Sometimes life just seems like one big cycle of accreditation.
You’re born, and based on some incalculable combination of your experiences, your family, and your calling, you develop some idea along the lines of, “If I could just be [insert childhood dream here] when I grow up, I could make the world a better place!” Depending on your dream, you may spend the next 20 something years of your life learning different subjects, applying for schools, and doing everything you can to reach that goal- so that you can spend the next 40 years of our lives improving the world we live in.
If we waited until we landed the perfect job to start making a difference, those first 20 years of our lives could be a lot less fun. Here’s a list of 5 ways you can start making a difference today.
1. Ask Yourself Who Is Your Neighbor
Whether you live on campus or in the center of a busy city, you have a neighbor. Look for a nonprofit within a reasonable distance from your home because that can tell you what the population looks like near your home. If you like adventure, ask a few neighbors if they know someone in the neighborhood who needs help with anything! Working with organizations isn’t the only way to make a difference.
2. Find Out What Organization Serves Your Neighbor
If you don’t have a lot of time or money on your hands, find a nonprofit organization that also helps the “neighbor” you want to serve, and help them help others. If you live in a community near inner-city youth, look for a school or community center.
3. Decide how much Time and Resources You Can Give
If you’re a student, build your class and work schedule, and then determine the days and times you have available. Decide if this will be a one day commitment, or something more consistent like a once-monthly commitment then call the organization you want to work with, and ask their volunteer coordinator what they have that will work with your availability. If you’re going to serve a neighbor directly, tell him or her your availability and see if those times benefit them.
Do you make a few extra dollars? Make your budget and commit to giving a gift. $10/ month goes a long way with most organizations.
4. Grab a Group of Friends to Help With a Special Project or Volunteer With You
Whether you do one special project, or decide to volunteer consistently, invite your friends to join you! You get to spend time with people you love to be with, and you provide your neighbor or neighborhood agency with more man-power to impact more of your neighbors!
5. Share Your Experience on Social Media to Get Even More of Your Friends Involved
Most people share moments they enjoy anyways- so ask if you can take a few pictures while you’re volunteering and share a little tidbit about the impact it had on your social media account. Make sure you tag the organization you served if they have an account!
You don’t have to wait until you have a lot to make a difference now! You are resourceful and passionate, do the small things you can with the people you love, and then share it with anyone who will listen- you’d be surprised how BIG of a difference it will make.
For a list of more ways to start impacting your community now, click on "more ways to give".
Ready to volunteer? If you live in Downtown or South Chattanooga, volunteer at the Beth!