Archive for September 30, 2011

Skills-Based Volunteering: The Hired Pens

We are thrilled to be selected as The Hired Pens pro-bono client. Here is a nice blog they wrote about the selection process. Thanks guys!
The Hired Pens Selects Pro-Bono Client: Cradles to Crayons
By: Anna Goldsmith

A few months ago, a good friend of mine posted some upsetting images of starving children of Somalia on her Facebook page with a request for donations to Doctors without Borders. I couldn’t stop looking at them … and felt near tears the entire day. (This is not a good state to be in when you’re trying to get work done.) It made me realize that as a copywriting business, we have a lot of power to actually do some good. And at the time, we weren’t.

Sure, over the years we’ve donated writing services to several worthy organizations, from Stop Handgun Violence to Down:2:Earth, a green living expo. But we’ve never had a long-term relationship with an organization, and seeing these images made me realize it was time to commit.

Also, as a mother, I wanted to work with an organization that supported children in need. And I wanted that organization to be local so we could have a more personal connection with its team. I posted on Facebook looking for ideas and kept getting suggestions for the Boston-based Cradles to Crayons, an organization that gives needy local children everything from school supplies to winter coats.

I did a little research and three things sold me:

1.)    They received the highest rating (four stars) from charity watchdog “Charity Navigator.” Translation: This is a trustworthy operation that spends its money wisely.

2.)    They let children as young as five volunteer. I love the idea that someday my toddler will join them, as they wash and sort toys like little elves. And props to Cradles. I’m sure these little elves are quite a handful.

3.)    They’re on top of things. When I told them I was hosting a fundraiser, they replied not just with a vague thank you, but with a flyer they’d personalized for my event. And when I offered to donate writing services, they didn’t waste any time (mine or theirs). They knew exactly what they needed and who I needed to meet with to make it happen. A few of my paying clients could learn a thing or two from them …

We are excited to be working with such a great organization and will keep you posted on the neat projects we’re doing over the next year. First up is a “Recipes for Giving” calendar, where we’ll be writing (hopefully) inspired fundraising ideas in recipe format. So, if you have any of your own you’d like to share, please tell us.

To learn more about this organization or make a donation, please visit cradlestocrayons.org. Right now they really need new or gently worn children’s coats.

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September 30, 2011 at 5:10 pm Leave a comment

Staff Spotlight: 8 Questions with Ashley Medlar

Ashley Medlar is the Giving Corps Service Leadership Fellow at Cradles to Crayons.  She assists with the day-to-day management of the Giving Corps, particularly the Teen Leadership Corps and the College Corps.  Ashley has been at C2C for three months!


Describe working at Cradles to Crayons in 3 words or less.

Purple. Awesome. Cake

What is the best part of your job?

I get to hang out with fantastic high school and college students all the time.  They’re so much fun, and I really love to see them get excited about service and their own leadership abilities.  It’s amazing watching a 14-year-old stand up in front of a group of adults and tell them what to do!  The second best part of my job is being half of the Ashley and Ashley dream team.

What is your favorite station in the Giving Factory to work at? Why?

I love books.  I’m probably a little biased since it was the first one I really learned, but it’s still my favorite.  I loved to read when I was little (and I still do!), so it’s fun to look through old books that I remember and hope that the child that gets them loves them as much as I did.

What was your favorite book, toy, or outfit as a child?

My favorite toy was a Raggedy Ann doll that I got as soon as I was born.  Her name is Annie, and she used to go EVERYWHERE with me.  I dragged that poor doll through every mess I made, and I got so upset at preschool when they told me I had to keep her in my cubby.  I actually still have her at my apartment!

What children’s character can you relate with most? Why?

Despite the fact that my parents aren’t totally nuts, my headmaster wasn’t evil, and I can’t move things with my mind, I always related to Matilda from the Roald Dahl book.  I think it was our mutual love of reading.  I also liked how she always took matters into her own hands when things weren’t fair.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love nail polish, reading, and watching food shows on TV.  Put me in front of Food Network while I paint my nails and I am a happy camper.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would love to still be here!  I would love to be able to wear this sweet purple sweatshirt at work for a long time.

Describe what you were like at age 10.

I was REALLY shy and had a strange obsession with the Weather Channel.  I was also embarrassingly tiny, and all the other kids in my class used to pick me up all the time just because they could.  Thank goodness I grew!

September 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment


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