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Youth Volunteer Spotlight: Youth Volunteer Corps of America

Youth Volunteer Corps

One of the best and most effective ways to help people is through volunteerism. Not only does it assist those in need but also helps to shape those who choose to volunteer into better, more well-rounded people. The essence of volunteerism is helping others, so when a volunteer sees the changes they are making, it inspires them to keep going. At a time, when there are all different kinds of organizations out in the world it can be difficult for a young person to get involved, not knowing where to begin.

Youth Volunteer Corps of America (YVC) is an organization founded upon the idea that volunteerism inspires volunteerism.

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World Changers: Giva Salutes Idealist


At Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here.


Today, Giva recognizes Idealist, a network of resources for the scholar at heart, dedicated to social change and impassioned by individual hearts. Founded in 1995 as the nonprofit organization Action Without Borders, Idealist bloomed from its philanthropist roots into a hub where over 97,000 organizations offer service opportunities daily; 100,000 unique visitors explore the vast site daily; and a variety of career information resources and blogs are also provided for its international audience daily.

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ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

Government Environment Sustainability

ICLEI is an acronym you may or may not have heard before. "The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives," founded in 1990, is a nonprofit organization focused mainly on environmental sustainability. They work toward movements in local governments to build a sustainable future. ICLEI is a large organization that, according to their website, branches to "12 mega-cities, 100 super-cities and urban regions, 450 large cities, and 450 small and medium-sized cities and towns in 84 countries dedicated to sustainable development." In 2003, in an effort to reflect their further embrace of wider sustainability issues, they changed the name to "ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability".

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Youth Volunteerism Spotlight: City Year

City Year

Anyone who is looking to perform volunteer work can find themselves lost in even knowing where to start. With so many options available, it is hard to know which ones deserve the extra attention. That being said, there is an organization that dedicates itself to educating the youth. City Year is an organization that takes and trains volunteers to go and "be" the support system for students who may not have one. These volunteers devote their time and efforts to encouraging students living in communities filled with poverty to get a good education. work hard and graduate. Tutoring is also offered free of charge for those who need it. Providing a solid education may be said to be the most effective way to give young people their best chance to lead a successful life. Helping these students through their schooling equips them to go out and get jobs for which they need a certain education.

Not only does City Year provide tutoring, they also offer the support that students may not receive at home or from their peers. The volunteers call and check in on their students and encourage them to go to school, study, etc. The volunteers also run after-school clubs, encouraging the students to get involved in something. They can engage with their school, community and work to learn about the world through their peers. Not only is City Year run nationwide in the United States, but they also have locations in London, England and Johannesburg, South Africa. And just about anyone can get involved! Students can participate and know they are changing someone else's life; and being a student allows them to better connect with the people they are helping. Former students are encouraged to get involved to provide the same support they have been given. City Year's main goal is to bridge the gap between having the resources to provide a good education to students and the support and encouragement needed to give students that extra push and motivation to succeed.

To learn more about City Year's over 20 locations in which to serve or to donate, visit their website

World Changers: Giva Salutes The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

What does the word "kindness" mean to you? The first thoughts that may come to mind are a nice compliment received, or, perhaps, a door held open for another. One organization seeks to make it something much larger than that. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is an organization conceived and built on the idea that the small things that people do for one another go way beyond being friendly or helping another person in a small way. They call themselves "raktivists" and their website contains all things "RAK."

The "Kindness Ideas" section of their website is filled with suggestions of ways to be kind to another person, whether you may know them or not - small things such as paying someone's toll, making blankets for the homeless, and even ways to be kind to yourself such as eating a healthy snack or drinking more water. Another section includes "Inspirational Kindness Quotes" taken from all different time periods and sources to inspire and motivate.

You can share your story of an act of kindness as well as be inspired by the stories of others. Comments are commonly found reflecting one act of kindness sparking another, creating "rak" ripples, perpetuating and spreading the feel-good chain.

They have kindness down to a science, literally! An entire portion of their website is dedicated to why they believe that kindness can be broken down in the same manner as science with resources provided to back up their argument. The "Research" section allows them to share with their site members information about how kindness works, including great articles promoting the idea that the brain can be trained for compassion and argue that the key to happiness for teens and children are random acts of kindness.

Lessons are available to be brought into a classroom or taught at home. A section entitled "Educators" contains prepared lesson plans explaining how to utilize and teach ideas encouraging children and teens to be more kind to one another, potentially changing bullying into befriending . The lesson plans work through a site called "Share My Lesson" where information can be found about RAK clubs, videos, as well as project ideas.

