Remember this Staples commercial from back in the day?

I can’t believe next week, I’ll need to start factoring in bus traffic into my commute time, with school back in session for a lot of the Atlanta metro starting the week after [In my best old person voice] Back in my day, we didn’t go back to school until after Labor Day! But I was one of those kids who always looked forward to the end of summer, especially the chance to start fresh with new classes, potential new friends, new activities, but especially new school supplies. Even now as an adult, I still find there’s something special about the power of possibility I feel when I open a brand new notebook. You can DoGood for kids in need here in Atlanta by empowering them to achieve with the tools they’ll need for school. By the way, sharing this donation experience with your kids is a great way to introduce them to the concept of DoinGood for others as well.

Here’s a sampling of some Atlanta school supply drives that are going on right now. If you know of others, feel free to comment to help get the word out!

Org: Latin American Association
Drop off: the LAA office, 2750 Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA 30324
Needs: notebooks, paper and index cards, book bags, crayons, hand sanitizer, rulers and Elmer’s Glue
Deadline: 8/1

Org: United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta (School Tools for Cool Kids)
Drop Off: Publix locations around metro Atlanta
Needs: You can purchase a bag full of school supplies (the ones I saw were less than $10) at the store or drop off donations of notebook paper, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, folders, spiral notebooks, rulers, etc.
Deadline: Sunday (August 2nd)

Org: Clayton County Chick-Fil-A and Truett’s Grill locations
Drop off: • Truett’s Grill of Morrow, 2042 Mt. Zion Road, in Morrow.
• The Forest Park Chick-fil-A Dwarf House, 4959 Jonesboro Road, in Forest Park.
• The Jonesboro Chick-fil-A Dwarf House, 7348 Tara Blvd., in Jonesboro.
• The Riverdale Chick-fil-A Dwarf House, 6549 Ga. Hwy. 85, in Riverdale.
• The Stockbridge Chick-fil-A Dwarf House, 3649 Ga. Hwy. 138, in Stockbridge.
• The Chick-fil-A at Lovejoy Station, 11161 Tara Blvd., in Lovejoy.
• The Chick-fil-A at Southlake Mall, 1133 Southlake Mall, in Morrow.
Needs: wide-ruled paper, 8.5-by-11-inch spiral-bound notebooks, No. 2 pencils, and 16-count crayon packs, reams of copy paper for teachers
Deadline: August 6th

Org: Children’s Restoration Network
Drop Off: Kroger locations around metro Atlanta
Needs: NEW BOOK BAGS, wide and college ruled notebook paper, spiral notebooks, 3 ring binders, pens, calculators, markers, scissors, rulers, crayons, file folders, glue, dictionaries. Also need volunteers for sorting the supplies on August 6th and 7th from 10-4:30. Contact CRN for more info on how you can help: 770 649-7117
Deadline: August 7th

Org: Club Blue (Young Professionals group that holds events to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro ATL)
Drop Off: This link has location details
Needs: Packages of #2 Pencils, Crayons, Pens, Highlighters, Backpacks, Pocket folders/Trapperkeepers, Pencil boxes, Markers, Rulers, Children’s Scissors, Glue Sticks, Small Tissue Packs, Packs of Copy Paper, Three Hole Punched Paper, Small Dictionary, Lunchboxes/Lunch Bags, Calculator, Jump Drives, Backpacks
Deadline: August 17th

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Big news for the service community of Atlanta this week: the czar is coming!

Monday, AJC.com reported about Mayor Reed’s announcement of a new post in his administration: a “Chief of Service” to oversee the city’s philanthropic engagement and to encourage our fellow Atlantans to get involved in our community.  Apparently, last month Atlanta was among 10 cities awarded a $200,000 Cities of Service Leadership Grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Who knew??

Side note to local media: this is the kind of news many of us would love to get peppered into your newscasts every now and then. Squeeze it in between stories about fires, murders, the Gulf Oil disaster, Lindsay Lohan, and gubernatorial mudslinging, won’t ya?

