Search engine Bing.com and DoSomething.org have teamed up for a summer campaign called Summer of Doing that encourages young people to give back to their communities via projects like the ones launched at the Heart of Los Angeles center, which provides after-school programs in athletics, academics and arts. Hilary Duff, Rachael Leigh Cook, Phoebe Tonkin and other celebs pitched in to paint a mural and renovate a sustainable garden before a performance by Cody Simpson in the Lafayette Park Recreation Center.
According to rep Kari Dilloo, Bing plans similar events in Atlanta, New York, Chicago and other cities, partnering with local charities for community projects that will inspire people to get involved, while getting the word out about Bing's capability to "take the best of Facebook and Twitter and marry them with great search. It's a cool experience that no one else offers." A list of suggestions DoSomething provided included several green ideas, like conserving water, recycling electronics and going vegetarian.
"This organization is doing something great, getting the kids together to give back to the community," said Duff, who gave birth to her first child two months ago, and is trying to make her son's environment as eco-friendly as possible. "The paint we used in his nursery has no toxins in it. The products that he uses are organic. He's a breast-fed baby and we're using organic clothes. We just took him on his first trip and I was packing towels because you don't know what's in the hotels. And my mom was like, 'We took you to Mexico with a backpack and my boobs! Things have changed so much.'" Duff has been firmly in mommy mode, but she's starting to meet with writers and producers with an eye toward recording in the future, although not that soon. "I only get this time with him once," she said. "I don't want to leave him."
Cook has wanted to volunteer for a while "but I didn't know where to begin," so she readily accepted the invitation to take part. A self-described "obsessive recycler," she'll "carry a can in my purse all day if I can't find a bin to put it in."
Starting July 9, she'll star opposite Eric McCormack in the new TNT series "Perception," playing an FBI and former student of an eccentric professor who uses his unique powers of observation to help solve crimes. "I was dying to do a role like this because I feel like almost every role I've done casts me as a victim. Even if it's a comedy something bad is happening to me. I didn't really connect the dots on that until I realized what it was about this role that was calling to me," she said.
Married to actor Daniel Gilles, who's working on NBC's "Saving Hope" in Toronto, she'll be flying to visit him this summer. The two appear together in a film called "Broken Kingdom" that has done well on the festival circuit, noted Cook, but most of the time separate work schedules keep them apart for periods of time. "What's the secret to making it work? You make the decision that you're going to do it, and keep your vows," Cook said.
"I'm very conscious of the environment and helping others. When I heard this event was about finding creative outlets for kids, that's something that's very close to my heart," said Phoebe Tonkin, who went to Cambodia when she was 18 to volunteer at an orphanage. The Australia native, who pitched in at the garden with pal Teresa Palmer, grew up with a mother who was into healthy and eco-aware living. "She had a veggie patch and we always ate organic. We were always conscious of where our food was coming from and why we ate that type of food." She was happy to see that recycling programs are in place in Los Angeles, where she moved a year and a half ago. Although she's disappointed that her CW series "The Secret Circle" was canceled, she's enjoying her summer time off. "I've made some good friends here," she said.