Jerry Swon has a longstanding interest in volunteering and community involvement.

Tag: give back

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How You Can Help the Homeless in the Winter

One of the hardest seasons of the year for the homeless community is winter. When the temperature starts to drop below the freezing point, people facing the elements are at risk for hypothermia which means they are also at risk for fatal consequences. This winter, try doing you part and help the homeless in one of the five ways.

Know the Signs of Hypothermia

It’s important to know what the warning signs of hypothermia is. If you are aware of the signs, it will be able to identify those who need help right away. If you notice any of the following symptoms, reach out to the affected person and get help as soon as possible:

  • Shivering
  • A weak pulse
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow and shallow breathing
  • Low energy
  • Memory loss or confusion

Hand Out Warm Clothes

You will find that in many thrift stores, churches, and even grocery stores there are barrel in which you can donate your old coats. Instead of hoarding your unused and old coats in your closets, give it to someone who needs it most.

Life can be really hard for those who live on the streets. Those who live and sleep outside often get their items stolen and don’t have the opportunity to wash their clothing very frequently. Donating hats, gloves, coats, all help to ensure that the homeless community will stay a little warmer.


During the winter months, shelters and homeless centers are at their busiest. That being said, many of the resources are strained. Hundreds of people will walk through a shelter a day looking for meals, referral services, clothing, and of course shelter. During the winter months consider helping out those on the front line.  Your donation will go to a worthy cause and help buy very important products.

Step up and Volunteer

As mentioned earlier, with an increase of people in need there is a strain of resources— which includes staff. Volunteering even one shift a month at a shelter or soup kitchen can be a huge help. Make the effort and call a few of your local shelters and ask how you can volunteer your time.

Advocate for the Cause

You would be surprised to find out how many people in your own community that don’t realize just how many homeless people are in your area. It’s up to you to spread the word.



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Charities That Help Children at Christmas

For Christmas this year, start a tradition with your family and give back to children who are in need. Below you will find four charities the help children during the holidays.

Toys for Tots

One of the most recognizable charities on this list is Toys for Tots. Between October and December you can purchase anew toy and drop it off at a U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots location. One of the members of the U.S. Marine Corps will then collect the toys and give them out to children in the community. When donatating a toy make sure that it is unwrapped!

Operation Christmas Child

Leading up to the holidays, don’t throw out your shoeboxes! Operation Christmas Child is a charity that collects shoeboxes that are filled with all sorts of little gifts from toys to school supplies to candy to hygiene products. As a volunteer of this project, you can select a specific age group and fill a shoebox with items of that age group.

On top of the little gifts you pick out, there is a small donation required to cover any shipping costs. If you decide to donate online, you will be able to track your shoebox until it reaches its new home.


Make-A-Wish Foundation

Make-A-Wish Foundation is a charity that is pretty active year-round, but during the holiday season they are busier than  ever. The foundation works to making the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions come true. During the holidays many companies will partner up with Make-A-Wish to make the most impact as possible.

To help out Make-A-Wish this season, consider dropping off a letter to Santa at any Macy’s location. Every letter you drop off Macy’s will donate a dollar to Make-A-Wish.

Another way to help is buy gifts through the Make-a-Wish store. You have to get your Christmas shopping done anyway, you might as well give back while you are doing it. Not only will your friends and family receive a wonderful gift, but every item you buy, a portion of the proceeds will go back Make-A-Wish Foundation.

My Two Front Teeth and the Family Giving Tree

During the holiday season, My Two Front Teeth and the Family Giving Tree, join together to help children. To help a child start by visiting either of the charities’ websites. Each website have a list of children’s names, their ages, as well as what they would like for Christmas. From there you can pick which child you would like to support.


Top Charities Family & Kids Love Giving To At The Holidays Jerry Swon (1)

Top Charities Family & Kids Love Giving to at the Holidays

There is no better time than during the holidays to give back as a family. Whether you already give back throughout the year or wish to start a holiday-giving tradition in your family, giving back is a wonderful way to teach your children about the value of kindness. Expressing kindness through giving to those in need will lay the groundwork for your children to become more kind and generous adults, which we all know the world needs more of.

