It’s no secret that we all live busy lives that are packed to the brim with activities and obligations. Adding one extra commitment to an already busy schedule can seem overwhelming, but finding the time to do a service project or give back to your community is time spent that will render great reward.
Below are a few ways that we balance community-based activities with our busy schedules.
Kristi…My main community-based activity is through a weekly volunteer commitment with a local school. I am paired up with an elementary student (who is seeking additional assistance with reading), and we sit together during his/her lunch hour and read a book. This commitment is during my lunch hour, so it often times doesn’t conflict with my regular work meetings and calls. It also is about 5 minutes away from my office, so it’s easy to get to the opportunity and back to work.
Once a year, I try to get together during the winter holidays and work at a local community center with needs related to food and toy drives. In the past, I’ve gathered a group of friends and the opportunity has served as a community service event and a holiday social reunion.
Bri… Do you like to organize? Do you want to volunteer? Well, have I got a suggestion for you! Wardrobe for Opportunity is a Bay Area-based organization that assists low-income individuals in their efforts to FIND A JOB, KEEP A JOB, BUILD A CAREER.
Helping people polish up their interview and office work attire is one of their major services. As a volunteer sorter, I assist with clothing donation inventory and boutique management. This includes processing incoming donations (identifying appropriate items for a professional work environment); preparing the clothing for the boutique (tagging, steaming); and placing the clothing items on the boutique floor. I absolutely adore this kind of work. Not only does it allow me to give back to my local Oakland community, but it also satisfies my craving to organize something! Recommend!
Special Gala Invite for Friday, May 29: TK readers, if you’re in the Bay Area, Wardrobe for Opportunity cordially invites you to attend a gala in celebration of their 20th year of community service! Click here to RSVP to Wardrobe for Opportunity’s 20th Anniversary Spring to Success Soiree.
Mere…I am a social worker in the field of community mental health. In my job, I have many moments where I feel I am giving back to my community—both on a micro and macro level. Each day involves working directly with clients and providing them with strategies and tools for success. It is lucky to have a job that feels fulfilling and rewarding. I think it is important to find opportunities for me to give back outside of my job as well. I have recently been re-connected with the USC Alumni Association and have found weekend activities that are both philanthropic and fun! Connecting with one’s Alumni Association is a great place to find volunteer activities—plus it is fun to be re-connected with you Alma Matar!
Whether it is a weekly commitment or one-time occurrence, it is so rewarding to work in a little time to give back to your community. If you are having trouble finding something to get involved in, consider some of these tips:
- Find something close to home, or on your commute home. You are more likely to stay involved with a commitment if it’s convenient to get to.
- Focus on an opportunity you feel passionate about. Maybe you want to help a local animal shelter with their booth at the weekend farmer’s market, maybe you volunteer at a local running fundraiser with race logistics. You are more likely to want to stick with something that you enjoy.
- Start small, and then expand. If you are particularly busy, start with a one-time volunteer activity. If you enjoy what you are doing, consider a more regular interval that meshes with your schedule.
- Encourage friends to join you. Having a friend that’s committed to get involved helps you stick to your commitment. It is also a good way to catch up with an old friends.
- Get creative and start your own activity. Maybe an organized activity isn’t for you. Consider organizing your own by doing some spring cleaning and donating items to a local shelter, or encourage your family and friends to gift charitable donations for the holidays in lieu of presents.
Do you balance community service activities with your busy schedule? If so, we’d love to hear about what you’re involved in and how you manage your schedule.