Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

NeighborLink Network

NeighborLink Network

A couple weeks ago, after a series of rainy days, my husband was attempting to mow the lawn.  He was struggling because the grass had grown so much since the last mowing.  The neighbor stopped by and asked if he could help.  He has a riding lawnmower that easily cuts even long grass.  We accepted his offer and plan to pay him back with an invitation to dinner.  Today’s organization is enabling neighbors to help other neighbors even if they cannot directly witness the need.

In 2003, John Barce and Doug Crane participated in a competition called Leadership Fort Wayne.  Their idea to create a web platform to connect volunteers with people in need received second place in the competition and the NeighborLink model was born.  Since 2003, similar platforms have been created in nine other cities using the same model.

NeighborLink uses a web platform to connect vulnerable homeowners including the aging, people with disabilities, and low income single parents, with volunteers who would like to help.  The volunteers typically help with home repair or yard work projects.  In addition, they encourage volunteers to build relationships with the recipients of their help.  NeighborLink’s goal is not only completion of the projects, but also developing a sustainable solution for community development by connecting neighbors.

NeighborLink is a Christian, faith-based organization with a mission of “practical, neighbor-to-neighbor expressions of God’s love.”  They frequently work with churches but appreciate and welcome volunteers from a variety of backgrounds.  They are currently in nine locations: Fort Wayne, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; DeKalb County, Indiana; Porter County, Indiana; Liberty County, Georgia; Van Wert County, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Owensboro, Kentucky; and Evansville, Indiana.

One NeighborLink volunteer named Andrew volunteered, along with a small group, to help Jean paint her house one summer.  During that project, Andrew was made aware that she also needed assistance with other projects from a long list of code violations.  He was able to raise funds to make repairs to her porch.  Just before Christmas, Andrew stopped by with a basket of food and learned that Jean’s son had just passed away.  Andrew continued to show Jean love and support by mowing her lawn and helping with other tasks in the years that followed.  This relationship encouraged Andrew’s involvement with NeighborLink and he eventually became the organization’s Executive Director.  This willingness to continue helping and desire to get to know her better instead of just completing the project at hand is the type of relationship that NeighborLink strives for.

How can you help?

Any individual in the cities that NeighborLink exists in can get involved.  Individuals simply register to be a volunteer on the NeighborLink website for their city.  You can find the current cities on their affiliate and non-affiliate pages.  Once registered, volunteers can look through current projects and choose one.  There are also opportunities for groups to do projects together.

You can also make a monetary donation through any of the specific city NeighborLink websites.

You can learn more about NeighborLink by visiting their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.


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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


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A Broader View

A Broader View

ThirdEyeMom is a fellow Minnesota blogger who is also using her blog to make a difference.  She writes about her volunteer vacations (among other things) and recently wrote about her journey to becoming a global volunteer that inspired me to write about today’s organization.

Sarah and Oliver Ehlers took a trip to Chile, South America where they saw the overwhelming needs of the children in the local orphanage and the incredible difference volunteers could make in a short time.  After they returned home to the United States and researched a variety of service organizations, they were stunned at how costly and restrictive many volunteer travel programs were.  They utilized their backgrounds in hospitality management, tourism, and business to create an affordable, safe, and worthy program so that anyone can travel and volunteer to make a difference in the world.

A Broader View is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Pennsylvania.  They were founded on the belief that one person can make a difference in the lives of others.  They offer volunteer travel opportunities to many countries supporting local organizations in low income communities.  These community based projects allow volunteer travelers to live and work side by side with local people in a range of fields such as orphanage work, daycare, community development, teaching, and much more.  These projects offer travelers the opportunity to explore a new country while doing meaningful and rewarding service work.

A Broader View allows volunteers to customize each program by choosing when they want to travel, where they go, and how long.  The programs offered allow for a full immersion in the culture and language within a developing community to allow volunteers to see “a broader view” of the world.

You can read the stories of the many volunteers that have traveled with A Broader View on their website, watch videos from volunteer experiences on YouTube, and you can read about ThirdEyeMom’s recent trip to Honduras with A Broader View on her blog.

