Give back to your community: Donate your time
No matter where you live, what your age or talents, there is always a way to give back to your community. Donating time to your local neighborhood, town or city is a wonderfully green way to better the lives of everyone around you.
All right, so you want to do some good, but how do you go about it? Do you need to plan ahead, take time off from work or receive any specific training? The answers vary depending on the type of volunteer position you pursue. Check out this list of easy ways to give your community a little helping hand.
Last-minute rainy Saturday
Maybe it's time to tackle those overstuffed closets. Take an hour or two, and go through the jam-packed areas of your home to pull aside items you no longer need or that no longer fit. Gather them up and choose an organization to which you'll donate the goods, such as a women's shelter, the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Bring the items over and ask for a 501C3 receipt to apply to next year's taxes. You have now donated valuables you no longer need and helped out someone in your community who will enjoy these at a discounted rate. Wasn't that easy?
Local coffee shop lists
Head down to your local coffee shop and grab a cup of Joe. Often, you'll find community bulletin boards there advertising local clean-up efforts such as graffiti removal, garden fixups or even trash pickups. Simply call the number and volunteer your services. Craigs List is also a great resource for weekend activities to help enrich the community. Just click on the "volunteers" tab under the "community" section. Many established neighborhoods even have their own websites that you can log onto and browse through community activities.
The simplicity of reading
Do you know how much someone in the community might appreciate your willingness to simply read out loud to her? Retirement homes, nursing homes and even hospitals typically welcome people from the community into their facilities for this purpose. Call and see if you can schedule a time to read to someone. Many times, it is not so much what you read as your good will that's most appreciated. Providing company for someone is often just as rewarding for you as it is for the individual.
How many times have you heard that education is the key to future generations? You spent countless hours in school both struggling and succeeding. Millions of children do the same every day. Call your school's district's office or nearby school to find out if someone there needs a tutor. Pick your favorite subject, use your bilingual abilities or just lend your assistance to a child. This is a truly rewarding experience. You never know -- you could be tutoring the next Bill Gates!
Are you a sports fanatic? Love to kick around a soccer ball or swim some extra laps but can't find the time? Put your athletic abilities to use and call your local YMCA, Girls and Boys Clubs, or recreation centers. These facilities always can use some extra help. Maybe there's a team you can help coach or a game that needs an extra referee. You'll get to interact with children who share your drive for athleticism, put your rusty athletic talents to work and enjoy basking in the appreciation of kids and their parents.
If you can dream up an activity to help humanity in your local neighborhood, then it exists. Become a true member of your community and give back to the people and places that make it such a wonderful place to live. You never know when you might be the one who needs that extra-special helping hand.