Summer is a great time to volunteer

Originally published on 06/08/2011

Going to camp and school are not the only activities your kids can do this summer. Getting them out of the house to help volunteer in your community is a great alternative to the usual summer routine, and it’s something you may be able to do together. There’s no shortage of opportunities to do charitable work, from food banks and clothing drives to community emergency preparedness and health events. No matter what you choose, it’s relatively easy to join a group of people working for a good cause. Use these tips from the Federal Citizen Information Center to get connected with a charitable group, create your own project or participate in long-term volunteer work: How to Become a Volunteer Serve.gov is a great place to start your search for places to volunteer. It was created by the federal government as part of a nationwide initiative promoting community service. Serve.gov can help you: • Search for volunteer opportunities by topic of interest and geographical area • Learn about volunteer work available in your community Get contact information for organizations seeking volunteers • Share your experience with others How to Create Your Own Volunteer Project You can also create your own volunteer project tailored to the needs of your community. This might be a good opportunity for parents and children to share a fun and educational new experience. Serve.gov features toolkits with step-by-step instructions to help you create community campaigns for: • Organizing a book drive for lowincome students who lack age-appropriate books • Establishing a neighborhood food bank • Starting a walking team for senior citizens • Making your home energy efficient and getting your neighbors to do the same If you start your own project, you can also use Serve.gov to promote your initiative and to look for volunteers. Long-Term Volunteer Work For some, volunteering is a commitment that goes beyond the summer. There are federal programs that offer volunteer work both in the United States and in foreign countries: • AmeriCorps is a network of domestic volunteer programs with fulltime volunteer work in different parts of the country. Here you’ll find opportunities in urban and rural development, infrastructure improvement and emergency assistance. • Peace Corps offers full-time volunteer work in other countries for periods of about 27 months. Volunteers get to work in different areas of interest all over the world.

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