Last year, A Broader View, in a partnership with the Baird Foundation, donated $40,000 to their partners in Bulenga, Uganda to complete construction on the community center, expand volunteer housing, provide a holiday party for over 500 people in the community, and buy clothing and supplies for over 300 orphans.  In 2012, they also organized over a dozen university and medical groups to travel to Peru, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nepal to provide medical and dental care to hundreds of people who would have gone untreated otherwise.  Over the last four years, they have donated over $1 million.

How can you help? 

  • Be a volunteer traveler.  There are a variety of customizable programs for individuals and groups including teaching, orphanage support, social welfare programs, medical/dental care, sea turtle conservation, animal rescue, community development, women’s support projects, youth programs, and more.  Go to their website to start exploring the opportunities.
  • Donate a tweet a day to help them spread the word about their program.  You can sign up at
  • You can use the share options at the bottom of this post with others who may be interested in a volunteer vacation.
  • Make a monetary donation via their Guidestar page.

You can learn more about A Broader View on their website, on contact them via phone at 866-423-3258.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Google+, Pinterest, or Instagram.

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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


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Beverly’s Birthdays

Beverly’s Birthdays

A birthday is a day to celebrate and feel remembered and loved.  Every child deserves to celebrate that special day each year.  Today’s organization was inspired to ensure that happens.

In March of 2011, Megan “Megs” Yunn was volunteering at an afterschool program helping a young girl named Beverly complete her homework.  Beverly was asked to use the “accustomed to” in a sentence, Megs offered an example, “At a birthday party people are accustomed to eating what?”  To this, Beverly responded, “I have never had a birthday party or a birthday cake.”  At 12 years old, Beverly had never had a birthday party of her own.  Megs was inspired by her story and decided to start an organization to provide birthday celebrations for homeless youth in the Pittsburgh area.  In June 2011, Megs submitted her idea to the “BE BIG in Your Community Contest,” of the ongoing Clifford The Big Red Dog® BE BIGTM campaign.  Her idea for Beverly’s Birthdays was selected as a first place winner out of over 1,000 entries in the nation which provided the starter grant to make her dream a reality.  Beverly’s Birthdays became a registered nonprofit organization in Pennsylvania in February 2012 and hosted their first birthday party that same month.

The mission of Beverly’s Birthdays is to provide birthday celebrations for homeless children living in shelters in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.  They believe in spreading birthday cheer 365 days a year and that every child, regardless of personal or financial circumstances, deserves to be celebrated.  They are currently the only organization with a mission to provide birthday celebrations in Pennsylvania.  Their specific mission provides something that the homeless children they serve would go without.  Their goal is to eventually be able to serve all the homeless children in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The organization currently partners with two local facilities, Sojourner House MOMS and Auberle.  Beverly’s Birthdays hosts a party each month for the children living in the facility.  The parties are for any child who has a birthday during that month and the other children in the program are the party guests.  Each party includes pizza, birthday cake, treat bags, and games.  The child also receives a birthday box filled with small presents on his or her actual birthday.  In addition, Beverly’s Birthdays provides Birthday Cheer Bins to local emergency shelters so children can celebrate a birthday that happens to occur during their stay.

Beverly's Birthdays

During the September celebration at Auberle, a teenage boy came up to Megs and said, “Ms. Megs, I don’t know what to wish for on my birthday, but this party is better than anything I could ever wish for.  Thank you for making me feel special.”

In 2012, Beverly’s Birthdays hosted 15 birthday parties that celebrated the birthdays of 60 children at four different agencies and raised $18,000 to spread birthday cheer.  In 2013, they have plans to provide parties for 200 children at seven agencies.

How can you help?

Beverly’s Birthdays offers a variety of ways to get involved.  You can contact them via e-mail to inquire about any of these volunteer opportunities.

  • Volunteers are needed to staff the birthday parties.  Typically there are one or two parties each month.  Volunteers must be at least 18 years old or accompanied by an adult.
  • Birthday Bakers are important volunteers who bake cupcakes or cookies for the parties.  The bakers need to accommodate nut-free treats for at least 3 dozen people.
  • Volunteers are also needed to shop for specific birthday wish requests from the children.
  • In addition, volunteers are needed to serve on the administrative team of the organization.  They are currently seeking individuals to assist with party planning and fundraising.
  • They also accept in-kind and financial donations.  Their current wish list as well as information about making a financial donation can be found on their website.

You can learn more about Beverly’s Birthdays on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and via e-mail.

Beverly's Birthdays

Related Post: Cheerful Givers


Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


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