“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” —Muhammad Ali
If you have the extra time and are passionate about a particular cause, there’s no better time than the present to volunteer. Volunteering not only benefits the cause or charity you’re supporting, but it benefits you, as well.
It feels good to do good, but depending on the type of volunteer work you will be doing, it’s important to be prepared.
Volunteer with animals if:
You have a soft spot for animals—obviously!
You are willing to get your hands dirty.
You know some basic first aid.
Volunteering at an animal shelter can be extremely rewarding for an animal lover, but can also be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. As much as animals can be a source of unconditional love, those living at a shelter may be more timid or hesitant to approach you.
If you’re patient and willing to put in the time to get to know the animals, they will likely come around—and there’s no greater feeling than helping an abused animal regain trust in humans. Common responsibilities could include walking, feeding, and bathing the animals, as well as assisting with paperwork and promotional materials.
Volunteer with children if:
You have an interest in education.
You are patient.
You have strong communication skills.
If volunteering with children is what you’re looking for, there are always plenty of opportunities available—be it at a hospital, school, or extracurricular program. Working with children often takes a high level of patience, though, so it’s important to go into these opportunities with no
Bear in mind that most volunteer programs that deal with children require a background check and other clearances before you begin, so plan accordingly.
Volunteer with the less fortunate if:
You are a jack of all trades.
You work well under pressure.
You are detail oriented.
One of the areas of volunteer work that needs the most support are soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and the like. Service to these programs skyrockets during the holidays, but tends to fall short other times of the year.
To make a big impact as a volunteer at one of these places, consider donating your time once every season (or more often, if you can). You’ll likely be tasked with serving food, organizing incoming donations, and possibly other administrative duties that benefit the community.
For more volunteering ideas and ways to give back, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com.