Be a Hero - Volunteer!
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. — Aesop
As the summer approaches, imaginations may run wild with thoughts of lazy days floating down the river or adventures to far off places. Maybe thoughts of staying up late and sleeping until noon cross your mind. Perhaps, you have a job at a local restaurant or movie theater. Maybe you babysit for younger siblings or families in your neighborhood. As wonderful as a couple of months of freedom may sound after a long school year, I wonder if some of you may be searching for what you will do and how you might pass your time. What if I asked you to spend your summer being a hero? What does being a hero mean to you?
I think that those who are in service to their community and volunteer their time are HEROES. You don’t have to wear a cape and save the world from evil villains to be a hero (although that would be really amazing). Volunteering and being of service is a way to be a valued member of society. When I think of volunteers, words like courageous, brave, helpful, kind, friendly, generous, and selfless come to mind. Volunteers are real life heroes.
There are many local volunteer opportunities for teenagers. Start by looking around your community at the food pantry, homeless shelters, hospitals, animal shelters, schools, libraries (hint, hint), group homes for the disabled, political campaigns, and environmental awareness groups. Honestly the list goes on and on. Look for organizations that might tie into your interests.
There are also many opportunities to volunteer on a global scale. Whenever a natural disaster occurs, like the recent earthquakes in Nepal, many relief organizations like the American Red Cross need help for those who are struggling in the affected areas. While travel to distant places may be difficult for many, raising money for relief efforts and developing care packages are excellent ways to be of service.
In my experience, being of service brings about feelings of empathy, compassion, and fulfillment. If you are interested in exploring this further, check out one of these books or explore the links below.
Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County https://www.habitatsoco.org/
This local chapter builds and repairs houses using volunteer labor and donations.
Volunteer Now http://www.volunteernow.org/
For forty years, the Volunteer Center has been the heart of our community; matching prospective volunteers with local nonprofits to help them help others. We inspire thousands of people from all walks of life to share their skills and talents with worthwhile causes and organizations that help our community thrive.
American Red Cross www.redcross.org
Humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and community education.
America's Promise www.americaspromise.org
Faciltates volunteer action for children and youth.
Do Something www.dosomething.org
This non-profit organization's goal is motivating young people to take action around social changes through national campaigns and grants for projects that make an impact.
Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. ~Elizabeth Andrew