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Archive for December, 2007

International Volunteer Day: What Are YOU Doing on December 5th?

Posted on December 4th, 2007 by Corine in international relief, volunteerism 0 Comments

ivd_badge.jpgInternational Volunteer Day (IVD) is an internationally observed day of thanks to the thousands of volunteers around the world actively working to implement social change in whichever form they might choose to take. Adopted and designated by the United Nations in 1985, IVD offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to raise awareness for their efforts at local, national and international levels. Over the years, December 5 has been celebrated with rallies, parades, community volunteer projects, environmental awareness campaigns, free medical care and advocacy campaigns. It’s a shame really that volunteerism is only recognized on an international scale one-day per year, as encouraging more people to contribute to the welfare of society as a whole should be an on-going task, with daily reminders 365 days-a-year.

Simple things to do to raise awareness for IVD might include:

  • Conducting a ‘time-donation’ campaign in the workplace through which people pledge community service hours to specific projects
  • Building roads, community centers or playgrounds using both donated materials and volunteer labor
  • Helping companies identify corporate volunteer programs
  • Initiating a community recognition award or certificate program to recognize outstanding individual volunteers or organizations
  • Making a list of all the services which wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for volunteers and then go to the Points Of Light & Hands On Network website to find available volunteer opportunities nearby
  • Writing a blog and including photos from across the other side of the world to see this program at work in the field – that would be what I’m doing. I was in the Laotian city of Luang Prabang last week and saw the following banner as proof that this initiative is, in fact, active in relatively obscure areas.


More recently, the focus of IVD has shifted largely to monitoring and achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals established at the Millennium Summit in September 2000, wherein the largest gathering of world leaders in history adopted the UN Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets, with a deadline of 2015. To manage the massive effort required in meeting these goals, United Nations Volunteers launched a global Internet volunteer resource network on December 5, 2002 that has since become the worldwide focal point for the IVD campaign. For information about volunteer activities across the globe, please visit

What Are The 8 Millennium Development Goals?

The Millennium Development Goals are a concise set of goals, numerical targets and quantifiable indicators to assess progress in development. The set includes 8 goals, 18 targets and over 40 indicators.

Click on each of the MDG icons to read how volunteers are contributing to achievement of the related goal.

1.gifMDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
More than a billion people still live on less than US$1 a day: sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and parts of Europe and Central Asia are falling short of the poverty target.
Target for 2015:

  • Halve the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and those who suffer from hunger.

Read about the role of volunteers

2.gifMDG 2: Achieve universal primary education
As many as 113 million children do not attend school, but the target is within reach. India, for example, should have 95 percent of its children in school by 2005.
Target for 2015:

  • Ensure that all boys and girls complete primary school.

Read about the role of volunteers

3.gifMDG 3: Promote gender equality & empower women
Two-thirds of illiterates are women, and the rate of employment among women is two-thirds that of men. The proportion of seats in parliaments held by women is increasing, reaching about one third in Argentina, Mozambique and South Africa.
Targets for 2005 and 2015:

  • Eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015.

Read about the role of volunteers

4.gifMDG 4: Reduce child mortality
Every year nearly 11 million young children die before their fifth birthday, mainly from preventable illnesses, but that number is down from 15 million in 1980.
Target for 2015:

  • Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five

Read about the role of volunteers

5.gifMDG 5: Improve maternal health
In the developing world, the risk of dying in childbirth is one in 48, but virtually all countries now have safe motherhood programs.
Target for 2015:

  • Reduce by three-quarters the ratio of women dying in childbirth.

Read about the role of volunteers

6.gifMDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Forty million people are living with HIV, including five million newly infected in 2001. Countries like Brazil, Senegal, Thailand and Uganda have shown that the spread of HIV can be stemmed.
Target for 2015:

  • Halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

Read about the role of volunteers

7.gifMDG 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
More than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water and more than two billion lack sanitation. During the 1990s, however, nearly one billion people gained access to safe water and the same number to sanitation.
Targets for 2015:

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources.
  • By 2015: reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water.
  • By 2020: achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.

Read about the role of volunteers

8.gifMDG 8: Develop a global partnership for development
Many developing countries spend more on debt service than on social services. New aid commitments made in the first half of 2002 could mean an additional $12 billion per year by 2006.
Targets for 2015:

  • Develop further an open trading and financial system that includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction – nationally and internationally
  • Address the least developed countries’ special needs, and the special needs of landlocked and small-island developing States
  • Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt problems
  • Develop decent and productive work for youth
  • In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
  • In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies – especially information and communications technologies.

Read about the role of volunteers

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People Who Care – Sergeant Harvey Walden

Posted on December 1st, 2007 by Corine in health + human services, people who care, volunteerism 1 Comment

There’s no doubt about it – the holidays are upon us and we’re well on our way to counting down to the New Year that lies just ahead. In keeping with the spirit of the season we’d like to welcome Sergeant Harvey Walden to our December People Who Care section. Most of you will know him best as the fitness instructor on VH1’s wildly popular CELEBRITY FIT CLUB. With DVD’s and workout merchandise available to help work off those inevitable extra holiday pounds, he’s also recently released a new book ‘HARVEY WALDEN’S NO EXCUSES FITNESS WORKOUT’ in which he shares his boot-camp routines for a healthier and more active lifestyle year-round. What you may not know about Sergeant Walden is that, since 1989, he’s been a strong supporter of the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation — and that’s why we’re honoring his favorite charity by making it our default beneficiary throughout the month.

After serving for more than 20 years in the US Marine Corps, Harvey retired from active duty in June 2007. During his career he was actively involved with and become a big supporter of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Since it’s inception in 1947, the Toys for Tots program has grown steadily year over year becoming one of the most successful and widely known toy drives in the nation. It finally received its Foundation status in 1991 and was approved as an official activity of the US Marine Corps and an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve by the Secretary of Defense in 1995. Since that time, this charitable endeavor has made the US Marines the unchallenged leaders in looking after children of all ages at Christmas. While poverty and homelessness continue to be serious challenges both domestically and abroad, Toys For Tots grandly embraces the spirit of giving for millions of needy children. In 2006 alone, more than 19.2 million toys were collected and distributed to 7.6 million children in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. While drop-off locations are readily available in hundreds of communities from coast to coast, recent exposure by the press concerning toys produced with lead paint and other toxic materials has made the public wary of which toys to give and has put a damper on the number of toys currently being collected. With that in mind, please know that cash donations are also greatly appreciated in order to ensure the program’s continued success.

At, we wholly support the efforts of Toys For Tots and proudly feature their long-time partner, Toys R Us on our Retail Top-40 Page. Because Toys For Tots is our default beneficiary through the month of December, we encourage anyone shopping for toys of any sort to start here. Any and all purchases made through our online mall will help raise the additional funds needed by the Marine Corps to continue their tradition of giving.

And while POINTS OF LIGHT & HANDS ON NETWORK are no longer our featured nonprofit beneficiary, it certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t need volunteer help now and throughout the months to come. If you missed last month’s PEOPLE WHO CARE feature with Nicole Forrester and Robert Newman from television’s GUIDING LIGHT, please take a look at their archived interview. We hope that we’re correct in believing that the holidays tend to bring out the spirit of generosity in most of us and that sharing time with those less fortunate is a great gift indeed.We’ve got lots more to share in the coming days – watch for our blog highlighting International Volunteer Day on December 5, our updated and expansive guide to Green Shopping and meet some of our new nonprofit partners.

Toys For Tots

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