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Activate Good’s pop-up space models what a permanent HQ for the Raleigh nonprofit could look like.
In 2004, Amber Smith and her friend, Heather Leah, set out on a two-and-a-half month long, cross-country journey in search of ways to make a difference. The pair helped build houses, served hot food to the hungry and worked in women’s shelters in more than 20 states before returning home to North Carolina with a mission to encourage others to perform those same acts of kindness in their own neighborhoods.
“One thing we learned on our journey was that people inherently want to help others in their communities,” Smith says. “They just don’t always know how to go about getting connected.”
So, the next year, Smith and Leah founded ME3, later renamed Activate Good, a nonprofit community that recruits and connects individuals, groups and companies through its website to volunteer opportunities with community partners all around the Triangle. (Leah is no longer affiliated with the nonprofit).
Last month, after more than a decade of success mobilizing volunteers to help charitable causes in Raleigh and neighboring communities, Smith opened Activate Good’s first brick-and-mortar project, The Good Hub POP UP, in an office on Oberlin Road. The goal of the pop-up is to showcase how a permanent space will help Activate Good further its work towards closing the gap between those who need help and those who want to help.
Raleigh-based Anthony Property Group donated the pop-up location and Smith says she hopes it will give people an idea of what a Good Hub headquarters will offer the community: Space where locals can strategize to do good together and for neighbors to unite in their desire to make a difference.
“It will be a gateway to hundreds of volunteer needs in our region, and a place where those who want to do good can find a way to serve,” Smith says.
Smith, who grew up in a philanthropic home, says parents often want to be more involved in community outreach but don’t always know how to include young children. Speaking to the notion that volunteerism should be encouraged to begin at an early age, The Good Hub works to help families with children find age-appropriate ways to be involved, matching volunteers with opportunities based on skills, schedules, age and interest. Finally, there will be a physical, rather than virtual, place where those who want to do good can be matched with those in need.
The Good Hub POP UP offers the Raleigh community the chance to pilot a few core features that the future permanent location will incorporate: a learning zone, where those who’d like to volunteer can learn about local causes; a service zone, where visitors of all ages can practice service projects onsite and a volunteer connections lounge, where visitors can gather; and speak with staff members from The Good Hub to learn about ways to get involved.
A key component to the future permanent location will be a rental program, where volunteers can borrow tools they may need to complete a service mission, ensuring that cost for potentially expensive tools isn’t a barrier for those who want to help.
“Volunteerism is an important facet of civic and community life and an indicator of health of the overall community,” Smith says. “If The Good Hub excels at our ambitions for locals to build relationships based upon a common goal of showing love and goodness to those less fortunate, then our communities will only continue to flourish and thrive.”
The Good Hub POP UP is located at 702 Oberlin Road, on the 4th floor, and will be open through April. Learn more at activategood.org/thegoodhub.
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