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Develop New Skills in 5 Minutes, an Hour or a Week

Volunteering is one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to develop new life or employment skills. And whether you have five minutes or several weeks to spare, you can find an opportunity that helps Create The Good in your community, while also building your confidence and your resume. Here are a few categories in which you might find interest, with varying levels of commitment based on your needs.

Volunteering with Children

Just a few minutes 
Binky patrol is a network of thousands of knitters, quilters and craftspeople who make emotional support blankets for children in need, all across the country. With just a few minutes a day, you can, over time, prepare a work of art that also warms a heart. The organization has links to patterns and educational resources to get you started. A similar organization, Warm Up America, updates their site with areas of specific needs, where you can also make blankets on your own time.

Hourly impact 
With a little more time to give back to kids, you can team up with Family Promise and explore a wide range of volunteer opportunities from serving meals, reading stories and helping with resumes, to providing financial literacy training and more.

Weekly or more 
Organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America coordinate a host of child outreach programs, including before and after-school activities with which you can get involved. As a volunteer, you’ll have flexibility in choosing among opportunities, and setting a regular schedule that works with your own. And for volunteers with extra time and space who would like to welcome a foster child into their homeAdoptUsKids has resources and links to help get you started on the right path.

Supporting Animals

Just a few minutes 
If you’re an animal lover, one of the simplest ways to make a difference in your community is to volunteer to help walk a neighbor’s pet, feed their pets when they’re away on vacation, or drop in at lunch time to help a working family give their pet some relief.

Hourly impact 
After an initiation and training program, the Potter League provides volunteers with multiple opportunities to help homeless animals. They request a commitment of four hours per month for six months, and offer opportunities ranging from dog walking, pet socializing and veterinary transportation, to foster care, community education and outreach.

Weekly or more 
For pet lovers who don’t want to make the lifetime commitment of pet adoption, you can volunteer to provide temporary shelter to animals in need with Red Rover. The organization helps animals rescued from disasters or neglect, domestic violence victims seeking safety with their pets, and animals with life-threatening illnesses.

Working with Seniors

Just a few minutes 
One quick way to make a difference for seniors and others with limited vision is by volunteering to read for them through BeMyEyes. And if you have a friend or family member who’s considering a move into an assisted living facility, you can help that person find appropriate resources by pointing them to

Hourly impact 
Many communities offer programs to match volunteer drivers with seniors in need of rides. A simple web search can help you find organizations like this one Maryland or this one in Texas. Another great way to spend an hour helping seniors is to simply visit an assisted living facility near your home. You can even head there with a plan when you follow this guide.

Weekly or more 
For long-term opportunities that make a world of difference, ElderHelpers is a volunteer resource that matches people in need of assistance, with volunteers who want to help. Complete the profile and indicate your areas of interest—from helping with handiwork and gardening, to cooking, cleaning, running errands and even entertaining.

Protecting the Environment

Just a few minutes 
For a quick, but impactful opportunity, the National Resource Defense Council has a list of ways you can help make a difference by saving energyright at home. Or, look to the Nature Conservancy and make an impact in seconds when you sign a petition in support of an environmental cause.

Hourly impact 
With just a little extra effort, you can plan to plant a tree or two in support of the Arbor Day foundation. Then share your love of nature with the world when you take the tree pose challenge with The site offers multiple resources to get your neighborhood involved in protecting the water and land, including how-to videos and landscaping plans.

Weekly or more 
For a more regular routine of weekly volunteering, Greenpeace has opportunities focusing on oceans and plastics, forests, climate change, arctic preservation and more. And the Nature Conservancy has a search engine to help you find events in your state where you can make a difference on a wide range of environmental initiatives.

Find volunteer opportunities and inspiration in any of the above categories using this simple volunteer search.


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