The following is a guest post from Meredith Richardson who has some great ideas on how to be involved in your community for work-life balance. I may add that her advice is great for people who are in the job search.
When it comes to being active in your community, there are so many things you can do. However, much more needs to be considered than how to spend your time. For instance, you need to figure out how much time you donate along with balancing your work schedule. Below are some great ideas that you can use to get yourself involved in some activity that will help your community.
Volunteer in a Hospital
Call your local hospital and talk ask about their volunteer program. This is a great way to give your time and care to people who have medical problems. As well, there are so many nursing homes or assisted living centers that need volunteers to help them during the day and night alike. Sometimes, people just need someone to talk to, someone to read to them or share a small meal with them. Children’s hospitals usually need volunteers to read to children or do some crafts with them. There are many families who are struggling with a loved one who is going through the final weeks or months of their lives, and having someone to sit with these people and talk to them is a great way to volunteer your time.
Speak to local church ministers, rabbis and priests about what their religious community may need volunteers for. Most churches have food pantries that need help with collecting foods and drinks for people in need. They also commonly sponsor clothing collections for the needy. Maybe you can help organize a coat, food or clothing drive to benefit the community around you.
Check with the schools and colleges in your local district to see if they need any help with community service projects. They might even need help in-house. For instance, it’s common for schools to reach out in need of people to read to children with special needs. Often, children with vision problems need someone to work with them one on one. Many schools host carnival events or fundraisers that they need volunteers for. Their athletic events may need people to sell tickets, collect money or direct visitors to their seats. A used book sale may be a great idea for you to organize to raise money for the children in schools to purchase new books to read. Go where help is needed – stick to low income communities to make the most impact. If your own child is in school, you might be able to help another family out by picking up a child who has no way to school in the winter.
Go to your local community animal shelter and ask about doing some volunteer work there. They almost always need volunteers to walk dogs, help out with pet adoptions or perhaps even foster a pet when they get overcrowded. Helping animals in shelters can be a very rewarding way to donate your time, especially if you’re not really a “people” person. You may end up with many new furry friends – and potentially even your own pet!
If you don’t really have time to commit every week to a cause, consider doing something annual or seasonal. Walks for everything from Cancer to AIDS to MS happen all over the country year round. All you have to do is ask people to pledge whatever they can manage and then dedicate one night or potentially a whole weekend (maybe a week) to the event. You’ll make some friends and will also be able to see exactly how much of a difference you’re making when it’s all over.
Doing something little for other people can make a world of difference to someone’s heart and life. Donate some time to your local community today, and make a difference.
Meredith Richardson is a social worker who writes about self-help, community service and more. Her most recent work is on the