Drink Up with First Lady Michelle Obama

January is Healthy Living Month here at Repair the World. Stop by all month long for interviews with our favorite health-focused organizations, inspiring stories, and tips to change your life while changing the world.

Maybe you have heard of Michelle Obama’s (a.k.a. FLOTUS) Let’s Move! campaign, that is helping to raise a generation of healthier, more physically active kids? Maybe you’ve seen Beyonce’s official Let’s Move! dance video?

But do you know about Drink Up? If not, fill up your water bottles and get reading drinking. Drink Up is Mrs. Obama’s newest healthy living initiative that promotes more water consumption (not soda or fruit juices – clean pure water) as a way of getting energized and refreshed.

Are you a big fan of hydration? Slightly obsessed with your Klean Kanteen? Or just interested in adding more H2O to your diet? Join the Drink Up movement! Instagram a photo of yourself drinking a tall cold glass of the good stuff and tag #DrinkH20, and you’ll be added to the photo gallery of water drinkers across the country. Meanwhile, check out this great video that explains why you – and everyone – should drink up:

How To: Start a Healthy Living Club at Work or School

January is Healthy Living Month here at Repair the World. Stop by all month long for interviews with our favorite health-focused organizations, inspiring stories, and tips to change your life while changing the world.

With January quickly ticking by, maybe your resolutions to get or stay healthy in 2014 have fallen by the wayside. Fortunately, you have all the tools you need: your coworkers or classmates! Find a few likeminded people at work or school and start a DIY Healthy Living Club.

Together, you’ll motivate yourselves and one another to keep up with your healthy living resolutions and begin good habits now – before Passover’s matzo ball and brisket-fest kicks into high gear. Here’s how:

Start a Weekly Yoga Club. Have a coworker or classmate who is a budding yogi? Enlist them in leading your group in a weekly, 30 minute yoga class at the beginning of the day, at lunchtime, or before everyone goes home. If you have the group but need a teacher, seek out a yoga student who is training for his or her teaching certification. They need to rack up instruction hours and will likely be willing to lead you for cheap or even free.

Schedule Walking Meet Ups. Spending all day at your desk or in classes is ironically exhausting, and not great for your overall health. Pick a time to meet up with your coworkers or classmates for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood or quad. The sunshine and fresh air will make everyone more productive.

Host a Healthy Lunch Potluck. Once a week, schedule a healthy lunch potluck where everyone brings something wholesome and nutritious to share for lunch. Set ground rules in advance with the group – like no refined white flour or sugar, or all vegetarian, or whatever makes sense for your group.

Hold Water Cooler Contests. Help encourage water drinking at the office by holding a contest. Hang a chart near the water cooler with everyone’s name on it and give everyone a reusable water bottle. Have them put a check by their name every time they fill up their water bottle. The person with the most checks at the end of the week wins a prize – and the hydration admiration of their peers.

Plan a Weekend Excursion. If you really like your coworkers or classmates, schedule a hike or basketball game for the weekend. Aside from being fun, it will be the talk of Monday morning.

What are your healthy living tips for the office or at school? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting @repairtheworld.

Making MLK Day a Weekend On, Not a Day Off

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”

This weekend become part of the living legacy of Dr. King by turning your kitchen table into a table of brotherhood. Join Repair the WorldPoints of Light and the Corporation for National & Community Service in a MLK Shabbat Supper, Sunday Supper and service project near you!
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Celebrate Tu Bishvat with Repair the World and Around the Country

Hey everyone, it’s time for Tu Bishvat – a.k.a. The Jewish holiday for the trees. Tu Bishvat is an ancient holiday that has evolved and changed throughout the centuries into a celebration of tikkun olam (repairing the world), connecting to the environment, eating seasonal and ancient biblical fruits, and having fun at seder celebrations.

There are lots of great ways to celebrate around the country – including with Repair the World’s own Fellows. Plug in and get connected to Tu Bishvat!

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Repair Interview: Jerusha Klemperer of FoodCorps

January is Healthy Living Month here at Repair the World. Stop by all month long for interviews with our favorite health-focused organizations, inspiring stories, and tips to change your life while changing the world.

