Serving as a volunteer in the community can be very rewarding for individuals and families. It is not necessary to travel abroad to serve people in need, as you can find many volunteer opportunities in your local community. Before selecting a mode of community service, evaluate your interests, skills and available time. Community service opportunities exist to fit every personality type, including improving local parks and supporting literacy at the city library.
Pursuing volunteer opportunities in nature can allow interested individuals to make a positive impact on natural spaces within their community. Check with the Department of Parks and Recreation in your hometown; many cities have structured volunteer programs to maintain local parks. Seek opportunities through local community gardens, which often seek volunteers to help water and maintain flowers and vegetable plots. Finally, check with Greenpeace and other large environmental organizations for community service opportunities that can support local and global nature conservation efforts.
Education & Libraries
Seek community service opportunities that support education and literacy in the community. Speak to volunteer coordinators at public schools about obtaining clearance to regularly volunteer in a classroom or mentor a high-risk student. Many schools have structured after-school programs run by volunteers that feature both fun activities and tutoring. If you are interested in supporting literacy in your hometown, check with the local public library about becoming a volunteer. They often need consistent volunteers to assist with shelving books and leading story time for children.
Sports and Athletics
Evaluate opportunities to support fitness among various age groups in the community. If you are able to make a significant time commitment, talk to the local parks and recreation department about becoming a lead or assistant coach for a youth sports team. Contact local retirement and senior centers for opportunities assisting senior citizens with fitness. Pursue opportunities through local YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs to assist with supporting after-school fitness and athletic programs for high-risk youth.
Shelters and Soup Kitchens
Contact local homeless shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens about volunteer opportunities that support needy members of the community. Many homeless shelters have a need for volunteers in a number of capacities, including administrative and fundraising duties. Entire families can become regular volunteers at a local soup kitchen. Even children can assist with serving food and clean-up needs at centers that provide free or low-cost meals to individuals in need. Many food banks also seek volunteers to stock shelves and organize donations.
Jasmine Henry has been a professional freelance writer since 2008. She has published literary criticism in the academic journal "The Birch." Henry holds a Bachelor of Arts in Russian and environmental science from Willamette University in Salem, Ore.