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

Tag: support

5 Companies That Give Back In Big Ways Jerry Swon

5 Companies That Give Back in Big Ways

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming an important concern across all industries because it impacts a company’s bottom line and the community. The growing importance of CSR reports is now a factor for investment decisions among those who value sustainability. The following are 5 companies that place a major emphasis on CSR and giving back to society.

1. The Coca-Cola Company

The soft drink maker has donated over $800 million through the Coca-Cola Foundation since 1984 in its quest toward sustainability. Each year the company allocates one percent of the prior year’s operating income to the foundation and other causes. Some of the recipients receiving the largest donations have included American National Red Cross ($1.2 million) and the National Recreation and Park Association ($1 million).

2. The Walt Disney Company

The media company donated over $333 million to nonprofit organizations in 2015. Another way the giant has given back to the community is through its Disney VoluntEARS program, which promotes employee volunteer activity. This service has led to millions of hours of volunteer help. As an example of using its brand for fundraising, the Stars Wars: Force for Change initiation took in over $4.2 million for UNICEF Innovation Labs.

3. Amway

The company’s slogan is “Helping People Live Better Lives.” A primary focus is helping children in need, as the company has raised $225 million from donations since 2003. Through its partnership with the U.S. Dream Academy, Amway helps improve lives of young people by building skills and character. Another one of the company’s contributions to social responsibility is developing a health packet called Nutrilite Little Bits.

4. Starbucks

The Starbucks Foundation gives millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations. Starbucks also invests millions of dollars in its Opportunity for Youth program. The company supports sustainable ideals through its supply chain. Some of the sustainable activities Starbucks supports include biodiversity conservation, water sanitation and agricultural training.

5. Whole Foods Market

This grocery store chain focuses on healthier choices than what is found in conventional supermarkets. The company works with several foundations, such as the Whole Planet Foundation, which aims to reduce poverty in 69 countries involved with company products. The company works with programs that raise awareness for kids and teachers about nutrition.

More and more often you will find that the list of companies who give back is growing. The companies listed above are only a few, that give back to the community. Are there any other companies you believe should be added to this list?
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.

Top Countries To Volunteer In That Need Your Help Jerry Swon

Top Countries To Volunteer in That Need Your Help

Want to make a difference, but not sure where to start? Volunteering abroad can be a life-changing experience and make a positive impact on the world. You don’t have to confine yourself to United States boarders. There are many countries all over the world who need a lending hand from others. The following are the top countries that need the most support from committed volunteers.

Morocco
Morocco needs volunteers in healthcare and education. A high percentage of the country’s rural population still lives in poverty, despite a massive year-on-year commitment the government made in 2005. Volunteers seeking to make a difference in public health and women’s rights will also find ample opportunities here. Morocco follows strict Islamic customs, so volunteers should keep that in mind in their dress and behavior.

Mexico
Many immigrants come through Mexico seeking a better life in the United States. Mexico needs volunteers in healthcare and community development. People interested in biology may also be interested in joining a marine conservation project. Mexico has a sharp divide between what tourists see and experience and the daily life of its people. Pay attention to the latest warnings from the United States State Department to know which places to avoid.

Fiji
Fiji has over 300 islands. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in ecotourism or marine conservation. Would-be teachers might look for a chance to teach English or coach local sports. English is spoken fairly widely here, so communication isn’t difficult. However, Fiji is fairly remote and expensive to get to when compared with other volunteering opportunities abroad.

Peru
Peru’s economic inequalities lead volunteers from all over to this beautiful, mountainous country. Volunteers can contribute in community development, construction, and teaching English. Be aware of the lack of modern hygiene, but don’t let that be a barrier to making a difference.

Haiti
Haiti has been pummeled by political strife and natural disasters for years. The country is still rebuilding from an earthquake in 2010. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 has set redevelopment back even further. There are plenty of ways to volunteer in disaster relief and reconstruction. Volunteers should take the time to fully educate themselves about the requirements of their chosen program before embarking on a volunteer trip to Haiti.

Thailand
Thailand is a popular destination for backpackers, foodies, and adventurers. It’s also a great place to volunteer. One of the biggest ways to give back is in elephant protection. However, volunteers should seriously educate themselves about Thailand’s complicated sociopolitical situation before hopping on a plane.

How You Can Bring Change To Your Community Jerry Swon

How You Can Bring Change to Your Community

There is nothing as good as living in a place and bringing about some form of positive change. Creating an impact within your community can help to improve the lives of the locals while also creating a name for yourself. The opportunities are limitless as far as the options you have to bring some change in your community.

Donating for charity

Every community should have an opportunity for residents to contribute to charity. Even if no charity organization exists in your area, you may opt to rally the locals towards donating and raising money for other charitable causes. You may also champion the idea of establishing regular visits to nearby children homes as a way of upholding philanthropy.

Be a responsible resident

Another way you can help bring about change within your area is if you get yourself actively involved in local politics and issues of social, economic, and political concern. Active involvement in such issues helps ensure that the local government is brought to task and supervised accordingly to ensure responsible leadership. Such a contribution helps alleviate some of the most common leadership challenges that poorly governed communities face.

