Volunteering and Service in Prime Time

Service becomes the theme of mainstream t.v. shows this week.

I’m so excited to watch t.v. this week because I want to see how television tackles volunteerism and service — if you haven’t heard, all week, prime time shows are taking true stories of volunteerism and nonprofit work and weaving into their plots.

More than 90 shows are participating (did you know there were 90 primetime shows in a week? I didn’t) and many stars are offering public service announcement style endorsements of community service.

Some examples of what I mean, according to the HollywoodReporter.com:

  • “Parks and Recreation” — the newish comedy starring Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler, as a local government leader — is featuring a playground build with an organization I’m a big fan of, KaBoom. Poehler’s character has been working to convert an abandoned and dangerous pit into a park and this week it’s finally going to happen with the help of KaBoom. Watch the episode here.
  • “The Biggest Loser” weight-loss contestants will volunteer at a Los Angeles food bank— here is the PSA airing as part of the show:
  • “Brothers” stars will volunteer as coaches.
  • “CSI: NY”‘s Dr. Sheldon Hawkes volunteers at a hospital.
  • Actors Simon Baker, Emily Deschanel, Eva Longoria Parker, Rainn Wilson, Kate Walsh along with some all-star casts will appear in PSAs.
  • General Hospital offers this direct reference to the iParticipate campaign with a few simple lines of diaologue:

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is trying to track the t.v. shows that feature volunteerism on a live blog. Let them know what you’ve seen on their website.

The initiative has been coordinated by the Entertainment Industry Foundation in partnership with Service Nation the campaign to expand service opportunities in the United States. The multi-year initiative is called iParticipate and you can learn more about it on the iParticipate website, and/or follow iParticipate on Twitter.

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