January 17th, 2012 | By admin
Every January 1st, millions of Americans sit down to write out their list of resolutions, things they’d like to accomplish in the New Year. Of course we’re all familiar with that promise to lose a few pounds, but did you know that one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is to volunteer to help people in need? If you’ve been wondering about how to get involved in local volunteer programs, here are some tips on how to volunteer your time and energy to helping others, plus some tips for volunteering in New Orleans.
Choosing a Volunteer Program
When it comes to picking a charitable organization to contribute to, the sky’s the limit! First, it might be helpful to think of what you enjoy doing, and what kind of interactions you want to have with others. It’s no good volunteering at an animal shelter if you have allergies, just as it might not be a great idea to volunteer with a healthcare organization if you faint at the sight of blood.
A few other things to consider are if you love working with large groups, or are you better in one-on-one situations? Are you happy doing manual labor like painting or cleaning, or are you looking for personal interactions that involve more thought and less sweat? Age also matters – some people are great with kids, while others are much more comfortable dealing with adults. Thinking about details like this up front can be the difference between loving or loathing your volunteer position.
Next, consider your skill set. Do you have a talent that might be of use to a local volunteer program? Maybe you’re great at a certain sport, have years of experience as a babysitter, or love creating new arts and crafts projects. Perhaps you write resumes, are good at interview coaching, or have an eye for picking out work-appropriate outfits for less fashion savvy friends. Whether your talent lies in manual labor or highly skilled offerings, volunteer organizations are looking for people just like you.
After weeding out the types of interactions you don’t want to have, and considering the skills you can offer, it should be easy to decide on a volunteer program type. If you like kids and are good at helping with homework or coaching activities, look for a mentoring program or after-school tutoring opportunity. People who have an interest in helping the disadvantaged might volunteer at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Lovers of crafting, conversation and history might thrive as retirement community volunteers.
Even the smallest towns have hundreds of opportunities to help; if a quick Google search doesn’t turn up a situation that intrigues you, make your own!
Want to Start Volunteering in New Orleans?
New Orleans has thousands of volunteer opportunities every day, from manning music festival concession stands to helping the homeless, and everything in between. If you’re having trouble finding the perfect volunteer opportunity, a great organization that can help match you with suitable volunteer programs is Greater New Orleans Volunteers of America. Since its start in the 1890s, Volunteers of America has been a leader in providing charitable services to Louisianans in 16 parishes. Following Hurricane Katrina, the organization placed more than 20,000 volunteers in the Greater New Orleans region, and is always looking for more help.
If you want to dedicate your time to working with the disabled, mentoring youths and at-risk students, encouraging veterans in crisis, or helping the elderly, visit their page so you can Volunteer in New Orleans today or call (504) 483-3557.