Here’s a list of top charities family and kids love giving towards during the holiday season:

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots provides the opportunity for your family to shop for children who are less fortunate. You can purchase a new, unwrapped toy and take it to a Toys for Tots drop-off location near you. The toys will then be distributed to children in your very own community.

World Wildlife Fund

The World Wildlife Fund was established to protect wild animals and their habitats on a global scale. Your family can choose an animal adoption kit of your choice or shop the website with a portion of the proceeds going directly towards the WWF’s global conservation efforts.

Better World Books

Does your family love to read? This wonderful program allows your children to set aside their gently used books and donating them. The books will then be redistributed to children around the world. You can go to their website to find a donation box in your area or mail your books to their headquarters. This is a charity that’s great for any time of the year.

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child takes a collection of shoeboxes filled with school supplies, toys, hygiene items, apparel, candy and more to children in need. If you donate online, you will receive a special label so that you can track your box’s journey to its final destination.

Make-a-Wish Foundation

The Make-a-Wish Foundation helps make the wishes of children with life-threatening medical needs come true. There are numerous ways to give back to this charity. You can shop at specific stores where a portion of the proceeds will go towards the Make-a-Wish Foundation. You can also raise funds by purchasing gifts through the charity’s online store.

Angel Tree

Angel Tree helps children who have a parent in prison. Statistics show that one in three prisoners is a parent with 75% of female prisoners being mothers. Through this charity, your family will pick a child to sponsor in your city or you can make a monetary donation online.

Festive Ways To volunteer in The Fall Jerry Swon

Festive Ways to Volunteer In The Fall

There are so many opportunities for volunteering in the community during the fall. With seasonal events held regularly and community celebrations happening, volunteers can really make a difference this time of year. Best of all the cooler weather seems to bring more smiles of the face of volunteers!

Although we are only in September, October is right around the corner. A festive and fun opportunity to volunteer this fall is by organizing a trick-or-treating expedition for any underprivileged children in the area. Children’s groups are a good place to start. They may be in need of volunteers for Halloween day/night.

Another place where people can really make a difference is at nursing/retirement homes. Those who have children dressing up for Halloween are encouraged to take their kids there, in costume. This is also an activity that can be organized for the children in the neighborhood, as a group. The residents of nursing/retirement homes often enjoy seeing the children in their costumes and briefly interacting with them.

Other ways to help out in any community include starting a collection for a local charity. March of Dimes and Trick-Or-Treat UNICEF are both non-profit organizations that will likely appreciate the help. Getting people in the community to donate what they can is enough to make a difference in the holiday season.

Food banks always need donations, but this is especially true in the fall when the holiday season is about to begin. They are often happy to work with the public to run a food drive. People are generally more open to donating to this type of cause. Getting friends and neighbors together is an effective way to ensure local food banks have all the supplies they need for the season.

Charities aren’t just looking for food donations. Fall also brings with it cooler weather that requires warner clothes. The Warm Coats Warm Hearts Drive collects coats to give to those in need in communities all over the country. Another non-profit that needs help during the fall is The Pajama Program. This program ensures that local children have warm pajamas. It is always in need of volunteers to help organize and run events related to its cause.

These are just a few of the ways that people can volunteer during the fall season. Doing so can create a sense of appreciation and gratitude that only serves to enhance the meaning of the season.

Tips For Volunteering In A Soup Kitchen Jerry Swon

Tips for Volunteering in a Soup Kitchen

Volunteering your time is one of the most selfless things you can do, especially when it involves feeding those who are less fortunate. People may have a slew of reasons as to why they want to volunteer, but one thing is for certain; they want to help others. Volunteering at soup kitchen is an easy way to start your volunteer journey but, before you jump right in, here are a few tips you might want to take into consideration.

Tip #1: Be Okay With Taking Directions

When someone signs up to volunteer, they need to be okay with not being the boss. Volunteers are there to help others, not be the star of the show. If they’re not good at taking orders from others, it’s probably better to find another form of volunteering.

When volunteering to work in a soup kitchen, volunteers need to be open to doing whatever needs to be done. From cooking and serving to cleaning up afterward, having an open mind is a must. Since volunteers wear multiple hats, they also have to be flexible.

Tip #2: Proceed with Caution

When someone feels volunteering at a soup kitchen is right for them, they still need to proceed with caution. Whenever you decide to volunteer, you must make sure that you are in optimal health. Being around food when you are sick is a health risk for others.

