Category Archives: Volunteering and Giving Back

Alternative Ways To Celebrate The Holidays

Filed under: Fun Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations, Social Life/Relationships, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

The holidays in the fall and winter are my favorite holidays. As I thought about why that is, I realized that gift-giving is low on the list of things I love about the holidays. I think the number one thing that makes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa so special is the emotion. Maybe it’s the years of Christmas advertisements burned into my mind, but there’s something in the air that just seems to make everything more joyful.

My family celebrates Christmas. We get our Christmas tree a day or two after Thanksgiving, decorate it together as a family, buy gifts for each other, go to my Aunt’s annual Christmas Eve party, and then open presents Christmas morning and eat a hearty breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, hash-browns, and toast. This year we decided a change was needed. Instead of our traditional Christmas activities, we decided to scrap the gift-giving, forgo the Christmas tree, and forget the feasts.

These are some unconventional ideas for alternative ways to celebrate the holidays:

1. Family Outing

My family and I went on a vacation. Going on a trip with loved ones is a great way to get closer as you share new and exciting experiences together and create memories to last for years to come. I know I cannot wait to be lounging on the beach in the Virgin Islands with my family, soaking up the sun and fishing by day and having dinner by night.

2. More Than A Gift

My friend’s family has a pretty interesting tradition as well. They also celebrate Christmas, so they buy a tree, invite lots of people over for a pot-luck dinner, and they give each other gifts. However, these gifts are deeply personal and often take more effort than just going to a store and buying something. Some gift examples include a photo album consisting of pictures of the giver and receiver over the years, or a song written and recorded by the giver, or a playlist of songs that the giver knows the receiver loves. All these gifts are different but have one thing in common: they transcend consumerism and touch people on a deeper level.

3. Pay It Forward

Another idea for an alternative holiday is to “pay it forward” by giving the gift of a charitable donation in the name of the person you would normally just go buy the newest gadget for. Think of the good you’ll be doing if, instead of buying your 70 year old grandmother a smartphone that she will never completely understand, donate the money to Alzheimer’s research. Instead of buying dad a new tie, you could buy a months’ worth of dinner for a family less fortunate. If you are having difficulty coming up with a charity, the local food pantries always need help this time of year. I’m sure they would be more than happy to have volunteers.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, remember the true meaning is about celebrating with family, friends, and even the community. It’s about giving back and doing something special. If you could celebrate the holidays differently, what would you do?

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Dance Marathons: Giving Back

Filed under: College Life, Tips, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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Cameron Tranchemontagne Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

When I first heard of Dance Marathon coming to my college campus, I was hesitant to get involved. I have never really been the best dancer and dancing always feels uncomfortable to me. I figured I would still give it a shot so that I could at least represent my fraternity at a Greek hosted event.

I want to tell you that Dance Marathon is one of the best philanthropies you could ever participate in.

The purpose is to raise money for local children’s hospitals. Many of the families who rely on the children’s hospitals have huge bills sometimes the equivalent of paying for 4 years of college. By raising this money, you can help pay for the services the “miracle kids” need. Miracle kids are children with injuries, diseases, or disabilities who will often make appearances at the events with their families. The twitter handle/slogan for the philanthropy is #FTK which stands for For the Kids.

Yes, sometimes dancing can be awkward and uncomfortable. But when it is for such a worthy cause and everyone is participating it can be a lot of fun and the reward of helping these kids out is worth your time. It is $10 to register, and you can even donate more on top of that if you want to. The marathons can vary in time. Some go for 28 hours while the one at my school went for 6. We raised about $10,000 for the kids and some will even raise millions.

Make a team and get involved with your school’s upcoming dance marathon or you could even organize the event yourself. They give you all the steps to get involved on their website at: http://dancemarathon.com/GetStarted. You can also learn more about the cause and some of the kids featured on the website.

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Top 4 Things To Do This Summer

Filed under: Seasonal Celebrations, Tips, Travel & Abroad, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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Darlene Megino Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Summer break is a great time to relax and take a breather from a school year’s worth of stress! If you’re not planning on taking any summer courses this year, here are some top fun summer break ideas that you might enjoy!

1. Spontaneous Adventures

The school year is jam-packed with back-to-back study sessions, so take a break and have a spontaneous adventure. Have a good old-fashioned summer road trip but with a twist! Instead of mapping out all the spots you want to travel, pick an end destination and then find cool new attractions to visit using Bagonize. You can select destinations based on location, number of travelers, and budget! It’s extremely convenient when you’re trying to narrow down destinations based on your budget.

