Put Your Heart (Health) First

Happy post-Valentine’s Day! On a daily basis, all of us combine our compassion, charity, and action to serve our communities and nation. I consider “service” one of the greatest sources of happiness. Nonetheless, one must fully take care of their well being before attempting to care for others’. For the month of February, focus attention on the centerpiece of your love, compassion, and health—your heart.

5 Heart-Health Tips

1. Chocolate, Wine, and Berries… The Darker the Better

  • Dark chocolate, unlike milk or white chocolate, contains high amounts of catechins, a heart healthy antioxidant. Aim for chocolate with 70% or higher cacao.
  • Red wine, in comparison to other alcoholic beverages, contains more flavonoids and antioxidants. Two 4-ounce glasses of Continue reading
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Senate Confirms Patrick Corvington as New Chief of CNCS

Annie E. Casey Foundation staffer has been confirmed to lead Corporation for National and Community Service—Obama to sign his appointment.

Late this afternoon Acting CEO of the Corporation Nicola Goren issued this announcement:

While a record snowstorm has quieted much of official Washington this week, we have exciting news to share: the Senate today unanimously confirmed Patrick Corvington as the next CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Patrick has devoted his career to helping people in need and building the capacity of organizations to solve problems.  He brings strong leadership skills and extensive knowledge of key issues facing the nonprofit sector, shaped by a wide-ranging series of positions including Senior Associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Executive Director of Innovation Network, policy researcher at The Urban Institute, a case manager for migrant workers, an advocate for adjudicated youth, a director of a group shelter home, and a patient advocate in a community-based HIV/AIDS clinic.

Patrick’s first-hand work in and with communities, his research and evaluation experience, and his knowledge of the nonprofit sector will help the Corporation and the larger national service field achieve higher levels of impact, innovation, and effectiveness.  He is committed to advancing and expanding national service through a strong focus on governance, management, diversity and streamlined operations.

The next official step is for President Obama to sign Patrick’s appointment.  We will let you know when that occurs, and when Patrick begins his service.  Please see the press release below, and join me in welcoming Patrick at this exciting time for the Corporation and the larger service movement.

A Chance (Every Day) to Vote for ServeNext, Atlas Corps, and other Groups

ServeNext— the organization whose mission is to expand opportunities in voluntary service as a way to address social ills and strengthen democracy— is participating in this month’s Pepsi Refresh Project.

So is Atlas Corps, the international service corps with the online contest Midas Touch.

And you can vote for them both every day in February.

While online contests to benefit nonprofits have been questioned recently (especially the recent Chase Giving contest, which my organization Idealist took part in and won money from), the Pepsi contest is ostensibly trying to do something Continue reading

Blue Engine Launches this Week — a New Corps for NYC Schools

This week a new national service corps launches its website and application process. Blue Engine, based in New York City, aims to recruit a corps of about a dozen fellows to facilitate daily, differentiated, small-group instruction for high school freshmen.

Nick Ehrmann—Blue Engine’s engine and a Teach For America alum—says that we know how to get high-needs kids into college, or getting them “college eligible” — nonprofits and schools have been targeting and tackling hurdles like high school completion, college admissions, and financial assistance.

But, while the high school drop-out problem is far from solved, groups are paying far less attention to college completion rates for high-needs kids, or “college readiness.”

Blue Engine aims to close the gap between college eligibility and college readiness. Watch the video that explains:

A startling statistic: for every 100 kids from low-income families who make it into college, only 15 end up graduating Continue reading

Global Volunteering Fairs Hit the East Coast this Week

Maybe you’ve been thinking about volunteering abroad, but aren’t sure how to go about it. Where should you go? How long can you afford to stay? What is volunteering abroad really like? How can you be sure you’ll contribute to a meaningful and positive impact?

If you live in New York City, Philadelphia, or Washington, DC, join us next week at one of our 2010 Global Volunteering Fairs where you can chat with representatives from international volunteerism organizations with volunteer projects in communities around the globe.

Here are the details for each city. Click the links to learn more and to register for these free events:

  • New York: Monday, February 1 at Barnard College, 6-9pm
  • Philadelphia: Wednesday, February 3 at the University of Pennsylvania, 5-8pm
  • Washington, DC: Thursday, February 4 at Google, 6-9 pm

This is a great opportunity to learn more about your options for volunteering in another country as well as get answers to some of those lingering questions you’ve had about volunteering abroad. In addition, you can attend free workshops on topics like the basics of international service and strategies for making volunteering abroad more affordable.

Not in New York, Philadelphia, or Washington*? No problem. You can check out Idealist’s free, comprehensive International Volunteerism Resource Center for information, tools, and strategies for exploring, researching, and preparing for international service (plus some resources for those who have recently returned from volunteering abroad.)

* Note: if you’re in Chicago or Los Angeles, you’re in luck; we’re hosting Global Volunteering Fairs in your cities on February 22nd and 25th, respectively. See you then!