I should start wearing this nametag at all times. When you’re a semi-professional friender, you’re constantly sporting the sticky little bastards. I spent six hours this weekend battling the stubborn adhesives, which were constantly coming unstuck in the August heat.
I’ve been wanting to do some volunteer work since moving to Chicago. Other than a day spent knocking on doors for Mr. President a few years back, I haven’t yet fulfilled that goal. Plenty of people have suggested volunteering as a prime activity for meeting pals, but I’ve had trouble finding something that works with my schedule. So many worthwhile organizations require an ongoing commitment, and my calendar these days just doesn’t have much room. Enter One Brick.
I found out about this organization from a reader (thanks Laura!) and fellow Chicagoan. It was perfect for me for two reasons: 1) It’s no commitment volunteering, meaning you sign up and show up for events that you’re interested in and work for your schedule, and 2) The organization encourages “a social atmosphere around volunteering” and invites volunteers to gather at a local restaurant after each event. You do good, you make friends—a win-win. (And if it’s a BFF bust at least you’ve, you know, changed the world and all that.)
The event I worked was at Chicago’s City Farm. It was a lot of weeding, but it felt great to be outside, get dirty, and meet an interesting variety of people. I also got to pick beets—I’m basically a farmer!
One Brick is headquartered in San Francisco and has chapters in DC, Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Paul, New York, Orlando, and Seattle. I don’t do much organization promotion in these parts of the blogosphere, but from my first venture into the One Brick community it seems like something worth sharing, whether you are local-BFF deficient or not.
(My other nametag affair was at a Friday mingler, where a group of strangers came together for an evening of drinks and icebreakers. If you’re a Chicago local, check them out. If you’re not, and are interested in meeting new people, I highly recommend seeking out similar mixers in your city or town. I had no idea how many existed in the Windy City until I started looking. Now I find out about a new one every day. I have to believe the same kind of get-to-know you games are happening in a village near you.)
Have you had a good social experience with a volunteer organization? Feel free to share your cause below.