HBO’s The Newsroom starts with a diatribe: Jeff Daniels’ character, an apolitical news anchor, describes today’s young adults as “the worst, period; generation, period; ever, period.” Why? Apathy. “Many Boomers view Millennials to be lazy, disrespectful and self-absorbed. Meanwhile, Millennials seem to become easily frustrated with the closed-mindedness of the seniors,” say the Young Nonprofit Professionals of Detroit.
But are Millennials really apathetic? No:
“Renewed interest in public service is visible across the country. Applications for AmeriCorps positions have nearly tripled to 258,829 in 2010 from 91,399 in 2008. The number of applicants for Teach for America climbed 32 percent last year, to a record 46,359. Organizations like Harvard’s Center for Public Interest Careers have been overwhelmed — and overjoyed — with the swelling demand from talented 20-somethings.” New York Times
It seems graduating in tough economic times has increased Millennials’ incentives to take altruistic, nonprofit jobs. After all, if high paying jobs are few and far between, why not take a job that pays poorly but does good? However, to compete in an environment like this, we’ve become aggressively ambitious and pragmatic—things Baby Boomers may confuse with self-centeredness and apathy.
Closing the Generation gap with volunteer work:
We can do one better than just working for a non-profit–we can volunteer. Volunteer work is the most effective way to show Baby Boomers that we care. Millennials should pick a cause we care about, sacrifice our limited time as a student, and work for free alongside the older generations. We are also well positioned for this kind of work. After all, most of us are only responsible for ourselves and can devote more of our free time to a cause. As I mentioned in previous blog entries, we could use the work experience involved with volunteer work as well.
Baby Boomers need Millennials as much as Millenials need Baby Boomers:
We are keyed into the Internet in a way Baby Boomers are not. We can make word spread more quickly and more effectively than they can. If we can connect the Baby Boomer experience with Millenial speed, positive change is inevitable. Millenials: it’s your duty to connect, so volunteer.


Posted: July 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

What an informative article! If you are interested in promoting literacy in Detroit, why not volunteer with a literacy organization?


ImageWhen I was a toddler, the most exciting part of the day was my grandmother reading my favorite stories to me. I sat in her lap, my head pressed against her chest, listening to the words vibrate in her chest as she recited them. It was a ritual. I would pick up one of my favorites, usually either “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street” or “Are You My Mother?”. I would hold the book up to her and ask her to read it. My grandmother would do a fake eye roll and a sigh to suggest she’s had enough of Marco’s and the hatchling’s adventures. I would return her gesture with a laugh and hop on up into her lap and listen to her animated storytelling. These intimate moments sparked a deep love of reading for me and gave me a head start on developing the skill…

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Posted: July 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
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This is interesting. I think I’ll do my next blog post on Millenials.

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network

According to a recent New York Times article, Millennials are increasingly seeking employment with the nonprofit sector. Applications for AmeriCorps positions have almost tripled (91,399 in 2008 to 258,829 in 2010), and the number of applicants for Teach for America climbed 32% last year to a record 46,359. This is certainly exciting news for the sector and speaks to the potential of the Young Nonprofit Professional Network – both nationally and here in Detroit – to start a movement advancing social change.

There is a challenge inherent to this groundswell of interest by Millennials, though: Are nonprofits ready for them? I’m sure that every YNPN Detroit member has run across instances where the generation gap has posed a significant challenge. After all, many Boomers view Millennials to be lazy, disrespectful and self-absorbed. Meanwhile, Millennials seem to become easily frustrated with the close-mindedness of the seniors of the field.  For…

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Should the state government tear down houses near Detroit schools? What do you think?

CBS Detroit

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he welcomes Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to help stabilize Detroit neighborhoods near city schools.

“Finally the state is now coming around understanding what needs to be done in Detroit,” Bing told reporters Friday. “We don’t have enough funding to do all that needs to be done, but they’re gonna come and help us.”

The governor’s office says the state is working on a plan to help tear down vacant homes and other blighted buildings in Detroit and make the paths to and from city schools safer for students.  The plan will reportedly include fixing street lights and sending in State Police to help fight crime.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said Friday that the plan is a “work in progress” and specifics are expected to be announced later.  She said the state is working with Detroit Public Schools, the city and the private…

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24 Opportunities for 9 Types of People

1. For Outdoors-y People:
Volunteer work does not have to be a chore for you—it’s a chance to smell the trees, plants, and possibly the sweet stench of fertilizer. Volunteer opportunities can take you to national parks, urban farms, and anywhere in between. Check out a few of these:

