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02.20 Young climate strikers can win their fight. We must all help

02.20 Voyage to the Garbage Patch: the female sailors taking on plastic

02.19 Bees brought Bavarians together. And they have a lesson for us all

02.19 Florida is drowning. Condos are still being built. Can't humans see the writing on the wall? [Fear that Trump & Fox News incite makes us avoid unpleasant information we need to know]

02.18 Tesla big battery is holding its own in a burgeoning energy storage market

02.18 Trump administration condemned over delaying action on toxic drinking water

02.16 New experimental drug rapidly repairs age-related memory loss and improves mood

02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]

02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]

02.16 My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back

02.16 US coastal businesses hit by everyday impact of climate change, study shows

02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]

02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]

02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]

02.12 Biggest offshore windfarm to start UK supply this week

02.12 Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition

02.12 Politicians are complicit in the killing of our insects – we will be next

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Daily: FAIR Blog
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

02.21 Bezos Says Amazon Drones Ready to Deliver Mueller Report to Every American Household

02.21 Devin Nunes Was Trump’s Mole Inside the Gang of Eight

02.21 Alec Baldwin fears for family's safety after Trump 'retribution' threats [0:40 video]

02.20 Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him

02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]

02.20 The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet

02.20 Why Bernie Sanders' radicalism can take out Trump

02.20 Why vote for Sanders when you can have Elizabeth Warren instead?

02.19 Democratic party elites silence Ilhan Omar at their peril [2:01 video]

02.19 The Political Revolution Is Back: Bernie Sanders Announces 2020 Run for President

Justice Matters

02.19 California Leads 16 States Suing to Block Trump Border Plan

02.19 Fighting pollution: Toledo residents want personhood status for Lake Erie [Hurrah!]

High Crimes?

02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]

02.16 Elliott Abrams Defends War Crimes As Happening Back In The ’80s When Everyone Was Doing It

Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism

02.21 Historian who confronted Davos billionaires leaks Tucker Carlson rant

02.20 A Centuries-Old Idea Could Revolutionize Climate Policy

International & Futurism

02.21 John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video) [21:26 video; we’re approaching an Idiocracy-type of society, where stupidity is “normal”]

02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]

02.20 My grandfather was a Nazi. I’ve seen why we need the EU

02.19 Centrism isn’t the solution to the mess we’re in

02.19 Renewables need urgent investment to ease Australia's transmission bottlenecks, experts warn

02.18 Hate-Fest in Warsaw

02.18 They Used To Hold Hands Through the Wall. Now, There’s Razor Wire.

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  Print view: Thinking About Volunteerism

Thinking About Volunteerism

Before volunteering, verify that the organization is highly respected, productive and efficient.

by Fred Cederholm
Some volunteer organizations seem to have a suspicious number of paid workers, few unpaid volunteers, and scant record of accomplishment.

I’ve been thinking about volunteerism. Actually I’ve been thinking about community service, Serve Illinois (Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service), Illinois finances, local groups, and true volunteerism. Giving one’s time, expertise, and money to philanthropic projects can be a very positive thing. We as a nation are a most generous people. I TH*NK about so much of what makes our communities special and that most of the projects and accomplishments have come from local people working together for the benefit of their community. Stop and TH*NK for a moment about what you like about our communities and how did such actions/ projects come about? You will be very surprised. Real volunteerism is a cross generational thing. Anyone can become involved. If they are not presently involved, they should be.

You see, last Thursday I represented the Creston Booster Club at an all day conference/ meeting on volunteerism and community service at Sauk Valley College in Dixon. I really learned and thought about a lot of things because of this. Not all (in fact very few) were topics/ subjects I had expected. So many questions and red flags were raised and came out in the course of listening to the presenters, and particularly in my conversations with attendee/ participants from the Northwest corner of our state.

Central to the conference was Serve Illinois: the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. I will freely admit that I don’t’ know everything (in fact, I am rapidly learning how little I really do know), but I had NEVER heard of them. Have you? Their mission statement says: “The mission of the Serve Illinois Commission is to improve Illinois communities by supporting and enhancing traditional volunteerism and community service and the administration of the AmeriCorp program.” Well... THAT sounded good, and I had at least heard of the federal AmeriCorps program during a couple of Presidential State of the Union speeches. However, I can’t name one project that AmeriCorps has done for us locally. Maybe I just missed it.

I have since talked to a number of local “movers and shakers” heavily involved in community service about Serve Illinois. Only one had thought they had heard of them. I didn’t take this as a good sign. In subsequent web searches I learned that the commission came into being somewhere in the year 2000. They have a Chairman, an Executive Director, and now 35 Commissioners (up recently from 25) who are almost all from the metropolitan Chicago area. Their website offers publications available that were prepared by OTHER organizations across the state. (I apologize, but I will have to do some serious research and talk to a number of people about this Serve Illinois group and get back to you in another column!) Oh, BTW... I did receive nice chrome plated lapel pin for attending from Serve Illinois.

In talking to numerous attendees I learned that they were the paid staff for various local “service” organizations. In fact I raised the question during one of the question and answer periods and learned that I was the only cookie there who was part of (and representing) a COMPLETELY volunteer organization, the Creston Booster Club. We don’t have the rigid hierarchy of levels of “management” that every other of the 100 or so participants organizations did. In fact, I said to the group as a whole that if we were an Indian tribe, all were chiefs --- except maybe the organization’s officers, who were the Indians. This got a laugh from the participants, but I was dead serious. Everybody in our organization works hard on every aspect for all of our projects. We just roll up our shirt sleeves and pitch in.

During the breaks, I kept pursuing conversations with the other participants. Every one of them I talked to worked for an organization which seemed to have a contractual agreement with the State of Illinois to provide services to their community. Their jobs were to recruit local volunteers and contributors and administer the services to “whomever” for “whatever.” Virtually all were concerned about whether their agency would survive thru the end of the year. Times are really rough. It would appear that few, if any, had received ANY of their promised funding from the State of Illinois since the first of 2010! The Illinois financial crisis literally affects everyone, both for schools and for services!

I thought about the Booster Club, the Rotary Club, the Lions’ Club, the Masons, and the Kiwanis Club that are all so integral to what is good about our local communities. They raise their own funding for their projects via local events. We are blessed with a generous community. These are the ones truly responsible for what sets our communities above the rest and make living around here so special. I wondered if any local organizations have benefited from Serve Illinois in the past decade, much less received any money through them. The people I talked to were shocked at what my organization had accomplished over the years, and that we raise virtually every cent ourselves to do these things as we go along. It is said that “charity begins at home.” I now have a much better understanding of what that phrase means... This is the mark of true volunteerism.

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

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This story was published on August 9, 2010.


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