7. Do volunteer work
Where to Start
As I ponder the possibilities of volunteering my options seem infinite. I have volunteered in the past at a local homeless shelter and even some at a local humane society in my high school days. I used to be very involved in my community back then. Back then though, there were organized clubs that, to me, made something like that a lot easier. Although more difficult, it’s not impossible to get more involved and get connected with the right people.
When looking fro somewhere to start it’s always good to look at your our personal passions. Do you have a love for animals? Does your heart pull you toward the homeless epidemic? Or is there something in your life that has made you more aware of drug addiction or alcohol abuse? Did you see the amount of foster children that are stuck in a broken system?
There’s so much sadness going around that just simply tug at our heartstrings. But instead of just wallowing in sadness we have the chance to get up and do something about it. We have the means to help in more ways than one. Last year, I felt more hopeless and helpless than ever because on top of all the other depressing things going around a global pandemic erupts and shuts down the world making everyone scramble and fall into shambles. I worked, and currently still do, in the medical field during this time of uncertainty.
Considered an essential worker, I worked through the pandemic. Not knowing how each day was going to pan out, policies made to protect me were changing daily and I couldn’t keep up with proper protocol. I was worried about putting my family at risk by not following the orders not to mention I had a grade school girl at home who was so confused on why she couldn’t attend school anymore. Forced to spend hours on a computer she had very mildly been introduced to beforehand. I felt like I had a lot going on and even then I still concerned myself with the needs of others who felt less then. But I couldn’t take action, I didn’t know how. This year is going to be different for me and I am going to share with you my research on how.
Many agencies provide help during time of need. If you read one of my earlier blog posts last month “Save the Sea Turtles” getting involved in something like endangered species is a good example of how the levels of involvement can vary from simply investing vs. being more hands on. If you’re like me, the closest beach is 4 hrs away. As much as I would like to be physically involved in something like that I’m limited to doing it once or twice a year. That doesn’t go without saying that there are needs still in the community around you.
If you’re curious about needs in your community, you can always start with calling your city chamber of commerce or town hall and see if there are any specific needs or events that are going on that you can volunteer for or help with. There are so many ways to dedicate our time to the community. Hosting a 5K or running in one, or just being the person who hands out water and snacks to the runners (because I know running is not for everybody). Hosting a street clean up with a group of friends, maybe even partnering with a business and get them involved. Provide a meal for the local homeless shelter, either purchasing or making on yourself depending on the current policies.
In you’re not into hosting and just looking for an agency that provide help in time of need another good place to look another good place to start is The American Red Cross, they’re always looking for volunteers and donations. All you do there is go on to their website, hit the volunteer tab and type in your zip code to find opportunities nearest you. It even goes to the lengths of giving you a quiz to help better place your interests. For example: I can’t give blood because of my iron levels but I don’t mind being the person to assist those who can!
Benefits of Volunteering
There are so many wonderful benefits to volunteering that goes without saying. A lot of them being pretty intangible but gives you a feeling that lasts a lifetime. Giving your time to help the community is valuable and can have a great impact on humanity. Some people volunteer to gain recognition in the community, build relationships with people or just simply give them a sense of purpose. It’s a great way for you to network with folks that have similar interest than you.
For some people, volunteering is like the missing puzzle piece. Some people have a steady job, a family, a couple of friends and hobbies they enjoy but they still don’t feel fulfilled in life. Volunteering allows some people to step out of the comforts of everyday life and get a sense of understanding for those in need. For our neighbors in need.
In another aspect, you see people who have struggled with similar situations already have that empathy and want to give back to the community that they are so heavily intwined with. Who seek to inspire and help in anyway they can.
For others, they just simply recognize the need in the community and want to give back. They discovered they have more time on their hands than before and need to fill that time up with their neighbors.
Ways That I Have/Plan To Volunteer.
I have recently been in contact with a non-profit group called Friends of the Animal Shelter. This program is dedicated to saving shelter animals through networking with other rescues and potential adopters. They are independent and network the animals to save lives. Hopefully working to help reduce the number of animals that are euthanized each year. They do events they raise awareness for the importance of spaying and neutering your pets as well as doing pet food drives and other related events.
I chose this program because I have always had a special place in my heart for animals and their well-being. So volunteering for events and networking with the local animal shelter will be perfect for me. I also plan to try to foster pets in the near future. Fostering is when you take care of a pet for a certain period of time without officially adopting them until they can find a home. It’s very similar to fostering with children which I want to do when I’m older. Although, it’s not comparable, I hope that fostering animals allows me to better prepare myself to fostering children.
Another place I plan on dedicating more time to is a non-profit organization called Home of Refuge. It is a non-profit organization tat provides year-round safe and secure shelter for the homeless populations in my county. I was in contact with them pre-covid through my church when my family volunteered to make home cooked meals for the residents that stayed there. My church has still been closely link to them and they are in the process of building an official building for them as they are currently located within a fire station.
I hope to get more involved in providing meals and the needs of our neighbors living within.
What was do you plan on volunteering? Is there a local event going on that you’re interested in? Let me know in the comments!