Here at AMaVo we fervently believe in striving towards a servant heart. In keeping with this weekly message, we've compiled 12 ways to find need in your own community. Determine your areas of interest, time commitment and personal strengths. Do you feel a call to assist with disaster relief, healthcare, a food pantry, education, arts and culture, or one of the many other areas of need present in your neighborhood? We hope you feel inspired to find a way to give back in your area!
1. Online Volunteer Databases
Resources like Volunteer Match and Idealist are immensely helpful in narrowing your volunteer selections. They allow users to personalize their desired experience by choosing industry and keywords by geographic location.
Hospitals are enormous operations, and constantly need the assistance of volunteers. Depending on your prior experience and preferences, you could be placed in one of many units. Opportunities include positions such as greeter, companion and assistant. Contact the major hospitals in your area for more information.
3. Food Pantries & Soup Kitchens
Hunger is an issue in most communities, and numerous food pantries and soup kitchens exist to help remedy this threat. There are so many ways to contribute in these organizations, such as cooking, serving or cleaning.You can volunteer your time as an individual or even gather a group of friends and family to join you.
4. Museums & Art Galleries
Culture is integral in community identity and enrichment of the population. If you feel a creative call, this volunteering vein might be right for you. Because museums and galleries often function with assistance from various departments, you're sure to find a job that suits your interests. Whether you're lending a hand in curatorial, special events, music and educational programs or archival work, it's sure to be an interesting and enriching experience.
5. Family Welfare & Education
You could make a big impact on the life of a child or even an entire family. Your community likely hosts organizations that focus on the well being of family units and children. The Ronald McDonald House offers many ways to get involved and support families in times of need. The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America are also organizations that look out for the growth of our youth and have countless areas you can contribute in. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a great opportunity for mentoring a child.
6. Churches, Ministries, & Religious Organizations
Seek out more information from your congregation. You'll probably be surprised at the amount of information and connections present! Organizations like Lifelight provide plenty of volunteer options for those seeking various roles like graphic design, creative writing, carpentry and so much more!
7. Animal Shelters & Rescue Centers
Love animals? Donate your time to your local animal shelter! This could mean facilitating adoptions, walking dogs, or helping with grooming and cage maintenance. The ASPCA offers the "Top Ten Ways to Help Your Local Shelter". You get to spend some time with furry friends and you're supporting animal welfare at the same time. Win-win.
8. Schools, Colleges & Universities
Educational institutions are abundant with opportunities and frequently have connections for external projects as well. Reach out to the administrative, student life and career centers on campus, and they're likely to give you a plethora of information.
9. Addiction & Rehab Services
Contributing your time to these organizations gives you the chance to make a meaningful difference and address serious issues in your community. Figure out what niche works best for you within these groups - offering your time to listen, answer phones or provide administrative is appreciated.
10. Runs & Relays
If athletics are your thing or you'd like a worthwhile excuse to start training, runs and relays are up your alley. You don't have to be a seasoned marathon runner either, just possess the desire to participate. The American Cancer Society is famous for Relay for Life, and host many regional or local events. Countless other non-profits host 5ks and marathons to raise awareness and money for important causes.
Diversity is a beautiful aspect of community and fostering the feeling of togetherness is a wonderful way to give back. Seek out your local multicultural center and ask what their needs are. You could tutor someone in English or assist with a special event or festival celebrating a particular culture, among many other things.
12. Local Branches of National Organizations
Many major non-profits will host a regional or local chapter to serve a specific population. Do a quick Google search of your city or region along with the name of the organization and you're sure to find a local resource.
We've only scratched the surface! Do you have ideas for volunteering locally? Share them with us. We're excited to encourage others to contemplate the idea of a servant heart and a giving spirit. We want to hear your story!