Next Stop, Volunteering! The Do Good Bus Makes Community Service Easy (and Fun)

Part mobile volunteer unit, part feel-good party, The Do Good Bus travels around Los Angeles, delivering eager do-gooders to causes that need them.

Even without knowing much about them, the name was enough to get us interested in The Do Good Bus. But when we found out that this mobile volunteer unit had been traveling around Los Angeles for the past year, delivering eager do-gooders to causes that needed them, we knew we had to get on board.

Co-founder Rebecca Pontius had always been involved with nonprofits, but in recent years she became flooded with questions from friends about how they could participate. "They'd say, "I want to volunteer, but I don't know how,'" remembers Pontius, an event planner. For her birthday, Pontius organized a party bus and noticed the camaraderie created amongst her friends just by traveling to a new location together. Teaming up with two of her friends, Hannah Halliwell and Stephen Snedden, the trio decided to combine the fun of a party bus with a service trip as a way to make volunteering easy and accessible.

Part of the fun of a Do Good experience is that each destination is only revealed once volunteers board the bus, which Pontius thinks removes some of the anxiety from volunteering for the first time. "It takes away the preconceived notions or judgement about what you're going to do," she says. But participants don't go into the experience blind: They're briefed en route and also receive a training session from the organizations themselves.

A recent trip took volunteers to Camp Harmony, which provides homeless children with a camp experience for a week, where they set up a carnival for the kids. Another visited a workshop run by 826 LA, where volunteers helped high school seniors write their college essays. "People were nervous about that one," says Pontius, remembering how attendees fretted about their less-than-stellar grammar skills. "But they came out and said they couldn't believe how much they could help in four hours."

Volunteers who board the bus pay a small fee to cover costs, which include drinks and a catered lunch for the group, plus the rental of a theme-appropriate bus (if they're going to help a school, of course they're renting a vintage school bus). And the bus is always looking for sponsors and new places to dispatch their do-gooders. Pontius says they favor grassroots and homegrown organizations. "We really try to find causes that are very local so people can go back and help again."

This weekend, you can catch them at the TOMS Give Shop, a week of events sponsored by our friends at TOMS Shoes, which is taking place at Space 15 Twenty in Hollywood. The Do Good Bus will be boarding at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 27, but this outing has a bit of a twist. Bring your bike—you'll be riding to your service opportunity. Be sure to RSVP here and report back to us on the good you do.

Photos by Bonnie Hawthorne

Live in Los Angeles? Join GOOD LA and we'll introduce you to more people, places, projects, and events that are making Los Angeles work. Sign up here.

via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading