4 the World blog

Empowering collaborative communities

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President Obama honors volunteers for their service

Fourteen volunteers from 4 the World will be awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award, a national honor offered in recognition of volunteer service. Established in 2003, the annual award is given to individuals, groups and families who have met or exceeded requirements for volunteer service and have demonstrated exemplary citizenship through volunteering.

As one of thousands of organizations participating in the award program, 4 The World confers the award to recognize the outstanding achievements of 14 volunteers. 4 The World has a long history of volunteer service, and more than 100 volunteers perform community service each year on behalf of the organization.

“In his 2002 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush created the USA Freedom Corps, and called on every American to make a lifelong commitment to volunteer service.  The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals and families who have answered that call,” said Robert Keith Froom of 4 The World. “America’s volunteers work to make our communities stronger and safer. As a Certifying Organization for the Award program, 4 The World is proud to be aligned with this prestigious volunteer award, and we are especially proud of our volunteers who have made volunteer service a central part of their lives.”

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is an award for volunteer service that every American – from every age and every walk of life – can aspire to achieve.  To be eligible to receive the Award, individuals, families and groups submit a record of their annual volunteer service hours to participating Certifying Organizations, such as 4 The World, that will verify the service and deliver the Award. Award eligibility for individuals and groups is based on hour requirements varying by age.

Founded in January 2004, 4 The World’s mission is to empower people to improve their own communities and make the world a better place. There are many ways to volunteer for 4 The World both in the U.S. and abroad. 4 The World is a 501© 3 nonprofit organization and is headquartered in Garner, North Carolina. For more information about volunteering for 4 The World visit www.4theworld.org.





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4 the World Wins NC Peace Prize

NC Peace PrizeNC Peace Corps awarded the 2013 NC Peace Prize to 4 the World, an organization committed to improving education and health in communities worldwide. The award was announced January 14.  Founder and Executive Director Robert Froom stated, “I felt extremely honored when I found out that 4 The World won the North Carolina Peace Prize.  Also I felt very proud of the hard work of all of our volunteers both past and present.” 4 the World is completely staffed by volunteers and is based in Garner, NC.

4 the World will celebrate the prize by continuing their work. “We need to keep focused on refurbishing schools in developing countries, sending girls to high school with our scholarship program and helping children and single parent families right here in North Carolina where many people are struggling. With our new NCSU Chapter at NC State University we will work hard with some of the brightest student minds in North Carolina. I have faith we will help many people,” Froom exclaimed.

The NC Peace Corp has awarded the Peace Prize since 1996 to NC grassroots organizations that are “helping others to help themselves”. 4 the World’s mission of empowerment through collaboration aligns with the Peace Corp’s mission.  Froom said, “I have always deeply admired the Mission of The Peace Corps and the adventurous and compassionate spirit of the Peace Corps volunteers in serving the less fortunate around the world.”

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The Correlation of Happiness and Generosity

Shea putting together a home for a refugee family

Putting together a home for a refugee family

A hedonist is a person who seeks pleasure.  The paradox is that a person who is looking for happiness for himself, will not find it.  Happiness is not something that is found, like a treasure chest.  Happiness is a boomerang that when given, is returned.

Whenever I would have a bad day, my dad would advise me to help someone else.  His thought was that getting out in the world and seeing the troubles others have to overcome would help shift my perspective of what “bad” actually meant.  Also, so many of my bad days consisted of purely self-interested reasons.  If I could get outside of myself, I would see the bigger picture, and that would change my attitude.  My dad’s theory has been tested by psychologists, who have found that volunteering attributes  to mental and physical health. James Konow and Joseph Earley in “The hedonistic paradox: Is Homo Economicus happier?” confirmed through research that yes indeed, the person who only pursues happiness for himself will not find it, but the person who helps others, shall.

Don’t wait until all of your needs are met to help to others.  Help others now so that your needs can be met and true happiness can be yours.

Giving is the same.  You would think that the wealthier a person is, the more that person would give.  But, in fact the correlation works in the opposite direction.  Arthur Brooks in “Does giving make us prosperous?” Journal of Public Economics further found that giving also leads to positive economic outcomes.  The more a person gives, the wealthier she becomes.  In the same way, you would think that the wealthiest countries would give the most aid, but in fact the correlation is that countries that rank higher on the happiness scale, not on the GNP scale, give more.   Australia is number 1 according to the  The World Giving Index Final Report.

