a bodies in the crowd bopping to their beats and Ryan's killer guitar riffs. The Powers That Be also has an EP release available on ITUNES. Where one reviewer says, "This is one of the best debut cd's they have ever heard". Needless to say I needed some aqua after all the cheering.

The final act, The Slap Happies came on and I was jamming to Michael Jackson, Harvey Danger and No Doubt covers. I wasn't the only ones getting my boogie on, I saw many in the crowd break out in spontaneous dances. The Slap Happies are super supportive of OYFP and getting involved in the local community, which is great to see.

We even raffled off an autographed Youkilis baseball, and a dinner for two at California Pizza Kitchen. On behalf of OYFP I would like to thank Church, the bands, Christopher's Haven (for donating the ball), and everyone who attended last night.

I would also like to mention another opportunity to do good for the community, for one of our partners, The Italian Home for Children (IHC). IHC is holding a fundraiser in Newton Town Hall to help clean up the city. Additionally, for every volunteer IHC brings in, Starbucks will donate $10.00 per hour to the IHC. So you will be raising money AND helping the environment. Double Karma points if you ask me.

Photos from the event will be posted shortly in the OYFP Flickr account.

Casey, Dan (from Christopher's Haven), Krystle, and Julianne rock out by sitting down.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Invite. Plant. Grow. Enjoy.

Yesterday I received a very unusual postcard in the mail. Hopefully in a year from now my unusual experience will be standard fare.

The first thing that I noticed about the postcard was the coarse paper. It was rough to the touch, the edges weren’t smooth, and it had a homemade feel. Upon closer inspection I realized that the bumpy, coarse event invitation was 100% biodegradable. “Very cool,” I thought. And, upon even closer inspection, I realized that the bumps were actually flower seeds imbedded into the paper. I’m not going lie, I got excited. And, I still might be, maybe just a little. Maybe.

Receiving the seeded postcard was like receiving a bundle of possibilities. “Will it really grow? Is this a gimmick? How does it work?”

Most plantable paper is embedded with wildflowers seeds. A mix of annual and perennial seeds includes, but is not limited to: Bird's Eye, Clarkia, Coreopsis, Poppy, Catchfly and Snap Dragon. To make plantable paper germinate you simply soak the paper in water, then spread a thin layer of soil over the paper and keep it moist for a few weeks while the seeds germinate.

Plantable paper can be used for: wedding favors, invitations, bulk paper, gifts, Christmas cards, Chanukah cards…the possibilities are endless. To see pictures and/or to order just search for “plantable paper” or “seeded paper” or
click here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

move your bloomin'... *ahem* true ladies don't swear.

it's hard enough to find a place up here that does country fried steak right, let alone find a way to join in on the festivities of the Kentucky Derby!

but don't pack those white gloves just yet! don on those puppies along with your widest-brimmed hat and head on over to the Italian Home's "Derby Day Boston" at the Harvard Club Downtown, an event being held on Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 from 4 to 8PM.

the ticket price may be steep, but the views of the harbor and the city as well as the mint juleps will make it all worthwhile - not to mention, the proceeds will benefit the programs and services provided by the Italian Home.

For more details or to purchase tickets, contact Alicia Chick at or call 617.524.3116 ext. 349.

OH, and if you mention OYFP, you can get a discounted ticket ($200 each, which is $50 off the original price!)

so, all you people born north of the mason-dixon line, start practicing that southern drawl and ask a georgia peach how to tilt your hat just so! and my fellow southerners out there, let's show these yankees what the kentucky derby is all about~ (we'll work on the country fried steak another day).

*ps. mention Derby Day Boston at Toppers on the Common and receive 10% off your purchase!

You could look as fashionable as this fine fellow!

Photo of the lady courtesy of KentuckyDerby.
Photo of the gentleman courtesy of
LR Monkeytoes.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rock On Your Feet with OYFP

Rock On Your Feet with us this Thursday, April 10 at the Church Nightclub!

No, not the kind of rocking this guy on the left is doing (that's called "rocking on your butt").

We want you to rock on your FEET. You know, get up and dance! Shake it a little! At the very least, nod your head back and forth.

After all, it's for a good cause - us! Normally we raise funds for our non-profit partners, but this time the On Your Feet Project is raising funds so it can raise more funds in the future for our partners.

Sooo... if you come to the concert and pay your $15, you're indirectly helping kids with cancer, kids with behavioral and emotional issues, and kids who need mentoring. Wow, kids need a lot.