Its no surprise that we love service programs here at Repair the World. We also love organizations that work to create healthier kids and communities. So we’re pretty much over the moon for FoodCorps, an organization that’s part of the AmeriCorps service network, and that “connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy.” Yeah. Pretty awesome.
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Top 5 Ways to Volunteer While Getting Healthy

January is Healthy Living Month here at Repair the World. Stop by all month long for interviews with our favorite health-focused organizations, inspiring stories, and tips to change your life while changing the world.

Lots of people begin each January with resolutions. Some folks resolve to get healthy – to eat better, exercise more, or give up an unhealthy habit. Others make a resolution to volunteer more often and engage with their communities. We say, why not combine the two? Here are our Top 5 ways to volunteer while getting healthy. Win. Win.

Be a Big. Enroll with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and you’ll get paired up with an awesome kid who can double as an exercise buddy. Shoot hoops together, go on a hike, or try kayaking or bowling together with your “Little.” You’ll make connections and change not one life, but two!

Staff a Health Fair. Volunteer to run a table or help set up or clean up at a local health fair. While there, chat up all the great organizations and health providers in attendance.

Volunteer at a Yoga studio. Are you a yoga fiend? Get your stretch on while making a difference. Most yoga studios have some kind of work study program where you volunteer a few hours a week or month at the studio and get free or reduced-price classes. The Kripalu Center, a well-loved yoga retreat center in Massachusetts, also has a great, 6-month volunteer program for those who want to make a long-term commitment.

Run it Out. Volunteer with a local fitness and community organization like the New York Road Runners. Help others achieve their fitness resolutions by staffing a race, and get hooked into a health-focused community.

Play for Peace. Peace Players International is an awesome organization that uses basketball to bring children together in conflict-ridden countries like South Africa, Northern Ireland, Israel, the West Bank, and Cyprus. Volunteer at one of their sites and make a difference in kids lives while shooting hoops for peace.

What’s your favorite way to get fit while volunteering? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting @repairtheworld.

Healthy Living Month at Repair the World

Tis the season…for healthy living!

Staying healthy is important all year round, but January is a big month when people re-up their commitment to eat well, exercise more, and get spiritually centered. That’s why, all January long Repair the World will be celebrating Healthy Living Month on our blog.

Join us here throughout the month for interviews with some of our favorite healthy living organizations – groups that inspire us to get on our bikes, eat delicious, healthy food, drink lots of water (and a lot less soda!) and help others do the same. Meanwhile, we will share inspiring stories and lots of tips to help you change yourself while changing the world!

Here are some of our favorite posts from Healthy Living Month:
Drink Up with First Lady Michele Obama
How to Start a Healthy Living Club at Work or School
Repair Interview: Jerusha Klemperer of FoodCorps
Top 5 Ways to Volunteer While Getting Healthy
Spotlight on Hazon’s Jewish Bike Rides

Got an inspiring healthy living story to share? Hit us up on Twitter @repairtheworld.

Seasons of Giving: Interview with David Weinberger of ioby

Ever heard the term NIMBY? It stands for “Not in My Backyard,” and is used frequently in environmental and social movements to describe residents or organizations that oppose local projects that they perceive to negatively impact them. For example: protesting against wind power turbines that generate alternative energy because they are an “eyesore.”

Imagine if everyone felt the opposite. If we all actively said yes and worked together to help our communities thrive. Enter ioby (or “In our Backyard”), an organization that supports community-led environmental projects by providing a crowdsource funding platform that lets neighbors support local initiatives. Like a community garden. Or a new bike lane or a recycling program. Since its founding, ioby has enabled donors to give more than $600,000 and thousands of volunteer hours to nearly 300 community-led projects in New York City and nationally. On average, donors live 2 miles or less from the projects they support: talk about community giving, and community empowerment.

ioby’s Director of Project Development, David Weinberger, took a few minutes to share ioby’s philosophies and amazing work with Repair the World. Read on!

