Volunteering + Friends = Fun

You’re probably seeing a pattern in some of these titles — we’re not mathematicians, but we have some pretty good formulas for fun & friends. Soccer, trivia, and now… volunteering!

Volunteering isn’t just about doing good and beating Minneapolis at things (though both of those are important.)  Sometimes, volunteering is as much about building community as it is, say, building houses.  That’s what I love about the folks at Back On My Feet: their focus is on working with people, not for them.

I’ve been injured and not able to attend morning runs for much of 2011, but impending recovery put me back out on the roads last Saturday morning.  Catching up with my morning running pals was great — both the non-residents (volunteers) and the residents (the folks we work with) welcomed me back into the fold with open arms.  I was thrilled to be there.  Running at 6am?  A great way to make friends.

So, you want to make friends but you’re non-athletic and bad at coming up with catchy team names?  Get out and help!

How to begin?  I’ve named a few organizations in the past who would love to have some help.  There are a few ways to think of what you might be seeking.  You could identify a cause, identify an activity, or identify an experience.

Find a Cause:

I linked up with the American Liver Foundation after my uncle received a lifesaving transplant.  I care about building stronger communities, so ONEin3 was a great place for me to start blogging.  Do you love children?  Try Horizons for Homeless Children, Foundation for Faces of Children, Children’s Hospital Boston, or Home for Little Wanderers.  An animal fan?  Try the Boston Animal Rescue League.  Have a commitment to the HIV/AIDS community?  Check out Boston Living Center.  If you always respect your elders, FriendshipWorks may be just the ticket.

Find an Activity:

I like to run.  Finding a running group that would afford me the opportunity to also build community was a perfect fit.  (And if anyone’s interested, they’ve got a new team starting in Somerville.  Sign up for an orientation, pronto!)  My cousin likes to ski, so she combined skiing, teaching, and fun at YES.   If you’re artistic, see what the MFA has to offer.  Whatever it is you like to do with your time, you can probably do it to help someone else.

Find an Experience:

Looking to meet new people?  Go for volunteer opportunities that will keep you in groups.  Less tutoring, more neighborhood cleanup, perhaps.  Trying to gain skills?  Call up Greater Boston Legal Services if you’re an attorney.  Check out your state and local officials’ district offices or campaign people.  Call a hospital if you’ve got a medical background.  No matter what you do, you can find a way to do it for free.  Seriously.  I challenge you to challenge me on that.  Want to have a voice?  Shoot us an email and offer to blog for us.  We’re no 501c3, but we like to have volunteers, too!

Find the time to find those things!

I just gave you a whole bunch of ideas, most of which I got through a quick google search.  But ask around!  Jump on Twitter, ask us & the universe!  Just the other day I saw a local blogger on Twitter asking about Back On My Feet — she hadn’t realized that they have a Quincy chapter.  You better believe I responded (pronto!), and even tried to link her up with one of my other fave local blogstars who is a runner with BOMF.  We have social networks, people!  Use them for good, not Zuckerbergian evil!

So there you have it.  You know what they say about volunteering: it doesn’t pay.  But it does give you the chance to make friends, gain skills, and give back.  And beat Minnesota.

Got volunteer advice?  Are you a cause seeking volunteers or a volunteer seeking a cause?  Have you met your best friend, your future spouse, or your future boss through volunteering?  Or do you just want us to be way better than MN?  Share it in the comments.

Trivia + Friends = Fun

Hello ONEin3ers!

My name is Amy and I’ll be writing here at ONEin3Boston.com.

A little while back, Devin wrote a piece on the plentiful recreational sports options in Boston.

Well, sports aren’t the only thing out there people.

Wondering what you’re ever going to do with all of the dates and names you memorized in high school history? Hoping at some point your knowledge of popular 80’s cartoon characters will pay off? Do have an exceptional working knowledge of all things sports that feels less exceptional now that every one of your peers has a Smartphone?

Don’t worry. There’s a way you can use all of this knowledge and have fun: trivia. Playing trivia is a great way to connect with friends, unwind after the workday, and have fun remembering things you never thought you knew.

