We couldn’t achieve our mission without our amazing volunteers.

Key Volunteer

Michael Angelidis

Volunteering is a Two-Way Street, by Michael Angelidis Giving back is very important to any society and volunteers are integral. Today we all lead extremely busy lives and it can be hard to find time. However, the benefits are enormous; providing important support to organizations, like OHBD, dedicated to worthy causes all over the globe. One of the more well-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community which allows members to connect and make it a better place.

Volunteering is a two-way street.  And, the benefits can be even greater for the volunteer.  It can benefit us individually as well as our family and friends just as much and sometime more than the cause we choose to help. Dedicating time as a volunteer helps us make new friends, expands our networks, and boosts our social, leadership and technical skills.

As a high school teacher and coach, I see volunteerism lead to increased ability to work within teams, better communication skills, enhanced problem-solving ability as well as more tactical skills like project and task organization, planning and management – valuable skills in any context. Volunteerism also allows people from different socio-economic or cultural backgrounds to interact in a common endeavor.

A couple of my Global Basketball players ran an OHBD fundraiser earlier in the year and shared how life changing the experience was for them.  They learned about the disparity in opportunities globally as well as the power they have to contribute to closing that gap.

As I encouraged my students to volunteer with our OHBD events and other efforts over the years, I have seen firsthand the positive impact including allowing people with totally different personalities (shy vs out going, for example) to work together; giving families a chance to have a common purpose, like Ellenore and my family. We have many other family examples, such as, the mother of two basketball players mentioned above volunteers as an illustrator for our #ReadySetGo books.  My students always want to know if we met our goal and often write about the impact being a part of something bigger than themselves. It provides them a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and pride.

But volunteerism isn’t all serious.  My students find ways to make it fun – planning celebrations after a volunteer event and making what might seem like a mundane job more entertaining by doing it with friends and taking the role, but not themselves, too serious.  I would encourage everyone to see how they can volunteer for something where they have passion or where they want to learn more. OHBD has lots of opportunities, and we couldn’t do our work effectively without the support of many talented, generous people who give us their time and their talents every day.

Thanks to all the volunteers from these local schools
and organizations who regularly help support our events.

Here are our current Event needs:

Don’t think you have anything to donate? Maybe these ideas will help you.

  1. Ask friends, those with businesses, artists or crafters, or those with a vacation or second home, those with season tickets, or connections to local businesses.
  2. Ask businesses such as restaurants, retailers, services providers that you frequent to donate. If not local, solicit national chains. They often want to support their customers and we can offer good publicity in return.
  3. Clean out your closet and garage. Keep an eye out for items you don’t need that still have their tags attached, or gifts that weren’t really you but might delight someone else. Any of these could be silent, live auction items, display or decoration help.
  4. Go to garage or estate sales and look for new or vintage items.
  5. If you shop, look at outlet malls, off price retailers or eBay for deals on uniquely wonderful items for the silent/live auctions
  6. Check for gift cards you might not want to use but would be happy to donate to support the cause.
  7. Bake or donate a dessert for the dessert auction.
  8. Donate or lend display or decor items such as wine racks, cake plates, mannequin, table stands, flowers, etc.

Ask businesses that you patronize if they are willing be to be sponsors. They can offer as $25-$50, and we will recognize them in our marketing materials

  1. If you are local / have local connections, consider becoming a table captain and bring eight or more people to an event.
  2. Invite a friend or several to attend with you.

We need volunteers to reach out to media organizations interested in East Africa to share our efforts with Ready Set Go books and our Model Programs.

We need support with social media, as well. Creating your own posts about our books and projects or sharing and amplifying existing social media efforts within your network.

With your support, we will empower more kids to create a better tomorrow. People like you make a tremendous difference in the lives of girls and boys across Ethiopia.

We also welcome and support personal Facebook fundraising for special events, i.e. birthdays, and are constantly testing new approaches. https://www.facebook.com/pg/OpenHeartsBigDreams.org/fundraisers/?ref=page_internal 

Share social media updates and requests with your networks including work, friends, clubs, church, neighborhood, etc.

Suggest a donation; any amount is helpful. $2 buys two books.

We also welcome ideas for smaller online events that a volunteer can run themselves with our support. Facebook fundraisers for a birthday or special occasion are a great way to have a big impact.

Here are our current Ready Set Go (Book Project) needs:

We need art to make these stories come to life.

Artists are welcome to work with kids to create the art. Our designers will help create the book from what you produce.

Are you a native speakers of any of the 3 core Ethiopian languages?

  • Tigrinya
  • Afaan Oromo
  • Amharic

Can you provide a quick review to proofread, i.e., making sure punctuation hasn’t been inadvertently left out. and to make sure that text is placed correctly into the books.

Need to be familiar with email, PDFs and DropBox.

We are looking for schools, churches, or other organizations that want to sponsor book creation including raising funds, choosing the stories, creating the art. and directing where they would like books to be first distributed.

We need volunteers to do outreach to schools and libraries in the US to carry our Ready Set Go books. Seattle Public Library is carrying our entire catalog and has a standing order for new titles quarterly. We know kids in the US would enjoy our books and for each one sold, we can fund multiple books printed and distributed in Ethiopia.

We need grant writers to solicit funds from organizations focused on literacy in Ethiopia.

Get Involved

We welcome your ideas on how you can help.  Please contact us to inquire further about our current needs, to provide ideas, inspiration,  and/or support.