Volunteers

In the midst of the chaos of the holiday season, sometimes the real meaning of the season can be forgotten. Giving Tuesday aims to change that.

Held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is an international movement that works to “encourage people to do good,” according to the website. Started in 2012, the movement connects those who want to donate time, talent or treasure with local charities and nonprofits looking for people like them. If you’re in the giving spirit, there are plenty of opportunities to do so Dec. 3. 

If you love to read, consider volunteering for the ReadUP program through United Way of Central Indiana. Volunteers can sign up to mentor third grade students in Central Indiana. While United Way of Central Indiana typically looks for volunteers for this program at the beginning of the school year, volunteers can sign up at any time.

If your schedule doesn’t allow time for reading during the day, donations are accepted as the program is funded solely through donations.

“All the proceeds from our Giving Tuesday campaign will go directly into stocking our ReadUP library,” United Way of Central Indiana public relations manager Jennifer Hashem said. The ReadUP program has partnered students from around 40 schools in 15 districts with a reading mentor for 13 years.

“Volunteers can come in at designated times and have students read to them,” Hashem said. “The mentors are responsible for asking them questions to make sure the student understands what they’re reading.”

Opportunities also exist to help adult learners. Martin University needs monetary donations to enhance technology and offer full-tuition student scholarships.

“Giving Tuesday will kick off a week-long campaign,” Gayle Spicer said. Like many organizations, Martin University will rely heavily on social media and the internet to raise funds. “We will have a special page on our website that will include a Give-a-Thon on Dec. 7,” Spicer said. “We’ll be reaching out to all our current donors and prospective donors.”

Martin University hopes to raise at least $100,000 through the campaign, “Challenging Minds and Changing Lives.” In addition to student scholarships, university officials want to offer online classes and online registration to students. 

While Giving Tuesday encourages citizens to engage in their communities via monetary donations, time is just as valuable, said Kim Teague of the Indianapolis Urban League. 

“Giving Tuesday is also a platform to donate time,” Teague said. “We have mentoring programs in Ben Davis High School, George Washington High School, Thomas Carr Howe High School, Warren Central and the Renaissance School.” 

Any money donated to the Indianapolis Urban League on Giving Tuesday will be used for the holiday assistance program, Teague added.

“They [families] can get help with rent, utilities, food and gifts for children,” she said. “We’re giving families food cards and gift cards for children 13 and under.”

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