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After last Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti, a flood of donation efforts began.  One of the more notable ones that I heard about was the Red Cross’s donation via text message.  By texting HAITI to 90999, users could donate by having $10 added to their cell phone bill.  In the past week, they have raised more than 7 million dollars, solely through texted donations.  When I went to the grocery store yesterday, I got prompted at the register to donate by adding money to my bill.  I donated an additional $5 that way.  In small donations, the Red Cross is getting the money they need to get the job done effectively and efficiently.  I wonder how the proliferation of technology will change the look of philanthropy and disaster relief in upcoming years.  Props to the Red Cross, not just for the amazing relief efforts they do on a continuous basis, but also for using technology in a way that allows more people to effectively contribute.

Public Radio International (Jan 18, 2010). Text donations aid Haitian relief efforts.  Retrieved Jan 18, 2010 from:
http://www.pri.org/science/technology/text-donations-aid-haitian-relief-efforts1837.html

A recent study put out by the Brown School at Washington University – Saint Louise, MO found that one on one tutoring offered to early elementary school students through Experience Corps improved reading skills for students involved across the board by 60%.  (“Across the board” here is not a generalization; the over 800 students studied varied in ethnicity, geographical location, income, gender, grade, behavioral issues, and English proficiency.)  It also improved volunteer well-being and teacher effectiveness.  Giving a student access to a one on one tutor was found to be as effective as decreasing class size by 40% for that student.  Experience Corp tutors, in particular, were found to improve reading comprehension, a skill that other studies of one on one tutoring in general has not seen replicated.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Experience Corp, I suggest that you check out their webpage.  They are adults 55+ who have a desire to help improve the world around them.  If you are not experienced enough to qualify chronologically for the Experience Corp, I suggest VolunteerMatch.com.  They will match you up with a volunteer experience in your community based on your interests.  There are a lot of studies out supporting the role volunteering can play in good health and well-being.  But don’t take the studies’ words for it.  Discover it for yourself.

Washington University in St. Louis (2009, April 8). Study Finds Students With Experience Corps Tutors Make 60 Percent More Progress In Critical Reading Skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 9, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/04/090408140212.htm

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