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7 Ways to Give Back on the International Day of Happiness

We can't think of a better way to get those endorphins going than by giving back.

7 Ways to Give Back on the International Day of Happiness

In Legally Blonde, Elle Woods taught us that "endorphins make you happy." And aside from eating a platter of bacon in paradise, we can't think of a better way to get those endorphins going than by giving back — especially today, on the International Day of Happiness.

The global holiday, which was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, asks people to "focus on their connections with others." So, today (and every day, really) make a new friend, be kind to your loved ones, and, if you want to be extra happy, you can follow the leads of these charitable stars and get involved in any number of important causes.

To make it easy for you, we're highlighting seven awesome celebrity charitable endeavors and ways for you to pitch in too. Come on, get happy!

Give Back Like Robert Downey Jr.

Promote technology to better people's lives

RDJ taught us what being a superhero is all about earlier this month when he presented an amazing Iron Man bionic arm to a seven-year-old with a partially developed arm, with help from an organization called Limbitless Solutions.

How You Can Help:

From Home: Donate here to Limbitless Solutions or support any number of companies using science and engineering to better the world and better health.

Get Out of the House: If you're a student who's making positive changes in your community, your story could be featured in The Collective Project. You can also get involved with organizations aimed at improving the quality of life of those with disabilities — volunteer with the Easter Seals, help a blind person to ski, and more.

Give Back Like Lady Gaga and Taylor Kinney

Help disabled athletes

This dynamic duo braved frigid Lake Michigan in March to support the Special Olympics. Kinney's Chicago Fire co-stars were there too, as well as Vince Vaughn. The event raised a total of $1.1 million this year, the most in the event's history.

How You Can Help:

From Home: Donate here to the Special Olympics.

Get Out of the House: There are SO many great ways to get involved with the Special Olympics — from volunteering your time at local events to becoming a coach or official. If you're already in the health-care field, you can join the Healthy Athletes program.

Give Back Like Chris Pratt and Chris Evans
Bring light and laughter to sick kids

What started as a Super Bowl bet turned into something much bigger and better earlier this month. The guys became "TRUE superheroes" by visiting sick kids at the Seattle Children's Hospital and Christopher's Haven, a nonprofit that provides housing for families with kids going through cancer treatment in Boston.

7 Ways Stars Are Giving Back (and You Can Too!)

How You Can Help:

From Home: Start fundraising here for Christopher's Haven. Plus, donate or shop in support of Seattle Children's Hospital.

Get Out of the House: Inquire at your local hospital about volunteer opportunities. They're everywhere! For more opportunities to lend a hand, get involved with local chapters of organizations like Make-A-Wish.

Give Back Like Sam Smith and John Legend
Fight to end poverty around the globe

These two crooners teamed up to cover Smith's tune "Lay Me Down" to benefit Red Nose Day for the UK charity Comic Relief. All proceeds from the single went to the organization, which aims to "bring about positive and lasting change in the lives of poor and disadvantaged people."

How You Can Help:

From Home: Donate here to Comic Relief or shop for cool stuff, like these fun Monkey merchandise. OR make your face "funny for money". There are plenty of other charities working to end poverty around the world too — here's a list, for starters.

Get Out of the House: If you're looking to help end poverty and hunger stateside, the Second Harvest Food Bank has ongoing volunteer opportunities throughout the year — including sorting food at local warehouses, distributing food to the community, and even educating the community about nutrition. You could also do something like the Water Challenge.

Give Back Like Taylor Swift
Help make education and literacy a priority

When Taylor Swift released her song "Welcome to New York," she pledged to donate the proceeds to the city's public schools — since she's the Big Apple's Global Welcome Ambassador for tourists and all. She's already donated $50,000 and has said she'll continue to donate proceeds too.

7 Ways Stars Are Giving Back (and You Can Too!)
via Stuart Ramson/AP

How You Can Help:

From Home: Donate here to Reach Out and Read, an initiative to promote early literacy. Or donate to First Book, a program that gives access to new books for children in need.

Get Out of the House: Love kids and want to change lives? Volunteer with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. You'll be matched with a Little to mentor and have all sorts of fun together.

Give Back Like Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed
Help animals of all shapes and sizes

When these stars aren't busy on the set, they devote their time, energy, and money to various organizations aimed at helping our animal friends. They regularly volunteer at animal shelters and have plenty of rescue pets of their own too. Reed was given the ASPCA Compassion Award in 2014 for her contributions to animal welfare. The soon-to-be married couple also has big plans to open their own animal sanctuary.

7 Ways Stars Are Giving Back (and You Can Too!)

How You Can Help:

From Home: Donate here to the ASPCA or do a quick Internet search to find any number of animal rescues and shelters in your area to help cover costs associated with foster care, health issues, and more.

Get Out of the House: Volunteer your time and snuggles to rescues and shelters near you. Or, if you can provide a loving home to a pet, adopt! You can use sites like Pet Finder to adopt the perfect animal for you. This sites features over 280,000 pets who need homes around the country.

Give Back Like Amy Poehler

Help make intelligence cool for girls (and boys!)

The actress started Smart Girls as an online show for girls, and it's now a resource and community for encouraging meaningful discussion and growth — with a great sense of humor. "We are funny first, and informative second, hosting the party you want to attend," according to the site.

How You Can Help:

From Home: The Smart Girls site encourages people to enrich their community and use their brains. Suggested activities include writing a letter to a senior citizen and simply being kind and respectful to others — on the Internet and beyond. If promoting women in science is your jam, you can donate here to the Association for Women in Science.

Get Out of the House: Volunteer with local schools and organizations that promote and empower girls — like the Expanding Your Horizons Network. There are also lots of great networks on college campuses that encourage and mentor women in the sciences, like Scientista.

View Nikki Reed Pictures »