Today kicks off National Volunteer Week the perfect opportunity to think about good citizenship and the importance of service, especially as it relates to kids! Here at Scholastic we can think of no BIGGER inspiration to do BIG things than our very Clifford The Big Red Dog! Lisa Cummins from Scholastic Media is here to talk more about it. Thanks, Lisa! Clifford has been inspiring us to be better citizens with his 10 BIG ideas (Share, Play Fair, Have Respect, Be Kind, Work Together, Be Responsible, Be Truthful, Be A Good Friend, Help Others and Believe in Yourself) for more than 50 years. Being BIG is about being big hearted; its about having a big spirit. Being BIG is something we should all do more often especially during National Volunteer Week! Luckily here at Scholastic, Im surrounded and inspired by some very service oriented colleagues. Just last week I learned that a co-worker took off from work to celebrate her birthday. I assumed she spent the day relaxing and celebrating with friends and family. Upon her return, however, I learned that she spent the day volunteering at a soup kitchen preparing sandwiches, which were then delivered to families in need. It was a rewarding experience that brought as much joy to her as the people she was helping. It turns out, volunteering is not only good for your community, but its good for you too! Hearing her talk about how important and fun volunteering can be has inspired me to think about how small actions can make a really BIG difference. I dont know if Clifford was who originally inspired my colleague, but I do know that he has inspired thousands of kids, parents and teachers to do BIG things as part of Scholastics BE BIG campaign where Cliffords BIG ideas inspire people, big and small, to make the world a better place. Since the launch of the BE BIG In Your Community Contest 5 years ago, the contest has inspired thousands of children, parents, teachers and community leaders, ranging in age from 2 to 70 years old, to submit their very own BIG service ideas. Since the programs inception, Scholastic and BE BIG partner HandsOn Network has awarded over $200,000 in community grants turn those ideas into realities. So in honor of National Volunteer Week, think about how small things you can do can make a BIG difference in the lives of others! Whether it be re-thinking how you might spend a special day, or entering the 2013 Cliffords BE BIG In Your Community Contest for a chance to bring your BIG idea to life, or simply finding ways to get involved in your local community were sure this can be a very BIG week!