Being a recycling ambassador

One of the greatest challenges we have in our time is the need to live environmentally-responsible lives. Being cautious of how resourcefully to use the environment by recycling and practicing proper disposal of waste can help bring an impact.  As we all know, trash has a very negative impact on our environment. Recycling helps us conserve energy and keep our environment looking healthy and clean. Recycling waste yourself can also impact other people who may have you as a role model as far as maintaining the integrity of the environment is concerned.

Buying local

Buying local has a ton of great benefits! It reduces environmental impact, keeps the community unique, and creates more local ownership and jobs. It is always said that buying locally produced items helps build the local economy. You should, therefore, target frequenting the local stores and grocery outlets for your common shopping needs. Besides, buying locally produced items gives you access to fresh produce directly from the farm. Buying locally also help sustain the locals’ businesses, thereby creating economic sustainability.

Become socially conscious

Social consciousness in a community is crucial in helping maintain peace and stability within the area. Social responsibility can be practiced by endeavoring to check on the welfare of your neighbors and empathetically solving common social problems.

Finding A Volunteer Niche Jerry Swon

The Ideal Method to Finding A Volunteer Niche

Looking for volunteer opportunities is one of the easiest searches one can do, generally. Local communities will never be at a loss for needing help, and the resources available to find that work are readily accessible.

Different sources one may use to search for these opportunities include local community centers, local community colleges, bulletin boards, and probably more commonly, the internet!

If one chooses to go to internet route, there is a particular source that provides some good insight on the topic, called Idealistcareers.org. An article recommended for reading can be found by going to the website here.

The first thing to focus on before beginning this search is to decide which field of work would be most desired to volunteer in. What area of interest sparks passion? Perhaps it is an area of interest that allows for many open opportunities. When a person can feel that he/she is making a difference in what he/she does, all parties benefit from that, and it keeps him/her wanting to go back for more. With that in mind, a person can start to look at other factors that play a part in finding the right opportunity.

Other factors to consider in this search include preference on a timeframe, local versus remote locations, and how much time is wanted to be spent volunteering. For timeframe, a person could look for weekday work or weekend work. Some volunteer opportunities are more available during the weekend because more people will generally be available during those times. That’s not to say that during the week there are fewer opportunities.

That brings up another factor – local versus remote locations. If someone is a hands-on type of person that prefers working locally and with other people, examples to consider for local opportunities may be at a pet shelter, a soup kitchen, a children’s daycare, or feeding the homeless. If a person would prefer to be on the computer, on their phone, or volunteering through media, some remote opportunities may consist of assisting Red Cross with online message boards, editing or writing to help support an environmental cause, or acting as an advocate for a mental health company.

All of the above can act as an aid for how to find volunteer opportunities. A future volunteer should decide what field to help with, figure out how much time is to be spent doing it and then put it into action.

How You Can Encourage Interaction Within Your Community Jerry Swon

How You Can Encourage Interaction Within Your Community

Communities hold great importance to our lives. Looking at your own life, you will notice that you are a part of multiple communities, like school, work, or church. One of the reasons why these groups have such an impact on our lives is due to the interaction that the organization’s members have with one another. Engagement with your community is not something that can happen overnight. To increase interaction within your own community, try implementing the following strategies.

Get to Know Your “Neighbors” 

Whether you are talking to your neighbor who lives next door or the friendly florist in town, it is beneficial to know who makes up your community. When someone new comes to town, find a moment to introduce yourself and learn a little bit about the person. Getting to know the people that live around you, helps to form relationships and bonds with more ease.

Compose and Send Out a Community Newsletter 

A great way to increase interaction is to let others know when there are planned events or meetings. A monthly newsletter allows members of your community to be connected and kept up to date as possible. Although it will require some work on your end, a newsletter helps to announce events, share thoughts, help create a community dialogue. To create your own community newsletter, start by forming a newsletter committee. Once your newsletter committee is formed, decide on what information you would like to include and delegate who gets what roles. From there, you have to set a few deadlines, and soon enough you will be ready to publish and share your newsletter with all members of your community.

Create and Hold Regular Events 

Events are a great opportunity for community members to engage and interact with each other on a personal level. Events can range from simple to intricate. A community barbeque or potluck may be a good event to first coordinate, while a community-wide fundraiser may be something you will want to visit further down the road.

Create a Community Center 

If your town doesn’t have one already, create a petition to build a community center. A community center can offer a variety of benefits including boosting the local economy, providing a meeting space, and keeping adolescents safe. More often than not, community centers help encourage participation and engagement by hosting events, activities, and even classes.  Community centers can also help motivate residents to become more involved with volunteering.

Give Back This Holiday Season Jerry Swon

How You Can Give Back This Holiday Season

With holidays quickly approaching, the time for celebration with family and friends is near. While it can easy to get caught up with consumerism, it is important to think of how you can give back. We have so much to be thankful for, there are others who are not as unfortunate. This season I challenge you to make a difference in someone’s lives and give back. Keep reading to discover a few ways that you can spread holiday cheer.

