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.

Tobey Maguire and Other Celebrities Honor 9/11 with Service

Tobey Maguire, sigh<br>Chair of the ServiceNation Ambassador's program

Tobey Maguire, sigh -- leader of ServiceNation's Ambassadors

Today Service Nation launched its celebrity Ambassadors program, engaging famous people in service projects as a way of highlighting the new day of service and inspiring the public to get involved proactively in building stronger communities.

Guided by an Ambassador’s Council — and led by actor Tobey Maguire — other celebrities who’ve participated in community service events today include other actors: Cameron Diaz in Boston, Anne Hathaway in Los Angeles, Oscar de la Hoya in Los Angeles, and Anna Sophia Robb in her hometown Denver.

Another initiative Service Nation has spearheaded this week included a Mayors Meeting in New York yesterday — convened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Hands On Network, AARP, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The two dozen mayors from around the country came together to announce their commitments to the Cities of Service campaign, following in Mayor Bloomberg’s footsteps to highlight and support civic service in their cities.

Finally, Service Nation is hosting an event tonight in New York City at the Beacon Theatre where Secretary of State Clinton will keynote, and many other public leaders and entertainment industry stars will speak and perform.

Idealist’s Joanne Eng is on the ground at that event and will be bringing back a full report for us in the coming days.