LifeWorks: Get Involved

LifeWorks: Get Involved. Choosing Volunteer Work.

Helping others can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You can plant trees in a park, coach youth sports, stuff envelopes for a political campaign, help an adult learn to read, raise money for the arts, visit hospice patients, and more – there’s almost no limit to the opportunities open to you as a volunteer, and people of any age and background can find a way to give back. Here are some ways to find a project that needs you.

Understanding Why You Want To Volunteer

Helping others can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You can plant trees in a park, coach youth sports, stuff envelopes for a political campaign, help an adult learn to read, raise money for the arts, visit hospice patients, and more – there’s almost no limit to the opportunities open to you as a volunteer, and people of any age and background can find a way to give back. Here are some ways to find a project that needs you. Your reasons for volunteering might be personal or work related.

Deciding On Specifics

What skills to you want to use or develop? Make a list of the hobbies, interests, or skills you hope to use. Do you have musical skills you could share with nursing home residents? Counseling skills that could help an antidrug program?

Is there a need in your community? What issues or causes are local organizations already tackling? You may find opportunities that involve the arts, sports, politics, health care, children, the homeless, the environment, animals, and more.

What kind of place would you like to support? How far are you willing to travel? Would you walk, bike, take public transportation, or drive? Would you like a project you could do at home, such as an online, or virtual volunteer opportunity?

What kind of atmosphere are you looking for? Quiet? Fast-paced? Indoors or outside? A large organization or a small group?

Would you like to work with a specific group or for a specific cause, such as delivering services to the homeless; working with at-risk children; working with immigrants, the elderly, or people with disabilities; working with pets or wildlife?

Do you want to work independently or with other volunteers or staff? Would you like to work one-on-one with someone or with a group? Do you enjoy working in policy making positions or would you be more comfortable behind the scenes?

When can you volunteer? Days? Evenings? Weekends? How many hours each week or month can you offer? Would you prefer volunteering for a one-time event, like a walk for charity? Or can you make a steady commitment? Would you like to see results right away or can you take a long-term view of success? Do you want to start and complete your own project, or are you comfortable working on an ongoing or preexisting project?

Finding The Right Organization For You

• Ask friends and co-workers
• Spread the word on social media.
• If you have ties to a faith community, ask about opportunities at your place of worship.
• Check your newspapers and their websites
• Join the parent-teacher organization if you have children and would like to volunteer at the school.
• Look into local chapters of national or international organizations that have a tradition of service to their communities.
• Search online.
• Contact a local volunteer agency

Remember, volunteering is a job and organizations really do count on you to be there when you say you will, not on a whim.
Treat the commitments you make as a volunteer as seriously as you would your job.

LifeWorks Overview

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