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How you can make a difference

Published on Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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How you can make a difference

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Family Features 

It's not uncommon for people to feel they can't really impact the larger social issues of the day; that the problems are too big for one person to make a difference. But that isn' true. You can be a part of something greater and have a positive impact on your community when you volunteer.

Not only does volunteering benefit others, but it makes you feel good, both mentally and physically, according to the 2010 United Healthcare/VolunteerMatch "Do Good. Live Well." survey. 

Tips for Becoming a Volunteer

  • Evaluate what you have to offer. Think about what skills you have that could be used to help others. Organization and communication skills, a green thumb, crafting or musical abilities, even being a good listener - they can all be valuable resources to local organizations.
  • Find causes and issues that you care about. If your time and efforts are spent in an area of passion, rather than just obligation, you're more likely to enjoy the work and stick with it longer.
  • Check out the organization. Request an interview, visit the site and talk to other volunteers. You need to make sure that the organization and the volunteer duties are a good fit for you.

Ways You Can Serve

There a several national days of service - Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service (www.mlkday.gov), 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance (www.911day.org), and Global Youth Service Day (www.gysd.org). But you don't have to wait for a special day. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Local food banks

  • Clothing drives
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Reading with children
  • Book drives
  • Community gardens
  • Helping military families
  • Tutoring

You can look for other ideas and opportunities through your local community organizations, schools, and houses of worship.


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