This organization is founded upon ways to make the world a better place, one act of kindness at a time, and Giva is very pleased to salute them!

Youth Volunteerism Spotlight:

Getting involved and volunteering can take up a lot of time and effort. It is hard to decide what organization would be right for you when there are many options, especially for young people with so many activities and commitments competing for attention. Much research and time is required to identify organizations that allow you to get involved in a cause that you are both passionate about and stay within your time constraints. was established to solve just this dilemma, their motto being ,"Any cause, anytime, anywhere *mic drop." They invite young people to join and become part of a movement of 3.6 million of their peers. The website assists people in finding the best way to get involved in a good cause customized to fit their passions, time available and what type of work they would like to do; and provides some options they believe would work well.

For example, if you are passionate about animals, have an hour or less available to help a cause, and desire to make something, the site provides a list suggesting a number of charities including: Wildlife Cards, Justice for Elephants, and Happy Howlidays. These organizations, respectively, have volunteers send cards that thank wildlife rangers who protect endangered species; write a letter to a governor requesting him or her to ban the selling of ivory; and send cards encouraging people to adopt animals from shelters. These may require minimal effort and time, but something that may seem so small such as saying thanks to those who work hard to serve people or animals can mean a lot to those who dedicate their time and lives to doing the jobs that are not always easy.

Overall, is a relatively easy website to navigate; and, even if you do not choose the options the site provides for you, at a minimum it gives you a general idea of where to start given your personal passions and preferences. Thanks to for providing this service for young people looking for ways to get involved!

Giva Student Scholarship Winner Essay: Dr. Rushabe Malde - Truly Making a Long-Term Difference

Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is an essay from Dr. Rushabh Malde, currently attending Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health pursuing his Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays. We hope that sharing these essays will help others realize the joys and benefits of service.

Planting the Seed of Long-term Serving Benefits

Truly Making a Long-Term Difference
By Dr. Rushabh Malde

If you have read my earlier essay, you will know that I worked as a Hospital Administrative intern after finishing my bachelor's degree. I would like to share with you today some immensely satisfying experiences I have had while working in this position. These experiences not only provided me with joy but also reinforced my belief to pursue a career in healthcare.

While working as an intern at a hospital in Mumbai, I was extremely happy with my career. I was learning a lot of interesting stuff everyday as well as given the ability to make my voice heard and make changes to improve the quality of care afforded to the patients. During my time there, we introduced various patient centric programs like free text messaging services, which informed patients when they would need to come in to meet their doctors. This reduced the patient waiting time at our hospital by almost 75%, significantly improving patient satisfaction. Another initiative introduced by my team was to offer counseling services for patients' families, which helped them deal with stress, and showed them how to move forward to deal with chronic debilitating diseases. These initiatives aligned very well with my goal to positively affect people's lives through healthcare, and I realized this is what I wanted to do permanently.

In spite of the above-mentioned initiatives being very successful, there is one idea which is particularly close to my heart. Pediatric primary healthcare is only a myth in most developing or under developed countries. Apart from offering the basic necessary vaccines, no specialized primary care was available to the poor or lower middle class infants and their families. Any government schemes designed for children were centered on government or aided schools. These schemes were rarely ever implemented to achieve the desired outcomes. More than half the children in most countries go to other non-governmental and non-aided schools and fail to avail themselves of any of these primary healthcare schemes. This leads to an entire generation of a nation failing to achieve the required health standards from childhood and leaving a huge void to fill. Taking into consideration these factors, our team decided to offer annual primary pediatric health plans to children belonging to this category. This plan saw unprecedented success in the local community.

Instead of offering these plans to parents for their children, we decided to offer these services straight to the unaided schools. The response we received from the schools was tremendous. We offered annual subscription packages at very low costs using economy of scale to make the program sustainable. Economy of scale here means that we planned to register large numbers of students to offer the services at the lowest cost possible. The primary healthcare program included a variety of services such as pediatric care, dental care, psychological counseling, nutritional counseling, immunization and vaccines, eye-care and health education. Most of these services were offered at the participating school itself to make it more convenient for the students. In addition, the program Included organized health education camps for teachers and parents.

