Recognizing a need + Realizing your potential to do something + Taking action = “Making your own way!”
Feel free to try all the one-off volunteer opportunities you’d like until you find your niche, but if you know you have a particular passion, or possibly a skill or hobby that can benefit a nonprofit in a long-term capacity, try taking your impact deeper.
Learning and exercising skills is important in your teen years (as well as families and individual adults), regardless of your future plans. Skills, unique experiences, and extracurricular activities (like volunteering) can help get you into college, but they can also help you land jobs and explore career paths. Long-term volunteer projects and experiences show dedication, too.
To get started, ask yourself: “What am I passionate about?” or “What do I see happening around me each day that bothers me?” Then ask: “What can I do to help?” Your answers may lead you to work with a nonprofit by recognizing their efforts and finding a way to incorporate something you do well into their programming or services to assist them and their mission. Alternately, your answers may lead you to establish your own project.
Either way, this experience teaches you to research options, pay attention to the details, and (hopefully) strive for innovation. Such volunteering could be a portable project skill like mentioned above – or something more professional, like establishing a blog series, telling stories through video or photography, and more. This could even be an opportunity for you to turn a required project or assignment into something beneficial for the community.
Ready. Set. Go (in three steps)!
- Recognize a need: Do you see something every day that someone could do something about? Does something upset you regularly, possibly more than other things? What needs some help, or a little TLC?
- Realize your potential to do something: Ask yourself – “What can I do about it, and what resources do I have?” Do you have a talent? Do you have a fresh idea? Do you have the needed supplies laying around to pull it off? Think about what needs done and the little (or big) things that could make a difference, and then explore what you can bring to the table.
- Make it happen: Once you have your idea in place, set it into motion. Always ask first: A local nonprofit may already be doing something similar that you could fit into – or if you’re hoping to make or collect items for them, they may need specific items during certain times of the year, or have limited storage space during others. If you’re not working with a specific organization, then start planning, involve your family in brainstorming sessions, and get started!
We can help you make connections to the causes that may be able to host you long-term, or use your skills. Send us an email! Be prepared to share examples of your skills with the nonprofit you seek to help. They’re always looking for people like you!