I’ve been reading a lot lately about doing little things to be more green, charitable and in general, kind to others. One of the things I think is so important in that category is community service. I think the perception is that this has to be a huge chunk of your day or week, but in reality, there are so many charities and organizations out there that need volunteers, but not for crazy amounts of time.
When we were kids, my mom, myself, my sister and our dog, Prince, volunteered with an organization called Pets On Wheels. We would take Princey and go to a nursing home for about an hour a week and just walk around and visit with people. We never stayed that long with any of the residents, but just long enough to talk about Prince or Ali and myself or whatever was on their mind. They always seemed grateful to talk about something other than why they were there.
I rejoined POW after graduating college and then again when we moved home to AZ from DC. And now I take Baylie with me to visit – she alternates between whipping Travis with his leash, shaking hands with the residents, looting their lunch trays and waving goodbye – most of them love it and I bail out before any of those that don’t love it say something. Travis sits sweetly next to each person we visit and accepts the pats and scratchies. I love teaching her that serving others is not only an important part of life, but a necessary one.
So if you don’t currently volunteer, consider finding an organization that is in need of volunteers and fits your time frame so that you can stick with it. Look for those that involve your pets or your kids so that you get to pull double duty: time with your family and time giving back.
Here’s a few websites to get ideas:
http://www.petsonwheelsscottsdale.com/ – please note the much less tired and younger version of Travis and myself on the “young volunteers” page. And yes, I still count as “young”!
http://www.crisisnurseryphx.org/nursery/ – the crisis nursery can be a tough place to volunteer due to the situations that many of the kids are in. But they are always in need of diapers, clothing and toys.
http://az.willsforheroes.org/ – Peter volunteers with Wills for Heros. If you have legal experience, are a notary or a law student, they need you!
http://www.jaaz.org/ – Junior Acheivement is an amazing organization that teaches kids about business and entreprenureship at all academic levels. They need volunteers to help get items donated for chairity events and also help out in their super cool “JA Biz Town” (been there and I want to stay and play every time!). Bonus: many of the planning meetings have cocktails!
Check back with your favorite grade school teacher. Chances are they are still there and still teaching and in need of some help in the classroom. My sister Ali and I fulfilled our high school community service requirement spending 2 hours a week at our grade school. We would grade papers, clean out closets, read stories, whatever the teacher needed. And who doesn’t love a 1st grader giving you a drawing of yourself and saying “thank you!”?
Because really, who doesn’t want a visit from this guy?!