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Nationwide Volunteer Hits South Dakota

May 23, 2011, 6:03 PM by David Brown

Nationwide Volunteer Hits South Dakota
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Volunteer projects are, by their very nature, voluntary. But a California man has spent the past three months making volunteering his job. He's touring the country, and Monday, he stopped in South Dakota.

33-year-old Keith Donohue is on what he calls his 50Give tour. He's going across all 50 states, working on various projects for free as part of his non-profit group, Positive Present. Monday morning, he stopped by the Face It Together building in Sioux Falls.

Like a lot of states on his tour, Donohue's never been to South Dakota before. In fact, he didn't even know what he'd be doing when he arrived at Face It Together.

"When I come, they sort of put me to work and I do anything that's needed on the day," Donohue said. "It could be cleaning; it could be working with patients, whatever is needed."

"It was kind of a challenge for us to figure out something that we could have him do on such a short notice and for only one day," Face It Together executive director Mary Hitzemann said.

Donohue ended up working on some flower beds as part of a beautification project outside the Face It Together building. The former internet marketer says his inspiration for the tour came simply out of wanting a career change.

"I said out loud, 'I'm going to travel the country,'" Donohue said. "After that, it took over me. So I just started planning off that for about four to five months and launched out of San Diego cruising through everywhere. This is about my 40th or so stop right now."

Donohue tries his best to diversify his projects, which is what attracted him to Face It Together.

"I wanted a variety," Donohue said. "So, in one city, I could be doing dog therapy for kids at risk. In another state, I could be helping to clean up a trail. Everything's a variety and now I'm working with drug rehab. So, I really want to touch all areas."

Donohue says the biggest thing he wants to get across with this project is to promote the benefits of volunteering.

"Especially for people in their 20s and 30s.  They have so much time on their hands sometimes.  They have great talents they can give back to their community," Donohue said.

His tour ends on June 13. And while he's not sure what he'll do after that, he knows the journey has, voluntarily or not, given him a new perspective.

"To give back what you have, it's what life is about," Donohue said. "To live for others; that's where you feel the magic."

Donohue finances his trip through donations and plain old good will. In fact, he doesn't even have a budget to stay in hotels. He says he finds family, friends or volunteers to crash with across his journey.

If you'd like more information on his future projects, visit the 50Give website.

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