I love volunteering! It gives me a sense of involvement, giving-back, making the world a better place, and so much more! I get out of volunteering 10x more than I ever put in–especially when it involves children and/or dogs! I have compiled a short list of places that tend to get overlooked when people are out there wanting/looking for good volunteer options! Take these ideas, make your own, and then get out there and volunteer in your local community! So many times the food banks, clothing closets & shelters get the most attention. So, my challenge to you, is think outside the box, get creative and find the right fit for you! Maybe even start a non-profit of your own! With so much negativity in the world, sometimes we just need more people to lead in the right direction!
1-Parks & Rec
Yes, your kids are involved! Yes, you watch your family & friends’ kids play! BUT…did you know that the Parks & Rec departments in most cities are still in need of volunteers. Coaches make a world of difference in the lives of children, but many times there are not enough coaches to go around. There is usually a cap on the number of children accepted because they don’t have enough volunteers. It doesn’t matter if you know how to play t-ball or not….you can learn right along with the kids! Play Ball!
I am a bit partial to this one, because I do work in one now! With that being said, I now see how much a Senior Center does rely on volunteers. The funding provided to County/State programs like Senior Center, Parks & Rec, etc. are sadly very low! So, paid staff is very hard to come by. Senior Centers are looking for volunteers to answer phones, do activities, deliver meals, teach classes, and even just sitting and talking with seniors. They have so many great stories to tell. They just want someone to sit and listen to them.
Free Clinics are often overlooked because it is probably not the most glamorous of volunteer positions, but it can be so rewarding and is such a need in communities. If you don’t have any medical background, I’m sure they can still find you something to help out with. All non-profits are always looking for help with paperwork, grants, fund-raising, and cleaning! Even running social media and/or a website is something non-profits are searching for these days! We all know a little something about Facebook, don’t we?
This is a newer opportunity, but such a great idea. The concept is simple…everyone pitches in to help grow food to eat themselves, share with others, and then donate what is left. Getting one started, keeping it going and reaping the benefits is all you have to do! Simple, fun, healthy and useful–what more could you ask for? If you don’t have one already established in your area, start one today!
Again, this isn’t glamorous work, but the need is there and the rewards are endless. Hospice nurses are such hard-working individuals! We can join with them and sit with, read with, visit with, and simply be around for their patients. Volunteer to sit with an individual just a few hours a week and it can change your life–trust me! Yes, family is usually around, but imagine those who do not have family/friends left to just sit with them as they face their last days. You can be that smiling face that gives them comfort as they make that journey.