The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
In communities throughout the country, more people are expressing an interest in volunteerism and community involvement. These types of activities help to better the community, but they also provide a sense of personal enrichment for the volunteers. If you would like to experience the rewards of getting involved with the growth of your community, the opportunities are endless. While it can be overwhelming to find the right fit for your personality, the following suggestions can give you a good starting point.
The first thing you can do in choosing how to volunteer in your community is to look for a cause that’s important to you. It can be something that has affected your life in some way, or you can choose a cause that revolves around an issue that deeply concerns you. For example, if you feel strongly about helping at-risk children, you can get involved with a human trafficking charity. Choosing a charity or cause that holds special meaning for you is important because it will give you a greater sense of self-worth as you work to help that cause. While your goal is to make your community a better place, there’s nothing wrong with choosing causes that will benefit you emotionally and personally.
There may be many people of all ages who are having trouble succeeding in life because they lack basic skills. If you’re skilled in reading, mathematics, or other areas of education, you can get involved with tutoring locally or internationally. In your own community, you can volunteer to tutor students in area schools. Alternatively, you can tutor adults in reading by working with an illiteracy program. You can also help people in foreign countries learn how to speak, write, and understand the English language by working with an international literacy organization.
An important way to get involved in your community is to work with the elderly, and this type of work involves plenty of different ways for you to help the aged and disabled. If your schedule is tight, you can choose your own hours by simply visiting with the elderly in nursing homes and hospitals. If your afternoons or early evenings are usually free, you can volunteer to deliver hot meals to the elderly in your community. Just spending an hour with a single elderly individual can help them more than you may realize. Seniors who live alone don’t receive much company, which leaves them alone to feel frightened, depressed, or overwhelmed. You can also help them with some basic chores to ensure they won’t injure themselves trying to complete those tasks on their own. There are plenty of seniors in your neighborhood who will be grateful for your attention and time.
You can have an immediate and significant impact on the less fortunate in your community by participating in a food drive. You can also organize your food drive if you can’t find any charities actively organizing this type of event. You can start by visiting area businesses to ask if they would be willing to collect donations or allow you to hang posters on their bulletin boards that advertise the food drive. You can also get your friends and neighbors involved by asking them to help you collect donations. Don’t forget to ask your employer and co-workers for donations. Getting more people involved will help ensure greater success with the food drive.
If you’re concerned about your local ecosystem, a simple but effective way of helping the environment is to organize a community cleanup. You should contact your local government to find out if they’re already organizing a cleanup that you can join. Otherwise, putting your event together will be relatively simple. You should rent a small dumpster for depositing full bags of trash. You’ll also need gloves and bags for anyone who joins the cleanup. You might also want to prepare a lunch for volunteers, such as hot dogs, potato chips, and bottled water. Your cleanup can tackle residential streets, highways, or public parks. Just be sure to scout the area ahead of time and create a plan for completing the cleanup on time.
By getting more involved in your community, you’ll be able to see your actions positively impact the people in your neighborhood. You’ll also have opportunities to meet new people, improve your skillset, and give your emotional health a boost. You can even create bonding experiences with your family by getting your children involved. You’ll find that there are many more ways that volunteerism can positively impact your own life once you get started.