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ReachOut Blog

Celebrate TXT-Giving with ReachOut!

by RO_Meredith Community, Volunteering

TXT-GivingDo you enjoy texting, turkey and making a HUGE difference in the lives of other young people? Then we've got good news: This holiday season ReachOut is launching it's first ever end-of-year fundraiser from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve!

It's easier than ever before to support young people going through tough times – now you can donate $10 with your phone! Just text GIVE 6900 to 80088 and reply YES to the confirmation message. If ReachOut has ever helped you/provided you with support, consider giving that gift to another young person this holiday season.

Ladies and gents, we give you... TXT-Giving!

What is TXT-Giving?

TXT-Giving is our seasonal mobile giving campaign and your opportunity to help us help teens and young adults lead happier lives with a one-time $10 donation.

Awesome. How can I get involved?

Glad you asked. Just text GIVE 6900 to 80088 and reply YES to the confirmation message. It’s as easy as that. 

Got it. What else should I know?

Charges will be made on your wireless bill to fundrasing platform Global Giving. At any time you can Text STOP to 80088 to STOP or Text HELP to 80088 for HELP. You must be 18 years of age or have parental permission to participate. Message and data rates may apply. Full Terms: Privacy Policy:

Sounds great. But what if I want to donate more than $10?

Not a problem. You can go directly to the Inspire USA page on the GlobalGiving site and donate by PayPal, credit card or check.  If you’re in a position to make a larger gift to ReachOut, your contribution will be greatly appreciated by Inspire USA, the nonprofit behind, the  teens and young adults your donation will enable usto reach.

I can’t afford to donate right now, but I want to help. Can I still get involved?

Yes! Any time and effort you can contribute to spreading the word about ReachOut is much appreciated. Check out the Get Involved page to learn more about the different ways how you can join the cause. 

Cool. I’m in for one or more of the options above.But I have more questions.

Any donation, no matter what the amount, helps make a difference. And we’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and questions. Just email


Join in Celebrating LGBTQ Pride!

by RO_Meredith Volunteering

LGBT PrideWhat a historic Pride Month! Here in San Francisco (where ReachOut HQ is located) we're pretty excited to be celebrating the double victorty of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and Prop. 8 getting struck down by the Supreme Court yesterday. This marks a HUGE victory for progress, civil rights and the futures of LGBTQ youth across the country and we couldn't be happier. 

At the same time, we know there are many issues that LGBTQ teens and young adults face before marriage ever comes into the picture. That's why, this Pride season, we're announcing the launch of a new project to expand and enhance LGBTQ content on!

With the support of prosocial PR firm Citizen Paine and the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) Network, Inspire will be recruiting a small but powerful virtual team of 10 LGBTQ youth in California to review and develop online content relevant to a diverse community of LGBTQ teens and young adults.

What will LGBTQ Content Developers do?

  • Propose, develop, and deliver youth relevant LGBTQ content in the form of blog posts, fact sheets or real life stories presented in audio or video format. Content Developers will come up with the topics, tone and formats best suited for deliving information and support around issues such as gender identity, sexual health and romantic relationships.
  • Provide feedback on the LGBTQ content currently available on in order to identify gaps, possible revisions and generally help us make sure it is the best it can be for young people.
  • Help us meet the diverse needs of the LGBTQ youth community and promote acceptance by identifying areas for growth and expansio

This is a perfect opportunity for any young person, ages 16-24, who resides in California, identifies as LGBTQ and has a passion for helping their peers deal with the issues surrounding sexuality and gender.

Interested? Know someone who would be? Check out the online application and share with your networks! July 15th is the submission deadline.

Also note that while no travel is required to participate, Content Developers will be required to attend a virtual orientation. Also, while no particular experience is required, relevant volunteering/nonprofit work experience is a plus.  

Any questions? Contact


The Value of Volunteering

by RO_Meredith Community, Volunteering

Today's guest post is from young filmmaker Matt Palmer about the personal benefits of volunteering and his documentary on the topic. Don't forget to read his bio at the end of the post!

High school students are unquestionably busy people. A typical high schooler has to balance homework, studying, socializing, and extracurricular activities such as sports, music, or art. There is only so much time in a day! So when I was told that my high school would require me to do community service on top of all of these other things, I wasn’t sure it was even possible. Yet today, almost a year after graduating from college, I am grateful that my school made me do volunteer work. In fact, I am now making a documentary film about the amazing place where I began volunteering six years ago while in high school. It’s safe to say that doing service changed my life.

Going into my senior year of high school, I chose to complete the entirety of my service requirement in one week. This was not unusual, as many students volunteered at week-long summer camps to do the required 50 hours of service during the summer. So, along with several of my friends, I went to Camp ReCreation, a summer camp that serves individuals with developmental disabilities. These disabilities, I was informed at the camp’s training session, ranged from Downs Syndrome to autism to cerebral palsy. I was also told that the camp would be one of the most fun weeks I would ever have. Many students who volunteered there returned year after year, and when I arrived at the camp that summer I saw many alumni of my high school. Despite this, I was very nervous—what if I couldn’t take care of someone for a whole week? What if the person I was paired with didn’t have fun?

