You want to donate some of your time to do good, but can’t decide what to do?
There are so many places to volunteer these days that it can be overwhelming. There are fantastic sites like volunteermatch.org, idealist.org, and volunteer.gov each have thousands of opportunities for you to consider.
But what about something…. different? Here are five volunteer opportunities that are just a little bit outside the box.
Any day can be “Bring Your Pet To Work Day”.
Pet Partners was started in 1977 when a veterinarians and doctors began to observe the beneficial effects pets were having on human patients. They decided to research the phenomenon, and today we now know that when animal companions can lower people’s blood pressure, reduce anxiety and promote social interaction.
Now Pet Partners has created the Therapy Animal Program which trains volunteers and their pets to become “therapy animals” that bring some of pets’ health and social benefits to people in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, nursing homes and child welfare facilities.
And we’re not just talking dogs, here. Fido’s not the only one who can share the love. Pet Partners can train dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, rats, llamas, alpacas, horses and donkeys.
So if you think your furry or feathered friend has love to share, you can find out more about how to become a Therapy Animal Team on their site. Note that anyone under sixteen must be accompanied by an adult.
You’ve never met a stamp and ink pad you didn’t lust after. Your stencil skills are so amazing you once made Martha Stewart cry. You actually know what quilling is.
Okay, okay – you don’t really have to be an “artiste” to really bring a smile to a hospital patient. Anyone with a simple set of supplies can volunteer from home by making homemade cards for patients of all ages who just need a little comfort.
You can inquire with your local health centers and hospitals to find out if they have such a program, or you can contact any of these organizations:
- March of the Blanketeers – an all volunteer organization that makes cards, hats, blankets, and other crafts for babies, children and teens. Contact Samantha DeMato at 631-987-0794 to find out more.
- Hospice Advantage – an end-of-life care program is always looking for home made cards for their patients. Contact Melissa Puksich at (920) 452-1851 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles – Many of the hospital’s children are hospitalized for a very long time, and receiving a greeting card can help cheer a patient and their family. Because of the special nature of their patients, CHLA has some necessary guidelines to be followed when making a greeting card, so be sure to review them carefully and follow them. Cards can be sent to Volunteer Services, 4650 Sunset Boulevard, MS #64, Los Angeles, CA 90027
TWEET, TWEET, TWEET!
Gotta have it. Can’t do without it. Must. Be. Tweeting. NOW!!
Use your passion for sharing, liking, Instagramming, hashtagging, posting and retweeting for the greater good of mankind.
Most small non-profits spend so much time with hands-on work, that they have little time to work on things like marketing. That’s where you come in! Use your knowledge about how to get people buzzing to help out a good cause.
There are plenty of organizations across the country that are looking for that special someone who knows how to be a responsible and engaging social media maven. Check them out here.
That’s it – I’m OUTTA here.
Feel like you need to get away? Like, reallllllly away? How about Spain? Or China? Or South Africa?
Volunteering abroad is enjoying an all-time high popularity. There are programs looking for Native English speakers to converse with children who need to improve their command of the language, for teens that can help care for sea-turtles and and budding archaeologists that can lend a hand on a dig.
There’s no shortage of opportunities to help out abroad, but take note: many of these volunteer positions cost a good deal of money, and many are open only to high-schoolers. Be sure to research and read the fine print.
Make your own dang opportunity!
Who needs someone else to tell her what needs doing? If you see something around town that needs fixin’, well get to it. Not satisfied with the old blankets the animals are lying on at the local shelter? Well start a blanket drive! The beach you loved as a kid now depressingly trash-ridden? Get a group of friends and contact the town administrators – you’re going to have a community clean up day.
You’ve got too much goin’ on to deny the world some of your magnificent self. Get out there and find a way to do good, and have fun doing it.
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