This is FANTASTIC news for Atlanta because we could definitely use the boost to get people off the couch (so to speak) and into the community. Our volunteer engagement numbers in Atlanta (and for the state of Georgia overall) are, as my dad would say, “fair-to-middlin”. Atlanta currently ranks 24th among 51 major cities in the country in terms of the percentage of residents who volunteer, according to VolunteeringInAmerica.gov‘s latest data. As someone who both enjoys putting together volunteer projects and DoinGood in order to meet new people, I can’t help but to be disappointed that service to the community isn’t more of a bigger ‘thing to do’ here. After all, aside from the obvious warm fuzzies and the help it gives to those people and programs in need, service can also be good for your health. Considering we also rank mid-pack on those America’s Healthiest Cities lists that seem to come out about zillion times a year from various sources, we could use the additional boost in that arena as well. But it’s been great to see the rise of events like the do.justice event, the popularity of HandsOn Atlanta’s Teamworks program, and to see the way people came together to help out Haiti after the earthquake and Nashville after their flooding…there’s hope for us yet, ATL!

This new CSO will definitely have a bit of a challenge on his or her hands. Long commutes, misconceptions/fear about community service, and economic factors such as unemployment and foreclosure are just some of the challenges people cite as reasons why they’re not more involved.  For what it’s worth, I think we’re a pretty generous city but could always improve. My biggest hope in this announcement is that it will breathe a little extra fresh air and perspective into the concept of service here in Atlanta. We’re the home of some major charitable powerhouses and headquarters for some major players in the corporate world….but there are also so many smaller organizations (businesses and non-profits) that are capable of DoinGood just as well. Hopefully the City of Atlanta will be more strategic in helping these entities help each other and in encouraging the rest of us to help out in our respective ‘hoods as a show of pride. Atlanta really is a great place to live. Hopefully this new Chief Service Officer will help make it an even better place to give back.

Do you think Mayor Reed’s new hire will have an impact to the community of service in Atlanta? What are some of the changes you think need to happen to foster more of a spirit of giving in Atlanta?


Monday we officially crossed into Summer! There’s something about the changing of the season that always makes me feel ready for change in my life too. I get inspired to refocus, recharge, rethink, heck – even redecorate! Although I’ve gotten some DoinGood in over the last few months, I always feel like I could be doing more. And I’ve been fortunate to have support along the way. My dad asks about this blog all the time and my mom sits patiently through all of my dramatic retellings/reenactments of my volunteering adventures. Even my coworkers have been supportive – I recently won an award at work for being a badass at my job the hard work I’ve put in lately, but I was also recognized for being involved in the community. So thanks yall; the love is much appreciated.

Now that I’ve got some traction of moving forward, I’m feeling really charged to set some summer goals that I want to share with you!

Goal #1:  Spend more time writing in this blog!! I haven’t told you about AHHH, SCAN, CHRIS Kids Premiere Party, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Atlanta Toolbank’s HouseParty, having my idea for our corporate women’s service project in September selected by the board as the one we’re pursuing…needless to say, I’m a little behind. The book I’m reading right now is about how one author got back into the swing of writing and I think it’s got some of the best advice ever – all you need is 15 minutes. Who doesn’t have 15 minutes to spare? I need to make 15 minutes – anybody got a recipe?

Goal #2: Vary the volunteering. I’ve volunteered with horses. I’ve volunteered in the dirt. But it’s been a while since I’ve done anything that directly involved kids. Or the disabled. Or the homeless. I really need to make sure I’m spreading my wings. We’ve got some really great non-profits and charities around Atlanta; I’ve got a lot of ground to cover! I definitely want to do some more hands-on projects this summer. Helping out at events can be fun, but there’s nothing that makes this more real for me than when I meet the people directly affected by the work of the organizations I’m helping out for the day. Suggestions welcomed!

