Charity events and fundraisers are amazing ways to raise support for deserving causes. But sometimes, planners don’t see the actual effects of their efforts. So what’s the solution when you hit a wall in the planning process? Get out of the boardroom and onto the streets for some hands-on volunteering! Whether you are interested in kids or construction, there’s an opportunity for everyone. Here is Vivanista’s list of the top 10 types of volunteer work for YOU.
Think of the people who made a difference in the person you are today by positively influencing your life when you were a child. Whether parents, teachers, family members, or friends, it truly does take a village to raise a child. Now consider the fact that many children do not have those positive role models in their lives. Instead, you have the chance to step into their lives and fill that role through organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters. These organizations use mentorship programs to give children hope for a bright future while giving mentors a chance to share their perspective with a child.
Shelter is a fundamental need, regardless of race, religion, gender, or any other division: this is the motto of Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing and homelessness through building homes for those in need. And even if you have no prior construction experience, fear not: Habitat has a program focused on women called Women Build. Women have partnered with families in their communities to build homes in more than 30 countries. Through these programs, women have not only become builders, but also advocates for decent and affordable housing across the globe.
Remember your first childhood pet? Or even the pets you have now that are practically part of your family? Unfortunately, some animals do not receive the love that they deserve, so organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have stepped up to find new homes for these furry friends. Volunteer your time in a local animal shelter where you can care for animals that have been neglected and unloved. Or, for a truly dedicated animal lover, provide foster care for a pet that needs a temporary home or even adopt a pet as the newest member of your family!
Everyone has that special place where they feel completely at peace. But sadly, many of these incredible gifts of nature are rapidly disappearing because of mankind’s impact. With the Nature Conservancy, though, you can get your hands dirty (literally) by restoring natural ecosystems. Simply choose your home state to take the first step in reversing the damage we have caused to our beautiful planet. Or, bring nature to your city life with a community garden. Community gardens provide healthy food as well as blossoming friendships. Create your own organic produce while you enjoy a new hobby at the same time.
Each of us is incredibly lucky to live a comfortable life in America. However, within walking distance of many of our homes live homeless people who have no shelter in sweltering summers or frigid winters. The homeless of our communities have many needs, including food, shelter, and friendship. Serve lunch in a local rescue mission, conduct a blanket drive and personally distribute what you collect, or work with an organization like Picture the Homeless, which organizes homeless people in order to advocate for issues like civil rights and housing reform.
- Ways you can personally help the homeless community
- Project Homeless Connect
- An example of a rescue mission in the San Francisco area
6. Senior Citizens
What better way to learn from the wisdom of an older generation than to spend time with them personally? The Little Brothers program seeks to relieve isolation and loneliness felt by the elderly community. Through spending a few hours with an elder, you show them they are appreciated and loved. And who knows, you might learn something from them as well.
Many people list travel as one of their favorite hobbies and lifelong goals. However, did you know that you can travel and save the world at the same time? With organizations like VolunteerAbroad.com, you can choose from hundreds of combinations of regions, countries, types of volunteer work, and project durations ranging from one week to over two years. So next time you plan your dream vacation, consider adding a little community service to the agenda.
Often, a deep faith motivates volunteer work among religious people. However, teaching Sunday school is no longer the only way to give back. Instead, look into community service projects supported by organizations that share your beliefs. Whether working directly with your place of worship or an organization that shares your values, you can make a positive difference for people of all faiths.
- American Jewish World Service
- Catholic Network of Volunteer Service
- Christian Volunteering
- Hindu American Foundation
- Sisters in Islam
If you have ever looked at a piece of art and felt inspired, you know the power that words cannot express. ArtCorps is an organization that uses participatory art to strengthen communication between communities and local development organizations. The program lasts for one year and provides an incomparable experience in working with communities through art. If you can’t donate an entire year, though, you can still make a difference in your home community. Consider using talents in art or music to teach children in your area, especially as schools are forced to cut arts programs. In this way, you may teach them basic skills as well as greater life lessons at the same time.
Since the passing of the women’s suffrage amendment in 1920, women have made significant progress in closing the gender gap. However, in many parts of the world, and even here in the United States, many women do not have the same equality that we enjoy. Therefore, support and advocate for your sisters around the world through organizations like Soroptimist and Women for Women International.
- Participate in one of Soroptimist’s 1,400 clubs to help on a local level
- Help women around the world with Women for Women