This program became hugely successful and thousands of children were covered under it. It allowed me to make a very meaningful change in the society and be a part of something of which I will always be proud. This initiative made me realize how simple ideas like these in the healthcare sector can bring about a very long lasting and profound effect. It has planted within me a seed for healthcare entrepreneurship, and I have vowed to myself to start a self-sustaining social venture after completing my studies that brings a similar change in the society.

To end my essay, I would like to appeal to anyone who has similar interest to affect millions of people positively to take up healthcare or public health as a career. This industry allows you to work with the sharpest minds and the kindest souls. This is how you can make a difference. You cannot ask for anything more from life, can you?

Social Enterprises: What They Are & Why They Are Important

Business Giving Nonprofit Social Enterprises

Social enterprises are, to put it quite simply, about people. These are organizations that, rather than placing their main focus on making a profit, seek to partner their revenue with something that benefits people in communities, the environment, etc. They are not required to be a strictly profit or nonprofit organization, as they could be either. In some cases they may make a profit and then re-direct it back to make a change in the surrounding communities.

Why might they be considered to be important? In a world where commercials and advertising dominate most any medium for the sake of profit, these organizations' main focus is to create and enable change for something better. Rather than wanting to make a profit or keep all profit for themselves, these businesses purpose to use the revenue from a product or service in order to make the world a better place.

People of action say that if you want to see a difference in your life you need to make a change, small or large. Social enterprises go that one step farther than normal and put all of their energies into parlaying their business concepts into benefiting the world around them in some way.

One such example is D-Rev out of Palo Alto, California, a nonprofit product development company that designs and delivers products to low-income people around the world living on less than $4 a day. They own the research, design, and development of their products and then partner with industry leaders to manufacture and scale for maximum impact. Their mission is to "to create world class products at an affordable price." One sector of their company provides equipment they have developed to treat newborn jaundice conditions. According to their website, to date, 51,925 babies have been treated with their equipment, 43,554 of which would not otherwise have received effective treatment, resulting in 676 newborn deaths and disabilities averted.

Another example is TROSA, (Triangle Residential Options For Substance Abusers, Inc.) out of Durham, North Carolina. "TROSA is an innovative, multi-year residential program that enables substance abusers to be productive, recovering individuals by providing comprehensive treatment, work-based vocational training, education, and continuing care." There is no cost to the individual receiving treatment at TROSA. Their funding comes from three primary sources: revenue generating businesses which provide vocational training for residents; donations from individuals, companies, and foundations; and modest government support. TROSA is a nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status and is governed by a board of directors.

These are just two of many social enterprises realizing their goal of bettering the world and changing lives, creating long-lasting ripple effects, now and into the future.

4 Summer Volunteering Ideas for Youth (or Any Age!)


Volunteering at any age allows for making connections with your community and helping to make it a better place. Wide-ranging benefits of dedicating time to volunteer include making new friends/contacts, increasing social and relationship skills, increasing self-confidence, reducing risk of depression, staying physically healthy, gaining career experience, and teaching valuable job skills. You may be thinking, "Where do I find volunteer opportunities?" According to, these opportunities can be found in community theaters, museums, libraries, senior centers, local animal shelters or wildlife centers, youth organizations, sports teams, places of worship, or online databases. Summer is just around the corner; a season when many teens seemingly find themselves without much to do. Why not look for a volunteer opportunity that interests you and make the time very worthwhile for yourself and others? We have provided 4 organizations below offering a variety of opportunities for teens and youth in which to participate. brings non-profits and volunteers together, making it easy for people to find organizations that focus on what interest them, such as those related to environment, animals, youth, etc., and those that are part of their local community. They have over 100,000 participating organizations, and have matched over 9,000,000 volunteers. For more information, visit


Teenlife provides listings of outside-the-classroom programs for life-enrichment aimed at teens. Some listing examples include summer programs for high school students, engineers, musicians, etc.; volunteer opportunities around the country; and other information geared toward young people. For more on their opportunities, see assists youth who want to make a difference find a cause they can participate in to help others. You can choose from a wide variety of "campaigns" aimed at creatively benefiting others, such as bringing dogs to campus so students taking exams can de-stress, collecting food outside a supermarket for the local food bank, or donating board games to the local family shelter. To view their many campaigns, see

United Planet

United Plant brings people together with organizations for short term or long term international volunteering. Projects include working with children and education programs, environmental groups, health professionals, etc. To learn more about these international serving opportunities, visit United Planet.

Happy volunteering!