If you're still not sold, come for the rad music. (Yes, I just said rad.) The concert features the following artists:
And if you're STILL not sold, you might want to keep in mind recent studies that have shown music's ability to lower blood pressure (which can also reduce the risk of stroke and other health problems over time), boost immunity, ease muscle tension, and more (from

Pretty much you have no excuse not to be at Church this Thursday, April 10 for the Rock On Your Feet charity concert. Doors open at 8 PM, Glenn Michael takes the state at 9 PM.

Rock on, dudes and dudettes. Rock on.

The Details
Tickets: Rock On Your Feet Tix are available online or at the door. Just $15, and you could win a signed Red Sox baseball.
Locale: Church is at 69 Kilmarnock St. in Boston, MA
Getting There: It's all about public transit. Get off at the Green Line's Kenmore stop and walk a few blocks, or map out your own route via the MBTA's website.

Rocking photo is courtesy of
The other photos are courtesy of ourselves. OYFPers took them.

Global Volunteering

So we here at OYFP have been trying to put out the word for people to get more involved in the Boston area citing the benefits it does for the community. What if you would like to get involved but you're passions lye in a more international context? Then go to's Global Volunteering Fair this Saturday, April 12, hosted by the Harvard School of Public Health . Here you can meet with nonprofit organizations that coordinate volunteer projects around the globe, including:
  • American Jewish World Service
  • Amigos de las Americas
  • Center for Cultural Interchange
  • Cross-Cultural Solutions
  • Earthwatch Institute
  • Friends of the Orphans
  • International Volunteer Program,
  • GeoVisions
  • Global Routes
  • Global Volunteers
  • Greenforce
  • Kathryn Davis Fellowships
  • Volunteers For Peace, Inc.
  • VSO Canada
  • WorldTeach
And you can also take free workshops on
  • International Volunteerism 101
  • Determining whether to go abroad with a program or on your own
  • Overcoming potential cultural or physical barriers to international service
Who knows you might find something that interests or inspires you to take your volunteering internationally.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tend-and-Befriend on the shoulder of 93 South

The car jolted violently. I screamed, rather loudly. I yelled to my boyfriend, "Pull OVER, PULL OVER!" Something was wrong.

It was 10:00 PM, we were on 93 south just inside Woburn, [now] in the shoulder, along with 10 other cars. Within minutes it became 20 cars. Then 30 cars. We quickly lost count.

We got out of the car to inspect the damage.

"Oh, honey, we have a flat tire. I mean, actually, TWO flat tires. On the same side."
His response: "What the f&*#$?!"

I won't lie, I was trembling and sort of jittery. I started calling tow places, then the state police, while Terrence talked to everyone else, all of whom had two flats on the right side of their car. Turns out within about a 10 minute span, we had all hit a large piece of lead or concrete pipe that was in the middle of 93 South.

What the f&*#$ is right.

We all paced in the shoulder, up and down, back and forth, waiting for the police to get to our cars, talking about what we saw, watching as a rubber necker slammed into the car in front of him, adding two more cars to the ones waiting to be towed. The guy behind us did what every Bostonian does when he or she sees something that could be sensationalized: Called Fox 25 News.

As terrible as the night was, no one was hurt (even the rubber necker). As is common in situations like this, all of a sudden strangers who would probably barely give each other the time of day (this is Boston, after all), were talking together, laughing about our bum luck, and wondering whether or not the state would actually reimburse us for the damage like the state trooper said.

We came together in this time of stress, and experienced what some psychologist call "tend-and-befriend." According to Wikipedia: "This tend and befriend response refers to the fact that people often manage threats by caring for offspring and seeking social support in time of stress (Taylor et al. 2000)."

The alternative to tend-and-befriend is the more commonly acknowledged "fight or flight" response. I certainly tried to "fly" - I called a bunch of towing companies before realizing that the state police would take care of it. We certainly weren't "flying" with two flat tires, anyway.

It is refreshing to experience a sense of community and friendliness in a place where people protect their shoveled out parking spots to the death, and honk if you're one second behind slamming the gas at a green light. Don't get me wrong - I'm a Bostonite through and through - but it is nice to know that we have that "tend-and-befriend" in us below our rough 'n' tough exteriors.

To see Channel 7's coverage of the event, watch their video footage of the incident.

Photograph courtesy of Tudor Hulubei

Friday, April 4, 2008

Powers That Be

Like to listen to great music? Like to support the community around you? Want to do both at the same time? This Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 9pm OYFP is putting on our first annual benefit concert to help support us and the work we do for our partners.

We have whet your appetite with getting to know one of the performers, Glenn Michael, but it's time to learn more exactly who are the Powers That Be. To accomplish this I turned on my investigative reporter and had a chat with Ryan Jeffrey who is their Lead Guitarist.

