December 5th is International Volunteer Day: How Will You Make a Difference?

What a great way to start off the month! International Volunteer Day is December 5th. This day is meant to celebrate volunteering through the unity of human efforts to create positive change in our society.

Want to get involved in your community? Take a look at these tips including a Bonus Tip at the end, to have a great time learning how to give back.

Illustration by Alissa Vu

Why does Volunteering Matter?

Volunteering may benefit your mental health and a sense of compassion towards yourself & others, strengthen your connection with the community, and open up your portfolio of experiences. It is great for college applications but even better for broadening your perspective of the world and practicing kindness and gratitude.

So how do I get started?

Decide which causes you are interested in. Also, identify the skills and knowledge you can offer or what types of knowledge and experiences you would like to acquire. Now you’re ready to take this information to the next step…

Image by Whitney Anderson

How to research/look for opportunities

Search online for volunteer opportunities of any type, anywhere, or ask around to see if anyone is involved in activities already. Communicate with businesses or places nearby to find local opportunities. At RHS, there are several clubs such as the Interact Club, Heroes & Cool Kids, and Amnesty International that are dedicated to community service; joining one of these clubs is a great way to embrace volunteerism all year round.

Examples of areas that may need volunteering:

Libraries, Homeless shelters, Soup Kitchens, Businesses, Elderly homes, animal shelters, Human rights Organizations, and much more. Keep in mind the time of year when you are looking for volunteer opportunities. Many opportunities pop up around the winter holidays, Earth Day, and other prominent events.

Demonstrate Interest

Once you have found a place or event with availability, get in touch with this organization. Apply, contact the organization, or visit their location in order to get a better understanding of what you are being designated to do and secure an opportunity and social relationship with the organizer.

Image by Ryan Putnam

Record & Share

Finally, you should be proud of giving back to the community. Record your accomplishments and experiences and share this activity with others. Invite family & friends to join you in your journey of volunteering.

Here’s a Bonus Tip:

Can’t find a local opportunity? Have a busy or limited schedule? Try online volunteering. There are tons of ways to volunteer over Zooms, with online groups, and on the websites of many organizations. RHS recently adopted a chapter for “Letters for Rose,” an organization that allows volunteers to write letters to elderly people in nursing homes due to a shortage of in-person volunteer opportunities as a precaution against Covid-19 exposure. Find more information in the RHS library if you want to participate.

How do you give back to your community?

Disclaimer: always make sure you are volunteering through a vetted non-profit organization.

Feature image credit: Serj Marco