If you've been feeling depressed lately, you've probably been looking for all sorts of remedies. Have you thought about trying volunteer work? According to psychologist Mark Snyder, people who serve tend to be happier and have better self-esteem. Here are three tips to get you started with your volunteering pursuits:
1. See What's Already Happening in Your Community
There's probably lots of service opportunities in your community that you aren't even aware of. You can go to sites like JustServe.org and enter your state, city, or zip code to find programs and individuals that need help. These sites are great because you can find opportunities that are extremely close by, and therefore, work for those with no car. And you can set commitment parameters (e.g. short-term service vs. long-term) and sift through projects by interest. If you don't see anything that appeals to you, you should check out your local government's forums. Leaders in your local government can help you register and get in touch with programs run by the National and Community Service (CNCS)—the nation's largest federal agency for volunteer opportunities.
2. Choose Something Your Passionate About
You'll be more inclined to continue your volunteer efforts if you find a cause that has some personal meaning. If you want to help children, you could tutor students, volunteer as a crossing guard for schools, or work in a mentoring program for those from broken homes.
Do you want to help the elderly? Some veterans aren't aren't up-to-date on modern technology and could use help typing up their wartime experiences for progeny and historians. You could also volunteer for "Meals on Wheels"--a popular program where volunteers deliver meals to the elderly and those that are house-bound.
Do you love animals? You could work at your local humane society. Humane societies need volunteers to walk, play, and feed their cats and dogs. If you want to get your family involved in serving, this is a good option since many kids love animals.
3. Start A Charity Online
If you've perused through service opportunities, but nothing is really speaking to you, why not start your own? For instance, if you want to start charities for children, you could go the crowd-funding route, and raise money online. After all, who's to say you can't be successful? Some online charity campaigns, like the "Ice Bucket Challenge" for Lou Gehrig's Disease, have gone viral and brought greater awareness to a cause. And if your charity becomes big enough, you could transfer it to a not-for profit organization with a brick-and-mortar location.Share