Happy New Year! It's hard to believe that this is the first Monday of 2015, but it's here!
The New Year is always such an inspiring time because it gives the opportunity for a new beginning and a fresh start. New Year's Resolutions help create an outline for how you are going to make the current year better than the last. Many people put "volunteering" on their list of resolutions, but that is a very broad topic, so we've come up with ten New Year's Resolutions that will allow you to give something specific back to the community you live in.
1. Donate Food
When you're at the grocery store, why not pick up a couple of extra cans of vegetables, meats or fruits? They are fairly inexpensive and can just be added to the trip you are already making, then when you are near your local food pantry you can drop them all off. Every little bit helps.
Youth are in such great need of positive role models and people who will take the time to invest in them, not because they have to, but because they genuinely care about the child. Kids go through a lot each day, and having someone who will sit down and talk, read, help with homework, play sports or any other activity really goes a long way in their self esteem and overall success. Plus, January is National Mentoring Month.
3. Start a Program
Do you have something you are really passionate about? Do you have a skill that could potentially make someone's life a little bit better or easier? Is it budgeting? Maybe cooking? You can take the knowledge you already have and share it with those who need it. Many people are seeking free classes where they can enrich their lives. Maybe someone is trying to build a healthier lifestyle. You can volunteer to teach a free fitness class. Many non profits are open to ideas and are always willing to let someone come in and create a program, as long as they can be the ones to maintain it. So grab a group of friends and see if you can start a three-month trial run on a program!
4. Volunteer for a One-Time Event
Are you a little bit apprehensive about committing to a several month long volunteer opportunity? That is completely ok. You definitely want to make sure you like the organization and people who work there before you jump in head first, and a one-time event is a great chance for you to get an idea for how things are run. If it is a success, then sign up for something else!
5. Virtual Volunteer Opportunities
Many non profits have virtual volunteer opportunities that you can work on right from the comfort of your own home. If you're a homebody and you want to help but you really enjoy relaxing after a long day at work, then this might be a great route for you to take. There are several opportunities to help write copy, mentor online, edit and create video, social media and many others.
6. Serve a Meal
There are many organizations who will let you come in and cook in their kitchen and then serve it to the guests that visit, all you have to do is bring your own ingredients. This is a great opportunity for a group, or for someone who loves to cook or bake. It is so rewarding to get to see the smiles on the faces of the people who you are serving.
7. Have a Food or Clothing Drive
Anyone can host a food or clothing drive. You can reach out to your church, neighborhood, school and clubs or groups you are involved in to rally together to try to collect food or clothing for a local organization. This is a great way to give back to the community, while also helping your friends and family who may be getting ready to 'Spring Clean' their closets or pantry.
8. Teach a Class
Teaching a class is similar to starting a program, but the class is already established. If you love teaching or have a passion for something, why not share that passion with someone who is excited to learn?
9. Do a Clean-Up
So many organizations need groups to come in and help them clean something up. Whether it is a park, a storage room or some other space, groups are so valuable to organizations who are trying to keep their space welcoming and tidy. This is a great opportunity for groups or individuals.
There are a lot of youth organizations who are in need of people to help coach their teams. Volunteer coaches are the life-blood of non profit organizations, especially in the area of sports. If you have knowledge, or even just a heart for sports or youth, then this could be a great opportunity for you to give back to your community in a meaningful way that is also fun for you.
*featured image from livingwellspendingless.com