Send Holiday Cards to Active Soldiers and Veterans 

The holidays can be a difficult time for soldiers who are overseas and away from their families. Sending festive cards to soldiers or veterans is a thoughtful way to give back and is simple to do!

Once you have written a few cards, check out your local American Red Cross chapter to see if they participate in the Holidays for Heroes program. If you find that they don’t participate, check to see if A Million Thanks, has a drop-off location nearby.

Collect Donations for a Food Bank 

This season, don’t let others go hungry. During the holidays, food banks are always looking for nonperishable items. After looking through your own pantry, ask family, friends, or neighbors if they have canned food to spare. Food banks will also ask for other items like toiletries, school supplies, and other paper goods.

Donate Gently Used Clothes and Coats 

If you don’t live in a warmer client, the winters can be harsh without a winter coat. Browse through your closets to see if you have any coats, sweaters, or long sleeves that you just don’t reach for. Before you donate, make sure that your clothes are washed and clean. You can donate your clothes to a local Goodwill or to One Warm Coat. With One Warm Coat, you can even hold your own coat drive in your community.

Sponsor a Family’s Christmas 

A great way to give back is to adopt a family for the holiday. Local charitable groups, non-profits, and religious organizations will gather information from families in need of a little help. They will compose a holiday wishlist along with clothing sizes and preferences. Whether you decide to pursue this endeavor solo or with a few friends, you will be providing another family with a wonderful holiday.

Pick Out a Present for Toys for Tots 

If adopting a family isn’t in your budget, you can still donate a gift to Toys for Tots. Toy for Tots is a program that collects donations and distributes new toys to families who can’t afford gifts. Giving to Toys for Tots is a great way for you to get your children involved. Ask your kids to pick out a toy that they think another little boy or girl would enjoy.

 

Behind Creating A Community Jerry Swon

The 4 Factors Behind Creating A Community

Have you ever wondered why people participate in communities? Or how that community came to be in the first place? Social psychologists, McMillian and Chavis explain that a sense of community is formed when members feel that they belong, matter, and share the same faith. McMillian and Chavis explain that there is more that goes into a community than just a simple definition. The following are four factors that contribute to creating a sense of community. As you read, reflect on whether your own community posses these factors.

1. Membership

When you have a membership to a group, you have a feeling of belonging. The people within your community should share similar interests or views as the other members.McMillian and Chavis state that communities often come with boundaries. Boundaries help to create a higher level of trust between members and to make sure that anyone who joins is a good fit.

2. Influence

The second factor of community is influence or rather a sense of mattering. Members of an organization should feel as though they have influence over the community and vice versa. As you create a community, form an environment where your members have a say in what happens. The community should be something that its members care about and adds value to their lives.

3. Fulfillment of Needs

By joining a community, a member should receive what they hoped for by joining. Like any product, your community should solve a problem or provide a purpose for its member to make it worth their time and dedication.

Members should feel rewarded by participating in a community in order for them to continue to be active. A reward could range from a support network to conversation to inspiration.

Be sure to talk to your members to get the best idea of who they are and how the community can best serve them.

4.  A Shared Connection

When looking at a healthy community you will notice that there is often a story on how they formed or what hardships they have experienced. Shared experiences have the ability to form a strong emotional bond between members. Often when a community goes through a crisis, they rely on one another to make it through the tough time.

After reading what four factors create a community, do you find that your own community posses these factors? If not, utilize this knowledge as you build and develop your community.

Top 3 Ways You Can Help Your Community Jerry Swon

Top 3 Ways You Can Help Your Community

Reflect on the word, “community”. What does that word mean to you? For some community means the 5-mile radius surrounding their home. For others, it can be a group at church, to the neighborhood to the entire city. However you define community, you can play an active role in how it grows.

 

To make an impact in your own community you don’t have to be rich or powerful or even a certain age. Just wanting an willing to make a difference is enough. To make a difference in your own community here are few ways you can get started.

 

Support Local Businesses

 

One way to make sure you community thrives is to support local businesses. Too often do mom and pop stores close due to lack of business. Before you buy your produce from a chain store, check out your local farmers market or grocery store. Chances are, the product will be fresher and of a higher quality.  

 

Volunteer

 

Sometimes saying that you will volunteer is easier than actually doing it. Although we all have busy lives, setting aside to help out the community can create a big impact. There are always plenty of opportunities available if you are looking hard enough for them. Some volunteer opportunities will require an ongoing commitment, and others times it may be a one-off project or event. Regardless of time commitment here are a few examples of how you can volunteer in your community:

 

 

These are only a few options on how you can volunteer! If you ever find yourself in the New Jersey area, you can check out these 5 great organizations to volunteer at.

 

Start Your Own Project

 

If you find that your community is has a need that isn’t being met, take the initiative and start your own project. If you find yourself passionate about a cause within your community, but no one is taking action, become the ambassador of the cause! Some projects you may orchestrate can include:

  • A bake sale, concert, or auction where all proceeds go to a charitable cause like an animal shelter.
  • Organize a back-to-school drive where members of the community can donate school supplies for the upcoming year
  • Adopt a Highway and clean up litter

Being proactive in your community is one of the most impactful things you can do. With that being said, take on the opportunity to make a difference in your community today!

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