Monday, September 6, 2010

"Give, Get Given" - Part I

Orange RockCorps – The Project

I’m one of those people who will happily volunteer my time to whoever needs help, whether it’s family, friends, co-workers or even total strangers. I’ve volunteered my time teaching the elderly various pieces of computer software, how to browse the internet, how to send an email, etc. I’ve also spent time in a school helping children with disabilities. I’m happy to do it, for nothing. Other people need some convincing.

One of the best ways I’ve found to encourage volunteering is through RockCorps. RockCorps started in 2005 and hosted gigs in 7 cities across the US including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Washington DC and Miami. They’ve had Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, T.I., The Game, Busta Rhymes, Xzibit, Akon, Taking Back Sunday, Korn, Panic! At The Disco, Nas, Angels & Airwaves, Jermaine Dupri and +44 grace the stage.

In 2008, with the help of Orange and Channel 4 they launched in the UK, hence ‘Orange RockCorps’. The gig was at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and had the likes of Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Feeder, the Automatic, Lethal Bizzle, the Guillemots and John Legend.

In 2009, Orange RockCorps decided it would attract the Northern crowd and organised a gig at the Manchester Apollo, this was headlined by Lady Gaga. Once again, down south, there was a gig at the Royal Albert Hall featuring Nelly, Nas, Akon, Razorlight, Kelly Rowland, Daniel Merriweather, Chase & Status and David Guetta. That was an amazing gig, such a wonderful atmosphere. Last year also saw the first Orange RockCorps show in Paris at Le Zenith theatre.

How do you get a ticket to one of these amazing gigs? You can’t buy them; you have to earn them, by volunteering 4 hours of your time to a project. RockCorps run a series of projects to help local communities, whether it’s cleaning up the River Thames, community centres or playgrounds. I think this is a fantastic way of encouraging people of all ages to volunteer. It’s also fun when an artist you love comes to volunteer with you.

I volunteered last year and got to go to the Royal Albert Hall gig, the highlight of my night was seeing Nelly and Kelly perform ‘Dilemma’. This year I volunteered at a project which was local to me, and am looking forward to going to the gig. I must say, I did this years with 9 of my friends, and we had such a good time. Even though we were weeding and painting, we had so much fun, and it was nice to see a positive result at the end.

Another thing RockCorps have launched is the “Collective” which is another good way to reward you if you regularly volunteer, or can’t make it to one of their projects for the main gigs. Basically you can volunteer for any charity/volunteering project for 4 hours and get a voucher which you can then use to buy a ticket for a gig of your choice, what more could you want?

I think this is a brilliant concept and I really hope it continues to take the world by storm, because, it’s a different and exciting way to get people involved, and if they enjoyed volunteering at a project then who knows?! Maybe they will continue to without the need for an incentive!

I’ll fill you in on how the concert went in 2 weeks and 4 days...

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