Showing posts with label community service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label community service. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Community Service Matters

Community service isn’t a new idea. People have been assisting elderly neighbors, holding charity events for those in need, and cleaning litter from vacant lots for decades. But the need for community service has been in the limelight recently. Why is community service important, and how can you and your family get involved?

What is community service?

Community service typically involves the volunteering of time, energy or effort on behalf of another individual, organization or event. From offering aid in times of disaster, to strengthening neighborhood programs on a regular basis, community service is integral to a better future.

Why does community service matter?

It creates a bond between the individual and their community.
It builds stronger neighborhoods and forms better relationships between residents.
It places emphasis on the importance of citizenship, service, and responsibility, and serves as an example to younger generations.

How can community service benefit me?

Health benefits (see this study).
Increased socialization.
Networking opportunities.
• The chance to learn new skills.

Who participates in community service?

1. Everyone! Individuals of any age, including adults, children and senior citizens, can all participate.
2. Organizations such as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
3. Local and national businesses.

How can I get started?

Choose an activity or area that interests you, like animals, the environment or education.
Choose something you’d like to learn more about. For example: wildlife, history, or the arts.
Check out resources such as the Lehigh Valley Health Network for ways to volunteer your time while earning time back through an exchange of services.

Where can I find community service opportunities?

There are many opportunities available to get involved in community service. Here are some examples:

Become a reading tutor.
Put your building skills to work by helping to construct a home through Habitat for Humanity.
Like animals? Get involved at a local shelter or farm. You can work directly with the animals -- feeding, walking, and cuddling – or assist with fundraising, event coordination, or other administrative responsibilities. Check out for opportunities.
Are you interested in the arts? Local festivals, theaters, and museums typically have plenty of volunteer opportunities.

Where can I find more information?

Check out sites such as AllForGood, which allows you to explore a number of options in your area, or click here for more information on community service.

Regardless of where you live or how you choose to get involved, community service matters to everyone. Get involved and reap the benefits!

Live Healthy. Live Smart.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Volunteering for Holidays

If you take the time to think about words like “giving,” “volunteering,” and “charity,” a slew of quotes and phrases may come to mind. It is better to give than to receive. A season of giving… You may even remember a quote from Henry David Thoreau, “One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something.” This is a good reminder for us all – every little bit does make a difference. No matter if we are speaking in terms of charitable donations or hours volunteered at local charities and support organizations.

Volunteering for the holidays can be a heartwarming activity by yourself or in the company of friends or family. First, think about this question – What is volunteerism? What does volunteerism mean to you? Perhaps visions of volunteering at a soup kitchen come to mind. Maybe you see yourself helping to organize a charity gala or other big benefit.

Places to Volunteer Your Time and Talents

If you are wondering how you can get started or where you should volunteer your time, you are not alone. Many of us want to do something, but we don't know where to start.

Some great places to volunteer, especially around the holidays, include:
  • Animal shelters
  • Food banks
  • Homeless shelters
  • Hospitals and medical centers 
  • Orphanages
  • Senior citizens centers and nursing homes
  • Soup kitchens
  • Toys for Tots and similar programs
Additionally, some meaningful community service efforts may be another way for you to get involved in the well being of your community and  areas. Consider cleaning up parks, roads, and public areas, serving as a mentor, or even giving your time through a program for underprivileged children.

If you are still looking for ideas in your local area, check to see if you can find a volunteer network to connect you with a cause or a group in need. Volunteer Match and Great Nonprofits are online services that can help you find a charity or important cause where you can volunteer your time and assistance in your area.

A great way to find volunteer opportunities is through the United Way. Give, Advocate, Volunteer. With its network of over a thousand community based United Ways, they are able to coordinate individuals, communities and businesses to work together to make stronger communities and a stronger world. If time is your concern, remember that you can also volunteer online through the United Way.

community service
Volunteer with the Red Cross.
Helping Our Neighbors in Need

Just a month ago we suffered through one of the greatest storms on the upper East Coast due to the high winds and heavy rains of Hurricane Sandy. Many families were without power for days, if not a week or more. The American Red Cross and the Humane Society NY and NJ work to gather supplies to help disaster victims, families, individuals and pets, make it through these tough days until their power is restored and their homes are repaired. These organizations need volunteers, supplies and water.

community service
Pets make great
volunteers for the elderly.
Another way to contribute time is to help an elderly neighbor clear away debris from the storm, or assist with other small tasks that may be too difficult for an older person to handle. Make the time to visit shut-ins and the elderly in local nursing homes and hospice care units to bring a smile to those who may be lonely or depressed.

If your family has a dog and you have some free time on your hands, you might also consider training your pet as a therapy dog. These well-trained, friendly canines bring joy to young children and senior citizens alike.

It’s Never Too Late to Lend a Helping Hand

My first memories of volunteering date back to high school at Bethlehem Catholic, where we had to satisfy 20 hours of community service to graduate (or perhaps it was every year – the memories are just a bit fuzzy). My friend and I coached a little league soccer team and I also tutored younger kids to help them in school. I am sure I volunteered at other points, doing other things, but these are the most memorable occasions.

If you have a hospital near you, you might also be able to serve as a medical volunteer. Food and clothing drives can also be meaningful ways to volunteer time and energy.

Even if you only have a little time to dedicate, your actions speak louder than words. Giving an hour or two of your time once or twice around the holidays to help those less fortunate… the emotional rewards are greater than any holiday gift you can buy.

By Kathryn M. D’Imperio
Contributing Writer