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Embrace (or Escape) The Sun as a Volunteer

Whether you love the outdoors and summer heat or prefer to keep cool by the A/C, if you love to volunteer, summer may be the best season to make a difference. And now is the perfect time to try something new. Here are summer volunteering ideas that can make you feel good inside no matter where you are, conveniently arranged by time involved.  

Summer Volunteering in the Great Outdoors

5 minutes

Take a stroll in nature, bring a bag, and pick up trash along the way. Or offer to walk a pet for a neighbor in need. You can use your mobile device from a park bench and be a microvolunteer simply by signing petitions to protect America’s rivers. And the next time you bake a batch of muffins or cookies, you can double the recipe and take a few minutes to deliver them to your local senior center.

1 hour

With a little more time on your hands, the opportunities are endless. You could spend 60 minutes knocking on doors in support of a local politician, and get plenty of fresh air and exercise along the way. Or plant a tree as part of an effort to combat climate change. If you love nature, you can document the plants and animals in your area to assist the advancement of scientific research. Or get together with neighbors and friends and spend an afternoon cleaning up a local waterway.

Longer term

The American Hiking Society has volunteer opportunities that encourage you to connect with nature as you nourish the body and soul. You can help them by advocating on the hiking community’s behalf, or by joining them for a volunteer vacation where you’ll help build and maintain hiking trails for local communities. For outside volunteering on a set schedule, sign up to coach a sport, be a lifeguard or camp counselor, or make a difference at your local Boys and Girls Club. And to really get outside, and get away from it all, visit and find a trip that meets your interests and availability. There are ideas for making a difference from coast to coast and around the world.

Indoor Opportunities to Keep Your Cool

5 minutes

Microvolunteering is an outlet for those who wish to create the good but don’t have a lot of time. And many opportunities are ideally suited for those who prefer to be indoors. For hands-on activities that make a difference, you can make a craft kit for children in the hospital, or knit a blanket on your time for a child in need. A handwritten note can help raise the spirits of someone in prison, and an inspirational letter to a soldier can make the day of someone serving abroad. You can also volunteer in small ways online when you create or sign an online petition. And of course, just spending a few minutes reading to your child or grandchild can inspire a passion for literature and lifelong learning.

1 hour

At Learn to Be, you can volunteer to tutor underserved youth from around the country in various educational topics. A 10-15 question survey can help you identify where you can help. The United Nations sponsors a site where in just a few minutes, you can help translate documents, conduct research and share your expertise. And of course, you can always take an hour out of your day to visit your local VA hospital and bring joy to the hearts of those who have served.

Longer term

Volunteers with IMALIVE take a 10-hour course on suicide prevention, then commit to volunteering 200 hours toward that effort by communicating with people through text messages. If you like working with animals, you can team up with The Animal Humane Society, and search their many volunteer opportunities. Many local libraries seek volunteer assistance, while affording a cool and comfortable, air-conditioned environment. Find the nearest one and ask how you can help.

Find more opportunities in your community, and across the country when you use this simple volunteer search

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