If you’re looking for a no-cost New Years Resolution that makes you and others feel good, how about volunteering?
It’s easy to find opportunities, no matter what your age, free time, or what topic interests you.
And nonprofits are implementing new ways to help remotely, outdoors, online, and at home for those with security concerns related to COVID-19.
“We all need to be together. We all need unity. We all need to remember, if we think we are in a difficult situation or in bad shape, that there are people out there who really need it. a helping hand, ”said Rhonda Oliver, who runs HandsOn Greater Phoenix, which connects volunteers to projects across the valley. “After being isolated and separated for almost two years, this seems like the perfect time to date and build a community together.… (Volunteering is) the fabric of our society.”
While many people volunteer during the holidays, charities need help at any time of the year, Oliver said.
“We encourage people to make it part of their schedule, whether it’s quarterly or once a month or once every few weeks. Volunteering all year round – that would be amazing,” he said. she declared.
This year, thousands of volunteers from HandsOn Greater Phoenix made hygiene kits for the homeless and superhero capes for sick children from kits sent to their homes, helping health workers manage busy vaccination sites and refurbished buildings, including the house of a military widow and a living teacher.
“They are so thankful that someone takes the time to think about them and show them that appreciation and care,” Oliver said. “We see this everywhere we go.”
You can find volunteer opportunities to find what you love without a long-term commitment by visiting the HandsOn Greater Phoenix calendar and signing up for the mailing list at www.handsonphoenix.org, Oliver said.
“That’s the beauty of our model,” she said. “All you do is sign up and introduce yourself, and we’ll take care of the rest. “
Volunteering ‘filled what I needed’
Having fun while volunteering keeps you coming back, says Diana Moore, 73, of Chandler.
When she retired from teaching, Moore remembers taking “all the arts and crafts” classes in her community of Sun Lakes and thinking, “That’s not all.
“What am I going to do as a volunteer?” She wondered. Volunteering “filled what I needed.”
Moore got involved in fundraising for charities serving the blind and visually impaired. She created very popular events through the local Lions Club International with twists and turns on various themes.
She hosted “Dine in the Dark,” where blind club members helped sighted attendees learn how to dine while blindfolded; “Movie in the Dark”, where participants enjoyed a film without images, relying instead on dialogue and audio descriptions of scenes, a service for the blind known as “descriptive video”; and “Art in the Dark”, where guests created clay masks by touch rather than sight.
The experiences led to learning opportunities that connected people who were previously unfamiliar with visual impairments with the blind community.
“Once I started doing it, it kind of sprouted up like mushrooms,” Moore said.
She recommends looking for volunteer opportunities that match your interests.
“If you are passionate about animals, what can you do? If you are passionate about children, what can you do? Moore said.
But answering the call wherever it’s needed is also important, Oliver added.
Many nonprofits are struggling with funding, staff and volunteer shortages, so every help counts, she said.
“In this unique time as we rebound from COVID and so many people go through tough times… my advice is just to be flexible and open-minded and go where it’s needed,” Oliver said.
5 tips to start volunteering in the New Year
Here are suggestions from the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits on how to get started volunteering. “What you are giving is a gift that could change lives – the ones you serve and yours,” said Jennifer Purcell, of the alliance.
- Ask yourself: Why do I want to volunteer? There are many possible reasons such as wanting to give back to the community, hoping to leverage and develop your skills and everything in between.
- Associate your volunteering with your passion and the issues that you feel are important. Find a non-profit organization whose mission matches your interests and beliefs. If you’re a little unsure, do your research. The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits (www.arizonanonprofits.org) and Arizona Gives (www.azgives.org) have listings of associations across Arizona.
- Look for opportunities in volunteer calendars and mailing lists. There are several organizations with volunteer websites, such as Valley of the Sun United Way and HandsOn Greater Phoenix. Maricopa County and most cities offer ways to volunteer and may offer email alerts to share these opportunities. A quick Google search can also yield results.
- Think about the skills you bring as a volunteer. Decide if you want to involve them in your volunteer efforts or if you are interested in learning something new. Some non-profit organizations offer training if you want to learn a new skill.
- Know your schedule. Think about how much time you have or want to dedicate to volunteering. If you work a traditional schedule or have one that is unpredictable, consider a volunteer program that fits your needs.
- Involve your loved ones. Ask your circle of friends and family if they volunteer. Volunteering with people you know can be fun and boost your commitment. Or you may love to make new friends by meeting people wherever you choose to volunteer.
How to donate to Season for Sharing
With the help of Republic readers, Season for Sharing has raised and distributed over $ 70 million to nonprofits in Arizona over the past 28 years. Help us continue to help our neighbors in need.
5 ways to give
- Complete the secure online form at sharing.azcentral.com.
- Text “SHARE” to 91-999 and click on the link in the text message.
- Go online to facebook.com/seasonforsharing and search for the “DONATE HERE” post.
- Cut out coupon on page 4A of The Arizona Republic, complete and mail to PO Box 29250, Phoenix AZ 85038-9250.
- Scan the QR code with your smartphone camera, click on the link to donate.
Where is the money going?
When you give to Season for Sharing, you are helping nonprofits that support education, feed the hungry, and help struggling families. The Republic pays all administrative costs, so 100% of donations go to the community.
Support local journalism.Subscribe to azcentral.com today.