Jones started the nonprofit Protect Our Winters in 2007 to unite the winter sports community around combating climate change. Unlike other environmental groups, POW makes advocacy feel personal.
On International Women’s Day, WFP USA celebrates one of its grassroots partners in the field, a nonprofit called the Afghan Friends Network (AFN), which provides literacy and vocational training for women in rural Afghanistan as well as education for boys and girls. AFN is spearheading the country’s first-ever children’s curriculum on women’s rights, which is expected to be introduced this fall.
Thanks to Hollywood and Invisible Children’s viral KONY2012 campaign, most Americans associate child soldiers with African dictatorships or Middle Eastern terrorists. But the reality is the problem is much closer to home. Head to Mexico and you’ll soon discover that over 30,000 of that nation’s youth have been coerced into working as child soldiers for the various drug cartels.
After teaching English in Central America for a few years, I returned to the U.S. and knew I wanted to do something different, but I wasn’t quite sure what that should be. I learned a lot from the experience and really enjoyed it, but after 20 plus years as a student and then teacher, I wanted to get out of the classroom. One of the things I realized was that education was something of a professional "backstage pass"—a job skill that, generally speaking, was in high demand and could do a lot to help find work pretty much anywhere. As an American, speaking Spanish was another one of these passes. So when I started looking for a new career path, I began focusing on jobs that offered experience with wide practical application. After ruling out law, politics, accounting, and farming, I found an Emergency Medical Technician class and signed up, figuring emergencies happen everywhere and people are always looking for help.
We live at a time when there is growing desire to take an active role in social change. Beyond simple volunteering, pro bono service—donating professional services for which a nonprofit would otherwise have to pay—is a productive way to engage your expertise to improve the scale, sustainability, and impact of nonprofits in our communities. It is a subset of skilled volunteering that gives nonprofits access to the skills and experience they need to increase their capabilities and better serve their mission.