Two Days Left to Win Free Inaugural Trip

10 01 2009

A few weeks ago I posted information about the Case Foundation’s Change Begins With Me contest, giving an awesome prize package to a lucky winner who takes the time to share ideas about creating change in their community. With the inauguration only 10 days away there is still time to enter. It really couldn’t be easier–in 250 characters, explain what you can do to help your community. Seriously, there is no reason NOT to enter. I did and I live in Washington DC! Its a chance to do more than win a prize. Seriously, there is no reason NOT to enter. I did and I live in Washington DC! Its a chance to do more than win a prize, although its a pretty good one. The winner receives:

* two tickets to the Inaugural Ceremony & the Hawaii Inaugural Ball
* volunteer opportunities on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Washington,
* three-nights hotel stay
* airfare for you and a guest to the Nation’s Capitol
* a Flip video camera

The entries are online, and there seem to be only about 250 at this point. Here’s a few samples from the site to give you an idea of the scope of issues close to people’s hearts:

Andrea J. wrote: Always actively participating in my government. And staying fluent on the concerns of other people world wide.

Amir I. wrote: Find the solution to the problem between Israel and Palestine. I would do this by asking everyone on the internet to post their solution to the problem. I know there is a solution.We are all creatures created by one God.


Devin M. wrote: improve my community by making it safer for everyone! I commit to making the generation beneath me more intelligent and ready to be respectful, responsible teenagers. I also commit to making all youth be heard in my community, in the world.

See how easy it is? Your turn!


Obama Issues National Call to Service

7 01 2009

renew-americaThe incoming Obama administration is keeping up its calls for Americans to start volunteering in their own communities, and today a national call to service went out encouraging people to take part in volunteer activities on Jan. 19th. To help find activities nationwide and engage people in conversations about service, Obama for America has a new website as well:

As with most other Obama related web properties, the site is clean and easy to use, with features for you to find service events in your area, post your own events, or check out the blog where folks like Jill Biden are talking about their volunteer plans for Jan. 19th and beyond.

Celebrating on a Budget? Start Here.

3 01 2009

Cash In your Pocket
Apparently presidential inaugurations are completely recession-proof. Despite our country’s current economic state, prices for most things connected to the 56th Inauguration aren’t dropping one bit. Hotel prices are across the region are sky high and ball tickets are through roof. This is a pricey endeavor, specially if you’re planning to roll with the black tie crowd. But fear not: there are more thanenough free or cheap things to do–Obama related or not–that you can still have a fantastic time.

First off, if you haven’t taken advantage of the not one but two opportunities to win a free trip for two to the inauguration with all the trimmings, start there. If you win the only thing you’ll have to worry about is who to take with you and what to wear!

On Sunday afternoon, a welcome event at the Lincoln Memorial marks the official kickoff of the inauguration festivities. Start your day there, then head over to the FDR Memorial and back around to the WWII Memorial to take in some of the sights with the rest of the crowds. 

On Monday, the day before Obama’s swearing in will be a busy one across town, as people take part in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. If you’re traveling with a group from another city, consider signing up for a service project while you’re in town.

Monday will also feature two free concerts in different parts of town. The Kennedy Center, in partnership with Georgetown University (Hoya Saxa!) will present the “Let Freedom Ring” concert featuring Aretha Franklin, Nuttin but Stringz, and the Let Freedom Ring Choir. Starting at 4pm, one ticket per person will be distributed outside the concert hall, and the concert starts at 6pm. I imagine the line will start to form early–to get there, catch the Blue/Orange line train to Foggy Bottom and look for the red Kennedy Center shuttle or take the 15 minute walk.

Also on Monday, a free kids concert hosted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee is planned at the Verizon Center. Details on performers, time, etc. haven’t been announced yet, but tickets will be required.

