The Stories That Change Our Lives – Inspiration from Tamora Pierce

“Girls are 50% of the population. We deserve to represent 50% of the heroes.” – Tamora Pierce Sometimes the people who inspire us never existed.  And sometimes it’s the people who created those fictional characters who furnish the inspiration. Tamora Pierce is an author of young adult fantasy novels, and at the risk of sounding like I’m exaggerating, I can tell you that she changed my life.  Tamora Pierce writes books about strong women, or “sheroes.” When Pierce was starting out in writing, there was (and to some extent, still is) a belief that books about boys were more marketable.  The theory…

Could the Americorps Be the Answer to Escaping College Loans?

Today’s post is from guest blogger Maria Rainier. This is the story of how one of my best friends found a way to make college more affordable by enrolling in the Americorps. I’m taking this opportunity to say I have no affiliation with the Americorps whatsoever; I’m solely sharing his story to demonstrate how volunteering can be the gateway to earning a higher education. To learn how you can pursue your diploma with help from the Americorps or another nationally recognized volunteering organization such as the PeaceCorps, continue reading below. As early as 6-years-old, Matthew Daniels knew that earning a college education…

The Profound Impact of Programs Providing Housing for the Homeless

Today’s guest post is from Catie Keeler. Most of us will never know what it means to be homeless. To lose everything you own and to have no sense of what the future holds. To live every day in desperation and terror of sinking further. Most of us assure ourselves that we will never face such circumstances so long as we work hard and make good decisions for ourselves. Yet many people who made the same assumptions found themselves suddenly out of options after losing a job, or suffering a serious injury, or getting a divorce, or any number of other circumstances.…

Finding Peace in India

This is a post from UniversalGiving team member Janet Oh, about an experience on her recent trip to India. “Ear clean?  Rickshaw?  Guesthouse?  Boat ride?”  After travelling in India for a week, I needed a break from being a tourist.  The constant offers for services and subsequent haggling was exhausting.  I soon developed a habit of avoiding eye contact, looking down, and just shaking my head “no.”  In trying to develop some street smarts, I had also lost my sense of humor. On a flight from Udaipur to Varanasi I met another traveler, Tanya, from Switzerland.  Tanya caught my attention immediately.  She…

Contest Winners: Volunteering in Haiti, Article #4

This is another installment in our series of articles on volunteering in Haiti, selected from the articles written for our contest with Helium and GlobalPost.  Read our first article selection and more background here. ************************************* By James Mallon The Non profit agency called UniversalGiving provides people the opportunity to use their skills to volunteer in countries where their expertise is urgently required. The organisation also accepts donations, but their real vision is to “Create a world where giving and volunteering are a natural part of everyday life”.  This is a practical and personalised form of making a donation; it also means the…

Contest Winners: Volunteering in Haiti, Article #3

This is another installment in our series of articles on volunteering in Haiti, selected from the articles written for our contest with Helium and GlobalPost.  Read our first article selection and more background here. ************************************* By Benny Muiruri The world watched in horror as the 2010 Jan, 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit one of the poorest countries in the world bringing the nation of Haiti to its knees. Buildings were reduced to pieces and lives were lost. Many people were left homeless and children, orphans. It was estimated that the total damage was over US$ 3 billion and more than 300,000 lives perished.…

Contest Winners: Volunteering in Haiti, Article #2

This is another installment in our series of articles on volunteering in Haiti, selected from the articles written for our contest with Helium and GlobalPost.  Read our first article selection and more background here. ************************************* By Paul Lines Giving time on a voluntary basis is one positive way we can assist people, including children, to rebuild their families, lives and communities, and give them hope for the future. This gift of time, even as little as two weeks, is especially important for people in a country like Haiti where, over two years since its capital and surrounding areas were destroyed by a…