Random Acts of Kindness Day 2019 is on Feb. 17, 2019, which means it’s time to do something altruistic. You might be thinking to yourself, “I have a busy schedule. I couldn’t possibly find the time.” Well, consider the fact that stepping away from your responsibilities for just a moment to pay it forward goes a long way in the lives of others. And, if you don’t know where to start, get inspired by some of the best places to volunteer.
Are you an animal lover? Help furry friends in need at the Humane Society, which offers both veterinary and non-veterinary opportunities. If you don’t have a medical background, you can help out as an animal sheltering volunteer. In this role, you take care of animals that have been affected by natural disasters. You might be asked to clean their cages, socialize and walk them.
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If you’re a lover of the arts, consider volunteering at a museum, helping to enrich people’s lives with the power of art. Volunteer opportunities vary depending on the museum. For example, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, otherwise known as MoMA, you can be a lobby greeter or information desk volunteer. As an information desk volunteer, it’s your job to answer various questions about the museum, including those that pertain to exhibitions, education programs and other public offerings at MoMA.
As of 2017, 40 million Americans struggled with providing food for themselves every day, according to the nonprofit organization Feeding America. Aid in the fight against hunger by spending some time at a food bank. Feeding America makes this easy by connecting you to food banks in your area. As a volunteer, you can help process incoming food donations and help with special events, food drives and more.
Help support education by serving as a volunteer at your local school. If you have a child there, you can be a parent volunteer on a school field trip or a dance chaperone. If you’d simply like to help the next generation excel, tutor a student in an after school program, coach a team sport or help children with special needs.
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Hospitals are great places to give back and there are no shortages of opportunities available. For example, at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, you can read to children, play with patients in waiting rooms and escort patients to doctor appointments. The hospital also recommends you start a fundraiser online or hold a community fundraising event to raise money for patients.
Make a fellow book lover’s day by assisting them at the public library. At the Los Angeles Public Library, for instance, you can serve as an adult book discussion leader or a docent whose job it is to give art and architecture tours of notable parts of the library.
In light of the #MeToo movement, you might feel inspired to help women succeed. Luckily, there are many ways to support women without spending a dime. For example, you can lend your time at a women’s center or shelter. At the Women Shelter of Long Beach, you can join the adult services program which provides interpersonal services to women including personalized case management, peer counseling, legal and health advocacy. Just keep in mind that the role you choose might have specific requirements or mandatory training.
Homelessness is a problem that affects thousands of people in America. Give back to your community by tackling this epidemic head-on. If you live in California, the state with the highest homeless population as of 2018 according to The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, you can volunteer with The Midnight Mission. Opportunities include meal service, tutoring for all age levels and professional services like tax preparation.
What better way to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day than spending an afternoon at a nursing home? Having a conversation with elderly individuals can be fun and rewarding for both parties. In fact, you might be surprised by the valuable advice seniors have to offer.
If you’d like to do more than converse, consider playing music, bringing a home cooked meal or providing transportation for seniors who need to make a trip to the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment.
There are many volunteer opportunities at the Red Cross aside from blood and plasma donation. Look for options on the organization’s website based on your location. In the Los Angeles area, for instance, you can serve as event staff or do community outreach.
If you’re good with your finances, try passing on your expertise to those who aren’t as financially savvy as you. The Foundation for Financial Planning enlists pro bono financial planners to help people — such as domestic violence victims, veterans and severely disabled people — gain better control of their finances.
If you love music, you can share that joy with individuals suffering from cognitive impairments. Nonprofit organization Music & Memory uses music and music technology to improve the quality of life of elderly people suffering from dementia. Sign up as a volunteer to play music and watch it bring a smile to their faces.
Volunteering at your local zoo is another great option for animal lovers. As a resident of Los Angeles, for example, you can sign up to be a docent at the Los Angeles Zoo. In this role, you teach visitors about the different animals at the facility.
When it comes to America’s national parks, there are numerous volunteer opportunities available. If you’re a recent high school student or college graduate, for example, you can enroll in the Community Volunteer Ambassador program. The 53 ambassadors chosen will spend a year in national park sites across the country to provide outreach to nearby communities. Check your closest park’s website for more volunteer options.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit organization that provides homes to people around the world. As a volunteer, you can travel with the organization to a different country and help build homes for its residents. However, there are opportunities for you to lend support close to home, too, if you’d rather not travel.
Click through to read about 21 celebrities who run charities or foundations.
More on Volunteering
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- Warren Buffett’s Son Invests $34M in #MeToo, LGBTQ Rights and More
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