Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tick Tock Time Management

I am continuously running into this issue. To work (or apply for jobs for many of you out there), to volunteer, to have fun, to relax... how to keep this all straight and remain sane?!

The point is, as a mid-twenties-er trying to make a name for myself and figure out where I want to go and be, I find keeping up my momentum is the biggest key to success (yes, I just used the phrase "key to success"...enter vomit).

Sure, on a Tuesday night, I am tempted by the cheese-bucket reality TV my roommates are watching on the boob. Sure, at least 30 percent of the time I give into the temptation to slouch on into my new comfy couches and go numb for a while.

My more important point: Don't deny that YOU DO have the time to fit in SOME form of volunteering on, say, a bi-weekly basis (minimum).

Better yet... Your enthusiasm will motivate me and the others around you to do something interesting. And let's face it, we could all use a little more excitement in our (actual) lives.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Canary Project

I work for a very green company in a very green workplace, so it was no surprise to me when the founders of the Canary Project paid us a visit to educate us about their work. The Project "produces visual media, events, and artwork that build public understanding of human-induced climate change and energize commitment to solutions." Edward Morris and his wife and photographer for the project, Susannah Sayler have travelled the world (I won't pretend I'm not a little bit jealous) photographing areas affected by climate change. The Canary Project successfully melds art and activism and is an interesting new way to inform and inspire. Check it out!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cocktails 101

Does this scene sound familiar with you?

You are heading out after work with a few friends to a new bar you haven't been to before. The waiter hands you a list of the drinks offered at this bar and you haven't heard of any of them previously. Your friends look at the menu and know exactly what they are going to get in seconds. You, on the other hand don't know what drink you prefer as you look through the short novel of all the drinks they can create for you. You don't want to be lame and ask the waiter/bartender what exactly is in each of the drinks, but you aren't sure which ones you will like. The waiter comes back and takes everyone's orders, and when it comes to you, you try the first one on the list. Several minutes pass, and the waiter comes back with all of your drinks. You take a sip of your drink, and you don't like it, you try your friends drink and love it. If only you knew what drinks were what.

If that scene sounds familiar have we got an event for you! Cocktails 101, where you can learn from the Boston Shaker how to make a Martinez, French 75 among others. Enjoy Cocktail Samples and amazing appetizers from Mantra while your at it!

PLUS ALL PROCEEDS will go to the West End House which offers life-shaping opportunities to more than 1,000 youth representing 40 countries. Learning and doing something good for you community, all in one!


Where: Mantra, 52 Temple Street
When: June 18th, 6-9pm
Benefitting: West End House
Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

Friday, June 5, 2009

Maybe it’s time to GIVE a bit more Boston…

Maybe it’s time to GIVE a bit more Boston…

Sometimes you have to hand it to Congress, at least for their creative naming of legislation. Proposed bill names are often a little self serving, i.e. the ABC act (Access to Books for Children); or they may provide a little double meaning, as in one in the news recently, the FACE act (Freedom of Access to Clinics); sometimes they even actually make sense, e.g. BUSES act (Bus Uniform Standards and Enhanced Safety), and sometimes they are just aptly named, e.g. the CAN-SPAM act (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act); and, of course others make you wonder how much time and effort was spent just naming the thing, and why, e.g.the HOME-RUN act (Helping Owners Make Energy-Efficiency Residential Upgrades Now).

Fun with words aside – in April of this year, Congress passed the GIVE act (Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education). Okay, so this was later renamed in honor of our own Sen. Kennedy, but regardless the bill provides for the reauthorization of the Corporation for National and Community Service, vastly expands the AmericaCorps program, creates a social venture capital fund, and provides funding for programs to support community involvement among college-students, senior citizens, and yep you guessed it…younger, working professionals.

According to 2007 data from the Corporation, Boston residents aged 25-34 are the least likely to volunteer their time (20% participation in volunteer activities). Sound low? This is in a city that ranks 34th out of the 50 largest US cities in terms of volunteerism rates (26.4% in 2007).

Surprising maybe? This means that just 1 of every 5 of your friends in Boston is likely to volunteer their time to a local or national organization provide tutoring, mentoring, fundraising, organizing, or direct services. The median time given among young professionals? -- just 36 hours, or less than 2 days a year, about 12 Red Sox games, or the time spent watching a season of 24.

So what can we do to encourage a Spirit of Service among this age group? Aside from increased federal support for organizations, encouraging access to positive volunteer experiences may increase the likelihood of individuals developing a sustained interest in civic service.

For working professionals with competing interests, this may be easier said than realized. Still, there is no shortage of great organizations and volunteering opportunities in Boston. OYFP, for one, is among many others, such as YAVA. Private and business support for volunteering is organized through organizations such as Boston Cares. Traditional services-organizations are expanding their reach, e.g. United Way’s Young Leaders program. You can encourage your company to adopt a community-oriented component to their mission statement, that explicitly supports employee involvement. In this increasingly connected world your iphone and facebook account can do more than update your friends’ status, by plugging into a lot more.

Talk to friends, commit a couple hours, join a email listing, become involved, GIVE a little bit more, and help Boston become better than 1 in 5.