12 Ways to Volunteer
by Sherry Kyle
Did you know volunteering is good for your health? Helping others gives people a sense of purpose, reduces stress levels, teaches valuable skills, and helps people stay active. By lending a hand, you can also make new friends. Consider these volunteer ideas to help those in need:
- Help family. Do your aging parents need your help? Lend a hand with routine chores, such as grocery shopping, cleaning, or running errands. Bring your parents to your child’s sport activity or school play, or invite them over for dinner. Older people don’t often share their loneliness or struggles, so take the first step and be available to help.
- Share your talents with friends. Do you enjoy taking photos? Baking cakes? Making cards? Consider gifting your friends with your unique talent. Take photos at your friend’s bridal shower. Bake a cake for a friend’s birthday party. Send a card to a sick friend. By using your talents, you are blessing others and using your gifts at the same time.
- Volunteer at your child’s school. Everyone knows teachers are stressed and overworked. Parents can help alleviate their load by volunteering. Plan to help your child’s teacher by grading papers, reading to the children, or overseeing activities. You can also chaperone on field trips and get involved with fundraising. Your child, as well as others attending the school, will benefit.
- Lend a hand at church. Do you have a heart for children? Enjoy writing? Administration? Become a Sunday school teacher or help in the nursery. Volunteer to write the church bulletin or newsletter. Use your administration skills in the church office. It takes many volunteers for a church to run smoothly. By taking a class on spiritual gifts, you will discover how you can help the church in the way that is right for you.
- Visit a senior center. Do you have an hour or two to spare every week? Many of the older people in senior centers are desperate for visitors and conversation. Make a connection with the residents by telling stories, singing songs, or sharing about life. You will learn interesting facts and gain insights from the residents, but more importantly, you will make a huge difference in their lives.
- Serve meals. Do you love to cook? According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report, as of 2018 there were around 553,000 homeless people in the United States. Volunteers are needed to prepare and serve food through food pantries, soup kitchens, and nonprofit organizations. Canned goods are also needed, so remember to donate to your local food bank during the holidays, as well as throughout the year.
- Coach a team. Want to help kids be more fit, active, and learn the art of teamwork? By becoming a coach, you will give kids the opportunity to play a sport and be part of a team. With so many coaching positions available, you won’t have to look beyond your local community. The best part? All you need is a heart for today’s youth and compassion to get kids moving.
- Tutor kids and adults. Teach math, history, and science to those struggling to get a passing grade. Help children and adults to read or learn English. You will expand their horizons and help them interact better in their community. Do you have a life skill you can share? Teach people how to use a computer, do home repairs, or learn to garden. Volunteering your time as a tutor benefits everyone.
- Become a trained guide. Do you love to visit aquariums, art galleries, museums, universities, or zoos? Why not learn how to become a trained guide? By having enthusiasm and passion, you can lead others through a facility that will enhance their visit and enlighten them as well. If you enjoy people, this may be the choice for you.
- Volunteer at a hospital. When you walk into a hospital, the first person to greet you is most likely a volunteer. From working at an information booth to pushing patients in wheelchairs, there are plenty of volunteer positions needed at a hospital. By volunteering, you will not only give important support to the hospital, but you will also give patients, their families, and visitors the comfort they need.
- Serve your community. Check out the not-for-profit and community service organizations in your area, especially if you have administration experience or have knowledge about serving on an executive board. By volunteering your services to local nonprofits or charities, you will be able to attract the attention and type of people needed to bring the resources and support these organizations need.
- Be a good neighbor. Want to build a sense of community right where you live? Volunteer to organize a neighborhood potluck, garage sale, or serve on the neighborhood association committee. But remember, you will first need to get to know your neighbors. Bake them cookies. Invite them over for dinner. Swap stories. When you have a connection with those around you, you will feel good about giving and receiving help when the time comes.
People enjoy helping others. In fact, volunteering is a win-win situation for the giver and the receiver. Volunteers discover that helping others makes them feel good about helping, and those who are on the receiving end are grateful for the help. In times of crisis many people feel the need to volunteer, but you don’t have to wait for a crisis to lend a hand. Every day is an opportunity to help someone in need.
Sherry Kyle is a graduate of Biola University and the author of contemporary women’s fiction and historical romance. Sherry is also an award-winning author of books for tweens. She lives in California with her husband and four children. You can visit her at www.sherrykyle.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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