Krystle: "Where did the name, the Powers That Be come from?"

Ryan: "We wanted something that said, "Hey, we're new, but you've already heard of us." A name that people already used in their every day vernacular that we could add just another meaning to. That the term is generally associated with authority is just a pleasant side-effect, though not all together inappropriate".

Krystle: "Well spoken, I'll even give you a point for using vernacular in a sentence. So, how would you describe your music"?

Ryan: "Fresh rock music with intent lyrics and a soulful, bluesy disposition."

Krystle: "I see that you guys got to play at Avalon, that's a big accomplishment in the Boston music scene. How was that"?

Ryan: "Just unbelievable. To hang out in that green room upstairs was so surreal. The people that have chilled there and the artists that have preformed on that stage... it was amazing to be a part of that. Especially after standing on the other side for so long. It's a shame that it's been closed down, but we're very thankful for being given the opportunity to play there".

Krystle: "Since you have been on the other side of the stage, who would you say are some of your musical influences are"?

Ryan: "Well, we all come from a slightly different musical background, but I would say the unifying factor is our love for getting deep in the pocket with some soul or blues. Artists like Bill Withers or Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan all really helped to shape our music. I think what makes us a bit different from our predecessors is that we refuse to follow any formulas when it comes to lyrics. We spend just as much, if not more, time crafting the words that are mixing with the melodies and we take pride in being a band that doesn't just throw them out there as an afterthought".

Krystle: "That was definitely the vibe I got when I listened to Keep your cool from your website. So, when you guys aren't Rocking On Your Feet, we could find you ____"?
Ryan: "Playing around Boston and working hard to be the best band you haven't heard of yet".

Krystle: "Lastly on your Myspace page there is an adorable dog, whose dog is it"?

Ryan: "He's our mascot. Who he is and where he came from is not something I'm really at liberty to discuss".

Krystle: "That's a great mascot to have and of course we respect his right for privacy. Thanks Ryan for taking time out to answer my questions and supporting local charities like us in Boston"

Want to here more from the Powers That Be, Glenn Michael and The Slap Happies, then come on down and Rock On Your Feet!

If I Had a Million Dollars

I have had that Barenaked Ladies tune stuck in my head all week thanks to Casey's post. It inspired me to write another blog post about what would you do if you did receive $1,000,000.00 dollars. Would you go out and buy yourself a new wardrobe? Would you buy a house? Would you do some globetrotting?

Have that image in your head, good. NOW imagine all the possibilities you could do if you donated all or even a portion of that money.

We have already learned what $150 dollars does for Boys & Girls Club of Boston, but what about other monetary amounts? The average amount of rent for a 1 bedroom in Boston is $1,400. What if you were to donate that amount to help house kids with cancer and their families? That's less than 1% of the $1 millon you have [theoretically] just received.

The average cost of school supplies for children in the beginning of the school year is $55 -$76 (depending on the age of the child). By those numbers you could buy 125 children school supplies for the entire year for less than $10,000! Think about what a difference that would make for children who are emotionally and behaviorally challenged.

Oprah is challenging people to do relatively the same thing, asking you what would you do if you if you were given $100,000 dollars and had to give it all away.

If you were to give all your newly received money away that would be AMAZING. But even if you were to give away a portion of it, you would still be doing copiousness amounts of good for the community around you. It's always good to share what you have received with those that are less fortunate.

I haven't ever come into a million dollars (but still crossing my fingers), but I have found various dollar bills on the ground when I am around town. I usually give it to a homeless person, or donate it to a cause when I see a donation jar.

I am not trying to sound altruistic, but just trying to prove that it doesn't always take huge donations to make a big difference in the community around you.

So I ask: If you just received $1 Million dollars,

WWYD? (What Would You Donate)?

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Support the Boys and Girls in Boston - West End House

Support the young ladies and gentlemen of Boston at the Passport To Belonging charity event, celebrating the West End House Boys & Girls Club. The event is Saturday, April 5 in Allston, MA - just around the corner for many of us!

But just what does a "Passport to Belonging" event entail...?

Well, this particular Passport to Belonging involves a reception of food, arts, games and fun (like Scattergories?), followed by a dinner and live auction (a cattle auction? that would be cool. I could use me a cow or two), and you'll cap off the evening by dancing to the Latin Beat (la cucaracha! la cucaracha!).

Tickets are available online for donations from $150 to $1,000, depending on how much you want to give. To give you an idea of what your donation is going to: $150 supports 3 weeks of a youngen's summer program, $500 supports a 10-week summer program for one kid, and $1,000 provides breakfast, lunch and snack for five kiddies all summer long.

