An unfamiliar city can be more than a little unnerving. Getting to know the area while simultaneously trying to make friends can be scary. Joining a volunteer organization can help you achieve both goals at once.
Volunteering is not only rewarding, but it also gives you a chance to meet other people in your area and build networks. If you’re renting in a new city, networking is an important way to make friends and contacts. Familiar faces will make you feel more at home.
There are numerous ways to get involved with charity organizations, non-profit foundations, or religious groups. Check out the information below on how to find volunteer opportunities, no matter where you call home.
Think about what kind of activities you enjoy, and look for similar volunteering events or organizations. If you find the list growing too long, limit your possible choices to the top five.
It’s also a good idea, but certainly not necessary, to tie in your skill-set with a charity event. Many organizations need assistance building new homes, tending to the elderly, painting over graffiti, or raising money for a cause. There are many volunteer opportunities for just about everyone to lend a helping hand.
Disease can cause human suffering, but it also brings people together. Volunteers offer significant contribution through their assistance and compassionate outlook of the struggle with Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases.
Nearly every disease has an opportunity for involvement. For example, the National Breast Cancer Association encourages volunteers to help host fundraisers to raise money in the fight against breast cancer. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society also allows you to search for local volunteer opportunities online. No matter that the disease, there’s probably something going on in your area. If there are no events, why not take the initiative as a new renter and set something up?
Are you an animal lover? The best option is to volunteer at your local shelter. Many of these shelters are connected to the Animal Humane Society, which offers plenty of ways to care for a variety of different animals. Inside the shelter, you’ll find opportunities to help not only cats and dogs, but also rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, reptiles, pot-belly pigs and other animals in need of assistance. You can take dogs on walks, or assist with nail clipping, feeding, bathing or grooming. Even if your rental policy doesn’t permit pets, caring for these animals lets you connect them with other adoption opportunities. Your furry friends will definitely thank you for your hard work.
Another way to impact the community and become familiar with the city is at your local volunteer fire or emergency medical service department. These departments are active throughout many areas of the country. Not only will you have the opportunity to save lives, but you will build camaraderie with other local volunteers.
Check with your local hospital to see if they know of any programs requiring volunteer assistance. You might be directed to a nursing home needing you to come in weekly to read to the elderly, or you might be asked to assist with a hospital’s fundraising project.
If you enjoy sports or the great outdoors, there are plenty of ways to be active, have fun, and help out your neighbors. For starters, youth sport leagues often need coaches and assistant coaches to help develop training programs, and teach kids about basic skills and teamwork. If you’re a parent, this is a fantastic way to participate in your kid’s life and help his or her teammates.
The Boy and Girl Scouts as well as other groups have local chapters around the country, and they’re often looking for scout leaders and other volunteers to help young people learn values, earn an appreciation of the outdoors, and learn about civic participation. These types of organizations are a great way to give back to the community.
Many people want to help those experiencing poverty or homelessness, as they are often the most vulnerable members of society. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity help build homes for those who are homeless or on a low-income. Local soup kitchens, homeless shelters and food pantries are always looking for new volunteers as well, which provide you with endless ways to support those facing poverty.
Do you know of a special charity or volunteer organization you want the world to know about? Let us know in the comments or share with everyone via Twitter, and spread the good word!