One of my main goals for 2015 was to find a charity or two that I feel really passionate about. And at almost 25 (shudder), I finally feel like I’m financially in a place where some of each paycheck can go to a worthy cause.
Well guys, I think I’ve found my charities – three, in fact! Drum roll please…
Image: First Book Blog
1. First Book
According to a study conducted in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can’t read. That’s 14% of the population. Whaaat?! I was originally introduced to First Book through my college sorority, and have since fallen even more in love with it. First Book is “determined to see that all children, regardless of their economic conditions, can achieve more in school and in life through access to an ongoing supply of new books.” I am a total bookworm, and my favorite childhood stories still fill me with warmth when I think about them. I couldn’t imagine growing up without Amelia Bedelia and her crazy antics, Strega Nona’s magic pasta pot, or the friendship of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I want every child to experience the magic of books that I did, and have access to the same education that so many of us were afforded. You can find out how to get involved here.
Image: Jeffrey Smith
2. Girls On The Run
I was also introduced to Girls On The Run through my sorority. If you haven’t guessed this already, I am ALL ABOUT empowering young girls. They’re our future, after all! In short, GOTR envisions “a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.” GOTR girls meet twice a week in small teams of 8-20 girls, and they’re taught life skills through interactive lessons and running games. At the end of each session, the girls and their running buddies complete a 5k (which makes them feel like badasses). I’ve volunteered as a Running Buddy before, and it’s so heartwarming to see these kids’ faces when they finish the race. They are SO proud of themselves and you just know that they can do anything they set their minds to! How awesome is this organization?! P.S. If you have a little girl or know someone who does, there are chapters ALL over the country. Learn how to get involved here.
3. St. Jude
St. Jude’s mission is to “advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.” The best part? “No child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.” I’ll sum it up for you: these people give FREE medical treatment to kids with cancer and other terrible health conditions. The majority of their funding comes from individual contributions from people like you and me. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this incredible organization, and really encourage you to get involved. Help kids beat cancer here.
Don’t have money to give? That’s okay! VolunteerMatch.org matches good people with good causes. You can find one-time or reoccurring volunteer opportunities that fit your schedule and your skill set!
Giving back doesn’t just benefit the organization you’re working for – it makes you feel good, too. I promise.