Getting involved in your community is pretty much as simple as having the desire and just getting out there. There are plenty of organizations that are ready and willing to let you help out. Even if volunteer work is not normally on their agenda, there are many things you could offer to do for them that would be appreciated.
Check With Local Schools and Organizations That Help Children
Local schools always need a helping hand. Whether you are helping to build a playground or reading a book to a classroom of kindergartners, it is likely a school will welcome volunteer work with open arms. Check with the administration at your local schools to see what is needed. If you have ideas, don't be afraid to make suggestions.
Another good way to find about volunteer and community opportunities involving children is to seek out companies and organizations that might serve children. For instance, the Texas Farm Bureau helped third and fifth graders with a cabbage garden and a butterfly garden. This may sound small, but both are educational, as well as fun. From this type of activity, kids can learn about teamwork, learn gardening skills, learn to appreciate nature, get some exercise, as well as just plain have fun. Not all kids have opportunities like this on a daily basis.
Give Back at Work
Many companies give back to the community as well. Ask your boss if your company participates in volunteer work. One company that has an excellent volunteer program for its employees is The Home Depot. There are various ways Home Depot gives back to the community. Employees are encouraged to volunteer for The Home Depot Foundation (established in 2002). Home Depot associates (called Team Depot) can volunteer by building and restoring playgrounds, assessing and correcting safety and accessibility issues within the community, participating in affordable housing projects, helping with emergency preparedness, and more.
Look Up Various Shelters, Educational Assistance, and Other Programs
Perhaps there are adults in your area that don't yet have their high school diploma or GED. Rather than them paying high costs for classes, you may want to volunteer for tutoring. Oftentimes, shelters will offer programs to help people in this situation. If you would like to help, try going to your local shelters and asking administration about these programs.
Speaking of shelters, another way to volunteer and help those in need is by going to local shelters and asking about their greatest needs that a volunteer such as yourself would be able to provide. If they cannot think of any needs, but would like help somehow, you could make suggestions based on your talents and skills. For example, if you have experience counseling, you may want to provide counseling to families in tough situations, such as the youth at a shelter like Covenant House in Houston, TX.
No matter what type of volunteer work you choose, you can be sure that it will help someone in some way. Getting involved in the community is a great way to help others, gain character, and build a great resume. Not only can volunteering make the recipient of your efforts happy, but it also can lift your spirits as well.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
(this version updated 8/27/2015)
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