Between 2012 and 2013, in the U.S. alone, 35.9 million people moved from familiar surroundings to a new location. Volunteering to make new neighbors feel welcome can benefit the entire community as you help them discover restaurants, parks, museums and more. You’re also bound to discover something new about the place in which you’ve always lived.
Offer some online help.
(Volunteer Commitment: 15+minutes/day)
Download an app like Nextdoor, and create an online “community within a community,” or start a new Facebook group to share pictures, recommend restaurants or coordinate meet-ups. Facebook groups are not only free, but also take just a few moments of your time. And once you add your neighbors, spreading the word is easy. Learn more about creating a group here.
Blog and meet up.
(Volunteer Commitment: 30+minutes/day)
You don’t have to leave home to make a difference. Developing and maintaining a blog with new content that links to upcoming community events could be just the thing someone new to the neighborhood is looking for. Visit blogging.org to learn more. Then share your opinions and past experiences on parks, restaurants and places to take the kids.
Make every new house warm.
(Volunteer Commitment: 5+ hours/event)
Host a welcome gathering at your home or the local park, and put together quick housewarming gifts to greet your new neighbors. You can use social media outlets to create invitations, or just print up a physical flyer and distribute it by hand. Need ideas for homemade gifts? Howtobuildit.org is a great place to start. But chances are, your neighbors have a few great ideas of their own.
Become a Sunday driver.
(Volunteer Commitment: 30 minutes/week)
Older members of you community who have recently moved in may not have access to, or the ability to operate, a vehicle. This can be especially troubling for those who wish to attend religious services or other weekend appointments. If you attend weekly services, talk to your organization’s leadership to identify those who need help, or simply ask your new neighbors if there’s any way you can be of help.
Become a host family: A win-win.
(Volunteer Commitment: Comprehensive/6 months+)
AFS-USA pairs foreign students with U.S. families and can open your mind to new cultures and languages. International students often become instant friends you can share new experiences with and introduce to your favorites places in town. Best of all, by creating a sense of community as host family, you might also pay it forward and inspire them to do the same. Find more information here.