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Spring break. The term usually conjures images of warm sun and sandy beaches. But that time could also be about warming hearts and heartfelt outreaches.

Students, families, and people who want to take a few days to give back may find that spring break is the perfect time to do so. With vacation days spread before you like so many opportunities to make the world better, here are some ways you can give back this spring break.

Clean up a local park or beach. Grab some gloves, trash bags, and a few friends and find a spot in the great outdoors to get to work. This is a great time to clean up playgrounds, parks, river beds, beaches, or other outdoor areas as people get ready to use them as the weather gets warmer and outdoor sports and activities pick up.

Go play with puppies. Love animals? There are plenty of ways to connect with furry and feathered friends during your time off. Start with local animal shelters and rescues to see if they need volunteer help. Then,

Choose a community service project. Contact local nonprofits, municipalities, and schools to see if they have a project that may need your help over the course of your spring break. You might be able to do some painting, help organize a project, plant some flowers or shrubs outdoors, or help with other projects for the week. You could also volunteer in the office at a local nonprofit and possibly build some resume-boosting skills.

Help a student get ahead. If you’re a whiz in science, math, chemistry, or some other subject, put your expertise to work as a tutor. So many students have fallen behind since the pandemic—you could truly make a difference for someone who needs a little extra help.

Lend a hand at your community center. Local community and senior centers are important gathering, information, and social centers. Why not spend your vacation helping out with programs, crafts, and activities? You may enjoy the special events—and even make a friend or two. Or contact your local Veteran’s Administration hospital and bring joy to the hearts of those who have served.

Best of all, when you have a stretch of time ahead of you, you can make plans to pursue something you truly want to do. Spend some time thinking about how you’d like to spend your vacation, then think about the organizations that are related to your interests. That way, you get to combine the causes that truly matter to you with your time off. And that’s a win-win for everyone.

Looking to pique your interest about volunteer opportunities? Visit for ideas and inspiration.

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