It's Red Nose Day. But, I'm sure you already know that.
Walgreens has been selling its clown-like noses for weeks — with accompanying TV commercials depicting a mother and son team that's beamed to Africa to see a community celebrating clean water and to a rural town where people are eating sandwiches, thanks to a mobile food truck.
Both of these experience are possible, we assume, because the family buys red noses.
If you haven't seen that commercial, maybe you've seen clips of the American Ninja Warrior Red Nose Day Special Edition or of Julia Roberts' special episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls. There's also the possibility that you'll be tuning in to watch Chris Hardwick host NBC's Red Nose Day Special.
It's all for a good cause.
According to the Red Nose Day website, all money raised goes to projects that ensure kids are safe, healthy, educated, and empowered. Red Nose Day funds programs in all 50 states and in some of the poorest communities in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
That's an amazing mission.
But, what if you want to see children's faces light up when they learn a new skill or receive assistance?
Fear not! We've put together a list of top non-profits that help kids. You can volunteer at any of them now (or in the future) and all you need to contribute is your time.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America: Have a fluctuating schedule? Children (Littles) around the country are in need of mentors (Bigs). As a Big, you'll donate a few hours, several times a month to provide friendship to your Little. Not sure what to do with your Little? Play a board game. Go to the park. Hit up a library story or art hour. It's all up to you. Plus, your chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters will often offer reduced-price tickets to community events. Be sure to take advantage.
*Boys & Girls Club of America: The Boys & Girls Club of America, which is a Red Nose Day Partner, enables young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens — and there are many ways to assist. Consider your interests and get involved. Help with homework. Coach or referee sports teams. Assist administratively. If you have a passion for something else, ask if you can start a program. You may be the first pottery expert who has walked through the building's doors.
CASA: Court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteers help children who have been abused or neglected when they are dealing with the justice system. Volunteers get to know the child by talking with everyone in that child's life — parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use this information to inform judges of the child's needs and recommends permanent housing situations. If you have a flexible schedule or work evenings, this may be a perfect opportunity to volunteer with children — you just need to care about them and have a bit of common sense.
*Girls, Inc.: Girls, Inc. develops research-based informal education programs that encourage girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges. Programs address math and science education, pregnancy and drug abuse prevention, media literacy, economic literacy, adolescent health, violence prevention, and sports participation. Those who want to volunteer regularly can serve as mentors and program assistants or teach skills in a classroom setting. If a more flexible schedule is better, consider becoming a field trip chaperone.
Make-A-Wish Foundation: A wish experience can be a game-changer for a child with a life-threatening medical condition. For wish kids, just the act of making their wish come true can give them the courage to comply with their medical treatments. Each Make-A-Wish Foundation office has its own needs including people to contribute office support, work fundraising and special events, translate, and grant wishes. Wish granters meet with families, help the wish child determine his or her wish, and act as a liaison between Make-A-Wish staff and the wish family.
*Special Olympics: Through sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths, abilities, skills, and success. Volunteers can coach, work in marketing/communications or administrative support, or assist with fundraising events. Though many volunteer opportunities are ongoing, there are also volunteers needed on the "day of" any event whether that's at basketball tournament or a fundraising dinner.
*Give2Get has worked with local chapters of these organizations.