In addition to not being ill, your attire should also be a consideration. Play it safe and wear sneakers as opposed to open-toed shoes. Also, it’s better to wear clothes that won’t be ruined by stains. Volunteers with long hair need to tie it back and wear a hairnet. Finally, if someone is allergic to latex, they also should bring their own gloves.

Tip #3: Think About The Many Ways Help

Even if the soup kitchen already has met its quota of volunteers, there are other ways to help out. People wanting to feed the needy can rally for local businesses and even their neighbors to donate any extra food they have. It’s nothing short of shocking how much food grocery stores and restaurants throw out every day.

Tip #4: Things to Consider

Helping others who are down on their luck is a noble cause. But even people with the biggest hearts might not understand the process of volunteering in a soup kitchen. Before offering to help do, ask questions and make sure it’s the right fit.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation Of New Jersey Preserving And Protecting Wildlife Jerry Swon

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey: Preserving and Protecting Wildlife

Many people may view New Jersey as a small state filled with big cities and urban communities. The fact is though, New Jersey has much wildlife that is considered to be rare and endangered. These animals need help to survive.

These rare and endangered species can be found throughout the state, in the northern mountains, the central farmlands, and along the eastern shore. They even can be found living on bridges and skyscrapers. They struggle against the building of roads and developments, as well as, the contamination of the wetlands.

How the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ Helps

The mission of the Foundation is to “preserve rare and imperiled species of wildlife that live and breed in, and migrate through New Jersey.” They research the best science and utilize known workable conservation techniques. They get the public involved by sponsoring educational activities and allowing volunteers to help. All of this effort is put forth to help endangered species to recover or to keep another species from becoming endangered.

The Foundation further accomplishes its mission by doing the following:

  • Research the various types of species, their populations and their preferred environment.
  • Implement conservation plans to impede the decline of populations and start the recovery of species.
  • Restoring wildlife habitat that can support the growth of wildlife communities.
  • Educating New Jersey citizens about the wildlife that lives here and how they are responsible to help protect it.
  • Developing partnerships to help the Foundation be more effective and efficient.
  • Developing a workforce of volunteers committed to protecting the biodiversity of N.J.

You Can Volunteer to Help Protect New Jersey’s Wildlife

The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of N.J. is looking for volunteers to help them fulfill their mission. Are you interested in helping to protect New Jersey’s rarest animals or helping restore important wildlife habitats? Would you like to help New Jersians have pride in their unique wildlife heritage? You can do that by helping out the Foundation. Listed below are some of the ways you can help.

  • Join and become a member of the Foundation.
  • Sign up to donate on a monthly basis.
  • Volunteer to help; choose from a list of projects to support.
  • Adopt a species.
  • Attend and support a Foundation event.

The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of N.J. is working hard to keep wildlife in New Jersey’s future. They do this by building strong wildlife populations and habitats. They appreciate the support of other like-minded individuals. Maybe you can be one of those individuals.

Community Service Ideas For Families Jerry Swon

Community Service Ideas for Families

Giving back to your city, town, or neighborhood through community service can be both fun and rewarding for the entire family and beneficial to your local community as well. Helping others who are in need, or beautifying or city through community service work as a family can also strengthen bonds between parents and siblings. Community service also makes you feel better about yourself through the joy of giving. If you’re considering community service for you and your family, here are 6 ideas that will make your family happier and stronger and your community a better place live.

Give food, serve food

Donating food to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen is a great way to help others in need, but serving food to the homeless in addition to donating food is a great way for families to bond as a unit and it can help foster an attitude of gratefulness in young adults and children.

Assist senior citizens

Assist seniors with household tasks such as mowing the lawn, painting, and household chores. Many seniors have a lot of wisdom, and life experiences to share which can be beneficial to you and your family and entertaining as well.

Clean up a park

Get together as a family and clean up your favorite park by picking up trash. You can make the experience even more memorable by having a family picnic after your service work is complete.

Plant trees and flowers

Find areas around your neighborhood that could use a little sprucing up and plant trees or flowers. Visit your local home improvement store as a family to select the type of flowers, plants, or trees you would like to plant. Planting as a family not only allows you the opportunity to beautify your neighborhood, it provides an educational opportunity for you and your family to learn about plants and growing.

