“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore
You don’t need to go to Nepal or Africa to provide service. There are so many needs, so many places. Here are 5 places you can look for opportunities locally. If you don’t live in Utah, check out your local sources – each state will have something similar.
In Utah, you can go to U Serve Utah and check out their links for volunteer opportunities county by county.
Local food pantries like Tabitha’s Way, that work almost exclusively off of volunteers and donations. Spending a couple hours a week volunteering in the pantry with your kids is easy, fun and meaningful. Or, do your own food drive!
SoulFood USA, a local group that feeds homeless people in Salt Lake, is always looking for help.
Volunteer with youth: mentor, teach, read to and play with. This can be formal, through an organization like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, to helping out Girl and Boys Scouts, to helping kids in your neighborhood.
National service opportunities also abound. Here are 5 of those:
O.U.R Rescue – Operation Underground Railroad is working to rescue children from sex trafficking. Their rescue work is international but they need national help!
Red Cross – The Red Cross relies on volunteers. Over 90% of their humanitarian work is done by volunteers.
AmericCorps – AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country.
Habitat for Humanity – Habitat for Humanity helps to build homes for people who have been “housing insecure.” Check out your local area for current projects.
Points of Light – Points of Light helps you find your cause. They offer opportunities with Veterans and Military Families, Disaster Preparedness, Economic Opportunity, Youth and Education, Civil and Human Rights, Nonprofit Capacity and Social Entrepreneurship.
You don't HAVE to go to Nepal or Africa to serve - but you can! International humanitarian service can change your life and your kids lives.
Here are four organizations that do international work. There are many more.
Mothers Without Borders Founded by Kathy Headlee Miner, their work is focused in Zambia. MWB hosts humanitarian teams multiple times a year. I've been on several trips and highly recommend them.
Global Life Vision Global Life Vision, dedicated to training and women's empowerment centers in Africa, was founded by Ann Webb. GLV hosts humanitarian teams to Kenya and Uganda. I have traveled with Ann and GLV and highly recommend them as well.
Days for Girls Focused on helping girls worldwide attend school all month by providing washable sanitary pads. They partner with many other organizations and are always looking for more volunteers.
Choice Humanitarian Humanitarian work and trips in multiple countries around the world.
Some quick and easy ideas to do today:
- Take someone grocery shopping
- Play catch with a child
- Write a letter of appreciation and send it via "snail mail"
- Donate clothes you no longer use
- Make and take a plate of goodies to a neighbor
- Read and record books for the blind
- Volunteer in a children's ward of the hospital
- Put together simple crafts in baggies you can donate
- Babysit children for a parent or parents who really go out alone
- Do yard work for someone who can't or who doesn't have the time
- Donate blood
- Make a meal for a neighbor or friend who could really use one
- Take someone flowers
- Spend 15 minutes doing random acts of kindness for strangers
- Record and transcribe the life story of an elderly person
- Pay for the meal of the person behind you at the drive-through