Goal #3: (which I’m already in the midst of working on) Learn more about marketing for non-profits. Why not, right? I enjoy working in marketing for my day job, I’m 112% behind organizations for making life better – best case scenario is to grow my smarts by merging my worlds together. My dad is on the board for a non-profit mentoring program back home and has asked me to kick around a few ideas with him some time in the next few weeks. I’ve been nose-deep in every article I can find about social media, cause marketing, donor relations, and volunteer acknowledgement/appreciation because I really do want to help. Hopefully more to come on that…

What are your DoinGood goals for Summer 2010, Atlanta?


Well…’ello there.

I have SO many volunteering adventures to update about here. Among the shenanigans I’ve been up to lately, I met the mack daddy of the Atlanta senior citizen circuit while painting his house a lovely shade of  “homestead resort pumpkin,” took home more bananas than I really know what to do with from an event (smoothies for life!), and met some of the most ambition-inspiring women while tackling one of my big 2010 goals. But while I’m processing my thoughts on those experiences…

Got a great volunteering opportunity around Atlanta? I’d love to hear about it, so now this blog has it’s own dedicated email address: doingoodinmyhood@gmail.com. Can’t wait to hear from you (or help spread the word on what you’ve got going on).

Looking forward to sharing more good changes with you in the near future!


New Addition

21May10

Meet my new baby! She’s the adorable 6 month old Lab/Bulldog mix who stole my heart today on my visit over to Atlanta Humane Society. I spent a very long time at AHS this afternoon because I wanted to be super-sure on what I was doing. After looking at a few very adorable little dogs, I just randomly came across this little darling and she won me over while we were out in the play yard. AHS named her Lydia but she wouldn’t answer to that, so I renamed her Scout, which she seemed to perk up to instantly.
It’s been a couple of years since I had a dog at all, so I’m a little nervous about entering doggy momhood. But Scout is such a smart little whippersnapper, she hasn’t made our first day too difficult at all. As I’m sitting here watching her take her first nap in her new home, I’m glad that I decided to rescue her today.

You can DoGood for the homeless pet population in Atlanta too. AHS is celebrating Founder’s Day with all pet adoption fees at $18.73 through May 30th!


If it’s Sunday morning…it’s multi-tasking time! I’m sitting here watching Meet The Press on the DVR, doing some career-related research (marketing jobs?), looking for my next volunteer opportunity since I missed SWEEP 2010 yesterday due to being under the weather, reading about the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf, and meal planning/making a grocery list. As I’m making my list today, I was thinking it would be great to be able to include something that would do good for others.

HomeAid Atlanta, a great organization that helps rebuild the lives of the homeless by building and renovating transitional housing, is currently holding their annual Essentials For Young Lives Drive. This effort, in its ninth year, is looking for donations of diapers, baby wipes, formula, bottles, and other important items for the little ones. (Pssst! I think I saw a coupon for $ off formula in this week’s Publix ad!) This list of drop-off locations, which is located on HomeAid Atlanta’s page about the Essentials drive, spans the Atlanta Metro area and they are accepting donations through 5pm tomorrow (a few up in Cobb are even open today!). Looks like I’ll be dropping my donations off at the Bank of America on Cumberland tomorrow on my lunch break. All goods will be sorted on Tuesday and distributed among seven transitional organizations in the area, just in time for Mother’s Day. While you’re shopping for your family, do good for a family in need. Help a mother out, won’t ya?

Also to keep in mind while cruising the aisle today: it’s time for the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, put on by the National Letter Carrier Association in conjunction with the United States Postal Service. I’m a little surprised that I happened to stumble across this one today and hadn’t seen anything in my mailbox about it yet. This one is pretty simple: put out a bag of non-perishables by your mailbox on Saturday May 8th, the postal carriers will pick up, the goods are donated to our local Feeding America agency, which is the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The need for continuing support to ACFB almost speaks for itself given that our unemployment rate here in Georgia is still 10+% and more than 19% of Georgia’s children wonder where their next meal is coming from. I’m going to pick up a few extra 10-for-$10 items, put my bag together today, and set a reminder to put it out on Saturday (or text STAMP1 to 30305 and they’ll send you a reminder!). I also have to give props to Campbell’s for getting involved, pledging to donate a can of soup to the drive for each Like (or fan or whatever they’re calling it these days) on the Stamp Out Hunger page on Facebook.

