Christine Guardia, who is the Cause Cultivator for KooDooZ Corporation, co-authored this blog entry with me:

Having the ability to positively impact our world and the people in it is powerful – and volunteerism is key. A grassroots engagement of friends & family in support of a charity or a cause can have impact like no other effort.

Those of us focused in this sector know that the economic riptides have cut program managers from non-profit budgets at a time when demand for more volunteers is growing.

I can think of 80-million people who are willing and able to help right now – our Millennial kids (born 1982-2003) — is a generation of young people who are civic-minded, success-driven, and environmentally conscious. Let’s take the charge!

Kids take their cues from people who are a part of their world – namely their parents, teachers, coaches, religious leaders and their friends. Youth blessed with role-models who volunteer are nearly twice as likely to volunteer than kids without philanthropic counterparts (Corporation for National and Community Service, November 2005).

KooDooZ strongly advocates for a higher engagement of volunteerism in a child’s life. Not only does it go hand-in-hand with what the Edu2.0 thought-leaders are saying, it statistically increases scholastic progress.

Sadly, less than a quarter of public K-12 schools have service-learning activities (Corporation for National and Community Service, November 2008). On the other hand, most of our high schools do require volunteerism hours to graduate, but this effort seems to be one step forward and two steps backwars since 16-to-24 year olds had the lowest volunteer participation rate (21.9%) in our country.

But there is hope.

Dub it the “Obama Effect” if you’d like, the fact that we had the largest volunteerism engagement in 14 years, earmarked by the 162% increase of volunteer projects on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day speaks well to this point (see the Corporation for National and Community Service report).

It is very telling that corporations across the country have become bigger influencers via their cause marketing campaigns and their willingness to provide project funding and allowing employees to take time off to volunteer.

We would like to take this moment to profile some examples of 2009 campaigns aimed to help America:

HUNGER RELIEF:

  1. Feeding America partners with both Campbell’s V8 on the “Make Every Serving Count” campaign and General Mills and The Biggest Loser on the “Pound For Pound Challenge
  2. To address childhood hunger, Share Our Strength partners with AT&T on “Operation No Kid Hungry” and Ferrero on “Share Something Sweet

EDUCATION:

  1. Kohl’s Corporation benefits kids across the nation with their Cares for Kids program
  2. Colgate-Palmolive celebrates the joy of reading with itsHealthy Bedtime Habits program

ACTIVISM & ENGAGEMENT:

  1. Starbucks earned the pledge of 1.2 million volunteer hours so far via their

I’m In web page

  • In honor of the inauguration, Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops sold “Yes Pecan!” ice cream during the month of January and donated the proceeds to the Common Cause Education Fund
  • Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes “Get Your Stripes” campaign
  • Pedigree Dog Food is sponsoring pet meal donations in addition to their “New Leashes on Life campaign, which advocates for adopting dogs from a shelter.
  • We now have an opportunity to show kids how they can help turn our nation’s challenges into achievements, such as by volunteering at a food bank, mentoring younger students or donating food, clothes, toys and books. If you and your kids (11-15 yrs) would like to be part of the KooDooZ private beta program, send an email to info@KooDooZ.com.


    Says Christine: I consider my work here so important because KooDooZ aims to engage kids and families in activism 2.0

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