Several other low cost performance events are planned for Monday night, including the Big Shoulders Inauguration Ball at the Black Cat on 14th St NW, for $50 per person, featuring artists and activists from Chicago. At the Harman Center for the Arts in Chinatown, $25 gets you tickets to A Celebration of Change: From Emancipation to Presidency, featuring the Positive Vibrations Youth Steel Orchestra.

Tuesday is the big day when millions are expected to fill the National Mall and downtown DC streets to view the parade and swearing in ceremony for President-elect Obama and Vice-President elect Biden. If you have tickets for the swearing in, plan to be in your seat as close to 9am as possible, when the gates open. For others planning to watch via Jumbotron on other parts of the Mall, get there early too, and don’t bring anything!

wonderballOn Tuesday night ball gowns and tuxedos will fill the city’s hotels, museums and other fancy spaces, but budget partiers have some options. Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights is hosting the Common Man’s Inaugural Ball, where $69 gets all you can drink from 9pm-4am, a commemorative poster and a t-shirt. On your way there, stop by Red Rocks Pizzeria a block away for some great pizza before the party. For those a little less hipster, Soccer Moms for Obama is hosting a celebration at the Women’s Club of Chevy Chase for $60 per person. Entertainment and hors d’Oeurves are included, but drinks are not. 

This is just a taste of some of the free and low cost things to do during this inauguration weekend. For more ideas, check out the DC’s convention and tourism bureau’s list of 44 free things to do around town, and check back for more budget friendly posts. If you are hosting or going to an event that should be included, share!

Volunteer Registration Deadline is TODAY

2 01 2009

If you’re planning to volunteer with the Obama/Biden Presidential Inaugural Committee during inauguration weekend and haven’t registered yet, there is still time. The deadline is tonight at 11:59pm, so get your friends and family together and sign up today. Mandatory information sessions for registered volunteers are planned for next week.

Are you a DC resident planning to volunteer during the inauguration? Planning a special service event in town for the MLK Day of Service? I’d love to hear about it and help spread the word.

Add Your Service Events to Inaugural Site

31 12 2008

The Presidential Inaugural Committee is looking for groups to add their service and volunteer events planned for Jan. 17-19 to the official PIC website listing by January 1. The events don’t need to related to the inauguration–in the spirit of service inspired by Obama’s campaign, PIC is building a master list of events for the public to participate in that weekend around the United States. The list goes live Jan. 2, but you can continue to include events until Jan. 17.

More DC-based Volunteers Needed

28 12 2008

volunteerDC residents looking to get involved with the inauguration can volunteer directly through the city’s community service office, Serve DC. This opportunity is not related to the Obama campaign request for volunteers I posted a week ago, but its a great chance to spread the inaugural spirit around town. Volunteers are needed to help with a little bit of everything from Jan. 17-20, and specialized experience is always helpful.

If you’re available, fill out the inaugural volunteer form and plan to attend one of two mandatory info sessions on Saturday, January 10 or Sunday, January 11 from 9 am-6 pm in the Old Council Chambers at One Judiciary Square located at 441 4th St, NW. To register to attend a session email

You can list your own community service project as part of the the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Of Service on January 19–just include the details on Serve DC’s site. If you’re looking for a project to take part in, there is a growing list of all sorts of volunteer opportunities for the 19th.

Win A Trip for Two to Obama’s Inauguration!

24 12 2008

Change Begins With Me-Case Still trying to figure out how to get to DC for the inauguration? If you’re willing to carry the message of change from Obama’s inauguration back to your own community, then you may be in luck! The Case Foundation is offering an amazing “Change Begins With Me” inauguration prize package, and all it takes is your entry describing how you will commit to change in your own community. The winner, drawn from eligible entries, will receive:

* two tickets to the Inaugural Ceremony & the Hawaii Inaugural Ball
* volunteer opportunities on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Washington,
* three-nights hotel stay
* airfare for you and a guest to the Nation’s Capitol
* a Flip video camera

Not only is this an awesome prize,  its also a great way to bring some attention to a cause close to your heart.  Its a win-win!