People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. Donating your time and energy to a cause gives you a chance to give something back to the community and positively impact the people around you. It also provides you with an opportunity to develop new skills and build on existing ones. Valuable project experience can help you build a resume if you’re preparing to apply for job opportunities. It’s also a productive way to meet new neighbors and reconnect with old friends in the area.

Summer is the perfect time to volunteer, since school is on a break and there are several long weekends and holidays. Read on for a few ways you can get involved and give back to your community before the busy fall season begins. 

Mentorship Programs 

A great way to make an impact on a child’s life is by participating in a mentorship program. By donating your time and attention to a child in need, you can make their world a brighter place and learn about leadership. The goal of these programs is to connect a positive role model to children who need someone to look up to.

Volunteer mentors are assigned to a child or “Little” to spend time with a few times a month. It doesn’t take vast experience with kids or endless resources to be a great mentor! You can spend your time together going to the park, making crafts, helping with homework, or playing catch together. Spending dedicated time with the child is what makes all the difference. There are many mentorship programs in the country; one of the most popular mentoring organizations is Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Visit a Senior Center

Sadly, many senior centers are home to residents lacking companionship. The good news is that you can make a difference! One or two hours a week spent in the company of a senior citizen can have a wonderful impact on both their life and yours. A simple conversation, board game, or movie together can be a bright spot for a senior in a nursing home.

You may find that your new friend is eager to share experiences and lessons they’ve learned over their lifetime. This poses a one-of-a-kind opportunity for you to gain insight and learn from someone with vast life experience. It’s also an opportunity for you to share new things about the world they haven’t experienced firsthand.

Tutor a Student

School is about to start, meaning students are getting ready to hit the books again. Are you knowledgeable or skilled in a subject enough to tutor a student? Volunteer tutoring is a productive way to give back to your community and help a child succeed in their education, especially if that child’s family cannot afford formal tutoring services.

Subjects like math, science and history are all great places to start, but maybe you’re skilled in something less conventional. Real-life skills can be just as helpful to a student, and can teach them independence and self-confidence. From cooking classes or lessons in home repair, the possibilities are endless.

Lend a Hand to a Nonprofit

There are a lot of opportunities to volunteer with local nonprofits—from serving at a soup kitchen to taking care of pups at an animal shelter or working on a local political campaign, there’s sure to be a cause that catches your interest. Check your local newspaper, bulletin boards, or do some research online to find which one is right for you. In addition to helping improve your community, volunteering at an organization poses a great opportunity to learn about different fields of nonprofit work and gain experience completing projects.

Why Do It?

Whether you need to meet community service hours to graduate, or simply have free time and a desire to make a difference, volunteering is important for communities to thrive. It’s also a great way to gain experience completing important projects and maybe even test the waters for a potential field of work. Above all else, it’s fulfilling and memorable experience to lend a hand to your neighbors.

Bridge to Wellbeing is on a mission to help people like you harness opportunity and achieve the American Dream. For more advice on how to achieve your dream, check our weekly blog updates or find a Bridge to Wellbeing event near you!