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Darell Hammond Headshot

Volunteers (Even Celebrities) Can Make a Difference

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Last night’s episode of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” was Ka-PERFECT!

KaBOOM! family and friends gathered around their televisions
last night to view the newest episode of the NBC show
Parks and Recreation,” starring Saturday Night
Live veteran Amy Poehler.  It was great
fun to be able to see the work KaBOOM! does highlighted in such a hilarious
episode, which fit into the ongoing storyline of the quest to turn an abandoned
construction pit into a community park. A perfect fit for KaBOOM!

In case you missed it,
the show’s main characters donated their time to a KaBOOM! playground build in
the neighboring community of Eagleton. 
While the build and the project manager, played by comedian Paul Scheer,
were both created specifically for this episode,
the writers certainly captured the spirit that fuels each of our builds –
something that inspires volunteers to continue their great work and strive even
harder to give back to their communities. 

This is precisely what
the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) intends to do with its iParticipate campaign.  By bringing celebrities from television,
movies, and music to the volunteer service movement, iParticipate aims to promote
a new way of thinking about service and prompt millions of Americans to make
volunteerism and community service a part of their daily lives.

To support iParticipate, EIF is working with the
major broadcast networks to spotlight service through scripted programming, segments and PSAs during their national volunteer week, October 19-25. 

In my work with
KaBOOM!, I interact
with thousands of amazing volunteers each year. 
These people – young and old, and from all parts of the socio-economic
spectrum – have taken time out of their busy schedules to help bring light, joy
and laughter to the children who need it the most.  They come out to build a playground and in
the process, change the life of countless numbers of children.  No matter how many times I see it, I continue
to be amazed. 

Growing up in a group
home just outside of Chicago
,
I experienced first-hand how the kindness and generosity of a stranger can lift
your spirits and inspire a passion so great that you can achieve previously
unimaginable heights.  As a child, it was
amazing to me that volunteers were taking the time to show the compassion that
so many others hadn’t.  When they came to
our door, they lit a special fire in the eyes of each child.  They were the celebrities in our lives. 

It is my hope that
this unprecedented campaign will help to spur Americans across the nation to
action.  It is up to all of us to take
charge and make an impact in the communities in which we live.  Get to know your neighbors, make an effort to
help care for common spaces in your neighborhood, or donate your time to
someone less fortunate than yourself. 
The small amount of effort and time that you put forth will make a huge
difference in the lives of those you touch and your community. 

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For ideas on how to
get started volunteering your time, visit the iParticipate website.