Archive | February, 2011

Pando Projects: Service for the New Millennial

18 Feb

I recently came across the website WhatGives?!, which is dedicated to spreading the good word about volunteerism, organizations, and causes, using social media to help raise awareness and funds for nonprofits. It’s teeming with useful information I love to read about and is now on the top of my bookmark list. More importantly (and relevant to this article), is that I read about Pando Projects for the first time. A new start-up based in New York City, it’s mission and platform immediately caught my attention and I needed to know more. Enter: Milena Arciszewski. Ask and you shall receive; I was able to get on the phone with Milena and learn more about Pando, and confirm that she is, in fact, as cool and candid as the voice she writes with on her site and blog.

Pando Projects is a nonprofit that “empowers people to step up as leaders and develop new, local solutions to the problems in their communities.” The Pando platform that was created will allow project leaders to create personal sites for their local causes to raise money, manage volunteers, organize events, and share their experience and results. As projects are completed, the leaders will become mentors to 5 more up-and-coming Pando Project leaders; with Pando as the catalyst, this is sure to become a chain reaction for change and create a true social network for good.

Though Pando Projects accepts applications from anyone over 18 years old, their primary demographic is Millennials: us young people born between 1980 and 1994. This includes Milena herself, who told me that our generation has big ambitions to change the world but we’re bored with what’s out there. Millennials don’t necessarily want the traditional volunteer experience, they want to create their own project and make change happen on their own terms. This is sure to harness the passionate energy of millennials not only to start their own projects, but also to donate to local projects to which they feel most connected. When I asked Milena about whether Pando Projects would serve mainly as an online platform or something that connects people in real life, she said that “Our platform definitely encourages off-line action. The idea is that we give Millennials the encouragement and tools they need to start amazing initiatives in their own communities.  But then they come home and share their experience on their website and then distribute the update through Facebook, email, and Twitter.  It’s offline action that’s documented through social media.”

I love the concept of Pando Projects, and I’m really happy that Milena chose New York City as her base of operations. In such a big city it’s easy for a lot of smaller, local community issues to go unnoticed and unfixed. Pando Projects is ready to empower New York’s ambitious Millennials to step up and fix the problems they see in their own backyards. I can’t wait to watch how this progresses as projects are successfully completed and the network of NYC do-gooders begins to grow through the mentorship program.

The pilot has officially begun- check out the inaugural projects by visiting You can sign up to volunteer or make a donation on the individual project page you’re most passionate about (or more than one-they’re all pretty interesting!).


And if you’re wondering why it’s called the “Pando Project”: Pando is the name of the largest aspen forest in the U.S. whose trees are all connected with one root system. <<insert ‘The More Your Know’ jingle here>>


Chocolate for Charity

11 Feb

Before you dive into that cheap box of chocolates from CVS, check out this walking tour in Soho and Greenwich Village. On Sunday, February 13th ‘Walking Tours Manhattan’ will be your guide to all of the best confectioneries in the area. You’ll start with Kee’s Chocolates, and hit up Vosges and The Best Chocolate Cake in the World (yes, thats a store) before arriving at the last stop, Payard Bakery, maker of one of the finest eclairs you’ll ever eat. If you’ve never heard of these places, or are just looking for a nice person to show you around the village and school you on some downtown knowledge, this is your chance!

To help support the good work of the Food Bank For New York City, a non-profit I know and love that helps feed hungry people all over NYC, Walking Tours Manhattan is asking for a $5.00 donation per person. 100% of donations go to charity. If you’d like to donate online, please go to Pay Pal at; and send your contribution to;

Meet your tour guide with the red ball cap saying “Walking Tours Manhattan!” on Sunday February 13, at 11:00am at Kee’s Chocolates, 80 Thompson Street between Spring and Broome. Walking distance is 1 1/4 mile, and the tour lasts about 1 ½ hours. Purchases are optional and not included.

What I Did This Week

11 Feb

Usually February is that weird month stuck between the holidays and Easter break, where nothing really happens except Valentines Day and a seemingly endless winter convinces you it will never leave. That’s how I usually feel at least, until this February. This February has been full of productive meetings, planning some big-time events for 2011, and of course, the Pants Party. This past Wednesday night Give & Get collected 37 pairs of jeans; a number which has increased to about 46 after two days of coworkers dropping their pants in my office- but I’m not complaining!

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Last night I attended the “I Heart NYC” Blogger Meet-Up party hosted by Travelzoo Local Deals. It was awesome to meet the people behind some of my favorite blogs, and I got some great advice on how to improve my own. Everyone who attended the event (at the super-snazzy SD26) received one of two amazing deals from Travelzoo: my envelope had a voucher for dinner for two at Kikakuya Sake Bar in Koreatown, while other guests received credit towards a facial by aesthetician-to-the-stars, Mamie McDonald. While a facial would probably do me some good, I’m really excited to try out a new restaurant which happens to be right near my office.

This Saturday (tomorrow!) is the Global Cocoa Project’s “Explore the World of Chocolate Event”. My mouth is already watering just thinking about all the delicious treats I’ll be having tomorrow. Gourmet bon-bons? Peggy Bundy, eat your heart out. If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, you’re in luck: there are still some left! Click here to purchase now and avoid the extra charge buying at the door.

You Are Cordially Invited to the Pants Party

2 Feb

Its a new year, but Give & Get NYC is still doing the same old thing: bringing people together for a good time and a good cause. This time I’ll be hosting a Pants Party on February 9th at Stout, and you’re all invited. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Bring a pair of new or gently worn jeans to Stout (133 West 33rd Street) on Feb 9th at 6:30.
2. Put jeans wherever I tell you to upon arrival.
3. Enjoy drinks with other people who brought jeans.
4. Play some darts.
5. Go home at ?:00.

After everyone has completed Steps 1-5, I will be taking the jeans to be donated to homeless teens/young adults in NYC. Your closet is cleaner, and some kid is going to look fly in their new denim. Win-win.

I got the idea for this party from an organization called DoSomething, a website that encourages teenagers and youth to take action in their communities and DO SOMETHING, by providing an online forum for volunteer opportunities, age-specific seed grants and more (Check out the website-it’s really cool). They’re currently running their 4th Annual ‘Teens for Jeans‘ contest; teens will collect jeans between January 17 and February 13th to be collected and donated to local homeless shelters by Aeropostale. Even though this contest is for teens, the donation drive is for anyone with a pair of gently used or new jeans they want to donate; just drop them off at any participating retail store (call ahead to confirm participation) and you’ll get a coupon for 25% off your next purchase.

So, you are cordially invited to the Pants Party.

Email with any questions. And please join Give and Get NYC on Facebook and RSVP!


UPDATE: Anyone who donates jeans will be entered into a raffle to win tickets to The Addams Family on Broadway!!