Acts of selflessness make the world a better place, but they also do something for you: They remind you that we’re all human, which on a mass scale can help heal the wounds and divisions that have been rampant in our country since the election.
The best part is that there are so many ways to make a difference, so you can pick one that feels right for you, and it doesn’t have to involve giving money (though that can, of course, help). But some of the best ways to chip in are most rewarding when they are hands-on. “Every woman needs to find her own mission and do what she can to support what she believes in, and everyone can do something,” added Amanda Ponzar, the chief marketing officer of Community Health Charities, told SheKnows.
Whether your calling is about politics or people, ahead you’ll learn more about how some groups are helping others — and how you can do the same. Still feeling stumped? Check out Local Independent Charities of America or VolunteerMatch to find volunteer opportunities in your area — or, better yet, model your own initiative after one of these!
Get involved to protect individual liberties and rights with the American Civil Liberties Union. Learn more about state voter laws and you can volunteer to register voters at a local voter registration drive. You can also join National Voter Registration Day and encourage more people to register to vote using social media or find your state’s chapter of the League of Women Voters to get involved locally at events.
Keep an eye on the kids
If you love kids, consider supporting the children in your neighborhood. Back 2 School Illinois is a nonprofit group in Chicago that assembles and gives back-to-school kits to children from low-income families. Last year, the group distributed more than 890,000 school supplies to 29,714 families in Illinois. Don’t have one where you live? Here’s an idea for giving back… start one!
Tweet for change
Want to make an impact on social media? It may be as simple as raising awareness for a cause — and using a cool hashtag. Community Health Charities encourages people to urge more women to undergo breast cancer screenings by using #GetScreened.
Socially conscious consumers support companies that give back to important causes. Check out brands such as Pura Vida Bracelets, Hand in Hand, Warby Parker and BOGO Bowl or just buy a pair of Toms shoes. There are plenty of brands giving back that feature merchandise you already use or want.
Power to the polls
Want to ensure the next election process runs smoothly? Learn more about state voter laws and volunteer to register voters at a local voter registration drive. You can also join National Voter Registration Day and encourage more people to register to vote using social media or find your state’s chapter of the League of Women Voters to get involved locally at events. No political affiliation needed — just people who want to see the system work fairly.
Be a face for orphans
Another group, the Miracle Foundation based in Austin, Texas, is hoping to improve orphanages around the world through its Orange is for Orphans campaign, which also has a social media component. People can share the hashtag #OrangeIsForOrphans on social media or add the group’s profile frame to their Facebook page.
Bloom where you’re planted
When Sarah Cruz watched coverage of the Women’s March, she was inspired to make a hands-on change. Michael Moore talked about running for office at the age of 18 and how it only took 25 signatures. She began reading up on local politics in her hometown of Bloomfield, New Jersey, and became interested in being involved. “I ultimately know that even through the federal government and our democracy is under attack, locally, we still have a responsibility for our neighbors,” she told SheKnows. When the mayor contacted her, it wasn’t long before she decided to run for the town council. You don’t have to hold an office to make a difference — connect with your political leaders and find out more about ways to get involved in town issues. You can also support women running for political office by using #SeeJoanRun.
Food pantries, homeless shelters and animal shelters aren’t likely to turn away donations, especially during their sparse seasons. Run a collection from a grocery store or community center. Whether you gather canned goods or coats, you’ll be able to take a hands-on approach that helps your local community.
Thank a vet
You don’t have to be Danielle Steel to pen a letter to a veteran at home or overseas. You can also volunteer with a group like Wounded Warriors Family Foundation, which helps families of fallen or injured soldiers in a variety of ways.
Do some write in the world
Like to write? Like to help? Girls Write Now in New York City pairs mentors who are writers with aspiring young women.
Dress for Success not only collects clothing for women entering the workforce; they offer career counseling and mentoring opportunities — a great way to help your fellow female.
Don’t forget furry friends
Angela Marcus, a former director of operations for the Pennsylvania SPCA, recently launched Get Your Pet in an effort to relieve animal shelter intake so resources can focus on strays and abused animals. The group facilitates home-to-home adoptions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware — and has plans to roll out nationally. Maybe you can help with it!
Contact a public service agency to get names of children and families in need who can use donations. That’s how Lara Shovlin connected with families in need to start Helping Hands Gifts in Shelby County, Michigan. Her group rounds up gifts to help families who have hardships at Christmastime. Wonder what would happen if her idea were in more counties? Make it happen!
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