And there you have it, two easy ways for DoinGood while out running errands today.


When I woke up this morning, I laid in the dark in bed for a little while thinking about the fact that today is Earth Day…and wondering what more I can do to make a difference. What kind of Earth do I want to leave around for the future little DoGooders? Since I’m a girl who loves lists and goals, I decided to tackle this New Year’s Resolution-style.

DoinGood In My Hood Presents:

My New Green Resolutions

Δ As someone who works in an office, I’m no stranger to being buried under mountains of desk paper. And as someone who works in an Advertising department, ugh…the paper! I have our ads (present and future), I have the competitors’ ads, I have articles about ads, I have calendar upon calendar telling me about ads, I have charts analyzing charts about our ads – and they’re coming out of every nook and cranny of my desk! When I sit and really think about it, the amount of paper we use is sick. A year or two ago, the company took away our trash cans and gave us recycling bins…but I confess: I don’t always use it solely for recyclables. 😡
So New Green Resolution #1: Reduce my office paper consumption (and use the blue bin for it’s intended purpose more often).

Δ Because I work in charts and such all day (and because I work on a floor with 100+ people crammed on it!), I like to have a little music to concentrate. So I plug in and tune out the rest of the insanity of the office. I recently wore out my old trusty office earbuds and had to replace them. I just opened the package this morning and was inspired to make two more resolutions:
New Green Resolution #2: Learn more about proper disposal of items and/or how to properly recycle. What exactly am I supposed to do with these old headphones?!?
New Green Resolution #3: Be more mindful of buying products with minimal packaging – excess is excess for no real reason. Is it weird that, in researching about excess packaging, the majority of the first results from the Google search I did today were all UK-based? Is this not a problem we care about here in the States too? Hmm…

I did find this short informative video from Consumer Reports. “The last line of the video was mind-blowing:

If we cut back the use of cardboard from 100 tons to 90, it would save more than 5,300 lbs of waste, 20k gallons of waste water, and more than 34k tons of CO2 equivalent.

Huge.

Δ New Green Resolution #4 was inspired by a recent experience I had. There’s a little used bookstore in Smyrna that’s one of my favorite places on Earth – shout out to The Book Stop in Smyrna. Ginny, the owner, is fabulous and talking to her inspires me to want to own a small biz like hers someday. Anyway, I mention TBS for two reasons. One, because this store definitely falls into the “Reuse”  portion of the recycling triangle. But two, because this place exemplifies why I love to shop local mom-and-pops/small businesses: the good ones take such good care of their customers. Did you know there’s a great website, The Green Half, that offers discounts everyday to local businesses that not only are offering you a great deal but are also green in their practices? The Green Half also donates a % of the day’s sales to various non-profits (today’s NPO: The Sierra Club of Georgia). So I resolve to show more love to Atlanta by shopping locally and with more small businesses that are DoinGood for the environment! As if I needed another excuse to hit the farmer’s markets on Saturday…

Δ My last resolution is one I make every year but intend to keep this year. New Green Resolution #5 is to get out and enjoy/appreciate the great outdoors, just because I can. One of the reasons I love living in Atlanta is because we’re blessed with good weather (as opposed to my friend who currently lives near the Arctic Circle -16° there, 82° here) so getting out is a much better look here more often. Hopefully I’ll get to have a few more outdoorsy volunteer projects, like last weekend’s experience at the horse riding place, under my belt in the near future. Some I’ve done in the past and enjoyed were cleanups at Piedmont Park, beautifying in the ‘hoods with Trees Atlanta, and landscaping on 2nd Saturdays at Oakland Cemetery.

