Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Becoming A Modern Day Model Citizen Pt. Deux
Charity for charity's sake.
I think Lily Tomlin said it best "I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody."
We are all somebody. Maybe not as funny of a somebody as Lily, but somebody none the less. Earlier this week we talked about being green and today I'd like to share some fun ways to lend a hand in your community. Occasionally I help serve dinner at a homeless shelter here in Austin, TX called the ARCH. I'm on an email list and when they need me I go. It's allowed me to meet some really neat people and see a side of my city that I used to just pass by. Since I do not have a lot of expendable income, my time is the most valuable thing I have to offer. I think the same goes for most people these days. And with the economy hurting as it is at the moment there are a lot more volunteer opportunities out there.
Here are just a few:
* If you'd like to get charitable along side your friends I suggest you throw a bake sale or YART sale and donate part of your proceeds to a local charity. Baking some cupcakes and take them directly to the homeless shelter would be a genuinely good deed as well. And perhaps, if you live in a place that is cooler than Austin TX, consider having a picnic in a your favorite park and then literally pick up some litter once you've finished dining with your friends. You could separate all the recyclables and take them to the recycling center and pat yourselves on the back.
* If you are an animal lover you could walk a dog at your local animal shelter. Lots of animals have been displaced as people have lost their jobs and our furry neighbors need some love too. If you fall in love with one of them you could offer to foster them until they find a permanent home. Shelters often do not have a lot of money and this helps them out tremendously.
* Sort donations at a food bank or goodwill. Most of these centers deliver to a plethora of different locations and truly need you help, because it's not all peas and carrots. There's so much more work to it.
* Be a Baby Cuddler! Hospitals, orphanages, group homes & nurseries need people to come in and simply hold babies. These little bundles of joy need human contact to begin developing their social interaction skills. It will literally change their lives. You could help them increase their learning abilities and build stronger self-esteem. Sometimes babies who were born prematurely will stay at the hospital for months, but their parents have to go back to work. That's where you come in, to be there when their parents simply can not.
* Do you have a green thumb? You could help teach elementary school children how to garden and what it means to eat organic! I've seen lots of schools around here put in small gardens for their students. They learn about composting and which bugs are helpful or harmful. Down the road it means healthier kids who care about what they eat and where it came from.
* Every city has a homeless shelter and they often need a lot more than someone to help them serve dinner. They need hairdressers to volunteer a haircut or two so that their clients can go out and get jobs! The ARCH is always asking me if I know anyone who can come teach the men who live there how to play chess. They even have art teachers come volunteer their time so their residents can creatively express themselves.
* Join your local Food Not Bombs chapter. You will meet some very awesome and highly progressive people while getting a lesson in vegan cooking
To find awesome opportunities in your area please visit www.volunteermatch.org - you will be glad you did.
Do you already lend a hand? I want to hear all about it! Please tell me your story in the comments.