Volunteer to help animals in need

Visit your local animal shelter and volunteer to clean up kennels and cages and feed homeless cats and dogs. Children love animals. Helping animals in need of love and attention is a great way for families to grow closer while helping the local community.

Organize a Christmas toy drive

Everyone loves receiving gifts at Christmas time. Organizing a Christmas toy drive with your family is a good way to teach children about the joys of giving and helping children who are less fortunate. Collect new toys around your neighborhood or take donations to buy toys, and donate them to your local shelter or to families in need.
How to Build a Mindset of Inclusion _ Jerry Swon

How to Build a Mindset of Inclusion

Funding a cause can stretch across the global landscape, from arts to science to humanities and everything in between. Philanthropic work touches a variety of lives in a myriad of ways; it’s one of the unique blessings of grant funding in the first place.

One of those groups that are most often touched, but sometimes forgotten, are people with disabilities. Nearly 20% of people in the United States have at least some disability, whether a physical handicap that is evidenced by things such as a wheelchair, or a hidden disability like anxiety or depression. What’s more is that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is a whopping 64%.

The statistics are in, and people with a disability feel more ostracized and stigmatized than ever. Part of the job of being a funder is not only to provide the means by which the world can grow but that people who may feel disenchanted by others can be included as well.

Here are a few ways they can do precisely that:

  1. Encourage Organizations to Adapt. Although funders are not explicitly in charge of the organizations that they support, they still hold a considerable amount of influence on the operations that the entity partakes in. By encouraging – or, to take it a step further and mandating it as a condition of the grant – organizations to make themselves more accessible by providing ramps or socially-safe activities, they can influence a group to become more inclusive.


  1. Communicate Accessibility. One of the struggles that many people with disabilities face is who to contact in case they need to make special accommodations. Provide a number or contact information on all event or program materials that will get people in contact with the proper people. Furthermore, communicate on your material loudly that this organization is striving to be inclusive: anticipate activities or accommodations that people might suggest and describe them in detail.


  1. Prioritize Inclusion. Alongside the central goal of an organization – whether that goal is to spread education, combat poverty, or something else – the funder and the group need to prioritize inclusion among their own ranks. Actively recruit people with disabilities and value them for their vital contribution to their time. Once a group begins to break down the walls that divide us as humans, everything else falls into place.


Lending a Hand While Learning a Lesson

Life is not limited to what we gain, but what we give. More often than not, we get wrapped up in ourselves. We become self-centered, and sometimes we even think the world revolves around us. Lending a hand to your community gives you a jolt of reality. It helps you realize that you are not the only person that matters. When volunteering you not only are helping someone else out but are learning valuable lessons.

Volunteering Broadens Your Perspective

As mentioned before, we can often get wrapped up in ourselves. Our problems, our disappointments, they may seem like the absolute worse at the time. Sometimes it may even feel like the end of the world.

But, when you take a moment to reflect on the lives of others who are living with more significant problems, like homelessness or poverty, your perspective changes. It becomes easier to see your own life in a different light, and you have a lot more to be thankful for. Suddenly, those “big” problems, don’t seem to be that big anymore.

Even Small Changes Can Have an Impact

You don’t have to take on a big project like building a house, every single time that you volunteer. Like big projects, small projects can also offer an impact. Donating clothes, pulling weeds, or even walking an elderly neighbors dog may not seem like they would produce much of an effect, but even these little actions make all the difference.

Donating your old clothes can help someone keep warm. Pulling weeds improves the appearance of the community. Walking an elderly neighbors dog helps give “Fido” the proper exercise that he needs that his owner may not be able to provide. All of these actions produce meaningful reactions. The list of community service projects you can do is endless, and no matter the size they all create an impact.

We all have our own Narrative.

We all come from different backgrounds, with all different stories that describe who and why we are the person we are. As you volunteer, you will meet people from all walks of life. Your volunteer experience can be more fulfilling, by understanding the narratives of others. Not only that, but you become more compassionate and empathetic.

The stories of others help us to understand that all of us, no matter race, size, class, can experience hardships. We all need a little help sometimes that is why it is so important to create a community that is continually supporting each other.

These are only three lessons that volunteering in your community can help you learn. No matter how you volunteer, the experience will shape you immensely, and you will gain the satisfaction knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life.

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