There are many ways to volunteer your time. Some people are driven to use their time and talent to comfort, help, and provide resources to others during life’s most challenging moments. Whether it's assisting people in crisis or helping others access the support they need when going through tough times, if you're prepared for volunteer opportunities that might challenge you yet provide the gratification of knowing you've aided someone in genuine need, these types of opportunities may be ideal for you.
Crisis counselors serve as human lifelines for individuals in immediate need of assistance with mental health challenges, substance abuse issues, suicidal ideation, and other concerns. Helplines address a variety of issues, and volunteers usually communicate by phone or text, allowing users to express their pain and needs and feel heard. Typically, there is a comprehensive training process that instructs you on how to address the serious issues often faced by hotline users and guides them toward obtaining further assistance. The nationwide crisis line, 988, publishes a searchable directory of local crisis centers that may require volunteers.
Domestic violence shelters offer safety and support for survivors of domestic abuse. They frequently need volunteers to fill various roles, including transportation, staffing, childcare, and administrative assistance. You can also help by collecting gently used clothing, toys, personal hygiene items, or other commonly used goods for the residents. To determine the specific needs and how they align with your volunteering interests, reach out to regional organizations such as Women in Distress, Sanctuary for Families, The Women’s Safe House, or national networks like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Hospice care volunteers offer emotional support to individuals and their families during end-of-life care. Hospice organizations, such as the Hospice Foundation of America, provide training to help volunteers offer companionship and assistance with everyday tasks. Hospitals also welcome volunteers to assist with patient needs. Whether it's delivering meals or providing companionship and comfort to patients, contact your local hospital to inquire about volunteer opportunities.
When children in the foster care system need someone to advocate on their behalf, the answer is usually a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). CASA volunteers represent the best interests of children in the foster care system. The need is nationwide, and training programs are available through organizations like the National CASA/GAL Association. CASA volunteers make a profound impact on children’s lives during the most challenging times.
The best time to prepare for natural and other disasters is before they happen. By spreading the word in your community, you can equip people with the information or assistance they need to be prepared for the worst, including storms, fires, floods, or other disasters. Create the Good® has numerous resources to help, including emergency preparedness and hurricane preparedness Do-It-Yourself Guides. AARP’s website and Ready.gov also have a great deal of information about preparing for such events.
If you’re interested in getting involved on the ground after a disaster strikes to assist with cleanup and other needs, explore disaster relief organizations such as the American Red Cross, Direct Relief International, and Team Rubicon. These organizations have the resources and infrastructure to offer assistance to areas in need post-disaster. Volunteers typically need to undergo training and should be able to commit the necessary time for this type of action.
Each of these opportunities may require specific and sometimes substantial training, as well as qualifications. Research these requirements by exploring volunteer opportunities with various organizations and understanding what is necessary. Depending on the organization, you might need to undergo a background check, obtain certification, or meet minimum age requirements.
Are you driven to assist people during their darkest hours? Explore additional volunteer opportunities and ideas at createthegood.org.