Zero Wasters aren’t just a bunch of people who carry around a mason jar full of trash. We are environmentalists who want to do whatever it takes to make our world a better place for future generations! One of the best ways to go about doing so is by volunteering! Volunteering shouldn’t be seen as a requirement, but as an enjoyable activity that will make us better people. It’s an ability to meet people and forum a community of like minded individuals. It has become a forum of medication for me that I look forward to each week.
Unfortunately, many people believe that they are too busy to get involved and make a difference. I have curated this guide to help inspire more people to find ways to volunteer and get involved in their local community!
Do some Research!- If you are looking for a weekend commitment, summer camp program, or even the occasional party and event, I highly recommend googling local foundations or non-profit organizations that you are interested in. Take a look on their website and look into their volunteer program! Fill out the application or send an email to the organization and see what kind of volunteer opportunities that may have for you. Organizations and Foundations are always looking for volunteers. If you can’t volunteer for one of their events they will help you figure out what kind of volunteer opportunity would be best for you. You may believe that you are burdening them with all of your questions. As someone who has worked in the nonprofit sector, I can let you all know that the best non-profit organizations will be thrilled that you are interested in getting involved.
Look Into Some Connections That Your Work May Have With Organizations- Don’t have time to volunteer on the weekends or after work? Ask around and see if your company has any connections with local organizations. When I worked for a local education foundation- we partnered with a company to host a elementary homework help program at the company. The students loved it because they got to work with super smart and successful adults. The employees loved it because they got to take a break from their work life and create amazing relationships with the students! If your work doesn't’ have anything, think about contacting some employees and local organizations and seeing if you could create something yourself.
Get Your Family Involved- I started out as a volunteer because my mom got involved in a local education foundation. My sister and I would help out at local book fairs, school functions, and other events. Best of all, the money that they raised helped create more programs and activities for our local school system. Organizations love having kid volunteer and family volunteer groups because it helps them recruit more volunteers. The parents love it because they are working with their kids to help make their local community a better place!
Become a Member of the Board!- This isn’t realistic for everyone, as you have to make a yearly donation of a certain amount to stay on the board. You also have to go through interviews and be a very active member of the local community. If you want to meet people, forum a team of passionate individuals, and get involved in your local community then I would highly recommend getting on a board. The board usually talks about programs, fundraising efforts, volunteer recruitment, and other aspects of the organization. It’s a great way to understand how the non-profit sector works without having the stress of trying to find a job at the organization.
Any Type of Volunteering Helps!- Many of you 20-something year olds are probably asking yourself, what kind of difference are you really making. I see people on social media traveling across the world and talking about how they are really making a difference. I want to reassure you that just because you can’t go to South America, India, or any other Third World Country, doesn't mean you can’t make a difference. Your local community is a great place to get involved without having to actually go super far away. Yes, those organizations have a great impact on our overall planet. I use to work at a camp that was geared more towards children from wealthy neighborhoods. As a volunteer, I was donating my time to help teach kids ranging from 3-10 years old on the environment, nature, animals, and other aspects of the world that will help to inspire and motivate more kids to help save the planet! That camp volunteer job helped me gain about 5 years of work experience and my first job at a local education foundation!!!
Gain Experience and Connections Wherever You Can!- Even though it may look like the best life ever on social media. It’s incredibly difficult and expensive to find a good organization with living accommodations and good food in another country. Not to mention, the majority of people who volunteer around the world are usually getting paid by the organization to create content for them. That being said, there is no volunteer job that is too small for our planet!
Volunteering is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life. I can’t imagine not having volunteered all my life! It’s the reason that I am a strong advocate towards the environment, animals, and my local community! Get out there, find friends in like minded individuals, and make a difference in your local community!