Make 2016 the Year You Give Back

December 31, 1969

As any volunteer will tell you, volunteering brings rewards to both the giver and the receiver! There are many ways to get involved and give back to your community. Besides volunteering, you might consider helping out by donating items. You could also set up a fund raising activity to generate funds for a favorite charity.

Perhaps you are already involved in worthy cause; you may want to increase your involvement with the charity. If you haven’t selected a charity, decide on a cause in which you have strong beliefs.

Don’t hesitate to contact a not-for-profit and ask about its work. Many organizations and institutions like schools, churches, and hospitals have an ongoing need for volunteers in order for their work to continue.

Perhaps you want to consider volunteering once a week as a hospital helper or to deliver meals on wheels or to assist at a soup kitchen. You might wish to become involved in a one-time commitment like a Parent/Teacher annual fundraiser or an Earth Day clean up community project. Often these one-time activities give potential volunteers a level of comfort for future volunteer projects.

Consider your skills and talents, looking to use these for a worthy cause. If you are an artist or have a talent with computer you can put these skills to good use. If you are an educator, offering your expertise as a tutor for only an hour or two a week can be a rewarding experience. If you are an organizer or leader, consider sharing your business expertise by sitting on the board of an organization or charity.

Organizations like United Way, Meals on Wheels, Red Cross, local churches, and Big Brothers and Sisters work hard to improve the quality of life for millions of people all over the world. You can get involved with any of these organizations or others that you believe in and support.

If your life is filled with multiple demands on your time, you can give back to your community in other ways.  You can donate money for charitable projects. You can make donations of materials needed for a fundraiser. You can generate donations from local businesses to help fund school breakfast or lunch programs or back-to-school supplies.

When you volunteer you offer help in your local community. Often your efforts help others all over the world. You’ll become part of a global community composed of millions of volunteers.

Many community and global projects would not be possible without volunteers. Besides the satisfaction this gives volunteers, the activity gives a chance to make friends and focus on causes outside yourself. If you are shy and meeting people is hard for you, volunteering helps you get out of your shell.

Volunteering has proven to increase self-confidence, decrease depression and make people feel happy and grateful for what they have in their lives. Volunteering can even improve one’s physical health. Studies show volunteering alleviates chronic pain and lessens the severity of symptoms of many illnesses.

No matter your age, physical limitations, time, or skills, there is a volunteer project just right for you.

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