What are your New Green Resolutions?


Happy National Volunteer Week, everyone! @DoinGoodinATL on Twitter has been blowing up with new followers and lots of questions and it’s totally made my week. How could it not warm your heart a least a little to know that there are people here in Atlanta that want to know about how they can make a difference? I feel like I owe people apologies for not being a little more thorough with answers for the questions but I’ve got a project on my day job driving me bonkers. One of the questions I got asked (by my buddy @NEXTAtlanta) was about my favorite places to volunteer. I discovered a new one this past weekend!

When Drew from 48by48 tweeted to ask if I was free on Saturday to join him in a volunteer project, I wasn’t going to pass on that invite. If you’re not familiar with his story of traveling the country performing service, check out his site. Not only do I think what he’s doing is great, but it’s always such a pleasure to meet others who are as into DoinGood as I am. Besides, this was my very first tweetup, having never met any of the people I’ve randomly come across on Twitter before. And he picked a great project, the Reece Center for Handicapped Horsemanship.

Saturday morning, I loaded up the GPS (my tendency to get lost is legendary) and drove down to the Reece Center in Palmetto, which was about 40 miles from where I live in Atlanta. The Reece Center is a 100% volunteer-run organization that offers low-cost horseback riding on Saturdays for people with disabilities from 9am to about 1pm. Wow, right? As I approached, it was a very unassuming plot of land with some stable areas and a riding area. Joining Drew and I were a few other new volunteers; we all signed up via Hands On Atlanta’s easy process: log into the website, find your project by search or on the calendar, click Sign Me Up – Pow! Locked and loaded. One of the Reece Center folks gave us a lesson on how to groom the horses, using a variety of brushes and combs that rivals the collection I have in my bathroom, in order to make them look good for the kids coming to ride that morning. I have to admit: I’d never been that close to horses before and actually kindasorta had a phobia until fairly recently(!). But my anxiety melted away with how sweet these animals were; they just wanted to be pampered and cooed over. And then there was Elan…

Elan was a horse full of personality. His personality on Saturday? Stubborn! Aren’t I lucky that he’s the horse I got to lead from the stable area over to the ring? Fortunately, what this situation really was was a lesson in leadership. As leader Heather told me, sometimes the animals really are like little kids – you’ve gotta show them who’s boss or else they’ll run all over you (um…I hope not literally? *gulp*) . Every horse had to have a walker while Heather led a session that helps the riders with activities such as agility and stretching. It was actually a really neat exercise. Heather, by the way, is awesome. How she wasn’t exhausted from all of that running around and tossing the ball, I’ll never know.rider, walker, and a horse named Elanpic courtesy of Drew

Elan and I got more comfortable with each other as the morning progressed and even went on my very first horseback riding experience.

I'm on a horse!another pic courtesy of Drew – thanks Drew!

The best part of this experience for me was the riders. I met one, Lisa, who was so passionate about her love of her horse, Mulligan. She spent the longest time brushing and grooming him, having a heart-to-heart conversation with him, just making sure he was going to be the best looking horse out there. It was really heartwarming. Then later, I met Dylan, who’s training to do an equestrian event in the Special Olympics this summer. How neat is that? He was totally schooling me about how to handle the horse. This little guy proudly told me he’d been riding horses for 13 years! Then there was the way rider David came alive once he got into the saddle on Elan’s back. He was so confident and so alive on that horse. I admit, I was tearing up a little because it was so touching to watch people doing something they loved so much. Sometimes DoinGood brings out the crybaby in me.

This was a really great organization and a really great volunteering experience. And they’re always in need of Saturday morning volunteers, so please consider registering to giddy-up to Palmetto to help out. Volunteering with the classes may be good for groups, but is perfect for people who like being outdoors, are good with animals, or are good with special needs children. You can email Carol Cortino at carol4820@aol.com or sign up via Hands On Atlanta.