2. For Young People:
Work experience and skills are more than just a priority for you nowadays–they’re  a necessity. Lucky for you, volunteer work can provide work experience and even a chance at leadership and management. Volunteer organizations love young people because they are eager, energetic, and often have more time to devote. As a result, there is a plethora of teen/young adult-centered volunteer programs (even internships) open, although you are likely to be successful in more adult-centered organizations. Also lucky for you, you can do much of your work during the summer, granting you incredible flexibility and opportunity to advance. Here are a few opportunities:

3. For the Nurturing:
Are you people-centered? Do you want to watch those you help develop and succeed? For those looking for the one-on-one experience (or enthralled with education), why not mentor or teach? You’re more likely to see your life-changing effects by becoming a role model, guiding youth into adulthood, or teaching reading skills. Feel good fulfilling huge educational needs for children, teens, and adults:

4. For Sports-fanatics:
Looking for a great seat or a chance to be close to your favorite team? Volunteer work can take you there. Sports events often require hoards of volunteers to run smoothly, which usually gets you free tickets, and other cool perks. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to find these opportunities, but luckily, those looking to teach and do sports have opportunities to mentor students:

5. For the Creative:
Work can leave you feeling creatively unfulfilled. Some of us feel the urge, the creative pull– to make something! Build Something! Volunteer! The tighter school budgets become, the greater need for non-profit art programs becomes. Help with an art museum, volunteer as a blogger, or if you are interested in more practical building skills, why not volunteer in an organization that teaches you carpentry skills building houses?

6. Long Term:
Mostly for young adults, these programs last for several months to a year. They often grant stipends, or offer prestigious work experience—perfect for those looking to take a gap year after high school or college.

7. For the Activists
The presidential election is nearing, and you live in a swing state! Now is the perfect time to pick a side and go with it (and by go with it, I mean volunteer). Political campaigns often give you chances to quickly move up the ranks, giving young (and mature) adults leadership opportunities.

8. For the Medically-minded:
The baby-boomers are aging, leaving the US with a great demand for healthcare workers. If you are looking to break in to this segment, you can get your start in a hospital eager for volunteers. This also gives you the chance to gain that extra fuzzy feeling caused by working one-on-one.

9. For the Global Citizens:
Volunteering is the easiest way to get involved with the international community. It’s also one of the easiest ways to learn about a different culture. How? Get involved with a youth exchange program, or even host an exchange student. Because the US is one of the most popular exchange year destinations, most programs are facing a shortage of host families:

Why Volunteer?

At one time or another we’ve all had a friend, family member or teacher tell us to volunteer. Beyond the obvious altruistic reasons, we can all benefit from a little volunteer work. Here’s why:

1. Improve your work skills

In an economy like this, some of us may be out of work. Others may fear job loss. Young people like me may have trouble finding paying work at all. Unfortunately, when you are out of the working world, job competition is tough. Volunteering can be the perfect way to keep up those working skills, or learn new ones.  For those who lack experience, volunteer work is an easy way to gain it.

2. Take a hobby to the next level

Do you crave creative coding? Do you garden so much that there is no longer room in backyard? Do you write so much that blank word documents make you giddy? How about cooking, painting, building, and mentoring? Volunteer organizations are aching for people with hobbies like these.  Build and paint with Habitat for Humanity. Cook and serve with a soup kitchen.  Mentor with Big Brother/Big Sister.  Those with green thumbs may be able to help Mercyworks and Eden Urban Farms. As a busy student, I often put my hobbies (like writing) off to finish homework and projects. Volunteering gives me the push to explore my writing.

3. The perks of no pay

Last spring I volunteered as ball person for the Sarasota Tennis Open. After a day of training, I was given the best seats on the court—literally! HD TVs may make you feel like you are part of the action, but being a ball person actually puts you in the middle of it. After a day of work with the Plymouth Rotary Chicken Barbeque, I’d gobble up my hot, moist, (and free) chicken dinner. Other organizations give you the chance to mingle with important people, eat free meals, or gain special access to events. Because you aren’t getting paid, the organization will try their best to make your volunteer experience extra pleasant.

4. Great People

Those who run volunteer organizations are gracious, thankful for any help they can get. As a result, they tend to be tolerant, friendly people—the kind anyone would want as friends. You’ll also meet other volunteers, who tend to be just as friendly. Who wouldn’t want to know the type of person who gives up their weekends for a good cause? Volunteering can be a great opportunity to make friends, network, or even find love

5. Put a mark on your community

I realize this reason is probably one you have heard before. However, it’s probably more important than you realize. Volunteering creates a sense of community. A community that volunteers together is more invested in its success;, treats its neighbors as friends, not threat;, and therefore is a more pleasant, safer community. The urbanist Jane Jacobs explains the idea in “The Uses of Sidewalks.” Don’t you want be part of a better community?