If this event isn't your cup 'o' tea, just wait until the Rock On Your Feet charity concert on April 10...

Anyone recognize this celebrity? He supports the [deleted: Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston] West End House, and so should you!

Photos courtesy of the West End House

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

designgive - creativity is a gift

designgive is an apparel retail web site created by designers who donate a portion of every sale to charity. They sell mostly t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts and hoodies. One dollar of every shirt sold is donated to charity.

“As artists we were given a talent to create, it's up to you to use those talents to try and make a difference in the world.”

The buyer can choose where their donation will go from some of the largest and most far-reaching charitable organizations in the world. These groups include:

- American Diabetes Association - diabetes affects an estimated 20 million men, women and children in the United States. Out of each dollar spent by the ADA, 78 cents support research, advocacy and services for people affected by the disease.

American Cancer Society – invests nearly $3 billion annually in cancer research since 1946. Cancer kills more than a half a million Americans each year, equaling more than 1,500 deaths per day. In the United States, cancer accounts for one of every four deaths.

UNICEF - or the United Nations Children's Fund, provides humanitarian aid to children and mothers in developing countries. With staff in over 150 countries and territories, UNICEF is the world's leading children's organization. Contributions also support humanitarian support in the Sudan, where a $3 donation can buy a large wool blanket to protect children from the cold during an emergency.

American Red Cross - provides relief to victims of disasters and provides respond to emergencies. The organization responds to more than 70,000 disasters each year.

Make-a-Wish Foundation - is the country's largest wish-granting organization for children suffering from life-threatening medical conditions. The foundation has granted almost 150,000 wishes since it was founded in 1980.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - is the oldest humane organization in the United States. It has worked for over 140 years to eliminate injustices toward animals.

Children with AIDS Charity – supports children diagnosed with pediatric HIV and AIDS. The group uses donations to fund its three-pronged approach of education, transport assistance and financial support to children and families affected by the disease.

designgive encourages designers who would like to participate in this project to contact them. Each design appearing on the designgive site will feature the artists name as well as a brief "About the Artist" section. To contact designgive check out their contact page.

“Creativity was a gift to you, now is your chance to give something back. Contribute to designgive, and realize your cause for design.”

World Autism Day in BostonNOW

A snippet from Hannah's blog post on World Autism Day (which is today, btw) was featured on page 6 of April 2's BostonNOW.

Congrats, Hannah! I'll see you at KO Prime tonight! Oh wait, I have floor hockey... I don't know that running around like a chicken with your head cut off is a good idea after eating a luxurious steak dinner...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

world autism day: boston

good morning, folks.

did you realize that 1 in 150 children (and 1 in 94 boys) are unable to say "good morning" without intervention because of autism?

tomorrow, april 2nd, is the very first world autism awareness day. according to

"On December 18, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 62/139 declaring April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity. This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world's attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions.

The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. It further expresses deep concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges."

for those of you who have read my entries before, you know children with autism and their families hold a very special place in my heart. and with more and more children being affected by this disease every year, more than likely you personally will know someone who is impacted by it.

here are some more tidbits of info from
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the world
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with diabetes, cancer, & AIDS combined
  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism, but early diagnosis and intervention improve outcomes
  • Autism does not discriminate by geography, class, or ethnicity
so, you rightly ask, "what can i do?"

firstly, get edumacated. check out and talk with people in the field of education as well as in hospitals. find families impacted by autism and learn how their lives are affected by it.

then, get involved. here in massachusetts, there are two specific ways you can get on your feet for autism:

The LADDERS program in Boston, MA is organizing a movie screening of "Mozart and Whale" on April 2 based on the biography of Jerry Newport at the Belmont Movie Theater (376 Trapelo Road in Belmont, MA). The movie will be followed by a panel discussion that includes: Dr. Margaret Bauman, Child Neurologist, Director of LADDERS; Stephen Shore, Ed.D, author of "Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome;" and Sheldon Wagner, Ph.D, Behavioral Psychologist. The film will begin at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, April 2.

Also, in celebration of World Autism Awareness Day, chefs from around the country have agreed to help raise awareness and funds for autism by promotions and events on April 2. In Boston, Chef Ken Oringer from KO Prime is participating, and this special benefit dinner will begin at 7:00 pm. For reservations or more information, please call 617-772-0202 or visit their website. KO Prime is located within the Nine Zero Hotel at 90 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts.

so, there you go. get edumacated. get involved. get on your feet.

image courtesy of