We take so many things for granted; we don’t even realize they’re there until they’re gone. The health of a family member, the roof over our heads, a full stomach every night… the list goes on and on. What we often do not remember is that in many places around the world, or even in our own city, many people live without the amenities we have. Homelessness, hunger, and sickness are all too common. So how can you help? By volunteering your time, you can make a difference in your community, or even the world.
You must learn to walk before you run, so start small. Look up volunteer opportunities online and sign up for one or two that seem interesting. There are many types of opportunities, from single day events to long-term commitments, so make sure to pick the right one for you. Treat volunteering as a job; although you are not paid, you still have to be punctual and act professional.
Another option, once you have gained some experience, is to volunteer abroad for a short, but intensive, session. You will pay a small fee (for air fare and living necessities), and be taken to another country or city with a large group of volunteers. This is a great way to connect with like-minded people and broaden your horizons, though it’s not recommended for younger volunteers. If you decide to go on a volunteer trip, be sure to pick a reputable organization.
In addition to signing up, make sure you fill out all of the required forms. Many opportunities also require you to submit a resume or do a criminal record check. It may seem like a hassle, but it is necessary for the safety of everyone. If, for any reason, you do not meet their requirements, simply move on. Many organizations are looking for a certain level of experience or want a single age group to help. Just because you don’t meet the requirements for one opportunity doesn’t mean you won’t meet the requirements for another.
If you cannot find a suitable opportunity listed, try to make one for yourself. Search up a few businesses or non-profits in your community and send them an email stating your interest in volunteering for them and a copy of your resume. In most cases, they will write back. If nothing’s available right now, don’t fret; just wait and keep checking for opportunities. If they offer you an opportunity, what are you waiting for? Reply and go for it.
Overall, volunteering is one of the most rewarding activities you can do. In addition to eliminating boredom on your behalf, you are giving back to your community. Also, other than the intangible benefits, many opportunities provide exclusive t-shirts to remind you of the awesome memories you had. No matter how busy you are, what ages you are, or how much experience you have, there is an opportunity out there for you, so go look for it and make a difference in the lives of others!