There are plenty of ways to get involved volunteering, no matter where you are. It doesn’t have to be anything mind-blowing and I believe that any amount of help is better than nothing! We all have busy schedules, but if you find the time I would highly recommend doing volunteering when possible.
My Experience Volunteering
During my time in college, I didn’t have much time to be volunteering while taking a full load of classes, studying, and working part-time. It was important to me to give back to the community or be part of something that I believe in. When I graduated, I knew I wanted to take more initiative to start volunteering somewhere.
I interned with Planned Parenthood during my final semester of college, which I was thrilled about. I 100% support the organization and wanted to learn more. During my internship, I learned a lot and knew I wanted to begin volunteering when I moved to San Diego. To volunteer with Planned Parenthood, the acceptance process is a bit more thorough; I think this is due to the stigma against the organization. After applying you need to complete a phone interview. After the interview process, I attended an orientation and now I receive a monthly newsletter with volunteer opportunities. Unfortunately, I am not able to attend most of them because they are during my work hours, but I try to sign up when I am available.
Shortly after I moved to San Diego, I started an internship with Sand Cloud, which is a towel and apparel company that donates part of their proceeds to marine life foundations. Sand Cloud brought my attention to the absurd amount of trash that is getting dumped into our oceans. Through this internship, I became more aware and was able to find out more about local beach clean-ups.
Another way I like to participate in volunteer work is feeding the homeless. The church that my boyfriend goes to drives to downtown San Diego once a month to share a message of hope and feed the homeless in the area. I have gone a few times and it feels great to be able to spend a few hours of my time to give something to the people who need it most.
Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering is beneficial for a number of reasons. First, it makes you feel great doing something for someone or something else. For me, when I go to feed the homeless it makes me feel so grateful for the little things in life. It’s so easy to take things like having a roof over your head and food on your table for granted. When you see firsthand how some people live without the basic necessities, it gives you a different perspective.
Not only does it make you feel good, but you’re also doing good! You’re benefitting something, whether it be a person, an animal, or the environment. If you’re an environmentalist- you’re benefitting the planet or if you’re an animal lover- you’re benefitting the dogs, cats, etc.
Additionally, volunteering is a great way to spread awareness about a specific issue. People are far more likely to listen to you talk about an organization or an issue when you’re actively trying to make a change. For example, if you’re constantly trying to tell people about how they need to be more environmentally cautious while you’re sipping through a plastic cup and straw, they probably won’t listen to you.
Finding the Right Place to Volunteer
I recommend choosing a place to volunteer based on things that you are passionate about. For most of my life, I grew up near the ocean. Over the years, it has been heartbreaking to see beaches getting covered more and more in trash. I decided to start going to beach clean-ups when I was able to. Planned Parenthood was another place I was very interested in volunteering. I support their mission and I want to do what I can to help the organization succeed.
Figure out what you’re passionate about and find an organization that is looking for volunteers. If you love animals, you can apply to volunteer at your local humane society. This is a great opportunity to be around animals, especially if you aren’t in the right position to be getting a pet of your own. If you’re an environmentalist, find out when there is going to be a local beach clean-up that you can help out with! There are so many organizations out there that are looking for help for a great cause!
If you don’t have the time to volunteer, but you want to show your support don’t forget that you can donate money or items. Everyone is going through something different, so if you can donate an item, money, or your time- anything helps!
Have you volunteered anywhere before? Share your experience with me in the comments!