One way to get involved in improving the state of the world is to volunteer. There are so many opportunities to lend a hand and in the process learn. My own work with the American Heart Association has added immensely to my self-development. I’ve certainly received more than I’ve given. The key is to lead with your personal interests and passion. I started volunteering for AHA because I had so many family members affected by heart disease and stroke. If there is an issue you’re concerned about, focus on that.

The key is to lead with your personal interests and passion.

If you love interior decorating or crafts, then offer space makeovers at a women’s shelter with a local organization such as Enchanted Makeovers. If you like helping young people, become a Girl Scout Leader. If you have specialized knowledge such as finance, then seek organizations that teach financial literacy like Operation HOPE. If you love to travel, perhaps volunteer in another country during your vacation-time through Global Volunteers. These are just a few examples. The possibilities are endless.

There are a variety of websites offering listings of volunteer opportunities. Here are a few to start:

  • Serve.gov -Managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Serve.gov is actively promoting volunteering in America. Through the nationwide “United We Serve” service initiative, President Obama is asking us to come together to help lay a new foundation for growth. This initiative aims to both expand the impact of existing organizations by engaging new volunteers in their work and encourage volunteers to develop their own “do-it-yourself” projects. Serve.gov is an online resource for finding volunteer opportunities in your community, and creating your own.
  • VolunteerMatch – VolunteerMatch strengthens communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect. The organization offers a variety of online services to support a community of nonprofit, volunteer and business leaders committed to civic engagement.
  • SmartVolunteer -SmartVolunteer’s mission is to connect skilled professionals with volunteer opportunities that utilize their professional expertise. At the same time, SmartVolunteer matches nonprofits and charities with the individuals necessary to fill the critical needs of their organization.
  • Idealist.org -Idealist is a project of Action Without Borders, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 with offices in the United States and Argentina. The web site is a place where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, locate opportunities and supporters, and take steps toward building a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives.
  • Servenet -Launched in 1996, servenet.org is a website that mobilizes and empowers the volunteer service community to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing local communities. Since its inception, servenet.org has enabled millions of youth volunteers to connect with local nonprofits to make a difference in communities throughout America. In 2000, as a part of Global Youth Service Day, Servenet.org expanded into a global resource for the 3.5 million young people, in 155 countries around the world that participate in Global and National Youth Service Day.

    Other ways to get involved are by donating or making a micro-loan, starting your own social enterprise or expanding your company’s corporate responsiblity activities.

    Contributed by Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Ph.D., MBA. Part of the Power Living® Empowerment Series.

    SHARE YOUR VOICE: Do you have other ideas for how people can get involved in making a difference in this world? Do you have a story about volunteering? Do you know of other good resources for connecting with volunteer opportunities? Share it here and inspire others to become a New World PWR Broker!

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