Benevolence – A Series About Giving

Coming into the new year I made a decision to do one volunteer opportunity each month in a different area of need. But seriously, do you have any idea how hard it is to find volunteer opportunities? It was like a full time job: researching, calling, sending emails, filling out requests, waiting for replies, following up, taking applications to the office, and so on…

With this new series, I hope to share information with others in the area about upcoming volunteer events and charity drives, feature organizations that need our help and also document my experience with the volunteer opportunities that I try.

So let’s start with the basics…

First, you have to determine what issues you’d like to contribute to. There are so many specific areas in need so here are a few to get started:

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Youth & Children,Disabled
Health & Wellness, Adult Education
Animals, Environment/Community
Disaster Relief, Family Services
Hunger, Homelessness & Housing
Seniors,Veterans & Military Familes


After you choose the cause, you can move on to applying for volunteer opportunities through local or global communities. This is the tricky part that becomes quite time consuming and getting in touch with the coordinators is sometimes not as easy as it should be. Over the next couple weeks I will help break down the process and feature some of the best sites for finding volunteer opportunities.

In the meantime, here are a couple of the best places to search on your own, in the Columbus area:

  • VolunteerMatch has a nice advanced search feature to find specifically what you are looking to do and when you are available.
  • HandsOn Central Ohio is a great resource for all things giving.
  • United Way of Central Ohio  has several options for volunteering time and money.
  • BESA matches people’s passions with the organizations that could use their talents.

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BESA: Before You Give.

Blowing Out My Birthday Candles

There I am, little Janine, blowing out my big girl candles on my birthday with a stack of presents that weren’t wrapped in Christmas gift wrap.

I’ll never remember what was inside of those boxes or what I was wishing for at that very moment but when I look at a picture like this, it makes me so oh-so fortunate to have these kind of memories; to be raised in a household of love and comfort with a homemade birthday cake and even pink icing. Through the years, my friends and family have always been so supportive. I have the world.

This year, when I blow out my birthday candles, I’m going to be wishing for health and peace for all of those that need it most.

Here are a couple of my favorite charities [if you feel the urge to donate]:

  • Pencils of Promise:  Pencils of Promise believes every child should have access to quality education. They create schools, programs, and global communities around the common goal of education for all.
  • Reach Out and Read: Reach Out and Read prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.
  • My Stuff Bags: The My Stuff Bags Foundation provides new belongings, comfort and hope to thousands of children each year who must be rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment across the United States.
  • Canines for Disabled Kids: Canines for Disables Kids supports the creation of child-canine service teams to promote independence and social awareness.

And while we’re talking about giving back, I should tell you that I’m going to be starting a new series on my blog soon called Benevolence. It will feature charities that could use our help and my own experience with volunteer opportunities around Columbus. This will be sprinkled in with the regular blog posts on business, travel and fitness. Can’t wait to share!

The Birthday Girl