With financial concerns, it may become difficult to commit to philanthropic efforts despite feeling a personal responsibility to assist others and give back to local communities. Volunteering not only serves to enhance others’ lives, foster empathy, and cultivate relationships, but has also been proven to lead to increased happiness in volunteers that encourages more philanthropic efforts and, in turn, contributes to a loop of positive feedback. Despite common misconceptions, volunteering doesn’t require elaborate donations in order to serve others. Instead, individuals can contribute meaningfully to communities by simply contributing their time and energy.
Here are some ways individuals can volunteer their time and give back to the community.
Offer to Help the Elderly
Whether it’s an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor, elderly individuals may be reluctant to reveal their growing frailty or dependence. As a result, volunteering can prove both necessary and helpful. Individuals can consider bringing elderly community members meals or leftovers, completing simple yard work and taking care of sidewalk maintenance in the winter, or offer to accompany them when they go shopping or run errands.
Some students struggle in school and volunteers can consider tutoring students in academic subjects. These students can range from elementary school students to adult learners and all others in between. Just as academic tutoring is a viable option, volunteers can also help improve adult literacy, provide assistance to those learning new languages, or tutor life skills, including culinary arts, sewing, and more.
By donating nonperishable goods or volunteering at food banks, individuals can help combat community hunger. Volunteers can also work at soup kitchens or at church programs to prepare and provide warm meals to community members in need.
Volunteer at a School
Schools function at their best when community members contribute to education. Individuals can donate their time by volunteering to read to elementary school students, chaperone school field trips, and monitor or lead after-school activities.
Become an Active Neighbor
Members of a neighborhood can organize events to cultivate a sense of community and provide valuable services and support to neighbors in need. Volunteers can participate in community watch programs and organize community fundraisers to achieve collective goals.
Volunteer at a Hospital
Hospitals can always benefit from local support and offer a wide variety of volunteer opportunities. Volunteers may consider assisting with internal food services, working with children, and keeping patients company. As some hospitals work with local therapy dog chapters, interested volunteers can train to become certified handlers and bring their licensed therapy dogs to visit patients.
Despite common misconceptions, volunteering does not require elaborate monetary donations. Instead, individuals are able to volunteer their time to contribute meaningfully to their communities.