You can, deliver meals on wheels, run for the cure, or foster a shelter pet. Those who are up for a little more adventure, can see the world while serving in countries they’ve always dreamed of visiting.Whether you’re a retired construction worker, a young mother, or a teenager who wants more out of their summer than video games, there is a volunteer opportunity for you. To get the most out of your volunteer experience here’s a few things to consider:
- What do you want from this experience? - Are you hoping to fill your time, give back to your community or make new friends? Do you have skills to utilize, or talents you could share? Thinking about what you want to get out of your time as a volunteer will help you decide the type of assignment you’d enjoy.
- Find the time – Many people shy away from volunteering because they think they don’t have the time. Even if you only volunteer a small amount of time, you can make a positive change.
- Find the Reason – Don’t sign up for a construction job just because your friend is doing it. Perhaps you’re an accountant who loves to teach. You might enjoy teaching math to underprivileged children. Evaluate your incentives and plan accordingly.
- Check out the Options – Are you passionate about a particular cause? Do you love animals or feel a connection to the elderly. Maybe you feel strongly about literacy? Find a cause that you’d like to support. Then get in there and help it succeed.
- Stay Close to Home – If you need to fit your volunteer time into an already busy schedule, make it easy for yourself. Find a cause that’s close to your heart and also close to home.
- Or . . . Go Far Away – Maybe you dream of building a school in Ethiopia, sharing your medical skills in India or teaching English in China. If you’re an itinerate traveler, there are volunteer activities all over the world.
- Match Your Skills – Whether your expertise is building roads or using a sewing machine, teaching medicine or safe canning techniques, there is a place for you. Find an organization that matches your skills and you’ll fit right in.
- Or . . . Learn a New Skill - Find a group that does things you’d to learn. Maybe you’ve been a dentist all your life but you’d like to learn how to grow corn. Sign up for a farming project and acquire a new skill.
- Work Your Way up - Explain your skills and preferences to the supervisor, but be willing to do whatever needs to be done, especially when learning a new skill. Maybe you’ll be hauling supplies or doing paperwork until you acquire the more glamorous skills. Grin and bear it. You’re here to help remember?
- Attend the Training Meetings and learn everything you can about your new adventure.