“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.”
–Ethel Percy Andrus, founder of AARP
During National Volunteer Week, it is important to reflect on what it means to be of service to something larger than ourselves.
Founded in 1974, National Volunteer Week was established to raise awareness around service opportunities and non-profit organizations across the nation.
Dedicating a week out of the year to volunteer helps remind everyone about the needs in their communities. Whether you are a habitual volunteer, someone that has very little volunteering experience or your experience lies somewhere in between, National Volunteer Week gives us all a greater perspective of the good that we can do when we focus our efforts on a common goal: helping others.
National Volunteer Week showcases the impact that a group of individuals can make on their community. The product of their labor yields a better environment for those in need. Even if you think you lack a special talent that you can use to help others, there is always something that we can do. All you need is a positive attitude and your presence. The impact you can make by facilitating a positive environment for others is monumental.
When you consider volunteering, it is important to find a cause that you care about. When we work on things that matter to us, we are more invested in the work that we do for others. If there are certain causes that interest you, such as the environment, the arts, or veteran issues, seek out opportunities to use your skills to benefit those causes.
How to Find the Right Volunteering Experience for You
“We learn the inner secret of happiness when we learn to direct our inner drives, our interest and our attention to something besides ourselves.” –Ethel Percy Andrus
Being aware of your talents and passions are great first steps to becoming a volunteer in your community. To take the next step, you must be aware of the volunteering opportunities in your community.
With the help of technology, this has never been easier. AARP’s Create The Good is a website that matches a person’s interests and skills to locations that are within a specified mile radius from their ZIP code. With this tool, you can explore the different opportunities available to you and see what needs exist.
Create the Good also includes a section dedicated to Do-It-Yourself Projects. You can use their suggestions to spearhead your own volunteer projects within your community. This section is perfect to help raise funds and awareness of a community issue that inspires you.
This resource is sure to inspire anyone with unique ideas for almost any situation imaginable. From information on how to assist cleaning a river, to holding a used book sale, Create The Good has it all. If you are interested in starting your own project in your community, visit the Create The Good How To Guides to learn about the many ways that you can give back in your neighborhood.
Start where you are, and figure out what you can give. Your talents, your time or your resources can all be used to make a difference in someone else’s life. Time spent in service of community is never wasted.
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