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Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

Photo by Nily Rozic Nily Rozic was asked multiple times to run for office before she seriously considered it. The 26-year-old New York state assemblywoman-elect admits she was asked “over and over” to run, which is not an unusual thing to hear from female candidates.

AAUW, Running Start, and She Should Run recently held a conference call for alumnae of Elect Her–Campus Women Win — a program that trains college women to run for student government — with the goal of encouraging these remarkable young women to run for public office. The call, which targeted students who have been through Elect Her and held student leadership positions, aimed to get these women to think about running for office after college and to share the steps they can be taking now to prepare for a career in politics. As one of the speakers on the call, Rozic shared her own story, which touched on all of the tips that AAUW, Running Start, and She Should Run typically share with attendees.

1. Go Local

Rozic knew she wanted to do something to give back to the neighborhood where she grew up, so she made sure to take leadership roles in her community. Rozic first advises becoming a leader in your own community, whatever role it may be. Ramping up your involvement in things you already care about is a great way to build leadership skills that will help you eventually run for office.

2. Start Now

Rozic was not afraid of jumping into the ring at a young age, and she encouraged the Elect Her alums to do the same. “You’ve just got to start,” she said, and you’ll discover that there are people who are ready to jump in and support you. Rozic said several political trainings were invaluable to her, especially in finding and developing mentors. For a list of trainings across the country, visit the Center for American Women in Politics.

3. Try Volunteering

A third way for young women to take their political experience to the next level is by taking a paid, intern, or volunteer position for a political campaign or in a current political leader’s office. Rozic landed her first government job working for a member of the New York State Assembly, where she got a feel for what government was like and eventually worked her way up to chief of staff. There are great opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels. For instance, try volunteering on a campaign — you can reach out to the local Republican or Democratic parties to find out more about the candidates. Or you can contact a local or state elected official to find out about opportunities. Each U.S. congressional office manages its own internship program, so look on your representatives’ websites to find out more. Nonprofits also organize internships with members of Congress through programs like Running Start’s Star Fellowship Program.

Ultimately, Rozic urges young women to embrace their youth when running for office. Our elected officials need to be representative of all types of people, and being young is not a disadvantage: “You’re ahead of the curve!”

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After a class field trip to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra last week to see the Nutcracker, my 6-year-old son was so excited to tell me all about it. Except what he ended up telling me had nothing to do with the ballet and everything to do with what he noticed before and after the show. He had counted not one but six homeless individuals and asked me what seemed like a hundred questions — the most important was, What could we do to help them?

Sally Ayers, a homeless resident in my community, who has told me about the rise in homelessness in Howard County, Maryland

In our simple conversation, my son reminded me what the holidays should be about: giving. This is perhaps the best time of year to catch up with friends, spend quality time with family, and invest ourselves in our communities. However, this is also the time of year when Americans spend hours in ridiculously long lines at the mall and camped outside of retail stores fighting for deals, further intensifying the holiday themes of consumption and materialism. Usually left with the feeling of exhaustion versus respite, many experience the need for a holiday do-over. While shopping shouldn’t be regarded as the enemy (after all, it does help boost the economy), it does serve as a distraction from what is really important at this time of year.

Below is just a short list of holiday ideas that can be done in a group or individually but still have an impact. Show that you care about the well-being of others in your community by giving the gift of time — it will cost you little or no money at all.

  • Volunteer for a shift at your local soup kitchen.
  • Check with your local shelter to see if it will take donated blankets, coats, or food.
  • Lead story time at your local library or on the children’s floor at your local hospital.
  • Make or buy a homeless person a meal.
  • Got talent? Sing, dance, play an instrument, make art, or read poetry at a local senior center.
  • Make a meal for the volunteers at your local animal shelter.

Although my son is too young to serve at the local soup kitchen, our family plans to make lasagna trays and cookies at home for a kitchen in our community, in addition to cleaning and preparing meals at a group home that cares for sick children. My son is eager to serve and helped our family remember that the holidays are about what you give, not what you get.

Let’s redefine the holidays by buying less stuff, giving more time, and creating change in our communities.

Photos by Maureen Evans Arthurs

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Maureen Evans Arthurs, who was sponsored by Eileen Menton.

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This month, AAUW was recognized as a top-rated women’s empowerment organization by GreatNonprofits, which catalogs and shares reviews of nonprofit organizations from around the world. The website allows the public to post stories about and rate their experiences with nonprofits and to find out more about organizations they are interested in supporting.

Here are a few of the wonderful reviews of AAUW.

“So proud to be a member — in the past year of buildup of attacks on what we thought were long-established rights and freedoms for women, AAUW is taking [the] lead in coordinating women’s voting projects, media campaigns, legal challenges, support for organizations providing health care, and other social services to women. Lobbying for equal pay and other issues on Capitol Hill and at the White House has focused attention on AAUW. AAUW staff have also modeled campaigns against street harassment and [have] use[d] social media to educate people on women’s issues. The scholarship program practices what AAUW preaches about educational opportunity for women. International outreach is also on the rise. Such a dynamic organization, so committed, so well-managed!”

— Marti S.

“As a volunteer AAUW leader on the national, state, and branch levels, I have many opportunities to raise a powerful voice — individually and collectively, in person and electronically — to make lasting changes that advance gender equality  … AAUW’s means of achieving equity (advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research) are effective, influential, and resonant with multiple generations of equality-minded individuals. I give this organization my highest rating.”