After two days at camp my fears evaporated. It was almost impossible to not have fun with these individuals. They were open, loving, and incredibly insightful. They were unbelievable people, and that week made me see life in a whole new way. I have returned to Camp Rec for the past six years and after graduating from film school decided to make a documentary about the camp and the population it serves. I cannot imagine my life without camp and without the incredible people that go to it. Six years ago, I was a high school student reluctant to spend time serving others. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You can learn more about the documentary I am working on, called Friends of Mine, at or by liking the Friends of Mine Facebook page. Also, you can watch the documentary’s promotional video here. Please spread the word about this project! Volunteering is also a great way to gain experience if you're looking for a job! Check out our fact sheet on this for more.

Have you had a volunteer/service experience that changed your life? Share it in the comments!

About Matthew Palmer
Matthew recently completed his final year as an undergraduate student at New York University where he earned a degree in Media Studies and a minor in Film and Television Production. He graduated Cum Laude. He has written, produced, and directed several short films, short documentaries, and music videos. He has also worked on a significant amount of projects as a production assistant, script supervisor, or assistant director. In addition, Matthew has been a volunteer counselor at Camp ReCreation for the last five years.

Living With The Past, Moving Into the Future

by RO_Meredith Community, Volunteering

Today's guest post is from ReachOut Council member Brandon Rohlwing about how we can "live without regrets" in the current moment. Don't forget to read his bio at the end of the post!

A lot of times we hear the overused phrase, “You have to live without regrets.” As ideal as that sounds, it sometimes is very hard to do. My name is Brandon Rohlwing and I am 17, a senior in high school, and one of the Youth Council Members for ReachOut.

Two weeks ago, in my second period class, I got some news that I would never have expected or have been ready to hear. One of the juniors in my class had passed away. He wasn’t your typical teenager. He was known for many things. One was his signature clipboard that kept his schedule for the week down to the minute. Another was for walking down the hallway singing, “Firework” by Katy Perry. However, he was best known for his kindness.

Everyone could remember those first two things, but it took something tragic, like his death, for people to realize how much of an amazing person he really was. This was probably due to the fact that people often judged or made fun of him just because he was different than the rest of us, though it wasn't in a bad way. He would ask people how they were doing in the hallway, or tell them to have a good morning if they looked upset. If I have only one regret in my life, it is not giving him a fair shot as a friend. He was such an amazing person, but I was too caught up in other high school drama to break away and talk to him.

Sure, I regret it, but I also believe it's never too late to rid yourself of your regrets. So now, two weeks later, I have started to try and change myself. Not by singing pop songs in the hallway or carrying a clipboard, but by simply giving people a fair chance and letting them know that I, as well as others, do care about them. Most people say not to add people you don’t personally know on social networks, but I have decided to accept all requests so if anyone does need to talk I am there. Of course this is hard, but so is any challenge.

It can seem like people only take action on something that they want to change after something has taken place (like better emergency responses after Hurricane Katrina.) My challenge to you, reader, is to not be like the rest of my school or even the country and wait until it is too late. Do what is right, now. Whether it's sitting with the new kid at a lunch table or standing up for someone who is being bullied. Who knows, maybe your good acts will rub off on someone else and start a great snowball effect. So when people ask you, “Do you live with regrets?” say what you honestly feel but don’t forget to tell them it's never too late to rid yourself of regrets.

Bio My name is Brandon. I am 17 years old and am currently a junior in high school. When I am not occupied with my part-time job or on my social networks (Facebook, Twitter, & Tumblr), I find myself active in National Honor Society, Rotary Interact, and Big Brothers Big Sisters all through my school. Outside of school, I volunteer at our local food pantry, am a student election judge, and am a worship leader at my church.  I look forward to helping those who are going through things similar to what I did, and to help then realize: I’ve been there. I’ve made it through. And I am now stronger than I ever thought I was before.

Reach Out @ Bonnaroo 2011 - Not Afraid

by RO_Meredith Community, Volunteering team members Mackenzie and Rasika chop it up outside our booth at Planet represented at this year's Bonnaroo 2011! A team of six awesome council members, volunteers and staff helped us reach thousands of people who came through the Planet Roo section of Bonnaroo Thanks Amy, Emily, Rasika, Mackenzie and Wilfredo!

With over 80,000 people in attendance, the fists were pumping, the rays were intense, and vibrations went much farther than just our spot in the Tennesse farmland.

"I wish I had heard about this before."

Bonnaroo Music Festival goers sign-up for ReachOut.comThe response to and the dedication of our crew to brave the heat was as warm as the weather!

Lots of people said they had wished they had known about while they were going through a tough time and even more suggested that they would check out the site, and write in, to help others out. For everyone who believes in the power of helping each other, it was really a great affirmation of all the work and Inspire USA  is dedicated to doing.

"This could be the next big thing"


Two guys show off their tattoosAlong with letting people know about and handing out tremendous amounts of RO goodies, we got to hear some of the music ourselves. Arcade Fire, Eminem, Bassnectar and many other major acts rocked massive crowds, with Eminem's performance ending in a half-hour fireworks show. It would be impossible to even begin to describe how much good music was going on during the festival, but when people weren't exhausted, the festival vibe flowed into our booth

"How else can I support"

Elsewhere at Roo, our We Can Help Us videos were also played three times over the course of the festival over at the Planet Roo Documentary tent where peeps got to enjoy some shade and the shorts that were inspired by real stories submitted to the site. Fans the Outdoors also stopped by the tent to show some love. If you visited the booth and signed our waiver to take a picture, stay tuned to our Facebook page (ReachOutUSA) as they get posted up.

Did you go to Bonnaroo 2011? Did you visit the booth or hear your favorite artist? Tell us how it was and whether you made it back in one piece!