Volunteer Efforts for the Fall
With the holiday season about to start, opportunities to volunteer may start to become more noticeable. Organizations looking for volunteers operate throughout the year, but the holiday seasons can place an added emphasis on the community’s needs in a special way (it’s very hard to consider volunteering during St. Patrick’s Day, for example).
Regardless of where you live or what volunteer organizations operate in your community, consider these steps for volunteering during the holidays:1. The Schools
Seems obvious, really. Schools need all the help they can get, and they’re always glad to include parents in their children’s activities.
This option presents a good deal of diversity for volunteers, as schools need help in the kitchens, in the classrooms, on field trips, as crossing guards, as tutors, and even with special events. Kids needs attention, teachers need help, and communities can become stronger when parents and residents get involved in children’s activities.
Think we’re being too schmaltzy with this? Offer to chaperone a school dance. The teacher’s eyes will fill with joy and wonder.2. The Playing Field
Sports teams need coaches and individuals with the patience to teach kids fine motor skills and the fire to ignite passion within their young charges. Playing sports can help teach kids the importance of teamwork, personal responsibility, and the sense of accomplishment through physical fitness and achievement. But to do that, they need people willing to take the time to teach them.
And don’t make the mistake in thinking sports only gets limited to the more popular games like baseball, football, and basketball. Check with the schools and any municipal/government organizations that host youth sports and activities; you may discover a need for a fencing instructor or water polo coach. Sports can be an amazingly diverse field.
Speaking of diverse…3. The Stage
Lots of things happen on a stage: spelling bees, dance recitals, plays, musical performances, and art displays. Think there’s a need to volunteer with any of these programs? You’d be correct.
Arts require a similar discipline for volunteering that sports does, namely patience, focus, and a desire to help their charges grow beyond what their perceived limitations. And art doesn’t get limited to schools; community organizations may have a need for volunteers.4. Hospitals and Senior Centers
Hospitals and senior centers may not seem an obvious choice for volunteers, since the doctors, nurses, and attendants can sometimes be viewed with a respectful awe that might suggest help is appreciated but unnecessary. That’s not true; help tends to be welcomed at hospitals, where volunteers can do everything from sitting with patients to helping with food service.
Plus, if you’ve ever been in a hospital during the holidays, you’ll understand how much patients and staff appreciate having an extra hand available.5. The Community
Last but certainly not least, check with any homeowner association, community development district, or governing body to see what can be done around the neighborhood. And if you live in a place that doesn’t have any of those, take a look around and see what you can do. Simple things like cutting a neighbor’s yard or providing free coffee to school crossing guards might be just the idea.