Resolutions 101: Volunteer More

  Photo by Evan Kirby/Unsplash

Photo by Evan Kirby/Unsplash

We are back, looking at more ways to be a better you this year cause last year you really dropped the ball.  In fact, we all did (seriously...Trump people?)  I think we all need to take a timeout and really think about how crazy we behaved last year.

Ok, moment over.  Now that we are in a new year we can stop tormenting ourselves and get out there and do some good because let's face it, we all could really stand to be better to one another.  If you are looking for a way to be a better person this 2017 then might I suggest volunteering.  “Volunteering?  Like reading to dead babies?” 

What the hell is wrong with you? Dead babies are dead, and they don’t need your words they need your tears because dead babies are sad.  You really took that way too far.  Or maybe I did?  The fact is yes, finding a way and making a point to give some of your time (or money) just to give it away can do a world of good.  Volunteering not only makes you feel better and like you helped someone or something (which is a priceless feeling) you are also going out of your way to make someone's day brighter, easier or both.  It's a good deed, and the world can use more of those.

If you have decided that your 2017 resolution is to go out there and volunteer more then good on you!  Now what?  Do you have any idea of what you want to do to volunteer?  Do you know where you want to volunteer?  Are you starting to feel lost?  Are all my questions making you dizzy?  If you know you want to volunteer but not sure where then the first place you should stop by and check out is VolunteerMatch.org.  This is a national website that is essentially a job board for volunteering positions close to you.  You can choose filters to limit your search results to the causes you are most interested in helping with and scroll through hundreds of listings (depending on your area).  I have used this website while living in San Diego and Seattle and have yet to be disappointed.  

If you are looking for a one and done sort of volunteer thing, you can always sign up to donate blood.  This one is simple and does a great deal of good because your donation is going back to help someone, you know, live.  A simple Google search will help you find your local blood bank and where they have donation centers or drives set up.  If you even want to go a step further and be the fearless giver that you are, you can sign up to donate Bone marrow for some lucky patient you match with through www.bethematch.org.  They send you a simple cheek swap kit that you send back to them and wham!  You are added to a register of willing donors, and if you match with someone, then you could really make their day.  Fair warning, I have done this and never been matched with someone.  Maybe I'm just too much of a freak for them to want my bone marrow but I have heard that there are other ways to donate bone marrow on a more immediate basis.  

If you are not really interested in giving your time or bodily fluids but still want to volunteer and be charitable then never fear.  Cash is king.  There are plenty of organizations for causes that accept year-round donations, usually with a small minimum ($5-$15 seems to be the norm).  Perhaps you want to donate every month or once a year, and there are plenty of charities who could use all the help they are offered.  Some of my favorites are:

Planned Parenthood
ASPCA
Childs Play
Homes for our Troops
Meals on Wheels
Proliteracy
Trevor Project

If you want to give back without really having to think about it and you are an avid Amazon shopper like most of us then visit Smile.Amazon.com.  It is amazing how many people don’t even realize this exists.  It is still Amazon and Amazon prices, but when you make a purchase through Smile, Amazon donates a portion to whatever charity you have decided to set as your designated choice.  Giving back while shopping?  Now that is something I can get down with.  

  Photo by Madi Robson/Unsplash

Photo by Madi Robson/Unsplash

There are plenty of ways to volunteer and give back to your community, these all have been a handful of starting points.  What’s most important when it comes to volunteering is that you are donating yourself whole-heartedly because you are going out there to make a difference and spread some love.  There is no better time to be better and kinder to your fellow man, animal, and earth so don’t delay and procrastinate.  Start now.