Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why Not Volunteer?

With the sounds of current economic troubles ringing in their ears, quite a few members of Generation Y are faced with quite a dilemma. Recent college graduates, specifically, are feeling the hit. At a time when these individuals usually leave academia behind in favor of a stable career, Gen Y grads are finding that more doors are being closed in their faces than are being opened.

With job competition on the rise, Gen Yers are finding themselves in need of ways to occupy their time while the economy re-stabilizes. Traditional options, such as traveling abroad or going back to school now seem too costly. So, what's a college grad to do-volunteering seems to be the answer.

Groups like Teach for America are reporting a rise in volunteering amisdt the current economic unsteadiness. According to an article by USA Today "[Teach for America] saw applications jump by more than a third this year from about 18,000 to nearly 25,000." The article maintains that this is because teaching is a stable career, as children need to learn no matter what's going on economically. It also notes that the economy is not the only motivation for the rise in applications. It cites the program's growing prestige as attractive to applicants.

Still, motivation to join based on the economy cannot be ignored. With current exchannge rates, travel (a formerly popular option) is simply too expensive for most Gen Y grads and without jobs, more college is practically unaffordable (forget about loans-those wont be so easy for jobless students to get).

If you find this rings true for you, why not take some time off to volunter. Here are some sites to help you get started:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Teach for America

"Teach for America Surges on Better Recruiting, Worse Economy"

This article was more about the teach for America program than the volunteering trend, but I still felt it was worth a mention. Some highlights:

  • applications jump[ed] by more than a third this year from about 18,000 to nearly 25,000.
  • Of those, about 3,700 are expected to step up to the blackboard as new teachers this fall. That's up more than 25% from the 2,900 who did so last year.
  • Several studies have found Teach For America corps members are as effective or more effective than educators who come through traditional teacher preparation programs within colleges of education.
  • Recruits often have no prior education experience or course work. They get five weeks of intensive training the summer before they start teaching, and then get professional development during the school year provided by Teach for America and the districts in which they work.
  • Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp said she'd like to see the corps of first- and second-year teachers grow to 8,000 by 2010, up from about 5,000 now.

(all of the above information is directly from the article)

I personally think that this is an example of "episodic voluntering." Unless you plan on making teaching your career, there's only so long that you can work with the program (as a teacher). I suppose you could still fundraise and donate though. In any event, the help that these grads are providing can't be ignored.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Peace Corps Volunteer Rates

I had no idea that this information even existed. It's super recent. Click here to view Peace Corps volunteer rates among the country's top universities.

It reflects the information presented in the article from this post about Ohio universities having leading rates of volunteers. Ohio is all over the sheets. Also, states like NY and Nevada are nowhere to be found on the list.

Also, I like the fact that even though this is a year -specific observation there is a historical section to shoe which universities have consistently had alumni join the organization.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Episodic Volunteering?

My last post mentioned a trend called "episodic volunteering." In a nut shell, it can be described as short-term volunteering (sometimes among different charities), rather than committing oneself to a few charities long-term. Episodic volunteers often have busy schedules or other social commitments-sound familiar. I suspect that many college students, myself included can be lumped into this category.

There are three types of episodic volunteering, according to The Points of Flight Foundation:

"Types of Episodic Volunteering

Event based: One-day special events such as the national days of service...

Project based: Projects that occur in the community that are planned throughout the year or are undertaken to address a particular need...

Program-based: Efforts that have an on going need and do not require specialized skills can engage volunteers on a flexible basis... "

They also offer tips in getting started as a volunteer for nay organization. Check them out!


A Rise in Volunteering?

Post-graduate volunteering has always been a possibility with younger Gen Yers, but with the currenly competitive/unpredictable job market coule volunteering be on the rise. This article seems to think so.

"College Volunteering Rises Sharply"

Tha article is a bit dated, but only by a few years. Plus, a 20% increase is nothing to scoff at. I'm sort of shocked thatt NY had one of the lowest percentage of college students volunteering. Lots of CUNY and SUNY schools mean that there's plenty of students to do the volunteering. Also, rises began after 9/11 which happened in NYC. Maybe the high cost oythinf living and pressure to work had something to with it. I wonder if current elevated competition in the job market has changed anything...


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don't Stop Spending Just Yet...

Chances are you or someone you know has been affected by the current financial crisis. Maybe a parent’s investments have taken a hit or maybe you’ve lost some money yourself. Regardless, if you’re a member of Generation Y the current crisis might not be all bad. Here’s why:

According to Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, in his book "Emerging Adulthood", instability is one the many characteristics of Generation Y. This instability, he writes, has many applications. Generation Yers, for instance, usually have casual relationships, short-lived jobs and few financial commitments. What exactly does all this mean? Well, while an older individual, say a Generation Xer, might have a new family to take care of or a huge mortgage to pay, the fickle Generation Yer is most likely not accountable for such things.

The younger members of Generation Y, in particular, are not too worried about their financial futures—not their immediate futures anyway. For now, their focus is on spending. Whether this spending is on a costly college education, or something as frivolous as a night out with friends, Generation Yers can afford to splurge, sort of.

One must remember that once it comes time for Generation Yers to enter the workforce and take on the responsibilities of adulthood, the transition will probably be a hard one. These individuals will face difficulties that past generations never had to. The job market will probably be incredibly competitive. Add to that the stress of paying off hefty student loans and all of the debt that they might have accumulated in their youth and Generation Y will have a lot on their plates in coming years.

But for now, Generation Y is free to spend as they wish. Some advice: spend wisely and don’t forget to save. While the state of the economy will probably improve, debt does disappear so easily. You’ll need a backup plan –in other words, savings. Remember this the next time you have the urge to splurge.

For more information, check these articles out:

Why the Financial Crisis is (Mostly) Good News for Gen Y

'We're not worried just yet - we'll still drink and party'


The Lean Green Family's 5 Ways to Be a Frugal Shopper

Check out this awesome post by the Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal). Leah offers some great tips on how to shop smart!

You'll learn about shopping with a purpose, avoiding unnecessary returns, not to mention the joys of swapping. Click the link for other great shopping tips.

Source:The Lean Green Family