— Amy B.

“I was selected as one of 10 university students from across the country to be an AAUW Student Advisory Council member for the academic year 2011–12. Through my association with AAUW, I have met amazing and incredible women. … I have garnered lots of support and mentoring to enable me to start an AAUW [student organization at my university]. I also will have the opportunity to mentor the next group of SAC members. AAUW has enriched my life and given me opportunities I otherwise would not have had.”
— Maria M.

“I love their research reports — important issues, timely, and actually readable — unlike so many policy papers. It’s nice to know that gender inequality is not a forgotten cause, because we are far from done.”

— shcollina

The GreatNonprofits 2012 women’s empowerment campaign extends through June 15. With so many women’s organizations to choose from, find out why AAUW received a top rating. And share your own AAUW story!

This post was written by AAUW Development Intern Sarah Spencer.

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As the youngest of four, my kitchen assignment was usually putting away the dishes. My cooking experience had been short-lived as I would forget to put the water in with whatever frozen vegetable I was supposed to cook and the smell of burning would ultimately spoil the entire meal.

It was at the hands of a volunteer that I was able to face my then ingrained cooking fears and actually made an edible meal.  A group of moms had volunteered to teach our Brownie troop how to make a meal from start to finish and this one act of kindness helped boost my self-confidence. We went on to help make meals for a homeless shelter and the sense of wellbeing that came from helping others became an addiction.

I consider myself lucky to have had the ability to work in non-profits my entire professional life. When I came to work at AAUW, I soon became awed to experience firsthand what I had only read about before – the power of 100,000+ volunteers in action. As I met our members, I often heard the stories of their considerable accomplishments in communities, on college campuses, in state capitals, in front of the Supreme Court, on the Hill and even in the West Wing with numerous presidents over the years. Wow!

January 16th is this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, part of the United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. I love the positive media coverage honoring volunteers around the country and give a special shout-out to our fabulous AAUW members who continue to carry out a 130 year tradition of helping others.

In case you are still looking for take action on behalf of others this Monday, January 16th, here are a few links to suggestions from the AAUW family.

I still think there is nothing better than giving of your time and resources for a good cause. However, in the fairness of full disclosure, I do have to mention that I have never totally overcome my dislike of cooking…so my service tends to be pitching in to help clean our environment or loving the fact I work at AAUW, who’s members and donors volunteer almost daily to help break through barriers on behalf of women and girls.

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You're InvitedSeveral years ago, a friend gave a homily at church. The topic was invitations.

As the 2011 AAUW National Convention approaches, his words remind me what invitations mean. They bring us to parties, showers, weddings, and even conferences and volunteer opportunities!

An invitation that I received shortly after I retired led to an opportunity I never expected. After all, for 11 years I worked in Washington, D.C., about one block from the AAUW national office. Although I passed the building every week, I never joined. What could I contribute?

We spent the first months of retirement selling our home, moving to the beach, and entertaining. I later joined a women’s gym to keep moving and meet neighbors. At the gym, I was lucky that among the first women to give me advice was an AAUW Coastal Georgetown (DE) Branch member.

She said, “You need to join! There’s so much you can do. I’ll send your name to the membership chair.”

An invitation arrived, and I was on my way. Why did I become a member? Someone invited me. And someone followed up with suggestions that invited me to share a lifetime of experience to benefit the women of Sussex County.

They said, “Here is an important job you can do, and here is the time it will take.”

More than a year later, the invitations keep coming! As an announcement was made at a recent branch meeting, it took only a few minutes to respond to an invitation to volunteer for the national convention. It was an invitation I couldn’t resist. I knew I’d be working with the talented members and staff of AAUW.

Now, it’s your turn!

You’re invited to register and join us at the 2011 National Convention! And we invite you to invite members to join us. Visit the website, http://convention.aauw.org, for information. Also, apply on behalf of your branch or state for the Breaking through Barriers Awards to share your innovative programs that benefit women. The application deadline is February 15.

I especially extend another invitation to members of the convention host states ― Delaware; Washington, D.C.; Maryland; Virginia; and West Virginia ― to volunteer!

We need approximately 50 volunteers to ensure that the convention runs smoothly. If you volunteer for at least eight hours, you’ll receive a $125 discount on convention registration (volunteers must register), parking reimbursement, a $50 hotel reimbursement, and access to a volunteer hospitality suite with lunch, snacks, and beverages.

Volunteers will assist with registration, welcome and check in volunteers, and be workshop attendants. They’ll also escort speakers, corporate partners, and VIPs; work at the ShopAAUW booth; and staff the information and special needs booths. AAUW members who are Lobby Corps members can volunteer for Lobby Day.

Please accept our invitation to attend convention. It comes to our nation’s capital only once every six years! If you want to volunteer, we’d love to have you share your talents and time to make this convention spectacular!

For volunteering information, contact Marcie Posner or Kathleen Thompson by e-mailing convention@aauw.org. Members inquiring about volunteer opportunities will be sent a form to complete and return.

This blog was written by AAUW Coastal Georgetown (DE) Branch and 2011 AAUW National Convention Host Committee member Kathleen Thompson.

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