Volunteering - The Opportunities are as Plentiful as the Rewards

When you hear about people who serve as volunteers, you might imagine that they have gifts or abilities that uniquely qualify them. However, the most important qualities of a good volunteer are a desire to help your community and the willingness to sacrifice some of your time.

By volunteering, you help fill a gap in the life of an individual or a family. Tweet this!

By volunteering, you help fill a gap in the life of an individual or a family. Many parents, for example, don’t always have as much time to spend with their children as they would like (or as their children need), often because of heavy workloads. Parents in this situation also may not have many friends, family members, or neighbors who can help. These resources, known as social support, can serve to relieve some of the stress that comes with parenting; without them, the responsibilities can be overwhelming.

Even through what may seem like small ways, you can directly or indirectly serve as this social support, especially during the holiday season, when needs and pressures increase.

Making Charitable Donations: If you are buying new winter clothes this season (or if your closet is too full as-is!), consider donating your unneeded clothes, coats, gloves, and even blankets to a non-profit clothes closet program. Or, when shopping for groceries, buy some extra kitchen supplies, like paper towels or soap, or canned goods that can help stock a food bank program.

Additionally, there are many toy collections throughout the city. Many organizations will set up toy stores where parents can shop for their children’s presents at discounted rates. Regardless of what or how much you donate, you can help ease the burdens of someone in need.

Tutoring: When it comes to schoolwork, many at-risk children do not receive the support at home they need to keep up with their classes. By investing some regular time in helping a student stay on track, you can take part in his education and serve as that extra encouragement he might not otherwise get.

Mentoring: Many children do not have role models in their lives to offer guidance and support. By mentoring, you have the chance to form a long-term relationship with a child, and to help them develop in a positive way. Studies have shown that young people who have mentors are more likely to set higher educational goals, attend college, and engage in productive activities (such as holding leadership positions or volunteering) than those without mentors. The longer the mentoring relationship lasts, the more valuable it is for the child.

Whether it’s donating material resources or time, everyone can give back to the community in some way. In Memphis, there are many non-profit organizations working to improve the city — contact one today and find how you can get plugged in. Don’t underestimate what you have to offer.