What was the inspiration behind ioby?
The three cofounders met in grad school at Yale and all moved to New York City in 2007 for jobs in environmental fields. They began to notice that many conversations around environmental issues seemed to center around things that felt remote and far away – like icebergs melting and the plight of the polar bears. They realized that in order to help bring these issues global to the forefront, people had to start locally. So they started ioby, which is the exact opposite of NIMBY. It offers a platform for people people who have a great idea for an environmental project in their neighborhood to raise money via crowdsourced funding, connect with volunteers, and get support behind their project.

A very small percentage of philanthropic dollars end up going to grass roots groups. Money is typically reserved for traditional organizations. That’s important work, but these small, informal groups of neighbors tend to get shafted. ioby builds the capacity for them to raise money, be more self sustaining, and be strong and connected.

How many cities is ioby in at this point?
We started in New York City and went national a little over a year ago. There are projects in 80 cities right now, and we opened an office in Miami earlier this year. We are working with the Miami Dade office of sustainability, partnering on their sustainability plan and helping to connect the office to small, local groups. We were really interested in seeing how ioby would fit into a municipal government context, and Miami has a lot of interesting climate and environmental work going on right now. (Check out ioby’s Miami-based projects.) We are also working with the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team in Memphis, helping to build out the neighbor side of things.

What are the most common types of projects people submit?
A couple years ago, when we were focused solely on New York we would have said community gardening projects were most popular. As we’ve gone national,  we are seeing a lot more projects about infrastructure and transportation. We helped a project in Memphis raise $80,000 to create a protected bike lane. A bunch of members of the community decided to take the revitalization of the downtown area into their own hands. They took paintbrushes and solicited local artists and painted their own bike lane on Broad avenue in Memphis. It became incredibly popular and the city took notice and raised another million dollars to make it official. We worked with Livable Memphis to make it happen.

You mentioned there’s a volunteer component to ioby’s crowd sourcing?
On every project page, there’s a button that says, “inquire about volunteering.” When a project leader posts their project, they can request volunteers. So donors can give money, but they can also sign up to help make a project happen – volunteering on a work day, or in some other capacity. We’ve heard a lot of great success stories about that.

Who can start an ioby project?
Anyone can start a project on ioby. You can either submit a really short form letting us know what you’re thinking about, and we’ll help you take it to the next stage of development. We invite people to join a 30 minute introductory webinar on grass roots organizing, and things like how to set goals. If you’re further along in the process, you can post a full project that includes an itemized budget, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what steps you envision taking. ioby is already popular in cities, but more and more people in suburbs and rural areas are also reaching out about revitalizing their own downtowns and making a difference.

Got a project in mind or want to learn more about ioby? Check out the video below and visit their website for more info.

Seasons of Giving: Where to Volunteer This Christmas?

It may not be a Jewish holiday, but Christmas still has Jewish traditions. Like watching movies. And eating at Chinese restaurants. And volunteering! All around the country, thousands of Jews take advantage of the day off, and volunteer at soup kitchens, shelters, nursing homes, and community centers.

This year, join in the holiday action! Here are a few great ways to plug in and volunteer this Christmas.

Washington DC JCC Join 1,000 other volunteers for a day of service on Christmas Day. Activities include everything from wrapping and delivering gifts, to serving meals, to performing songs for hospital patients.

Jewish Muslim Day of Service, St. Louis In this uniquely awesome event on Christmas Day, Jews and Muslims come together on Christmas to serve others. They are also running a huge toiletry drive to serve people in need.

Pittsburgh Christmas Mitzvah Day The Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh is organizing a huge mitzvah day on Christmas. There will be opportunities to care for the sick, volunteer at an animal shelter, feed hungry people – and more.

Jewish Volunteer Connection, Baltimore Join hundreds of volunteers in making the holiday brighter for others by participating in this mitzvah day. Opportunities include making and delivering care packages, welcoming home troops serving abroad, volunteering at a local shelter.

JUF Mitzvah Mania, Chicago On Dec 25, visit elderly residents at the CJE SeniorLife Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation as part of JUF’s mitzvah mania event.

Tikun: Light up a Life, London If you live in London and want to make a difference during the Christmas season, check out Tikun’s great, multi-day program. Activities include everything from bringing chocolates to seniors, arts and crafts projects with the disabled, and tea runs for the homeless.

Know of another great volunteer opportunity for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting @repairtheworld.