Volunteer groups provide individuals with the chance to make a difference locally or globally. Volunteer organizations have something for everyone -- you can use professional or school experience to help out or just give your time to help with basic office or physical work. Each volunteer group specializes in a different cause or goal so you can find one that works for you.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross provides medical volunteer opportunities both in local neighborhoods and around the world. The Red Cross runs on volunteers from the local boards of directors to everyday clerical work. The organization also needs skilled volunteers such as doctors and nurses to help with blood drives and disaster assistance services. They also recruit volunteers to help with training and managing local health and safety classes.
The Peace Corps accepts applications for volunteer work around the world for 27-month assignments. Peace Corps volunteers provide assistance to local communities in the countries they are assigned to serve in eight primary specialties. Volunteers can help with health education or HIV/AIDS awareness programs. The Peace Corps reports that at some point 40 percent of volunteer work with various food security and sustainability issues. Volunteers work with environmental and agricultural awareness and improvements and help local schools to improve standards of education. Some volunteers aid local businesses and organizations with implementing better business principles and learning how to use technology.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity works with needy families to offer them a home of their own. The group does not give away the homes for free; they require families to help with construction and pay an affordable monthly mortgage payment. As of 2010, Habitat for Humanity has helped to build over 350,000 houses. Volunteer opportunities with Habitat for Humanity include giving money to purchase building materials or donating the materials themselves. You also can volunteer time working on home construction. Both skilled construction workers and technicians as well as individuals with little relevant experience can help.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters recruits volunteers to work in a one-on-one mentoring relationship with at-risk children or other children in need of a positive adult influence in their life. As of 2010, the organization especially needs male volunteers because boys make up 70 percent of the applicant children but men only make up 30 percent of the volunteer applicants. The organization pairs adult volunteers, called Big Brothers or Big Sisters, with a child, called a Little, in the program. The Big Brothers and Big Sisters spend several hours with the child a few times each month to foster the mentoring relationship and just have a fun outing with their Little.
Usha Dadighat has been writing since 2008. She earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science and a minor in psychology from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in December 2010. She currently works as a software development engineer and has extensive technical writing experience.