Those of us who want to make a positive difference in our communities often find it easiest to put a check in the mail to our favorite charity. But sometimes we feel called to take a personal role in impacting the areas where we live. Donating time is a valuable and much appreciated way of showing others how much you care.
If you want to make a gift of time and effort to a local cause, give some thought to these possibilities:
- Join a neighborhood fix-up crew. Many churches and social organizations sponsor crews of workers that go into a community and help to repair and fix up worn-out homes. From painting to patching, repairing a roof or nailing a step, there is plenty of work for anyone who wants to get involved. If you are handy with tools, this may be an ideal way for your to improve the lives of others.
- Teach an important skill. Volunteer to teach reading or writing in an after-school program at the community center. Spend an hour a week teaching computer skills at the local high school. Offer an art or scrapbook class at the senior center. Whatever your experience or interest, chances are you can help others by offering to share it.
- Lend a helping hand. Ladle soup for the homeless, sew crib skirts for the church nursery, collect recycling items for your community, and clean your disabled neighbor’s house. If you have two strong legs and two sturdy arms, put them to good use in the service of others.
- Organize a self-help group. Through your public library or a local church, offer to lead an exercise class, a co-dependent seminar, or a resume-writing workshop. Whatever problems you have successfully mastered, there are others who can benefit from your experience. Put your problems to good use in sharing your insight and expertise through a public presentation.
- Do whatever is left over. Contact a social service agency and offer to do the tasks that no one else wants. Filling gaps like these helps to ensure that pressing work gets done, especially since no one else is available to do it. Others will benefit and the agency will be grateful. Carrying out trash, calling people for donations, typing thank-you letters, and other duties performed by nameless faces are things that need to be done by someone, so why not let it be you?
- Offer basic help. Cook a meal, sew worn socks, supervise someone’s children, or rake a lawn as you see a neighborhood need and take care of it, surprising an acquaintance with a special gift of this type. Sometimes people hesitate to ask for help, so step up the plate and offer supportive assistance to single parents, widows or widowers, or a disabled person. You’ll feel better for doing so.
Physical involvement can be challenging for those who primarily do desk work at their jobs. Energy spent helping others will boomerang on you by providing a sense of achievement, and you may just burn a few extra calories, too!Physical involvement