The JoeVolunteer CHALLENGE...
“…That’s why I’m so passionate about families making volunteering together a regular part of their lives. I dream of a day when families look at their weekend plans and say, What are we going to do this weekend—are we going to shop, see a movie, volunteer? A day when volunteering is just a natural thing—not something exceptional or something that makes us feel particularly noble. Just something that we do. Something that connects us with one another. It is the only way we, as individuals, will ultimately make a real difference in the lives of millions of children who are homeless, hungry, or living in inner cities where random violence is a daily occurrence.” —Arianna Huffington
“Do you need more volunteers?"
I asked that question three separate times today—and got three vigorous head nods…the answer was always an emphatic, “Yes."
Today, my 11-year old daughter Aly and I took the JoeVol Challenge—and it was one of the coolest, most profound things we’ve ever done. Actually, it was one of the weirdest, wildest, most memorable days of my entire 43 years of life…filled with realization, some tears, and even a car wreck (author’s note: I don’t recommend that part! But everyone’s fine, btw). We hope, after learning a little more about this, that you’ll decide to take the challenge, too.
First, to understand what the JoeVol Challenge is, you need to understand what JoeVolunteer.com is—and the best way to explain what it will be is to call it an Uber for Volunteers. What it is right now is a mind-set and a sincere desire to help others. Here’s a quick video to give you an idea of what we’re doing--it takes about 3 and half minutes, but it’s well worth your time if you’re the type of person that’s already reading this article.
You see, here’s the thing. We think a LOT of people really want to volunteer. We all want to make a difference by serving others…but it’s sometimes difficult to do it.
Where do I get started? Do I need training? Where would be the best place to volunteer? How much time is it really going to take—and do I have that time? Would it be awkward to stop if I couldn’t do it anymore?
We think a LOT more people would volunteer—and literally millions of people would be helped--if some of those questions could be answered. The other thing is just being able to act immediately when the urge to serve is on our mind. Let’s say you have a Saturday free, and you want to help someone. It’s a little bit daunting to know where and when to get started…and that keeps most everyone from actually GETTING STARTED.
Well, that’s what JoeVolunteer is wanting to do. We’ve got a B.H.A.G. (um…that’s a Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal) to increase Volunteerism by ten fold across the whole flippin’world.
We’re going to do it by starting a movement that shows folks how they can make a difference, and pretty soon—we’ll have a kick-buttocks tool, The JoeVol App, that will make it simpler than ever to be of service to your fellow human beings (and our furry friends, too).
Okay. You’re still reading this—and that generally means that you’re a cool person with a heart of gold. YAAAAY, you. We already dig you. If you’re interested in getting involved, it’s an easy thing to do to take the JoeVolunteer Challenge:
1. First, become a Joe! Go to http://www.joevolunteer.com/beajoe/ and put in your info. It says it there, but we’ll never sell your info, SPAM you, or otherwise use it for any scummy purposes. We’re a Volunteer group, for crying out loud…that would be rotten, but our Moms raised us right…so give us the info, please.
2. When you do that, you’ll start to get some of our info—and one of the first things you’ll see is the JoeVolunteer Challenge. Here’s what it is: you’re going to find worthwhile places in your area that need volunteer help…and you’re going to get them signed up on JoeVolunteer as an organization. We need the standard stuff…name of the place, the physical address, the website, what they do to help others—and the REAL important one, the name and actual phone number of the person to contact to help (this helps get them ready for the volunteers, too).
3. Use this opportunity to see what goes on in each of the places. Ask questions. See how our Joes can best be of service…and help them get that info onto the website (and, as soon as it’s finished, the App). What organization really speaks to you? Where do you think you’d want to spend your time? This is a GREAT way to see if any of the places you visit or learn about really pulls at your heart strings…if it does, well now you know how to volunteer at this place.
That’s it. That’s the JoeVol Challenge.
The JoeVol Challenge we took today was an incredible experience—and we hope this doesn’t come across as bragging about how noble we are or anything, because that’s not what we’re trying to do, and we don’t really feel that way (well, maybe we feel just a little noble, but we’re still not trying to brag). We went to The Austin Frontsteps.org (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless); the Salvation Army; and the Austin Humane Society.
We were able to see what the organizations did, and we got to ask questions about where they need help. ***As a funny side note: the Humane Society needs help doing, “Cat Socializers,” where you get cats to play nice together. I just found that hilarious. End of side note.***
It was eye-opening to see, up close and personal, how the homeless live, and what’s already being done to help them. My daughter sleeps tonight with a renewed understanding of how blessed we are in our everyday lives. We were also able to meet and actually help a homeless person—the details will remain private—but it’s something that made a big difference in all of our lives, and that’s not hyperbole (exaggeration, for those not wanting to look it up…it’s one of my daughter’s words). We’d recommend doing this to anyone.
So, what do you say? Are you ready to make a difference? If so, we invite you to step right up and take the JoeVol Challenge and help us all put a dent in the freaking universe.