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Have some time on your hands and looking for a rewarding activity to do with the kids? Or are you hoping to find a way to give back to your community and gain a greater sense of purpose in the process? Consider volunteering! There are a wide variety of opportunities available, and depending upon your interests and time, you can fill a personal void and feel good about what you’re doing to help someone else.
One of the easiest ways to find volunteer jobs in your community is through word-of-mouth. Ask your friends or co-workers if they volunteer anywhere. Check with your company’s human resource department, as they might donate some of your time to help support a worthy cause.
There are also two excellent online resources that can link you to local agencies in need of help:
- HandsonNetwork.org: This website allows you to search volunteer opportunities in one of 11 categories (such as “working with seniors” or “arts and culture”) in your zip code. It also allows you to connect with a local Hands On Center to stay informed of upcoming opportunities of interest to you.
- Volunteermatch.org: At this site you enter your zip code or location, plus keywords of your choice. You can also search for virtual volunteer opportunities, or for openings by the skill sets you have or want to build upon.
As you are considering what to look for, think of things you like to do – gardening, cooking – or skills you have to offer – building, writing, public speaking. Then think of the time you are willing to invest in being trained (maybe it’s none, or unlimited) and what you can realistically commit to a non-profit agency.
If you are “hired,” remember that even though you aren’t being paid, you are providing a critical service to this agency. You will experience the joy of knowing that the time you offer is making a real difference in your community!