This Man is Changing Everything You Know About Volunteering

Good Doer Profile: At 28 years old, Elad Blumenthal has started a movement that combines socializing and volunteering for the purpose of building community.

Dec 29, 2015

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Elad Blumenthal has a lot to be proud of: a degree from a prestigious university, a past career as a professional basketball player, a comfy job in hospital management. But perhaps his greatest accomplishment is that he’s managed to merge social activities with one-day volunteering opportunities for the purpose of connecting young people in a venue outside of Facebook or Twitter.

Appropriately named OneDay Social Volunteering, Blumenthal’s organization puts on volunteering events once a week throughout Israel. OneDay prides itself at being incredibly flexible – volunteers are neither committed to volunteer a certain amount of hours, nor to show up to a certain number of events.

Since 2013, OneDay has been bringing together young adults between 18 and 35 to volunteer in community gardens, food drives, nursing homes, with special needs kids, and much more. OneDay volunteers are as diverse as the communities they serve – which is exactly the point. Elad explained to Goodnet that “we are a group of people from all kinds of backgrounds and most of the time we focus on what differentiates us from each other, and less about what unites us together. I believe volunteering is a perfect opportunity to bring people together and break walls and barriers.”

So where and how does Elad find the time to contribute to his community in such a significant way? Well, it’s not easy. OneDay has become so popular that Elad and his staff of 40 volunteers, who keep the organization running, must commit to help out with some aspect of OneDay every day outside of their everyday jobs. While the committed OneDay staff (who work on a 100 percent voluntary basis) assist with organizing events, Elad focuses on the organization’s strategy, growth, partnership development, and resource development, as OneDay is currently running with almost no budget.

Elad Blumenthal at OneDay social event Since socializing and creating friendships are a big part of OneDay's philosophy, Elad also takes part in social events the organizations puts on  

But, to Elad, the sleepless nights, long hours, and financial strain are all worth it. He says, “it gives me power to see dozens – even hundreds - of young adults go volunteer every week in our social volunteering events. Seeing relationships, friendships and working relations be created between people who met through our organization, seeing people become community leaders, people that are now better connected to their community, people discovering their leadership abilities - it's fantastic."

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Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.