Monday, September 2, 2013

NaBloPoMo: Volunteering

This month I’ve decided to shake things up around here at “Since You Asked….”  I signed up for BlogHer’s September NaBloPoMo challenge.  Considering that this month’s them is “Serve”, and the tagline for this blog reads, “Working to make the world a better place, one blog post at a time,” I figure writing daily posts that reflect the many different ways we can help enhance quality of life for ourselves and others in our communities is not a bad idea.  So, make plans to read along this month and help make the experience even more informative by adding your own ideas, reflections, and suggestions in the comments section after each post.

Today’s prompt is “volunteering”.  For those of you who are new to “Since You Asked…,” I am a firm believer in the value of volunteering in our communities.  Through our volunteer efforts we find opportunities to utilize our talents in a manner that helps make life a little more enjoyable (and oftentimes easier) for those around us.  Plus, we gain the added benefit of fulfillment from using our personal gifts that only comes from serving others.  See, it’s a win-win, and how can that be bad, right?

Volunteer opportunities exist in many different shapes and forms.  The following proposals serve as a starting place to help get your creativity flowing about the many ways you can help make the world a better place – whether it’s someplace far, far away or right next door.  Together we can make a difference.

Did you know that in order to keep costs down, Ronald McDonald Houses rely heavily on the efforts of community volunteers in order to meet the needs of the families they serve?  Meals, housekeeping, answering phones, or even starting an online fundraiser are just a few ways you can help make your local RMH more effective in serving families in your community who need to focus on one thing: their child’s health.  Contact your local Ronald McDonald House or visit the international website for specific ways to help make a family’s hospital stay less stressful.

Are you an artist?  Consider volunteering to teach a class at your local art gallery, library, or school and give the gift of creativity to kids in your community.  Not only will you help foster an appreciation for art with the next generation but you will also provide a much-needed therapeutic outlet for kids needing to express themselves in a healthy, productive manner. 

We have a few homeless missions set up in Joplin: Watered Gardens, Soul’s Harbor, and the Salvation Army.  All of these organizations welcome – and need – volunteers in many different areas.  In addition to helping prepare and serve meals for the temporary residents, they also need assistance with maintenance, basic administrative needs, and helping provide material goods. Check out your local homeless shelter for more specific suggestions, or visit the Salvation Army website for an opportunity near you.

Do you have a local children’s shelter?  Chances are they could use your help collecting necessary items to ensure children’s needs are met.  Check out Joplin’s Children’s Haven for more ideas.

Help foster a love for reading by volunteering at your local library.

Interested in health care?  Volunteer at your local hospital and use your time and talent to help make patients’ and families’ hospital stays more comfortable.

Interested in helping in a more global manner?  Check out the many ways to help make a difference locally and worldwide through such organizations as TOMS, KaBOOMplaygrounds, the Humane Society, Literacy Action, or Women for Women International.

No matter where you live, an abundance of volunteer opportunities exists that helps make use of  your interests, talents, and abilities in order to make the world a better place.  And isn’t that what living is all about?

Now it's your turn.  What are some areas that you dedicate your time and talent to?  Do you have a favorite organization that needs additional volunteers?  Be sure and share in the comments section below so we can learn about more ways we can make the world a better place?


  1. I love that you gave very specific ideas for volunteering, and that your writing attitude is easy and engaging. If you're located in Jopin, then...all the better! What a hub of opportunity and wonderful people to keep the good work going. Cheers!

  2. Thank you, Kelly! And, yes - living in Joplin has caused me to have a much greater appreciation for the act of volunteering - as well as for those who give their time and talents so unselfishly :-) There is no way we could have recovered as well as we have without the ongoing efforts from the thousands of volunteers who have taken the time to help us in so many different ways.

  3. My kids like to volunteer at the local no-kill cat shelter. Volunteering can be a lot of fun if you find something that makes you passionate.