I am in a sorority at my university, so I do my fair share of community service projects. Looking back, even in high school I was part of a club called Interact where we did different activities and projects as a part of service. It's always been something I have enjoyed doing, but I never had the guts to do it by myself. I consider myself an independent person, but when it comes to volunteer work, I feel more comfortable doing it in a group.
Now there are many positives for community service. One: everyone likes to feel like they have helped someone and you get that satisfaction. Two: you can list all of your volunteer work on your resume. And three: you never know who you will meet along the way or what networking you can do. Four: you can give back by donating money to a cause or participating in an event for something that has affected you or someone you know.
A word to the wise: just because you may not belong to a club or organization, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t volunteer. Gather some friends who may be interested and start volunteering places around you.
Here are some suggestions on how to get out there and help your community and others:
1. Most towns have at food bank neabyr. Some have volunteer days where residents come out and help, but some you must sign up for. Usually volunteers organize canned goods, while some also have clothes and school supplies for underprivileged families. One food bank I went to once had us sort through donated clothes to put together Christmas packages for underprivileged kids in shelters. My sisters and I had a lot of fun doing this and knew we were helping out those in need.
2. Walks! There are so many causes and illnesses out there you can support. Walks happen at local parks or larger parks. Unlike marathons or runs, walks don’t require any kind of stamina and are relatively short. There are Breast Cancer Walks, Multiple Sclerosis Walks, Diabetes Walks, March of Dimes, etc. that should be at a neighboring park near you. Keep in mind, most walks happen during the time of the year where it is nice outside, so you may have to wait for spring for another one.
3. Donation. So, let’s say you don’t have the time to go out and volunteer. Gather some old text books and magazines and donate them somewhere. Places are always looking for old books to send to third world countries, so you can do your part from home and still be giving back. Donating old clothes is another philanthropic way of helping those in need.
4. Volunteer at a nursing home, or make Christmas and Halloween cards for a children’s hospital. Most places will be more than glad to have you doing something that will lift the spirits of its patients.
A helpful website which may give you more ideas on community service is http://www.networkforgood.org/donate/. Whether you are donating money or volunteering, you never know how much your efforts can help. Even if the people don’t know you personally helped them, by spending time investing in someone else’s lives you are showing that you care. Even if it does not affect you, one day it might, so do as much service as you can. So get inspired, and do some service today!