If you have the time and recognize a need in your community, volunteering could be a great new hobby! Find a local organization that interests you or that helps solve a problem in your community and reach out to see how your time could best be spent to help others.

overview of volunteers hands in a circle
photo credit: Perry Grone

What volunteer opportunities should I get involved in?

Following is a list of potential volunteer ideas, websites, groups and organizations that you can reach out to and work with to make a difference in your community:

Local Libaries

Whether you are an adult, student or senior citizen, volunteering at your local library can be a great way to get involved with your community. Opportunities include reading to children, teaching classes, organizing materials, Friends of the Library book sales etc… Reach out to your local branch for full volunteer opportunities.

Food Pantries

Over half of all soup kitchens, food pantries and meal programs rely entirely on volunteers. Find a program or group in your community and get involved helping to pack and prep meals, serve food or organize intake of donations. More information can be found at FeedingAmerica.org

Special Olympics

The Special Olympics relies heavily on volunteers throughout their programing worldwide. Whether you are coach, trainer, official, event organizer, fundraiser, manager or general volunteer. Find a program or event near you to assist people of all abilities to compete and enjoy competitive sports programs. More information can be found at SpecialOlympics.org

Humane Society

The Humane Society has a wide-variety of volunteer opportunities from dog-walking up to pro-bono veterinarian services. Volunteering with the Humane Society can involve an application process and specific commitments more similar to a part-time job. More information can be found at HumaneSociety.org

Retirement Homes

Retirement homes are a great place to volunteer, and there are so many ways you can contribute. Many retirement homes are constantly looking for entertainers to volunteer for evening programs. If you or a group you are involved in have a talent you can share with seniors (music, dancing, magic etc…) reach out to a local retirement home. You can also simply talk, listen, play games to volunteer. More information can be found at SeniorLiving.org

Boys and Girls Club of America

Volunteering at a Boys and Girls Club is an amazing way to help teach young people valuable life lessons through sports, art, creativity and games. Volunteer opportunities include teaching a class, helping with homework, coaching/facilitating a sport, leading an art project etc… More information and opportunities can be found at BGCA.org

Habitat for Humanity

Contribute your skills to help build homes and shelters for people in need in your community. If you have experience and expertise in construction, electric, plumbing etc… considering getting involved in your local branch of Habitat for Humanity. More information can be found at Habitat.org

Search and Rescue

While this is a much more involved area of volunteering and can require an application process and a lot of training, Search and Rescue volunteering can be a very rewarding experience. Depending on your location, Search and Rescue volunteer needs may vary. If you are interested in training and being available to help as part of a search crew reach out to a local unit or your local sheriffs office for more information.

Volunteering does not need to be complicated and does not always need to be done through an organization. If you recognize a need in your community, you can start volunteering today. Maybe that means spending time picking up trash in a local park or helping a neighbor in need with some chores or yard work.

volunteers picking up trash on the beach
photo credit: Brian Yurasits

This is by no means a comprehensive list.

Use your skills and imagination to recognize a need in your community. Contact an organization that you are passionate about to see where your volunteering time can best be contributed.

Note: Be sure that the need you are filling is not taking work away from someone in your community or someone else’s community. Be mindful of the volunteering you are doing and be sure that the need is there and the work you do actually helps people without being a detriment. Do your research and check that the organization you are contributing your time to is genuine and reputable.

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As always, check out our blog for the latest on new hobbies and pastimes!