From lending an ear to providing a ride.
Often, simply listening is the best way to help. Other times, it's getting someone from here to there. Volunteering can mean many different things, but the common thread is about giving support. Working with people who need emotional support or companionship can be very rewarding for those you help, and for you.
Consider visiting a senior center.
Vibrant, active citizens with knowledge and experience are waiting for you. Many of our elderly are alone. Many have days go by without much to say. But you can help change that. Engage in simple conversation and you may be surprised to find out things you never knew before. And, you?ll be creating new friends and giving someone a person to talk to. Just stopping by could help brighten a mood or lift a spirit.
Emotional support can mean everything.
People in trouble often feel they have nowhere left to turn, and that they have exhausted all their options. When their call for help comes, will you answer? Volunteering to work a crisis hotline means providing referrals to services, lending an ear to listen, or taking steps to prevent actions such as a suicide. It's not easy, but with proper training, this opportunity makes you a lifeline when people need it most.
Or you could just provide a ride.
The elderly and disabled have the same needs as everyone else. They need to go to the doctor, the grocery store and to get their hair cut. Most of us take these things for granted. But when you have trouble getting around, these simple tasks become huge. If you have a car and a valid driver's license, you could provide much-needed mobility for people in your community. It's a great way to volunteer your time, and you never know who you'll meet along the way.
By volunteering your time, your car or even just your ears, you can help people in your area lead richer, fuller lives. And you may be surprised to find that it's healthier for you too. In a recent study, nearly all volunteers agreed that "volunteering improves emotional health." That same study indicated that nine in 10 volunteers agree that "volunteering improved their sense of well-being."
There are a lot of great people to meet out there. If you're thinking about getting started volunteering with people who need your support, consider some of these opportunities:
- Work at a crisis hotline
- Visit a senior center
- Provide transportation for the elderly or disabled
- Assist at a women's shelter
- Read to seniors