When is the last time you did something nice for someone for no particular reason at all? It seems as though most of us have forgotten how to give without expecting something in return. As a mom, I am always suspicious whenever one of my children volunteers takes out the trash or offers to wash my car. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s a ploy to butter me up for the ‘ask,’ which usually involves money leaving my purse. If you don’t typically go out of your way to do something special, or rarely help strangers, today is the day to step out of your comfort zone; Random Acts of Kindness Day is a great way to have some fun and put a smile on a few faces. Consider purchasing some flowers and passing out one to each girl you meet on the way to class. Maybe you could bake muffins or cookies for your teachers? If you still live at home, surprise your parents with dinner at their favorite restaurant. The possibilities are endless.
I know some of you might be thinking, “I don’t have the money to buy gifts for random people.” That’s perfectly fine. If you don’t have the budget to run around and play Santa for the day, you can still commit random acts of kindness by volunteering your time to help others. This will not only make you feel good about yourself, but could also help you score some scholarships down the line. Finding somewhere to volunteer your time is really easy, too. You can check with your high school guidance counselor, your college’s student activities director, contact local charitable organizations, or try one of these volunteer websites that can help you find fun activities in your area.
I love this website because you can search by geographical area or by your interests. For example, you could search for volunteer opportunities that are specific to pets and animals, or you could browse available activities within the arts or human rights. Each listing details the type of work you would be involved in, as well as the location and available slots.
If you’re more of the outdoorsy type, this is the perfect volunteer portal for you. Many of the activities take place at parks, beaches, and other recreational areas. Activities include cleaning up beaches, staffing visitor centers, taking photos of wildlife, and even editing newsletters. You can search by location, agency, interest, and even amenities. There’s a tool to help you track your volunteer hours, as well.
This website was created in an effort to get more of America’s youth to volunteer. You can search by initiatives, such as MLK Day, mentoring, or veterans and military families, or by location. There are also some great resources for starting your own volunteer projects, like organizing a food or clothing drive.
Do you only want to volunteer on the weekends or a specific time of day? Idealist.org allows you to not only search for volunteer opportunities by location and interest, but also by time commitment, duration, and your available schedule. With over 680,000 listings, you’re bound to find something that is perfect for you!
Even if you only have a few hours of time to give, find something that you’ll enjoy, but will also help others. It’s a great way to meet people, connect with potential employers, and even learn new skills. Who knows? You might even find that a smile or hug from a complete stranger is worth more than any paycheck you could receive.
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