It feels good to do good. Most of us who donate our time to causes or organizations that are meaningful to us would likely agree: Volunteering allows us to give back, while rewarding ourselves in the process.
There’s research that supports those feel-good benefits: It’s been found that volunteering improves your health. According to a report by Corporation for National & Community Service: “Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health… those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.”
It’s also good for your career: Volunteering can broaden your base of experience and offers an excellent opportunity for networking. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have published articles about how volunteering can help you earn your next job.
At Shamrock, we are fortunate to have a group of very committed people who research and organize volunteer opportunities for our team. As often as possible, we try to volunteer as a group which also allows us to enjoy the camaraderie-building benefits.
If you’re looking for opportunities to plug into your community and respond to a need, we’ve compiled some great resources. Starting with national organizations: These websites offer nationwide campaigns/programming as well as connections to local chapters that offer additional volunteer opportunities.
This user-friendly site allows you to search and sign up for nonprofit volunteer opportunities based on your interests, format (group or individual), location and more. Currently, there are 102,554 active opportunities listed on the site.
The American Red Cross www.redcross.org
Whether you’d like to help with disaster relief efforts or be a part of a local campaign like Sound the Alarm, which involves volunteers installing smoke detectors in high-risk neighborhoods, there are many ways to get involved.
Habitat for Humanity www.habitat.org
A wonderful opportunity for a team of people to work together to build a new home for a family in need or provide disaster relief building services in communities worldwide.
Humane Society of the United States www.humanesociety.org
Providing administrative assistance, fostering pets, working at shelters or as part of wildlife rescue efforts: There are lots of ways to help with essential animal protection programming.
Below is a sampling of local volunteer resources, based in metropolitan areas where Shamrock has a presence:
Cleveland: Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Provides nutritious meals for those in need throughout the NE Ohio community; outreach for underserved; food pantries. www.greaterclevelandfoodbank.org
Walnut Creek/Bay Area: Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation saves dogs and cats who have run out of time at public shelters. www.arflife.org
Boston: Rosie’s Place. Safe, dignified temporary housing for women; food pantry, classes. www.rosiesplace.org
Chicago: Chicago Cares. Inspires positive change through 200 volunteer events every month www.chicagocares.org
Detroit: Arts & Scraps. Recycles 28 tons of material annually to help 275,000 children in low-income neighborhoods think, create and learn. www.artsandscraps.org
Dallas: Promise House. Dedicated to ending youth homelessness; emergency shelter, counseling, education. www.promisehouse.org
Pittsburgh: East End Cooperative Ministry. An interfaith coalition of 46 congregations, parishes, and institutions; minister to the frail, elderly, youth, homeless. www.EECM.org
I’m hoping these organizations inspire you to check into an opportunity in your area. If you have a volunteer resource you’d like to share with us that’s not listed, please share on our Facebook page.