In the past couple years, I’ve become an absolute believer in the power of volunteering. Wanna make the world more awesome? Volunteer. Wanna do something nice for your community? Volunteer. Wanna make friends with cool people and learn things at the same time? You get the idea.
A gift of your precious time and energy can make worlds of difference for people in your community, and you may be surprised at how much helping others boosts your own sense of well-being. Helping others makes you powerful in the best possible way. So, what are you waiting for? You can start right this second. Pick a community you love or an issue you care about, and go have fun making the world a better place. Here are a few of my favorite ways to volunteer along with suggestions from my friends:
- Walk dogs or pet cats for the SPCA — yes, playing with animals is a form of community service!
- Join a Habitat for Humanity build team. Bonus: They will teach you how to use power tools!
- Pick up litter around your neighborhood.
- Sort clothing/donations at a nonprofit thrift store.
- Serve food, help cook, or clean up at a soup kitchen.
- Read to nursing home residents or children in the hospital.
- Assemble care packages and/or help give them out to the homeless in your city.
- Knit/crochet hats, scarves, socks and blankets for the ill, the elderly, or the homeless.
- Coach your favorite sport for a local youth team.
- Be a conversation partner or instructor for people learning your language.
- Help out with local art events, community concerts, conventions or any other happening you’d like to see more of in your community. Bonus: Volunteering often means you get free admission, too!
- Help plant flags at the veterans’ cemetery on Veterans’ Day.
- Offer your professional skills (blogging, design, IT, accounting) to nonprofit organizations.
Extra bonus for all types of volunteering: It’s a great opportunity to meet other folks who care about the same things you do, which can lead to some of the most enriching friendships of your life.
Need some direction to find your perfect fit? Check out these organizations to find the best way to volunteer in your community: