Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Different Kind of Bus Ride

So you have a few free hours, you’d like to volunteer but you don’t know how. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you’re in luck.

When you board the Do Good Bus, you won’t always know where you’re going, all you’ll know is that for the next few hours you and your fellow bus mates will be volunteering at a local charity. Rebecca Pontius, along with two of her friends, Hannah Halliwell and Stephen Snedden, who first met while volunteering at Friends of El Faro, combine a fun, easily accessible way for people to volunteer. Training can be either en route or sometimes for more in-depth volunteering, the organization may do some additional training. Either way, by the time you step off the bus, you are ready to volunteer and do something good – and it’s all been arranged for you.

Although surprise is fun, the following is an idea of what you can expect for each trip. The following categories can be used as an overall guide to what might be in expected. Note that the emphasis is on might since the trips regularly change.

This trip category is used for trips centered around helping people and will usually include large amounts of personal interaction with people you may have just met.

Like, GOOD PEOPLE, this trip is centered around interaction with people, but the small kind...the child. It is not necessary to have had prior experience working with children, but a genuine interest and sometimes a California Live Scan will be required.

This category is for trips focused on our environment.

Animals, everyone.

These trips might be more on the physical side of volunteerism such as cleaning, building, or maybe lending a gloved hand.

Like most of our trips this category hints at physical participation volunteering, but not necessarily getting dirty while doing so.

Here are some of their most recent projects:

Burrito Project –LA

This is brilliant in its simplicity. Get few people together, roll up some burritos, hop on a bike (ok, so it’s not always a bus, in this case it was the Do Good Bikes) and distribute said burritos to homeless people.

Burritos are easily assembled.

This project started in Los Angeles with 2 riders and 90 burritos. Currently there are 20 riders who distribute between 300 and 400 burritos weekly!

Unofficial chapters are forming all over the country, if you are interested in starting a Burrito Project in your area, contact the Do Good Bus and find out how easy it is to get started.

Hug it Forward

Hug It Forward is a San Diego-based non-profit that blends intangible change with tangible change globally with one goal: uniting people as one. They do this by building schools out of wasted trash bottles called "bottle schools". For each hug registered online, 25 cents goes toward building these schools. And you get a free hug out of it!

What an excellent use of wasted plastic bottles. This video shows how "bottle schools" are made.

100% of donations made to Hug It Forward are spent on the ground in the communities where bottle schools are built – no money is taken for overhead or salaries.

The Do Good Bus gave hugs at the Silver Lake Farmer's market and they’re still tracking how much money they helped raise!

So if you live in the Los Angeles area and you find your self with a few free hours, The Do Good Bus hosts a public ride every other month in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Activities range from working with kids to building new homes to creating guerrilla gardens. Every ride includes breakfast, dinner or lunch and lasts between 4 and 6 hours depending on location.

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