Volunteering is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Not only are you helping better your community, but you are simultaneously able to gain a feeling of self-fulfillment. Here are some ideas on where to begin your volunteering journey:
1. Animal Shelters
If you are an animal lover, volunteering at an animal shelter is definitely the place to begin. Most animal shelters are always overflowing with animals and are in need of staff. You get to spend time with cute animals while helping an organization that provides for them, what more could you ask for?
2. Retirement Homes
Retirement homes are one of the most rewarding places to volunteer at. Spending time with retirees allows you to build relationships with them and they can, in turn, provide you with a great deal of insight and wisdom. Retirement homes rely on volunteers to help create a fun environment for the residents, so they are always looking for new workers. If you have a special skill that you can teach the retirees, that’s even better. If not though, the residents enjoy simply talking to you, so your presence will be welcomed.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in medicine, volunteering at a hospital is a good place to look into (still a great place to volunteer at if you aren’t). The patients there are going through hard times, and you being there can brighten their days. Additionally, the small tasks that you work on will relieve the strain on busy nurses.
If you enjoy the quiet, chill vibe, then consider volunteering at your local library. Typical library work includes shelving books and helping visitors, however, special events sometimes calls for volunteers to help with setting up or even reading to children. Libraries are convenient as there is almost always a one near you and the laid-back setting is perfect for people that enjoy a more slow-paced volunteering environment.
If you love culture and want to help preserve it, volunteering at museums is a great idea. Museums offer a unique volunteering experience and are a great way to give back to the community while being surrounded by the things you love. There are museums for almost everything, so you can usually find one that is relevant to your interests. If not though, they still prove to be a great place for you to expand your knowledge on an unfamiliar topic. Typical volunteer work at museums includes cleaning and organizing activities; however, some places will allow you to work as a tour guide once you have a strong knowledge base.
Tutoring is a great way to use the skills you already have to help others. Many schools have peer tutoring programs already in place, but if your school doesn’t then consider starting one yourself! Additionally, if you are fluent in English, you can tutor for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) programs.
7. Food Pantries
Volunteer work at food pantries encompasses a wide variety of tasks. It includes methodical work such as checking expiration dates and organizing food, to more social work such as checking out groceries and interacting with the customers. By volunteering at a food bank, you are helping families get access to the food they need. Food banks allow families in need to spend their money on other necessities and mainly rely on community help, making them always welcome for extra sets of hands.
8. Special Olympics
Lastly, volunteering with a Special Olympics organization is perfect for anyone with a caring heart. You get to build strong personal bonds and also great leadership skills. The athletes learn from you and you also learn from the athletes. Volunteering with a Special Olympics group gives you the opportunity to see tangible results, as you get to see the athletes grow throughout the season.
There are so many ways to help out your community and it truly is a rewarding experience. I encourage you to go out and find something that speaks to you and start volunteering today.