I tried something different today. Last week, when I asked for help to line up a day of volunteering, my friend Laurie told me about an online site that allows you to find organizations in need of assistance that can be performed on your computer. The tasks cover a range of needs: fundraising, web design, research, translation, transcription, marketing, etc. This isn't exactly what I had in mind when I started Project Advent, but it was something unique and interesting enough that I wanted to try it out.
The specific site that Laurie told me about was the UN Volunteers site. It had some interesting projects, most of which required some kind of lead time and ongoing commitment. That made it a little bit hard to find opportunities that could be performed in an hour. I signed up to help with some website redevelopment for the Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation, and looked elsewhere.
What I found was a site called Sparked. After you set up a profile, it asks you to select what sorts of causes are most interesting to you, and what kind of skills you have to contribute, and then suggests possible matches. I won't bore you with all the details, but during my lunchtime today I found three different matches that I was able to give some help to within the space of an hour - a school district needing help with their database management, an environmental lobbyists group having trouble with their email server, and website testing for a Cambodian children's charity.
This was fun! There were many project needs that would require some more commitment than what I had time to give today, but I may come back to this and find some other groups to help out sometime. I think it would be something I may pick up if I was bored at home on a weekend or something, because the experience just isn't the same as showing up someplace, meeting people, and doing a service for them. Part of what's made this project so rewarding has been the relationships with people, and that's just not something you can get from your laptop.
Gratitude Project: This is kind of a silly one today, but it's something that I felt strongly grateful for this morning, so I'm sharing it. I'm thankful for Jack's big, smooshy cheeks. He's nearly three, but he's still got that wonderful baby fat face that you can just kiss all day long.