Giva Student Scholarship Winner Essay: Dr. Rushabe Malde - Pursuing A Dream

Giva is proud to showcase the essays of its Student Scholarship and Worldwide Community Ambassador Award winners. Below is an essay from Dr. Rushabh Malde, currently attending Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health pursuing his Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration. Giva's hope is to inspire others through these essays. We hope that sharing these essays will help others realize the joys and benefits of service.

Business Dreams & Vision

Pursuing A Dream
By Dr. Rushabh Malde

I would like to begin by introducing myself. My name is Dr. Rushabh Malde. I am 25 years old and I am currently studying Masters in Healthcare Administration (MHA) at Columbia University in New York City. This is the first among a series of essays in which I would like to share some of my views, beliefs, past experiences and most importantly my dreams with all of you. In this essay I wanted to write about my educational journey and what made me give up a lucrative life as a dentist to pursue a career in Public Health.

I was born into a middle class family in the Indian City of Mumbai. My parents have always worked hard to make ends meet and tried to provide me with the best they could. Growing up in the financial capital of India, I was always enamored by the life of the rich and powerful around me. I used to look up to all of the successful men from varied backgrounds, but there was always one profession which instantly pulled me towards it. That profession was being a doctor. More than money or the status they enjoyed in the society, it was the respect they commanded from everyone that made me fall in love with it. Every individual, whether rich or poor, showed humility toward doctors and their service to the society. It was then, a 10 year old me, that I decided I wanted to become a doctor when I grew up. It was the beginning of my dream. I distinctly remember sharing my dream with my parents at that young age and promising them I would make them proud one day. I started paying more attention to studies and won many academic awards throughout my school life. After two years of hard work during my pre-medical years, I finally secured admission in Bachelors of Dental Surgery at Rural Dental College (RDC), Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) situated at Loni, India. And this is where my life changed...

I was living my dream at RDC, studying to ultimately earn my doctors degree. I had made some amazing friends and finally made my parents proud. I could see myself five years down the line working as a dentist and achieving that elusive respect I always sought. It was in my third year at RDC when I was introduced to the subject of Public Health. As a part of the curriculum, we were supposed to go on dental camps in the surrounding rural areas where we provided free preventive dental care. It was during that first rural dental camp that made me question what I really wanted in my life. We were in a small hamlet going from house to house offering free dental checkups. It was a hot day, and around noon I entered this dimly lit small clay hut. I saw an old woman in her 60s playing with her grandson. I asked her if I could giver her a free dental check up and refer her to our main hospital if she required any further treatment. She refused downright without even giving it a single thought. At that moment, I saw a huge ulcerating wound on her feet very much similar to the specimen pictures for cancer tumors we were shown in our surgery classes. On asking her about the wound and why she did not get it treated, her reply startled me. She told me that she had no money to treat her injury and could not afford to go to any hospital for the same. She further added that it was such an irony that I was offering her free dental check up when she might not even survive the next month. I was shocked. I withdrew into my shell that day. I thought to myself, if this was the state of healthcare in one of the fastest developing countries in the world, what is the medical fraternity I was so proud being a part of doing about it. I realized I did not want to earn respect and make money when people go through such extreme suffering without anyone even caring about them.

It dawned on me that I could offer much more to the community than serving as a dentist. It made me question my dream. I started researching for summer internship opportunities where I could use my medical background to help the community on a much wider scale. I started working as a hospital administrative intern trying to learn more about the healthcare industry. After my experiences working in this industry, I realized that the necessary infrastructure required to serve the population was already in place. The need of the hour was to streamline and manage the already existing network to maximize the services available to the target community. I quickly realized in order to achieve this I would have to study the intricacies of finance, economics, strategic planning, accounting and managerial and organizational behavior. This desire and new-found vision helped me decide to pursue a career in Healthcare Administration. After applying to some of the best universities in the world, I was overwhelmed to be accepted in the MHA program at Columbia University. I hope to learn from the best in the healthcare industry and apply my knowledge back in India to serve the greater community needs. I know one day I will...

I am sure you must have noticed that I have excessively used the word "dream" throughout my essay. I have done that because I hope each and every one of you will nurse a dream. I hope you will keep on pursuing your dream, fight for it against all odds, and as you grow you will develop a vision for yourself, for your career, for what you want to be remembered for. I agree I am still at a very nascent stage in the process of achieving my vision but I hope I can inspire at least a few more individuals to work in the healthcare industry and work for public health development. I thank you for taking out some time to read my essay. I also hope you come back to read the remaining essays.


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