Huffington on Volunteering
By Arianna Huffington
At graduation ceremonies all across the country this spring, commencement speakers extolled the importance of service. Noble sentiments for sure, but nothing new. Similar words are spoken every year.
But there is something different this time around. This time it feels like the soaring rhetoric could actually be matched by boots-on-the-ground action. This time it feels like making service a part of our daily lives—in a way that can transform our communities and ourselves— may actually happen. Already a group of individuals from the worlds of technology, marketing, academia and public service—all inspired by President Obama’s vow to make service “a central cause” of his presidency—have banded together to create a new website that aims to become a Craigslist for service. It’s called All for Good.
The site, which is still in its infancy, brings together listings from a variety of service organizations to help people from across the country connect to volunteering opportunities in their areas.
Since the site has been built in part by Google engineers, the power of search is being applied to service and volunteerism like never before. And with Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect built into it from the start, All for Good is using the backbone of social networking to help people connect and find service opportunities that fit their specific talents and aspirations.
All for Good is also structured to remind us of the countless creative and outside-the-box ways we can serve. A perfect example of this is the growing number of laid-off lawyers and accountants offering their services to people facing foreclosure or bankruptcy.
In January—on the eve of Obama’s inauguration—I wrote [on my website, The Huffington Post], “Barack Obama is not the only one being inaugurated on January 20. We all are. Now more than ever we must mine the most underutilized resource available to us: ourselves.”
The All for Good volunteers have taken that notion to heart—and we are all the better for it. Check out the site, and sign up to serve. Visit allforgood.org
PHOTOGRAPH BY J. KOHEN