April is National Volunteer month, which is the perfect time to explore new volunteer ideas as we usher in nature’s rebirth in spring. We all lead very busy lives, which may or may not allow time for formal volunteering. But something to consider are the acts of service that you provide regularly, which get overlooked as an act of volunteerism. For example, cooking a meal for a friend, shoveling your neighbor’s sidewalk after a good snow, babysitting a family members children, leading a group at a faith based organization, organizing a donation drive for your club, supporting fundraising efforts for your child’s sports team. The list goes on and on.
Many times informal volunteering elicits feelings of accomplishment, joy, self-reflection and empathy in those providing the act of service. This is exciting because those positive emotions and feelings that come from providing small acts of service can inspire someone to look into additional opportunities to be engaged in their community. Thus evolving into the potential of more formal volunteering with an organization that has a worthy mission or cause that speaks to your heart.
Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and communities in need. And volunteering is a two-way street: It can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated, and add more zest to your life.
Now here’s the real question…How do I find something that speaks to my heart? Scouring the internet can be overwhelming and time consuming when looking for volunteer opportunities. Here in Weld County we have a one-stop-online-shop for researching volunteer opportunities, the Volunteer Connect website is the place to start. The volunteer center at United Way is a valuable resource for connecting you to a great volunteer experience.
Community non-profits, government programs, schools and faith based organizations in Weld County post their volunteer opportunities on the Volunteer Connect webpage. Individuals and groups can then find the right volunteer opportunity to engage with. When researching potential opportunities, remember to ask yourself this one question, “What would I enjoy doing?” The opportunities that match both your goals and your interests are most likely to be fun and fulfilling.
Volunteering does not have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving in small steps can help those in need and improve your health and happiness. No matter how small your steps are, you have the potential to make a big imprint!
Visit www.volunteer.unitedway-weld.org to find your next volunteer opportunity. If you need help navigating the Volunteer Connection webpage contact Nicole Quinn at 970-353-4300.
Nicole Quinn is the community engagement coordinator with United Way of Weld County.