It all boils down to this.  Giving people are happy and happy people give.

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Why don’t you help the people right here in the U.S.?

I often have been asked, “Why don’t you help the people right here in the U.S. instead of traveling all around the world?”  As there are so many needs in our world and only so much I can do, in order to not get overwhelmed, I prioritize as follows: 1. those who need and want help  2.  those who need but don’t want help 3. those who want but don’t need help 4.  those who don’t need help or want help.

First, Proverbs says to help those who are poor but not those who are lazy. Solomon was a wise man.  I don’t discriminate who to help based on political borders. I prioritize based on who is asking for help.  Many people in the U.S. are already receiving some sort of assistance if they want assistance.  Many people in other countries are not receiving any assistance at all.  It’s that feeling of being all alone or being totally helpless that touches my heart the most.  It is those people whom by heart can’t rest until I do something, anything I can to help.  However, if we all were touched by the same thing, then only one person would be helped.  I believe we are all wired differently and we each have our own part to do.  If each person does their own part, then quite possibly everyone would receive assistance that needs it.

Second, I normally would not help people who don’t want help, but I would love them and be there for them so that they know that if they do want help I am there.  Here is a humorous take on this.

Thirdly, the people who don’t need help but want help, these people have some need that isn’t being met.  It may not be the need they are asking to be filled, but I believe all people are good once all the wounds are healed.  Showing them love and decency may bring to light what is actually needed.

Fourthly, you may wonder, what can I do for people who don’t need help?  This is what I call blessing.  It’s like romance in a dating relationship.  It isn’t practical but it makes life worth living.  It’s the offer to babysit for a friend, or bringing flowers to a neighbor on Mother’s Day.  A thoughtful birthday gift or a random act of kindness to brighten someone’s day.

A pat on the back or word of encouragement can never hurt.  All people deserve to be loved.  What touches your heart the most?

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Fundraising through Facebook

Who says volunteering isn’t fun?  It’s my passion!  However, volunteering overseas can be expensive.  If you’re an avid traveler like me, your friends and family may be tired of being hit up for your next adventure to Who Knows Where.  Microphilanthropy is a new trend in donating that can help you achieve your global goal of serving people.  Websites like Fundly and Paypal let you create a free account that can then be shared through social media.  Make sure you use pictures of yourself on your past engagements and a sincere letter to help people see you are for real.  A friend of a friend on facebook whom you have only met once may be willing to give you $10.  If that happens 100 times, you have your plane ticket.  Make sure you send everyone a thank you note with the amount they gave so your philanthropists have a record of their giving.

4 the World makes it even easier for volunteers going on excursions through our website’s donations page.   Each donation can be designated or “dedicated” to a specific volunteer.  The funds are then used for that volunteer’s special project, whether constructing a feeding center, teaching a class or assisting in a rural medical clinic.  Updating status and photos while in the field can earn even more money for the specific project you are working on as people become interested and want to share in the amazing experience of helping someone.  Our donations page is always live.

You can also utilize your talents for the greater good. To raise money for her trip, One volunteer took stencil numbers and spray paint around neighborhoods and would spray paint a house number on the street curb for a donation.  Do you have awesome photographs from past trips?  Set up an etsy.com account and sell your prints.  House cleaning, dog walking, car washing, lawn mowing, tutoring, babysitting, bake saling, are all the traditional services that still work on a small-scale.  The trick is to engage the people you are serving in a conversation about your planned mission so that they pay you more than the service is worth because it’s for a good cause.

Want to go big?  Find a band that is looking for exposure . . . and is good.  See if they will donate their time to perform.  (Yes, give them a nice thank you note detailing the time and performance they gave.)  Secondly, ask a restaurant/bar that  frequently but not always has bands to host the event.  If you provide the advertising, band and the door collector, can you keep all of the money at the door?  Put the restaurant’s and the band’s logo on all of your social media promotions for the event.  Contact local radio and newspapers community events calendars.  Place posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist,etc.  I made $3000 this way with the help of a friend of a friend’s band who had just released their first CD.  The Flying Saucer restaurant in Nashville allowed me to keep all of the money from the cover charge.  When people coming to the Flying Saucer for the night learned we were collecting money for charity, they would throw in an extra dollar or two.  That extra dollar times 500 added up!

raising money for Ghana at FLying Saucer in Nashville

My Vanderbilt colleagues and myself raising money for Ghana at the Flying Saucer in Nashville.