2. Tour Abroad

Most schools have their very own STA travel agency located on campus. You can always stop by and check out the various summer tours that students can take. If your school does not have one, you can check out their website for the latest travel promotions. Not only does STA travel help you out with tours abroad, but they also have information about working abroad, study abroad, and volunteer abroad programs!

3. Volunteer Work

Spend your summer volunteering in your field of study! You can find awesome volunteer opportunities at Volunteer Match. Just enter in your zip code and a few keywords to find the right volunteer opportunity for you. You can earn service hours for those of you who need hours to complete your senior seminars, or you can gain some useful experience in your field.

4. Recreational Classes

How about taking some recreational classes? Try some new dance moves, enhance your cooking skills, or improve your computer application skills. It’s a great way to meet new people and gain a new hobby or skill. Save some crash by signing up at a local community center or college.

Whatever you choose to do this summer break, have fun doing it. Whether you are traveling the world or hitting the books, make sure to squeeze in some relaxation time. This is your time to unwind before you begin another year full of study sessions and exams!

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Post-Grad Options

Filed under: College Life, Education, Post Grad and Career, Tips, Travel & Abroad, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

“If you can’t jump over life’s hurdles, limbo under them.”

This is exactly how I am approaching life after graduation. There have been many articles addressing the struggles the graduating class of 2013 will be facing in finding a job so soon after a recession. Discouraging is not the only word that comes to mind when we think about the task at hand. And don’t even talk to us about what we say when family ask us what our next steps are.

I have been feeling nervous about life post-grad. I’ve been applying for jobs since March and there hasn’t been a single call of interest. I eventually grew sick of feeling helpless and finally channeled that frustration into not only finding other options, but into actually pursuing them.

Here are some post-grad options for you to consider:

1. Peace Corps

Last week I had my first interview with the Peace Corps and I’m already moving on to the next stage. I can’t begin to say how much of a relief it’s been knowing I have this as an option. A two year commitment abroad, rewarding life experiences, and $7,500 at the end? Sign me up!

2. Au Pair Abroad

I know what you’re thinking. A nanny? However, it’s not as unappealing as it sounds. The website I’ve been going through, Au Pair World, allows both au pairs and families to seek each other out for a mutually beneficial arrangement. As an au pair, you become part of the family, not an employee. You interview with different families from around the world, choose one, and off you go for as little as three months to as long as 24 months. My interviews are next week!

3. Teach Abroad

To be specific, for me it’s the Middle East. When I told my family about my decision to try to teach there, they freaked out. “What is the crime rate?” “what if there’s no running water?” and “what if a war breaks out?” are only some of the questions they have asked.

These are my top three options for now. Keep up with my blogs to find out more about these options and where I end up! College grads, look into your own options. It’s not a guarantee that you will have a job when you want it, but it’s a great feeling knowing you have fall backs.

Good luck!

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Spring Break Alternatives for the Broke College Student

Filed under: College Life, Money/Budget, Seasonal Celebrations, Tips, Travel & Abroad, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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Darlene Megino Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

While most people may be partying it up in Vegas, Cancun, or Miami, the broke college student may feel as though they are just sitting at home staring at the wall. Well don’t! Do these cheap alternatives for spring break:

1. Tourist

Join in on a tour guide or visit a museum in a city you would like to learn more about. Visit (or re-visit) local landmarks! Spark up a conversation with someone while you are there! It’s fun to meet people from different states or countries. You could even exchange fun travel guide tips or even learn about local food hot-spots.

2. Groupons

If you’re looking for something to do, check out the groupon page in your area. They have tons of “now! deals” which include deals for a variety of options. There are some pretty awesome deals such as paintballing, sky diving, and even a deal for cooking class. Whether you’re looking for a new place to eat or if you’re looking for some entertainment, groupon is a great way to go. It’s great for students who are on a budget!

3. Picnic

If you can’t afford to splurge for spring break, you and your friends can still have fun party outdoors! Get all your basic picnic necessities (cups, soda, plates, etc.) at the dollar store for less than $10! Next, hit up the grocery store and shop clearance items. Though these items are on “clearance” they’re actually NOT expired! The products are still good, it just means their expiration dates are nearing and the stores need to sell them fast. If you’re looking for a change in scenery, have your picnic at a nearby park so you can do other fun outdoor activities like play football or volleyball.

4.  Volunteer

You can also do volunteer work at surrounding communities or in other countries. Many different organizations have  sponsor programs which helps students to send them to various locations to do volunteer work. Students would have to just raise X amount of dollars through donations to be provided with food, boarding, and transportation during the duration of their volunteer period. For more information on volunteer work visit Volunteer Alliance or United Way’s Alternative Spring Break.

Utilize this time to de-stress from all of those late night study sessions. Whether you’re partying up or giving back by volunteering, just try to make the most out of your spring break!

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