Sometimes, helping others is the best way we can help ourselves. If you’re struggling to develop self-confidence, helping out in your local community can help because it allows you to see the results of your volunteer work first-hand. However, many people simply do not know how to get involved, or are unaware of the numerous ways that they can help their town or city. Here are a few ideas courtesy of the disability inclusion advocates at Ruh Global Impact to get you started on getting involved and making a difference in your community.
Register People to Vote
Voting is important no matter your political affiliation, and one way to get involved in democracy is to help register people to vote around election time. Some people do not bother to register because they are confused about what to do to sign up, or they believe that their vote will not make a difference. Volunteers can help with paperwork and help dispel common myths surrounding votes not being important.
Join a Neighborhood Watch
A neighborhood watch involves ordinary citizens working in conjunction with police officers to help keep their community safe. There are many ways to help out, and most do not require training or even getting involved with an active crime, including:
- Handing out informational materials to neighbors.
- Picking up trash along the street and washing away graffiti.
- Watching for suspicious activity and reporting it to authorities.
Check to see if your neighborhood has a program like this, particularly if you are interested in how law enforcement operates.
Make a Career of Making a Difference
If volunteer work is not enough for you, becoming a teacher is a wonderful way to make a difference to people of all ages in your community. Most teachers hold a Bachelor of Science in Education degree, which allows them to teach a wide range of subjects to young people. Completing an online degree program is a great option for a working adult looking to change careers. People who want to get involved with the public tend to make good educators, so if this sounds like you, consider joining this fast-growing field.
Volunteer With a Faith-Based Organization
Churches and other faith-based organizations are often widely involved in their local areas. They often distribute food and clothing to those in need, for example. During the winter months, organizations like these may collect coats and blankets for children or the homeless. They may also look for alternative ways to help, like donating firewood. If you’re looking to donate in this way, search here to find firewood for sale near you and donate it to an organization that can distribute it to those in need. Or if you know a family in your area who needs help, you can give the firewood directly to them.
Churches also sometimes need help with the technical side of things, such as fundraising and tracking their donations and expenses. You don’t have to be a boots on the ground person to help. Any assistance, whether it is accounting or collecting or web design for a donation page, will be appreciated.
Join Organizations Supporting Inclusion
There are plenty of ways that you can advocate for equality and inclusion amongst underserved and marginalized groups, like immigrants, the homeless, farm workers, and people with disabilities. It is important that everyone is included, represented, and welcomed, but often members of groups like these are not. For example, Ruh Global Impact advocates for disability inclusion through building design, marketing, systems design, and marketing to promote a global awareness of inclusive design. You could volunteer with an organization like Ruh Global Impact to support inclusion of marginalized groups.
Create a Nonprofit
If there is a way to help local residents that you are particularly passionate about, consider starting a nonprofit company that reflects your interest. For example, if you are passionate about the environment, you might start a business that sells local and sustainably grown food items. There are certain advantages to setting up a nonprofit, such as having an edge on grant and public funding applications.
Keep in mind that you will need to establish guidelines for how the nonprofit operates, including regulations on voting, governance, and how to deal with conflicts of interest.
Start Making a Difference
If you are interested in helping your community, but are unsure how to get involved with a volunteer group or other organization, consider some of these ideas to get started. Whether you become a teacher, start a nonprofit, or volunteer, you can make a difference in your community.