Yesterday, I decided to knock off two birds with one stone: an item from my 2010 DoinGood For Me list and something that’s going toward DoinGood for an organization here in Atlanta. I signed up to do my very first official 5k! It’s all going down June 5th at the Virginia Highland Summerfest 5k. The Summerfest is one of the best festivals in town with a parade, artists market, all kinds of food vendors, live music all weekend, and kids activities. This marks the 27th year for the event, whose proceeds go to benefit the Virginia Highland Civic Association, which funds neighborhood initiatives such as beautification projects, library programs, children’s programs, etc. One of the reasons I love Atlanta so much is that warm weather ushers in festival season and we’ve got lots of good ones here. I’m so excited about this weekend’s Dogwood Festival (so thrilled it’s back at Piedmont Park!) and am planning to head out to the Sweetwater 420 Festival for the first time as well. Hmm…I should look into volunteering at a festival at some point this Spring.

Now that I’m all signed up for the 5k, I’m a excited…but a little freaked out. I’ve been trying to build myself up to running on and off for years and even did a Galloway Program this past winter (yes, last winter – the coldest winter ever). When I went home to VA for Christmas, I even went running when it was SO cold outside and there was still snow and ice on the ground – and I liked it. But I’ve kinda been in ‘off’ mode for the last few months, so it’s time to bust out with my favorite running socks and shoes and hit the hood for some consistent training over the next 7 weeks. I’m determined not to be the last person hoofing it through to the finish line. Expect to see more about training for this here in the blog. My ultimate hope is that, by pushing myself here and now, I’ll be able to step up (ha ha!) my active DoinGood game for the future.

Feeling like a winner after finishing Galloway Getting Started Program in January

How are you actively DoinGood this Spring? There are TONS of runs and walks going on here in Atlanta year-round. Check out Active.com or even Atlanta Track Club’s jampacked calendar for some really good options (many of which are fundraisers for a variety of great causes).


Where have I been for the last 2 weeks? Haven’t been out planting trees. Haven’t been out sorting anybody’s donations. There was an event I wanted to volunteer for, but could never catch up with the organizer…and then was too tired to attend the event at all. Unfortunately, the last few weeks of my life have involved a lot of mentally draining (but professionally rewarding!) hours at my day job and a lot of wishing I could hibernate for what’s left of the winter – so exhausted! It makes me sad when I have these dry spells between volunteering projects, especially when they’re unintentional. I think I’ve been more tired in the last 3 or 4 weeks than I’ve been in my (almost) 29 years on Earth. It’s no wonder that only 26.6% of people in Atlanta in my age bracket of 25-34 volunteer – life right now is either in flux, ridiculously busy, or we’re so drained from everything else there’s no energy left for DoinGood (I’m leaving the people who just don’t care out of it). On the other hand, that 26.6% is looking semi-impressive given the national average for people my age is a pretty pathetic 23%. We could always be doing better.

Since I haven’t been very active, I’ve been doing a lot of inspirational reading – a lot of which has been about what the kids of the ATL have been up to as far as serving the community. Props to Atlanta INtown Paper; they’ve been featuring these stories lately. As a matter of fact, I just read in there yesterday about a yard sale two freshmen at the Pace Academy set up for this weekend (Saturday and Sunday!) with the proceeds to benefit Haiti earthquake relief charities. Will definitely be hitting that up! One of these kids is a budding fundraising dynamo – he raised $5k for Katrina victims. A lot of people complain about the sense of entitlement that kids seem to have today; it’s good to know that there are still some good apples out there.

I’m going to get back into the swing of things real soon, I promise. March is going to be a really big month for DoinGood! In the meantime and in-between time, I’m keeping things lively and active with @DoinGoodinATL on Twitter. For the first time since I started the account, I have more followers than I am following. It’s kinda exciting and very motivating – thanks again for your support and encouragement. ♥

p.s. Thanks to VolunteeringinAmerica.gov for the statistics!