The great thing about volunteering is that you get to choose whatever interests you. With so many options, there is something for everyone. When you’re doing something you enjoy, it doesn’t seem like drudgery. If money is short, you can donate your time. Focusing on others can also relieve anxiety over peer pressure and school issues.
Volunteering shows that you are reliable and able to make a commitment. It is also a nice addition to your college or employment application and future resume. Some high schools even require a certain amount of volunteer work as a prerequisite for their graduates.
Do you like animals? Most shelters can always use assistance. Dogs need to be walked and exercised. Extra hands are needed to feed them, clean their pens and show them love and attention – and you’ll receive unconditional love in return from these animals!
If you like working with kids, you can serve as a camp counselor, visit children on a pediatrics ward at a hospital, or join a reading program for kids at your local library or book store. The Big Brother or Big Sister program might be of interest to you. If you’re good at a particular subject in school, tutoring may be an option for after-school hours.
If you like being outdoors and enjoy communing with nature, consider checking with your local parks and recreation department. Mowing lawns or gardening can also be a blessing to those who are elderly or sick.
Other organizations to consider would be your local Habitat for Humanity, hospice facility, local Red Cross or Ronald McDonald house. Many shelters and soup kitchens would welcome extra hands in serving food or washing dishes. If you want to do more than an evening or a weekend, your breaks during spring or summer may be options for you.
Volunteering can help you learn new skills and discover new things about yourself. It may even give you insight in choosing a career path. Helping others will help you feel better about yourself.
When checking with a particular organization, you might need to ask for a volunteer coordinator. Be ready to answer questions they may ask about your skills, interests, amount of time you are available to help and whether or not you have transportation. You may want to inquire whether there will be training that is needed or provided.
One website that may be helpful in finding local listings is VolunteerMatch.org. Their site states that it has paired over eight million volunteers with causes that include the categories of children, homeless, animals, housing, education and environment.
“…Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ….” (from 1 Peter 4:11 / NLT) Everyone can help someone. Now all you have to do is ask the Lord how He would like for you to do that!