TRIVIA


Maybe it’s because Boston is an intellectual powerhouse, but you can easily find trivia every night from Sunday – Thursday in virtually every neighborhood in Boston.  Here are some places where you can start playing trivia this week:

Sunday: 21st Amendment, Costello’s, The Mission
Monday: Ducali PizzaSidebar, Sunset Cantina
Tuesday: Club Cafe, The Living RoomWhiskey’s Steakhouse
Wednesday: Brighton Beer GardenRed Hat , Stadium
Thursday: Coogans, Seapoint, White Horse Tavern

(Admittedly, on Friday and Saturday pickings are slim, but you could always get a group together to play Trivial Pursuit.)

FRIENDS

Now that you know where you can find trivia nights in Boston, you’re going to want to get some friends together to be on your team. Here are some tips for team building, whether you’re new to trivia, or a seasoned player trying to step up your game.

Assemble a crack team of savants. Or if you don’t know a crack team, at least assemble a team of people you like having beers with. Think about team breadth as well as depth. It’s a great way to bring your Classics buff friend together with your friend who never misses an issue of US Weekly.

Make sure your team’s got some heart. The trivia scoring system is complex, slightly confusing, and favors people who stick it out to the end. I’ve seen teams with a commanding leads lose in the final round, mid-competition drop outs, and heartbreaking last-minute disqualifications. So be sure to stay optimistic! If you see a member of your team losing interest or worse, losing faith, be prepared to entice them with promises of more beer, nachos, or good old-fashioned encouragement.

Create an awesome team name.
My favorite team name I’ve had is “Dr. Eddie House”, which was of course even cooler back when Eddie was still on the Celtics. Having an awesome name is key, since the person running trivia will have to say it a few times during the night… like during score updates, or when they announce the winner…which will be you since you’ve assembled the best team with the most heart.

FUN

Remember, while some bars will give the winners cash and prizes, trivia is all about the glory. Whether you’re playing trivia with old friends, coworkers, or a rag tag group of people you just met at the bar, it will be hard not to have some fun with it.

What’s your favorite trivia spot in Boston? Do you have any trivia tips? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Start a Love Train!

Yesterday being Valentine’s Day, you may have noticed that the ONEin3 team didn’t do much pink/red/heart-shaped anything for you.  Well, we don’t want to move too fast.  But now that we’re past all the mushy love stuff, I think this is worth a look.

Yesterday, @TransitMatters shared the most adorable link via tweet:  love seats!  On buses!

Alright, so it wasn’t that adorable.  In May, a Danish transport company introduced a brief test run of red-upholstered designated “love seats” on more than 100 buses  to encourage flirtation and romance among the city’s passengers.  Sitting in a “love seat” opens you up to more interaction with your fellow passengers, whether you’re married or single, looking or not.

A two-week test to see if people are interested in sitting in seats designated “flirt-friendly” isn’t exactly Casablanca.  More Strangers on a Train.  But if you’ve ridden the Red Line lately and seen the guy who lectures riders on how we need to speak to each other, maybe you’re interested.  (If you’ve heard him serenade riders with the Backstreet Boys, you’re probably seriously considering alternatives.)

But can we find friendship and romance on the T?  Semi-unrelated story: shortly after I first moved to Boston in 2005, I rode on a T with a couple who claimed they’d met on the Red Line, gotten engaged on a Braintree train, took wedding photos on a train, and then were naming their kids after T stops.  Since then, I can’t hear station names and not picture some poor child starting kindergarten with a name like Wollaston Alewife Smith. But I digress.

I couldn’t find any follow-up to last May’s Danish endeavor, but I’m still wondering how well something like that would work in Boston.  Could we shake our reputation for unfriendliness if we gave people who like to chat an opportunity to come together?  I mean, #mbta leads me to believe you’re all spending 40% of your day sitting on trains, so why not make it worth your while?

I know we’d all rather the MBTA focus its attention on more efficient service, but what if we could designate certain parts of trains as Meet & Greet trains?  Or put in a few love seats?  We’ve been packed into ol’ Big Red like sardines and I haven’t heard many matchmaking stories there, so I don’t see why we can’t make our own moves.  Let’s say during non-rush hours, first car of every train is a Meet & Greet Car.  I don’t care, call it what you want.  Would that encourage more interaction between Bostonians?

Tell us what you think.  Will friendly faces and good conversation make you like your transit more?  Would love seats or conversation cars make you more likely to engage with others?  Will anything make you stop hate-tweeting @MBTAGM?  We need answers.

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