This is a time of year when a sense of togetherness sweeps through communities—from orchestra concerts and school plays, to parties with friends and cozy family gatherings. We desire to bring joy and share connection with those around us.
The season also put a magnifying glass on something so very important—volunteering. There are needs and voids to fill in many organizations, church programs, and charities. This is the perfect opportunity to bring joy by volunteering within your community.
As a non-profit fair trade retailer, Ten Thousand Villages relies on volunteers to help with special events, and community engagement to fulfill our mission. We know how valuable good volunteers are, so we put together a quick guide to being an awesome volunteer in your own community. Of course, the holiday season often has many special volunteer opportunities, but don’t rule out volunteering post-December! Many organizations need a pair of helping hands all year long.
How to Be an Awesome Volunteer:
1. Identify Your Skill
Whether your hobby is baking, playing an instrument, painting or something else—there are lots of opportunities out there to funnel interests into service that is both rewarding and impactful. Identify the skill you want to use. Love pets? Animal shelters all around the country look for volunteers to walk, cuddle, and play with pets waiting for their next home. Retirement communities are always looking for friendly visitors or musical guests for evening programs. Nonprofit organizations (including Ten Thousand Villages!) are often in need of extra hands for special events. Volunteering is empowering for you and also incredibly helpful for the recipient.
2. Start a List
There are many organizations around, so make a list of possible volunteering opportunities to help you sort through your options before you make a decision. Check around in your local community and your circles of friends; you never know what opportunity will arise that you never thought about before. Is the local church planning a meal for the community? Maybe a school needs help for an upcoming educational program. Begin a list, gather information, and see what opportunities await. There are countless places that need some extra support you may feel is perfect for your skill. Bear in mind that, depending on the type of service, some organizations might require training or background checks in advance. This is a good question to ask when you are doing your research.
3. Encourage Your Friends
The more the merrier! Gather some of your friends to see where they would like to volunteer. Have you and a friend identified the same skill you’d like to share? Volunteer together. Have different skill sets? Help each other find the right fit for the volunteering. A pair of hands is great—a few pairs are even better.
4. Bring Joy & Share Connection
At the end of the day, the most important impact you can make is to bring joy and share connection wherever you volunteer. Sometimes it may just be a listening ear—but when you’re volunteering, you’re adding important support in a way that may not be possible if it weren’t for your help.
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in your community makes a huge impact. And don’t forget—at Ten Thousand Villages we rely on volunteers in our store network to help with customer service and special events. Volunteers play an important role in our ethical supply chain. Find out more HERE and be part of our family.