Approximately 15% of the world’s population—and 20% of Americans—live with disabilities. There are plenty of rewarding ways to work with those experiencing some sort of physical or cognitive limitation and make an enduring difference .
Empower others with mobility
Disabilities come in all forms. For some people, their mobility is affected, posing potential travel difficulties. Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in transportation, public accommodations, employment and more. Spot a restaurant without a ramp? Notice a new apartment complex that’s not too accessible? Get to know the ADA so you can help protect the rights of community members with disabilities.
You can also help your neighbors in need get to where they need to be by participating in a Volunteer Driver Program near you.
Another option is helping Meals on Wheels, a longstanding, nationwide organization that provides nutritional fare to seniors and people who lack mobility, adequate resources or support. The program improves nearly every community across the country with meals, friendly visits and safety checks.
Expand someone's horizon
You don’t have to leave your house to make a difference. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities you can do right from your own home.
Why not read and record an in-demand audiobook? Share the joys of your favorite book with those who are unable to read due to vision impairments or a learning disability. With Librivox, you can record books in the public domain, one chapter at a time, and make them available for free. No auditions necessary. Habla espanol? Parlez-vous français? They record books in all languages. Or lend your eyes to the blind through Be My Eyes, an app that connects blind people with volunteer helpers from around the world via live video chat.
Help create happy homes
Many people with disabilities share homes with others in supportive living communities. These communities foster independence, and they benefit greatly from dedicated volunteers with a positive attitude who are eager to bring joy to the faces of residents.
Volunteers of America offers several different supportive living services. Have a hobby you’d like to share, like yoga, cooking or art? Organizations like Community Residences, Inc. welcome volunteers to offer their skills and build relationships.
People with disabilities often welcome opportunities to help out in their communities. Encourage those living with intellectual or cognitive disabilities to join you in a walk to raise awareness or funds for diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Breast Cancer.
Homes for the brave
Many dedicated military servants who fight for our country return home with disabilities. These brave veterans can have a hard time reintegrating into society or adjusting to the differences in their abilities. Fortunately, there are lots of ways volunteers can support veterans. Wounded Warrior Homes is a non-profit that provides transitional housing to help alleviate homelessness for post-9/11 veterans experiencing PTSD or traumatic brain injuries.
Ready to make a difference in the lives of your community members living with disabilities? Find an opportunity near you now!
Easter Seals is a nearly century-old organization helping individuals with disabilities and special needs live better lives. They offer employment training, medical rehabilitation, child development and more. Volunteer with a chapter near you, or donate today.
Playing on a sports team brings a strong sense of joy and pride to people of all ages. The Special Olympics has been helping inspire these feelings for people with disabilities across the world since 1971.