giving back

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Mary Jane Ward is receiving a very special present on her 55th birthday — a graduation certificate from Together We Bake (TWB), a nonprofit that teaches life and culinary skills to women who need a second chance. Once homeless and despondent over her future, Ward is excited to see where her new skills in baking, food safety and customer service, along with her ServSafe certification, will take her.
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I had the honor of speaking at the AARP North Carolina State Office Multicultural Outreach Awards Dinner on May 21 at the historic International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C. The event celebrated the contributions of six organizations that are giving “the most” to improve the quality of life for North Carolinians.
computer training
For me, beautiful fall Saturday mornings are meant for open air markets, bike rides and hikes. For Abed Commey, 55, they mean teaching computer skills to female ex-offenders at Friends of Guest House. FOGH is a nonprofit that helps women transition from incarceration back into the community by giving them temporary housing, vocational training, counseling and long-term support.
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AARP is pleased to celebrate National Volunteer Week, an annual opportunity to step back and recognize the hardworking volunteers who dedicate their time, talents and passions to improving every corner of this great nation. While it's easy to get caught up in statistics - more than 60 million volunteers, more than 7 billion hours of service - it's the "good" behind those numbers that is truly awesome.
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Simple is better, many people say. Sarah LaFave certainly took a simple idea and transformed it into something that makes life better for lots of folks. She connects energetic college students with people who are chronically ill and need help with everyday chores.
Volunteer works the soil
For my avid followers (are you out there?), you may recall that I previously described my trials during Super Storm (why can't we all just call it a Hurricane) Sandy, and the random (or not so random) acts of kindness I experienced. In the research world we call this "informal" volunteering: people helping out neighbors. It seems a lot of folks help out in this informal way in addition to volunteering for organizations or charitable groups. AARP recently released a report on Civic Engagement that highlights the many ways Americans age 50 and older are engaged in their communities. In fact, equal numbers of those we surveyed volunteer more informally by helping in their communities as volunteer through an organization.
This is the last in a series of profiles of New York area residents whose worlds were upended by Superstorm Sandy and the people who responded to help them.
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It's Friday Everybody! Jenn here from the Illinois communications team blogging this week on some of our awe-inspiring volunteers. 
Collector Linda Kaufman at the National Gallery of Art
Linda Kaufman, and her late husband George Kaufman grew up in Norfolk, Va. So did their parents. The Kaufmans developed a passion for collecting early American furniture of the 18th and early 19th centuries, much of which she has promised to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Nolan Harrison coaches the kids during NFLPA Former Players Fitness Challenge
Of all the things that we get to do as former players in giving back to the community, in my opinion, the most fun is  giving time to the local community children. Last weekend, the NFLPA former players, as part of the NFLPA One Team One Community initiative, visited Monroe Elementary School in Oak Brook Illinois  for a day of fitness, fun, and football. The mission of the One Team One Community initiative is to improve the quality of life of the communities that support our players by encouraging healthy lifestyles, positive choices, teamwork and commitment to service.
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